Jane flicked through the large collection of CDs that occupied the living-room shelves. She busied herself quietly, re-alphabetising the collection. Jane smiled fondly as she picked up Elton John's 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' album her eyes scanned over the track-list: 'Funeral For A Friend', 'Candle In The Wind', 'Bennie And The Jets'…
'Bennie And The Jets'. There was something about hearing that song that still caused her heart to beat faster than normal.
It had started in a bar. The car wasn't going anywhere. The phone in the bar had been dead. There had been no cell-reception. They weren't getting a tow. It had been pouring. She was drenched. Her hair had plastered itself to her face, her clothes clinging to her body, she dropped her soaked cardigan unceremoniously onto the back of the bar-stool she had claimed. Kevin had stripped of his jacket and tossed in the same fashion as she had, onto his own bar-stool beside hers. There had been alcohol, laughter, a jukebox and that song.
She was adamant that he was the one who had started the singing. He insisted that she had started the dancing. Although she was pretty sure that dancing on the top of the actual bar had been his brilliant idea. She wasn't complaining. It had been a long time since she had laughed like that. Or felt that free. The atmosphere in the bar had been electric.
She'd half-climbed, half-staggered down from the bar, still laughing. He laughed as he caught her. His eyes met hers. He'd cried at the Keller wedding. She'd stared into his eyes. His eyes. There was something about the way Kevin's eyes had pierced hers. It was like he could see right down, deep into her soul. The need to have him closer to her was overwhelming. She'd pressed her lips to his.
His hands tightened around her waist as he pulled her closer. He kissed her enthusiastically, deeply, passionately. Kevin kissed her as though he'd been wanting to; since the first time they'd met. She couldn't think. The bar had disappeared. Nothing else existed. Only Kevin.
They'd raced to the car. Hand in hand, through the pouring rain. Soaking wet and laughing, they'd collapsed into the back-seat. Pantingly, longingly, teasingly; layers of clothing were peeled away. Their lips met, again and again. Their hands explored each other. She told him that she 'Never did this…' and kissed him harder, completely undeterred. She pressed her body against his, pulling him closer. Their limbs tangled. Their bodies entwined. Their eyes met, burning into each other. They clung to each other desperately. Their bodies moved together rhythmically. They reached their breaking points together.
The rain pounded on the windscreen as she snuggled into Kevin's bare chest. She could hear his heartbeat drumming in unison with her own. His strong arms wound themselves around her. Pulling her closer. His hand in her hair. She felt complete. There was no need for words. Just the rhythm of their breathing.
She had woken with a start as Kevin had opened the passenger side door. His arms laden with fresh coffees. She'd felt self-conscious as she pulled his jacket around her shoulders. Accepting the coffee gratefully she smiled nervously up at him. Had he felt it too? His eyes met hers, and she knew that he had. Grabbing her hand, he helped her climb out of the car. He brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes, tucking it behind her ear. She smiled, leaning into his hand. Kevin grinned, taking her hand and leading her towards the diner they had passed in the rain, the previous night. Hand in hand; they had entered the diner. It was over breakfast when she had discovered the article.
She wasn't sure what had hurt more; the fact that he had used her in order to get ahead in his career, how hurt Tess had been or the fact that her own feelings had betrayed her. They'd made her want to trust him, made her want him, made her need him.
Things had gone downhill from there. Everytime he had left messages, her heart had panged with emptiness - the kind of emptiness that could have been completely reversed - by him. Just him.
Kevin had witnessed the Engagement Party Fiasco. He'd turned up for her. Because he thought that she may have needed him. They had argued on the sidewalk. He had told her that he thought she was amazing. He had told her that he thought, that she deserved more than what she had settled for. He thought that she deserved to be taken care of. And as he spoke to her, she felt herself wanting. Wanting him to take her into his arms. To just hold her. Close to him.
Then just when she thought that he had walked away forever, he'd returned. Handing her a brand-new Blackberry – a small pink bow taped to screen. It was a gift. 'Perfect for starting over…' he had said with a small smile. If she had been missing him before – it was nothing to how she had felt then: Standing before him. Wanting him as much as she ever had. Feeling hollow as he walked away without looking back.
She and Tess had made it up. Talked it out and eventually hugged it out. Somehow even that couldn't erase Kevin from her mind. Standing alone at her bathroom sink, her mind had begun to wander: what was Kevin doing? Where was he? She remembered the day he had interviewed her. The day she had shown him the bridesmaid dresses. She glanced at the bulging closet, put down her toothbrush and pulled open the doors.
It hadn't taken as long as she had expected it to. She had pulled every dress out of the closet – throwing them onto the floor. She organised each dress and their respective accessories into multiple trash-bags. Feeling quietly satisfied with her determination and decisiveness she stared into the now empty closet with a grin.
Her then-boss, George; had called her into work. He had needed a favour. She had agreed – of course. And then she had quit. After blurting out that she had had a crazy-crush on him, George had kissed her. She had felt nothing. No hint of the feelings that she had previously had for him. She shook her head.
'That's not what it's supposed to feel like… When you're with the person you're meant to be with, it should feel like – '
Her Blackberry's ring-tone cut her off. It should feel like this. Kevin. She thought to herself as 'Bennie And The Jets' blared from within her clutch-purse. It made her heart ache as it thumped in her throat. She had turned on her heel and left. She had headed to the New York Journal, determined. Finally, completely certain of what she wanted. She had asked for Kevin at the Journal, Trent and his co-workers had handed her directions to where he had been covering his last wedding. She hailed a taxi excitedly, Pier Seventeen. Kevin was at Pier Seventeen.
As the cab reached the Pier, she ran. Her heels clicked on the concrete as she sprinted towards the departing cruiser. She leapt off the dock without a second thought. It was a miracle that she landed safely on the boat – only slightly tripping down the small set of stairs that interrupted her smooth landing.
The bride had recognised her from Kevin's article. Freakin' article. She thought, embarrassed. Obviously the bride had wanted to know why she had jumped aboard her and her husband's reception. She began explaining it quickly, when the bride ushered her up on the stage, handing her a microphone and urging her to say what she had come to say to Kevin – in front of the entire reception crowd.
She had spotted him in the crowd – that was when the butterflies had kicked in. She had laughed nervously as she met his eye. The bubbly, blonde bride insisted that she tell him how she felt. And she did.
'Kevin, I've been waiting my whole life for the right guy to come along… And then you showed up. And you're nothing like the man I imagined: you're cynical and cranky and impossible. But the truth is; fighting with you, was the best thing that's ever happened to me. And I think there's a very good chance that I'm falling in love with you… So… That's it. That's all I had to say, so I'll just… Go, now…' she finished uncomfortably, making her way off the stage and into the crowd.
She walked awkwardly through the parting crowd. Kevin had intercepted her. Face to face, she was unsure of what to say to him. He pulled her towards him. Pressing his lips hungrily to hers. The applauding crowd disappeared as Kevin filled her senses. She wrapped her arms around him. Her fingers in his hair. He pulled away gently, wrapping his arms around her body tightly; he buried his face in her hair. She leant into his embrace. Chest to chest, heart to heart, they hugged.
As the reception crowd resumed celebrating the bride and groom, Kevin pulled her towards an isolated corner of the cruiser. She kissed him desperately. He returned the gesture enthusiastically. She wound her arms around him. Her fingers clawed at his jacket, gripping it tightly as her body moulded into his. Their tongues danced together. There were no spaces between them. She felt as though she was on fire. Ignited completely by him. The hollow, empty feeling she had been feeling had disappeared. She was now filled with butterflies and a kind of satisfying warmth that spread from her toes to her fingertips. They finally broke apart. Forehead to forehead.
'I missed you.' She whispered her eyes closed. She felt him nod.
'I missed you too.'
She looked into his smouldering blue eyes. He grinned. That grin. She felt her knees go a little weak. Kevin pressed his lips gently to hers once more. She pulled away, biting her lower lip, her eyes remained closed.
'I could live off of that.' She said softly. He gave her a mischievous smile.
'You wanna get out of here?'
'Yeah,' she laughed. 'But – you do remember that we're on a boat right?' Kevin grimaced. She giggled at his look of exasperation.
Before he could say anything, the MC announced that the time had arrived for the bride and groom's first dance. She grabbed Kevin's hand and led him out into the crowd.
The reception continued at a snail's pace. They mingled, separately and together. The space between them was like an electrical current. Even on opposite sides of the crowd, their eyes had met like magnets. Their bodies gravitating towards each other. Until they were side by side once again. Hand in hand. And when they danced, the crowd faded away.
Finally, the cruiser neared the dock. Kevin gripped her hand as they had edged their way through the crowd towards the end of the pier. She had felt a surge of nerves course through her body as the cruiser docked. Was he as nervous as her? He hailed a cab. Winking at her quickly. She bit her lip. It was quiet in the cab. She was too excited to look at him. She was afraid that if she did, the urge to kiss him until neither of them could think, would overwhelm her. The cab slowed in front of her apartment building.
She had barely shut the door of her apartment behind her when he had kissed her. Up against it. They were smiling, spinning, stripping, and stumbling towards her bedroom. Hearts racing, longing. They collapsed onto her bed in a soft sea of grey and white pillows and blankets. Their lips collided. Their hands pressed together. Their fingers entwined. Their limbs tangled together. She clung to him. Gripping his shoulder-blades. His hands re-acquainted themselves with her body. Exploring, caressing. He smiled into her neck as he scattered small kisses across her collarbone. Her fingers threaded through his hair as she drew him closer. Their bodies moulded together for what seemed like an eternity of ecstasy.
She had awoken to a blindingly bright display of sunlight that shone through the window, splashing rays of light across the vacant pillow beside her. She sat up quickly.
'Kevin?' She called out uncertainly, silently hoping that the previous night hadn't been a hallucination. It wasn't. He wandered through the bedroom door in nothing but his pale blue boxers. A steaming mug of coffee in each hand. She smiled.
'Hi.' He answered. Kissing her softly. He balanced her coffee gently on the small table beside her bed, before sliding in beside her. He propped himself up on his elbow as she sunk back into the pillowy folds of blankets and warmth. She trailed her fingertips across his bare chest. Giving him goose-bumps.
'You should call in sick today.' He suggested with a smirk, lightly kissing her shoulder.
'It's Sunday. I think. And, I quit my job.' She said sipping her coffee. Kevin choked on his.
'Yeah, yesterday. I emptied the closet. I threw all the dresses away – '
'Wait, even 'L.A'?'
'Yes, even 'L.A'.' She laughed. He pulled a face.
'Have you spoken to Tess yet?' He asked, his eyes searching her face. She smiled, nodding.
'We're good. Better than good. I apologized – about everything.' She sighed. 'And, we talked and I think we're going to be okay.' He grinned at her, brushing a lock of honey coloured hair away from her face. He kissed her fingertips gently. He told he was glad that she was okay. Her heart thumped loudly within her chest as she smiled into his mouth. She snuggled closer. Her body pressed against his as they immersed themselves once again into their pillowy sea.
They'd stayed in that day. Laughing, kissing, hugging, talking, confessing, touching and loving.
When her alarm bleeped loudly the next morning, she'd never hated it more. He'd had to go into work. He was moving to a new department. No more 'Commitments-Section'. He had wanted to call in sick. He'd thought he had a temperature. She'd laughed. Wrapped her arms around him, kissed his lips and gently pushed him out the door.
She leant against the door after she closed it behind him. She bit her lip.
She jumped as the inter-com beside her buzzed.
'Hey.' His voice had made her smile.
'Ok, so uh… I was wondering if you wanted to have dinner with me tonight?'
'Yeah.' She nodded.
'Great. Uh, I'll pick you up at eight…'
'Ok. Can't wait…' She replied shyly.
'Neither… Ok, I've gotta run. I'll see you tonight.'
'Ok… Bye.' She said quickly.
Her stomach had been in knots for the duration of the day. She was excited. She was nervous. She couldn't wait. She couldn't wait to see him, to talk to him, to kiss him. Just to be near him…
It was the best first-date she'd ever been on.
He had knocked on her door at seven-fifty-nine. He was nervous. He was excited. He greatly approved of her strapless-royal-blue-cocktail-dress. They'd had dinner in a quiet quirky little restaurant – with small, cosy tables, dimmed-lights and shelves of vinyl. They'd laughed. They'd talked. Completely at ease with each other. Their nerves had disappeared…
The fresh pot of coffee steamed on the table as the hostess changed the record. The opening bars told them exactly what song she had picked. The corners of Kevin's lips twitched. He grinned at her. She rolled her eyes. Giggling, she bit her bottom lip as she grinned back. He pulled her to her feet, took her hands in his. And in the dim-light of the practically empty restaurant, laughingly singing along to their song – they danced…
Jane smiled to herself as she placed the album quietly back in its rightful place. She bit her lip and adjusted her red-cardigan. Looking over her shoulder, she smiled and sighed contentedly, taking in the sight of Kevin; flat on his back, in his favourite grey t-shirt, asleep on the couch – their pale-blue-jumpsuit-clad infant, lying on his chest.