"Mm-hmm," she nodded. "Yes. … Oh, hold on a sec," Kate said, kicking off her high heeled pumps and carrying them in one arm as she instinctively took Harvey's again with the other. The two of them continued walking like that; she on bare feet. "That's better," she sighed.
"I think you're my kind of girl," Harvey laughed, producing another smile upon her lips again. Kate and he walked along in quiescence, just enjoying each other's presence, taking in the fresh London air provided by the large green trees rising up on each side of them. "Why don't you ask me those questions?" He suddenly suggested after a few reserved moments from either one of them.
"Which ones?" She wondered.
"You know, at the airport when I boarded."
"Oh, the questionnaire?" Kate recalled.
"Ah, okay," Kate said, momentarily finding herself a bit taken aback by this rather odd turn in their conversation. "Name?"
"Place of residence?"
"I'm in transition."
Kate smiled, looking up at him briefly, before gently leaning her heavy head on his shoulder as they slowly continued walking through London together; much like a long married pair that had known each other for nearly all their lives and had fallen in love somewhere along the years.
In fact, this odd pair had only met one another a few days back; but even though always rational Kate often enough claimed that Harvey and she didn't know a thing about each other, they did. Actually, in more ways than one, it sometimes felt like the two of them had known each other for a life time.
And still, deep inside, Kate couldn't help but worry about how this was all going to work. Harvey, however, seemed to be pretty confident about their relationship, and he seemed to brush it off on her now, too. Harvey was very good at making her thoughts drift off of pondering in one way or another.
Kate had been hurt one too many times in the past. Too many guys had only cared to go with her because of her loveliness, and perhaps because of her credulity. None of them had ever seemed to really care about anything else but her appearance; not her feelings or thoughts… not her hopes or wishes.
As a result of that, she had come to find herself in a position where she would run whenever things started to get complicated… before things could start to get intense enough to gain that capacity of hurting her. She would go take the easy way, because it would most likely be the less painful one as well.
However, in this case she couldn't quite tell whether him going back would have saved her that much pain inside. She hadn't allowed herself to think about how she would feel if Harvey went back home to America. Watching Harvey go, would have stirred her pretty much up in either circumstances, whether after a relationship of unknown time or now. However, he had promised her that it would work, and, oddly enough, she had no trouble believing him; even though a lot of things went through her mind at once at that moment.
Things had already been complicated for them from the first day, yet something invisible and undetectable, but powerful seemed to connect the two of them. They had something very strange together; their major differences perhaps gluing them to each other.
"Where are we actually going?"
"I honestly have no idea," she simply answered him with a smile, briefly looking up at him again and noticing him smiling brightly as well. He sure was one of a kind.
Then, without warning, he suddenly picked her up as if she was only light as a feather, making her shriek with surprise. "I don't want your feet to get more dirty than already is the case, while we are just senselessly walking around with no idea where to go. I thought I could perhaps save your feet until we at least have a destination," he said, continuing to walk through London with a smile on his lips and Kate being happy in his arms.
She smiled. "Would you put me down, you old fool. I'm way too heavy."
"No, you're not."
"I am," Kate argued, then sighed. "Although I don't think arguing really helps with you. Anyways… So where are we going now then, since you have just heisted my ability to use my feet, too?"
"I honestly have no idea," he answered, trying to sound like her.
She laughed out loud this time. "What would you think about having a cup of coffee, tea or something else at my place, Mr. Shine?"
"Is that an undisguised invitation, Kate Walker?"
"I believe so," she smiled. "You are going to have to put me down then, though… otherwise I'm afraid you won't be having soles under your shoes anymore by the time we get there."
He smiled, carefully putting her down on the pavement again. She carelessly threw her high heeled black pumps in front of her, smoothly putting her feet into them, before taking his arm again as they walked into the direction of Willesden Green together.
"Excuse me," Kate whispered, immediately after shutting the dark blue front door behind them. She quickly shed herself from her coat, cuing Harvey in doing the same, and hung it at the peg with her handbag. "Please find yourself a seat while I just run upstairs to change into something else than this utterly uncomfortable working suit," she said, gesturing towards the living room. Without giving him any chance to put something in between, Kate had taken off towards the stairs.
Once upstairs, she burst into her bedroom, immediately going for the wardrobe. She threw open its massive doors, and let her eyes go over its contents meticulously, searching for a dark brown skirt which she had always liked but never wore much because she thought she shouldn't wear it anymore at her age, and her favorite dark green V-neck top. She had found it almost immediately, laying at the top of the pile. The skirt, however… She hastily browsed through the hangers with clothes with one hand while holding her top with the other, finally noticing something of the same brown material as she was looking for during the second round. Kate threw both items carelessly on the bed before roughly closing her wardrobe again, balancing against it with one hand while taking off her high heeled shoes with the other. Gosh I'm acting like a teenage girl, she thought.
Kate continued to strip herself from her clothes in the same haste, throwing them somewhere on the dark wooden floor of the bedroom. She turned around to pick up the skirt, getting herself into it and pulling it further upwards to zip it up, right when the door suddenly opened behind her to reveal Harvey. She hadn't heard him come up the stairs.
She gasped, and turned to look at him in shock. He wasn't looking at her, though, for he had immediately shut his eyes and clasped a hand over them when realizing that this must have been the bedroom, and not the bathroom. She relaxed almost immediately again, and even allowed a small smile to creep up on her lips. "I'm sorry, I was looking for the bathroom," he said, honestly, free hand stretched in front of him to prevent himself from hitting anything, not truly directing his attention to Kate herself, but something more to the right of where she stood.
"It's right across the hallway," Kate told him, smiling at the sight, while slowly taking her all time favorite top, pulling it over her head and down.
"Right. Thank you," he said, accidentally knocking his forehead against the doorway while turning around to leave her room. Kate couldn't help but chuckle, watching him with arms crossed.
Her sky blue eyes followed him as he slowly walked forwards, trying not to hit anything again, quietly closing her bedroom door. She smiled, slowly shaking her head, before turning her attention towards the pieces of scattered clothes on the floor. She slowly gathered them one by one, before leaving her bedroom, walking down the stairs and turning left, blindly taking the door behind the stairs into the garage, where the washing and drying machine stood and where she usually did the ironing. She switched on the light, and carelessly dumped the clothes into the empty laundry basket with things to wash before turning back around, switching off the light and leaving the garage, neatly closing the door behind her.
Kate had never learned how to drive, resulting positively in being able to use her garage as a laundry and supply room. A small freezer was kept there as well. Kate's average terraced house wasn't provided with a cellar.
She could hear the sound of footsteps on the stairs as she walked back into the high ceiled hallway. She smiled up at Harvey, privately rolling her eyes, when suddenly that all too familiar ring tone filled their ears. Kate smiled more apologetically now, walking over towards the peg to search through her handbag for the angrily buzzing thing. Harvey stood at the foot of the stairs.
"Hello Mum. Yes. No, I'm at home. No, I'm fine. I was actually hoping to have a quiet night. No Mum, please don't be like that… Mum? Mum?"
Kate sighed, looking down at the screen to confirm that her always-so-easily-upset-mother had already ended the connection before she had been given a chance to say more. She looked up at Harvey with her sky blue eyes, phone still in hand. "I didn't get much of an opportunity to explain, did I?"
"Here," Kate whispered, handing him a washcloth with ice cubes. "That should make the swelling go down. Just keep it on your head for a little while," she added, putting down a mug of steaming hot tea on the small, low table in front of him.
"That's cold!" Harvey complained, lowering the ice almost immediately.
"It's supposed to be," Kate said, clasping her hand over his to keep the ice in place. He looked into her eyes, capturing them, trying to see through them, but that appeared impossible. Kate started blushing, and withdrew her hand calmly, going into the kitchen to get herself a cup of tea as well. She hadn't been able to carry the ice and both mugs.
She returned soon with a pink and black dotted mug in her hands; damping with the warm, sweet liquid that it contained. She sat herself down on the couch next to him, allowing the steaming and ugly mug to warm her hands. She curled her legs up under herself, fixing her attention on the odd purple lamp sitting on the closet right next to her old television.
It must have been one of the first color televisions, Kate sometimes thought by herself. It had been her mother's. She had won one last year with a local lottery thing, leaving her with two working televisions. Kate hadn't had a television up until then, so Maggie had given the old one to her daughter, keeping the new one. Kate didn't watch much television. She preferred reading at all times.
From the corners of her eyes, Kate noticed him lowering the ice cubes again. She reached for it with one hand, keeping it on the right side of his head. Harvey simply lowered his hand further down, so that she was the only one still holding the ice. He smiled at her crookedly. "Harvey Shine, I'm not going to keep holding that!" She protested.
"I'm not telling you that you should."
"Hold it there, or I'm going to get you a huge white bandage and strap these ice cubes to your head with it!" He didn't make any movement to go and hold the washcloth again. Thus, Kate slowly released the ice, dropping it next to him, and moved forward to set her mug down next to his on the table. She got up, but then Harvey's arm reached around her middle and pulled her down on his lap to prevent her from getting that large white bandage she had threatened him with.
Kate slowly turned on his lap to look at him. She suddenly felt very nervous, something in her abdomen either contracting or exploding. She couldn't quite decide, but she felt like a teenage girl again, as Harvey leaned forward to kiss her.
This time, it wasn't merely a brush of lips. His lips moved against hers slowly, slightly opening to capture her lips between his, repeating this movement a few times. Kate joined in, opening and closing her mouth at the same, slowly kissing his upper lip, while he settled on kissing her lower. The touch only started hesitantly and gently, then gradually became more passionately. Kate broke apart from him, looking into his eyes briefly. He smiled again, as she slowly returned in her previous position, sitting on his right on the comfortable dirty brown couch.
"Kate?" Harvey wondered, picking up the ice cubes and holding them to his head again.
He slowly turned his upper body to be able to look at her with meaningful eyes. She could see that he was contemplating about something, opening his mouth a few times without speaking. He lowered the ice cubes again, leaning forward to place them on the table, where no more attention would be paid to them anymore from that moment. He picked up his mug and took a sip of the warm tea, that had now cooled down enough to drink. Kate leaned forward and instinctively followed his example. She, however, kept on holding her mug while he moved to put his down again. She looked at him briefly, waiting for him to speak. He vaguely noticed the movement, then asked, "If you were given the chance of being pregnant again and carry and then have the child, would you take it?"
She looked at him over the rim of her mug, swallowed the sweet liquid down her throat, and quietly planted her mug down on the table again. The tea suddenly seemed to taste more bitter than it had before. In fact, she couldn't quite at all taste anything sweet in it anymore. Her lips uncontrollably quivered as she tried to compose herself enough to answer. She bit down on her lower lip to keep it from trembling more. She didn't quite understand why she had told him about the pregnancy in the first place. It was a very sensitive subject to her. "I'm… I'm…" she started, then took a deep breath. "I have become a bit too old to discover, haven't I?"
Harvey smiled. "No, you aren't. You are, what? Twenty-one?"
"Oh, don' t be silly, Harvey Shine," she smiled. He always managed to cheer her up, no matter what situation. She sighed. "I'm forty, going on forty-one. I'm long past twenty-one, believe me."
"Oh, and so you think that's old? I'm more than ten years older than you are. Then what am I? A fossil?" Harvey smiled. She chuckled, looking into his eyes for a brief instant, then tucking her head into his shoulder as they sat on the couch. She slowly closed her eyes, drifting into some kind of happy cloud with the scent of Harvey Shine's shirt in her nostrils.
Harvey's fingers slowly combed through her hair, eyes tracing every curve of her mouth and the rest of her. He wouldn't mind spending every evening for the rest of his life like this. He smiled. He could already tell that Kate and he were much better of a match than Jean and he would have ever been. "Are you asleep?" He asked, softly.
"No, I'm not," Kate whispered, not making any movement at all.
"Are you tired, then?"
"A bit," she admitted, now raising her head from his shoulder and looking at him with a small smile. She quietly leaned in to touch lips with Harvey, then pulled back before getting up and gathering both empty mugs and the washcloth with ice cubes, that by now had left a little puddle of water upon her table. She retreated into the kitchen, and returned with a kitchen towel, drying away the mess of the ice cubes.
Harvey's fingers slowly closed around her wrist when she moved past him to get back to the kitchen, making her look at him. "I really didn't see anything," he assured.
She smiled. "I believe you. Otherwise, I don't think you would have still been here. I'm sure you would have fled."
"I'm sure not," he whispered, kissing the top of her warm hand, then rose from the couch.
"Harvey, where are you going?" Kate asked in true surprise.
"It has turned quite late already. I should go back to the hotel."
She looked at him in disappointment. "Please... don't go," she whispered, lips lingering tantalizingly close to his as she did. She almost begged him with her clear blue eyes.
"My stuff–" "won't run," she interrupted. "There's always tomorrow."
He smiled. "And tomorrow is going to be the first day of the rest of our lives... together."
She nodded, smiling brighter than ever before.