Ramblings of a Crazy Kat Lady-T, K/P, Future Fic
Summary: Kat and Patrick parted on bad terms. 15 years pass before they cross paths again. Find out what happens through the adult eyes of Kat and Patrick.
Written under the influence of The Damned, Maximo Park, Yo La Tengo, and The Weepies.
Chapter 1: Retrograde
I remember the night of the fire like it was yesterday. Literal and figurative sparks flew, and for one perfect moment, two bodies swimming with hormones became one. Years have passed, and the embers of that kiss still scorch my memories.
It would be easy to lie and say he barely scrapes my consciousness, but not a day goes by that I don't see or hear him in some form.
You see, Patrick Verona and his gang of village idiots from the auto shop became a band, and not just any band. No, the Grease Monkeys are the epitome of cool, with the hot, angst-ridden boy turned rock god in the perfect, sculpted package, flanked by Brad and Luis, his goofy sidekicks, and the requisite, short peroxide blonde chick on bass (Berklee graduate, no lie). Coupling solid chops with evocative, intelligent lyrics and the swoon of Patrick's smoked velvet vocals, they appeal to every demographic from the famously fickle preteens to dyed in the wool hippies.
They started small, playing up and down the Left Coast while I toiled away at Brown and emerging as the Wilco of our generation, garnering heaps of critical praise while they grew their fan base, using the Internet as a viral marketing tool that worked to their advantage. Rather than sign their lives away to a major label, they followed the Ani DiFranco route and formed their own imprint, which now boasted a growing roster of happening young artists.
And Verona pushed the envelope even further by adding author to his creative arsenal, starting with a witty treatise of life on the road and finishing with some gritty urban fantasy that had all the Twilighters twittering away at light speed.
From where I sit in my sparsely furnished crib, surrounded by three of five littermates (Curly, Larry, Moe, Flo, and Joe), the man is the epitome of success, filling his life with every sort of excess and living to tell about it the next day. From all the 'hos to the models that decorate his arm, Patrick is never without a companion or a crack pipe (if you believe the tabloids).
As for me, I became a professional student, following up my English Lit degree with a bachelor's degree and master's degree in photography from RISD. My studies were punctuated by stints as a freelancer, which brought in enough dosh to keep my Dad off my back. Eventually they kicked my butt onto the street and I was forced to earn a living. And I have to say, I've been rather lucky in that regard. One of my instructors introduced me to someone at Nat Geo, and now they offer me far flung assignments that take me from the barren steppes of Mongolia to the burning sands of Africa. When I'm not risking life and limb to get the shot, I am inveigling myself with the movers and shakers of the indie rock world. My photos have graced the covers of Spin, Paste, and Rolling Stone and smaller indie rags that pay nothing but a free subscription and the cachet of appearing in a hip 'zine.
My life is never boring, but I've chosen a solitary path that rarely intersects with anything approaching commitment. There was one person, an amazing girl, who forced me to acknowledge my latent bisexuality, and from that point forward, I had fun on both sides of the fence.
And so it was that I received a phone call that would change my life. It was my booking agent, who called several times a week with potential assignments. "This one is a doozy," Sheryl admitted. "The editor of Pitchfork requested a photo essay on the Grease Monkeys."
I sat up so abruptly that the kittens scattered in all directions. "What?"
"Seems that the lead singer requested you personally."
The unpleasant tickle of oh shit and no way threatened to burst from my throat, but all I said was, "When do I start?"
This is the good life. Girls, booze, drugs, hot cars, buckets of cash, and homes in Tuscany and the Cote d'Azur.
The American Dream.
Too bad I think it's a sham.
My Aunt Rachel raised me to think for myself and reject the status quo if it reeked. She's my biggest fan, and has been my personal manager for 15 years. There is no one I trust more, and my life has gotten so complicated that she's hired someone to run our family's book store while she watches my back.
My band is my life, and its members are my friends...to a point. I let them see only what I want them to see.
As for the rest, only one person has ever penetrated my armor, and I was the fool who gave her an ultimatum.
That day was never far from my mind, because I had fucked it up big time.
That day had started with a make-out session that ended in an afternoon of mind-blowing sex. The girl did things to me that made me weak in the knees, and even thinking of her turned parts of me into granite.
There we were, tangled and sweaty in the hammock behind my house, not caring who saw us in the blissful aftermath. One of my legs dangled over the edge of the hammock as she lay sprawled across me. One hand stroked through the mat of hair on my chest while the other trailed a bit lower. My mouth was busy nibbling on her neck, hoping to spark another round of lovemaking.
Kat made a sound in her throat and nuzzled my nose with hers. "We need to talk."
Talking was the last thing I wanted to do right now. I parted her legs with one hand and distracted her for a second with an expert twirl of my fingers.
She gasped out a laugh. "Patrick, I'm serious."
"Of course you are." My fingers slid inside her and I was gratified by her moan.
She wrapped her legs around me and I lifted her in my arms, pushing her against the tree and thrusting inside her in one fell swoop. The sex was messy, wild, and hard-driving. When we finished for the third time on the grass behind the tree, I was finally sated. "You have to make a choice."
Her letter of acceptance to Brown had arrived last week and she needed to reply. When she brought the subject up, obviously expecting my heartfelt congratulations, I'd shut her down. Every time we tried to make headway on the issue, we started butting heads.
Why I chose that perfect moment to pick at an open wound is something I still can't fathom.
"You can go to Brown, or you can stay with me."
"What"? She had laughed, thinking I was kidding. Unwinding herself from my embrace, she had stretched with all the feline grace that defined her. My body tightened as she raised her arms over her head, well aware what the sight did to me.
"You can't have it both ways, Kat."
"Sure I can. Come with me."
That wasn't an option. As the man of the house, I felt responsible for my Aunt, who had been recently diagnosed with lupus.
Kat frowned when I shook my head. "Not going to happen."
"OK, so we can try the long distance thing."
I continued to shake my head. "That never works out, and you know it."
She looked down at her feet before collecting her clothes. "Why don't we talk about this later?"
There was no point. We were both stubborn, and would go round and round without finding a resolution. "There is no later," I said coolly.
"What do you mean?"
I had to let her go. "We should make a clean break, before this gets ugly."
"Break?" Kat looked ready to shatter, and I forced myself to turn my back as she got dressed.
"Goodbye, Kat," I said with finality, ignoring the shaft of pain that fisted around my heart.
Even all these years later, my selfishness and cruelty still floors me. Rachel had warned me repeatedly not to do this, and I had ignored her advice. The immature boy that I was wanted Kat to put me at #1 and push aside her life long dream to attend Brown. I couldn't possibly understand that back then, because education meant nothing to me.
It took five years of therapy, self-medication, and tortured lyrics to realize I had loved her. And any savvy fan that followed my work knew that most of my songs were about one person, even if I never uttered her name or refused to discuss it with the media.
Even therapy couldn't cure my obsession, which I could never shake. I followed Kat's life with the fevered intensity of a religious zealot. Every accomplishment, indeed, every last photo that she'd submitted for publication was plastered to a wall in my office. When she came out of the closet after getting caught on film with one rather lush young woman, I was mildly shocked but felt it only enhanced her sultry edge. And I was well aware of her proclivity for musicians and the circus that always surrounded us. Not only was she photographing all the hot, young indie bands, she was engaging with them on a level which made me green with envy. I am rather certain she followed my music as well, but never once did I see her face at any of our shows. And believe me, I look for her...to this day. Knowing how active she was in the Boston-Providence-New York music scene, I am sure her avoidance was deliberate.
So that is how I found myself returning my publicist's phone call to discuss the photo essay request from Pitchfork Media. They had skewered us in the past, but seemed impressed with our latest bunch of tunes. "I'll do it, with one caveat."
"I get to choose the photographer."
"No problem. Give me the person's name and I'll make the arrangements."
"No," I demurred. "I want to handle this myself."
Leslie reminded me that I was paying her X amount of dollars and should leave these things to her.
"I'll meet on her turf. Rowe's Wharf, 7 PM sharp."
"Can you be more specific?" Leslie knew it comprised a fairly large area.
"Don't worry. I'll find her."