His feet dragged slightly in the carpeted hallway, as he made his way toward the loft door. He flipped his keys in his hand and slipped it into the lock without so much as a second thought. Opening the door, he found all of the lights were dim, and the loft was filled with a simmering silence that seemed to ring in his ears. He tossed his keys onto the counter, and pulled the leather jacket from his shoulders, tossing it onto the back of the barstool. He stretched, letting out a quiet yawn, and when he turned, he nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw the person standing in the doorway looking at him. The yawn dropped from his lungs immediately, and he made a slight startled sound. "Mother." He said, catching the look in her eyes as her eyebrows lifted, and her chin jutted out. "What are you doing up?"
"I was having trouble sleeping." She said, dropping her wary gaze as she shuffled into the kitchen. She pulled her robe tighter as she walked past her son. "You're just getting home, I see." She said, keeping her jaw tight. It was difficult not to hear the ring of judgment in her tone, for it echoed in his ears like a pounding drum.
"Yeah, I had a date with…"
"The stewardess," she nodded. "I know."
"Flight attendant," he corrected following his mother's form as she rolled her eyes and danced her head back and forth in a mocking way. She opened the refrigerator and pulled out a container of orange juice. She held it up to Rick, and he shook his head. She then turned toward the cupboard to pull down a glass, she turned and set it down solidly on the counter.
"What about Kate?" She asked, lifting an eyebrow as she swirled the orange juice in the container before pulling off the top.
"What about her?"
"You're just giving up? Quitting?" Martha asked.
"Mother." Rick said, his tone held a bit of irritation.
"She was here earlier, looking for you." Martha said, staring at the glass as she poured it half full of orange juice. "Poor thing looked exhausted."
"Kate was here earlier?" Rick asked, leaning in a bit, his voice sounded almost desperate. "She knew I was going out."
"Maybe she was hoping you'd be having an early night." Martha shrugged. "I told her you were still out, so she left."
"Did she say anything else?" he asked, trying so hard not to sound desperate or worried.
"No. Though she did appear to be just a little bit tipsy." Martha said in a dramatic voice as she turned and put the orange juice back in the refrigerator. She turned to see Rick standing thoughtfully. "I told her she could stay if she wanted. I told her I'd call her a taxi if she needed one. She just mumbled something and left."
"And you saw her get a taxi?" he asked.
"No, I figured that she's a big girl, Richard. Why? Did something happen between the two of you?" Martha asked, tipping her head as she approached her son.
"No," he shook his head thoughtfully. "She wanted to talk. I told her I didn't have time. I don't know what she wanted." He said, pulling his phone from his pocket, there were no calls.
"You can't call her now, Richard. It's too late," his mother scolded.
"In the evening, dear. She's probably home sleeping by now, it's practically morning," she said, gripping the cup in her hand, she brought it to her lips and watched her son curiously as she sipped. "Richard?" He looked to her, lifting an eyebrow, his eyes clouded by concern. "She's a big girl, sweetheart. I'm sure it was nothing. Besides, you've moved on."
Rick nodded, watching his mother's eyes, he couldn't help but read in them that she wasn't quite convinced. "Goodnight, Mother."
"Goodnight." She said with a wistful sigh. "It's time to wake up, Richard!" She said, strutting off toward the stairs, he watched her quick glance back to him, and quickly disappeared from view.
Rick sighed and turned, pulling himself onto the barstool he closed his eyes. He tried to block the image from his mind, but all he could see were her dark eyes staring at him. There was something in her gaze that he had only seen there on one or two occasions.
And he had left.
Maybe it was too late.
Kate continued walking through the darkened streets of the city. The uneven steps of inebriation had slowly turned into steps of exhaustion. She could almost see the light of morning in the distance starting to make its presence known. She wondered what time it was. She wondered where she was. She made her way to a bench, settling her body onto the wooden slats, she focused her attention on the sky. She let the time pass by her, slowly and without pause.
As the sky lit up above her, the heavy weight on her shoulders seemed to lift. She felt abandoned and alone. Even though she was surrounded by the millions of people that lived in the buildings surrounding her, she felt alone. She closed her eyes and felt the cool wind brush across her cheek. It reminded her that she was still alive. It reminded her that a new day was beginning. It reminded her that she still had strength to fight the fear deep in her heart. She had the strength to pursue the one thing that seemed anomalous until that very moment.
She had so much left.
And she prayed that it wasn't too late.