“Time Out” part 2
Kate Harbor and Colin O’Brien
Kate followed Colin nervously into the Garage office. She knew if Sid ever caught her there he’d be furious. He hated Colin, especially after the ordeal they’d had to go through with the paternity suit over SJ. She didn’t know what Sid would have done if the DNA tests had gone the other way and Colin had been the father. Would he have left her? Would he have killed Colin? Somehow, there always seemed to be that fear in the back of her mind that he was perfectly capable of that and more. She shuddered at the thought and pulled SJ closer to her chest.
“G’day, Sir,” Arthur spoke up behind the front office desk as Colin and Kate walked in. As Arthur looked up and saw Kate and SJ his eyes grew wide with surprise. “Oh,” he said, nervously, shaking a bit, “G’day, Mrs. Harbor, and what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?”
“Never you mind,” Colin shot back, giving his employee a look that told him he’d best keep his mouth shut about this or else. “We’ll be in the back, hold my calls.”
Arthur managed a nervous smile and nodded to him, then attempted to busy himself at the desk.
Colin motioned for Kate to have a seat on an old couch in the back office, then pulled out two bottles of water from a mini fridge, handing her one as he shut the office door and sat down in a chair across from her.
They sat there quietly a moment, each of them not sure of what to say. So much time had passed since they’d last seen one another and so much had happened between them since their break-up. Colin had so much to be angry about with this woman yet somehow looking at her now none of seemed to matter anymore.
Finally, it was Kate that spoke up first. “Thanks. For the water, I mean,” she said quietly, managing to quiet her sobs a bit.
“No worries,” Colin told her. He managed a weak smile, then took a gulp of water. “So.”
“So,” she replied, staring at her feet. “Look, I…I should be going.” She started to get up to leave, worried again at what Sid might do if he found her here.
Colin knew she was right, she shouldn’t be there. But still, there was something that worried him about the way she broke down crying. He – or anyone else he knew for that matter – hadn’t seen Kate in months. Not since the baby was born. Was she being mistreated? Was that bastard, Sid, keeping her locked away? He wouldn’t put anything past that slime-ball.
“Don’t go, stay, please,” he suddenly burst out.
“Colin, I…I can’t,” she began to cry again.
“I just want to make sure you’re okay, that’s all.”
She hesitated, opening her mouth to protest, wondering why he was being so nice to her all of a sudden.
“Did you jog all the way from your house?” Colin asked.
“That’s a long distance and you must be exhausted. Please, sit and rest until you feel better.”
She sat back down on the lumpy old couch, placing a now sleeping SJ back down in the stroller.
Colin watched as she lovingly buckled the sleeping infant safely in and stroked his head. “He’s really grown since I saw him last,” he said. Even though the DNA test were negative Colin still believed in his heart that he was the father and Sid had somehow managed to have the tests altered in some way. The math just couldn’t lie, after all, and the dates just didn’t match up that would make it so Sid could have fathered Kate’s child. Was he just being delusional?
Colin choked back his emotion and cleared his throat. “So, tell me, what’s been going on with you in that big old glass egg of a house lately?”
“Nothing, really, just, well,” Kate wrung her hands, shaking a bit.
“Ya know, people are talking,” Colin said.
“People are always talking,” she snapped back, defensively. “About?”
“How you’ve suddenly become a recluse or something.”
“I’m not a recluse, I’m just…”
“Sid’s just being over protective is all. Doesn’t want anything to happen to his family. You can understand.”
“No, I can’t,” Colin snapped back, trying to keep his temper at bay. The thought of Sid mistreating Kate in any way made his blood boil. “Seems to me he’s been more controlling than protective.”
Kate stood up to leave, not wanting to get into a heated debate with Colin over her marriage troubles. Which were, she reminded herself, none of his business.
“Kate, wait,” Colin said, “look, I’m sorry. I’m just worried about you… and… the baby.”
His eyes caught hers just then and she began to cry once more. “Its just hormones, really, there’s nothing to worry about. I’m fine, SJ is fine. All is fine and wonderful in the kingdom and we’re living happily ever after. Satisfied?”
“No,” Colin told her quietly. “I’m not. I can’t be. Not as long as,” he stopped himself mid-sentence before he could say, “you’re with that weirdo husband of yours.”
“He’s not cruel or anything, if that’s what you think,” Kate told him, “And we’re not wanting for anything.”
“Except maybe friends? Company? I know you, Kate, you can’t sit still for 2 minutes and you thrive on being with a crowd of friends. You’re not happy, I can see it in your eyes,” he leaned in and brushed away one of her tears, “in your tears.”
The warmth of his touch on her skin awakened something in her, something she hadn’t felt in a long, long time, sending a shiver through her body. Startled, she jumped up, grabbed hold of the stroller, “I have to go, I shouldn’t be here.” She quickly headed for the door, trying to bury what she was feeling inside. What was she feeling inside? She wondered to herself. This was Colin. Colin! And she was married. She turned and stared at him for a moment, seeing the feeling in his eyes she hadn’t seen in what seemed like forever, then turned and left.
Colin just stood there, staring and wondering what the fuck he was doing.
“Everything alright in here?” Arthur asked, popping his head in the doorway.
“No, mate,” Colin replied with a heavy sigh, “everything is not fucking alright.”