She shouldn't have been disappointed.
But as she stared across the way at Randy's hurried movements, she couldn't help the heavy feeling in her heart.
It was common these days.
"Was that all you wanted from me, K?" Randy asked as he paused by the door with his bag on his shoulder. His brown eyes seemed to be looking through her. He'd promised his undivided attention today but fate seemed to have other plans. Apparently, it had turned into his rushed, almost one sided attention. With a glance at his text that had turned into an emergency meeting at his job. Especially pleaded for by Mr. Hanks.
Which meant he had to go to the lab as soon as possible.
She would be lying if she said she didn't feel...
Just overwhelming disappointment.
Kaitlyn reluctantly nodded, glancing at the catalog in front of her, barely flipped through. "Of course... I won't keep you. That was perfect! I'll follow up with the cottage you liked on Wednesday." She stated softly as she brought up the conclusion he had decided on and she looked up into his suddenly bright face. His grin was cheery and he stepped back into the room to place a kiss on the top of her red head. She happily inhaled the familiar scent of his cologne, relishing in the few fleeting moments she had with him before he left. But her lips, they ached for a kiss too.
But it never came.
"Okay, awesome. Well, I'm going to get going then." He said, already pulling away. "I'll see you tonight for dinner, okay?"
"All right. See you then, I'll make your favorite." She whispered, trying not to sound too disappointed that he wouldn't be home sooner. It was supposed to be his day off.
But if she sounded disappointed, Randy didn't seem to notice as he hurried out the door and called out, "Bye Jackson!" before he shut the front door after him with a slam.
The house seemed eerily quiet. And Kaitlyn absently played with her hair.
Jackson had only briefly waved his hand in Randy's direction, not bothering to take his eyes off the television screen in front of him. After all, the brunette was already long gone anyway.
It felt cold.
Kaitlyn cleared her throat and returned to her journal, making sure to make note of Randy's preferences in her neat and swirly script.
It was the same one Jackosn had devoted his attention to yesterday, for whatever reason. It had two years worth of notes, that was when she had caved and made one, realizing by the time they actually had a ceremony, she would have long forgotten either of their preferences.
The original date had just been a year after he had popped the question, but suddenly, it was too soon. So they had decided to wait until he had managed to produce some solid research with his firm. Which she had understood. All he had wanted was to make a name for himself, after all. She respected and even admired that.
But then that turned into waiting for his research papers, and then they just didn't have time, or he had more upcoming projects...
And then the journal was made, as if evidence of the passing time.
She wasn't sure where his enthusiasm had gone. When he had first popped the question, Randy had taken her by surprise. She hadn't dropped any hints, hadn't complained. She was happy for it to just be them.
But then, once he had landed his job after university, he had proposed to her in the middle of a restaurant, with roses and champagne, as the whole restaurant cheered.
It had been the happiest day of her life.
She couldn't remember how it felt anymore, the bitterness growing each time he shut her down since then.
She didn't know what she had done wrong. Was it really timing... was she just not good enough?
The thoughts ate at her. Not even realizing that she had set down her journal awhile ago, staring absently at the door.
She wanted Randy to walk back through.
But ironically, it was Jackson's voice that brought her out of her stupor.
"So, I've been thinking since yesterday... I don't think raspberry cake will be a huge hit with the crowd."
Kaitlyn blinked, turning to look at him as he stared at her, completely ignoring the program playing in the background. "You should do something more traditional like chocolate and vanilla. Probably not my place, but most people like one or the other. Gotta think of the crowd too, ya know."
She wasn't sure if she was more shocked that he had remembered one of the many things she jotted down, or if he always had the gal to just state his opinion whenever he pleased. "I don't remember asking for your opinion."
Jackson clicked his tongue, amused. "True, but I thought I'd help you out. Since, looking at your stuff, seems like you'll be spending your whole life savings on a simple wedding."
His words, as usual, annoyed her and injured the swell of her pride. But he looked devilishly handsome as he picked on her. His body clad in a black tank and crimson pajamas as he sprawled out.
She vaguely wondered if he knew that he was pretty, and probably could have had a girlfriend by now if he wasn't so annoying.
"As hilarious as you are," Kaitlyn started, chest puffed as she crossed her arms, "I'll have you know I've had years to save up for this wedding. Our finances are NOT an issue."
Their security with wealth was certainly established.
But instead of looking humbled,, he merely shrugged. "I just think you could find all that stuff you marked much cheaper at discount stores. Money or not, it's pointless to waste it just cause you can."
"It wouldn't be a waste," she argued, her lashes fluttering as she blinked. "Besides, I doubt you could find even half of my list at any of those stores or for cheaper."
She tipped her chin up to him in a challenge, and Jackson smirked at her. Flashing his perfectly white teeth as he winked, sitting up with a kick.
"That a challenge?"
"You got it, just watch me."
And she did. She watched as the rugged man quickly grabbed his laptop and pulled up a seat beside her at the dining table. Within a mere ten minutes, his lips were smirking at her in victory. "Read it and weep." He leaned back as she leaned over, and her jaw dropped.
"What?" He had found everything for almost 30% if not 50% cheaper, saving her a few thousand in costs just with the list alone.
She considered herself savvy, but this had taken her completely off guard.
"How?" She fumbled, her red lips pursed together.
Jackson stretched, flexing his long fingers as he cocked his head at her. He was so close, she could smell his sandalwood shampoo.
She thought to move away, but suddenly the screen was pointed more at her as he smiled at her. And so, with her hand on the back of his chair, she stayed put.
"I've seen my share of weddings, in fact, I've been a best man." he answered, almost proud.
It was endearing.
Kaitlyn stifled a laugh. "You? A best man? I can't even picture it. The king of messy hair and tank tops... in a suit? Around people?"
He ran his fingers through his black locks, the dimples in his cheeks showing. "Oh believe me, princess, I can dress with the best of them. And for your info, I have friends."
She couldn't help but giggle. "I suppose you refer to them all as sweetheart?" She stated, referencing his first attempt at a "nickname" for her.
Jackson gave a mock gasp, his eyes widening before he wiggled his brows at her. "No, no, Kaitlyn," her name sounded nice from his lips--different. And she could only smile at the familiar words spoken back to her: "That would be harassment."
Chapter 4:Dainty fingers flicked at her blouse, the clips snapping into place as she buttoned the fabric over her chest. With one last once over, she emerged from her bedroom. Walking down the stairs slowly, only for her gaze to immediately fall on Jackson.Her eyes narrowed in distaste, watching with mild disgust as he lounged all over her couch, again. He was consuming a bowl of cheerios at the coffee table, his gaze fixed on the television screen as he scooped up the little tan loops. He seemed bored as he flipped through the channels, moving from the news, to cartoons with the same disinterested expression. All he ever seemed to do was watch TV though, or listen to music on his phone.She couldn't help but wonder if he was putting in any applications at all.Tossing her locks over her shoulder, she toed on her bright red heels and smoothed out her black pencil skirt one las
Today was the big day, the day she got to see Randy for more than just a couple hours in the morning.Tugging the fluffy bristles of her brush through her red locks, Kaitlyn all but twirled in front of the large mirror standing tall in the bedroom. She was adorning a slick mermaid style dress, the gray and black buttons accentuating her curves as they traversed down the sides of her hips. She felt pretty and comfortable in her shoes as she slipped on flats instead of her usual heels.Today was their annual office party, and as Randy's future spouse, she always showed up to support his endeavors.This year would be no different.Her pink lips upturned into a smile, just as the bedroom door creaked open."Hi." She breathed, perking up as Randy entered the room. She waited to hear what he'd say about her attire. A soft blush painting her face as she twirled the edges of her hair around her freshly painted nails--a glossy
"I can't do this anymore."The words are piercing, loud amongst the quiet and watching walls of their bedroom. And Randy pauses by the door. She isn't sure where it came from, or why it was bubbling up inside her now.But as the frustrations fell from her lips like boiling water, she couldn't stop."I'm sick of you treating me like this, Randy!"Not even as Randy peered at her from over his shoulders, his usually chocolate ambers clouded with anger. He cocked his brow at her, and when he turned to face her, the nonchalance on his face only fueled her anger."Treating you like what? Like my future wife? Sorry I'm not home as much as you'd like and I'm busy trying to build a future for us."The scathing reply made her falter, for only a moment, before she shook her head.No, not this time.She would say her piece."No. That'
The bags under her eyes left her feeling ragged. Bringing her fingertips up to her face, she rested them there, against the darkened flesh. Patting away a dollop of concealer as she hid her sleepless night away from the prying eyes of her office.Every time she went to close her eyes, she saw Randy. She couldn't stop remembering the look on his face when he pushed her away, the anger on his face as recoiled away into the vase.That desperate to get away from her.Where had the love in his eyes gone? When had they stopped being so gentle?The hollow feeling in her chest was consuming. And as she checked for phone for the hundredth time, she could only stare in silence.He hadn't returned any of her texts or calls in the last 24 hours. Randy had never even texted her to assure her that he had arrived safely to...wherever he went. She was sure he thought she was ungrateful and couldn't
Kailtyn all but gawked at the restaurant ahead, her eyes darting around as she tried to hide her face from view behind Jackson's towering shoulder. She felt self-conscious as they weaved through the crowd, the click of her heels loud amongst the sidewalk. She was overly in tune with the glances spared at them. As if they knew the person leading her by the hand wasn't her fiancé. She knew it was ridiculous, and she had already told Jackson twice that she wouldn't run away if he let go of her hand. She had even pointed out that she hadn't tried to jump out of his car on the drive over to try and sway him. But to no avail. His grip had stayed firm. The proximity made her blush as she swallowed down her trepidation with a slow blink, the slope of his arm so close, she could almost brush her lashes against it. It made her nervous. It also felt ... <
The thrum of alcohol scorched her throat, the liquid a smooth burn that her taste buds couldn't decide if they liked or not.But as the crystal clear liquid was slid at her in the form of another shot glass, Kaitlyn noted that the room was a bit warmer than she recalled. The glossy hue on her cheeks reflected back at her from the adjacent mirror on the wall.She felt giddy. Nerves alive as her leg bounced happily against the booth she resided in."We should do this more often." She giggled out, her hands reaching out to steal a scoop of goopey cheese off his plate.Jackson snickered, his own lime green shot glass being pressed against his lips as he gave her a smirk. "See, I told you that you should live a little."The crunch of the chip all but made her moan as the cheese, for some reason, tasted way better than earlier. It was if everything was just a little more satisfying. And as her g
"Jackson! Is this where you ran off to hide?"Kaitlyn watched, perplexed, as the girl with bouncy chocolate locks all but skipped over to Jackson. The brunette’s small hands falling on his shoulders as she wrapped around him in a hug. The atmosphere was intimate, a closeness that Kaitlyn couldn't quite place.Taking a small sip of water, Kaitlyn ignored the weirdest hint of irritation she felt at the close contact between them.Her lashes narrowing as she noted that Jackson sure was chummy with women.It was a weird feeling, one she hadn't been expecting.Frowning, she set down her water bottle with a small thud.“Jeez, it’s been way too long. I’ve missed my other half.”Kaitlyn didn't have time to reflect on her words, surprised when those wide eyes went her way instead. The blonde from earlier followed her, his smile significantly more tense than the woman’s. But maybe it was just her im
She wasn’t sure how much time had passed. Between the conversations, the drinks, and the dancing; All Kaitlyn knew was that she felt more alive than she had in years. The dynamic of Jackson with his friends, so special and intriguing, that Kaitlyn felt like she had just opened a secret treasure, only for her eyes to see. The way he talked to them, so open and gentle. It reminded her of how it had been when Joshua still hung around her and Randy. The open teasing, the love that just was always there… She didn’t know Jackson could have something so… similar, if not better. Hannah and Spencer, those two seemed like they’d die for him. Joshua, her and Randy had been the same, the three of them inseparable. Well, until Randy became obsessed with his work… Joshua had all but vanished too. Pink lips pulled between her teeth, and Kaitlyn’s red hair became entangled around her fingers. She wondered if maybe she could befriend Jackson’s friends too. She