A slight re-imagining and expansion of the end of episode 16, "Too Much Information".
Poetic license used. Suspend disbelief.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the idea. (If I did own this show, there would be several more seasons and don't even get me started with what I'd do to ABC Family, besides firing the idiot(s) who axed this show and promptly canceling the hideous 'Secret Life'.)
[- - - - - ]
"Why do you care so much?"
Kat took her eyes off the road to look at Patrick. He was looking at her with his usual scowl, the one he used for most people.
"Because what?" he asked exasperatedly.
She couldn't miss the suspicion on his face. She shifted her eyes back to the road, let out a small, aggravated sigh then went against her better judgment and revealed, "I just care about you, okay?"
She chanced another quick look at him. He was still staring at her, no change in his expression. Damn! Now I've done it. I've said too much. "God, I'm sorry. I'll stop."
She looked over at him. She saw something shift in his eyes. Kat reluctantly dragged her eyes back to the road. The silence was deafening for nearly a minute.
It was so soft she wasn't sure he'd actually said it. She shifted her eyes back to him, but he was staring straight ahead. Kat let out a soft sigh then turned her attention back to the traffic. Her brain was in overdrive, analyzing what had just happened, trying to figure out what every little nuance actually meant.
Patrick was having an internal conflict of his own. Finally he looked at her and said, "What do you want to know?"
Kat looked at him and saw he was serious. "Why are you in therapy?" she asked quietly.
Patrick looked straight ahead. "You were right. Sleep eating is from stress. Caused by my stepfather. He's a jackass."
Kat looked at him for a moment, filing this information away for later. She could tell that he wasn't in the mood to be pressed for details now so she simply smiled and said, "Thank you for telling me."
Patrick smiled back at her. Kat felt her heart thump in her chest. She loved the way his smile made her feel but the feminist voice in her head protested. Kat told her inner feminist to shut up. She flipped on the radio and settled back to enjoy the music and the small accomplishment of making a tiny crack in Patrick Verona's wall.
She nearly jumped when she felt his fingers twine with hers as her hand rested on the seat. She risked a glance at him, he was looking at her with a little smile on his face. She smiled back. He squeezed her hand and she felt her heart race again.
[- - - - - ]
All too soon Kat's Volvo pulled into the parking lot at Padua High. "You know, I really don't mind taking you all the way home," she said. She wasn't ready to let go of his hand or this time with him. She had realized this was a major step in their…relationship, or whatever they wanted to call it. Or not call it.
Patrick was still holding her hand. Patrick Verona did not hold girl's hands. He let them hang on him. Yet, here he was, not wanting to let go of Kat's. This girl who could drive him crazy in two seconds flat…I'm in so much trouble, was all he could think. "Thanks, but I'm planning to wait until later tonight to sneak in for some clothes and stuff."
"Where will you stay?"
Patrick looked out the window. He felt her give his hand a slight squeeze. "I don't know. Maybe Keith's."
Kat scoffed. "That's all you need to do, smoke weed all night and skip school tomorrow."
He looked back at her. "Aw, would you miss me?"
She scowled at him and rolled her eyes. She wanted to come back with one of her smart-ass remarks or lecture him about his permanent record but instead she said, "Of course I would." She quickly looked away, unwilling to meet his gaze. "I mean, now that Mandella's involved with Baby or...whoever, who'd sit around and make fun of all the mouth-breathers with me?"
Patrick watched her. He'd been expecting a tirade of some sort. A sarcastic reply was on the tip of his tongue, but he finally just shrugged and said, "It's better than the park."
Kat nodded and suddenly found something very interesting on her dashboard. She was acutely aware that he was still holding her hand. She was trying to figure out how to say what she wanted to without sacrificing her pride any more than she felt she already had.
"You have a better offer?" His deep voice broke into her thoughts.
Kat made up her mind, took a deep breath and said, "My window's always open." Did I just say that?
"Thanks, but your floor is harder than a park bench."
Kat tried to appear perfectly calm, but she felt like she was about to jump out of her skin. Why the hell am I so nervous? I'm just offering to help a friend. A male friend. Patrick. Without my dad's knowledge. Which is lying to him and I said I wouldn't do that. Kat shushed her inner voice again. "Maybe you wouldn't…have to sleep on the floor."
She surprised herself as much as him with that sentence.
Patrick raised his eyebrows in astonishment. Kat took a second to compose herself before meeting his eyes.
"Really?" he asked. She could hear the challenge behind the word.
"We won't be having sex so get that thought out of your head right now!" she replied, shooting him a sarcastic look. Patrick's smirk grew bigger as he noticed her nervously fiddling with her bracelets.
Patrick was completely amused by this complex creature before him. He could see right through her tough, feminist façade; he knew how much of an effect he was having on her so he couldn't resist cocking an eyebrow at her and saying, "You know you want me."
"Right! In your dreams!" Kat said a little too loud and too fast.
"Mm-hmm," he responded, smiling lazily at her.
Oh my god, he dreams about me? She cleared her throat then added, "I'm just worried about you sleepwalking into traffic. At least if you're with me I can keep an eye on you."
Patrick wanted to tease her so bad. He had the perfect comeback, guaranteed to infuriate her, but he leaned forward and kissed her instead. "Thanks," he said softly as he pulled back.
"You're welcome," she said a little breathlessly. She hated admitting, even to herself, that his kisses took her breath away. She realized she was smiling stupidly at him and pulled herself together. "So, what are you going to do for the next few hours?"
"Don't know," he shrugged.
"Well, you could come to my house. We could do our homework and have dinner."
"I don't think your dad would be too thrilled about that." Kat opened her mouth to respond, but Patrick cut her off. "Besides, I've got a lot of stuff to think about…I think I'll just walk around and try to figure things out."
"You know, you don't have to be alone…" she started.
Patrick smiled at her. "I know." Kat felt him squeeze her hand. He looked away quickly. Kat was the only person he'd opened up to, other than his therapist, but it wasn't the same and he knew it. And it kind of scared him.
Patrick suddenly dropped her hand and climbed out of the car. He crossed to her window and leaned down. "Later."
"Text me if you need anything," Kat said.
"The jackass confiscated my cell, too."
"So find a phone and call me."
"Your number is in my phone."
Kat pulled a pen from the ashtray then grabbed his arm and wrote her cell number on it. "There. Now you have my number."
Patrick leaned in and kissed her again. Kat felt her insides melting. She loved this feeling, but hated herself a little at the same time for being such a cliché and going weak in the knees from his kiss.
Patrick caressed her cheek and said, "See you later." He tugged on a lock of her hair and with a final smile, turned and strode off.
Kat sat there a few minutes watching him go. She finally shook herself out of her Patrick-coma and drove home.
[- - - - - ]
Kat was happy to see that Bianca and her father weren't home yet. She changed the sheets on her bed then made it carefully. She tidied up her room and was dusting her desk and rearranging some things, trying to decide if they were too embarrassing and should be put away when she stopped herself. "What am I doing? It's just Patrick. He's been here before," she said aloud. Kat stopped her fussing and made herself sit down and start her homework.
That lasted all of five minutes. She found herself distracted, her eyes constantly straying to her cell. Willing it to ring. Stop it, Kat! she scolded herself. Get a grip and concentrate! If your grades go down, no Brown. That seemed to do the trick to get her to focus on her school work.
Some time later Kat forced herself to sit through dinner with Walter and Bianca. Bianca baited her several times, but Kat didn't bite.
"Kat, what's wrong with you?" Walter finally asked his eldest daughter, who was being unusually quiet.
"Huh? Nothing. Why?"
"Well, you've hardly touched your dinner and Bianca just announced she was deleting your plant documentary so she could Tivo some valleys marathon…"
"It's 'The Hills', daddy," Bianca interjected, rolling her eyes.
Walter continued, "…and you didn't even bat an eyelash. Something on your mind?"
"Or some one?" Bianca added in a sing-song voice. Walter dropped his fork and looked stricken as his head swiveled from Kat to Bianca and back to Kat.
Kat looked at Bianca and narrowed her eyes and said, "What? No! Not everyone's life revolves around boys, Bianca." Kat turned to her father. "I've got this big lit paper I'm working on and I'm still trying to figure out how to tie all my research together and I just really want to get it down on paper before I lose my train of thought." Another lie. Sort of.
"Well, don't let a family dinner stop you! Your education is more important than one dinner conversation with your sister and I. Here…" Walter stood and fixed a heaping plate of food. "Permission granted to eat in your room tonight."
"Thanks, dad," Kat said as she accepted the plate, already calculating what she could safely save for Patrick, yet feeling guilty as she headed toward the staircase.
"I'll just check on you later to get your plate."
Her eyes widened in panic. She turned back toward her father. "Uh, no need. I mean, you put so much on here. I think I'll just graze all evening. Plus, I don't want to be disturbed. I'll bring it down in the morning."
If you're sure."
"Okay then." Walter sat back down.
Kat started up the stairs again but had an idea and turned back toward the table. "In fact, I think I'm going to take a shower now so I can get comfortable and settle in without any interruptions. Hopefully, I can crank the whole thing out tonight." She plastered a big smile on her face and hoped she sounded excited enough to fool her father.
"I don't want you staying up too late, Katarina," Walter said sternly. "Your education is important, but not more so than your health. I still want you to get plenty of sleep."
"Maybe I'll just do the outline, beginning and conclusion. I won't stay up past midnight, promise."
"That's my girl!" Walter said happily. "Happy writing, Kat!"
"Thanks, dad." I am so going to hell, she thought as she walked up the stairs.
"Don't take too long in the bathroom!" Bianca yelled after her. "It's my night to exfoliate and I want to get to bed at a decent time!"
Kat took a shower then quickly dried her hair. She brushed her teeth and gargled hoping her breath would still be minty fresh when Patrick arrived. She decided to forego her retainer. My teeth won't move back in one night, she thought.
Kat found herself taking extra time to pick out her sleeping attire. She wanted to look cute, but not like she was trying. Too bad I can't ask Bianca to help me, she thought. Wait! What the hell am I doing? she chided herself. I'm not sleeping with him. He may not even show up. She glanced at her phone again. Still, no messages. And even if he does show up, I don't need to look cute. If he can't accept me for me, then he's not worth it. Kat pulled on a black wife beater, worn t-shirt and some comfortable plaid pajama pants and let out an exasperated sigh. Good enough for a night of studying. I certainly don't need to impress anyone, especially Patrick Verona.
Kat still caught herself looking in her full length mirror and smoothing her hair before gathering her notes, books and laptop and making herself comfortable on the bed.
At ten o'clock Walter stuck his head in to check on her progress. Kat told him it was coming along well and reassured him she wouldn't work past midnight. "Goodnight, sweetheart."
"'Night, dad." Going to hell, going to hell, was all she could think. She almost called out to him to tell him everything, but a picture of Patrick, huddled and shivering on a hard park bench, then being beaten up by a gang popped into her head. Dad would want me to help a friend. It's not Patrick's fault he's a sexy, deep voiced man-boy who makes Walter nervous. If it was someone like Cameron, dad wouldn't hesitate to offer him the guest room. Kat's internal rationalization was interrupted by her sister.
Bianca barged into Kat's room and looked around with an expectant expression on her face. She walked over and pulled the closet door open.
Kat glared at her. "Ever hear of knocking? Or privacy?"
Bianca looked disappointed. "I can't believe you're doing actual homework," she said shaking her head.
"Not everyone can get by on looks and charm alone," Kat replied sarcastically.
Bianca came back with, "Yeah, those pores and your attitude wouldn't get you very far."
Kat just rolled her eyes. "What do you want, Bianca?"
"Nothing. Just checking that you aren't hiding a certain boy in your room again."
Kat gave her a disgusted look. "Please," she said rolling her eyes. "Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to work. And don't you need your beauty sleep? You wouldn't want a certain male model wanna be looking prettier than you tomorrow, would you? Good night, Bianca."
That shut Bianca up. She began to pull the door closed then opened it back up. "Oh, I won't need a ride to school tomorrow. Joey's picking me up."
Kat looked surprised. "Dad's okay with that?"
"Of course. He knows he can trust Joey."
Kat shrugged and said, "That works for me. I wanted to get to school early and do some work in the library."
Bianca rolled her eyes. "You are so weird!" She backed out of Kat's room pulling the door shut with her.
"Love you, too!" Kat called. When she heard Bianca's door close she turned on some soft music and opened her window then checked her phone again. Nothing. She sighed heavily as she settled back on her bed to concentrate on her paper.
Kat was nearly done with the conclusion when she heard a soft rustling. Next thing she knew one Patrick Verona was standing in her room, bulging backpack slung over his shoulder. She jumped off the bed and ran to lock her door as she said, "You made it. Everything okay?" She turned and jumped slightly.
Patrick had crossed the room and was right behind her. He leaned down and kissed her. "Hello to you, too," he said with his trademark smirk.
Patrick noted the concern in her eyes. "Everything's fine. They didn't even know I was there," he said, setting his backpack on the floor. "And…look what I found." He held up his cell with a grin. "Jackass is going to be pretty pissed when he realizes it's gone." Patrick sniffed the air and turned toward the plate on her desk. "This for me?" he asked as he picked up the plate and fork and helped himself.
"Sure. I didn't know if you'd get a chance to eat or not…"
"Not," he said.
"I can get you more, if you want it," she offered.
He gave her an appreciative grin. "Thanks, Kat. Really."
She felt herself blush slightly. "You're welcome. Really."
Kat settled herself back on the bed and began fiddling with her papers.
Patrick walked over to the bed, still shoveling food into his mouth. "What are you working on?"
"My lit paper."
"You gonna work on it all night?"
"No, I'm almost finished. You finish eating over there," she said waving toward her desk, "and I'll just finish this last paragraph then I'm done."
"Good, 'cause I'm tired."
Kat sat back and focused on finishing her paper while Patrick sat down and looked at the pictures and things around her desk as he ate. Among concert stubs and flyers for various causes, there was a cute snapshot of a very young Kat and Bianca at the beach and one of Walter, when he still had hair, with his arms around someone who could only be Kat's mom. He put down his fork and picked up the framed picture. He was suddenly aware of Kat standing next to him.
Kat took the frame from him and gazed at it lovingly. "Yeah, she was."
"You have her eyes," he said softly.
"Definitely." Patrick took her hand and gave it a squeeze. "Ready for bed?"
Kat carefully set the picture back in its place. "Yeah."
"Didn't you say something about not sleeping on the floor tonight?" The smirk was back.
"Which side is mine?"
"You sleep next to the wall so if my dad or Bianca break in I can shove you on the floor and they won't see you." Kat picked up his backpack and put it in her closet. "Now, just put your boots under the bed and…" Kat began as she turned around to find Patrick standing there in his boxers.
"Patrick!" she hissed in a loud whisper. Her eyes were practically bulging out of her head as she tried not to look anywhere other than his face. "What are you doing?" His bare chest and the trail of dark hair that led to the waistband of his boxers hadn't escaped her notice.
"Getting ready for bed. Why?" he said, enjoying her crimson face. "You don't expect me to sleep in my clothes, do you?"
"Well, no, but…but…"she sputtered. "We are not having sex!"
Patrick rolled his eyes. "I know, Kat. You've made that abundantly clear. Don't you trust me?"
That caught Kat off guard. She looked him in the eye and exhaled slowly. "Yes, I do."
"Well then, you have nothing to worry about. Can we go to sleep now? It's been a long day."
"Uh, sure." Kat suddenly felt awkward as they crawled under the covers. She turned out the light and tried to get comfortable. Which was pretty hard to do with a gorgeous, warm body clad only in boxers lying next to her. She felt his weight shift and then his warm breath on her cheek.
"'Night, Kat." He kissed her cheek then rolled back to his side of the bed.
She quietly gulped. "'Night."
They were both on their backs, staring at the ceiling. The events of the past few days went round and round in Patrick's head making sleep almost impossible. Kat shifted slightly and he smiled as he realized not every thought had to do with the jackass at home.
Kat, too, couldn't think about sleeping with Patrick next to her. Aside from his physical presence, she was thinking of all the questions she was dying to ask him. Then, thoughts of Walter's wrath and Bianca's barbs if they discovered Patrick in her bed swirled in her brain further preventing slumber. All thoughts were swiftly pushed from her mind as she heard Patrick making weird noises. He sat up and began to get out of bed.
"Patrick, what's wrong?" she whispered, sitting up. He ignored her and headed for the door. Kat sprang out of bed and ran toward him. "No, no, no, not again!" she whispered.
Kat stepped in front of him and softly called his name. She caressed his cheek with one hand and shook his shoulder with the other.
Patrick blinked a few times then looked around, confused. "I did it again, didn't I?" he asked.
"Yes, but this time I caught you before you could lay waste to any more innocent pastries. Come on," she said as she led him back to the bed.
"Thanks," Patrick said as he sat down and rubbed his face.
"Maybe I should just go," he said, starting to get up. "I don't want to risk getting you in trouble."
"No, it's okay. Stay. Please," Kat said softly as she grabbed his forearm.
Patrick turned and looked at her in the dim light. "You're sure?" he asked. His shoulders relaxed a little as Kat nodded decisively.
They both lay down and settled on their backs again, shoulder to shoulder. Both were very aware of the other's body heat. This time it was Kat who reached out and grasped Patrick's hand.
"Do you want to talk about what happened? With your step dad?" she asked gently.
"Not really," he responded softly.
She squeezed his hand in response then bit the inside of her cheeks to hold back the myriad of questions she wanted answered. He'll tell me in his own time, she consoled herself.
And then, he did.
They spent the rest of the night talking quietly about his jackass of a stepfather and his disappointment in his mom for not sticking up for him. Kat listened patiently and quietly. She impressed both of them with her restraint.
A few hours later she was lying on her side facing him, arm curled under her head. He was on his stomach, chin resting on his arms, staring at her headboard. Patrick looked at Kat and suddenly they both leaned in and kissed. When they pulled apart several minutes later, Patrick was lying on top of her, their hands tangled in each other's hair and both were breathing heavily.
"We can't," she panted.
"I know. Sorry."
"I'm just as much to blame," she said withdrawing her hands from his sexy curls. "We're both tired. We're not thinking clearly." He nodded. Neither of them really thought the lack of sleep had anything to do with what had just happened.
Patrick abruptly pulled himself away from her and asked, "What time is it?"
Kat glanced at her clock. "Almost five," she whispered.
"I should be going. I need to get to school early so I can sneak a shower in the gym."
"Take one here," she said, surprising the both of them.
"What if your dad catches me? He'll castrate me and have you locked in a tower until you're thirty."
"Try fifty. You can take one downstairs in the guest room, he'll never know."
Patrick cocked an eyebrow at her. "You're positive?"
"Yes. I'll get ready and meet you back downstairs then I'm taking you out to breakfast."
"Mmm. Sounds good. But, what about your sister?"
"Joey the airhead is picking her up. And I told her I was going to school early anyway."
"So, is this a date?"
"Do you have a problem if it is?"
Patrick smiled. "Nope, none at all. In fact, I think this may be my most favorite one. Ever."
Kat allowed herself a big grin as she turned her back to him. She suddenly felt exhilarated.
Patrick gathered his things and followed Kat downstairs. She showed him where everything was then turned to leave.
"Care to join me?" he asked wagging his eyebrows at her. "You know you want to."
She shoved at him playfully and said, "You wish. Go, get clean. I'll meet you here in twenty." Kat pulled the door closed then leaned against it for a minute. She put her hand to her chest and felt her rapidly beating heart. She stood there, daydreaming about Patrick's offer for several seconds with a dopey grin on her face then shook herself out of her reverie and returned to her room.
Kat got ready as quickly and quietly as she could. She did spend a few extra minutes fixing her hair and putting on a little makeup. She hurriedly made her bed and couldn't help noticing Patrick's scent on one of the pillows. She buried her face in it and inhaled deeply, closing her eyes. She smiled remembering how much he'd shared with her last night. Maybe I can break his walls down yet, she thought. He's already breaking down mine.
Kat glanced at the clock and hastily arranged the pillow on her bed. She grabbed her school bag and silently raced downstairs. She wrote her father a quick note then retrieved Patrick from the guest room. They both made sure there was no sign anyone had been there. Patrick had wisely opened the bathroom window so there was no lingering steam. Kat buried the towel he used in the laundry room. Luckily, she had laundry duty that week so no one would ever know.
They separated outside the back door as Patrick turned to cut through the neighbor's yard to the next street and Kat went around front to her car. A few minutes later she pulled up to the curb and he climbed in. "So, where are we going?" he asked.
"I know that. Where?" He looked at her apprehensively. "Not one of your weird vegan joints, I hope. I'm a carnivore. I need meat in the morning. It's the only way to start the day."
"You know, you might like tofu bacon if you just gave it a chance."
"Tofu and bacon. Two words that should never be used in the same sentence," he replied solemnly.
Kat just smiled. "Don't worry, I know a great little place that serves meat for you carnivores and vegetarian alternatives for us herbivores."
With a grin Patrick turned on her radio then grabbed her hand as they drove to their breakfast date.
[- - - - - ]
A/N: Hope you enjoyed. This is based on a little dream I had after watching the episode. Let me know what you think.
This is only the second TV program in four years that has actually inspired me to write fanfiction. So, naturally, they cancelled it. To borrow from Triumph, the insult comic dog, I poop on you, ABC Family!