AN: I'm sorry! My life has been insane! I moved across the country, worked full time, and started college! Holy crap! Thanks to the boy and my besties and the girls in my sorority, I am still sane. I hope you enjoy this! There will be two more chapters to come, but I spilled strawberry soda on my laptop keyboard while trying to type up a speech and talk to my roommate at the same time. This makes typing much more slow going than it should be. Also, I'm old and have trouble figuring out how to post a story on "new" ffn : )
Will be KIT NITA. Starts sad-ish but will GET FUNNIER.
Something Old, Something New
Kit heard her door knob begin to turn. He swallowed hard.
A petite, light-haired girl appeared in the doorway and, upon seeing him, quietly cast her eyes downward. She tried to close the door again. Kit pressed his hand against it to stop her.
Kit watched her while she took a deep breath, in and out. His hand immediately stretched out to pull her against him, still on auto-pilot, and there was an awkward moment when he dropped his arm to his side again. Bit his lip.
"Kit, this isn't healthy."
He ran his hands through his shaggy hair, pulling hard at the back to stop their shaking. His breathing was a bit ragged. Uneven. Shaky.
"I know, I just- I don't know. I just need to talk."
She met his eyes for the first time since she opened her door. God, they were gorgeous.
"Kit, this won't-
Hands in his hair again, pulling. "Just tonight. Just once. You owe me that."
She smiled a bit, acknowledging, and opened the door fully to grant him access to her apartment. He smiled a little smile back.
"Thanks Rosie, this means-
He stopped and shut his eyes, but not before he saw her turn tail and walk purposefully towards the kitchen. Perfect, messy curls bouncing with every step.
"Rose." He quietly emphasized to himself, shutting the door behind him.
She waved him in from her kitchen and placed one of her gigantic mugs onto the table. He steadied himself and followed her in.
He poked his finger in and out of the steam emanating from his mug. She sat down across from him, eyes down as well, and the room smelled of the raspberry herbal tea and them. He wondered how long that smell would take to fade.
She looked up at him with her big eyes, took a sip, and rested her chin on her hand.
"Well, what do you want to talk about?"
The table seemed cold, a mile long, when his body was used to being pressed snugly against hers on their big sofa. He met her stubborn stare with more determination than even she could muster up.
"Why you said no."
She brought her other palm up to rest underneath her chin and pressed her face into her hands. Then she brought them down, folded her arms on the table. Kit began to rise, auto-pilot, to walk over and pick her up, kiss her on the cheek, and make her a cup of tea to help her relax. But she made her own tea now. And picked herself up when she was down.
She raised her head.
"Because I'm not for you."
He felt anger well up inside, bubbling to the top, and was afraid he would yell. He hated yelling. He swallowed it and felt himself glaring despite his great efforts to remain calm.
"Well then who are you for, eh? I can't believe you-
"Kit, I never cheated if that's what you got from that-
"Well, then what are you mad about?"
"That you would ever think that!" Oh God, he was yelling. She sat down again, they had risen at some point in their argument.
"Five years! I have loved you with everything I have for five years! That's what I'm mad about. I'm mad that you could possibly think that you aren't the only one that I want to be with for the rest of my life." He smiled tenderly at her and, despite himself, fixed one of her wayward blonde curls. "I'm mad because you think there's anyone out there who's better than you, and I'm mad that I can't be with you." Kit's voice was reduced to a whisper. He felt a panic well up inside of him when he saw her eyes begin to fill. "Rosie, I want to be with you."
"Kit, sweetheart, you just don't get it."
He sat down and looked everywhere but at her. He looked into the living room where the Scrabble game was still out. He saw the ring glittering in the draw-bag, remembered her pulling it, instead of the Y she had needed. He looked down the hall and saw a box of things from their room sitting outside the door. God, this hurt so badly.
"Well, then explain it to me."
She got up and went to refill her cup, keeping eye contact the entire time. She sat back down, began looking around her and he handed her the lemon wedge he knew she was looking for. She smiled a thanks.
"Who is the first one you call when you're going to be late?"
"You." He was confused. "What does this have to do with anything?"
She held up a finger to silence him.
"But, who's the first one that you call when you're really upset about work?"
Kit was about to blurt you, but it wasn't her. His work as a social worker could occasionally be heart wrenching and he always called who he thought could handle it the best.
"You think I would be better off with Nita? You're crazy." And he leaned his chair back on two legs, just like she hated, and folded his arms. "I've known her for twelve years-."
"And you can't tell me that the thought hasn't crossed your mind."
Kit couldn't believe she thought he would ever dream of being with someone else. "What thought? What are you trying to say?"
She laughed a bit despite of herself. "You and her! Together!"
He glared. "I've been there once. It didn't work out, okay?"
"Who do you talk to when you can't sleep?"
She cut him off with that pointed look he had never been able to argue with. Kit fumed, glared a bit, and huffed in utter disbelief. He could not make himself believe that she had refused marriage, something that they had been talking about since their fourth anniversary, and the wonderful life that they had together for some wild notion that he and Nita, of all people, were made to be together. He thought they were once too, but they weren't, and if their break up wasn't a clear enough indicator of that then he didn't know what else could convince her.
He leaned forward, looked her right in the eye, and told her what he thought.
The totally unwarranted slap across the face stung and the door smacked his ass on the way out as she slammed it. He heard her indistinct shouts about respectful listening and consideration through the door.
He stomped down her stairs into the cold, winter air.
Nita sat, stunned, across her kitchen table from an utterly destroyed Kit.
To be perfectly honest with herself, Nita had no idea what to do about the situation. How to make him feel better, how to convince him that everything happened for a reason and that there was good to come out of it. It was especially hard as she was still trying to wrap her own head around the idea that they weren't together anymore. Nita had often wished that she and David's longstanding relationship was as perfect as what Kit and Rose had together, and she was convinced, by Kit's face as he told her about it afterwards, on the night of their fifth date, that they were going to marry and make babies.
But, she had better get started. The mess would take some serious elbow grease. Nita pushed up her sleeves and took the mug of peach herbal that he had been glaring into from his hands and stood in front of him with her fists on her hips. She had made it against his preferences because his favorite raspberry seemed highly inappropriate at this point in time.
He looked up, world weary and cranky. "What, Nita?"
She flicked him, hard, in the side of his head. "Don't you get all pissy with me. We're going to handle this like real women."
His eyes narrowed as he stood, using his substantial height to counter her. Most women would feel nervous, Kit was tall and strong, but Nita was highly experienced in dealing with Kit's moods. Even this rare, black one.
"I am not-
Nita grabbed his arm, told him to quit his bitchin', and hauled him to her sofa to watch therapeutic girl movies.
Kit was not humiliated in the slightest to be sitting on his best friend's couch at two thirty seven am, holding a sequined pillow to his chest, with tears in his eyes as he watched Bridgett Jones' Diary.
"Oh God, he's getting married!"
"And Hugh Grant stole Colin Firth's wife!"
"And she loves him!"
Kit felt Nita dig her face into his shoulder and he wrapped his arms around her and they watched, eyes wide in terror, as Renee Zellweger awkwardly left Colin Firth's engagement party. Kit sniffed.
"See? She loves him unconditionally and he doesn't want to be with her." He sniffed again and looked down at Nita.
Kit put a finger over Nita's tear moistened lips. "Bridgett is supposed to be with Darcy. But she's messing around with that asshole Cleaver guy. She spends all that time with the wrong guy and once she realizes it, it's too late and Darcy has moved on." Kit looked sad. "What if that's me, Nita? I loved her. And she didn't love me."
Nita looked up and pushed his bangs aside. He tried to squirm away, but he already missed those sweet little touches from Rose and was too beaten down to care what she did to his mop of hair.
"But, Darcy helps her make dinner and they are in love and she chases him down in her underwear and they makeout. You're not even thirty yet. You have plenty of time."
Kit smiled a bit and Nita felt she should continue. "Look, if Rose was worrying about how you felt about me for so long, then she obviously wasn't secure enough to marry." She cut him off when he tried to interrupt her. "I know she was crazy about you, and you loved her. But it's better that you figured out that it wasn't going to work sooner rather than later, right?"
Kit grabbed the remote to eject the DVD.
"Kit, what are you doing? For therapeutic girl movies to work, you absolutely have to watch the happy ending-
But Kit had already risen, put the pillow in its place, and began putting on his coat.
"Because, in real life, that's where the movie ends. You miss your chance and you move on."
Nita rose quickly, tried desperately to catch him in a hug on the way out. He put on a cheery face, smiled, and accepted the pint of chocolate ice-cream that Nita forced into his hands. He tried the beam-me-up-Scotty spell once he was out on her porch, but was unable to summon up the energy to complete it. He walked home in the snow.
Nita changed out of her work clothes, finally, once he left. She put on the silly sunflower pajama pants that he had given her for her birthday and a white top, then began to search her apartment for a coat to wear. She had no idea what to do for him. He was a romantic, one of those boys with tons of love to give, loyal to the bitter end, but still easy around the girl of his affections. Nearly perfect, except every girlfriend he'd had was expected to man up and kill a spider should the situation arise- a small price to pay. He was a dream boyfriend, treated girls he cared for like princesses. The lucky bastard was so perfect he had managed to get through six relationships without ever being dumped. Her sympathy was slightly limited by that factor, but she knew Kit only needed distraction, a bit of fun, and a heavy dose of faith.
Nita stopped in her tracks.
She changed again, this time into the pencil skirt she'd worn to the office today, a clean white blouse, and some red sling-backs. She punched the number of Kit's new apartment into the phone.
Nita jumped when he answered after the first ring. She wasn't sure if he'd had time to set up the phone yet
She pitched her plan. Vaguely.
"Kit, get dressed."
His voice was indignant. "Hey, extreme depression doesn't totally affect my ability to function-
Nita huffed, "I meant nice clothes. Not those nasty sweatpants you wear when you're pissy."
"Hey! I'm not wearing those I'm- Oh. I am, actually. Total accident though-
"Put those back in the trash where I had them, put on something pretty, and I'm coming over."
She grinned. "See you then."
Nita filled a sack with some of the groceries that he dad had brought over earlier that morning and popped over to the patio of his apartment. She knocked on the glass and hoped for the best.
Kit buttoned the last button of the navy dress shirt he had grabbed off of the floor and tried to fix his hair a bit. He'd bought the shirt just last weekend to wear to the nice restaurant he had taken Rose to earlier that evening, and he'd planned on it landing in the floor, but he hadn't planned on it being his floor and he hadn't planned on being the one to unbutton it. He smoothed it, tucked it in, and looked in the mirror. He fiddled with his tie, made his bed, fidgeted with anything to keep from thinking about who wasn't in it with him. Shit.
He was immensely thankful for Nita's timely knock at his back door. He let her in.
"Wow, you look great!"
Nita smiled, shook her hips a little, and laughed.
"Thanks!" She began to pull her thick hair back into an elastic, "I bought it for the firm's regional conference this week. Too bad I called in sick for Mr. Indecisive, here."
Kit felt himself wince and awash with guilt. He'd begged for her help in choosing a ring the past Saturday and she neglected to mention the regional, instead skipping to help him out. In hindsight he felt horrible for wasting her time, considering his new bachelor status. He may as well not have even bothered. Maybe he would still be with her if he hadn't decided to take the plunge and ask; he would be holding her while they sipped a late night coffee.
"I'm so sorry for that, I hope you know-
Kit laughed when Nita shoved a dish towel in his mouth to hush him.
"It's best you learn to laugh about it sooner rather than later, sweetheart, or your life is going to suck a little bit."
Nita pulled an apron out of her bag, the one he'd bought her for her birthday that was cut to make whoever wore it look like a teddy bear.
"I'd choose sooner if I were you."
She pulled a well worn recipe card out of her pocket that Kit recognized instantly. Lemon-glazed shortbread cookies. Mmm.
"Nita, you're a life saver."
She grinned. "Oh, I know."
Kit put on his own apron, a manly maroon from his days paying for school as a prep boy in a restaurant, and cinched it in the back. He looked over at Nita and politely waited until she finished fixing the wrinkles on the bear's ears to begin digging through the sacks.
"I'm guessing you didn't have dinner?" He laughed, going through a bag of produce that he assumed she expected him to do something with.
She smiled from where she perched herself on his kitchen's work counter.
"I figured you owed me for storming out."
Kit felt himself flush with embarrassment and avoided eye contact by searching through the bags. Nita brought tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onions, yellow squash, and a bunch of fresh thyme in a baggie. He assumed it was all food her dad had given her from his greenhouses that she couldn't figure out what to do with. He often wondered how she would eat without him.
They worked in near silence for the first half an hour, in the sub-morning with the pre-daybreak sounds of late-night tenants and early song birds converging in the parking lots outside. Kit put the lid on his pot and sat at the breakfast bar watching Nita finish up laying the first round of cookies out. She hummed to whatever song she was living to right now, swung her little hips along in her fitted office skirt. I can see why Rosie may have been jealous, Kit thought to himself, she's definitely not unattractive. He found himself momentarily proud of his twelve year old mind. It had good taste.
Kit was jerked out of his reverie by an earsplitting crash and Nita swearing. She'd knocked down the entire batch of cookies that she had painstakingly laid out on the sheet. He bent down to help her pick them up and tried to keep from laughing at her.
"Shut up!" She shouted indignantly.
He laughed some more and, with their team effort, managed to get the cookies in the oven while abiding by the five minute rule that they were sure existed somewhere.
Nita took a seat at the breakfast bar and rested her chin on her hands, cocked her head, and looked at him for a while. He began to feel self-conscious when she didn't look away.
"What?" He asked, wiping his hands on a dish cloth and returning to the stove.
She grinned. "Just trying to see what you're making me."
Kit laughed and shook his head.
"No. That's not how surprises work."
She pouted and Kit turned to pull the bread out of the oven. He had whipped up some garlic butter and spread it on the remaining dough from when he'd made bread last week. The little apartment was beginning to smell like Little Italy and he knew that it was done. Nita moaned when she saw it.
Kit smacked her hand when she reached over to snatch an end piece.
"Just wait a minute. The rest is almost done."
This time he turned to avoid the glare that he felt boring into his back. He mixed up a salad dressing quickly and tossed it with the greens that remained from a similar visit from Nita last week. She got up, knowing the routine, and handed him three bowls. One for her, one for him, and one for his hideously spoiled dog that had probably never tasted dog food in its life.
She crowded in next to him to get a look at what was in the pot.
"Oh, Kit. That looks fantastic!"
Kit dished them each up a bowl of the rattatouie and grinned.
"I thought you might like it."
Nita dished some of the salad on a side plate then snatched the end piece before Kit could get a shot at it.
"Oh, I do." She took a bite and grinned. "I don't know how she managed to say no, when you cook like this every night."
Kit laughed. "Not every night."
"Left over night counts because these are probably the best leftovers anyone could ask for." Nita smiled as swallowed a second bite. "You'd never be able to kick me out. I'd grab your leg like a five year old and cry until you kept me. Or at least offered to cater my dinners for the rest of my life."
They relocated to the couch and Nita popped a movie into his DVD player. She shushed Kit when he tried to ask what movie it was, then smiled at the look of realization on his face. Smooth jazz played while Billie Chrystal made-out with his on screen girlfriend.
"Nita, this is perfect!"
Nita smiled at the look of relaxation on Kit's face. He set his dinner down on the coffee table, propped his feet up next to it, sighed and sunk into the couch. Nita sat next to him, almost touching, and spread a quilt over them. She tucked into her plate.
"Holy shit, Kit."
He laughed. "I'm glad you like it."
Nita grinned with pride. He was laughing, chilling out, and they were watching a movie like normal. There was something a little bit magical to it, a tingly feeling telling her that this was exactly where she was supposed to be right at this moment in time. It was strange, reassuring. She smoothed the blanket across their legs and, catching his eye, grinned. The blanket had seen them through many rough times together. She had formed a tent with it in her back yard after Helena smacked him and told him that he worked for the Devil. He had wiped her eyes with it after Joanne bullied and teased her. It had hidden them both from acne, braces and bad hair. It had been their shield for when Life was too much to handle, their respite from emotional troubles, their security blanket for their rocky passage from adolescence to adulthood. It had been there for her first rough breakup, now it was here to put his world back together again too.
She fixed his hair and he shook his head once she finished, unable to let it feel too coifed, and pulled the blanket up to his chin. It was still there, after all those years. It still gave her that tingly feeling, that everything is okay there's nowhere else I could possibly be but here feeling. Maybe it wasn't the blanket, maybe it was the situations or the friendliness. She glanced up at Kit, who was still engrossed in the movie.
"Does this blanket make you feel anything?"
He gave her the strangest look.
"No, that's not what I mean." She tried a different tactic since Kit could be a bit thick sometimes. "How do you feel right now?"
"Better," Kit dug his head into her shoulder.
He looked up at her with his big brown eyes, "You."
Nita couldn't help but let her lips curve into a small little smile. He said it in the same tone as anyone else would say why, yes, it is raining outside.
Nita smiled as Kit nodded with the blanket pulled up to his nose.
"You always make sense." He sat up so he could look her in the eye. "Like, things get crazy and I freak out, but you always make me feel better."
Nita was taken aback. She didn't realize she had such an effect on him, that he valued her presence so much. She just felt lucky to have him around most of the time and felt that she would be a little bit lost without the daily dose of ridiculousness he infused in her life. She couldn't really think of anyone else that she enjoyed spending time with so much. Something niggled in the back of her mind, but Kit's praise made her feel special so she ignored it.
Kit spoke again. "You just bring me back, you know? Like I was so upset about Rosie, but it's okay. It sucks balls, but I'll live. It won't kill me. The longer I hang out with you, the less special she seems. Like there're better girls out there, ya know?"
Nita felt herself flush and willed it to stop. It was in the way that he delivered the words, with that monster smile of his and arm slung around her shoulders, that made his trademarked nonchalance more important than anything else in the world. She smiled.
"Rose's loss." Nita smiled, "Relationships like that are hard to come by."
Kit peered down at her curiously, "Really?"
He'd really enjoyed spending time with Rosie, and they both wanted the same things in life. They rarely fought, and when they did so they did it considerately, and never went to bed angry. They jogged together, read to together, cooked together and laughed together. Kit sighed. Nita was right, it would probably be a long time before he found someone else who could even come close to comparing. He'd been closer to her than anyone else, with the obvious exception being Nita. Kit moved his arm and whipped around to face her. She jumped.
"Kit, what the hell-
He cut her off. "Does it bother David that we're such good friends?"
He asked this as Billy Chrystal informed Meg Ryan that men and women could absolutely never be "just friends". Kit decided that this was no longer his favorite movie.
"Every once in a while," Nita dragged out this sentence as she studied his face. "Why?"
Kit sighed with relief, "Just wondering if I was a bad boyfriend who paid more attention to my best friend than my girlfriend. Apparently not, since David get's his panties in a bunch about it too."
Nita walloped him with a pillow, "Kit, be nice!"
They settled into a comfortable silence after a brief, yet furious, pillow fight. By the movies end Nita felt her eyes flutter shut and her head begin fall softly onto Kit's chest, vibrating softly with his snores. Her own snores soon joined his.