Where Have You Been All My life?
AU Dick and Kory
Together since college, Kory Ander's heart was broken when she found out her fiancé was cheating on her the day of her wedding. Kory takes the two weeks that should have been her honeymoon to do some soul searching and rethink her life. Will an encounter with a gorgeous former playboy Dick Grayson change both of their lives?
My name is Kory Ander and I called off my wedding right before the ceremony was to begin when I found out my fiancé Phil Karras was cheating on me. How did I find out? Well, as fate would have it, I had grabbed his iPhone instead of my own as I rushed out of my little Cape Cod on the way to get my make up and hair done that Saturday morning. Trying to draw out the suspense of seeing myself, I started looking at what I thought was my phone as the stylist pinned on my mantilla. The text said, "I can't believe you're going to be gone so long Karras. Last night was incredible, but then again it always is. Can't wait until we can be alone together again! Love, Taryia"
The next thing I heard was "What happened?" I was on the floor of the salon having actually fainted.
"She's waking up. Kory? Are you okay?"
No. I took a couple of deep breaths through my mouth, something we always tell our patients to do when they feel faint. Angela helped me to my feet. She was a good confidant - she had done my hair since I was a teenager.
Finally I managed in a voice so unsteady it couldn't be my own, "Karras is cheating on me, look." Yeah, he prefers to be called by his last name. I handed Angela my phone.
"Oh God Kory. What are you going to do?"
"I only know what I'm not going to do. I am not going to get married today."
The little bar and restaurant was dark in spite of the midsummer evening sun, but it fit my mood just fine. Even in the July heat and humidity of Maryland's Western shore, the only place to get a cooked meal in this tiny town was only about one-fourth the way filled on this Thursday night. I had taken a table in the back corner, hiding in plain sight. Not that I expected to see anyone I knew. It had been almost five years since my grandmother passed away and I had stopped being a regular visitor to St. Leonard a few years before that when medical school got in the way.
Before checking into the cabin I'd rented, I drove up to the house that I would visit for at least four to six weeks out of every summer from my the time I was about three years old until my early 20's. Waves of nostalgia hit me – there were so many memories. The house really didn't look any different, still with its white siding accented by hunter green shutters, the screened in porch where my sisters and all my cousins and I would eat, and the rope hammock between two hemlock trees.
Grandma would have known what to say to make this whole mess better. She was a no nonsense woman who had lived a full life and buried three husbands. She was always dressed to the nines and even in her later years she was always just so elegant. My mother is nothing like her. I remember hearing the old saying that what brought a granddaughter and her maternal grandmother together was a common enemy. I think that was written about my mother.
My mother was hardly horrible, its just that once I hit my teens, she really didn't pay any attention to me any more. Maybe it was because I was the youngest of three girls. Maybe it was because of my parent's careers: they were in their 30's when we were born so by the time I was a teen, she was just done. Or maybe it was because that's when Dad's drinking got out of control and she was too busy with her career and enabling him to worry about me. Of course I didn't know that was going on until five or so years into his problem. Mother was a very good enabler.
When Dad finally got sober, in a way Mother was worse. I think when her role of enabler was no longer needed, she lost her way for a bit. But more about that later...
The corner table was a bit too dark to comfortably read so I poked at my food. I had been doing a lot of picking at my food the last few days. Maybe one upshot of all the stress of being cheated on and canceling my wedding was going to be a little weight loss.
I decided to try to look like I was reading, but ended up sneaking glances at an attractive man I'd noticed at the large bar height table next to my table. He appeared to be about five years older than me, perhaps in his early to mid-30's. Trying not to look obvious, I tried to get a good look at him. His hair was black and a bit unruly. At first I thought he was stocky, but when I watched go up to the bar for a refill on his beer, I realized his broad, muscular shoulders were accompanied by quite a trim physique. I figured he might be on the short side, but call me different, I actually find that attractive.
I guess he caught me looking at him. Then I realized he was coming over.
"Hi," he said with a friendly, lopsided grin, "how are you?" People sure are outgoing in small towns.
"Fine, thank you. And you?" I managed, finding myself mesmerized by his blue eyes, trying to smile. I hadn't smiled for days now, so I hoped I still knew how.
"I'm fine, waiting for some friends though. Guess they're running late so I thought I'd say 'hi'." He paused a moment and then added, "You have the most beautiful green eyes I've ever seen."
Well if that was just a line then he was smooth, real smooth because it certainly sounded sincere.
"Thank you. Some people tell me they make me look like an alien." My eyes were an unusual color of green with a navy blue ring that encircled the iris. Karras said that my eyes glowed oddly at times and even had convinced me to try blue and then brown colored contacts. I never found myself looking back at me in the mirror when I had them on and finally hid both pairs in the back of a drawer.
"Who would tell you that? They're gorgeous." His sincere tone turned lighter. "Or are you one of those women who can't take a compliment?"
Now that had me blushing. To be able to take a compliment, you have to get in some practice. Did I really want to tell this handsome stranger that the person who told me my eyes weren't 'normal' was the man I had been with since I was 20, the man I had been set to marry only five days prior?
"Let me try this again. Thank you for the lovely compliment." I took the time to consider his face. He was a very nice looking man, and talk about eyes, it was tough to tell in that light but were those truly royal blue? "Now your eyes, they're something else. I don't think I've ever seen eyes quite so... blue."
He smiled and chuckled. "Thank you. Are we going to compliment each other all evening about our appearances? Because if we are, its going to take awhile. Well, at least for me."
I scoffed reflexively. Karras rarely found anything to compliment me about and my mother... well never mind.
"You can't take a compliment can you?" He sounded amused. "Odd, you must get them all the time. I'm Dick by the way, Dick Grayson."
Oh this guy is good. Dick, huh? Did anyone in our generation even use that nickname?
"I'm Kory Ander." I extended my hand and received a firm handshake. I hate it when men shake your hand as though it might break.
"So what brings you to this thriving metropolis?" Dick's eyes twinkled at his outlandish description of the two traffic light 'town' on Route 4.
What do I tell the guy? I found out the day of my wedding that my fiancé was cheating on me so I took the first two week block of time off I'd had in almost 8 years to be alone and figure out what to do with the rest of my life?
"Just a bit of a retreat," I said, which was essentially true. I tried to sound casual, "I love this area. I used to come here when I was younger."
"Really? Me too. Well not the retreat part. I used to come here as a kid but I'm actually throwing a stag weekend for a friend of mine. I thought it might be fun to have it down here."
Stag weekend. Wonder if the groom-to-be will remain faithful to his poor fianceé this weekend.
"Did I say something wrong?" he asked me gently. I guess my face had fallen a bit.
"Sorry." I tried to smile. This handsome man was a fantastic diversion so I tried to keep the conversation going. "How do you know the groom?"
"He's marrying my cousin Donna who's one of my closest friends. Somehow I ended up as Best Man. The groom's brothers are a bit, uh, crude for lack of a better term and I guess I was a safer bet."
I smiled at him. He seemed so nice, genuine, and caring. Why hadn't I come across a guy like him in college?
My reverie was broken by a very booming voice.
"Dick! There you are! Do you have any idea how hard it was to find this place?"
I looked over to see two men, easily in their mid-forties and not at the peak of fitness, one with light brown curly hair, the other with blond hair that had to be dyed.
Dick made no movement toward them, only turning his head, "Jerry, Barry. Glad you could make it." Dick did not sound happy that they had arrived but the look on the two's faces indicated they were either used to such a reaction or oblivious. "Where's Terry?"
"Our brother is on his way. Got caught up in office hours. Why be a teacher and teach summer school? Isn't the point to get the summer off?"
Brothers? And they were named Barry, Jerry and Terry? That's just... wrong.
The other brother spoke up, "Hey Dick, wow, you hired a stripper too?"
I was still registering what the brother had said as I watched Dick's eyes widen in shock and then narrow, "Barry! This young lady is not a stripper!"
"Well she'd make a mighty fine one," I guess it was Jerry who spoke now.
Ew. Any help Dick had given me with my ego had easily been erased.
"Jerry, Barry! That was uncalled for." He turned to me, "I'm sorry about that." He leaned in closer and at almost a whisper added, "See why Donna's fiancé chose me as Best Man?"
I nodded, hurt more than I should be, but then again my body was a sensitive issue with me. I have a rather large chest. I mean not freakishly large, usually a DD cup would fit, but not how my mother and sisters are built. When I started to develop my parents would not allow me to wear any of the cute little fashions my two sisters could. Mother always said, 'Kom got the brains, Ryan (she goes by her middle name – with a first name of Murial can you blame her?) got the looks and I got the body'. But that gave me mixed signals. I grew ashamed of my body and for the longest time continued to dress to hide it. Karras wasn't much better. He would always say I looked matronly and I guess with the way I dressed when I was younger I did.
Dick hadn't bothered to look back at them but rather searched my face. He was looking at me, really looking at me, and I felt the heat in my cheeks to intensify.
Realizing the last thing said warranted a response I said, "Yes, Donna's fiancé definitely made a good choice."
The brothers were at Dick's side now. Whoopee.
"Guys, I'll meet you over at that table in a couple minutes," Dick said, gesturing at the long table where his keys and cell phone lay.
"Don't be rude Dick," Barry admonished, "who's your friend here?"
"Rude?! Hardly! You don't deserve an introduction to this beautiful young lady."
Beautiful? I shot Dick a smile of gratitude but extended my hand to the offensive creature, "Dr. Kory Ander."
Barry gave me one of the wimpiest handshakes ever.
"Doctor, huh? As in doctor doctor, or are you one of those fake doctors like our brother Terry the professor."
Yeah, what a winner this one was. "If you mean Medical Doctor, why yes I am a 'doctor doctor'"
"Kory Ander, like coriander?" Jerry asked.
Like I've never heard that one before. Of course my eldest sister is stuck with Kom Ander: 'commander'. My parents thought they were being so clever, but at least we weren't Barry, Jerry and Terry.
"If you'd prefer, I'll answer to cilantro," I deadpanned. As I said, I've heard it before.
Dick chuckled and gave me a wink. My heart began to pound. Boy was I attracted to him.
"Barry, Jerry just go. Why don't you see if they sell pitchers?"
Dick's authoritative tone had gotten the brothers moving. They were half way to the bar when Jerry turned back and shouted louder than was necessary, "Hey Romeo, nice to see you flirting with a bird again, a cute one too. Hopefully you haven't lost your touch with the ladies."
'Bird', what now, this guy is British? And wait, is he implying Dick's a bit of a playboy?
Dick frowned, "Sorry about them. Again."
Just then I heard chants of "Terry! Terry!" from Barry and Jerry. The bridegroom had arrived. He had red curly hair and a neatly kept beard and appeared younger and fitter than his two brothers.
Dick had turned away from me at the commotion and then looked back, appearing disappointed, "The groom has arrived. I guess I better join the party. Where are you staying?"
Scenes from any number of horror movies popped in my head. Did I want him to know where I was staying? Well, at this point my life was messed up enough that a slasher film-type ending would almost be poetic.
"At the cabins," I responded in a cautious tone. If he had ever been here before, he'd know where I was talking about. Plus they were only a few hundred yards away.
His face lit up with the news. Oh boy, what have I done?
"So are we! Which cabin are you in?"
Somewhere I am sure there were alarms going off alternating with red flags. Oh, what the hell, "21."
"I'm in 17. Maybe I'll run into you again later?"
Wow, that was... disappointing. I was rather hoping he'd be knocking on my door... Am I honestly thinking about that? Shouldn't I swear off men for a while?
"Hope so," I managed.
He gave the briefest of frowns before smiling again. He leaned in an placed a kiss on my cheek and gave me one of those adorable winks. "Don't worry, we will."
Hello readers! So here is a different AU Richard and Kory story. This wasn't going to be my next story and I hope I can balance this with 'Double Take' and 'June Fete', but the story was writing itself. Never wrote in first person before, hopefully it'll work.
Do you recognize the brothers? In the comics, Terry Long was a college history professor (and normal human) that married Donna Troy (Wonder Girl, Troia). He had two very obnoxious brothers Barry and Jerry who just drooled all over Kory Anders (Starfire who was Donna's roommate and best friend). The bachelor party they had was disturbing.
Karras of Kalaplatt was the Tamaranian that married Starfire in the comics to unite the people of Tamaran. Just as she was in love with Dick Grayson/Nightwing, Karras was in love with Taryia.
Coriander is an herb that is also known as Chinese parsley and here in the Americas as cilantro.
Please review! All feedback is appreciated!