You should listen to Alanis Morissette; Not The Doctor. Or at least look up the lyrics. It was one line from that song that started this fic off. Email/Review if you want to have a guess at which line ;)… It involves a fridge. Anyway, for all of you that are shaking your heads right about now, just start reading! Who cares what the author says? Mhm. Oh, meanwhile, the setting is after the boys have left for college, and while Sandy is still being the Nazi leader of The Newport Group and ignoring his still (just barely) sober wife. As always, please review!
Kirsten sat up, wild eyed, in the darkness. She turned to see if she'd disturbed Sandy. He was still breathing deeply beside her, brow smoothed in sleep. Kirsten pushed back her hair, took a shaky breath. She tried to recall the dream that had torn her so suddenly from sleep's gentle grasp, but it was slipping from her mind like water down a drain. Kirsten slowly got out of bed, careful not to wake Sandy. He'd only just gotten home, carefully showering and sliding into bed beside her minutes shy of midnight. She grabbed her robe and carefully opened the door leading out to the pool area. A cool wind greeted her outside, along with a soft silence only found at this time of night. The pool house was dark and quiet, blinds drawn like lids on eyes, silent in slumber. Looking out to the ocean, Kirsten could see the light from a ship, distant and small enough to be insignificant. She shivered, wrapped her robe tighter, headed gingerly through the darkness to the kitchen. Once back inside, Kirsten waited for her eyes to adjust to the interior darkness. With a flick of the switch, the coffee maker came alive, its burbling noise seeming loud in the quiet room. Kirsten grabbed milk out of the 'fridge, paused a moment longer to survey. She knew there wouldn't be any alcohol in there; Sandy had made sure there was none in the house after she came home. She knew she probably wouldn't drink it if she did find it, but it would be comforting to know it was there… Just in case. Kirsten shut the 'fridge, leaned her head on the cool stainless steel. She hated feeling like this, having an itch that could never be scratched. She'd thought she was making progress, thought she would be getting better by now. Three months sober, but still, some nights, she felt like she needed to drink. It was only a substitute, something to help her forget… Dr. Woodruff had explained this, Kirsten knew this, but knowing about the problem didn't immediately vaporise it. When she had started drinking it had been Carter… Her father. Now, it was Sandy. Kirsten knew that the distance between them was partly her fault, for leaving him over the summer, letting him deal with all the problems she couldn't; the boys, the company, her father…
The coffee machine suddenly ground to a halt, leaving only the sound of condensation dripping off the milk bottle Kirsten still held. She busied herself making a cup of coffee, hoped the activity would shake from her the thoughts which were making her want to seek out the one thing she was restricted from forever. Seated at the table, a breeze keeping her comfortably chilled, Kirsten returned to her thoughts of Sandy. They hadn't been seeing eye to eye lately. It wasn't that they were fighting; it was just that they weren't communicating at all. They would talk generally about things the boys were doing, or what was happening on the weekend, but apart from that, it was as if there was nothing there. Kirsten didn't know how to bridge the gap either. She was sure it was going to be hard; now that Sandy had taken over the Newport Group, it seemed he was home less than he had been when he was a lawyer. And Kirsten was starting to feel cagey, staying at home most of the time. Being in rehab was the longest amount of time she'd taken off work, ever, and now she'd been out for a while, and was feeling less fragile, she needed something to occupy her. Long days spent weeding the garden, cooking, and talking to Julie about their match-making company weren't enough to keep her mind, used to challenging financial and architectural problems, busy.
Streaks of dawn were beginning to make their way across the sky, forming arcs across the ocean. Kirsten sipped the last of her coffee, started putting out breakfast things for the boys. She got out two cups, started more coffee percolating. The sky had brightened considerably, darkness descending to the other side of the globe, chased away by the orange hues of the sun.
Kirsten checked her watch; almost six. Sandy would nearly be waking up, if he was going to surf today. Ryan, freed from college by a study week, would probably be up by seven, if not later. Seth wasn't so lucky, and was still away at college, although he'd promised them he'd be home in a few weeks for a visit.
Another day would start. Sandy and Ryan would leave, and Kirsten would be left alone to deal with the long stretch of hours in between their departure and arrival back.
"Morning." Sandy came out, wearing board shorts and a hooded sweater.
"Hey," Kirsten replied, staying seated at the table. Sandy gave her a kiss on the head before walking over to pour himself a coffee. The silence between them yawned like a chasm. Kirsten wondered if Sandy could feel it, the stilted conversation left unsaid.
"I heard they were predicting five footers." Kirsten broke the silence, landed on a safe topic. As little as a year ago, Sandy would have asked her why she was up so early, if she had a bad dream, if she needed to talk about it.
"I live in hope, honey." Another kiss on her forehead, and he was gone. The room didn't feel any emptier than when he was here. Kirsten sighed, walked outside to get the newspaper. She'd read enough novels to last her a lifetime in rehab; even the smell of books reminded her of that place. While she knew it had probably saved her marriage, and her relationship with everyone around her, she wasn't sure that her marriage wouldn't fail anyway, or that she'd find some way to let Ryan, Seth or Hailey down without the help of alcohol.
Seated back at the kitchen table, a fresh coffee in front of her wafting its familiar smell, Kirsten turned to the financial section of the newspaper. She wasn't yet out of the habit of checking the market, looking at stock prices, seeing how well the development sector was going. She read the financial report before flipping to the advertisement section. People were selling used cars, wedding gifts given before the wedding was called off, grand pianos that were 'barely out of tune' and secrets to weight loss. Kirsten sighed, turned to the next page. Courses for architecture, psychology, typing and drawing were available. Kirsten had vaguely considered taking a painting class, remembering everything she'd forgotten since Berkeley and now, but hadn't wanted the reminder. She didn't want to be recalling moments when she'd been infinitely happier, when she and Sandy had been truly in love, when her dad had still been alive.
A small note in the lower right hand corner of the newspaper caught her eye before she could turn the page.
'Cello lessons, no experience nec. Cello provided.' Kirsten thought about it. She'd been taught piano when she was younger, but had resented the weights her teacher had made her put on her hands to keep them straight, the scales she'd had to practice endlessly and the lack of progress she felt she was making. But a cello would be different. She and Sandy had once been invited to a small musician's get-together when they were at Berkeley. There'd been everything, from bass guitars to piccolos. Kirsten could still remember the classical group. The cello player had been nothing special to look at, just a black haired member of a band- until her solo came up. Ragged, purple fingernails had caressed the strings, and the music had sent a shiver through Kirsten. Even now, sitting in the hollow morning stillness of the kitchen, Kirsten felt that same shiver run through her, remembered the haunting melody as perfectly as if were playing next to her. Ryan came into the kitchen then, heading straight for the coffee pot.
"Morning," Kirsten offered. He smiled, replied, drank enough caffeine to warrant a refill.
"Any big plans today?" Kirsten asked. Ryan shrugged.
"Maybe head out to see Marissa. She's back as well. Then I've got some study to do this afternoon."
"Hmm." Kirsten was still considering the cello ad. She wondered if it would be as hard as she'd heard violin was; no frets and only finger spacing and your own sense of tone to work out where notes were.
"You?" Ryan asked. Kirsten looked up, surprised someone was asking her something. She'd felt like she was trapped in a bubble lately, looking out with no one looking in.
"Oh, nothing. I think we need groceries." Kirsten nodded to herself, looked back down at the paper. She memorised the address before flipping it shut and handing it to Ryan. He settled himself at the breakfast bar and started spreading each section out to peruse. Kirsten left him to it, and took her coffee back to the bedroom. She had a quick shower before pulling on a pair of jeans and a grey Versace shirt she'd found on a recent clean out of her cupboard that Sandy watched her do, wary of hidden bottles. Kirsten grabbed her black handbag and made sure her purse was inside. She grabbed her phone off the charger and called a goodbye to Ryan as she left. His reply echoed after her out the door and Kirsten sighed as she was greeted by the cool morning air. The fog was lifting, a sure sign of the heat the day would bring. Sandy wasn't yet back, and Kirsten checked her watch. She'd probably miss him by fifteen minutes. Not that it mattered. They wouldn't have anything to say to each other.
Throwing her handbag in beside her, Kirsten drove out the drive, mentally running through a checklist of what she knew they needed. Now that Ryan and Seth weren't really around, she found she needed to shop so much less. While Ryan was home for a few days, things had started disappearing at a rapid rate again.
Kirsten pulled in at a shopping centre she liked and joined busy professionals in their race to shop before work started. Once, that would have been her. Now she had nothing but a few cooking books and an empty kitchen to come home to.
Kirsten waited at the checkout, killing time by flicking through trashy magazines. Paid and out the door, Kirsten checked her watch to find it was almost nine. Ever since she'd started cooking it had opened up a whole new world for her in the supermarket. Instead of rushing through isles where cooking items reigned, she would stop to read labels with recipe suggestions before putting back the item she was holding and realising she was turning into her mother. Not that that was a bad thing, but the paradox was becoming more pronounced; both could cook a great soufflé that wouldn't sink in the middle, both were alcoholics… Kirsten wondered vaguely about Sandy fathering another child before pushing the thought aside. There'd been enough accusations flying around when Rebecca had shown up, and later, with Carter. She wasn't going to add to it just because her own father had decided one woman wasn't enough.
After loading everything into the car, Kirsten checked her watch again. The cello place said it was open from nine. She figured, in the time it would take to find it, as well as a parking spot, she'd be right on time.
Please review. And if you liked this (couldn't resist the selfless plug), consider reading some of my other fics, if you haven't already! Most of them don't get onto the main pages of since they're usually rated for adult eyes only…