"Come on, Nancy-keep together everyone", Kay led a group of school children out of the schoolyard and onto the sidewalk, making sure no one was missing. She followed them to the side of the street corner and stopped the children so she could take a head count.
A few years ago she had taken up a job as a teacher after her long time boyfriend, Michael Corleone, mysteriously disappeared one day. At first Kay didn't think anything of Michael's sudden decision to stop calling or writing, his father had been sick after all. She assumed he was just busy looking after him; Michael was very close to his family, as most Italians were, and she understood his reasoning for being with his father. But after a few weeks of the treatment she became worried and a sudden feeling of dread crept into her mind. The thought of what Michael's family was.
Michael's family wasn't exactly your standard set of relatives. She didn't know much about them, but she knew they wielded lots of power in the world of politics and crime. Kay hated to think of the stories Michael had told her about exactly what the family dabbled in, but now that he was gone she had to reflect on it. She had the horrible suspicion that Michael was gone because of his family's so called "business", even though he told her that that was his family, not him.
Now looking back on her relationship with Michael, Kay was amazed she didn't ask more questions about his background. She remembered how surprised she was at the sight of his house and the sheer amount of people and expensive things there was at his sister's wedding. That was the day he told her for the first time one of the violent stories about his family and just exactly what kind of trade they were in. The first time he had really given her any details. Before the wedding all he told her was that his family wasn't exactly legitimate, but that they were good people and he intended never to get involved in the kind of work they did. That explanation worked for her then but now Kay was scared of what might have happened to Michael.
"My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse", she recalled Michael telling her, as they sat at a table all alone at the bridal party.
"Oh yeah, like what?" she giggled, paying only half attention to him, still amazed that Johnny Fontane had actually come to the wedding to sing.
"Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract", Michael divulged rather calmly.
Kay stopped listening to the Johnny Fontane crooning out his song and gazed at Michael in bewilderment. She couldn't believe he was serious.
"True story", he added, taking a sip of the wine.
She managed to let the music flow into her ears once more, trying to forget what Michael had just told her. She loved him too much to let a story like that ruin her opinion of him.
Her gaze went back to Johnny belting out "I have but one heart" and the mob of young girls surrounding him with dreamy expressions on their faces. Some were even crying with joy. Kay brightened up a bit at the sight of the love struck teens, but her eyes fell on all the expressionless old men who looked like they had seen too much in their time. Is that how Michael would end up as well? She turned back to Michael to reassure him that he hadn't upset her, but he could tell she was now concerned.
He flickered a smile at her and slipped his hand over hers.
"That's my family, Kay, not me", he reassured her yet again, stroking his fingers on her hand now.
She smiled at him and dismissed the story from her mind.
That was a long time ago now. Nearly four years or so, and she hadn't seen Michael for at least three. The last time she had really spent any time with him at all was around Christmas time, after his father got shot. Kay evoked her mind back to the time when she and Michael were walking down the streets of New York, casually holding hands, carrying Christmas presents and laughing to each other when she spied the newspaper stand. On the front cover of the tabloid it said his father had been shot and was in critical condition, she stopped Michael when she read what it said. After that he left but she understood, she completely understood why he had to go. Not soon after Michael and Kay arranged a dinner, she thought it might cheer him up, but it didn't seem to go that way.
The whole time Michael seemed off in his own world, not paying attention to what Kay was telling him. Something seemed off, much more then just his father being sick, he seemed different. Almost like he was deep in thought over something the whole time, and not about what Kay had to say either. That night he left early and she was disappointed that he didn't stay and when Michael left he seeming rather concerned over everything in his life, even their relationship, which bothered her. After that they called each other a few times but then one day Michael was just gone, disappeared and no was giving her answers, though she knew someone had them.
Finally, after weeks of being ignored Kay couldn't stand it any longer, she went to Michael's parent's house looking for some answers. Tom Hagen met her at the gate, Michael's semi-adopted brother, and told her that they knew nothing.
"What do you mean you don't know where Michael is? Listen, I'm so worried about him I just want to know what happened to him, where he is. You can tell me, you can trust me. I'm just troubled about Michael", she pleaded to Tom, hoping her pained expression might break his silence.
Tom gave a sigh and his face showed that he didn't like what he was doing but he responded with, "I'm sorry, Kay, but we can't tell you anything about Michael right now".
"Alright, alright, I understand, you can't say anything. But won't you please tell me where I can mail this letter, or could you mail it to him for me? I just want to make sure he's ok…I came all this way-", she was becoming desperate now.
"Sorry, Kay but that letter, if it was found, could be used in court proceedings to prove that the family had knowledge of his whereabouts. Believe me, he's ok, don't worry".
Her body slumped; she muttered a thank you and walked back to her car. She couldn't argue with them anymore, it was obvious no one was going to tell her anything about Michael. Kay got in, slammed the door and sat in silence looking over her letter then finally opening it. She re-read her desperate pleas for Michael to write her, call her, visit her, anything but ignore her. She read her statements of love to him, how she missed him, why he was doing this to her. Kay's hands began to shake, the letter became wrinkled and suddenly tears were dropping onto the page. The ink became splotted and she let out a sigh and ripped up the letter, her head falling onto the wheel and her anguished sobs going unheard to everyone but herself.
Kay tensed up whenever she thought about that day, but that was a long time ago and she had managed to numb herself to Michael's desertion. The fact was he wasn't coming back he made very clear to her, so she did the only thing she could do. Forget him. At first it was hard but a year or so after his vanishing act Kay had managed to stifle her thoughts about him and the rest was easy once that was done. She had even managed to go on a few more dates but nothing serious. She hated to admit it but Michael was still in the back of her mind whenever she went out for dinner with a man or let a man kiss her, but she dismissed these thoughts from her head as soon as they formed. She wasn't going to let Michael ruin her life, not anymore.
"Ryan", she called out. The little boy stepped out of the group and Kay smiled. "Okay, alright, looks like everyone's here. Okay, everyone look across the road before you cross it, remember?" She ushered the children to start walking across the street when a car door slamming caught her attention.
Kay turned to the noise and stopped dead in her tracks. Next to a shiny, black car stood Michael Corleone in a black coat and hat, a simple tie at his throat. He stood calmly; his dark eyes flickered when she looked straight at him. Michael looked the same as she had remembered him. Dark hair neatly combed back under his hat, big, dark eyes staring straight back into hers, sending a chill down her spine. Physically he was all there, the same build, he didn't seem to get anymore thin or fat while he was gone, but something about the look of his face seemed different. Almost as if he had endured things Kay could hardly imagine over the years he had been gone. His usual embarrassed smile was changed to a serious grimace and something about how he held himself was different from the old Michael she knew.
They stood there for a few seconds, watching each other, but to Kay it felt like hours. Seeing Michael was unbelievable, she thought it was a dream, or she was going crazy, anything then what she was really witnessing. After such a long time of him being gone, no word, no goodbye, no sign of where he went, she didn't know exactly how to react to Michael Corleone standing right in front of her.