Published 8/10/2012 – Amazon
KATHY’S WORLD is a weird little short story about sex, betrayal and a little bit of heavy metal.
Kathy’s world was flipped upside down when she caught her boyfriend Mark cheating on her. Things go from bad to worse when she finds out that Mark is lying about her to their friends.
Some friendly comfort comes from a bizarre source when the other woman, Gina, shows up at her door, looking for her lost phone. She brings Kathy to Gun Metal, the club where she works, to chill out while she deals with what Mark has done. She also introduces her to Eddie, a drummer and occasional bouncer who takes a liking to Kathy – and Kathy finds herself warming up to him a lot faster than usual.
She still has to deal with Mark. But if the world’s gone mad and it doesn’t look like it’s going fix itself any time soon, then she might as well enjoy the insanity.
Kathy dashed through the rain, holding her leather case over her head. It was bad enough getting home so late, and the taxi ride from the airport had been an exercise in nail-biting terror because of the weather, but she was not about to let either the dampness or her fraying nerves ruin her hair.
Still, she had made it home to her cozy little townhouse in one piece, and now she would be able to enjoy her and Mark’s one year anniversary. Kathy scooted into the darkened porch, and scrabbled around in the bottom of the case for her keys. The conference papers were going to get a little wet, but she could live with that. Most of the seminar transcripts would be emailed out to the attendees next week.
Inside, she leaned against the door for a moment and sighed in relief. The jet lag would kick in soon. All the lights were off downstairs, so it was likely that Mark was already asleep, and she really wanted to join him soon. Kathy smiled, thinking of how surprised he would be to see her. Leaving the conference early? Worth it. The last-minute flight? Worth it. The ridiculous cab fare? Totally worth it. She hung up her coat, left her case by the table in the hall, and crept upstairs.
By the time she reached the top step, she heard the sounds coming from her bedroom. For a moment, she was confused. Yes, that was her boyfriend’s voice. That other voice was a stranger, a woman. Those two voices belonged to two people having sex. Two people having sex in her bedroom. Her bedroom was only for her and Mark, when he stayed over.
Kathy froze. Mark was having sex with another woman in her bedroom. Mark was cheating on her. The knowledge punched her in the gut, and left her wanting to curl up and cry. A year of good things – of feeling happy, of fun and laughter, of having someone to hold her – was dead and buried under the shock and betrayal. The whole world flipped upside down, scattering the debris of her personal life everywhere.
The door to her bedroom was closed – her bedroom, oh god, she’d never be able to sleep in those sheets again – but the light was on. Good. That would save her the trouble of hitting the switch as well as hitting Mark. She had to do this, and it was going to hurt.
Kathy slammed the door open with all the force she could muster. Her room was no more a mess than usual. The other woman was a skinny redhead with a lip piercing, who stopped bouncing on her boyfriend’s lap and turned in surprise. The look of horror on his face said everything that needed to be said.
“What the fuck is going on here?” Kathy snarled. “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE, MARK?”
He shoved the redhead off him hastily, leaped out of bed, and put his hands up. “Kathy, wait, it’s not what -”
“Not what I think?! Fuck you, it’s EXACTLY what I think! Get out of my bed and out of my house RIGHT NOW, YOU CHEATING ASSHOLE!”
The other woman stood up and pulled a sheet around herself. “Oh my god, you said you were single!” She began to pick up her clothes from the floor, shooting filthy looks at him. “I am so fucking sorry, lady, I am so, so sorry!”
Kathy ignored her, and glared at Mark. “I never, ever want to see you again,” she said spitefully, feeling her throat start to choke up. “This was our anniversary, Mark – how could you do this to me?”
“Look, I… I know this looks bad, but… you know, we could still all just go back to bed, have some fun? Sorta like, my present to you…” He gave her a sheepish smile.
Kathy’s jaw almost hit the floor. He wasn’t suggesting…
The redhead dropped her clothes and the sheet, strode up to Mark, and slapped his face so hard he nearly fell over. The impact sounded like a whip crack. He sat down hard on the bed, holding his bright red cheek. “AH FUCK!” he shouted.
“You son of a bitch,” she said savagely, “You really are a piece of work. You call me again and I’ll get a few of my buddies to beat the shit out of you.” She turned to Kathy. “I am really, really sorry and I am leaving right now, and I will totally call the cops on my way out if you want.”
“Please, just go!” Kathy said, now on the verge of tears.
The redhead picked up her stuff and ran downstairs without even getting dressed. Mark pulled on his pants and T-shirt, and tried to plead with her. “Kathy – ow – just give me a chance to -”
“JUST GET THE FUCK OUT!” Kathy screamed, and he finally made himself scarce.
She looked around at the mess in her bedroom. The sheets were all over the place. There was a used condom on the floor beside the bed. Mark’s underpants were draped over her bedside lamp.
She sat down and began to sob.
At least the rain had eased off by the time she was woken up. It was the middle of the afternoon the next day, and the doorbell was buzzing loudly. Kathy had slept on the couch, in her pajamas, with only her dressing gown to cover her. The bedroom was not an option until she could replace everything that had been soiled by Mark’s infidelity.
She stood up groggily. The room spun for a moment until her sense of balance returned, then she staggered out into the hall and to the door. The bell rang again, and she finally managed to work out the latch and open it. Almost immediately, she held up her hand to keep the painfully bright light from her eyes.
A woman of medium height, short red hair, and narrow stature stood outside, in ripped jeans and a tank top. She stared at Kathy for a moment. “Uh, hi. Remember me?”
The lip ring was what brought back the memory. Kathy looked her up and down, and her first instinct was to close the door. Just the sight of her was enough to bring back the twisting pain in her stomach, and the knowledge of everything she had lost. The woman was much quicker than her still-woozy reflexes, however, and she caught the door before it slammed shut.
“Please! Please, just wait a minute, I just want to talk, okay?”
Kathy groaned. “I don’t care what you have to say, I don’t want to talk to you.”
“Please, just give me a chance? I didn’t know he’s your boyfriend. I’d never, ever sleep with another woman’s guy. I’m not a bad person, I swear.”
She was so earnest. Kathy didn’t know what to make of her. “Why are you here?” she asked weakly.
“I, uh, I think I left my phone here last night. And I figure I owe you an explanation, or whatever.” She shifted uneasily. “I guess you should know what he was doing, right?”
Kathy leaned against the door and rubbed her eyes. She couldn’t deal with this right now. She couldn’t deal with anything, not after a week long actuarial conference and the events of the previous night. It was too early to process it all, especially with her head swimming with fatigue. “I’m jet-lagged really badly and I had to sleep on my couch. Could you at least have waited until this evening or something?”
She winced. “Shit, I’m sorry. I didn’t think about that. And I can’t come back later, I have to work,” she said, then sighed. “I’m really sorry about all this. Can I please just have a few minutes to find my phone? I know you don’t want me here but, well, I can make you breakfast or something. You don’t look so good right now.”
Kathy considered this. It wasn’t really her fault if Mark had lied to her too. And she had slapped him… “Are you a hooker?” she asked.
“Holy shit, no. You think I’d be dressed like this if I was?”
She gave up. The world was apparently still out of whack if she was even talking to her and not clawing her eyes out. She just didn’t have the energy to be angry right now. “Alright, c’mon in.”
The redhead followed her inside. Kathy lead her into the kitchen, and pointed at the coffee maker. “Breakfast first, then you look for your phone, okay?”
“Sure. My name is Gina, by the way.”
She sat down heavily at the table. “I’m Kathy. I guess you know that already?”
Gina set the coffee brewing, and began to investigate the fridge. “No, I didn’t. Your guy didn’t say much, just that he’d gotten out of a bad relationship and he wanted to have some fun. You okay with eggs and bacon?”
“Oh god,” Kathy said, putting her head in her hands. She was developing a headache. How many other times had Mark gone out chasing tail when she was away? She had been at one other large conference this year, and had taken three business trips. What else had been a lie?
“Okay, I’m just going to make eggs and bacon with toast,” Gina said quickly. She puzzled her way around the kitchen, opening every cupboard and drawer to find what she needed, without help from Kathy. She knew how to cook at least, and the smell of breakfast filled the room soon enough.
Kathy stared listlessly at the table until a mug of coffee was plunked down in front of her. She stared at it, then sniffed. As she pulled it towards her, tears dripped down her face and into her hands. She looked at her reflection, and it seemed as if it had aged twenty years overnight. Her hair, which she had protected so carefully the night before, was limp and lifeless, and hung in frizzy brown curls around her face. Her skin was pale and sickly, with none of her usual sparkle. Her eyes looked dead and jaded, and her mascara had run.
“We were going out for a year,” she blubbered. “I got an early flight back just so I could be here on our anniversary, and he…” She began to cry again, feeling utterly overwhelmed by the reality of it all over again. Mark had been so good for her. She had even planned to ask him to move in with her – he spent all his free time at her townhouse anyway, rather than his own small apartment. Now the suspicion arose that he was just using her; for sex, for money, for a comfy place to stay in a nice part of the city… Kathy sobbed her broken heart out.
“Hey,” Gina said gently, “hey, it’s okay, at least you found out now, right? It’d be worse if you were married or something.” She patted Kathy’s arm in sympathy, and passed her a plate of eggs and slightly burnt bacon. “Here, just eat something, you’ll feel better. There’s toast here too.”
Kathy tried to pull herself together. Yes, at least all he had really hurt was her feelings, but it didn’t make it any less hurtful. She could cut him out of her life without too much trouble – but she didn’t want to. She wanted to go back to yesterday, when he wasn’t a two-timing bastard.
The eggs weren’t bad. She forced herself to eat. Gina only helped herself to a cup of coffee, and watched as Kathy picked through the food.
“He came to my bar every night this week, that’s how I met him,” she said. “I bartend at this really cool place called Gun Metal. He seemed like a nice guy, you know? I mostly see these grungy rockers, and that gets kinda old. He said his name was Dave.”
Kathy just kept her eyes on her mug. This was hard enough to listen to without having to look at the woman who was screwing her boyfriend last night – and yes, that thought was completely irrational. It wasn’t Gina’s fault that Mark was an asshole.
“I saw him flirting with a few of the regulars, so I figured he was available, and we got talking.” She shrugged. “He looked cute, so I went home with him. He said this was his place too.”
The words twisted in her gut like a knife wound. “I don’t need to hear this,” Kathy said. “Why are you telling me this?”
“I feel sorry for you, okay? I’ve been cheated on too, and it sucks. I know he’s going to come back and spin some line of bullshit to convince you it’s all just a big misunderstanding, and he’ll try to make me look like a crazy bitch, as if the fact that I like to sleep around makes me nuts.” Gina sneered into her coffee. “Fuckwads like him don’t deserve a second chance. I’d like to make sure you don’t give him one.”
“What did you do when you found out your boyfriend was…?” Kathy asked.
“Piled all his stuff in his front yard, threw petrol all over it and lit it up,” she replied. “Nobody fucks around on me and gets away with it.”
Kathy was appalled. She stared at Gina, forgetting her own pain for a moment. “Did you get arrested?”
“Nah, he wasn’t gonna press charges. He knew he deserved it.”
“…Would you really have had Mark beaten up?” She was starting to wonder whether Gina had a criminal record or something, and whether inviting her in was a good idea or not.
Gina laughed. “Not really. My buddies are just good at scaring people. Real useful when I don’t want to do the scaring myself.”
Kathy smiled a little. Gina was a million miles away from her and Mark’s friends. Her and Mark’s… her face fell. “All of our friends are going to want to know what’s happened,” she said quietly. “I don’t even know if he’s told any of them…” She was usually so busy with work that Mark handled their social life. Her friends were all mostly his friends, and she had drifted out of contact with many of the people who she had known before they got together.
“Have you checked your phone?”
Kathy hadn’t. She forgot to switch it back on after the flight. It was as good a time as any to go find out. She went back to the hall for a moment to collect it from her case, and hit the power button as she returned to the kitchen.
A flood of messages appeared as soon as it picked up the signal, from regular texts to Facebook updates. Kathy flicked through them with a rising sense of horror; Mark had publicly posted a long, heartfelt letter about how she had thrown him out after he brought a friend home. She saw herself presented as a mean, unfeeling, jealous harpy who had over-reacted because he wouldn’t let her control his life. She saw their friends commiserating with him. She saw message after message asking her for an explanation, and those were the kinder ones.
Kathy placed the phone down on the table, her head dizzy from the shock. This couldn’t be happening. Someone would believe she wasn’t capable of this, wouldn’t they? Gina picked it up and read a little, and her eyes widened.
“Oh my god… He’s made you look like the Anti-Christ.”
Kathy nodded, biting her lip and trying desperately not to break down again.
Gina left the phone on the table, shaking her head in disgust. “I can’t believe it. I’ve seen some shitty moves, but this beats everything. Are you okay?”
“No.” Kathy swallowed another sob, almost curling up in her chair in pain. “I can’t handle this, I just can’t.”
“Come down to the bar with me.”
“What?” She looked up at Gina, but the redhead was being completely serious.
“You don’t want to deal with Mr. Shitface and whatever he’s saying to your friends, you come down to my bar,” she said firmly. “You can hide out there and chill for a while until you’re ready for this. I’ll call a guy I know who can change the locks – I mean, once I find my phone, that is.”
Hiding… it was cowardly, but she had never felt so hunted. Still… “You don’t have to help me,” Kathy said. “I mean, I don’t even know if I can trust you. No offense.”
“None taken. I just feel like I owe it to you, you know? Anyway, he lied to me.” Gina’s face darkened. “No one lies to me like this. Anything I can do to fuck his shit up is good.”
She seemed sincere. Kathy still hesitated. “What kind of bar is it?”
Gina grinned at her. “The loud kind.”
Only two hours, a change of clothes, and a hot shower later, Kathy was pulling up to a rather seedy-looking building with a row of motorbikes parked outside, and feeling even more ambivalent about her decision. A rusted sign saying GUN METAL hung over a set of double doors. There was no way to tell if it was even open for business.
Gina was as good as her word. The locks were changed in record time by a soft-spoken man called Lucas, who had refused payment and said he’d square it with Gina later. Then she had had to find some black clothing – faded black top, black skirt, black jacket, and a pair of boots she hadn’t worn in years – just to avoid looking out of place.
Gina directed her around the back, to the little employee parking lot. Kathy’s respectable silver Prius would actually be bad for business, she explained. There was already a giant black pickup truck there, as well as a little Mini Cooper with a skull decal on the bumper.
She turned off the engine and sat there for a minute, staring at the steering wheel and wondering what the hell she was doing. She was a business analyst, for god’s sake, and this was the kind of bar in a part of town that polite professionals such as her did not enter. The woman that her boyfriend had cheated on her with was sitting beside her in the car like it was no big deal. She was wearing clothes that would get her ejected from many of the more upscale clubs she went to with Mark.
Then she felt a sense of grim coldness; Mark had come here to pick up dates, and probably for that exact reason. Not one of their usual circle would be caught dead in these streets, not even if they got lost.
Gina touched her shoulder, and she flinched. “You okay?”
Kathy nodded. “Yeah. Just never been in a place like this before.”
“I know it looks kinda shitty, but it’s really not that bad on the inside. I think the owner just likes to keep the tourists away.” She got out of the car. “C’mon, it’ll be quiet for a while yet. I’ll show you around.”
Kathy took a deep breath, and got out as well. She followed Gina through a small ‘Employees Only’ door, which lead to a narrow staircase leading down. There were garish posters in the stairwell of dozens of different heavy metal acts, none of which Kathy recognized. It seemed that they were descending for more than one floor, and then it opened out into a short corridor with a couple of dressing rooms on either side – complete with little star sticker.
“We have bands here pretty regularly,” Gina explained. “Plus we have our own house band every Saturday night, if there isn’t something else going on.”
“Just how big is this -” Kathy stopped dead when Gina opened the door at the end of the corridor. This wasn’t the greasy dive bar she had expected – the room was enormous, and must have taken up the whole block. The ceiling was better than twenty feet above her head and supported by industrial steel columns. The bar itself ran the length of one wall, with separate booths taking up the opposite wall and tables scattered in between. They had come out just beside the stage, a broad raised platform where a few men were setting up amps and drums. The actual entrance was another set of double doors at the far side.
“Oh, wow,” she said.
“Yeah, everyone’s got that reaction at first.” Gina smiled at her. “Come meet the guys.”
There were three of them moving things around on the stage. One of them was tall, lean, and dark-skinned, with tribal tattoos peeking out from under his shirt. The guitar guy – who was carefully tuning a long black bass – was a more normal height, and wore a sleeveless shirt with spiked bracelets.
The one setting up the drums caught her attention. He was almost as tall as Mr. Tribal Tattoos, and twice as broad. The faded Led Zepplin T-shirt he wore strained against his muscled arms and thick torso. He wasn’t toned, simply built on a bigger scale than normal, and had a slight gut that suggested he liked either his food or his beer. His long black hair was tied back, and he had a goatee with what looked like a day’s worth of stubble growth. Of all of them, he looked the most like he could pick her up in one hand and break her in half.
Kathy was very nervous as she came forward to be introduced to the trio. The place was quiet – only them, another waitress, and a couple of people sitting up at the bar drinking – but she was out of her depth here, in unknown territory, in a parallel world where going to a heavy metal bar was a normal thing to do.
Gina waved at them by way of greeting. “Hey, how you guys doing?”
“You ain’t working til six, Gina. You miss us or something?” the guitar guy said playfully. “Who’s your friend?”
“This is Kathy. She’s, uh, just got some man trouble, so we’re hanging here for a while. Kathy, meet Tony, Axeman and Eddie.”
She got smiles and handshakes from all of them. The broad one that seemed so intimidating, Eddie, had a very gentle grip and surprising warmth in his fingers. He was better than six inches taller than her, and couldn’t help looming over her a little, but he did try to put her at ease. “Can I buy you a drink, beautiful?” he asked, his voice deep and powerful. “You can tell us all about your man troubles if you want.”
Kathy blushed to her roots. “Uh, sure. Thanks. I mean, if we’re not interrupting…”
“I’m all set up here, how about you guys?” He looked to Tony, with the tattoos, and Axeman with the guitar.
“You go on, I’m not done here yet,” said Axeman.
They left him to mess about with his bass, and Gina sat them down at one of the booths and went to collect a few beers from the bar. Kathy still felt uncomfortable, seated as she was beside two men she had never met before, but Tony and Eddie were nothing but friendly.
“You must have some pretty bad trouble to want to hang out here,” Tony said. He had a very slight accent, one that suggested Latino or European descent. “So what happened?”
Kathy didn’t know what to say, and felt her face getting red again. Eddie elbowed his friend in the ribs. “And what if she doesn’t want to tell us, man? She just met us, c’mon.”
“Alright, I’m just curious-”
“My boyfriend cheated on me,” she blurted out. “I caught him sleeping with another woman last night. And now he’s making it seem like I’m the bitch and he’s the innocent one.”
The two guys looked at each other for a moment. “Wow. Why’d he do that?” Tony asked. “It kinda seems stupid to me because you’re smokin’ hot – OW!”
Eddie withdrew his elbow again. “Tony, you remember last week when I said you were being a dick and you better shut up?”
“Ow, yeah, I do.”
“You’re doing it again.” He turned to Kathy. “Sorry. You don’t have to say anything. That’s a really shitty thing for a guy to do.”
“Yeah, it is,” said Gina, setting four beers down on the table. “He’s being a real dick to her, and all her friends believe him. He needs a punch in the face.” She slid one over to Kathy. “That’s on your tab, Eddie.”
“Thanks,” Kathy said, even though she hadn’t drunk any beer since she started making enough money to buy good bourbon whiskey, and had never liked the taste.
Eddie smiled at her and raised his beer for a toast. “To man troubles.”
Kathy managed a half-smile in response.
Gun Metal wasn’t that bad, Kathy decided. When Gina went to work, and the place started to fill up a little, Tony and Eddie laughed and joked with her and generally kept her spirits up. Then Tony had to help Axeman with something, and Eddie sat a little closer, and she found herself forgetting about Mark for a while.
It wasn’t that she didn’t feel hurt anymore, but a couple of drinks and good company in a new place, with no reminders of him, made it easier – even if she didn’t really like the drinks in question.
Eddie had her in stitches with a story about a singer with halitosis he had met once, then gestured at her with his beer. “Alright, beautiful, how about you tell me a little about yourself?”
Kathy stared at the table for a moment. “Well… I work in insurance. I spend most of my time in front of a computer looking at numbers. It’s like, you know, working out the odds of things happening and all that.”
“Sounds boring. How’d you get into that?”
“I studied it in college. My parents wanted me to do something useful. How did you get into heavy metal?”
He laughed at that. “I just like the music. I stayed because the money is good.”
“Really? For drumming?”
“Oh yeah, around these parts anyway. Good drummers are hard to come by, and there’s plenty of gigs for a drummer who’s reliable and mostly sober, or a roadie who can toss amps around.” He held out his arm and flexed the muscle. “Gives you a great upper body workout too, so I moonlight as a bouncer here sometimes.”
Kathy ran her fingers over his forearm. It felt rock hard, with every tendon clearly defined. He could probably punch someone through a wall, which was completely at odds with his easygoing nature. Maybe it was precisely that; he knew his own strength, and he knew how to be gentle. She found herself wondering what it would be like to be held by him.
Oh my god, she was attracted to him – to a tall, hairy, heavily-built drummer with a beer belly. The sudden realization almost took her breath away. Mark’s cheating had done more than shake up her world; it had dropped her into the damn Twilight Zone, where up was down, left was right, and Eddie looked good to her.
He caught her hand. “Hey, you okay?” he asked.
She gulped, feeling a lot more light-headed than she normally would be after a few beers. “I’m fine. I was just thinking about my boyfriend – my ex-boyfriend, I mean.”
Eddie didn’t let go. He held her hand in both of his. “Do you want to talk about him?”
“He’s a jerk,” she said bitterly. “I came back from a conference late last night just so we could be together on our one year anniversary, and I found him in my bedroom with another woman. All the people I know were friends with him before they were friends with me, so of course they believed him. I just wish…” She began to choke up again. “I never suspected for a minute that he was sleeping around. He could have been doing it all the time, and I didn’t know. I don’t even know if anything else he said was true.”
“Hey,” he said, “you know now, that counts for… wait, is that how you know Gina? She was the woman he was sleeping with?”
Kathy went red. “Yeah, it is,” she said quietly.
“And you guys somehow got talking?” he asked incredulously.
“It wasn’t her fault. He lied to her too, and then he suggested a threesome when I showed up. Then she came back today to find her phone, and she told me about what he’d been doing, and… yeah.”
Eddie whistled under his breath. “And she brought you down here. I swear, that girl gets the strangest ideas.”
“No! No, I’m glad I came,” she said, giving him a weak smile. “I didn’t want to face Mark or our friends right away. I’m actually kind of happy I met Gina, and you.”
He squeezed her hand. “For what it’s worth, I think a guy would be nuts to cheat on you.”
He looked so sympathetic that Kathy teared up. She stifled a sob. Eddie patted her shoulder while she began to cry again. The loss of Mark she could probably accept, but she couldn’t help questioning herself, and her judgment. It hurt that she didn’t know where to go or what to do without him.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I’m sorry…”
Eddie stood and tugged on her hand. “Come on, you can stay in one of the dressing rooms for a while. It’s okay, Kathy.”
He slung an arm around her shoulders and brought her back behind the stage. The first dressing room had a few clothes racks, a mirror, a chair and a couch, and it smelled like dust and stale beer. Eddie set her down on the couch and got her some tissue from the restroom.
“It’s not your fault,” he said, rubbing her back. “Your boyfriend’s an asshole, and you’re not responsible for that. It’s just bad luck, that’s all.”
She blew her nose and sniffed. “I just don’t feel like I can trust myself any more,” she said tearfully. “I mean, my boyfriend’s been cheating on me for who knows how long and I never worked it out, and now I’m in a heavy metal club in the bad part of town talking to a strange guy instead of trying to convince my friends that I’m not actually Hitler in disguise.”
“Hey, I’m not that strange,” he said jokingly. “I’ve worked with some guys that you’d swear come from Mars. All I have is the long hair and T-shirts.”
Kathy tried to smile while she wiped her eyes. “You don’t even know me and you’re being so nice to me.”
“I just don’t like seeing beautiful women cry,” he said gently. “And you are very beautiful.”
On a sudden whim, Kathy reached out and hugged him tightly. “Thank you,” she whispered.
For a moment, he hesitated. Then Eddie put his arms around her, holding her firmly with his hands flat on the base of her back. It was just a friendly hug, from one stranger to another, her common sense said, but her libido and her sense of betrayal joined forces and threw her common sense out the window. Mark had sought out his own pleasure with other women and broken her trust. That meant she owed him nothing, especially not any kind of fidelity.
Eddie felt good, and comforting. He made it hurt less. His hands on her back were more than warm; they were hot, and she had an almost supernatural awareness of the pressure of each finger. It would be incredible if he moved his hands elsewhere… She was actually contemplating the unimaginable, the absurd, for a clean-cut business analyst with a nine to five job. Kathy took a deep breath, inhaling his scent of beer and sweat and feeling the slow heartbeat against her cheek.
The world was already turned upside down, and she was in parts unknown just by being here. Maybe it didn’t matter. Maybe it was time to stop thinking.
“Eddie?” she asked quietly.
“Are you single?”
His head turned towards her; she could feel his breath on her shoulder. “Why do you want to know?”
She froze up, suddenly terrified at how she’d even explain the vague, slow-burning need for… something. Pleasure. Intimacy. A connection with another human being that hadn’t been shattered with lies. Her heart started to race and her head started to spin as she imagined herself with him.
“I’m attracted to you,” she said quickly, “and – and I just got out of a bad relationship and I’d like to have some fun.” She felt giddy, repeating the same thing Mark had told Gina. It was true in her case.
Eddie pushed her away, and looked at her with one eyebrow raised. “Okay, not that I’m not flattered or anything,” he said evenly, “but I don’t think you really want to do what I think you’re telling me you want to do.”
“No, I do,” she replied, and the conviction was a bit stronger now. Still the world felt unreal, like she was on a set course that she couldn’t deviate from. “Eddie, I thought I’d be spending my weekend with Mark. I thought I had a boyfriend I could trust, and it turns out that all I have is a lying asshole who’s been using me for the last year.” She looked down at his arm, and reached out to touch it lightly with her fingertips. “I guess I’d like to have something that isn’t a lie, even if it’s just for a few hours.”
“Why me, though?”
“You said I was beautiful,” she whispered.
Eddie tilted her chin up. “I meant it,” he said emphatically. He paused for a moment, seemingly deep in thought, then sat back on the couch and held out his hands to her. “Just… sit here for a minute.”
Kathy stood, turned, and slid sideways into his lap. Her legs were tucked up against his, and she rested against his chest as he cuddled her close. It was deeply satisfying, being held and comforted like this. It was honest. Someone thought she was worth holding, who, as far as she knew, wasn’t a colossal bastard.
She didn’t move when Eddie put his hand on her hip and stroked her gently with his thumb. It made her want to fall asleep here.
“So you’re single, then?” she murmured.
“Maybe I am.”
“Am I your type?”
He chuckled under his breath. “You answer that first.”
“I don’t know anymore. I thought I knew my type, but then again, I thought I knew a lot of things.”
Kathy felt him shift and his hand traveled a little farther down her leg. “So I’m guessing you don’t usually take any notice of heavy metal drummers then?”
“No, you’re the first.” She lifted her head. His face was close to hers. “I guess you don’t get many analysts asking you for sex?”
“I could get used to it if they look like you – and, you know, if they don’t expect me to shave or anything.”
Kathy leaned up and kissed the edge of his jaw. It was different. Mark was clean-shaven, after all. Not unpleasant, not off-putting, just… different. “I don’t expect you to shave,” she said, looking up at him and hoping that he wasn’t going to push her away again. “So, am I your type?”
Eddie didn’t answer. He cupped her face and pulled her closer, and in a heartbeat their lips met. It almost came as a shock, but the sensation of being kissed and wanted was a familiar one and she instantly gave in to it. It didn’t have to be mind-blowing and it certainly wasn’t all that romantic, but it was pure and honest. No illusions. No emotional messiness.
She twisted sideways, rearranging herself to straddle his lap and throw her arms around his neck. The heat and power of his body pressed against hers was incredible. Her hands tangled up in his hair, and his belt buckle started digging into her stomach, but his mouth – tongue and lips and the taste of beer – god, his mouth on hers was wonderful. He kissed her with the kind of unrestrained passion she’d never known before.
He was so different. Mark had been good in bed, and she’d always enjoyed herself, but her experience of men in general was pretty limited. It had never been this raw before. She’d always been thinking about it too much. Now, she didn’t have to think at all – but she still felt a sense of triumph, that he hadn’t cheated because she was unattractive or frigid. Here was another man who was willing to be with her after only a few hours of knowing her, and he was warm and funny and somehow pushed all her buttons…
“Tell me what you want,” he growled against her neck. “Dammit, tell me fast before I lose my mind and fuck you right here.”
Oh, that was good, that deep tone. It carried enough distilled desire to set a nunnery alight. She wanted – she needed – to hear it again, preferably with no clothes on, and who cared that she might crash at the end of this particular roller-coaster? “Talk to me,” she gasped. “Oh god, Eddie-”
“Eddie! Kathy! Are you guys in here?” The door slammed open to reveal Gina, and she was clearly furious. “Where – oh…”
“God fucking dammit, Gina, do you ever knock?” Eddie shouted. Kathy could only freeze in surprise. Her first instinct – to shove Eddie away – wasn’t going to work while he held her tightly.
Gina backpedaled at speed when she saw them. “Okay, I am totally sorry that I’m interrupting, but Mr. Shitface is here!”
“Who the hell is-”
“Mark is here?” Kathy said, her voice rising in horror.
“Yeah! He’s at the bar and I think he’s trying to pick up Axeman’s girlfriend! I can’t believe this son of a bitch would come back here after last night!”
“Oh no… oh no, I don’t want to see him, I don’t want to be anywhere near him!” Kathy started to panic. “What’s he going to say if he sees me in a place like this?”
Eddie sat her back on the couch and stood up. “Right, I’m gonna go throw him out. You stay here with Gina for a few minutes.” He adjusted his pants uncomfortably and grumbled under his breath. “Someday there’ll be a goddamn saga composed in honor of my bad luck…”
“You sit the hell down, Lancelot, we’re not throwing him out.” Gina came in and shut the door, a manic grin plastered on her face. “That fucker needs some major payback for sleeping around and lying about it, and I’m going to be the one to deliver it. No one – no one – gets to bullshit me like he did and hurt you and get away with it.” She pulled out her phone and handed it to Kathy. “That thing takes video, you know how to use it?”
Kathy stared at it, and up at her. “You want me to go out there and record him?”
The evil glint in Gina’s eye said it all. “All you have to do is hide behind Eddie and record Mr. Shitface when I get him talking. I’ll keep his attention on me. Then we’ll see how many of his friends want to take his side.”
She looked at Eddie. He shrugged. “Your choice, beautiful.”
It was a good plan. She could show everyone just what kind of utter bastard Mark really was. All she had to do was muster up the courage to get through the next few minutes. But it felt like a mountain rising in front of her, and one wrong move would leave her buried in a landslide. If it went wrong, well… their friends already believed she was evil. It probably couldn’t get any worse.
Maybe it wasn’t like that. Maybe it was all just in her head. Maybe Mark would have an explanation, or something, and the world would be right again. Kathy nodded. “Okay. Let’s do it.”
Gina lead them out into the bar. Kathy spotted him almost immediately; he was sitting next to a rather butch goth with black and pink striped hair, who clearly had no interest in him and was trying to talk to Tony. Axeman was already walking over from the stage with a frown on his face. The bar was starting to fill up, and tonight’s main heavy metal act was tuning up on stage.
“Go around the side and get ready,” she said. “It’s got a pretty good mic but you’ll probably want to be as close as possible, so just stay behind Eddie and Axeman.”
Kathy fumbled with the phone, pulling up the video app with trembling fingers. All she had to do was hit the button and it would pick up everything Mark said. She followed Eddie, making sure to keep out of Mark’s line of sight. Please, please let it be okay, she thought.
Axeman stood in front of her ex-boyfriend with his arms folded. “That’s my girlfriend, man, how about you back the fuck off?”
Mark got out of his chair and made a good show of bravado. “I don’t see your name on her, asshole.”
“Actually she’s just too polite to tell you to go away, man,” said Tony, displaying his usual sense of subtlety.
The lady in question rolled her eyes. “Real smooth, Tony. No wonder you’re single.” She stood up as well and tugged on Axeman’s arm. “It’s okay, babe, just ignore him.”
“Yeah, just ignore him,” Gina called out. “That’s the same sad fuck who came here looking for tail when he had a girlfriend back home. She dumped your ass yet, loser?”
Kathy stared to record, pointing the phone out from behind Eddie’s arm as he stood off to one side and watched. She could see the video clearly on the little screen.
Gina marched right up to him and got in his face. “You got a lot of nerve coming in here again, asshole,” she sneered. “You’re a lying, cheating sack of shit, you know that? I hope she cuts your balls off and feeds them to you.”
Mark shoved her away roughly. “You think just because we had sex you can talk to me like that? Fuck off, you skanky bitch.”
“Oh yeah? At least I’m honest when I go whoring it up! I don’t have a girlfriend to cheat on, Mark! Or is it Dave? What stupid fucking name are you using tonight?”
Axeman’s girlfriend looked down her nose at Mark. “He said his name was Steve.”
“Steve!” Gina laughed. “Steve, Dave or Mark! How are you going to explain that to Kathy, huh?” She took note of his surprise. “Yeah, I found out her name. I think I might just go tell her that last night wasn’t a once-off.”
“You’re not gonna tell her shit,” Mark snarled. “I got her wrapped around my little finger, bitch, so when I make up some bullshit story about what happened, who do you think she’s gonna believe? Her boyfriend or some cheap slut from a shitty bar?”
Kathy had been afraid. She hadn’t trusted herself or her feelings, holding onto a vain hope that this wasn’t happening. Some part of her wanted it to be a misunderstanding, like he had said in that long oh-woe-is-me letter. The words from his own lips washed away all doubt. The way he talked about her was contemptible, so hurtful; why hadn’t she figured out before that he didn’t really care about her? The world was not going to return to normal, ever. He wasn’t the boyfriend she had known for a year, and maybe he never had been. She would never trust him again, and the loss of so much was going to hurt for a long time.
The mountain would have to be moved out of her way if she was going to get on with her life. The only way to do it was to make the cut clean. She tapped the button to stop recording, and stepped out from behind Eddie. “I think I know who to believe,” she said.
Mark stared at her in complete shock. Kathy handed Gina’s phone back to her, and got a huge grin in return. She glared witheringly at him, daring him to say something in defense of the indefensible, but inside she felt almost empty.
“You set me up!” he shouted, pointing at Gina.
“We set you up, Mark,” Kathy said frostily. “Here’s what’s going to happen: you’re going to leave, right now, and not say another fucking word. I’m going to take all your stuff in my house and put it outside for you to collect in the morning. If you don’t pick it up by tomorrow night, I am going to set it on fire.”
He cringed away from her like the coward he was. Kathy nodded at Eddie. “Now you can throw him out if you want.”
Eddie cracked his knuckles loudly. Mark stumbled backwards, falling over his chair in his haste to get away. He sprinted out of the bar as fast as possible.
Kathy sagged in relief as soon as he was gone. It was done. She’d get over it. If the world was going to stay skewed, she’d have to adjust.
She wanted to slump into a chair, but was held up by a bear hug from Gina. “You were awesome! Did you get it all? I will totally send you the file and you can post it online, and that asshole is going to regret fucking with you and me for the rest of his life!”
“Okay Gina, that’s enough,” said Eddie, and he pried her off Kathy. “I think I should take her home now, before the band starts up.”
“Hah, sure you do,” she smirked, and patted Kathy on the arm. “I’ll come by tomorrow if you want and help you throw his stuff out.”
“Okay, yeah,” Kathy said, feeling too worn down to argue. “Thanks, Gina.”
Eddie took her hand and lead her out through the employee’s entrance. Her Prius was where she had left it, but he pointed at the pickup truck. “We can collect it in the morning, don’t worry. This place is locked up tight every night. I’ll drive, you tell me where to go.”
“Does this mean you’re staying with me tonight?” she asked.
He slid a hand around her waist. “Means I think you’re owed a good time, what with the shit you’ve had to put up with tonight,” he said next to her ear, with just enough of that low growl to make her breath catch in her throat. “And I’ll deliver, if you want me to.”
“Ah… yeah,” she managed, feeling her knees wavering again. “Yeah, let’s do that.”
They pulled up past Kathy’s house and parked further down the street. “Don’t want to let anyone know you’re having company,” Eddie said. He locked up his truck, and she took his hand as they walked back towards her door. It took her a few minutes to dig out the new keys from her pocket.
Eddie whistled as she switched on the light in the hallway. “Wow, this place is really nice. I guess the business analyst thing pays well?”
“Yeah, it does. C’mon into the kitchen, I’ll make some coffee.”
“Getting invited in for sex and having coffee instead? Man, that has to be a first.”
Kathy laughed with him, but her stomach was starting to churn with nerves. She went into the kitchen, turned out the coffee grounds from the morning, and set a new pot brewing. Eddie shouldn’t make her feel nervous – this wasn’t anything serious. It was something to take her mind off Mark, she told herself.
Maybe it was being with someone so very different from him. There was a little fear there. She leaned on the counter and stared at the coffee dripping, lost in thought. Before Mark, she had had a few short term boyfriends in college and not much else. Work took up too much of her time. She had just been lucky that he showed some interest in her when they met at a networking event last year.
She was over-thinking it again. Kathy sighed, and pulled two mugs out of the cupboard.
“You’re not comfortable with this, are you?” Eddie asked. He stood in the doorway of the kitchen, watching her with his arms folded. “You know we don’t have to…”
She leaned against the counter and wondered how she got herself into such a strange situation. “That wouldn’t be very fair to you, though. You know, with your bad luck and all.”
“Kathy, you don’t owe me anything just because I drove you home,” he pointed out. “I said I’d show you a good time. If that means just sitting around and drinking coffee, well, there are worse ways to spend an evening.” He shrugged. “Yeah, bad luck or whatever, but I ain’t that hard up that I need to convince a woman to sleep with me. It’s up to you, okay?”
She nodded. “I know. It’s not you, Eddie – I just didn’t think I’d be spending my weekend like this. Have you ever had anyone cheat on you? Someone you really trusted?”
“No. I broke up with my last girlfriend a few months back because she wanted to settle down and I wasn’t interested, but I’ve been lucky. No really big emotional stuff so far, just the usual relationship drama.”
“So you’re not into commitment?”
“Nah. I hate kids and having to wear a suit, so I’m not exactly husband material.”
That made her laugh. “Oh, I don’t know, I think kids would get a kick out of their dad being in a metal band.”
At that, he walked over and picked up the mugs. “And that’s enough of that topic, I think. C’mon, beautiful, let’s see what’s on TV.”
Kathy got the cream and sugar and pointed him at the living room. Her TV was a bit small, but she only used it for watching a few shows during the week and it worked well enough for that. She especially liked her couch, as it was big, comfy, and great for reading books.
Eddie put the mugs down on the table and sat down while she fished around for the remote. She put on some late night movie, and kept the volume low. Kathy paused as she observed how he sat: lounging with his arms on the back of the couch, completely at ease, in a way that made his thick muscles stand out.
Her stomach flopped over again. It wasn’t nerves. Kathy sat down and unzipped her boots, then tucked her legs up under her. Eddie watched her as she sipped her coffee, a curious smile on his face. “What?” she asked.
He crooked his finger at her, summoning her over to his side of the couch. Kathy put down her coffee and shuffled towards him until she was close enough to lean on his chest, and he draped his arm over her shoulder. “Better?” he said, nuzzling her hair.
“Ah… yeah. Better.” She forgot about the coffee.
They watched the movie – or Kathy pretended to. The attraction hadn’t gone away. The thought of sex, with him, hadn’t gone away. The roller-coaster had stopped for a while, but now it was getting back up to speed, and soon it would tip over the next slope and send her flying.
Eddie was stroking her arm absently with his thumb. The small motion made her heart thump painfully, and made her think of where else his hands could go. Where her hands could go…
Just do it, part of her said. He wanted you before. He’ll make it good. You’re owed some guilt-free fun after what Mark did to you. This is what people do, after they’ve been hurt – they go and have sex with strangers. Well, maybe you don’t do that, but we’re living in an alternate universe now, and anything goes here…
She turned just a little, and grabbed his hand. She moved it over a couple of inches and onto her breast.
There was a slight shift in how he was sitting, enough to tell her that she had his full attention now. His thumb moved again, flicking over her nipple through the thin fabric of her top and the lace of her bra. It felt so deliciously good, made every inch of her body more sensitive, and she rose unconsciously into the touch. Eddie kissed the side of her head and murmured into her ear. “Is that a green light for everything?”
Oh yes, yes, yes, though she had no idea what he meant by ‘everything’ at this point. He’d stop if she said so, but why not let go for once? Just hold on to the roller-coaster. Kathy nodded.
He pulled her chin around and kissed her, and slipped his hand inside her top. On the outside it was lovely; on the inside, squeezing and stroking, it made her whole body ache with arousal. His other hand started on her thigh and wandered in under her skirt, hot and heavy and suddenly curled into her underwear.
She moaned and grabbed at his T-shirt. His fingers just seemed to know where to go, rubbing over her clitoris and down further into her. It was so easy for him; what the hell had Mark been doing, all that time, when he said he couldn’t find it? She was already wet and in desperate need of more, and whether they did it right here or in her bedroom, she hardly cared at all.
He dragged her around and she ended up crushed against his chest with one leg pressed into his crotch. She kissed him furiously, rocking against his hands and trying to pull his shirt up. He stopped her, then untangled them for a moment and stood. “I’m not doing this here when there’s a bed nearby,” he said, and Kathy almost groaned in impatience. She started to drag him towards the stairs, but not before he had the presence of mind to switch off the TV.
They almost fell into the bedroom. Nothing had changed since she chased Mark out the night before. The sheets were still in complete disarray, and that condom was still on the floor, but her former revulsion seemed miles away. If Eddie saw it, he didn’t show it; he just picked her up and dumped her on the bed, and then pulled his T-shirt off.
“You are not naked enough,” he said, in that voice that made her toes curl.
“Neither are you!”
“That I can fix pretty quickly. I just want to see what you look like without clothes.”
Oh, she liked this idea. Kathy got onto her knees and lifted her top, letting it peel off her body and over her head. It went on the floor, followed by her bra. Her skirt proved a bit of a problem, but she slid it down off her hips and then rolled onto her back to take it off completely. Eddie watched her with a huge grin on his face, and took his time about kicking off his shoes, undoing his belt and letting his pants and boxers hit the floor.
He was really hairy, and a hell of a lot bigger than Mark in every way.
Kathy set her feet flat on the bed, lifted her ass, and pushed her underwear down. He could certainly see all of her now, and it looked like he enjoyed the view. She suddenly laughed, and threw her panties at him.
He caught them and tossed them to one side. “I really hope I get to keep those,” he said, and dived onto the bed on top of her.
The pressure of his body was intoxicating, and her legs automatically came up around his waist. His hands wandered everywhere; around her breasts, where he sucked and kissed her nipples, across her thighs and ass. She could barely do much more than moan, gasp for breath, and kick against him with her heels.
The rock-hard head of his erection jabbed into her groin painfully. She felt a stab of panic that they might not have any condoms; she probably couldn’t stop herself from doing something very stupid if they didn’t. “Eddie – oh god, I need you, but – protection -”
He let out a heartfelt groan. “Dammit, hang on.” He left her for a moment and grabbed his pants from the floor. She watched him search for his wallet and finally retrieve a familiar silver packet.
“You always this prepared?” she asked jokingly.
“Always.” He returned to her, kissed her soundly, and then rolled over next to her. “You’re gonna want to be on top, trust me on this.”
She sat across him and snatched the condom out of his hand. This was another thing she never usually did, but when in an alternate universe… She slid down his legs until her chin was level with his belly button, and unrolled the condom over the tip of his cock. As she spread it down his length, she slipped the head into her mouth and sucked, just a little. He was so big that there wasn’t much she could do without dislocating her jaw, but she made up for it by stroking and touching him; between his legs, around his ass, and across his stomach.
She dropped her shoulders, stretched her arms out to run her hands up his chest, and tried to take as much as she could, but… no. He was too big. Any more and she’d bite him by accident. She’d have to be content with the feeling of holding him like this, of sensing the twitch and pulse of arousal on her tongue, of knowing that she had his whole world under her control.
The taste wasn’t exactly great, but the way Eddie swore was sweet music to her ears. “Holy shit, that’s hot,” he groaned. “Your ex-boyfriend… is the biggest fucking moron on earth…”
She giggled as she kissed her way back up his body, enjoying the feeling of his chest hair tickling her breasts. “He doesn’t ask for it much.”
“Like I said… total fucking moron…”
She rocked back and forth for a moment, moving herself carefully and getting into the right position. She slid down slowly, in spite of the ache that begged for as much as possible right now. But it barely hurt at all; she kept going, expecting to have to stop and be satisfied with less, but the real pain never came. She took him completely with nothing but a slight twinge and a deeply satisfied sigh.
“Ah fuck!” he said breathlessly. “Ah… fff… Kathy…”
She just laughed at him. And here he was supposed to be giving her a good time… She started to move, and he moved with her. The feeling was wonderful, fantastic, what she had been looking for all evening, and the way he filled her up was so overpowering that she wanted to scream. All Eddie could do was swear and buck under her like a bull, with his hands gripping her thighs tightly.
He shifted and something triggered a shock wave in her navel. She gasped and nearly collapsed on top of him, catching herself on his chest in time. It was like someone had fired a bolt of lightning into her groin, and it set every nerve ending on fire. Not even an orgasm felt as good as that and it took her completely by surprise, so much so that her limbs turned to jelly.
Eddie caught her waist and slowed down. “You… okay?” he managed.
“Do that – that – OH GOD – please – hard – please -” She just babbled, and cried, and clawed at his chest to get that feeling back. Her hips slammed down on him of their own accord, and the shock wave exploded inside her again; this time she couldn’t hold back and she shouted his name.
He rolled them over and pinned her underneath him. He was so fierce in the way he threw her around; it didn’t matter that he was rough with her, not as long as he kept hitting that sweet spot. Then every thought she had was scattered as he got the angle just right, and set off that incredible feeling with every thrust. The lightning strike hit her nerves over and over, made her scream and thrash and finally, finally, climax so hard it almost hurt.
She was still shaking and close to breathless when Eddie groaned and shuddered inside her. She felt every muscle in his back straining, heard the low growl in his throat as he came. When the tension released, and he went limp on top of her, she could sense his heart pounding like a freight train in his chest. He left her sore, when the tremors finally subsided, but it was a good kind of pain. It was the price, paid willingly, of riding the roller-coaster and feeling so close to the sky.
Mark had never hurt her, not even a little. She never found sex painful, not since she lost her virginity in college, but she assumed it was because she made a point of being careful. He had never quite fulfilled her either, and that she had long since accepted – but god, what a difference a bigger man made.
Eddie pushed himself off her with a grunt. They lay in silence for a few minutes to get their breath back and enjoy the afterglow. Kathy laughed quietly as she thought again about how absurd this was. How utterly, wonderfully absurd. The world had gone mad and it would never be remade into what it once was, and she didn’t care.
“Alright, what’s so funny?” Eddie asked.
“I was just thinking, if someone told me on the plane yesterday that I’d be having really great sex with a big, fat, hairy drummer this weekend, I’d have laughed until I cried.”
“I am not fat.”
She curled into his side, snuggling up to his broad chest, then reached down and poked his belly. “Eddie, you’re fat. Sorry to break it to you.” She ran her hand around his middle, feeling how soft and warm he was. “But I love it,” she whispered in his ear. “I would fuck you every night if I could.”
“And there goes my ego,” he said, lazily throwing his arm around her waist. He tucked the other hand behind his head. “Today is officially the best day ever.”
“Can I ask you something?”
“Why did you say I should be on top?”
He grinned. “Well, I had more than a few women say that it was, you know, pretty painful when we were doing it the normal way. I’m bigger than most guys and I was hitting bits of them on the inside that aren’t designed to be hit. If they’re on top, then it’s okay.”
She looked down at his body. “Wow. So there’s a downside to being well hung.”
“Like you wouldn’t believe,” he said with feeling. “I had to stop completely with this one really hot stripper. I just couldn’t fuck her without hurting her. It sucks like hell – makes me want to punch the guys who complain about being average.”
“You didn’t hurt me,” she said.
“Not at all?”
“Nope. And,” she stretched, and felt the satisfying soreness again, “it felt amazing. I think it’s probably a contender for ‘best sex I’ve ever had’.”
He chuckled at her. “You keep talking like that and my head will need its own zip code.”
“Was it good for you too?” she asked.
Eddie turned onto his side to face her, suddenly serious, and kissed her softly. “I’ve never had anyone better, beautiful. In fact, I really hope you’re not kidding about wanting to fuck me every night.”
She wasn’t sure that she had been kidding, even though it had been sort of a joke. “I don’t know. I wasn’t really thinking about it,” she said. “You… want to make this a regular thing? I mean, we don’t really have anything in common.”
He gave her a look. “Kathy, I’m not asking you to marry me. I’m just saying that if you want to fuck my brains out, there is no way I’m saying no.”
“Like a friend with benefits, kind of thing?”
“Sure. You wanted something honest – can’t get more honest than that.”
She thought about it. There was no question of bringing him to any of her usual social gatherings. Her parents would likely think she’d lost her mind if they saw her with him. And Mark might use it against her, if he found out – and he probably would, if Eddie were still here when he came by tomorrow.
From every angle, it was a terrible idea. It wasn’t something a respectable business woman should contemplate at all. A one night stand could be forgiven as bad judgment, but more than that would be considered an actual character defect.
It almost came as a surprise that she truly didn’t give a shit.
“What if I want to hang out with you at the bar?” she asked. “Or go to the movies or something?”
“What, like on a date or something?”
He sighed. “I’m not looking for a serious relationship.”
“I never said I wanted one. But today was, well, better than I thought it was going to be, and that’s mostly because of you and Gina. I think I’d like to do that again.”
“You afraid you’ll lose your other friends?” he asked.
Kathy thought of the nasty comments, the harsh messages. They were so quick to believe that she was a horrible person, even though they had known her for all the time she had been going out with Mark. If it had to be them or Eddie…
“I think I can afford to lose them.” she said. “Actually, I think I’d like to try listening to heavy metal too.” If the world was already topsy-turvy and would never right itself, then she was going all the way.
Eddie let out a bark of laughter. “Kathy, you are a very strange woman. Alright, for the sake of getting into your pants on a regular basis… do you want to come and hear me play on Monday night?”
She smiled, and whispered into his ear again. “Only if you get the dressing room to yourself afterwards.”