“I imagine not,” I say about to clear our plates, but Cat grabs a hold of hers.
“I’m not finished, yet. With the food or the conversation. Please, sit down.”
I really don’t want to do this right now. I want to straighten things out between Cat and me. Emotionally though I wish I could push this off, but seeing no way out I sit back down.
“Cat, I’ve only recently found out about Tina from the letter my father wrote. He told me how vital Tina has been in taking care of my Mom and even him through his bout with brain cancer.”
“Tina knew we are legally related, but she didn’t know how to hit me with this news, with everything else I already had going on.”
“Doesn’t it stand to reason, that the affection William witnessed between Tina and I is taken out of context? Similarly, to those photos, Liam’s father had taken of me,” I propose.
“Yes, but William is a really good judge of character. He’s seldom wrong. I think it would be unwise to ignore his advice.”
“Oh, really! Then Liam does want you and I should be concerned.”
“No! That’s not what I’m saying,” Cat is quick to respond.
“So, William’s only an excellent judge of character when he’s talking about someone interested in me, then? That’s convenient.” I stand up, taking my plate and William’s, and walk into the kitchen. I’m ill-equipped to have this conversation. If I keep talking, I know I’ll end up saying something I’ll regret, but I don’t get a reprieve as Cat follows me into the kitchen.
“Alex. All I’m saying is that I’d seen it too.”
“Seen what?” I want to know.
“The way Tina looks at you. How guilty she appeared when I caught her with her arms around you in your brother’s bedroom. You must face the fact that although she’s now your sister, she’s not blood-related. There is nothing to stop her from developing feelings for you.”
“Nothing except, she has someone else she’s in love with! Someone, she’s engaged to,” I say, my tone rising because I’m angry. I’m tired of paying for mistakes I don’t cause. I didn’t ask for any of this. Having a sister, losing my father, the issues with my mother. All of this is being foisted upon me, and it’s not fair that I have to deal with the fallout.
“There was no ring on her finger. And when you offered to call him, she didn’t want you to.”
My eyes nearly bug out of my head, “Cat, do you hear yourself? What are you saying? That Tina invented a fiancé? To what? Put you at ease?”
“It’s possible,” Cat says.
“No, what it is, is completely insane. I mean, this is seriously reaching, and I thought you more secure in us than this,” I say pushing past her to get out of the kitchen. Damn, why is this apartment so small!
“I don’t doubt you. As William said, I trust you. Completely.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You trusted me SO much that the first time that trust was tested, you walked.”
“That’s not what I was doing and you know it?”
“I don’t, because it looked to me, that the only reason you stopped was that I stopped you. But then again, I guess with me no longer an issue that would allow you and Liam to get back together and become one messed up, happy family.”
“I’m no more interested in Liam than you are in Tina. Liam wants to step up. He wants a chance to be a Dad to his baby. Why do you keep expecting me to say, NO to that?”
“Because he’s not interested in that relationship, Cat. Not unless it comes with you. He will not settle for second place. It’s not how that guy is built. He will show the appropriate interest and hell he may even become honestly interested and for the baby’s sake I hope he does but there is no way in the hell you are ever going to convince me he’s not in love with you!”
“Who cares what he thinks?!” Cat demands to know. “Isn’t it MY choice who I’m with and who I want to spend the rest of my life loving?”
“Yes, it is, but with not wearing my ring. With you not wanting to set a date. With you constantly pushing me away. I have to wonder if that choice is still me.”
Cat looks like I just hit her across the face. She couldn’t possibly appear more stunned.
“You seriously think that?!”
Now she looks hurt. What the F’!
“Yes. No…” I throw my hands up in the air in frustration, “sometimes… I don’t know.”
I flop on the sofa and Cat just stands there staring at me, her hands on her hips, her brows furrow. She’s thinking of what her next move is, but at this point, I’m wiped. I have nothing. I can’t make her feel better, even though I want to.
“You’re right.” Cat pauses long enough that I feel forced to look at her. “I could at this very moment leave here and go to Liam, and he’d take me back with open arms. I know this. You know this. He knows this. He wants just that, but I ask you… where am I standing right now?”
I let out a long sigh. “Here,” I tell her.
“Exactly! Right here. Right now. Because I choose to be here. Because I want to be here. Here is where I am usually the happiest. Here with you.”
I lean over and put my head in my hands. I’m so tired. “It’s hard to compete, Cat. You have so much history with Liam. It’s hard not to feel insecure. Not to feel the more time you spend together that he won’t use that history, those 6 years you were together to lure you back to him.”
“I can’t even blame him if he does because I know that’s what I would do if I were him and I wanted you back. I spend every second trying to remind you of all the good times we had, the love that we shared, what we meant to each other.”
“What makes it even worse is we both know it would make things so much easier on you. Liam is, as you keep pointing out, the baby’s true father. Something I can never be, no matter how much I love this baby.”