I roll over in bed and frown in my sleep as my conscious tries to wake me. It must be morning as I can see the light, though my eyes are still closed. Cat? A smile tugs at my lips as I reach out for her but the bed is empty and cold.
I squeeze my eyes shut tighter. If I dreamt last night, then I don’t want to wake up. I want to stay where she is. I don’t want to face another day without her. The room suddenly fills with the smell of bacon and coffee.
I hear someone enter the room, feel the bed depress as someone sits beside me. A feather-light touch trails over my hair and down my cheek and I sigh.
“Hey,” came the soft whisper of Cat’s voice.
I still don’t open my eyes but reach out and grab her, causing her to squeal in surprise as I wrap her up in my arms. She giggles.
“I thought you were still asleep.”
“I thought I dreamt you up last night,” I countered nuzzling my face into her hair and taking a deep breath of her strawberry scented shampoo.
“I’m no dream,” Cat said, “but I had good dreams. In fact, I think this is the first decent night’s sleep I’ve gotten since I left. I’m so sorry, Alex. I should have never…”
I stopped her protest with a kiss. No more apologies, no more feeling bad. I too had the first decent night’s sleep in days. This was the first time I didn’t dream of my father or brother or death. I’m in a good mood and I just wanted to hold on to this feeling for however long it would last.
What was meant to be a teasing kiss, turned into a needy kiss as I explored her mouth. I shift Cat to her back and held her cheeks in my hands as I continued to kiss her. Her fingers ran through my hair as she kissed me back, but all too soon she pushed me away trying to say…
“Breakfast is getting cold.”
Screw breakfast, I didn’t want breakfast. I wanted her. “We have a microwave,” I told her and began kissing her again. Cat giggled, kissed me back but I could feel her pushing at me again.
“Alex? Alex!” Cat got out between kisses as she turned her face so I couldn’t reach her lips.
“What?!” I said, hoping I didn’t sound as frustrated as I felt.
Her hands reached up to touch my cheeks. “There is nothing I would rather do than spend the day with you, right here, right now, in this way but… the hospital called.”
With those three little words, my good mood evaporated. I sat up alarmed. “Everything okay?”
Cat scrambled to sit up as well, “Yeah. Yes. Sorry, I should have phrased that better. Everyone is fine. Today your mom is allowed visitors and I was told that Tina would be released? I thought it odd they were telling you, but you were listed as the person to call.”
My heart slowed back to a normal rhythm as the panic ebbed. “I guess they aren’t releasing my mom yet, then.”
Cat shrugged. “They couldn’t tell me much as I’m not… family,” she told me and I noticed how she toyed with her engagement ring. For some reason, although Cat was frowning it made me glad to see her frown, that it bothered her that she was on the outside looking in.
I smiled and took her hand in mine, rubbing my thumb gently over her ring finger.
“You’re family. We just haven’t made it official yet.” Cat rewarded me with her beautiful smile.
“I wanted you to sleep as long as I possibly could, but I wasn’t sure how far the hospital was and how you wanted to arrange all this happening so I thought I’d wake you with some breakfast in bed.”
“You really are an angel. You know that?”
She leaned over and grabbed the tray that was sitting on the nightstand. Two plates filled with scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon. Along with two steaming cups of coffee. I grabbed the coffee first. I missed starting my morning like this, with her.
“You’re welcome,” Cat said smiling over her own cup of coffee.
It felt good to just sit and chat about nonsense with her. Well, not nonsense but the bland everyday things that you take for granted when you’ve pulled away too long.
Cat told me about how Olivia was planning a shower for her at the sorority and that she and her mom would be going to register for the baby things she needed next weekend.
We laughed over how ludicrous the idea was of registering for gifts for a party your friends and family insist on being a surprise.
“William met someone. Did you know?”
I felt my eyes bug out of my head as I nearly choked on my coffee. “William?”
“Yeah, you know, your best friend?”
“I know. I just … he’s never taken anyone seriously that he’s dated. This is huge! How’d you find out?”
“I dropped by unannounced to talk to him. I was worried about you, and wanted to pick his brain about what he may know. Someone else answered the door to his apartment. Introduced himself as Jacob Riley. He so doesn’t look like William’s type. I’m so used to seeing him with the glamorous playboys, but Jacob was … cute.”
I can see Cat was struggling for a description. “Cute?”
She shrugged a little. “Yeah, you know… cute. Nice build but not muscular, average height, pretty eyes, impossibly long lashes. Why do men always get those? It’s not fair.”
Cat pouted and l laughed.
“Guess God just chose to give us that one, since you women got the lion share when it comes to attractiveness.”
“So Jacob Riley,” I mused.
“Yeah, he’s this really sweet kind of guy. Very down to earth. So the opposite of William but I could tell as William talked with me that Jacob was different than the others. I’ve been there when he’s had company before. Those men would think nothing of walking through the room half-naked and I don’t mean the half that should be covered up.
William wouldn’t even acknowledge them as they strolled through the room and raided his refrigerator. He’d just keep talking to me. Jacob however, made us coffee and I watched as William’s eyes followed him around the apartment like he couldn’t take his eyes off of him. William even invited Jacob to sit down with us. I was… stunned.”