Tandem Tuesday: Chapter 8

“Don’t get me wrong, Gayle and I were always really close too. But there was nothing in this world like her Daddy.”

Kat squeezed her Grandmother’s hand comfortingly. Em’s voice was shaking again.

“Sometimes I think that’s why she rejected her gifts in the beginning. If Daddy couldn’t do this stuff, it wasn’t worth doing.”

That elicited a small laugh from both women. “Em, are you trying to say my mother was stubborn? No way, that doesn’t sound like her at all.” The sarcastic joke made them both laugh for real this time, lightening the mood considerably.

They lay in silence for a few minutes, both steeling themselves in different ways for what was to come. The stars twinkled above, the breeze was warm and felt almost like an embrace. If not for the painful conversation they were navigating, the night would have been as close to perfect as this world gets.

“I think the real trouble started when he got sick.”

Em had to pause again, as tears filled her eyes. No matter how many years passed, losing Ian still hurt just as much. Theirs had been the kind of love you find once, if you’re very lucky. She could only hope that Kat, her beloved granddaughter, would find her Ian someday.

“Stop stalling!”, she thought to herself harshly. “You’re just trying to distract yourself from answering Kat’s question.”

“Seeing such a strong man brought so low…there are no words. Gayle was convinced one of us should be able to do something, anything. She couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact that neither of us even saw it coming. And once we knew he wasn’t going to get better, well…”

…to be continued

Cent’anni Bitches!

Tandem Tuesday: chapter 7

Kat didn’t know what to say. This story Em was telling her was … impossible.

“Kathryn, get that look off your face. Do you need me to prove it to you?” Em asked the incredulous young woman next to her.

“Can you… can you make things move, Em?”

“Of course not, silly. We all have different talents. Your mother, though, she was special. She could do it all.” Em took a deep breath. “Me? I have the gift of clairvoyance.”

“I need to know more about all of this eventually, Em. But how did any of this culminate in such a rift in our family? Especially with no loss of love. You have gone on for years about what a wonderful daughter my mother was, you say you love my father like he was your own. They never spoke ill of you. I… I don’t understand.”

Kat was beyond confused. Such things just … couldn’t … then again… hadn’t she caught glimpses? glimpses of something there inside her, just beneath the surface?

“You do always ask the challenging questions, don’t you, Kat?” Em sighed in resignation. “I will do my best. We do need to head inside now though; it’s getting ready to rain.”

Rain? There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, Kat thought.

After they went inside, of course, Em insisted that they have dinner. “It’s been a long day. We have lots of plans for tomorrow, so we will want to turn in early. It just makes sense to do it now,” Em pressed on.

She’s gathering her resolve, Kat saw through her grandmother’s delays. This next part must be painful for her. This knowledge sparked Kat’s empathy, so she resolved to not make this any more difficult for Em. She didn’t know what the story was, in its totality. She didn’t know why any of this happened, but she did know one thing for sure and for certain.

By all parties involved, she was loved beyond measure.

Sometime between the appetizers and the main course, the storm rolled in.

After dessert, they went back to their room and went through their night time rituals. Foregoing the television, Em suggested they lie in the dark for a little while and watch the stars that were glimmering in the now clear night sky. The ocean was calm, the air was perfect, and all the world seemed to be at peace.

As they watched the stars, Em reached over and took Kat’s hand.

“Your mother was always such a daddy’s girl…”

… to be continued

Cent’anni, Bitches!

Tandem Tuesday: chapter 5

Emily Rose Calhoun was having the time of her life. She and Kat had been on many vacations together, but she went out of her way to make this one special, for it very well could be their last.

“Breathe, ol’ gal… breathe. You don’t know yet what will happen.”

Remembering the plane trip, Em had to chuckle. That offer to pay her back? What was Kathryn thinking? Well, it had to be that fierce independence; she was so like Gayle that way. Kat certainly did want to make her own way in the world, and there was nothing wrong with that. Hard work and determination are never bad characteristics to possess. Even when you will inherit the family fortune.

Em had never been one to flaunt wealth. Certainly, she and Kat had lived a comfortable life, but she was pretty sure that her granddaughter was not fully aware of the extent of their wealth; otherwise, Kat wouldn’t have acted like Em was like any other senior on a budget.

“Pay me back.  Pfft… dear one, it is I who owes you more than you will ever know.”

When Kat came to live with her, Em stepped down from the board of her family’s charitable organization. “Retirement,” is what she called it. She wanted to make sure she was always there for the granddaughter who had lost so much at such a young age.  And she always was. Without fail.

“But how am I going to tell her?” the thought plagued her.

Any way you sliced the pie, it was time to tell Kat everything. She deserved to know.

Em knew she still had a great many years ahead of her, so it’s not like it would be a deathbed confession. She just needed to have done with it so she and Kat could live the rest of their lives with the absolute truth between them.  Maybe then, she could get Kat to come home. The house was so empty without her.

Em’s mind was made up. Before she and Kat got back to the airport, she would know everything.

She would know about the money, about the “rift” between Em and Gayle, and about the gifts Kat possessed but had yet to unlock.

“Okay. Your mind is made up, ol’ gal, get your ass back into the present moment and enjoy this vacation.” It would not be the last. Em would see to it. She would find a way to make Kat understand and not resent her.

Looking over at her granddaughter, Em said, “Whatever we do tomorrow, let’s make sure we are doing exactly this at the end of the day.”

“Twist my arm,” Kat replied.

Nothing beat these sunsets. They were amazing.

“Besides,” Em continued, “I have some things to discuss with you, and I can’t think of a more lovely place to do it.”

“Why can’t we talk now, Em?” Kat wanted to know.

“It’s business related (not exactly a lie because some of it was business), and I want to remember today just like it is now.”

“Okay,” Kat said, only a little worried.

“Cheers, Dear One,” Em said and raised her frozen Pina Colada toward Kat.

“Cheers, Em,” Kat replied, and clinked her drink glass against her grandmother’s.

“Now,” Em mischievously said, “Let’s check out some of these fellas on this beach.”

…to be continued.

Cent’anni, Bitches!

Tandem Tuesday: Chapter 4

“Em, you have to let me pay you back!” Kat tried to remain firm but wilted under Em’s no-nonsense gaze. “Absolutely not. We’ve been talking about this for years.”

“Yeah, and it was always just talk! The Bahamas is ridiculously expensive! How did you even pay for this?”

Cabbage Beach, Nassau, Bahamas

“Don’t you worry about it. I figure maybe a beautiful beach full of hot guys will knock you out of this funk you’ve been in.” Kat looked away, a slight flush creeping up her cheeks. “Oh, please Kat! Your ex might be a total shithead, but that doesn’t make things any easier, I know.”

“Em! Language!” Kat stared at her Grandmother in shock, she had never heard Em swear before.

“You want to talk about language? I wish you could have known your Grandfather before he passed. You haven’t heard swearing until you’ve spent evenings with a bunch of Navy sailors who’ve got a few beers in them. Besides, he is a shithead.”

Kat couldn’t deny that much. At first, she had thought Zachary was a genius. It had seemed almost unreal that this towering intellectual was interested in her. It wasn’t until much later that she figured out the truth. Much of his intelligence was really arrogance and condescension. He knew she was awed by him, that’s why he has chosen her. Not because he wanted to be with her, but because he wanted to be adored. When it came to the messy realities of life, he was woefully incapable.

Kat knew it was over the day she confided in him for the first time. In retrospect, it should have been more of a red flag that they had been married a year and a half, and she had never talked to him about anything deeper than his latest theory on something-or-another. But he had asked, absently, about how close she and Em were, he found their relationship, in his own words, “odd”.

So, Kat had told him the whole story. The wreck, the funerals, finding out she had a Grandmother, everything poured out of her. When her voice wavered, eyes growing misty from emotion, Zachary finally looked at her, a look of distaste on his face. “Please tell me you aren’t going into histrionics Kathryn. You were ten years old.”

“They were my PARENTS Zachary!”

He merely sighed and turned away. “We’ll revisit the conversation when you decide to control yourself.”

Looking out the plane window as they started to descend, white sand and crystal blue waters filling her vision, Kat made up her mind to put Zachary away where he belonged, in the trash heap of her memories.

“Yep. Shithead.”

to be continued…

Cent’anni, Bitches!

Tandem Tuesday: Chapter 3

“Kat? Is that you?” the familiar voice sounded from the bedroom.

Relief flooded Kat as she smiled for the first time since whenever.

“Em? GODS! Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?” Kat asked her tiny, silver-haired grandmother, who was walking out of the bedroom.

“Well, you wouldn’t be very surprised then, now would you?” Em asked in her “come on, now, think before you say dumb shit,” tone.

Before she knew it, Kat was wrapped in the tight embrace of the only person who could possibly have helped dispel the muck that had been clouding her spirit for the past several weeks. It was always surprising to Kat how strong and agile Em was for her age. Hell, Kat wasn’t even sure exactly how old Em was, but she had to be pushing 80 at least.

Kat had gone to live with Em when she was ten years old. Em was her maternal grandmother and the only remaining blood relative she had when her parents were killed in an automobile accident. Even though Em and Kat’s mom, Gayle, hadn’t spoken since before Kat was born, Em was thrilled to take custody of her only granddaughter. Kat always thought the family rift was because Granny Em hadn’t liked her father, Richard, but Em said she loved Richard like he was her own. That was the only information Kat had been given, however. The reason for this rift was as much a secret to Kat at 28 as it was at 10. Any time she brought it up, Em always said there was plenty of time to clear these matters up and they should focus on the time they had together now. Eventually, Kat stopped asking.

The one thing Em had made clear to ten-year-old Kat was that she was having none of that “Granny” nonsense, so, from day one, she had called her grandmother simply “Em.”

“Hon?” Em asked, interrupting Kat’s woolgathering, “you started vacation today, right?”

“You bet!” Kat exclaimed.

“Go pack a bag,” Em said, pointing at Kat’s bedroom door. “Your passport is still current, isn’t it?”

“Ummm…. yeah,” Kat said. More than a little confused, she asked, “what are you talking about, Em?”

“Well, what you think I’m talking about? We’re getting the hell out of here,” Em replied. “Unless you want a rushed morning, you’d better get moving. Oh, and pack for the beach.”

The beach! Kat loved the beach house. So many happy memories there with Em.

“Wait… Em, if we’re going to the beach, why do I need my passport?”

Em winked and said, “you’ll see…”

to be continued…

Cent’anni, Bitches!

Tandem Tuesday: Chapter 2

The bus shuddered and heaved to a stop, making Kat vaguely nauseous. She hated the public transportation in this city, it was still preferable to getting soaked though.

Of course, in keeping with how life was going these days, just as she got to the door, the skies opened up and the rain started pouring down in buckets. Swearing quietly to herself, Kat prepared to step out, noticing the look of wariness on the driver’s face. Was everyone going to treat her like a ticking time bomb today?

Despite running the few feet to her apartment building, Kat was drenched in seconds, the icy rain like needles on her skin. Getting in the front door seemed to take an eternity, once inside Kat paused, catching her breath from the bitter cold. The entryway was dimly lit and utterly silent. Not that her own apartment would be any better. Kat allowed herself a brief moment of self-pity as she walked up the stairs to her own door.

For the most part, Kat loved living alone. Realistically, she had still been alone in the house with Zachary, at least now she didn’t have to clean up anyone else’s messes. Or deal with his shitty attitude.

Still, there were days, when she was cold, tired, and generally felt awful. It would’ve been nice to have someone to come home to. Someone who didn’t spend his kindness, compassion, and time on everyone except her.

“No wonder everyone’s looking at you like you’re a serial killer lately” she angrily chastised herself. “What do you think you’re accomplishing right now?” Time to get a hot shower, dry clothes, and food. Maybe she would order tacos. Tacos make everything better.

Heading toward the bathroom, Kat suddenly froze in place. Something wasn’t right. She couldn’t put her finger on it but there was definitely something….off. A quick glance around revealed nothing obviously out of place, so Kat stood still, carefully studying the room for a clue as to what had her senses on alert. Just as she almost convinced herself she was wrong, that nothing was going on, there was a soft sound. Coming from her bedroom.  

Tandem Tuesday: Chapter 1

“Ah geez,” Kathryn Marlowe thought to herself as she watched the skinny, tattooed kid with a blue mohawk get up and walk to the back of the bus.  She had just sat down next to him on the side-running bench on the Number 8 that would drop her off just a few doors down from her apartment building.

All Kathryn (Kat to her friends) had really done was glance his way, but she knew what was up. The same thing had happened with an elderly woman who was in front of her in the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store the other day. 

“Oh honey, pardon me,” the elderly woman had said before she flew off down the aisle.

“I really have to do something about this. Otherwise, I’m going to scare the whole city away” Kat thought.  “Next thing you know, I’ll be terrifying infants and toddlers.”

Normally, she tried to look friendly, but she just didn’t have it in her lately, and, as this past week had shown, Kat’s resting bitch face was a force to be reckoned with.

Being on the bus today was, for Kat, a rarity.  She usually walked home from work, but today, she was not in the mood to be out in the rain.  Worse yet, it was expected to turn into snow.  Kat planned on being home long before any of that nonsense started. 

Why she didn’t just haul stakes for a warmer climate was beyond her.  Goodness knew there was nothing keeping her up north anymore.  Kat had lost her parents long ago, and, when her marriage fell apart, there really was no reason to stay in suburbia.  Instead of making a huge leap into the unknown, Kat took a relatively small jump and just moved to the city.

By and large, she had been happy here.  Maybe that was played out, though. That was definitely a thought to explore.

Huh… the ex-husband… she hadn’t thought of him in a long time. Well, Kat chuckled to herself, at least the perpetual scowl on her face lately wasn’t because of him.

to be continued…

Cent’anni, Bitches!