Kate hurried out the door and took off down the road, pushing the jogging stroller along in front of her. Sid was out on business today and she was eager to spend some time alone in town with the baby. It had been months since she’d been allowed to leave the house without her husband and she’d been feeling like a captive. Even at home it seemed that Sid was always looming about, watching her every move, almost like he was actually studying her and SJ. At first she thought it was just his “new dad” nerves or something, but after a while it just seemed… oh, well… a bit… creepy.
Kate couldn’t help but look around nervously, thinking that Sid might be watching her even now. She jogged more quickly and held her breath as she heard a car approaching, thinking it was her husband, and let it out as she saw the smiling face and friendly wave of one of her neighbors as they drove by.
Silly, she thought to herself, blushing a bit. What did she think Sid would actually do if he found her out for a jog? It wasn’t like he’d actually done anything, well, cruel to her before. Being overprotective wasn’t exactly a crime, after all. But yet, at times, she sensed… something, deep down inside him, lurking just below the surface. She didn’t know what it was and couldn’t explain it, but every now and then, especially when he was speaking about someone he didn’t like, she could sense a sort of danger in him that she’d never noticed before SJ came along.
Probably just hormones, she mused, but then again… what if?
Lost in thought, she ran on, SJ quietly asleep in the stroller. When she got to the edge of town, Kate stopped and pulled out a water bottle from the diaper bag she had tucked into the back of the stroller. She took a long swig of the cool water, closing her eyes and wiping at her brow. Though the day was cool and crisp, she was sweating from her long run and decided to stop and rest for a minute or two under the shade of one of the many large trees that lined the road. SJ stirred a bit, then quietly slipped back into a deep slumber. She smiled at him, leaned in and gently kissed his forehead and leaned back against the tree, taking in the gentle breeze and fresh smell of the surrounding trees and grass and flowers and… was that? Cigarette smoke?
“Slumming it today, Princess?” A deep voice sounded close behind her.
Startled, she quickly jumped, dropping her water onto the ground and turned to find herself face-to-face with the last person she’d expected – or wanted – to see. Colin.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, sounding a bit less angry and more pleasant than she’d intended.
“I could ask the same of you,” he replied, gripping the tip of his ciggie with his thumb and forefinger to put it out.
“I’m just out for a jog, nothing wrong with that,” she nervously told him, stuffing the empty water bottle into her bag.
“Except that you’re on my property,” he grinned, pointing over towards the building behind them with the large painted sign on it reading: Colin’s Garage.
“Oh,” was all she could say, then, “Well, you shouldn’t sneak up on a person like that. You gave me quite the start.”
He grinned again. “Sorry, Princess,” he replied, sarcastically. “Does Prince Charming know you’ve escaped the castle grounds?”
Kate bit her lip, her brow furrowed. “Of…of course my husband knows I’m out, don’t be silly.”
Colin lifted his brow, “Ahh… so you’ve gone rogue now! I see…” he chuckled.
Kate opened her mouth to protest as Colin went on, “Give it up, Kate, you never were good at lying. So… let me get this straight… you slipped out with the kid without Mr. Wonderful knowing. Trouble in paradise, Princess?” Colin smirked.
Suddenly, Kate burst out crying as did SJ.
The smug look on Colin’s face fell, replaced by one of worry and confusion.
“Look,Kate, I’m sorry, I was just joking around. I didn’t know,” he said, trying to comfort her, awkwardly.
Kate wiped at her tears as she lifted her baby and held him close to sooth his crying. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be here,” she said, avoiding Colin’s eyes.
Damn, Colin cursed to himself, letting out a sigh. After all this time he realized he still cared about her and it killed him inside. “Look,” he said, “why don’t you let me replace that water bottle I caused you to drop and you and the baby can cool off for a bit.” He held gestured for her to follow him to the garage.
Kate smiled nervously and nodded as Colin pushed the stroller and led her into the building.