Waking calmly in the rain had never really been her forté. Some people loved it, the way the droplets of cold water ran and streamed down their cheeks, the enjoyable little pricks of moisture bounding against their skin. In all fairness, as beautiful and inspiring as rain and thunderstorms and lightning flashes were, Karen hated them. When she was a child, thunderstorms used to rage and crash nearly every month and each time, she would run and hide under her blankets and quilts and cry loudly until they were over. Now, being rather older than an immature little girl, she was not so afraid, they were just more of a nuiscance, especially when she had to walk home.
Her long coat flapped around her knees, and her hair was being plastered to her face as rain fell in torrential bucketloads from the darkening sky. Her shirt was soaked through and her boots were squelching with every muted step she took.
A car appeared in the deserted street on which she was strolling and Karen felt rather envious of the one inside. Lucky person, not getting drenched in this typical, lousy English weather. Strangely, and a bit unnervingly, the car pulled up next to the path, and the window rolled down slowly,
'Karen, can I give you a lift?' a voice shouted, a barely visible hand motioning for her to get in. Oh dear God, she was soaking and absolutely freezing, but there was no way she was about to get in a car and accept a favour from him,
'No thank you Rob, I'm quite alright!' she yelled through the insane rumbles of thunder.
'Karen, for goodness sake, you may be mad at me, but I'm not going to let you walk home and catch pneumonia in this weather!' he shouted back, stepping out of the car and running over to her, his footsteps splashing in the rain. He grabbed her hand and before she could even begin to protest, he forcibly dragged her to the car, wrenched the door open for her and shut it quickly, preventing any more rain from getting in. He ran back around the car to the driver's seat, his jacket shrouding his head and shoulders from the downpour. When he finally sat down in the seat, and yanked the door of his peugeot shut, he turned to Karen, kind of expecting some sort of gracious thanks. Instead he was shot with one of the dirtiest looks of hatred and disgust that was humanely and physically possible.
'I said I was fine,' she growled viciously, although she did not make the slightest attempt to move.
'You could've caught your death out there Karen,' he mumbled. She sneezed violently, and he sent her a look which was both smug and rather irritating. She glared once more and strapped herself him, ignoring his small smirk.
They did not utter a word to one another on the journey back. When he reached her house, he surprised her once more by running from his seat, opening the door for her and chivalrously escorting her to her front door. He was holding his jacket above both their heads, and their faces were uncomfortably close. Fumbling for her keys, she accidentally made a short eye contact with him. Upon seeing his expression, she felt her anger just kind of evaporate. She sighed out, before beginning her reluctant thanks, but he cut her off by quickly stealing her lips with his own. And as much as her brain was yelling for her to get away and rebel, she wrapped her arms around him when he clutched her damp hair in his fingers, and kissed him harder. Kisses in the rain, how perfectly clichéd.
It was the second time this week that Karen was sat in an office with an icepack held to her forehead. However, this time, the cause of why she needed the damn thing was a bit more physically painful, and a lot more embarrassing. See, for all of her wit and charm and intelligence, Karen, to put it bluntly, had somehow managed to walk into a door, and give herself a bit of a large black eye. Her eye itself, the right one, was swelling and bruising all too visibly, and it was bloodshot and currently turning a venemous shade of black and blue. She sighed out in pain and winced as she put slightly too much pressure on the ice and caused it to jab against her bruise painfully.
No one had dared to enter her office and help her, because, in all honesty, every single one of them who had seen the incident had laughed – rather a lot. Karen, being the usual, proud woman that she was, had taken great offence to this and had slammed her door shut in Chris' slightly red face.
She jumped in shock when the door of her office swung open and Rob walked in, two cups of tea in his hands. Carefully, he kicked shut the door and steadily walked over to her desk where she smiled appreciatively at him. He leant down to her level and quickly kissed her before sitting down to her,
'Karen, Karen, Karen, what am I going to do with you?' he asked soothingly, holding her hand, softly rubbing her fingers. He removed her hand holding the ice pack and set it down on the table. He stared professionally at the wound and grimaced in sympathy before leaning out his hand. She backed away, not wanting the pain, but when his fingers gently carressed her bruise, she smiled out in relax, 'Oh you silly girl,' he murmured, closing the already miniscule gap between them. She pretended to pout and look hurt, but he knew she was lying. He took both her hands in his own, 'In all seriousness, I feel like whenever you're out of my sight for more than ten minutes, you end up injuring youself,' he grumbled.
'Oh you love it,' she whispered, her lips only parted from his by a few atoms.
'Of course I do. What is there not to love about you?' he asked rhetorically. She smiled at the statement, and blushed slightly.
'My knight in shining armour,' she breathed out as he slowly closed the infinetly small gap between their lips. Forgetting about her pain and anxieties of being discovered, Karen intensified the kiss, standing up, dragging him with her, not wanting to be detached from his lips for more than a second. The kiss was laced with passion and unspoken declarations of love and forgiveness and their fingers became laced within one another's. Stopping for air just once, Rob gently pressed Karen against the wall, his fingers roaming through her hair and tenderly carressing her cheeks.
Neither of them heard the door creak open, but they both heard the loud gasps of shock resonating from several people, and they certainly heard Janeece say,
'Finally they're getting it on, thought we were gonna be waitin forever!'
'Hello Sexy,' he murmured, unfazed by the swarm of teenagers staring in disgust at their intimacy. She smiled broadly and unashamedly, grinning like a little girl complimented by their crush. She turned to face him, her cheeks turning slowly more crimson from the sheer number of people watching them and staring, and hooked an eyebrow sarcastically,
'Sexy, really?' she asked, unbelieving of the compliment. He looked her up and down, staring,
'Or Foxy. Whichever you prefer,' he whispered into her ear, sweeping his lips against her temple and then kissing her affectionately and sweetly on the forehead.
'Oh I really couldn't choose which one,' she replied, chuckling happily.
A few students who had undesirably entered this corridor stared, and made large 'ew' gestures towards the headmistress and the site manager. The whole school was still really getting used to their relationship, and nobody was best pleased with their very obvious and very frequent displays of affection. And for Jess and Aiden (still no longer on speaking terms), it was oober embarrassing, especially as everyone kept asking very awkward questions; the kind that should never be asked to a child of the headmistress. Ever.
Rob linked his arms within Karen's and began to start strolling down the corridor, gently pulling Karen along with him. She wobbled intially, stumbling in three inch heels when he started walking,
'Do you want me to carry you?' Rob asked seriously, laughing aloud as she straightened up and readjusted her heels.
'Well, I think that might be a little bit too much for everyone to take in.'
'Does it matter what it's like for other people?'
'No, not really, but I am the headmistress,' she suddenly realized how snobby she sounded, 'Sorry Rob, I didn't mean it like that,' she stuttered sadly. He gave her a small grin before continuing to walk, ignoring her simple slip of the tongue. She kept walking down the corridor, sometimes glancing to the right to see everyone's expressions, before, very suddenly, her feet were swept from the floor and she began to fall towards it. But then an arm clutched at her waist and picked her up, holding her in their arms.
Ignoring the several shakes of heads, Rob had picked Karen up, bridal-style, and began carrying her through the busying and bustling corridors.
'Excuse me everybody, VISP coming through!' Rob yelled, ignoring Karen's blushing and stammering protests. She stopped squirming and turned to look at him, 'VISP?' she asked confusedly. He leaned in towards her and breathed into her ear, 'Very Important Sexy person.'
She responded by kissing him directly on the lips.
The pain, the agony, the sheer distress that was etched across her face was enough to make anyone feel an extreme surge of guilt pass through them, but for him it was like a sharp butcher's knife through the heart, stomach and chest cavity. It felt like he had been ripped to shreds and he was metaphorically bleeding to death, just from the expression of sadness on her face. She shook her head slightly, disappointedly, and went to walk away. The second her eyes detached from his grip, he shut his eyelids and breathed out. Eye contact with her was brutal at this time, especially when she was upset, especially when it was his fault. Both of them were currently misty eyed, but neither of them was going to be the first one to shed their tears. Crying was a sign of weakness, for both of them, and neither was going to give each other the satisfaction of seeing that their no-speaking policy was hurting them.
'Karen,' he breathed out into the atmosphere, not wanting his desperate voice to be heard by her.
The look of confusion and innocence and utmost disarray burning in his eyes and expression made her realize just how tired she was. Why was it that he never understood that some of the stuff he did and said really hurt her? He tried, he always tried to, but maybe it wasn't enough anymore. Maybe she just couldn't do it anymore. She turned, these awful thoughts sizzling away in her head, and began to jog slightly down the corridor, wishing to get away from him, her eyes clouding with unshed tears and beads of water. She wasn't going to let them fall though, no, that would be utterly ridiculous. She heard a small, faint whisper erupt from his lips, but she could not grasp exactly what he was saying. She carried on walking, ignoing her half-awake subconcious that was urging her to run back to him.
When she reached the end of the corridor, she couldn't help but sniff back a few tears and sob silently. She pressed her hand down on the handle, but it wouldn't go far enough down, like it was jammed, or, even worse, locked. And damn him, he was the only one who had a bloody key.
'Erm, Rob, could you possibly unlock the door for me?' she asked, pretending like nothing had happened between them in the past ten minutes.
He bowed his head and shook it in disbelief, a sarcastic smile on his face,
'You know, all I do with you is try Karen, and it's never enough is it?' he asked loudly, a strange sense of anger welling up and rising inside of him. She looked bemused, and faced him, but before she could speak, he detached the key from its chain and threw it across the hallway, landing at her feet, 'I really do lke you Karen, I really like you. But if you can't see that…' he trailed off, putting his hands behind his head and shaking back the frustrated tears.
She began to walk slowly towards him, footstep by footstep, until she reached where he stood, his eyes brimming and swallowed in red, 'I don't know what I'm supposed to do,' he whispered ashamedly, fear in his tone. This hit of realization pierced her slightly and she quickly shot out a hand and rested it on his shoulder, trying to be comforting.
'I don't know what to do either, I really don't' she murmured awkwardly, 'I like you too Rob.'
He smiled gratefully at her before whispering, 'Have a good evening Karen.' He leant down and kissed her on the cheek and then turned on his heel and left, leaving her stood in silence, the key for the door at the end of the deserted corridor.
Rob wasn't religious, he never had been, and did not have the slightest inclination of reconsidering for anytime in the near future. There were so many rules and regulations for faiths, and all this stuff about moral rights and wrongs. Why was it so complicated? If there was a religion where you could just say thanks for what you have (or what you want to have), then sign him right up.
With all these opinions and arguments in the back of his head, Rob found himself wondering what on Earth he was doing in a church. He couldn't recall how he had gotten here, or why, but he had the faintest inkling that it might have something to do with the row he had had with Karen earlier…
'So, she's my wife, I don't love her anymore!' he yelled across the office, dodging Karen's glares and accusatory glances,
'You kissed me when you knew full well that you were married. Whether or not she came back isn't the point!' Karen shouted in retaliation, slamming her fist on the table in frustration.
'Karen, I kissed you because I lov…Never mind. Forget it,' he mumbled. She looked at him, scrutinized him, several tears forming in her cobalt eyes. 'Just get out Rob. Please,' she whispered. When he made no attempt to move whatsoever, she pulled a paperback file from her desk and flung it at him, hitting him squarely in the face, tears streaming down from her eyes, cascading down her cheeks, 'GET OUT!'
He automatically moved his hand from his knee to his left cheek, where there was a large, but not particularly deep cut. He pressed a finger against it and found himself trembling slightly. He knew that she was upset, but he feared he had unleashed something angry and mad from within her. He stood from the pew and went to the candle stand, intending to light one for his mother, who had unfortunately passed away last year. He was all alone in the church, but its magnificence beamed throughout the entire building.
The large, ancient wooden door creaked open and a figure shuffled awkwardly through it. They slowly walked up the aisle and went to the very front pew, the one nearest the altar, and just sat there, motionless. As Rob passed by, the person raised their head slightly and murmured,
He turned on his heel in intrigue and, strangely, to both his delight and yet his disappointment, there sat Karen Fisher.
'Karen, what are you doing here?' he asked coldly, not having forgiven her yet for throwing a book at him. She chuckled slightly and said, her eyes brimming with tears, 'I came to go to reconciliation actually, after what happened today. It's strange; I was going to just go home, but then I saw your car out front and I just felt kind of magnetized towards this place, towards you I suppose,' she said truthfully, blushing slightly, 'This place is so peaceful,' she whispered, not wanting to disturb the beautiful rich silence in this grand hall. She looked up at him, nine tears (yes he counted) falling down her cheeks, 'Rob can we talk?' she asked, her voice quivering.
Reluctantly, he sat down next to her, on her right hand side so that she could see, for the first time, what she had done. She saw the cut immediately and gasped out in shock, leaning her hand towards it. He did not move, but when she asked, breathlessly, 'Was that where I…?' he responded rather bluntly with,
She lightly pressed her fingers against the cut, and then just opened her mouth, disbelieving of the pain she had caused, 'Rob, I'm so, so sorry. I never meant to hurt you…'
'I know, you were just having a rough time of it, and Naomi coming back probably didn't help,' he mumbled into her earm, putting an arm around her shoulders, letting her collapse against him slightly and cry. She kept mumbling and stuttering out apologies and he was bemused. He had never seen Karen like this before, so weak, so vulnerable. In all honesty, it was kind of scary. And because she was breaking down in front of him, or it might've been because they were in a church, Rob forgave her there and then. He couldn't help it. This woman was so extraordinary that the longest grudge he had ever held against her, even after she threw something at him, lasted a supreme total of five hours.
He kissed her gently on the temple, trying to calm and soothe her and within a few minutes, Karen stopped crying and sat up straight, 'I'm so sorry again Rob. You must think I'm absolutely ridiculous.'
'I do. You are ridiculous,' he began, laughing a little at the offended face she made, 'Karen, you're so ridiculous that I can't stay mad at you for even one day. You're ridiculous in a beautiful, intelligent, witty, funny way. And you're so special and what makes me laugh is that you don't even realize it,' he said, all in one breath. She looked slightly stunned at his outburst and she stayed silent for a few moments, just catching up with everything that had just spewed from his mouth.
When she reached the point where she was on the same wavelength as him, she grinned broadly and hugged him even closer to her. He slowly placed one hand on her left cheek and leant down and kissed her softly,
'That means "I forgive you" in case you were wondering,' he whispered into her ear when he parted his lips from hers. Before he had time to even breathe, her lips were thrust upon his once more, more passionately this time, her hand rubbing delicately against his cut.
'That means "I'm still sorry I threw a book at you" in case you were wondering,' she whispered, mimicking his previous words. She was funny, but in a sweet and loving way. Another reason he couldn't stay away from her.