Chapter 7: (v.2) Chapter 7

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Romance

Reads: 154

Katherine’s hands shook.  She gripped the steering wheel until her knuckles turned white.  Meagan, the vet technician who volunteered to accompany her to the stable, gave her a curious glance.  Katherine had no intentions of showing her inner turmoil. 

She’d been so angry and distraught she’d burst into tears and cried on Eric’s shoulder. The stress of seeing that mother, those children and those horses in that state had done her in. While she’d been thankful for Eric’s arrival she’d also been very, very angry.

When’d she’d blown up at him in the office, Eric hadn’t gotten angry. And when she’d burst into tears he’d comforted her. The kiss had been something else. She remembered staring at him through her tears and then feeling his lips against hers as he kissed her. The kiss was soft, gentle, and tentative as he tasted her. Her heart had picked up a rapid pace and she was conscious of his solid chest under his brown coveralls. When he paused, she craved more. It scared her.  She had panicked and ran.

She was sure there would be rumors enough about her yelling match with Eric, but she hoped no one had witnessed the kiss.  She didn’t want anyone to get ideas about her and Eric. He had to have done it to comfort and distract her. It wasn’t likely to happen again. Losing her temper and control had deeply bothered her.

Meagan cleared her throat, and Katherine realized they were still sitting there while she’d been deep in thought. Katherine apologized and shifted the truck into gear. Meagan gave her a small reassuring smile and then started asking questions about the stable that was their destination.  Katherine relaxed under the distraction that Meagan provided.  Yet she couldn’t quite get the feel of Eric out of her mind nor the kiss that he’d given her. 

Katherine made quick work of the stable appointment with Meagan’s help.  She made it back to the clinic and was thankful her mom was at home to help Katie with dinner.  She dropped Meagan off at her car, and then parked her own truck.  She intended to just drop her paperwork off in the office, so Samantha could enter it in the morning.  Eric’s truck was parked outside the clinic. She contemplated not going into the office, but then didn’t want him to think she was a coward. 

Katherine carried her paperwork into the office and intended to leave it in the bin on Samantha’s desk.  Eric was waiting for her there.  He sat in Samantha’s office chair.  He no longer wore his brown coveralls instead just a casual khaki shorts and a black athletic t-shirt.  He opened his mouth to say something and Katherine held up her hand.

“I’m not going to argue with you.  I’m not going to fight, Eric.  I’m no match for your temper and I’m not in a good enough mood to placate you.”

Eric’s lips twitched into a partial smile.  “I’d say you more than matched my temper this morning, Kat.”

“I’m not proud of that,” she shook her head, her eyes dropping towards her feet. 

He stood up and her eyes shot warily to follow him.  He pressed his lips together. He looked as if he meant to look closer, but then settled.  “I wanted to apologize.”

“So you’re saying you’re wrong?” Her dark brows rose with her voice. 

“Not exactly. I’m saying I handled the situation poorly.  I feel that you took the situation personally.  I think as a mother yourself you were emotionally vested in the situation the minute you saw those girls.”

He knew her too well.  Seeing those little girls begging her to save their already downed horse and knowing she was as helpless as they were had devastated her. Not being able to help the horse made her feel far worse. Eric’s understanding and calmness made her want to cry all over again.  Maybe if he yelled she wouldn’t cry.  “Response time – “

He cut her off. “Could have been better, but our first priority has to be handling our existing clientele.  That’s how we keep clients.” 

“Nearly every horse person understands being bumped by an emergency of that magnitude.  They’d want the same treatment if it was their emergency.”

“You said it yourself. Nearly everyone.  It’s the ones that don’t understand that make the largest fuss.  Besides until you got there you had no clue how bad it was.  It could have been a little road rash and an over exaggerating owner.  You know those exist.”

Despite herself Katherine’s lips tipped up into a small smile.  Then she sighed heavily.  While she hated to admit it Eric was right he spoke the truth.  Still she would have done the same thing over again in a heartbeat.  She looked into Eric’s green eyes and decided she would wait to tell him that. 

He continued.  “I did speak to Laura just in case your yelling about her lazy ass gets back to her.”

Katherine felt slightly remorseful about that.  Most of the time she enjoyed working with Laura even if she felt the younger woman occasionally sandbagged on time.  She didn’t want any hard feelings between the two of them. 

“She has decided she is going to be a bit more proactive in situations like that.  Does that make things a little better.”

Katherine let out a shaky breath and nodded.  From a work standpoint it resolved the issues that stood between them.  Only one thing remained left to discuss. Eric was her dearest friend. Common sense told her to let it go, but she couldn’t hold her tongue.  “You kissed me.”

There it was.  He knew it would come up, but he hadn’t been ready to talk about it. He didn’t know what to say, and he searched for the words. Kissing Katherine had crossed their friendship lines. 

“You were crying.”

“I was done crying.”

“I wasn’t so sure.  I am bad at words. I wanted to comfort you.”

“So you kissed me?”

He ran a hand through his wavy hair making the curls stand on end in wild directions. Katherine didn’t say anything for a full minute…just looked at him. 

“Let’s call it a truce. In the meantime I’m going to go home and hug my daughter and my horse,” she told him. 

Submitted: October 30, 2018

© Copyright 2021 BrinkDay. All rights reserved.


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