Patrick’s fists slammed into the punching bag at the gym, his focus on working out the anger he had previously felt. In truth he didn’t have any right to be angry. One of the women from his past had tracked him down and cornered him at work and when Kathleen had dropped by to drop off lunch, all she had seen was a woman standing two inches from him, his hands on her shoulders as he was pushing her away. He had tried to explain, but she had been deaf to his pleading. Now she wouldn’t even talk to him or look at him. He hated this, hated himself and hated that woman. He didn’t know what he was going to do or what Kathleen was going to do. His heart broke at the prospect of her leaving him. It had been two years since they started dating, two years of her smiles and laughter, of watching how excited she would get for conventions, of falling asleep with her wrapped in his arms, two years shattered in a matter of seconds.
He punched the bag one more time, feeling the exhaustion setting in. He went and took a shower, his thoughts on Kathleen and her pain, on how he deserved this. How many hearts had he broken? How many women had he used? Now it had come back to bite him. He felt a knot forming in his throat and his eyes burned. He couldn’t lose her, not the one woman who meant everything to him, who had changed him. He loved her so desperately. He wanted to give her everything, marriage, children, her dream home. He’d make it up to her, he’d do anything she asked, he just didn’t want this distance between them anymore.
He knew he wasn’t welcome home tonight but he still had to try. He called her cellphone and she hung up on him yet again. He decided to leave her yet another voicemail, hoping she was listening to them “Kathleen sweetheart, I promise it wasn’t what it looked like. I understand you being angry and hurt. I understand how shitty I was when we met gives you every right to doubt me but I didn’t do anything. I’ll do anything you ask baby, anything it takes to prove to you that I want you and only you. Please, just tell me what to do. Hit me, yell at me, do something. Please Kathleen, I need you. I need you so bad Kathy” He hung up, tears streaming again as he drove to the nearest hotel to the place he shared with her. When he got a room he texted her his room number and told her that if she asked at the front she’d be given a key if she had her ID with her.
Kathleen stared at her phone again as she lay in bed. Another voicemail from Patrick. She kept listening to them, afraid that he was manipulating her, but not hearing any deceit in his voice. She open the text message, reading it a couple times. She did and didn’t want to see him, the image of him and that woman still fresh in her mind.
She decided to send a message back. “Who was that woman?” She asked and waited.
Patrick was surprised when his phone vibrated and it was a message from Kathleen. He sat there staring at it, his heart twisting at the question. He sent back. “I don’t remember.” Wanting to be honest. “I didn’t recognize her.”
Kathleen swallowed. “Then why was she there?”
He was relieved she was at least responding. “She just showed up and asked if I remembered her from some party. I told her no and she tried to get handsy. I swear I was pushing her off.”
Kathleen felt her eyes burning and she wiped at the tears. Her heart told her to go to him, but she was scared. “How long will you stay in that hotel?”
“As long as you want me too. Just please give me a chance. We can start over from the beginning if that’s what you want.”
He didn’t hear back from her for about twenty minuets but she did respond again and he was grateful. He opened the message “I’ll come to the hotel tomorrow and bring lunch. I just need to be alone right now” She was coming and the relief made him cry. When he could see clearly again he sent her a thank you text and let her know his cellphone would be on loud and by him in bed if she changed her mind and wanted to come before lunch tomorrow. He did his best to sleep that night but nothing could get him relaxed enough to fall asleep until about four am and even then he woke up about every thirty mins hearing phantom phone calls from Kathleen.
About nine am he quit trying to sleep at all and just waited on her. The next day as Kathleen cut up fruit to go with their sandwhiches she still wasn’t sure she wanted to see him face to face again just yet but she had said she would come today and she was going to. With how heartbroken she was she knew she’d have to just force herself or she might never speak to him atall again.
Patrick paced as he waited, trying to think of what he would say. He wanted to make it clear how much he loved and needed her, but he didn’t want to upset her anymore than she already was. He picked up his phone, checking it then putting it back down. This was the single most stressful moment of his life and he hoped he could fix things.
Kathleen sat outside the hotel for a moment, trying to keep herself from getting upset. She took a deep breath, grabbed their food and got out. She picked up the key from the front desk then headed to Patrick’s room. She surprised him when she opened the door and he started to hug her, but stopped himself and dropped his hands to his side.
“You’re here.” He said as he moved around her to close the door.
“I said I’d come.”
“I know, thank you.”
He sounded and looked tired and stressed. “I don’t really have anything to drink, but I can run down to the vending machine and get us some soda.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “I would have before, but I didn’t want to leave.”
“I brought us each a bottled water. It’s in the bag” She handed it to him and he sat down with her at the small table. He wasn’t anywhere near hungry but she had made a lunch for him and he was going to eat it anyway so he wouldn’t hurt her feelings any more than he already had. She hadn’t taken a single bite yet as she looked at him and said “I just, it doesn’t sound like you’re lieing but” she sighed “I just dont want to be stupid”
“can I do something to make you feel better? Anything? I will seriously do anything atall you want”
“I wish I knew what you could do”
“do you want to look through my phone and see if I’ve been fliritng. Seriously, I’ll give you all the passwords to my accounts” he saw her lip quiver “You’d really do that?” he slid his phone to her “Look right now if it will help you trust me”
“It means a lot that you’d even offer that Patrick. It goes a long way towards me trusting you about this. I’m not going to look through your stuff though”
“why, I really don’t mind. It’s the only thing I can think of to make you see I’m telling the truth”
“because that would be crazy…” she wiped at a few tears that started to form then got up to hug him “just hold me a second” she said and he quickly got up.
Patrick was happy to finally have her in his arms again. She pressed her face into his chest and started crying and he did his best to comfort her. “Kathleen, I love you so much.” He said softly as he rubbed her back. “I would never, ever cheat on you. I would rather die.”
“I just…how did she find you?” Kathleen asked between sobs.
“I’ve worked at the same place for awhile. I probably talked about it when I was…you know. I don’t know why she came there after so long. She just showed up. Maybe she saw me in passing or found my number or a picture of us together, I don’t know, but I did not invite her there.” He pulled back to look into her eyes, his hands coming up to frame her face and brush her tears away. “I swear I love only you. Let me do something for you. We can go on a million dates or just go away for a few days.”
“I think going away a few days would be good for us”
“what about Cape Cod? You just sent me a link last week with the top ten things to do there. Lets go do them. We have plenty of vacation time”
“can I kiss you?” She nodded and moved in so they could kiss. “lets get you checked out of here” Patrick gathered what little he had brought with him then went home with her so they could both request time off work. They both got approved so Kathleen went online to purchase airplane tickets for the two of them and reserve a hotel. “I can’t believe we’re really doing this” He kissed her head “I’d figure out how to get us to the moon if it would make you happy baby”
“It might take a lot of bribery.”
“I’d manage. I might have to go all Mission Impossible on them, but I’d get us there.” She smiled and he hugged her tightly, his heart skipping a beat. “I really do love you more than anything.”
“I love you too.”
He tipped her head back and kissed her, feeling that familiar warmth spread through him. “You’re my life, do you know that? Without you everything is so depressing.”
Kathleen felt like crying again and she let her hand slide over his cheek, her heart fluttering when he leaned into her touch. “Patrick, I…I’m sorry for…”
“You don’t have to apologize. I understand why you would think the worst. I wasn’t exactly an angel, I even hurt you before.”
“Cape Cod will be a lot of fun”
“I’m lucky to have such a financially smart girlfriend so we have a savings account for stuff like this” Kathleen smiled “well, lets start packing okay?” She got their bags out and packed for they packed for their trip. They had no trouble getting to the airport on time and had a smooth flight. The hotel they later checked into wasn’t the nicest but they were only ever going to be in one to sleep and shower so she didn’t want to use a bunch of their money on it. The first thing on their agenda was Shining Sea Bikeway. The two rented bikes since they hadn’t brought their own and drove over in their rental car.
It was not only an easy bikeway but it was a beautiful one. They rode past amazing views of the ocean and of the beautiful place they were in. They talked happily the whole way, taking their time to enjoy everything. They were them again and Patrick couldn’t have felt luckier. They stopped at the Salt Pond Bird Sanctuary since it was just off the bike path. It hadn’t been on the list Kathleen looked at but she wasn’t much for lists. She planned to just use it as more of an idea sheet and go from there.
“It’s really pretty here.” Kathleen said as they waked hand in hand at a slow pace. She breathed in the fresh air. “I could stay here forever.”
“We can visit once a year or something, maybe make it a tradition.”
“I’d like that.”
They head over to the peach tree farm, stopping to look at their jams and fresh fruit. Kathleen could hear two women talking and caught a little snippet of their conversation. She had a feeling they were talking about Patrick and she soon found out she was right when they approached him. They obviously hadn’t noticed her next to him.
“Excuse me…” One of them said.
“No.” Patrick replied and Kathleen almost laughed. “I’m with my girlfriend so no.” He took Kathleen’s hand. “Go find someone else to flirt with.” The women walked away looking irritated and Kathleen had to clear her throat before speaking.
“You could have been a little nicer.”
He huffed. “I just don’t want a repeat of what happened with that…that idiot that came to my work.”
She pulled him into a hug “I love you baby”
“I love you too Kathleen. I can’t take fearing you’ll leave me again. I’d rather piss them off than hurt you” She held him tightly a few more moments before letting go so they could continue to enjoy themselves. They started out their second day at the Heritage Museums & Gardens. Since its location in Sandwich wasn’t far from where they had spent their first night in Falmouth. It was interesting to look at all the older cars and talk to some of the other people that were there.
“Can we get ice cream?” Kathleen asked as they were leaving the museum.
“You don’t have to ask baby, I’ll get you anything you want.”
“I like to be polite.”
“And I like making you happy so if you want ice cream, we’ll get it.”
Her smile had him letting out a contented sigh. She really was his everything. He thought about maybe asking her to marry him on this trip, but that would mean slipping away to get a ring and he didn’t want her worrying.
“Someone looks deep in thought.” Kathleen said.
“Sorry, just thinking about you.”
She laughed happily “come on you dork” she guided him to a local ice cream shop and they each picked out a flavor. When they were done Patrick suggested “why don’t we look at some shops baby?”
“Okay” They returned their bikes and went to their rental car to drive to the nearest shopping area. They browsed the local shops for a good half hour before a jewelry shop finally came into view. Patrick had been hoping there would be one so they could just “so happen to go in” It was the perfect opportunity for him to atleast find out what kind of ring she wanted.
“Can we look at the necklaces?” Kathleen asked and Patrick pulled the door open for her.
“Anything you want.”
He followed Kathleen around, trying not to seem too eager, but still paying attention. She paused at each case so when she came to the rings he took note of the ones she complimented. He would try to find a good reason to come back without her so he could surprise her.
“There was a lot of pretty stuff in there.” He said.
“I really liked the garnet and opal stuff.”
“Both equally beautiful, though not as beautiful as you.”
“I mean it, you’re the most beautiful thing in the world…in the universe.”
She slid her hand into his, holding tight when he clasped her hand. They went back to their hotel room and took a long, passionate shower together. When he woke up before her the next morning before her he saw an opportunity and decided to take it. He would have ran out without waking her atall but he didn’t want her worried or worse, scared he had run off with another woman. He gently roused her just enough so she’d hear him say “I’m going to go get us some breakfast and bring it back Kathleen”
“Okay” she said in a tired, small voice and immediately went back to sleep. He smiled then pressed a loving kiss onto her cheek. Patrick tugged on some clothes and his shoes then headed out of the room. He would bring back breakfast but he’d get Kathleen a ring first. He drove their rental car straight to that quaint jewlery store and pick out something he now knew she’d love. The man behind the counter was the same one from yesterday and chuckled when Patrick entered. “I thought you wanted more than just to browse. You were far too interested in what she was looking at. Men who don’t want to buy normally ignore their ladies in here or try to rush them out.”
Patrick smiled then pointed out the ring he thought she’d like. The man grabbed it “yeah, she did seem to really take a shine to this one. Come over here and it will be yours” Patrick paid what he needed to then excitedly left the store. He almost forgot to buy breakfast but he remembered just before he made it back to where they were staying.
He pushed their room door open quietly and stuck his head in first listening. He heard the sink going so stepped in, pulled the small ring box out of its bag and pocketed it. “Patrick?” She said as she came out and he smiled lovingly at her, trying not to look nervous.
“Hey baby, I got breakfast.” He kissed her cheek.
“Yeah, perfect.” He set out their food and she gave him a look. “Seriously, I’m fine.”
“Did something happen?”
“Eat first and then I’ll tell you. You might not eat afterwards.”
She sat down and he took his spot next to her. “What did you get, it smells amazing?”
“Thank you, that was incredibly sweet of you to run out for this so I could sleep in” He kissed her cheek “you’re worth it baby” They ate and talked about what she wanted to do today. Once they were done she asked “so what’s going on Patrick?” he got up, pushed his chair aside and pulled out the little ring box before getting down on one knee “This is what’s going on Kathleen. I know this is really sudden since we haven’t talked about getting married but I love you and I want everything with you. I want us to get married and have kids and find your dream home for you to raise those kids in. Kathleen, you are perfect and I would be humbled if you’d marry me”
Kathleen sat there for a second just looking between him and the ring, truly surprised. “You want to marry me?” She was finally able to say as a knot formed in her throat. “Me?”
“Well yeah, why wouldn’t I?”
“Because I believed that you…I mean not trusting you even for a second.”
“Kathleen, I love you. No matter what happens, whether you trust me or not, I love you and I want to marry you. So, will you?”
Tears slipped down her cheeks as she nodded and he shakily took the ring out of the box and slipped it on her finger. His arms wrapped tightly around her and he pressed his lips against hers. “Thank you.” He said softly as he lifted her and carried her to bed. “I love you so much, so, so much.”
“I love you too.” Kathleen was overwhelmed by emotion and she held him tightly against her as his lips pressed hungrily into hers.
They began to frantically strip eachother, both feeling desperate need to be skin to skin and make love. Patrick was an intensely good lover and once again had her whole body responding to him. After he finally came they moved away from the wet spot and cuddled, taking a long morning nap in eachothers arms. The rest of their vacation was a dream and when they arrived back home they let everyone know they were getting married. The woman who had come by Patricks work had thankfully not bothered the two again which they were both grateful for. Patrick hoped that never happened again and also that if it did, Kathleen would be able to trust him and know there was no other woman for him.
He wished he could take back who he was before she walked into his life but he knew he couldn’t dwell on that. Kathleen loved him despite his past and he looked forward to finally marrying her and having children and a home with the perfect family he knew he didn’t deserve.
~ The End