A Beautiful Mess: The Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two kids, in love, confused and suddenly with options and circumstances way beyond their control and grasp.

Submitted: April 19, 2009

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Submitted: April 19, 2009

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Chapter One

She looked at him, standing there in her kitchen, topless, pants hanging loosely off his hipbones, cigarette smoke clouding his head and a bowl of cereal in one hand. He had his gaze on the article stuck on the door of the fridge about yoga – something she’d cut out months ago and planned to follow-up on but never got around to doing.

She leaned against the doorway of the kitchen and crossed her arms, watching him, a smile lingering on her face. The sun streamed into the spacious kitchen from one side, flooding the space with the natural light that only the morning could bring. The potted plants lining the windowsills needed to be watered, there were dishes stacked in the sink and the morning’s papers strewn across the counter. The rug on the floor by the breakfast island – a gift from her aunt living in Turkey – was crumpled, half of it crushed into the edge of the cabinets.

Yet, in the clutter and mess of the kitchen, she couldn’t help but feel as though it was one of the most beautiful things she’d seen. He belonged in her kitchen. He looked nice in her house. He made her house look nice. He belonged in her life.

Suddenly, he looked up, saw her and smiled lazily. Sleep was still in his eyes, he hadn’t shaved and his hair was a sexy mess. She fell in love with him all over again.

“Good morning,” he drawled, his voice still heavy with slumber. “I made us some coffee.”

She wanted to wake up to this every day.

Uncrossing her arms, she walked into the kitchen and towards him. He put down the cereal bowl on the counter and pulled her in, wrapping his around her shoulders. She squeezed him back and then pulled away slowly, tilting her head up slightly as she did so.

Grinning, he leaned down and pressed his lips against hers, before slowly parting them and kissing her at an almost leisurely pace, taking his time to explore her mouth with the tip of his tongue.

“Minty,” he said, as he let her go. She grinned back at him.

“What are your plans today?” she asked as she extracted a mug from one of the cabinets and poured the coffee into it.

“I’ve gotta head back to the office and finish up some stuff that are due tomorrow.”

“Drew, it’s a Sunday,” she said, turning back to face him. He had taken a seat at the island, cereal bowl once again in front of him. “I thought maybe we could watch a movie or go to the park or something.”

“Well, since I was busy with you last night instead of working, I’ll have to do it today instead,” he replied, raising his eyebrows in quick succession as he spoke and grinning before taking a spoonful of cereal.

She shrugged and sat down opposite him, reaching out of the papers as she did. Front-page news was all about the economy. Third page carried a story about a bombing in the Far East and a political coup in a country she had never been to before. She flipped quickly to the arts section; it was too early in the morning to be reading about tragedy.

“The circus is coming!” she exclaimed, turning the paper around so he could see the article. He looked up from his breakfast, glanced at it and then looked up at her.

“Kate, you hate clowns,” he reminded her.

She turned the paper back to face her and scanned the article for the details. Once she’d gotten the dates, she looked back up at him. He was still looking at her, studying her almost.

“But there are other things there,” she said stubbornly, looking away and suddenly feeling slightly self-conscious. “It’d be here on Friday. The carnival and fairs and all. We’re going.”

Drew finished the last of his cereal, stood up and walked over to place the empty bowl into the sink. He walked back to the island, kissed her on the top of her head and then started towards the arched kitchen door.

“I’ll call. Maybe we’ll have dinner. Call everyone out,” he said, turning back briefly to look at her. “The place we went to for seafood that time was pretty good. Alex would like that lobster pasta you had.”

She sighed and went back to reading the paper. She heard him go up the stairs and a door close. Ten minutes later, just as she was about to put away the papers, he came back down, fully dressed and smelling of shampoo and her soap.

“Check you out later, gorgeous,” he said as he crossed the kitchen and went out the back door. Through the window, she saw him get into his car, pull out of the driveway and disappear around the bend.

The house was suddenly still and empty again. She looked around her. The dishes still needed to be washed, the plants still needed watering and the rug was still crumpled. But somehow, now it just looked disorganized. The beauty in the mess was gone.

Chapter Two

Kate stood in front of her bathroom mirror. There were bottles of creams, lotions and pills lining the shelf between the sink and stained mirror. Grime was starting to form around the crooks of the tap and the edges where the sink met the tiled wall. Kate looked at her reflection.

Everyone seemed certain she looked like her mother. The long black hair, the sharp nose and cheekbones. She had her father’s lips though – French lips, he used to call them because of they way they slightly pouted thinly all on it’s own.

She turned on the tap and let the water run for a while. The sound of rushing water crashing upon the smooth marble base of the sink filled the air, and she was glad for the break in silence.

Finally, she leaned down, cupped her hands and splashed the cold water on her face, jolting her awake.

It was Monday morning already. Dinner last night, although done with the best intentions, was one of the worse dinners she’d had. Everything made her feel nauseous. The smell of the sea, the thick cloud of smoke from the boys’ cigarettes, the new perfume Clara wore that seemed to hang heavily around her head. She hardly ate a bite, which of course made everyone worried. She was usually the one to wolf everything down and then jog it all off the next morning, gaining not a single pound in the process. Again, it was the French genes.

Alex had joked and asked if she was pregnant. They all laughed, and then the conversation shifted to the game that was on that day.

Kate looked at her reflection again. There were faint eye bags under her lower lids, a result of her being unable to sleep the entire night. Her skin seemed slightly yellow and her hair was in tangles and knots. She looked tired, old and like hell.

There was a calendar hanging on the wall by the mirror. It was already the middle of the month. She sighed, turned off the tap and reached out of the face towel. Dabbing her face, she walked out of the bathroom and started to get ready for work.

She needed to get her mind thinking of something else.

Chapter 3

“Oh hey, I think that’s my office building!” Drew exclaimed excitedly, pointing in the general direction of the city lights. Kate turned and looked anyway, wrapping her arms tightly around her. They were both in a two-seat carriage of the Ferris wheel, tens of metres up in the air, by the edge of a plateau.

She looked down and saw Alex and Clara at the foot of the wheel. Clara had a fear of heights, and Alex was gentlemanly enough to offer to stay on land with her. From Kate’s high perch, both her best friends looked like those small Polly Pocket dolls she used to play with as a kid. They didn’t make Polly Pocket dolls in that size anymore. So many things had changed since her childhood.

The wheel stopped its slow turn and they found themselves at the peak. Drew started patting his jeans for his cigarettes. He pulled the pack out, extracted a stick and balanced it between his lips while looking for his lighter.

Kate took a deep breath. The air was cold and fresh and clean. It was so hard to find good air like this in the city. Everything was now polluted with smoke and exhumes and decay.

Walking down a street was like having every sense assaulted with sights and smells and sounds and emotion. Kate missed being able to get away from all that. She missed her house in the country, on a farm, with nothing for miles and miles but the rolling clouds and green grass carpet beneath her feet.

“Where are your thoughts?” Drew asked, his cigarette now lighted. The clean air was gone, and all Kate could smell was the heavy scent of tobacco.

“I’m late,” she said, softly.

“Like for a meeting or something?” he asked before taking a drag on his cigarette. He held the cigarette between his index and middle fingers. Fingers that Kate found innately sexy. Fingers that had traced every inch of her body, and fingers that had strummed his black acoustic guitar on several nights, as they stayed in her darken bedroom and drank the night away.

“As in, my period’s late.”

He turned and looked at her, his head cocked slightly to the side the way he always did when he didn’t quite understand something.

“How late?” he asked. He wanted to put out the cigarette then realized he had neither an ashtray nor the ground. He stubbed it out against the outside of the carriage then tucked the stub between his thigh and the side of the seat, silently reminding himself to toss it out when they were back on the ground.

Kate wasn’t looking at him anymore. She had her gaze fixed on the landscape of city lights. Everything seemed so bright and alive and promising. Buildings seemed lighted for as far as the eye could see. He imagined the people living in the buildings and the cars on the roads. He imagined the lives that were happening in those buildings, the lives that were changing. His own life that was changing.

“I haven’t had my period for two months. Two and a half months maybe,” she said quietly, her voice so soft the wind nearly blew it away.

He wanted to ask her the question. He wanted to know. He wanted to hold her and yell at her and fall in love with her all over again. He wanted to ask her those three words, but somehow, they seemed stuck inside him, as though there was a bottleneck of words in his throat.

His body suddenly ached for another cigarette. He reached for the pack then stopped. If she was pregnant, he shouldn’t be smoking around her. Fuck, if she really was pregnant, he’d been smoking in front of her for months already. Guilt wrecked him so abruptly that he thought he was going to fall over and get thrown out of the carriage. His hand instinctively reached for the buckle of the belt and he made sure it was
secure.

And then he thought about how she’d been feeling. How she was feeling right then, beside him, fifty metres off the ground.

“I took the home pregnancy kits,” she said, looking at him finally.

“And?” he ventured slowly.

“Two of them said I was pregnant.”

He took a deep breath. “How many tests did you take?”

She held up three fingers, and then leaned her head on his shoulder. Drew pulled out his arm from between them and draped it across her shoulders.  

“But the one that said I wasn’t pregnant was the most reliable of all,” she said.

Drew couldn’t help but smile. “What makes you so sure?”

She began tracing a pattern on his thigh. “It said so on the box. ‘Most Reliable Home Pregnancy Test Kit In Town’. That’s why I bought it.”

He didn’t say anything. The chances were still up in the air. Anything could happen. Those things weren’t as reliable as they claim.

“I went to the doctor’s yesterday. They took a blood test and everything. The results are due tomorrow,” she said, resting her arm on his thigh.

“I’ll go with you.”

“Okay.”

They sat there quietly for a while. The wheel started moving again moving, and for that they were both glad.

“Why didn’t you tell me earlier, Kate?”

“I needed to think it through.”

“We could have gone through it together, from the start.”

She pulled her head away, taking her arm back as she spoke. “I wasn’t sure you’d…”

“That I’d what? Stay?” Drew asked, suddenly hurt. “Did you think I’d up and move when I find out you’re pregnant? With my child? I mean, it is mine right?”

Kate’s head turned so forcibly it hurt. Drew had never seen her face like that before. Her forehead was tight with anger, her eyes glaring with rage and the sexy curves of her lips now stretched into a thin line. The wheel stopped again.

“If there is a kid in there, he’s yours, Drew,” she hissed, her voice spitting venom. “I can’t believe you would even consider that.”

He tried to keep calm. His hands were shaking, begging for a cigarette. He began to feel a headache forming right between his eyebrows.

“You have the option of walking away,” she said, her voice suddenly devoid for that anger. She just sounded defeated. Exhausted. Afraid.

“I won’t, Kate.”

“I know. But I’m just saying you have that option. I don’t. If I am carrying a kid, I don’t think I’m cool with the idea of aborting it. I’m gonna have to have this kid inside me for the next few months, Drew. You, anytime at all, you can bail on me. Run. Move to Amsterdam like you always said you wanted to.”

Drew took in a deep breath, and reached out for her hand. She didn’t pull away. The wheel started turning again, and they could hear the gears creaking and as they got lower and lower down, the sounds of the crowd began to fill the air again.

They could hear the pinball machine clinging, the audience in the circus tent laughing, the crowds talking and giggling, and somewhere in the distance, a bullhorn went off.

“I promise you, Katherine Mason, that I’m not going anyway.”

She turned and smiled at him. There were tears hanging off her long eyelashes. She looked relieved, and thankful. Their carriage finally reached the bottom and they unbuckled themselves. As he stood up, Drew flicked out the cigarette stub. Kate had gone ahead of him and was now talking to Clara. She had wiped the tears from her face and was now laughing as she watched Alex attempt to catch popcorn with his mouth.

Drew started towards them then stopped abruptly, causing the little boy walking behind him to bump head first into his butt. He turned around to apologize but the kid had already recovered and walked away. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the pack of cigarettes. As another bullhorn went off, Drew tossed the pack into the nearest bin. Then, he jogged and caught up with his friends.


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