"Me, too," he responded softly not wanting to let Katie go.
And then she pulled away. "I wanted to come sooner. You know that I did, but I was afraid…afraid that you would get into trouble. That and my parents have been watching me like a hawk when I am at home."
Danny nodded. "Where do they think you are now?"
"My grandmother's on Long Island. Don't worry. She sleeps like a log. I can't believe I'm here with you, finally. Have you moved into your dorm yet?"
"Where is it?" she asked.
"Where is it? I'll go there now, and we can meet there after you finish work. I can't wait to be alone with you again," she said as she kissed him.
He kissed her back and was so tempted to get lost in the kiss and in her, but he pulled away. "Katie…I can't…we can't…"
"You're done with Brentland, right. My parents can't do anything to us now. I spent three months at that boarding school…just waiting for this day. I knew once you graduated…we could be together."
"It's not that simple…" Danny started to explain.
"Yes, it is. You're in college now. I'll be 17 in two months. They can't stop us from being together, Danny. We can just lay low until I turn 17."
Just as Danny was about to tell her about her father's threats to pull his college scholarship, his boss interrupted him. "Taylor…get your ass back to work. The lines are stacking up."
"Yes, sir. I'm coming in now," he replied and then turned back to Katie. "This isn't a good time."
"Tell me where you live…"
"Katie…" he sighed because he knew it was dangerous.
"Please, Danny," she pleaded.
And he couldn't deny her. She had this hopeful, beautiful expression on her face, so he said, "It's the Hillier House on 155th…room 4A. I'll be there by 11."
"Great. See you then," she said as gave him a quick peck on the lips and then walked away.
As Danny walked home that night, he was filled with a sense of excitement and dread. He couldn't wait to see her…just knowing she was waiting of him made him happy. But he knew it wouldn't last. He would have to tell her that they couldn't be together.
As he walked towards his door, he saw her. She was sitting Indian-style with her back against his door. She had her glasses on and she was reading a book. Danny smiled. She was completely oblivious when she was reading. "Some things never change," he said as he approached her.
She looked up at him and gave him a big smile as she put away her book and removed her glasses. He held out his hand and she took it to help her to her feet. As soon as she stood up, they started to kiss. It was all Danny could do to get the key in the door and open it. As he closed the door, he backed her against it. There was no space between them. He was thankful that his roommate wasn't arriving for another month. They kissed like that against the door for several minutes. She felt so good to him. They were almost afraid to break contact, but Danny finally pulled away. They both took a moment to catch their breath.
"We have to talk," he said as he pressed their foreheads together.
Katie shook her head. "Later…" she replied. And then started to kiss him again. He guided her over to the twin bed as she removed his shirt. He didn't want to stop. He wanted to keep going, and he was fairly certain that's what she wanted to. He could tell by the look in her eyes.
It took all the strength he had to stop and pull away from her. "We can't…"
"Yes, we can. I'm ready. I'm not scared," she said as she looked up into his eyes.
"We need to talk. This isn't a good idea," he said as he moved away from her and sat on the edge of the bed.
"It's all I've been able to think about for the last three months," she said as she sat up and put her cheek against his bare back.
"Katie…we can't be together," he whispered glad that she wasn't looking into his eyes.
"What do you mean? You want to wait until I turn 17? Is that it?" she asked as she sat on the edge of the bed next to him.
"No…that's not what I mean. You are a really special person. You're smart and you have all this potential. And…and…I don't want to limit what you can do. I don't want you to stick around here just because of me. Katie…we are from two completely different places, and…and…you can do a whole lot better than someone like me."
"Did my father tell you to say that? Because it sounds just like him," she replied sadly. "I believe…I believe in us. I don't care how old we are or where we come from. We are meant to be together. I feel that in my heart. I…I…I love you."
Danny knew he shouldn't encourage her, but he had to say it. "I love you, too."
"Then why are you fighting this? We can make this work. I know we can?" she said as she grasped his hand and leaned into him.
"How? Are you going to run away? What would we do? If you father catches us together, he'll do everything he can to destroy me…that's how strongly he feels about us not being together. He's powerful. He has connections. I could lose my scholarship, and then where would we be?"
"He would. He told me he would if I ever came near you again. He's just trying to protect you, Katie."
"I don't care. We can make it, Danny. I have money saved…we can run away…."
Danny shook his head. "No…no…I'm not running anymore. This is my shot. This is the best opportunity I'll ever have. And maybe your dad is right. I'm not good enough for you…at least not right now," he said as he thought about his drinking. "You deserve better. You deserve to fulfill every dream you have whether that's going to Oxford or whatever…"
"The only thing I dream about now is you," she responded sadly as she started to cry.
Danny turned to her and wrapped his arms around her. She cried softly as she leaned into his bare chest. He leaned back on the bed and held her like that for a while. He didn't want to let her go. And then at around midnight, there was a knock at the door. Katie had fallen asleep in his arms, so he laid her down and then answered the door.
He opened the door and found Payton standing there. "Hey…thought I'd see if you were up for a little nightcap," she said as she held up a brown paper bag. She took a moment to look Danny up and down appreciating that fact that he didn't have a shirt on. "Did I…did I interrupt something?"
He sighed and shook his head. "No, but this isn't a good time," he said as he started to shut the door, but Payton stopped him.
"Whoa…wait a minute. I was just going to come in for a few minutes. I have Cuervo…your fave."
"I'm not interested…not tonight," he whispered not wanting to wake Katie.
"You're no fun. What's going on? Is there someone in there?" she asked as she tried to get past him.
And then from behind him, Danny heard Katie ask, "Is everything okay?"
He turned to stop her before she got to the door, but it was too late. Katie and Payton came face to face.
"Oh my gosh. Katie Mason…as I live and breathe. I guess all the pregnancy rumors aren't true, huh?"
Katie looked at Danny with a confused expression and then back to Payton. "What is she doing here?"
Before Danny could say anything, Payton replied. "Oh…Danny and I have gotten reacquainted in the last couple of months. I heard that you are stepping out with Brian Adair. He's quite a catch."
"That was…that was…my parent's idea…I don't understand, Danny. What is going on?"
"Nothing. Nothing is going on. Payton just…"
Payton pushed through the two of them to get into the small dorm room. "Payton just likes spending quality time with Danny," she said as she took off her denim jacket and laid it on the bed before taking a seat. "You remember spending time with him? Don't you, Katie? Oh no…that's right…you two haven't had sex."
"She's lying, Katie. Nothing is going on," Danny pleaded as he looked into her eyes.
"How does she know about us…that we haven't…? And why…why is she wearing your t-shirt?" Katie asked in a small voice.
Danny looked at Payton and noticed his old, faded Mets t-shirt. She never gave it back to him after passing out in the studio. Payton was lying back on the bed with a wide grin.
"It's…it's a long story, but nothing happened," he replied defensively.
"Is she why you don't want to be with me? Is that it?" Katie asked as tears rolled down her face. "How could you, Danny? After everything she did to you…. And what about…us?"
"Danny got tired of waiting. He couldn't wait forever," Payton interjected.
"Get out the hell out of here, Payton," Danny said angrily. "She's lying, Katie."
Payton stood up to leave, but Katie stopped her. "No…you stay. I'll go," Katie said still crying. "Maybe you two deserve each other…"
And then she ran out the door. Danny started to go after her, but then stopped. He realized this was the only way…the only way to let her go so she could move on without him.
He heard Payton stifle a giggle behind him. He turned around and grabbed her arms, and then pushed her against the wall. "You're a bitch. How could you hurt her like that?"
Payton kept smiling. "Because you would never be happy with her. You'd sleep with her a few times and then get hopelessly bored. Trust me."
"I really wish that you would leave and never come back," he said as he kept her pinned to the wall.
"You say that, but you don't really want me to go. You want to forget about Katie…about everything... Let me help you forget," she said. And then kissed him and he kissed her back. This time he still saw Katie's face, but he knew that it had to be over with her. They could never be together. So he used Payton…just like she used him before. After they had sex, Danny got drunk on Tequila and passed out next to her.
The next morning Danny woke up to a loud pounding noise. At first, he just thought it was his head, but then he realized it was someone at the door. He took a minute to open his eyes. Payton wasn't there. He was thankful for that. He got out of bed and pulled on a pair of boxers before opening the door. After he unlocked the door, Mr. Mason pushed through it angrily. He was flanked by his chief of security, Mr. Williams. "What the hell happened?"
Danny, extremely confused and hung-over, answered, "What are you talking about?"
"Katie…I know she was here last night. We saw her on the security tape entering the building. And then she came home practically hysterical last night." Mr. Mason stated as he looked around the room.
Danny didn't know how to respond.
And then Mr. Mason saw the state of the bed, the empty tequila bottle and an open condom wrapper on the floor lying next to a bra. After seeing this, he snapped. He lunged toward Danny and grabbed his throat. Then he pushed Danny onto the bed. "You son a bitch. What did you do to her?"
Danny could barely breathe. He tried to push Mr. Mason off of him, but couldn't. Finally, the defense mechanism in Danny took over. He clinched his fist and swung at Mason connecting with his jaw. Mason stumbled back and then Danny lunged at him because he was angry about Katie and angry that Mason dare try to attack him. But Mr. Williams quickly grabbed Danny and pinned his arms behind him. Williams was at least 6'4 and 250 pounds. Danny couldn't fight him, so he yelled, "Nothing happened with her, okay? She was here last night, but she took off. You don't have to worry about me and Katie anymore, Mr. Mason. She never wants to see me again."
Mr. Mason collected himself for a moment as he observed the pain and desperation in Danny's eyes. "Let him go," he said to Mr. Williams.
Danny shrugged out of his grasp and sat down on the bed feeling completely defeated. "You got what you wanted. After what she saw last night, she'll never want to see me again."
"So…it's over?" Mr. Mason asked.
"Yeah…it's over…" Danny replied quietly rubbing his eyes.
"You and Katie may not think it now, but it's for the best. You could never make it in our world, and you wouldn't want Katie in yours. Even if you do well here, you'll never be able to give Katie what she deserves. She's way out of your league, son. I want the best for my little girl…and that isn't you. Even if you can change your life…deep down…you'll still be street punk…my daughter deserves more. I'm going to make sure she gets it." And then Mr. Mason and Mr. Williams walked out of the dorm room.
Danny laid back on his bed as a tear rolled down his cheek. He felt like he would never be able to escape his past. All the hard work, all the right choices…and nothing made a difference.
Note: This is the end to this part of the story. Sorry to end on a sad note. If there is interest in a continuation, then the next part of the story will be a short look at Danny's college years and his entry into the FBI. And then the final part will be a case file that involves people from his past. Hope you all enjoyed this first part as I much as I enjoyed writing it!