Thursday, August 17, 2000

In/Exhale - September 2, 2000 - Part 1

Sorry to give you guys another two-parter... if only Blogger allowed pagination! (What can I say, I'm verbose...)

Anyway, "yesterday," Kai got a chance to flirt with Renee, but he had to use his inhaler, which freaked him out and sent him to Nikki (and pie) for consolation.

"Today" is Saturday, and Kai's concerned about school, about how to handle the truth of his MLS with Renee, and more. He runs into an old friend and gets an unexpected call from another who might change everything...

(Refresh your mind/catch up with the Table of Contents)

-CA

PS - Oh, and if you're worrying about NaNoWriMo, don't. I'm not 100% committed to doing it this year, and I have at least two- to three weeks' worth of material lined up. So I'll try to keep updating weekly even during Novemeber. ;) Fears assuaged.

########

Jon smoothed a hand over his hair as he passed the kitchen table to grab his briefcase. Kai sat in his wheelchair, hunched over a bowl of cereal, a textbook open beside him. He’d gotten in late from Nikki’s the night before, electing, at the last minute, not to spend the night, and the combination of a restless mind and body had meant he hadn’t gotten much sleep.

"So I have patients all morning, but my last one is at 11:30, so I should be free by one." Jon peered into his briefcase before slinging it over his shoulder. "I thought maybe we could have lunch. Do something together? Whatever you want."

Kai set his spoon in his bowl and leaned back to better see his brother, unable to hide the surprise in his face. "Sure. But I’m going to stick to the chair today, I think, so . . ." Kai shrugged and returned to his cereal.

Jon frowned.

"I’m fine."

Jon looked at Kai, one eyebrow raised, but said nothing, waiting for his brother to look up, as if the tension in the air would be enough to signal him.

Kai sighed heavily, tossed his head, before meeting his brother’s eyes. "Really. I’m just tired, and I don’t want to have to miss any more class by pushing myself too hard."

Jon studied his brother for a moment, even though Kai had dropped his head again, pushing his cereal out of the way and pulling his textbook closer, seemingly engrossed in reading what was apparently a psychology text. Realizing Kai was in full-on ignore mode, Jon sunk into the chair diagonally opposite with a sigh.

"Maybe twelve hours is too much."

Kai gripped the top far corner of the open book in his hand, fingers curling around the pages, squeezing and releasing in a repetitive, anxious motion. "That’s the minimum for matriculation."

"Then maybe you don’t need to be a full-time student. Maybe you should have taken just a couple classes your first semester. You know, eased yourself into it."

Kai let out a harsh breath and released the pages; they made a loud fwap as they fell back into place. "Jon. I’m fine," Kai said, signing the word for emphasis, a thumb on his chest, fingers splayed, jerking his hand down stiffly. "All right? I’ll see you later for lunch."

Jon’s lips squeezed tightly together, resisting a frown. "All right. Well." He pushed himself up, readjusted his briefcase. "It’s still not too late to drop a class or two. I’ll see you later. Cattle Baron, one o'clock." Jon patted Kai’s shoulder briefly before turning to the door.

As soon as Kai heard the front door click shut, he dropped his head on the book with a small thud. Jon had a legitimate point. Four classes hadn’t seemed like much when he’d registered, but now that he actually had twelve hours of lecture a week and at least that much reading, things seemed different. He couldn’t focus or remember nearly as well as he could in high school, but he figured minor cognitive deficits were a fairly small price to pay considering that he’d nearly died of lung failure only a little over a year ago.

Maybe trying college again was just another way he was fooling himself. With a grunt, he pushed his upper body from the table and shut the book. He needed to clear his head. He’d hit the pool, get a good workout early before any of the swimming classes started, then maybe drop by Lost Apple Books and try to study for a while. A change of scenery might do him good, and it’d force him to catch up on the work he missed last week.


#

The parking lot for Lost Apple Books was nearly empty when Kai pulled in after his workout. The store didn’t open for another thirty minutes, but Kai knew the owner, Arthur Meyers, was likely already puttering about, dusting the shelves and making sure everything was ready for the Saturday crowd. He lived above the store, which he’d owned since before Kai was born, and had somehow managed to survive the big retail chains and the burgeoning internet market. He and his store were a town institution, partially because he was impossible to dislike. He volunteered in the community, wasn’t afraid to lend someone a book they couldn’t afford, or do any number of small things that made Lost Apple more than just a book store.

Best of all, it was extremely accessible; Art had made sure of that, carefully arranging the shelves and furniture, always asking someone to help make sure he hadn’t made any oversights. He wanted everyone to feel welcome at Lost Apple, and so far, he’d succeeded well.

Kai had only just pulled into the lot when a blur of dark curly hair jogged in front of him, forcing him to hit the brakes. For a moment, their eyes met: Renee. Fuck. Because Iowa required two license plates, if Renee noticed, saw the wheelchair logo, saw the hand controls, she’d know his "bad leg" was more than just an old football injury. Fuck. Fuck. She moved out of his way, and for a moment, he thought he’d be able to gun it, but he was in such a state of shocked panic, before he could react, he heard a rap on his window. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

He glanced over, doing his best to smile, and saw Renee, beaming, waving. The girl definitely had enthusiasm, Kai would give her that. Sucking in a breath but keeping his smile up, Kai rolled down the window.

"Hey!" Renee said with a grin. "What are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same thing."

Renee tilted her head to one side and laughed, a low, delicate chuckle. "I work here Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Today’s my first day."

Kai rubbed his eyes and then his face. "Oh. Well, you’ll like working here."

"Yeah, I hung out here a bit last year. I’m just glad he needed some help. I could definitely use the money." Renee blushed.

"Art’s a good man. When I was a kid, he used to . . ." Kai stopped himself, realizing how Renee made him drop his guard, nearly relating a story about his childhood he wasn’t ready to divulge. The less Renee knew about his past, the better. ". . . let me borrow books," Kai finished vaguely.

Art was very active in the community, and each year would do a book drive for County House, bringing the donated books to the group home so the kids would have something to read. Even though Kai didn’t speak then, and Art didn’t know more than the alphabet and a few signs, they’d formed a bond over books. Reading was one of the few things Kai could do when he was sick, and so Art would occasionally bring a book just for Kai to read, acting almost like a library for him. Kai would read the book, then exchange it with Art for another the next time they saw each other. Art even visited Kai in the hospital occasionally, and they’d talk books (with Kai writing out his part of the conversation), or sometimes, Art would just read to him. Art was one of the few people who’d really shown him kindness, and he’d never forgotten that. In fact, he still had his worn copy of Hamlet that Art had given him, and which he’d read so many times he’d memorized it. In high school, Kai had read parts of it out loud to himself in the privacy of his room to help him build his confidence with spoken English.

To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
. . . makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.

Sensing Kai’s distraction, Renee cleared her throat, then gestured toward the building with her thumb. "We don’t open for another thirty minutes, but I doubt Art would mind if you came in with me. When there’s a lull, I’m sure he would let us study together."

Kai stared at her for a moment, his heart pounding furiously against his chest, cursing himself that he didn’t wear his orthotics. This is what I get for being lazy. Looking past her to the store, he said, "Actually, I just realized I have some errands to run first. But I had a really nice time yesterday. Rain check?"

It occurred to Kai that Renee might ask Art about him; if so, there wasn’t much Kai could do about it. He’d just have to cross that bridge when he came to it, and prepare himself for Renee treating him differently once she knew about his past and his health. Maybe she'd be OK with it; after all, she hadn't said anything about his leg or walk yesterday. Her disinterest didn't seem feigned or forced; instead, she'd made small talk, flirted, as if his leg didn't matter. Would she maintain her interest if she knew the truth? Kai didn’t realize he was biting his lip until he tasted the metallic tang of blood on his tongue.

"Sure," Renee said with a grin. "Actually . . ." she reached into her bag and grabbed a pen, then leaned into the car and pulled out his arm. With a seductive smile, she wrote on his forearm.

Kai tried to see what she was writing, but wasn’t able to, partially because he was distracted by the strangely sensual sensation of her pen imprinting on his skin and her soft, smooth fingertips as they braced his arm.

"My number. Call me some time. If you can’t make class, or you want to study, or . . . you want to do something else," she said with a smile, her cheeks flushed.

Kai glanced at the numbers, mostly as an excuse to hide his eyes from her, as the thought flashed in his head. What if he pulled into one of the handicapped spots and whipped out his chair, put everything on the table? No more pretense. It would be a relief. And he’d save himself from getting . . . attached. One way or another, the chair, braces, crutches weren’t going anywhere; maybe it’d be better to know if it was something she could deal with rather than leading both of them along?

The feel of her fingertips on the inside of his wrist, just below the rubber band, sent a frisson up his spine, drawing his attention away from his thoughts, strengthening his resolve. Bridges crossed when gotten to, he thought, smiling.

"I’d better get going. I’ll see you Wednesday, if not before." Her grin was sweet and simple, and Kai watched as her curls bobbed behind her when she skipped away toward the building.

He exhaled a long breath. She'd given him her number. Gimpy leg and everything. He couldn't help smiling as he turned his car around, feeling excited and a little giddy.

#

A few minutes later, Kai found himself parked at a table in the diner, absently flicking the rubber band against his wrist, unable to stop thinking about Renee.

A ruddy, slightly wrinkled hand set a mug of hot milk on the table in front of him. "Nikki’s off today," Marge said, causing Kai to look up and manage a faint smile. She was staring at the wheelchair, frowning; Kai realized he’d never come into the diner when he wasn’t walking.

"I know," Kai said, giving the band an extra forceful flick.

"Pies are in the oven, since it’s so early."

Kai laughed, cradled the back of his neck with one hand. "That’s OK. How ‘bout a waffle."

Marge grinned. "Let me guess: with strawberries and whipped cream."

Kai nodded, returning the smile, feeling himself relax a bit. "That sounds great." Then he quickly added sugar to his milk and stirred, lifting the mug to his lips and taking a tentative sip. Too hot. Marge always heated it too much.

Marge tapped her pen on her ordering pad and winked. "Waffle shouldn’t take long. You let me know if you need anything else."

Kai nodded and laid his forearm on the table, staring at Renee’s handwriting: elegant, angular, and neat against his fair skin. He was so lost in his thoughts he didn’t hear someone collapse into the chair opposite him until an extremely deep male voice spoke.

"I know you’ve got some brain damage, but don’t tell me you’ve forgotten what your arm looks like."

Kai snapped his head up to see a face he hadn’t seen in a while: Jake Wahltukh, Kai’s only real hearing friend. Jake was a large man, with bronze skin and long, mahogany hair plaited into two braids that draped over his shoulders toward his waist. As far as Kai knew, Jake hadn't cut his hair for more than a trim since his father had died when he was a kid.

Jake and Kai had met on the first day of high school. Kai had been exhausted and a little terrified as he’d made his way to the state-required fifth period PE class, a class the district would never let him participate in. It was also Kai’s first time at a hearing school since the state had forced him to "try it" after his parents had died, convinced allowing him to continue to attend the deaf school was only encouraging his "stubbornness" in refusing to speak.

Kai had only had speech therapy for a few months, and his MLS immediately made him stand out even without the language barrier. But Jake had seen beyond both these things; a target for teasing and racist jokes his whole life, Jake had learned early to walk his own path and not give the other kids the satisfaction of letting their jibes bite him. Over the four years of high school, he’d done his best to learn ASL, and had even helped Kai practice his speech to build his confidence. Then, in college, Jake had continued to pursue sign language, eventually qualifying for his interpreter’s license.

"Jake. Wow. It’s been awhile."

Jake beamed. He had a long face and wide cheekbones. His dark brown, nearly black eyes could easily have been menacing, yet they were soft and kind. "You look a hell of a lot better than the last time I saw you," Jake said, shifting to ASL.

"Yeah, well . . ." Kai signed with a wave of his hand.

Jake sipped his coffee, which he'd apparently brought over with him, and eyed Kai, his face warm. One-handed, he signed, "I guess you’re doing OK now?"

Kai shrugged.

Jake frowned and set his coffee aside, freeing up his other hand. "I see you haven’t changed. Come on. No BS."

Kai patted his pushrims with each palm, buying himself some time. "I don’t know what way’s up anymore. And my legs have been more stubborn than a drunk Indian," Kai signed, poking fun at Jake’s Dakota-Sioux heritage.

Jake laughed. "At least I’m not a skinny, racist white boy."

"Hey, not so skinny anymore," Kai said with a grin, extending a hand, which Jake met in a tight shake, fists clasped together. "It's been a long time."

"I know you can’t live without me." Jake cringed, his face suddenly growing serious. "Sorry. Listen . . ."

Kai held up his hand to signal it was OK, shifting to the ASL sign for "fine," turning his hand ninety degrees and tilting it toward Jake.

Jake nodded, although he still looked apologetic.

Jake had gone out of state for college, but he’d made a point of visiting Kai whenever he was in town, especially the last year before Kai’s transplant. Despite the fact that Jake had been one of Kai’s only true friends, Jake still felt guilty that he hadn’t been able to be more there for Kai when things were really bad.

"Really. I don’t hold it against you because you decided to study abroad or do that summer internship with Doctors Without Borders." Kai's eyes were wide, his brows arched, head cocked, as if to say, Come on.

Jake sighed, picked up one braid and threaded his fingers through the end of it before letting it fall back against his chest. Jake hadn’t seen Kai since Christmas break, a few months post-transplant, when Kai was still recovering, over eight months ago.

"Speaking of. . . . Started med school. Loyola Chicago."

Kai watched Jake’s finger spelling, impressed with how rapidly his fingers moved now, a far cry from his awkward signing of high school. But the school name caused Kai’s brows to arch reflexively, thinking of Jenny. And Jon. He shoved the thoughts from his mind.

"Already had our first exam, if you can believe it. I’m just here for the weekend to visit my mom." Jake partially spoke as he signed, his inarticulate whispers accenting the slight slap of skin against skin.

"Cool." Kai sipped his milk again; it had cooled enough to be palatable. "You’ll be a great doctor someday. I know it."

"What?" Jake's eyebrows jumped up, a grin curling across his face. "No ‘Medicine Man’ joke? You’re slipping."

"Fuck you," Kai said, laughing, smiling as Marge delivered their food; the Lumberjack breakfast for Jake (which Kai assumed Jake must have ordered before joining him), and Kai’s waffle.

With an added grin and wink toward Kai, she set a plate of bacon on the table. "On the house, hon. Can I get you guys anything else?"

Kai glanced at Jake, who shook his head. "We’re good. Thanks, Marge."

"She thinks you’re cute," Jake teased, dumping half a bottle’s worth of ketchup on his plate.

Kai bit his lip and said nothing, offering Jake his bacon.

Jake eyed it hungrily, despite the fact that he had enough food in front of him to feed a small country–eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, ham, pancakes, toast. "You’re giving me your bacon?"

Kai shrugged. "I’m a vegetarian now."

Jake stopped with one slice of bacon halfway to his mouth, eyebrow raised.

Kai sighed, dumping syrup onto his waffle. "Supposed to help with my MLS," he signed one-handedly.

"And that’s really working out for you I see," Jake said teasingly, gesturing toward Kai’s chair with the bacon.

Kai replaced the syrup on the table to free his hand. "Fuck you," he signed again, but he was smiling. "I’ve missed this."

Jake nodded, scooping up some food onto a fork. "I’m really glad to see you looking so good."

"It’s good to be feeling good," Kai signed as he chewed some waffle. "And your ASL is even better than the last time we talked."

Jake shrugged and set down his fork. "It helps when I cruise by the deaf school to pick up all the hot Deafie girls."

Kai nearly choked on his food with laughter. "I’ll bet."

Jake sighed, shoveled food into his mouth. "Instead of my ASL interpreter’s license, I should have focused on Spanish. Turns out that’s a lot more useful for medicine."

For a moment, Kai stared at his food, drumming his fingers on the table. Taking in a breath, he raised his hands to add, "I wish more nurses and doctors knew it."

An awkward pause descended on the table as they ate, forks scraping against plates. A young waitress Kai didn't recognize stopped by to refill Jake's coffee.

"You think you'll come back here? Once you finish school?"

Jake washed down a mouthful of food with some coffee before responding. "I don't know. If I did, it'd be after residency. I kinda like the anonymity of the big city, you know? Everyone knows me here, but in Chicago or St. Louis or wherever, I'm just another guy."

Kai nodded and slipped a gooey forkful into his mouth.

"What about you? You ever think of leaving this place?"

Kai shrugged, dragged the tines of his fork through the syrup, creating a ragged trail that rapidly resealed itself. "Right now, it's one day at a time."

Jake pointed to Kai's arm. "So what's with the arm? Planning your tattoo?"

Kai glanced down at the numbers again, smoothing over his skin with his other hand. "Her name's Renee," Kai said, unable to hide a blush.

Jake shook his head. "I guess blonds really do have all the fun."

Kai rolled his eyes and sipped his milk.

Leaning forward, Jake studied Kai for a moment, as if trying to read between the lines; as good as Kai was at concealing himself, Jake had been too close a friend for much to escape his scrutiny.

"She's cool with the wheels, etc.?"

Kai suddenly seemed very intent on dissecting the remains of his waffle.

"She doesn't know," Jake said after a long pause, voice flat.

Kai tapped his fingers a few times on the table before sighing and looking up. "Most days my walk is good. No crutches or anything. She knows I have a 'bad leg,' but no, I haven't sat her down to tell her my life sob story," Kai signed bitterly, his face looking like he'd sucked hard on a lemon.

"And you don't think she has a right to know?" Jake accused, jabbing his fork toward Kai before spearing eggs and shoving them in his mouth.

"Jesus, Jake." Kai pushed his plate as far away from him as he could, a fermenting pit forming in his stomach. "I've known her two weeks. Excuse me if I want her to get to know me before springing General Hospital on her."

Jake barely contained a chortle. "Not touching that. Too easy."

Kai shrugged. "In the hospital, it was soaps or the shopping channel." He sighed. "I like her, and she likes me. I don't want to fuck this up."

Jake shoveled some food into his mouth, then dropped his fork to free up his hands so he could sign while he chewed. "I'm no expert on women, but last time I checked, lying is a pretty good way to fuck things up."

Kai snapped the rubber band against his wrist a few times. "I'm not lying. . . . I'm just . . . not . . . telling her everything. . . . Yet."

"Lies of omission are still lies. I'm not saying you need to give her Kai Taylor Fox: The Unabridged Story, but . . ."

"She's bound to find out sooner or later, or at least start to put the pieces together. I don't know. I guess I just wanted to try to have one relationship where it was just about me and her without any . . . complications. You know? Am I crazy?"

"Well, I hope it works out. It's about time you got over she-who-shall-not-be-named." Jake stared hard at Kai. "But life's about complications. You can't hide from that."

#

Renee watched Art demonstrate how to make coffee in the large restaurant-style machines he kept tucked into a back nook of the store.

"People are always telling me I should charge for the stuff, or eliminate it completely. 'Don't want people parking and mooching,' they tell me." Art shrugged, pressing a couple buttons to start the brewing. "But I've always been a stubborn fool."

He grinned and turned to Renee. Art was about a foot taller than her, likely a meaty man in his youth, although his paunchy belly dominated his figure now. His skin was dry and ruddy, his eyebrows a bushy weave of black and white wiry hair, and the dome of his skull was dusted with only the faintest wisps, revealing his spotted skin below. His face was round and friendly, with ice-blue eyes that sparkled as if lit from some inner light. He seemed the archetypal grandfather figure.

"I'm sure your customers appreciate the free coffee, Mr. Meyers," Renee said quietly.

Art laughed. "As I said in the interview: Art, please. And I know they do. Part of what sets Lost Apple apart." He cleared his throat. "Just make sure to refresh the coffee throughout the day, and that we have cups and sugar and all that. Pretty easy." He took off toward the storeroom, his long strides forcing Renee to jog to catch up. "Have some copies just in of a book from a local author. He should be in next week for a signing, but want to get some out on the front table for display."

He almost seemed to be talking to himself, muttering as he peeked through half-opened cardboard boxes along the floor.

"Ah, here we go," he said. He glanced over at her. "You think you can carry this?" He heaved up a smaller box packed with paperbacks.

"Of course," she said, although she wasn't certain. She didn't want Art to regret hiring her petite self.

"Great," Art said, settling the box in her arms and grabbing another.

The box was heavy, but small, and so Renee did her best to carry it effortlessly toward the front display. She could hear Art lumbering behind her as they walked through the wide main aisle.

This half of the store was roughly rectangular, with bookshelves built into the walls and stacked at intervals in neat rows on each side of the aisle. The far back corner held the coffee bar and a few chairs, with the office, storeroom, and private door leading to the steps for Art's apartment on the opposite side. Toward the middle, a second, perpendicular aisle sloped down toward the second half of the store, a later addition to the building. This open space featured tables, chairs, and an assortment of small couches, and was where Art allowed local groups, like book clubs and writing circles, to meet.

The front of this portion of the store was more open, the register on one side and tables for featured books greeting customers as they entered through double glass doors etched with the store logo, bookended by large picture windows.

The early morning sun spilled in, casting pale yellow squares of light onto one of the tables, where a sign advertised the book and the upcoming signing. Renee set the box on it, waiting for Art's instructions. Without a word, he began unpacking and stacking copies, so Renee followed suit.

"Mr. Meyers--" She quickly corrected herself in response to his cleared throat and raised brow. "Art. Do you know Kai Fox?"

Art paused and looked at her. "You mean Kai Taylor?"

Renee tilted her head, confused by the different last name, but found it unlikely they were two Kais in this town. "He said his name was Fox."

Art stacked a few more books, seeming to consider this for a moment before nodding. "Probably did. Hasn't gone by Taylor in a few years." Without waiting for another word from Renee, Art continued, "So, yes, I know him. Known him all his life. His parents, too. Shame about them," Art muttered, seemingly to himself.

That piqued Renee's interest. She recalled Kai saying it was only him and his brother. But why change his last name?

"Anyway, he's a great kid." Art evened out a stack of books, guiding them between two hands. "Why you want to know?"

Renee dipped her head, trying to hide her blush.

Art laughed, rich and deep. "So he's caught your eye, has he?"

Renee forced herself to look up, even though she knew her cheeks were still hot. "That obvious, huh?"

Art met her eyes, his face serious, gesturing with one of the books. "You be careful with him. You hear? He's been though a lot."

Renee's eyebrows dipped. "What do you mean?"

Art frowned and reached down to collapse the now empty box. "Not really my business to tell. You'll have to ask him."

Before Renee could think of what else to say, Art had stalked off toward the storage room, leaving Renee to finish stacking the rest of the novels alone.

#

Kai sat in his car outside the diner. He and Jake had exchanged current numbers, and Kai had entered Renee's into his address book on his phone, which he held in his hand, trying to decide what to do. He still had a few hours until his lunch with Jon, and knew he needed to study, but Lost Apple was off the books unless he was willing to go home for his braces. He could hit the library, or find a bench in one of the quads, or even try one of the study rooms in the student center. No. It had to be library or home, so he could focus.

Kai let his head fall back against the headrest, sighing, thinking back to the conversation he'd had that morning with his brother. Maybe Jon was right, and he should drop a class or two. But which ones? If he dropped Intro to Psych, he'd be screwing himself for his major. And if he dropped his core classes, it would mean seeing Renee a lot less. As fucked up as everything was right now, Kai realized seeing less of her wasn't an option. No. He'd stick with it. He didn't need A's; he was content to pass, to survive the semester. If he needed a tutor, or to suck it up and drop by disability services to get tested, then he would. Thinking of Renee made a warm feeling bubble up in his stomach, and he flipped open his phone. She was at work, he knew, but he could leave her a message. Maybe she'd want to get together Monday to go over a few things? Maybe she'd have some tips for helping him remember all those dates in history? Or . . . he could go home, put on his braces, and hang out at Lost Apple Books as he'd originally planned. Even if Renee was too busy to study with him, just being in the same space as her, their gazes meeting whenever she passed. . . . He smiled. It might not be the most conducive studying environment, but. . . .

Before he could set his phone down to back out of the parking space, it began to ring in his hand. He didn't recognize the number, but answered anyway, putting it to his ear.

"Kai?" A female voice, achingly familiar.

"Becca." Kai felt as if his stomach had fallen through him into the center of the earth, a wave of nausea so intense it took his breath away. He knew he should hang up, tell her to go fuck herself--that's what Nikki would do. But he was frozen, barely able to breathe.

Silence so long, she repeated his name.

"I'm . . . here," Kai said, surprised he could find his voice.

"How . . . how are you?"

Kai swallowed hard, but said nothing.

Becca's sigh came out harshly over the phone. "I'll be in town at the end of the week. Meet me?"

Kai's surprise morphed to anger, and he replied, his voice bitter, "And what would you say if I told you I was too sick to meet you?"

The only sound from Becca's end was the rasp of her breath.

"Yeah, that's what I thought," he snarled, snapping the phone shut with a loud clap. He threw the phone toward the passenger's seat, then slammed his hands on the steering wheel, clenching his teeth and eyes, biting down hard on his lip.

Fuck her, and fuck studying, Kai thought, peeling out of the parking lot.



########

Oooooh!! What will happen next? The day is far from over. . . . Stay tuned next week to see what else Saturday has in store for our hero. . . .

Continue to September 2, 2000 - Part II -------->

2 comments:

  1. Fantastic episode! I can't wait for the next part.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very good, as always.
    I'm very interested in reading how he comes clean with Renee.

    ReplyDelete