Kate strolled across the campus courtyard, a cup of tea in one hand and a book of crossword puzzles in the other. She knew that with Daniel so close to the edge, it would be best to keep his mind as occupied as possible.
She stopped dead in the middle of the quad. Unless he had something else he could use to occupy his time?
Or, more specifically, someone.
There, on what Kate knew to be Daniel's favorite bench, sat the doctor and… the other doctor?
It took her half a second to recall the woman's name. Caroline Newsome. The woman who had challenged Kate, who wouldn't let her see Daniel, who had waited days to tell Daniel that Wesley's murder had actually happened.
Caroline Newsome was not on Kate's list of favorite people.
Still, Kate knew that in Daniel's mind, this woman had once gone by another name: Natalie Vincent, his long-time fantasy, his best friend for 20 years, utterly irreplaceable.
Kate narrowed her eyes. Caroline knew that, so what was she doing here?
She supposed Dr. Newsome might simply be checking up on her patient. But, as she took in the way Caroline peered over Daniel's shoulder at the puzzle in his hands, the small smile playing on her lips as he found an answer, the way she touched his arm as she laughed, Kate realized this wasn't true. This wasn't a doctor-patient visit. She didn't know what it was, and that scared her.
And the fact that it scared her, confused her. She had no claim to Daniel, no reason to expect him to speak only to her. But she had prided herself in being Daniel's only real confidant for so long.
She swallowed the bile that rose in her throat. She should be happy, she knew, that Daniel was branching out, holding a pleasant conversation without trying to escape. He needed someone other than Lewicki and Kate in his life.
But did it have to be her? The living embodiment of his closest friend? Kate suddenly felt like an intruder, even from so far away. Taking a deep breath and trying to fight off the lump that was developing in her throat, she turned on her heel and fled the campus, dropping the tea—no milk, no sugar—in the nearest garbage can as she hurried away.
A/N Cheers to my fantastic beta, TheInvisibleQuestion, who improved upon this to the last comma.