~*~AJ~*~

Kevin called and told us they were coming back and things went well with his family. I wondered if theyíd both be in a pissy mood like they were when they come back after the first visit home. It was Friday and we planned a party for Saturday. Howie was looking at buying a club so we were going there.

~*~Tracie~*~

Part of me was ready to go home and part of me wanted to stay in that cabin. Very uncomplicated. Kevin and I talked about that on the drive home. Things had gotten so complicated. This had been a very good trip for Kevin. His family had been understanding and supportive. I think getting away from everything like this gave him some time to regroup. As we drove back he seemed more relaxed, and happier than Iíd seen him in a long time. I knew that the annulment papers still hung over his head. I wished they would come and he could move beyond that. I know it would always be there, but all least the legal entanglements would be done. We made lots of stops on the way home. Any place that looked interesting we went exploring. Neither of us actually seen Rock City, so that was our first stop, then every tourist trap between Kentucky and Florida. Stone Mountain in Atlanta was fun too, but I liked the caves near Rock City best. They made Kevin claustrophobic.

~*~Kevin~*~

Someone might say we were putting off going back to the real world. Theyíd be right. But donít lots of people do that after a vacation? We got quieter as we got closer. Deathly silent as we reached Orlando. I dropped her off at her place and went on home. It felt different. I kind of felt like I was home again for the first time in a long time. But something was missing. I couldnít pinpoint that and just went to bed.

Doorbell. Knocking. Doorbell. Three in the morning. Good god. Tracie has a key. I stumbled down the stairs to my front door, "Tracie, you have a key, use it!" I yanked open the door, "Nick?"

"Iím sorry. I didnít know where to go, and I had to go."

I stood to the side, "Come on in. What happened?"

He walked past me and into the family, "Fight with Pam. She read some rumor on some site somewhere. Something about me fucking someone after some show in some fucking town."

"You didnít."

He glared at me, "I know that, Kevin. I canít seem to convince Pam of that. I mean the whole thing reads like some bad fan fic. You would think she would at least recognize that I donít fuck like this person described. Talking about some tattoo that I donít even have. Then itís all about "But you wanted too". I canít fucking win this."

I sat on the couch, "Youíre right. You canít win. This isnít about you. Never has been. You could be a monk in a monastery and sheíd think you were getting blown by a nun."

Nick laughed, "Thatís good. God, I hope youíre wrong."

I was tired enough and had a good week and I wasnít gonna censor. I figure if he shows up at three he must want some answers, "Nick, I liked Pam at first. She didnít seem to be out to get anything. I still donít think she is. I stopped liking her when she showed herself to be the most insecure girlfriend that any of us have ever had. Some times she seems perfectly normal, and other times sheís a basket case. I donít think Iíd mind that so much, except that I see how it affects you. You take it all on as your fault, try to see what you did. YOU donít have to do anything. Iíve been impressed that you havenít gone out and fucked someone just because she thinks you are anyway. Might as well have some fun out of it. That was a joke. Nick, I have seen you turn yourself inside out to figure this out, to be what she needs. What she needs is some work on herself, you canít do it. She has too."

"Then why doesnít she?"

"She doesnít have to. She has you to blame and you to prop her up. Sheís got to feel bad enough and have no one to blame but herself. Then maybe sheíll look at it."

"Sheíll just move on to some other schmuck whoíll do the same thing I do." He laid his head in his hands.

I was glad he was able to see it, "I agree. So when is it enough?"

"I was just about to ask you that. How do I know when Iíve tried enough."

"When you can look yourself in the mirror and say "Iíve done enough", really believe, and know you can live with yourself when you walk."

He got really serious, "You can do that?"

I understood the bigger question, "Yes, Nick, I can."

~*~Nick~*~

"Hey, how was Kentucky?" I wanted some scoop on this.

His face actually lit up, "Wonderful! Mom, Tim, and Jerald were great. Tracie and I just hung out at the cabin, hiked, drank wine, watched thunderstorms. I feel great. Getting away from everything was great. No complications. Just me and my best friend."

I thought a minute. Getting away from everything, but Tracie. If anyone else painted this picture Iíd know they were lovers. Drinking wine and watching thunderstorms for godís sake. I remember Tracieís drunken confession. Maybe it was just friendship love? Nevermind, Iím not that stupid. Iím not blind. I decided to blow it off, "Iím glad. You needed to get it back together. Kentucky has always been good for you."

"I could say the same thing about you."

"I guess. Can I crash here?"

"Of course. Pick a room. Iíll see you in the morning."

~*~AJ~*~

The party the next night was great. I went solo, Nick went solo, Kevin went solo, Lee went solo, and Tracie went solo. I guess that means only Howie and Brian had dates. It should be noted that only Howie and Brian got laid that night.

The solo folks dance together all night long. Had a ball. There is something to be said for dirty dancing with your friends. I even put a move on Nick. He jammed with me. Lee laughed at us both. I ran for a round of drinks and a slow song came on. Just my luck. I doubt I have to tell you how they paired up. I went back to the table with the drinks and it hit me. Since we had come back from California neither Kevin nor Tracie had had sex. Neither of them had picked up anyone, or so much as had a date. Ok, a date might have been pushing it, one of them on a date equates one of us getting engaged at this point. More commitment than theyíre up for. I was laughing wildly as they all came back to the table. Kevin was holding Tracieís hand. I laughed more. Shit, they were dating, exclusively, and neither one of them knew it.

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