“Yep, I’m headed inside right now, where are you?”
“I’m upstairs on the balcony.”
I watched ever so patiently as she finally appeared at the top of the stairs and made her way towards the balcony doors. Ah, I swear, every time I saw her when we had been apart for a while my heart flipped in my chest.
After we said our hellos, she pulled me back inside.
“Hey, what’s wrong with the balcony, it’s a beautiful day.”
“Uh, well, it’s a little more private in here, anyone can see us on the balcony.”
“Ok. So, are you still coming over tomorrow?”
“Yes, as soon as we drop Gammy off for her treatment at the science facility. She’ll be staying over night, and I know she’s in good hands while she’s there. if you like, I could stay the night too. I’m ready for a break from our house.”
“I bet you are. So, are the treatments helping Gammy at all?”
“Well, she feels better right after, but her conditions not improving. This overnight treatment will be the last try to help her. If it doesn’t work, she won’t get anymore.”
“Wow. So, I’m supposing you haven’t told Seiko about us yet, have you?”
“No. I will, soon, I promise.”
“It’s ok. I just want to be able to date you a little less discreetly.”
She took my hands in hers. “I know. I want to date you too. It’s just that Seiko hasn’t been home as much, so there haven’t been as many opportunities to talk.”
“Ok. Well, I trust you’ll figure out the right time.” I put my arms around her and pulled her close. She smelled so good. I couldn’t help but kiss her.
“Mmm… You are gonna get us kicked out of the library.”
“And what exactly would be bad about that?” I teased, and kissed her again.
She pulled away from me, but smiled. “Ok, you little rebel, I gotta go. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Oh alright, tomorrow it is.”
“Hey, if you want you could meet us at the science facility to pick me up. Seiko won’t be coming with us, he’ll be working.”
“Ok, I’ll see you then.”
After she left, I headed on over to the Bistro to have dinner. Most people would feel awkward eating by themselves, but I actually enjoyed it. The Bistro had the best food in town, and they knew me so they gave me discounts all the time.
After that I called it a night and went home. The next morning I woke to the most amazing smell filling the house. I hurried and got dressed and went downstairs to investigate.
“Hey Sam, something smells wonderful! What is it?”
To my surprise, it wasn’t our butler Sam in the kitchen, but a woman I didn’t know.
“Hello, I’m Ichelle, your new butler, I’ll be taking over for Sam, who had to take a leave of absence for family reasons.”
"Oh. Ok. Well, hello and welcome to our house. What is that delicious smell?”
“French toast, I hope you like it.”
I sat at the table with my breakfast and Ichelle joined me and we talked about her duties, where her room was, etc. She seemed to be very courteous and professional. I was sure she’d do a great job for us.
I counted down the hours until I could go pick Carol up. I was supposed to pick her up right after lunch. We would actually get to spend a whole afternoon, evening, and night together, which I believe would be the longest I’ve got to spend with her since we met!
I pulled up to the science facility, and noticed Carol and Rory waiting outside.
As soon as I walked up Carol hugged me. “Hey Kenny.”
I noticed Rory looked upset, almost as if she had been crying.
I noticed Rory looked upset, almost as if she had been crying.
I whispered to Carol, “Is she ok?”
“Yes, she’s just very doubtful this treatment will work, and knows Gammy’s time is short.”
With that, she turned to Rory. “Are you sure you are going to be ok? I can stay with you tonight if you need me to.”
Rory responded, “No. I’ll be fine, I promise. I would not want to ruin your only night out in a long time. You deserve a break. Please go, I promise, I’m just letting off a little stress, having a little cry. No big deal. I’ll call you in the morning and come pick you up so we can pick up Gammy together.”
“Ok, I’ll see you in the morning then…”
“You two have fun.” Rory managed a weak smile.
We didn’t say much on the car ride to my house. I could tell Carol was deep in thought, I could only hope she wasn’t regretting the idea of staying with me when Gammy was in the condition she was in right now.
As soon as we got to my house, we went straight to my room. The new butler was doing various chores around the house, and I knew at least up there we wouldn’t be disturbed. I could tell she was still preoccupied, and I pulled her into a hug again.
“Hey, is something wrong? Are you having second thoughts about coming over?”
“Uh. No. Not really. Why?”
“You just seem like something is on your mind.”
“Oh. Well, yeah. A lot of hings are on my mind. I’m just, you know... I need a few minutes to decompress, breathe.”
“Well, sure you do, you’ve been under a lot of strain lately. Here, turn around.”
I started massaging her shoulders, and wow. It was a wonder that she could even move her arms with how tight her shoulders and back were. Poor thing. It upset me to know that she was going through something this stressful, and I couldn’t do more to be there for her.
Finally I could feel her start to relax a little. “Wow, thank you, I obviously needed that. I didn’t realize how tense I’ve been.”
“Well, it’s understandable, but no need to worry now. You are with me for the night, and you can put aside all your worries and relax, ok?”
‘Yeah. Ok. That would be nice.”
“I know what would take my mind off of things…”
“Hm, oh you do, do you?”
She giggled as she pulled me onto the bed. When she looked me in the eyes in the way that only she could, I kissed her the way that I had always wanted to.
We spent a few minutes making out, when suddenly I heard her stomach growl. I stopped to look at her, and let out a small laugh.
“Wow, what is your stomach trying to tell me?”
“Oh gosh, I’m so sorry, how embarrassing. I haven’t eaten much today.”
I kissed the top of her forehead. “You should have told me you haven’t eaten! We have a ton of great food in the fridge, one of the great benefits of having a butler.”
I got off the bed and stood up, pulling her up with me.
“Wow, I really know how to ruin a mood, don’t I?”
“You didn’t ruin anything, besides we have all night. What kind of host would I be if I let my girlfriend go hungry?”
I realized that I just referred to Carol as my girlfriend, something I hadn’t called her before. I gave her a shy look hoping I didn’t say something I shouldn’t have.
“Oops. Yeah. I um. I mean, are you my girlfriend?”
“Do you want me to be your girlfriend?”
“Well. Yes. Yes I do.”
“Good. Because I want you to be my boyfriend.”
“Ok then. It’s settled. Right?”
“Yep.” She gave me a short kiss.
“Alright. Let’s go get something to eat!”
We went downstairs, and had one of the best Salmon dinners I think I ever had, it was amazing.
After we ate and took our plates to the kitchen, I couldn’t help but look at Carol and smile. It felt so right to have her here, washing up plates together, she belonged here, I knew it.
“It’s nice having you here, like this. I wish it could be like this all the time.”
I stroked her cheek, and she rested her head on my hand as I did. “I like being here with you too. I feel….at peace here.”
We turned on a movie, but to be honest, it was a little distracting to be alone in the room sitting by each other.
Needless to say, we eventually found ourselves making out again.
I couldn’t help but pull away from her every few seconds, just so I could look at her, look into her eyes. I tried to take every thing in so I wouldn’t forget a single thing. I didn’t know when we’d have a night like this again. I paused for a long time, just looking at her, and I must have had a sad look on my face, because she asked me,
I tried to make my head think clearly for a second so I could answer her.
“I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but it’s getting harder for me to watch you sacrifice so much to keep everyone happy at your own expense. I know you care about Gammy, and even for Seiko’s feelings, but you really do deserve to put yourself first every once and a while. If you did, you could be here much more often, even on a permanent basis if you wanted to. It‘s so hard to be apart from you, when my heart wants otherwise.”
“I know. I’m trying to get better at taking care of my self. It’s not exactly easy to change something I’ve done my whole life. But you know the situation with Gammy. I can‘t leave until she‘s gone. It just wouldn’t be right. Besides, I‘m here with you now aren't I?”
“You are right, you are here now.” I didn’t know what else to say, but before I could think of anything else she kissed me again.
“Let’s not think about anything else tonight, ok? Just you and me.”
“I think I can do that.”
I shut the TV off, and her and I both headed to my bedroom. She changed, and came over to lay next to me.
I realized that in a few short hours she would be gone, back to her world of stress and woe. I didn’t know when we’d get to be together like this again. As if we both realized this at that same moment, the rest of the night became only about us. As I looked into her eyes, and she into mine, the rest of the world disappeared, and all that mattered was us.
I fell asleep with Carol snuggled beside me and woke up alone, her side of the bed neatly made. I sighed at the thought of being absent from me, but quickly stopped myself. I should be grateful we shared the night we did, maybe the memories of it would help ease the heart ache, make it easier to be apart from her.
Boy was I wrong. There was no hobby, chore, book, or drink that could get Carol out of my mind for a second.
I also found that my resentment towards Seiko was starting to grow. I realized that Carol couldn’t move in with me because of Gammy, and that was completely acceptable, but the reason we couldn’t really behave like boyfriend and girlfriend, or more, was because of him. There were times when I entertained the thought of just walking straight up to Seiko, telling him that Carol was mine now, and marching Carol right out of the house. But I knew that wasn’t the smartest thing to do, I should let Carol handle it. It was just getting more difficult to hold onto the hope that we were really going to be together for real some day.
Only 2 days later, I got a call from Rory. Gammy had finally past away.
“I’m so sorry. Where are you guys right now?”
“I’m at the Bistro ordering food for the wake.”
“Ok I’ll be right there.”
I hung up and went straight to the Bistro. I saw Rory standing outside, and I went up and offered my condolences.
“It’s going to be ok. At least she’s not suffering anymore.”
“Yes, I know. I’m sure where she is now she’s much happier.”
“Where is Carol?”
Oh, well, only Parker and I came up here to work out these arrangements, Seiko and Carol are back getting Gammy’s belongings together, her brother is coming in a few days to get them.”
“Oh. Well, is there anything I can help with?”
“Not really. I think between the 4 of us we have it covered. The wake is at our house tomorrow. You and your sister are welcome to come I know it would mean a lot to Carol and I.”
“Of course, we’ll be there. Please call me if you all need anything, and tell Carol to call me too, ok?”
“I will. Thanks Kenny.”
The next night:
We showed up at the wake, and Grace quietly snuck into the bathroom as soon as we got there to change, as she had just come from work.
Her and I split up and made the rounds. It turns out that several people who knew Gammy were friends of mine too, so it was nice getting to catch up with them.
I didn’t really get to catch up to Carol the whole evening, I caught a glimpse of her on the balcony, staring off into space, and it looked to me as if she didn’t need to be disturbed. I decided to go ahead and leave, and try to talk to her tomorrow. I’m sure today was an overwhelming day for her.
The next day Carol called me.
“Rory told me you and Grace came to the wake yesterday, but I didn’t see you.”
“Yes, I know. There were quite a few familiar faces, and by the time I caught sight of you, it was late, and you looked like you needed to be alone, so I left. How are you holding up?”
She said nothing, at first. Then I could tell by the way she was breathing into the phone she had started crying.
“Oh, Kenny. I just. I’m sad that Gammy is gone, but happy too, because she’s been so sick for so long, and now there’s no more suffering. But I’m miserable here. I have to stick around until Gammy’s brother comes to pick up her things, but after that I want nothing to do with this house. I need to get out and start fresh.”
“Oh, baby, I’m so sorry. I want to be there for you so bad. Will Seiko say anything if I come over right now?”
“Uh, I don’t know. He’s been in his room. Probably not. Maybe. Oh Kenny, I need you so much. I need you to hug me and tell me it’s going to be ok. But I don’t have the energy or strength to deal with Seiko, and if he’d react badly or not. I don't know..." She sniffled, and exhaled loudly into the phone.
“Listen, I’m coming over, alright? We’ll worry about Seiko after I get there, ok?”
“I’ll see you in just a few minutes.”
TO BE CONTINUED...
*buckey's notes*- Sorry to leave you hanging, it's just that when I started writing this chapter, it ended up being SUPER long. I will probably have to break it up into 2 parts. But I'm trying to make sure I have both parts written before I post, so they will come out relatively close together. I used my free day reward to have Carol spend the night, and Kenny to ask her to be his girlfriend. Once they were together, he started rolling more and more romantic wishes concerning her, which has helped a lot! But, it doesn't mean their relationship fell into place, as you will see next chapter...