Authors: Kristy Kay
“How you holding up mom?”
I turned to Tyler as he walked over and put his arm over my shoulder. I allowed myself to lean into him for a minute.
“I am fine. I love seeing her like that, all excited and full of questions, full of life.”
“I know. I do too. Just don’t ever say that to her. I will deny it until the day I die.” He grinned down at me mischievously before he moved to follow and more than likely tease his sister. I stood where I was, watching them move around the room while Cora explained the process to them both. I turned when I heard the elevator open, thinking it would be Leigh or someone else for Cora. My heart stopped when a form stepped out clad in old jeans, and a tight white t-shirt. His blue eyes automatically searched me out and locked on mine. He smiled and strode slowly towards me. When he stood in front of me, my eyes drank him in. His hair was damp, probably from a recent shower, his t-shirt clung to and emphasized his thick arms and wide shoulders. His jeans clinging just right to his muscular thighs, I hadn’t seen the backside yet but I knew his ass would be as mouthwatering as the rest of him.
He reached up and pulled my bottom lip out of my mouth, which I didn’t even know I was chewing on. Then he leaned close allowing me to smell the minty manliness that was Daniel Kaehe.
“Breathe Kathryn. One of these days you are going to pass out.” He grinned at me wickedly then went to greet Cora.
“Right Missus!! I was sent to gather you and the imps up then bring you round to the park.” Cora turned and put her hands on her hips trying for a stern expression but the twinkle in her grey eyes said it was a lie.
“What Joey doesn’t trust we can make it there on our own?”
Daniel sighed tragically and shook his head sadly. “Apparently not. See someone has a history of getting caught up in her work and forgetting her wonderful husband and children and leaving them all alone to fend for themselves.”
Cora grabbed a pincushion from the table she was standing at and chucked it at Daniel’s head. He laughed as he ducked, then grabbed her around the waist, throwing the small woman over his shoulder and turning back towards the elevator.
“Daniel Michael Kaehe you had better put me down damn it!!” Cora shrieked, pounding on Daniel’s back. He rewarded her by reaching up and tickling her side. She giggled and struggled to get down. Daniel turned to the rest of us who were watching wide eyed as he marched to the elevator.
“Don’t just stand there, or I will come back for each one of you and haul you away in the same way.” He laughed as we all scurried quickly to the elevator.
By the time we got to the first floor Cora was resigned to her fate. She had placed her elbows on his back, supporting her head so she could have a conversation with us. It was extremely comical and we were all laughing hysterically by the time we hit the street and the black SUV waiting at the curb. He finally sat Cora down so she could climb in, suffering a punch to the arm before she did. He helped Lily inside, waited for Tyler to climb in, before grabbing my hand to help me up. I looked up into his eyes when I felt a spark light against my fingers and flow down my arm. His eyes had darkened making me believe he felt it too but he didn’t say a word so I climbed into the car, and waited for him to take his place beside me.
Cora, Lily, and Tyler where in the back seat talking excitedly about the park and the new projects so I looked out the window at the Paris streets. Daniel was sitting so close I could feel the warmth from his thighs against my own and smell him. His presence was wrapping itself around me, making it nearly impossible for me to even think straight.
My husband had been the only other man I had ever reacted to like this. Before my husband there was no one, after my husband there has been no one, until this man beside me. I had always thought I was a one-man woman and that I had already had my one and only love. I was content with the friendships I had, and taking care of my children. I hadn’t even had the desire for anything else. For six years, it had never entered my mind to want someone as much as I was beginning to want the man beside me.
Like he would want you. Look at you. A 42 year old mother of two. Flawed and broken. Seriously?
For once my inner voice was right. I was the very last person anyone like the man beside me would want. I was the mother of two kids that his friends were involved with professionally. Nothing more.
I watched her profile as she watched the streets flow by wondering where she went when she got that faraway look in her eyes. When I had stepped out of the elevator and caught site of her standing there in her simple black pants and red sweater my heart had skipped a beat. She had pulled her auburn hair back in a loose pony, several tendrils already escaping and the light from the glass ceiling was streaming through her hair, lighting it on fire and doing crazy things to my insides. I loved how her eyes had slowly worked their way over me from head to toe and how she had chewed on her bottom lip. I loved the way her breath caught when I came in close and how her tiger like brown eyes widened when I reminded her to breathe. Just remembering made me hard again, it was starting to be a problem how quickly she had that effect on me.
When we arrived at the park, Joey was waiting impatiently for them. I grinned as I stepped out.
“Mate, you are in a world of trouble.” With that I moved to the back of the truck to unload the hamper and blankets leaving my friend to help everyone down. I heard Cora shriek then chuckled when I heard Joey’s yelp.
“Do you need any help carrying anything?” I turned to the young man standing next me. He was wearing khaki carpenter pants and a simple blue sweater, his hear was messy but I was beginning to think that was just the way it always was. I handed over a couple blankets.
“Sure. And thanks, I’d appreciate the help.”
Tyler shrugged muttering something about manners and his mother smacking him if he didn’t at least offer as he moved off. I grinned remembering the fierce look she gave Tyler last night when she thought he was being disrespectful and then again when she found out I had paid for her meal and was refusing to take her money. Yes I could see why Tyler might be afraid of his mother. Such a sweet woman could definitely turn into a hellion when she needed to.
I followed the yelling Cora and the chastened Joey to where the kids were waiting, carrying the hamper of food and a couple blankets I hadn’t given Tyler. Kathryn helped Tyler spread his blankets out and Lily came to help me. I smiled at her. She grinned back and started chatting, asking questions about Belfast, about my own modeling and acting careers. She started laughing when Joey called over my nickname from my modeling days, and I flushed.
“I hate that nickname.” I grumbled.
“Why? It means you were distinctive in some way. Photographers wanted to work with you, companies wanted you for ads, how was that a bad thing?” I cocked my eyebrow at the blonde girl in front of me. She may seem a little silly but her eyes showed intelligence that her beauty could eclipse. She was still trying to bite back her giggles and sat down on the blanket we just spread out.
“To have a nickname, that kind of nickname, made it harder to be taken seriously when I moved to acting.”
“Yes our golden boy was so abused.” Cora came over then and ruffled my hair, something she couldn’t have done if I was still standing.
“Well you should have had a no nudity or too provocative clause in your contract like me and Tyler.”
“He would have never worked then. He only has his body. Have you seen his face? He’s a monster.” Joey quipped from his blanket further down and earned him a scathing look from me that only made him laugh hysterically. I turned my attention towards the hamper only to find Kathryn already there, quickly unpacking and handing everything out. Making sure the kids got what they wanted first before asking anyone else.
“Dimples…I mean Daniel which sandwich would you like?” I glared over at her, watching her try and hide her grin by chewing on her bottom lip again. I wanted to reach over, pull that lip out and drag her across my lap. Kissing her until that mischievous look turned to one of desire. I wanted to hear her groan and scream out my name as I made her come. I growled, surprised when that alone made her eyes darken a fraction. Hmmm…I would have to remember that.
“Woman, would you just give me whatever you have your hand on right now.” My voice was husky, my Irish brogue a little thicker than usual causing her eyes to darken even more. I grinned at that. I would have to remember that little trick as well. She handed me my sandwich, trying to be careful and not brush my hand but I grabbed her wrist. I felt the spark race across my skin like the last time by the SUV, watched her eyes widen as she felt it too. “Thanks Kathryn.”
She nodded, then grabbed herself a sandwich and bag of crisps before retreating to a spot by Lily across the blanket from me, close but not nearly close enough for my liking. They all ate their sandwiches, crisps, and some fruit, and fellinto a comfortable and friendly flow of conversation. I sat next to a tree and rested my back against it as I watched Kathryn and her family interact with my best friend’s family. Tyler sat down next to ten year old Jamie engaging him in a spirited conversation about sports and skateboarding while Lily was talking to Joey and Cora’s six year old twins Lauren and Lena about girly things. Kathryn and Cora were teasing Joey about his sending me to drag Cora to the park which clearly he was forgiven for. The two women pretended indignation with his explanation, then burst out laughing while they each took turns telling Joey exactly how I dragged Cora out of the office.
“You threw her over your shoulder and carried her down the elevator?” Joey gaped at me and I just shrugged.
“You said to get her here on time no matter what it took. That is what it took.” Joey shook his head, but clearly he wasn’t too upset since he was laughing himself.
“Okay dad, everyone has eaten, can we go now?” Joey stood up, grabbed a skateboard that was leaning up next to a tree and handed it to Jamie who was bouncing up and down next to him. He reached down and grabbed another one and handed it to Tyler. They walked a little ways off to the skate park that was blessedly empty this time of the day so they had the whole area to themselves. I stood up, brushing the crumbs off my jeans, winked at the ladies then walked off to join the boys. Maybe I could show them a thing or two.
“Sit down, you set everything out, I will pick up.” Cora pushed my hands away as I started cleaning up the remnants of lunch. “You sit back and relax. You look a little pale. Are you okay?”
“Just have a little headache. No big deal.” Lily’s head whipped up and she grabbed my bag that lay next to her, taking the little black medicine bag out.
“What do you need?”
“Nothing, I am okay.”
“Damn, you better answer her. She has the same look you get.” I looked up and met Lily’s look. I laughed seeing that Cora was right. She had that fire in her eyes that I normally get.
“Where do you think I get it from? Lily taught me that look.” I grabbed another water from Cora and moved to sit against the tree Daniel had been sitting against. “Lily I really don’t need anything. It’s just the normal one. Some water and I will be as good as new.”
She scrutinized my face, looking for signs of more advanced pain, seemingly satisfied she turned back to Lauren and Lena where they were currently engaged in a blood thirsty game of Go Fish. Cora finished cleaning up then came and sat next to me.
“So what is wrong with you?”
I sighed. “It’s really nothing. No I am not dying of a horrible disease or suffering from a tragic illness. I have headaches. Not a big deal.”
“It’s a big deal when you have them all day every day.” Lily called over her shoulder. I rolled my eyes. “And it’s a big deal when you black out and can’t move because the pain is too intense.”
“Lily enough.” I saw her back straighten and knew I had been harsh but I hated talking about myself, I didn’t want everyone to know about my headaches. It wasn’t something I could change so why talk about it.
“Kathryn. Please, tell me.”
I looked back at Cora. In the less than 24 hours I had known her she had become someone I knew would be a great friend, someone I felt comfortable with but I hated feeling like I was unburdening myself. “We are friends, at least I feel we are. I won’t tell anyone else, except Joey cause I don’t keep anything from him, but he won’t tell anyone.”
I let my head fall back and closed my eyes. “I have always suffered from migraines. Well, since my early teens. As I got older, especially after I had Lily they got worse. I have been to doctors and specialists. They call it complicated chronic migraine/headache. Which basically means I have some form of headache all day every day and they don’t know how to help me. There is nothing to prevent them, except a list of triggers to avoid. I have meds I take for different headaches, and I have meds to take when I get a severe migraine attack. Since we travel a lot Tyler took an EMT course so he could administer the medicine properly. It is usually easier for him to do it then to go to an emergency room. Lily is worried that I am not taking the steps to stop my normal daily headache from getting worse. Usually if I don’t, that’s when I end up needing Tyler to give me shots.”
When I was done I glanced at Cora, expecting the normal well have you tried this, or that or yeah I have migraines too I know what you mean speech. Instead she reached over and clasped my hand gently, sitting in silence with me while we watched our girls play.