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Date Posted: 18:52:33 10/29/09 Thu
Author: Page
Subject: What day is it, anyway?

I've totally forgotten what day I post my weekly check in. Of course, nine times out of ten I never did it on the correct day, anyway. My mind is a sieve.

Some of you may remember when I posted the very end of Carey On. I've been cleaning, polishing and tweaking it this week. One comment from when I posted before has really stuck in my head, and it's when dea said she thought Katie capitulated too quickly. I think she did, too. So, once again, here's the end....

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[> And BOOM, he just shows up out of nowhere >>>>> -- Page, 19:16:06 10/29/09 Thu

Read at your own peril, because it's LONG LONG LONG!

Excerpt from Carey On
©2009 by Juli Morgan
Posted for purposes of critique only, and does not constitute publication


Steel-gray waves washed up onto the Malibu shoreline, breaking into foam that looked like dirty wash water, before it slithered back from the sand. The sand itself was dark brown and packed with moisture, not just where it met the waves, but all the way up to the deck of Katie’s house. The rain had begun falling during the night, a steady shower that looked as if it had settled in for a long stay.

Katie took another sip of coffee, staring with unseeing eyes out the sliding glass doors. Inertia was starting to creep back in, and she knew she didn’t have the strength to combat it. She hadn't realized how much she had counted on Maureen and the children to keep it at bay, but their visit had only been a plaster over a gaping wound. Even Adam’s visit hadn’t helped. His excitement over his new projects had only served to play up the differences between his life and hers, and when she compared how busy he was to how sedentary she’d become, it depressed the hell out of her. It had been nice to see him again, but she was glad he’d gone. The depression, though, lingered on.

Talking with Maureen about her plans to take history classes at UCLA had pumped up her enthusiasm for school, but it had disappeared almost as soon as Maureen had left. Why did she need history classes, anyway? She'd never use them. Her gaze touched the piano in the corner of the living room, her guitar on its stand beside the larger instrument. She frowned, determined not to go near them again. She'd already written enough songs that would never be recorded. So, what was she going to do with her life? She wanted to be productive, wanted to do more than sit around feeling sorry for herself, but at the same time, she just didn’t give a shit. Pathetic, that’s what she was.

A gull flying close to the deck caught her eye and brought her out of her gloomy reverie. She watched it on its path across the beach, oblivious of the rain. With a sigh, she turned back to the kitchen with a vague thought of getting more coffee. It depressed her to think the rest of the day stretched out in front of her as bleak and uninviting as the sodden sand beyond her deck.

The soft chime of the doorbell intruded on her solitude, and she cast a wary glance toward the front door. She wasn’t expecting any more visitors and couldn’t imagine who had found their way to her hideout. Perhaps if she just ignored the summons of the bell, whoever it was would go away.

The bell sounded again, twice in quick succession, and Katie sighed. It appeared she was going to have to deal with the unknown presence whether she wanted to or not. Leaving her coffee sitting forgotten on the counter, she went to the door and peered out the peep-hole. The limited view showed her only a distorted imaged of a black, soft-sided suitcase and a pair of feet clad in brown loafers. Whoever was ringing the bell was leaning against the wall of the porch, just out of her sight. Irritated, Katie unlocked the deadbolt, pulled the door open and faced her visitor head on.

The jolt of adrenaline that shot through her made her feel sick. Her muscles turned into liquid fire and the rapid, heavy pounding of her heart made her chest hurt. Dizzy, she clutched at the door to keep from falling to her knees. She wanted to scream and cry and laugh at the same time, but her frozen body refused to obey any commands, but stood wooden, unable to move.

Jay turned his head toward her, and she drank in the sight of him. The moisture in the air brought out curls and waves through his black hair, and her eyes traveled with hunger over it, noting the way it brushed the shoulders of his wrinkled cream colored linen jacket, and rioted across his forehead. The touches of gray at his temples brought her up short, and she saw his jaw was covered with stubble, his forehead was creased with exhaustion, and his hazel eyes were dull with sleep.

She focused on his eyes, and found their piercing intensity hadn’t dimmed, sleepy or not. It had been a long time since he’d looked at her that way, and his gaze held her as tight as if he’d reached out and grabbed her with his hands.

Jay pushed himself away from the stucco wall and stood facing her in silence. Someone needed to move, someone needed to say something. Someone needed to break this impasse, but Katie couldn’t make the proper synapses fire in her brain to bring her voice back. But she had to do something. She couldn’t just let him stand there on her small front porch all day.

With an immense effort of will, she made her body move, and took two steps back, swinging the door wider in invitation. Still silent, Jay bent and picked up his bag, and walked past her into the house. Katie closed the door and leaned against it for a moment, resting her forehead against the cool wood, her mind whirling with conflicting thoughts and emotions. How had he found her? And what did he want? Whatever it was, she wasn’t sure she wanted to know.

She summoned up a bit of control, and followed him into the living room, giddy as she breathed in the scent of him, more intoxicating than any man-made fragrance ever concocted. He had dropped his bag in the middle of the living room, and stood in front of the fireplace staring at the only object on the mantle. The photograph Maureen had taken of Jay and Katie just after they were married was placed with precision, centered over the middle of the fireplace. Katie had spent hours contemplating it, wondering how the two people depicted had come to such a ludicrous end. Looking at it now with fresh eyes, she marveled at the contrast between the sheer joy on the faces in the picture and the matching looks of strain on both her face and Jay’s.

Hoping to diffuse the nervous agitation his sudden reappearance had caused, she strove for a normal tone of voice. “Coffee?” she offered.

Jay jumped like a man yanked out of a dream, and turned his head toward her. “Yeah, please.”

She’d forgotten the way his voice seemed to slide over her body, touching her in a way that was almost physical. Her knees again threatened to give way, but she nodded and forced her shaking legs to take her into the kitchen. She fumbled a cup out of the cabinet, but caught it before it could crash onto the tiled floor. Clutching the smooth porcelain to her, she bent her head, willing her scattered emotions to come to heel. When she thought she had gained enough control not to scald herself or Jay with the hot coffee, she filled the cup and took it to him.

He’d taken a seat on the couch, and leaned his head against the back. Lines of weariness etched his profile, and Katie wondered what had brought him here in such an obvious hurry. She pitched her voice low so she wouldn’t startle him again. “Here you are.”

Jay took the cup from her. “Thanks, love.” He raised his head and took a careful sip. “Ah, that’s good,” he sighed.

Katie stepped across his outstretched legs and sat beside him on the couch. She was careful to keep a safe distance between them. The shock of seeing him was wearing off, and a rising anger was taking its place. She tried to swallow it down, and glanced over at him. “I don’t want to sound rude, but you look really tired.”

A ghost of a smile touched his face. “Tired doesn’t even begin to cover it. I can’t remember the last time I slept.”

Katie bit her lip and struggled to keep her voice calm and even. “Do you think you need coffee? I mean…”

“Yes,” he interrupted. “I need coffee.” His eyes met hers. “I hope you have a lot made.”

“I can make more.” Her words were clipped and short as her anger tested the breaking point of her restraint.

Jay lowered his head and regarded the dark brown liquid in his cup. “Look, I realize my showing up like this is somewhat of a shock.”

Katie laughed, a harsh, bitter sound. “Nothing you do shocks me anymore, Jay.” She crossed her arms over her chest and directed a glare toward the deck. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jay’s shoulders move in a deep sigh before he put his coffee cup on the table.

“I want us to talk.”

The statement was innocent enough, but it set Katie off like a firecracker. “Well, how bloody thoughtful of you! I can’t imagine why you’d think we need to talk. You certainly didn’t feel the need to talk a year ago when you packed up all your shit and walked out on me without a word!”

Jay’s lips compressed for a moment. “Fine,” he said. “Get it out of your system.”

“Get it…get it out…” Katie thought the top of her head was going to fly off. “How dare you?” She exploded up off the couch and glared down at him, fury making her feel ten feet tall. “How the fuck dare you come into my house after what you’ve done and try to patronize me?”

“I’m not patronizing you, Katie.” An obstinate look had crept onto his face. “I’m trying to have a decent, civil conversation…”

“Oh, bullshit!” she interrupted. “You’ve had plenty of chances to be decent and civil, but this isn’t one of them. And as for that, you don’t deserve decent and civil. You broke my heart, you son-of-a-bitch! You broke it, you mangled it, you stomped on it…” The sight of his eyes closing against her tirade and the slight shake of his head made her want to shriek. “Don’t you try to deny it! You broke my heart and then left me there all alone!”

“I’m not denying it.” He opened his eyes and pinned her with a warning look. Once, that look would have made her back off and rethink what she was doing, but now it only served to enrage her further.

“You can say it all you want, but when you’re sitting there shaking your head ‘no’ to everything I’m saying…Fuck you, Jay! Fuck you. I don’t want to talk to you.”

Jay got to his feet and took her upper arm in a tight grip. “I don’t give a shit if you want to or not, but you’re going to!”

“Let go of me!” Katie tried to pull away, fighting not only his grip, but the resultant flood of emotions at his touch, but he only tightened his hold. “You have no right to touch me after what you’ve done to me.”

“I’ve got a news flash for you, babe.” Jay shook her arm. “Yours wasn’t the only heart broken!”

“Oh, boo hoo.” At her cold tone, Jay released her arm, and she took three quick steps back. “Who broke your heart?”

“You did.”

The words penetrated the red haze of anger in her mind and rendered her speechless for a moment. She saw the hurt in his eyes and took quick action to harden herself against it. No way was she going to let him play her like that.

“Impossible,” she spat out. “First of all, you don’t have a heart to break. And furthermore, there’s no way I broke your heart. You’re the one who left, remember? You’re the one who slunk off into the night like a coward while I was on tour!”

“And what about you?” The lines of strain on his face became more pronounced, and it was obvious he was fighting to keep himself under control. “After I dug my head out of my arse and came home, you were nowhere to be found.”

Katie’s mouth dropped open in outrage. “Are you fucking kidding me? Did you really think I’d just sit around waiting for you to decide to come home?” The fact that she had done exactly that for six months infuriated her, and she turned her back on him. “I know when I’m not wanted.”

“Not wanted?” His voice came from right behind her, and she jumped. She’d forgotten he could move so fast. Jay’s hands on her shoulders turned her to face him, but she kept her eyes screwed shut. She couldn’t risk seeing if he didn’t. More to the point, she didn't want him to see the devastating effect his touch had on her.

“Look at me.” His voice was firm. “No, Katie, look at me.” He took her chin in his hand and tilted her face up. “Please.”

The desperate plea in his voice brought her to open her eyes. The naked, raw emotion she saw on his face made her want to cry aloud. The thought of how she’d felt when she’d seen that empty closet, though, erased any momentary tenderness she might have felt. She hardened her features and attempted to shake his fingers loose.

Ignoring her efforts to pull away, he leaned close and captured her gaze. “There has never,” he gritted out, “never been a day I didn’t want you.” She closed her eyes, refusing to be drawn in. “I mean it, Katie. Even when I didn’t want to, I did.”

He meant it, she was sure of it. And, brother, could she identify. A small voice whispered in her head, telling her that he’d been going through the same hell as she for the last year. She felt herself giving in, giving up, giving herself back to him. But, oh God, could she trust him? Could she be sure he wouldn’t just walk out again?

“No!” His grip loosened with surprise at her exclamation, and she jerked away from him. “No, no, no! That’s not how it works, Jay. I don’t believe you.”

“Christ, Katie.” His voice broke. “I’m sorry. There aren’t words to tell you how sorry I am for what I did. Believe me, you can’t hate me more than I do myself. But I want to try and make it right, to make it up to you any way I can. What do I have to do?”

She drew a shuddering breath. Was he kidding? He could have himself drawn and quartered; that would be a start. A span of years spent prostrate at her feet would be another. Tar and feathers, hot oil, a stone cell with only bread and water; yeah, that might begin to make up for the searing hurt she’d been living with all this time. “You can get out and leave me alone.” The words dropped like rocks from her mouth, and she turned away.

Silence so deep she could almost feel it stretched out between them. She waited to hear the sound of the front door opening and then slamming behind him. Steeled to hear exactly that, she squeaked in surprise when he spoke again.

“That’s the one thing I can’t do.”

As his words penetrated her brain, she turned to face him again, fire in her eye. “So what’s the plan this time? Got some new bit of torture worked out for me?” She shook her hair back. “I hate to disappoint you, but whatever new ways you’ve come up with to hurt me won’t work. There’s not anything you can do to hurt me more than you already have.”

An alarming shade of red crept up his neck and suffused his face. “The last thing I want to do…” He broke off and took several deep breaths. “I know you’re hurt. I fucking know that!” It was becoming quite clear to Katie that he was enraged. She’d never seen him so angry before, and a quiver of apprehension slid down her spine. His eyes had changed from their usual piercing hazel to an almost tawny shade. She expected to see them glow red any minute. “I came here to try and…I’d give anything to…But you won’t even fucking tell me what I can do to…Goddamn it!”

He reached down and seized his half-full coffee cup, and Katie expected it to fly across the room to smash into something. Instead, he turned and stalked into the kitchen, leaving her breathless. Her knees were quivering with reaction, and she sank down on the raised stone hearth of the fireplace. Her hands rose and crossed over her chest, protecting her pounding heart. Seeing him like that had shaken her to the core. He’d always been the even tempered, calm, collected one, bearing her occasional outbursts of emotion with equanimity. But it seemed she’d finally pushed him to the breaking point.

She looked up with trepidation as he strode back into the living room, a coffee cup in each hand. It was obvious he’d made some effort to regain his composure during his absence. His eyes were back to hazel, and the flush of anger had faded from his face. He sat one of the cups on the coffee table.

“Here. I found it on the kitchen counter. I assume it’s yours.” He sat on the couch and crossed his legs. “It’s a fresh cup.”

Coffee. He was sitting there talking about coffee after everything that had happened. Katie grabbed her temper in both hands and throttled it. She wasn’t going to let him get another rise out of her if it killed her. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on her breathing. When she felt she had her emotions under control again, she opened her eyes to find herself under intense scrutiny. Jay was looking at her with an unwavering stare, his eyes a bit unfocused. Katie bore it as long as she could, but she felt her nerves being stretched to the breaking point. “What?” she snapped.

The focus in Jay's eyes sharpened at her exclamation. “I'm just looking at you, alright? I'd forgotten how lovely you really are.”

Katie made a rude noise and rolled her eyes. If he thought he was going to win her over with flowery words and romance-novel sentiments, he had another thing coming.

A muscle jumped in Jay's cheek as he clenched his jaw. “Will you kindly stop being so dismissive of everything I say? Jesus, Katie, what do you want?”

“What do I want? I'll tell you what I want.” She glared at him. “I want to know why, that's what. I want you to tell me what I did that was so horrible that you had to just walk out on me without one single, solitary, bleeding word of explanation.”

Jay sighed and ran a hand over his face. “You didn’t do anything.”

The heavy weight of self-doubt and blame she'd carried for so long started to lift at his simple statement. But it wasn't enough. She deserved an explanation, and was determined to get one. “Then why?”

He took another sip of coffee and put it next to her untouched cup on the table. “I just got in my head that…” He cleared his throat. “You didn’t need me anymore.”

Her head jerked up and she looked at him in amazement. “I’ve heard you say some stupid things before, Jay Carey, but that has to be the dumbest one ever!”

He shrugged, betraying how uncomfortable he was with the conversation. “It’s what I thought. I just couldn’t shake it loose. I mean, what the hell did you need with a washed-up guitar player, hooked on smack, who’d pissed his band away and was watching his fortieth birthday speeding toward him? You had the world at your feet, clamoring for your records, your tours, your interviews.” He sighed. “You didn’t need me anymore.”

“I’ve heard through the grapevine that you’re not hooked anymore, but you sure as hell sound messed up now.” Katie shook her head with exasperation. “None of that shit mattered to me; it never did! I only made records because you wanted me to. You seemed so proud of me, so I kept doing it, even though I hated it.” Frowning at the look in his eye, she tightened her lips. “Don’t act so surprised. I told you that years ago. This isn't news; you knew it.” She leaned forward. “And let me tell you something else. The fact that you produced my records is not why I needed you, you bleeding idiot! And not because you were a fucking rock star, or because you were successful. I needed you because I loved you.”

“Yeah, well. I thought I’d blown that, too.” Jay frowned at the cup in his hand. “I didn’t love myself, and I couldn’t see how you could, either. Especially with the way I treated you there toward the end.” He sighed, a tired, beat sound that wrenched Katie’s heart. “I didn’t want any of my problems to affect you, and so I pulled away from you. It was never because I didn’t care.”

Surprised, Katie’s eyes popped open. That was the last thing she’d expected to hear. “Bloody fool.” Mortified, she clapped her hands over her mouth. She hadn’t meant to say it out loud.

Jay laughed, and looked at her with admiration. “I couldn’t have put it any better myself, love. I was a bloody fool, but I’m not anymore.” The laughter faded from his face as he sighed and re-crossed his legs. His manner made it clear he was ready to bring up another uncomfortable revelation, and Katie’s guard went back to full alert. “I saw Adam last week.” His throat moved as he swallowed, and when he resumed speaking, his voice was strained. “He told me you still love me.”

Katie snatched her coffee cup from the table and raised it to her face. “Gossiping old woman,” she muttered, bringing a surprised snort of amusement from Jay. She swallowed from the cup, the warmth settling into her stomach, drowning some of the butterflies that seemed to have taken up residence there.

“Do you?”

Not fair. Not fair, not fair, not fair. She wasn't going to lie to him, but at the same time she didn't want him to think a declaration of love would make everything all right. The silence grew uncomfortable, and each moment she hesitated seemed to bring some horrible doom rushing toward them. Finally, more afraid of it than of how he might take her words, she answered. “Yes. I still love you.”

“I love you, too, Katie. I always will.”

Not trusting herself to look at him, Katie shook her head, raising her hand in an unconscious warding-off gesture. She was relieved when he didn't speak further, and used the silence to marshal her see-sawing emotions into some semblance of calm. When she dared glance in his direction, she thought for a moment his exhaustion had caught up to him. His head was thrown back against the high back of the sofa, his eyes closed as if he slept. Katie took the opportunity to look at him the way he'd scrutinized her earlier. His words may have been flowery, but Katie recognized the truth in them. The reality of Jay was more beautiful than any image she'd carried in her memory.

“Do you remember...”

His soft voice made Katie jump like she'd been electrocuted. Jay opened his eyes a slit and regarded her for a moment. He sighed and closed his eyes again. “Do you remember the night we first met?”

Katie frowned, on guard. “Of course I do.”

“So do I. I walked into Maureen’s flat and saw a fucking angel standing there. An angel who seemed to be wearing nothing more than a piece of black lace. I'd never wanted anyone so badly in my life. It happened that quickly.” He snapped his fingers. “And then I took your hand.” Jay drew in a deep breath. “Something...something happened when we touched. It was like...like...”

“Like time had stopped,” Katie said, low. “Like the earth had tilted on its axis. I felt it, too.”

Jay nodded. “I know. I saw it in your eyes. And the sad thing about it all, is that it's still there. Whatever it was that was set in motion the first time we touched is still there between us.” He drew in his breath. “It’s always been there, even after we both began to take it for granted. I don't know much, Katie, but I do know it doesn't happen to everyone. We have something so incredibly special, and it's a fucking shame to just throw it away with both hands like this.”

Steel fingers seemed to be digging themselves into Katie's throat. She tried to swallow past them, to regain her voice to berate him more for the searing hurt she'd felt when she'd realized he'd left her. But she couldn't. His words had conjured up too many old feelings, things she hadn't let herself feel for a long time. She could hear the ticking of the clock on the wall, but she felt again that time had stopped, that the rotation of the earth had changed. She attempted to fight against it, but just as before, it would not be ignored.

“We didn't throw it away then, Katie. Remember? We wanted each other, and we did what we had to do to be together, things we never thought we'd do. We ignored everything and everyone who got in our way. But even though it hurt people close to us, I’d do it again.”

Startled, Katie looked at him, her eyes wide. Jay nodded. “You were more important. We were more important. Nothing else mattered more to me than being with you.” He raised his head and pinned her with his gaze. “And nothing else matters more to me now.”

She didn't want to see the complete conviction in his eyes, but she couldn't look away.

“I'm only half alive without you, Katie. Even when things turned to total shite in our lives, it was still a million times better than anything I have now.”

A phrase she had once read in a letter written by Robert Browning to his beloved Elizabeth popped into Katie's head. She whispered aloud, “I would not exchange the sadness of being away from you for any imaginable delight in which you had no part.”

Jay took a quick, indrawn breath. “Do you mean that?”

“Yes. No.” Too agitated to sit still, she jumped up, and went to the patio doors, and stared with unseeing eyes at the ocean. “I don’t know.”

Behind her, Jay heaved a distinctly irritated sounding sigh. “That helps a lot.”

Katie’s own irritation rose at his words. “Well, what the hell did you expect?” She turned to face him. “You show up out of thin air after all this time, and start laying all this on me about how much you love me and want me back, and start pressing me to make a decision on the spot.”

“I should think it’s a simple one, Katie.” Jay got up and came to stand beside her. “Either you love me or you don’t.”

“I’ve already told you I love you.” Katie narrowed her eyes at him. “I just don’t know if I can believe you.”

Jay gave every appearance of a man who’d just been hit over the head with a brick. “I should think that’s simple, too. Either you believe me, or you don’t. I don’t know what else I can do.” He pushed his hair back with both hands, throwing the gray at his temples into sharp relief. “I’ve told you how sorry I am, but if you don’t believe that, then I’m at a complete loss at what more to say.”

A sudden urge to kick him in the balls shook her, and she fought it off with grim determination. She stalked past him, and picked up his bag.

“What are you doing?” Jay’s voice was wary.

Katie walked across the room, the black bag banging her knees with every step. She entered her bedroom, and dropped the bag on the floor at the foot of the bed. With quick economy, she began throwing the decorative pillows from the bed into a pile on the floor. “You’ve had time to think about all this, but I haven’t. I need some time, and you need some rest.” She pulled the covers back, and waved a hand at the bed. “So you sleep while I think, okay?”

Jay sat on the side of the bed, and sighed, his weariness etched on his face. “That’s fair. I did rather spring all this on you.”

“Yeah, you did.” Katie moved to the door. “I can’t make any decision right now, and know it’s the right one. Just…just give me some time.”

Jay nodded, and stood, removing his jacket. “I should tell you, though, that if I don’t agree with your decision, I’m going to fight you on it.”

Her eyes stuttered to his face, and she felt the blood drain from her cheeks.

He arched an eyebrow. “That’s right, Katie. If I have to hang round for the rest of my life playing guitar under your window, I will. I love you, and I’m not going anywhere. I left once, and I’ll be damned if I’ll ever do it again.”

Mute with astonishment, she gave him a brief nod, and left the room, closing the door behind her.



Pearl grey light tinged with pink washed the sky as dawn broke behind the house. Katie watched from the deck as the surf rolled into shore in the brightening light, cradling a cup of coffee in her hands. The early morning breeze molded her lilac satin robe to her body, and lifted her hair from her temples. She breathed in the fecund scent of the ocean, and resumed her contemplation of her heart.

She’d been thinking about that particular organ since she’d given up trying to sleep. Jay’s presence in the house had kept her too keyed up to get anything but brief naps, and they left her more tired than if she hadn’t slept at all. So she made a pot of coffee, and began gingerly probing her heart.

It surprised her to find that a substantial hole had been patched, and some of the shards had started to reassemble. The cracks were still there, to be sure, but for the first time since Jay had left, it seemed like she had something close to a whole heart again. There were still empty spots, but Katie had the feeling that they might just fill in with time.

Christ, she’d missed him! The moment she’d seen him standing on the porch, she’d realized for the first time just how lonely she’d been. Even though their conversation had been uncomfortable, it had still healed something within her to be in the same room with him, to know that he cared enough to come to her.

She sighed, and glanced toward the closed bedroom door. She’d sneaked in the room the night before, to get her toothbrush and her robe, but Jay hadn’t stirred. A sudden urge to reassure herself that he was still there propelled her back into the house. She deposited her cup on the kitchen counter, and strode toward the bedroom.

The door swung open silently on well-oiled hinges, and her eyes made out Jay’s form under the quilts on the bed. As she drew closer, she could hear his even, heavy breathing, still deep in sleep. Reaching the bed, she dropped to her knees on the soft carpet, and filled her eyes with him. His hair was tousled, and she stretched out a hand to smooth it. Her breath caught as she thought of touching him, and her hand hesitated, opening and closing in indecision. The muscles of her upper arm were beginning to protest by the time she let her hand skim across his hair.

It felt just the way she remembered, soft as satin, but still a little coarse against her palm. She rubbed a curl between two fingers, and remembered when she’d plunge her hands into it, feeling the firm shape of his skull, the warmth of his skin. Her eye was caught by the touch of gray at his temple, and she ran a finger across it. It didn’t feel any different from the rest of his hair, and she smiled. She didn’t know what Jay thought about it, but she thought it was incredibly sexy, although she couldn’t help but wonder at what he’d been going through to turn his hair gray in such a short amount of time.

His eyebrows were still black as night, though, arching perfectly over his eyes. His thick black eyelashes rested on his cheeks as he slept, and Katie grinned at a sudden memory of Maureen, and the way she’d always groused about Jay’s lashes, declaring it was unfair for Jay to have them when she had to wear false lashes and mascara every day to keep from looking like a rabbit. Still smiling, Katie let her eyes travel down his nose to his lips. His top lip was firmed in sleep, but the fullness of his bottom lip made her reach out again to touch it. She stopped herself, her hand clenched, afraid of what the touch of his skin might to do her.

With an inaudible sigh, she let her gaze roam downward, over his neck and shoulders, and the light furring of black hair on his chest. His right hand was lying over his heart, the long lean fingers relaxed in sleep. Katie’s skin seemed to cry out at the sight of them, yearning for their touch. She fought against it, tried to remain calm, but was unable to stop the gentle trembling that overtook her. As if pulled by a magnet, her eyes continued roaming over him, and settled on his left hand draped across his abdomen, the sheet caught under his arm. The light coming through the door had grown stronger, revealing what she hadn’t noticed before – the platinum wedding ring on Jay’s finger. Her own hand trembled as she held it next to his, the matching rings filling her vision. Out of nowhere, the words she’d said to Adam last summer in the garden came back to her.

“He’s my husband, and he made a promise to me. And I’m going to hold him to that promise, no matter what…”

She’d meant that then, and she meant it now. But it occurred to her that maybe Jay was going to hold her to her own promise to him. And she was hesitating, trying to hold something over his head, something for which he’d apologized. Wouldn’t she expect him to believe her if she were to tell him she was sorry? What kind of a bloody hypocrite was she, to hold Jay to a higher standard than she’d hold herself?

Hot tears threatened to overflow as she lowered her head, and pressed a gentle kiss on Jay’s wedding ring. And she realized that the cadence of his breathing had changed.

She jerked her head up, and met his eyes. Those beautiful, intense, mesmerizing hazel eyes, almost translucent in the dimness. As always, they held her captive, unable to look away. His hand moved under hers, a gentle grip on her fingers as he pulled her hand to his chest, and laid it over his heart. Tears blurred her vision again, overflowing down her cheeks in scalding tracks. She knew what he was going to say.

“Do you feel that?” he whispered in the semi-darkness. “That’s the first time my heart’s beat since the last time I saw you.”

All her hesitation, all the mistrust, all of her doubts were wiped out in an instant as she recognized the truth in his words. Her own scarred heart, so recently begun to heal, started beating with an urgency, a depth of feeling she’d thought was gone forever. Love flowed through her veins once more, its warmth dispelling the last of the cold loneliness within her, and obeying its insistent demand, she leaned forward and kissed him.

In an instant his arms were tight around her, and his mouth devoured hers. She scrambled to get onto the bed, to lie on top of him and feel his body under hers. She was lost in the intoxicating feel of his tongue thrusting against hers, and the feel of his breath in her mouth. She drew it into her lungs, and let it course through her, bringing her back to life.

Jay rolled her over onto her back, and began to struggle out of the confines of the bedclothes. Katie took the opportunity to yank open the sash tie of her robe, and gasped as the warmth of Jay’s body covered hers from neck to feet. Her skin seemed to cry out in thanksgiving, and she reached between them to take him into her hand. His moan went through her like lightning, and she felt it sear the empty spaces in her heart, sealing them shut. Exerting gentle pressure, she pulled him forward, and guided him home. And the world tilted on its axis, and time stopped.

Music News and Notes
The Western Star, 1/9/79

The hole left in the world of rock has been filled, nay, plastered over, boarded up and nailed shut, by the release of Carey On, the first offering by Shadowed Knight guitar virtuoso Jay Carey and former Whistlepig lead singer Katie Carey. Oh, yeah. They also just happen to be husband and wife.

The duo has proven in the past that, separately, they were forces to be reckoned with. Carey On reveals that together, they're unstoppable.....

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[> [> i'm honoured... -- dea, 17:17:53 10/30/09 Fri

that you would consider my opinion. i always give it in earnest, but you really don't have to take it, so, thank you!

>She jerked her head up, and met his eyes. Those
>beautiful, intense, mesmerizing hazel eyes, almost
>translucent in the dimness. As always, they held her
>captive, unable to look away. His hand moved under
>hers, a gentle grip on her fingers as he pulled her
>hand to his chest, and laid it over his heart. Tears
>blurred her vision again, overflowing down her cheeks
>in scalding tracks. She knew what he was going to say.
>
>“Do you feel that?” he whispered in the semi-darkness.
> “That’s the first time my heart’s beat since the last
>time I saw you.”

i absobloodylutely love this part!

>All her hesitation, all the mistrust, all of her
>doubts were wiped out in an instant as she recognized
>the truth in his words. Her own scarred heart, so
>recently begun to heal, started beating with an
>urgency, a depth of feeling she’d thought was gone
>forever. Love flowed through her veins once more, its
>warmth dispelling the last of the cold loneliness
>within her, and obeying its insistent demand, she
>leaned forward and kissed him.

so far so good...


>In an instant his arms were tight around her, and his
>mouth devoured hers. She scrambled to get onto the
>bed, to lie on top of him and feel his body under
>hers. She was lost in the intoxicating feel of his
>tongue thrusting against hers, and the feel of his
>breath in her mouth. She drew it into her lungs, and
>let it course through her, bringing her back to life.
>
>Jay rolled her over onto her back, and began to
>struggle out of the confines of the bedclothes. Katie
>took the opportunity to yank open the sash tie of her
>robe, and gasped as the warmth of Jay’s body covered
>hers from neck to feet. Her skin seemed to cry out in
>thanksgiving, and she reached between them to take him
>into her hand. His moan went through her like
>lightning, and she felt it sear the empty spaces in
>her heart, sealing them shut. Exerting gentle
>pressure, she pulled him forward, and guided him home.
> And the world tilted on its axis, and time stopped.

this part still feels to me a little off. i wouldn't go with sex at the end. if it were me, she would lay beside him, and they would doze off entwined. because i wonder if they're absolutely exhausted with suffering. is it really that easy to come back? is sex really capable of mending their hearts? if i remember well, it's not. someone said that "men have sex to be well. women have sex when they are well." i'm living proof that's true. when you are apart for a long time, the bodies become a little strange; do i still know you? how much have you changed? and if i'm not mistaken, sex was a good part of their problem, i mean, when they had it with other people, he with the beast, she with her pay-back sex [it was Jimmy Page, but…]

and in my parallel universe they would sleep in peace, with the promise of sex later, but it does not have to be in the scene. because if there is to be a sex scene, it should be longer than that. i don't know if i make any sense, but it seems as if the movie is close to the end, there's no time for the long, deep, painful, passionate
love scene they need, and it seems that a "quick one" is just not enough. it feels to me that the sex is squeezed there.

in fact, it occurs to me that they could have ravishing sex before her lucubration with her heart. I mean, sex would not solve everything. Then she would go to sleep by herself, and go check on him and then he says that magical phrase ”
Do you feel that?” he whispered in the semi-darkness. “That’s the first time my heart’s beat since the last time I saw you.” because it’s the love that makes the heart beat, not the sex, you see? as usual, feel free to ignore me completely :-)

>Music News and Notes
>The Western Star, 1/9/79
>
>The hole left in the world of rock has been filled,
>nay, plastered over, boarded up and nailed shut, by
>the release of Carey On, the first offering by
>Shadowed Knight guitar virtuoso Jay Carey and former
>Whistlepig lead singer Katie Carey. Oh, yeah. They
>also just happen to be husband and wife.
>
>The duo has proven in the past that, separately, they
>were forces to be reckoned with. Carey On reveals that
>together, they're unstoppable.....
>


woman, this part makes me cry every time…

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[> [> [> I see where you're coming from, and have made a few slight revisions, highlighting Katie's beliefs, and what that would mean to her. Tell me what you think of it this way >>>>> -- Page, 19:30:33 10/31/09 Sat

A quick word or two of clarification...

Katie truly wasn't much bothered by Jay's having sex with other people. I know that's an attitude not shared by many, but Katie understood why he did it. As long as he didn't have a romantic interest in any of those women, she didn't mind if he got his rocks off with them. None of it had anything to do with the way he felt about her, and she wasn't threatened by it. So that was never an issue for her.

As for Jay, he wasn't best pleased that she slept with Jimmy that one time when they met up in Chicago, but he honestly accepted it, because he knew why she did it. After all, she'd spent a night with Jimmy before, while she lived with Adam. That's why Jay didn't have too much of a problem with it. He knew that Katie was lonely and scared during that tour, and when she met up with Jimmy, he was familiar, comforting. Jay realized it didn't mean a thing to Katie, other than the comfort she needed that night. If she'd kept seeing Jimmy afterwards, then they would have had a problem. But she didn't, because she didn't want him. I know that might not make a lot of sense, but that's the mindset of both Jay and Katie. (Jimmy, too, if we're being honest. *G*)

I like what you said, about men having sex to be well and women having sex when they are well. It made me think that Jay would at least attempt to make love to Katie, thinking it would help them heal. So I've made a few changes...


Jay nodded, and stood, removing his jacket. “I should tell you, though, that if I don’t agree with your decision, I’m going to fight you on it.”

Her eyes stuttered to his face, and she felt the blood drain from her cheeks.

He arched an eyebrow. “That’s right, Katie. If I have to hang round for the rest of my life playing guitar under your window, I will. I love you, and I’m not going anywhere. I left once, and I’ll be damned if I’ll ever do it again.”

“So that’s the way it’s going to be?” Her voice was breathless with astonishment. “You won’t respect my decision if I decide to kick your ass to the curb?”

“You’ve got it.” Hands on hips, he stared at her, unwavering.

“You are the most…I can’t believe you’d…” Spluttering with anger, she stalked to where he stood, and glared up at him. “I respected your decision! It was quite clear you didn’t want me around, no matter what you say now, so I didn’t try to find you and foist my unwelcome presence on you. No matter how badly I wanted to, I didn’t look for you.”

Black hair cascaded over his shoulder as he tilted his head. “Another reason I thought you didn’t need me.”

Infuriated by his manner as much as his words, Katie put her hands on his chest, and shoved him back. Jay grasped her around the waist to keep his balance, the movement bringing their bodies into close contact. Katie gasped, and tried to pull away, but he only pulled her closer. She stopped her struggles as she felt the effect they had on Jay. It took every ounce of self control she possessed not to grind her hips against that growing hardness, to tear his shirt from him and press her lips to his skin. She firmed her features and looked at him, striving for detachment. “Let me go, Jay. I don’t want this.”

“Oh, don’t you?” His hand tangled in her hair, and pulled gently, tilting her head back. “Your eyes can’t lie, Katie. They never could.”

Although she realized it was a clear case of closing the barn door after the horse had escaped, she closed her eyes. He’d told her numerous times her eyes changed color when he aroused her, and it appeared they still did.

“Too late, love,” he whispered. “I know you want me, and God knows I want you.” His grip on her hair changed, fingers sliding through the strands with tenderness. “Let me love you, Katie. Let me show you how much I do want you, how much I love you.”

She felt his body tremble with barely restrained desire, and temptation suffused her, warm and pulsing, its lure almost irresistible. Christ, she did want him, wanted him with every cell in her body. But she knew it wouldn’t solve anything. On the contrary, it would just confuse things. She shook her head. “No, Jay. Sex won’t make it better. I can’t think when you touch me. I won’t let you play me that way.”

The caress on her hair stilled, and she felt the stiffening of his muscles against her hands. “Play you?” The pain in his voice was palpable. “Do you really think that’s what I’m trying to do?”

Katie shook her head. “No. But that’s what you’re doing. So please let me go.” He released her abruptly, and she had to stop herself from reaching for him again. “Just…sleep. Okay? We’ll talk again when you wake up.” She had to turn away from the dejected slump of his shoulders, the devastation she saw in his eyes. It was clear he thought she’d made her decision, that he saw her rejection of sex as a rejection of him. She knew, though, that if she tried to explain, she’d end up in his arms again. The bed next to them seemed taunt her with its presence, its promise of physical bliss, the chance to lose herself in Jay. But she knew it would be nothing more than another plaster, the wounds still present underneath. So, shaking, she left the room, and pulled the door closed behind her.


The next morning, and Katie's on the deck...

Christ, she’d missed him! The moment she’d seen him standing on the porch, she’d realized for the first time just how lonely she’d been. Even though their conversation had been uncomfortable, it had still healed something within her to be in the same room with him, to know that he cared enough to come to her.

It had been the hardest thing she’d ever done, to turn and walk away from him the night before with desire pulsating between them, so strong it seemed to suck all the air from the room. She’d craved his touch, his mouth on her body, the feel of him vibrating like a steel rod inside her, and to turn that down was like denying herself breath. She knew Jay believed sex would help heal the tremendous rift between them, but Katie saw it differently. To her, sex was an act of absolute trust. To be with a man like that, vulnerable in her nakedness, open and willing to have him do whatever he wanted, was to acknowledge a belief that he wouldn’t hurt her. And with Jay, it went so much further. Sex with Jay had always been more than just a physical joining. From their very first time together, it had gone deeper than that, had connected not only their bodies, but their hearts and minds, as well. Katie had always known that, somehow, when he possessed her body he also possessed her soul. And now, after all that had happened, she didn’t know if she could trust him. Because, if she gave herself to him again, gave him all of herself, and he were to leave…

She sighed, and glanced toward the closed bedroom door. She’d sneaked in the room the night before, to get her toothbrush and her robe, but Jay hadn’t stirred. A sudden urge to reassure herself that he was still there propelled her back into the house. She deposited her cup on the kitchen counter, and strode toward the bedroom.

She's now in the bedroom, kneeling next to the bed, and has caught sight of Jay's wedding band...

The sight of the plain band made the strength drain from her body, leaving her sagging next to the bed. For some reason, she never dreamed he would still be wearing it. The promises she’d made to him when she placed it on his finger came roaring back. Her own hand trembled as she held it next to his, and she could hear his voice making the same promises to her. The matching bands on their hands seemed to jeer at her, berating her for her lack of faith in him.

“He’s my husband, and he made a promise to me. And I’m going to hold him to that promise, no matter what…”

She’d meant that when she said it to Adam on that summer afternoon. But it occurred to her that maybe Jay was going to hold her to her own promise to him. And she was hesitating, trying to hold something over his head, something for which he’d apologized. Wouldn’t she expect him to believe her if she were to tell him she was sorry? Damn right, she would. She’d be insulted if he didn’t. What kind of a bloody hypocrite was she, to hold Jay to a higher standard than she’d hold herself? Just what extraordinary feat was he supposed to do to earn her trust again? By coming to her, admitting his wrongs, he’d made himself vulnerable to her, and she had dismissed it out of hand, focusing only on her own hurt and heartbreak, never once considering his.

And then she realizes he's awake, and the ending is the same. I didn't go too much into the sex here, because it's more a reconnection than their usual sexual pyrotechnics. Jay gets to show his wife how much he cares and is able to heal, and Katie admits she trusts him not to hurt her again. Does that make sense?

Oh, and I still don't mean to make you cry, although I'm beyond touched that you do!

Hugs,
Page

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[> [> [> [> i like it -- dea, 10:17:53 11/04/09 Wed

i like the changes. it was on the edge of making me uncomfortable, because i have this thing with men forcing women to sex... but that's my problem. it was hard for me to have Ashton do exactly that to Bryony. not a beautiful thing to see, but he had to be flawed. to learn. the same with Jay, i love this part:

The caress on her hair stilled, and she felt the stiffening of his muscles against her hands. “Play you?” The pain in his voice was palpable. “Do you really think that’s what I’m trying to do?”

the way he feels hurt, almost shocked with her reaction. then my other favourite lines make even more sense, because maybe Jay finally understands what makes his heart jump. thank you. thank you.

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[> [> [> [> [> Thank you! >>>> -- Page, 13:35:21 11/05/09 Thu

I need to do a bit of work on Jay's holding Katie's hair, to make it clear he wasn't yanking her around with it, or hurting her. He was just holding her still. Although I've not posted them, the book has quite a few instances that make it clear Jay has a thing for Katie's hair. The day after they first met, he admitted to her he wanted to wake up with her hair all around him. He was always playing with her hair, wrapping it round his neck, spreading it over the pillow so he could put his cheek against it, etc. So when she gets so close to him here, he can't help but get his hands in it, and simply tightened his grip when she attempted to bolt away.

I'm relieved that Jay's hurt and bewilderment comes through. He knew she wanted him, but when she said no, he thought that meant no to everything, not just sex. Hard to get across from Katie's POV, but I wasn't about to write a section from Jay's. I've already got way too many words! *G*

Glad you liked it, and I appreciate your suggestions that helped to clarify this bit!

Hugs,
Page

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[> [> [> [> Ooohhhh... I like this! -- Debi, 19:45:29 11/09/09 Mon

I think that 'almost" bit added even more tension and complexity to the scene. Great change!

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[> [> [> [> [> Thank you SO much! I was afraid it was too much, but you've put my mind at ease! -- Page, 23:00:37 11/13/09 Fri

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[> [> whoa!! And then I was like Whoa! and then you were like Whoa. I'll be back for a crit on this one soon!! -- Fel, 20:00:31 10/30/09 Fri

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[> [> [> LOL! Can't wait to read it! -- Page, 23:36:44 10/31/09 Sat

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[> [> [> Okay! Here we go, crit inside>>> -- Fel, 11:43:27 11/03/09 Tue

Okay Page,

I'm just a big kid who hasn't grown out of watching Disney cartoons yet, and Finding Nemo is awesome. So anyways, here I go.

This one feels much more real to me. I like it better now that Katie isn't quite so quick to let Jay back into her life. The emotions are all right there in the open. I like it!

Sorry about how long it took me to get this done, but I work on Saturday and Sunday, and further more my computer decided to give me a blue screen of death yesterday so now it is in the shop. Hopefully everything is fine, since my latest work, Look Upon The Ash is in there.

Well hopefully you can find something usefull in my ramblings.

Fel

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[> [> [> [> It's the moon >>>>> -- Page, 13:43:21 11/05/09 Thu

I swear the moon must have been in some freaked out orbit or something last month, and it killed computers. The motherboard went out in DH's (second motherboard in a year!), and a friend woke up in the middle of the night to find her laptop displaying the Blue Screen of Death, like yours. I hope your manuscript can be retrieved! Scares the poo outta me to think mine might disappear into nothing. I'm pretty good about backing it up onto a flash drive, but not as consistent as I should be. *puts one hand in air, and the other on photo of Jimmy Page* I do hereby solemnly swear to back up my book every half-hour while I'm writing. There.

I'm glad you liked this chapter, and relieved that it's no longer too tidy. I agree it feels more real with Katie's fighting against letting him back into her life.

Thank you! And my fingers are crossed that Look Upon the Ash is all safe and sound.

Hugs,
Page

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[> [> I really love it. -- Debi, 16:10:26 10/31/09 Sat

Love, love LOVE it. There's a good balance of angst, sorrow, anger and heartache all wrapped up in forgiveness. Katie doesn't want to forgive him, she's been angry for a long time, someone's got to pay for that. But really it's her that's been paying for it all along. Jay's wiped out, and had laid his bare soul in front of her. As much as they want to resist, their love pulls them together, like magnets. I like how she didn't capitualte too easily and also how his resigned acceptance of her anger rshows how changed he really is. He takes it all in, lets her get it out of her system since they never had a chance to have this confrontation. And her suggestion for him to sleep while she thinks; brilliant. It's what they both needed, IMHO, to take stock of where they now stand.

>Music News and Notes
>The Western Star, 1/9/79
>
>The hole left in the world of rock has been filled,
>nay, plastered over, boarded up and nailed shut, by
>the release of Carey On, the first offering by
>Shadowed Knight guitar virtuoso Jay Carey and former
>Whistlepig lead singer Katie Carey. Oh, yeah. They
>also just happen to be husband and wife.
>
>The duo has proven in the past that, separately, they
>were forces to be reckoned with. Carey On reveals that
>together, they're unstoppable.....
>


And this? This bit is just made of awesome...

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[> [> [> Aw, thank you! >>>> -- Page, 23:38:15 10/31/09 Sat


>
>>Music News and Notes
>>The Western Star, 1/9/79
>>
>>The hole left in the world of rock has been filled,
>>nay, plastered over, boarded up and nailed shut, by
>>the release of Carey On, the first offering by
>>Shadowed Knight guitar virtuoso Jay Carey and former
>>Whistlepig lead singer Katie Carey. Oh, yeah. They
>>also just happen to be husband and wife.
>>
>>The duo has proven in the past that, separately, they
>>were forces to be reckoned with. Carey On reveals that
>>together, they're unstoppable.....
>>

>
>And this? This bit is just made of awesome...

Thank you so much! (I kinda like that bit, too! *G*)

Hugs,
Page

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[> [> It is looong, and it took me even longer to finally get to it ;) >>> -- Lady Morilka, 12:36:44 11/18/09 Wed

>Excerpt from Carey On
>©2009 by Juli Morgan
>Posted for purposes of critique only, and does not
>constitute publication
>
>
>Steel-gray waves washed up onto the Malibu shoreline,
>breaking into foam that looked like dirty wash water,
>before it slithered back from the sand. The sand
>itself was dark brown and packed with moisture, not
>just where it met the waves, but all the way up to the
>deck of Katie’s house. The rain had begun falling
>during the night, a steady shower that looked as if it
>had settled in for a long stay.
>
>Katie took another sip of coffee, staring with
>unseeing eyes out the sliding glass doors.
love that image!
Inertia was
>starting to creep back in, and she knew she didn’t
>have the strength to combat it. She hadn't realized
>how much she had counted on Maureen and the children
>to keep it at bay, but their visit had only been a
>plaster over a gaping wound. Even Adam’s visit hadn’t
>helped. His excitement over his new projects had only
>served to play up the differences between his life and
>hers, and when she compared how busy he was to how
>sedentary she’d become, it depressed the hell out of
>her. It had been nice to see him again, but she was
>glad he’d gone. The depression, though, lingered on.
>
>Talking with Maureen about her plans to take history
>classes at UCLA had pumped up her enthusiasm for
>school, but it had disappeared almost as soon as
>Maureen had left. Why did she need history classes,
>anyway? She'd never use them. Her gaze touched the
>piano in the corner of the living room, her guitar on
>its stand beside the larger instrument. She frowned,
>determined not to go near them again. She'd already
>written enough songs that would never be recorded.
>So, what was she going to do with her life? She
>wanted to be productive, wanted to do more than sit
>around feeling sorry for herself, but at the same
>time, she just didn’t give a shit.
I'm not sure here, does she really give a shit? Than why make plans? I rather would think that she can't get herself to start a concrete thing, which is much more bothering. To want to do something but not to find the energy. JMHO
Pathetic, that’s
>what she was.
>
>A gull flying close to the deck caught her eye and
>brought her out of her gloomy reverie. She watched it
>on its path across the beach, oblivious of the rain.
>With a sigh, she turned back to the kitchen with a
>vague thought of getting more coffee. It depressed her
>to think the rest of the day stretched out in front of
>her as bleak and uninviting as the sodden sand beyond
>her deck.
What time of day is it? Here it sounds like late morning. but is the talking and thinking really taking up almost 20 hours???
>
>The soft chime of the doorbell intruded on her
>solitude, and she cast a wary glance toward the front
>door. She wasn’t expecting any more visitors and
>couldn’t imagine who had found their way to her
>hideout. Perhaps if she just ignored the summons of
>the bell, whoever it was would go away.
>
>The bell sounded again, twice in quick succession, and
>Katie sighed. It appeared she was going to have to
>deal with the unknown presence whether she wanted to
>or not. Leaving her coffee sitting forgotten on the
>counter, she went to the door and peered out the
>peep-hole. The limited view showed her only a
>distorted imaged of a black, soft-sided suitcase and a
>pair of feet clad in brown loafers. Whoever was
>ringing the bell was leaning against the wall of the
>porch, just out of her sight. Irritated, Katie
>unlocked the deadbolt, pulled the door open and faced
>her visitor head on.
>
>The jolt of adrenaline that shot through her made her
>feel sick. Her muscles turned into liquid fire and the
>rapid, heavy pounding of her heart made her chest
>hurt. Dizzy, she clutched at the door to keep from
>falling to her knees. She wanted to scream and cry and
>laugh at the same time, but her frozen body refused to
>obey any commands, but stood wooden, unable to move.
>
>Jay turned his head toward her, and she drank in the
>sight of him. The moisture in the air brought out
>curls and waves through his black hair, and her eyes
>traveled with hunger over it, noting the way it
>brushed the shoulders of his wrinkled cream colored
>linen jacket, and rioted across his forehead. The
>touches of gray at his temples brought her up short,
>and she saw his jaw was covered with stubble, his
>forehead was creased with exhaustion, and his hazel
>eyes were dull with sleep.
>
>She focused on his eyes, and found their piercing
>intensity hadn’t dimmed, sleepy or not. It had been a
>long time since he’d looked at her that way, and his
>gaze held her as tight as if he’d reached out and
>grabbed her with his hands.
>
>Jay pushed himself away from the stucco wall and stood
>facing her in silence. Someone needed to move, someone
>needed to say something.
Here I would keep in the flow and not start a new sentence.
Someone needed to break this
>impasse,
And than here you could let that trail of with ... To than start a new sentence. I think that would strech the staring at each other until the silence becomes uncomfortabe, even stronger.
but Katie couldn’t make the proper synapses
>fire in her brain to bring her voice back. But she had
>to do something. She couldn’t just let him stand there
>on her small front porch all day.
And herself as well.
>
>With an immense effort of will, she made her body
>move, and took two steps back, swinging the door wider
>in invitation. Still silent, Jay bent and picked up
>his bag Wasn't it a suitcase before?, and walked past her into the house. Katie
>closed the door and leaned against it for a moment,
>resting her forehead against the cool wood, her mind
>whirling with conflicting thoughts and emotions. How
>had he found her? And what did he want? Whatever it
>was, she wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
>
>She summoned up a bit of control, and followed him
>into the living room, giddy as she breathed in the
>scent of him, more intoxicating than any man-made
>fragrance ever concocted. He had dropped his bag suitcase? in
>the middle of the living room, and stood in front of
>the fireplace staring at the only object on the
>mantle. The photograph Maureen had taken of Jay and
>Katie just after they were married
On their weddingday? or on a later day? could be both. Is the picture, or the taking of it bescribed before? Otherwise you should make it more clear.
was placed with
>precision, centered over the middle of the fireplace.
>Katie had spent hours contemplating it, wondering how
>the two people depicted had come to such a ludicrous
>end. Looking at it now with fresh eyes,
I think you can leave out the "fresh eyes" here since it is clear that she looks differently at in now since it seemes that their story has not yet come to an end.
she marveled
>at the contrast between the sheer joy on the faces in
>the picture and the matching looks of strain on both
>her face and Jay’s.
>
>Hoping to diffuse the nervous agitation his sudden
>reappearance had caused, she strove for a normal tone
>of voice. “Coffee?” she offered.
>
>Jay jumped like a man yanked out of a dream, and
>turned his head toward her. “Yeah, please.”
>
>She’d forgotten the way his voice seemed to slide over
>her body, touching her in a way that was almost
>physical. Her knees again threatened to give way, but
>she nodded and forced her shaking legs to take her
>into the kitchen. She fumbled a cup out of the
>cabinet, but caught it before it could crash onto the
>tiled floor. Clutching the smooth porcelain to her,
>she bent her head, willing her scattered emotions to
>come to heel. When she thought she had gained enough
>control not to scald herself or Jay with the hot
>coffee, she filled the cup and took it to him.
>
>He’d taken a seat on the couch, and leaned his head
>against the back. Lines of weariness etched his
>profile, and Katie wondered what had brought him here
>in such an obvious hurry. She pitched her voice low so
>she wouldn’t startle him again. “Here you are.”
>
>Jay took the cup from her. “Thanks, love.”
I stumble here about that "love" it sounds so casual, too casual for the situation. But that could just be me and my german background, around here we don't call everybody love or honey.
He raised
>his head and took a careful sip. “Ah, that’s good,” he
>sighed.
>
>Katie stepped across his outstretched legs and sat
>beside him on the couch. She was careful to keep a
>safe distance between them. The shock of seeing him
>was wearing off, and a rising anger was taking its
>place. She tried to swallow it down, and glanced over
>at him. “I don’t want to sound rude, but you look
>really tired.”
>
>A ghost of a smile touched his face. “Tired doesn’t
>even begin to cover it. I can’t remember the last time
>I slept.”
>
>Katie bit her lip and struggled to keep her voice calm
>and even. “Do you think you need coffee? I mean…”
>
>“Yes,” he interrupted. “I need coffee.” His eyes met
>hers. “I hope you have a lot made.”
>
>“I can make more.” Her words were clipped and short as
>her anger tested the breaking point of her restraint.
>
>Jay lowered his head and regarded the dark brown
>liquid in his cup. “Look, I realize my showing up like
>this is somewhat of a shock.”
>
>Katie laughed, a harsh, bitter sound. “Nothing you do
>shocks me anymore, Jay.” She crossed her arms over her
>chest and directed a glare toward the deck. Out of the
>corner of her eye, she saw Jay’s shoulders move in a
>deep sigh before he put his coffee cup on the table.

completly of topic, something here reminded me of the tulips that where planted around the deck, but if she has to wonder her how Jay found here, how could those tulips have been planted by him? Or is my memory frail here?
>
>“I want us to talk.”
>
>The statement was innocent enough, but it set Katie
>off like a firecracker. “Well, how bloody thoughtful
>of you! I can’t imagine why you’d think we need to
>talk. You certainly didn’t feel the need to talk a
>year ago when you packed up all your shit and walked
>out on me without a word!”
>
>Jay’s lips compressed for a moment. “Fine,” he said.
>“Get it out of your system.”
Here I would like to know in what tone he sais that, calm or with gritted teeth?
>
>“Get it…get it out…” Katie thought the top of her head
>was going to fly off. “How dare you?” She exploded up
>off the couch and glared down at him, fury making her
>feel ten feet tall. “How the fuck dare you come into
>my house after what you’ve done and try to patronize
>me?”
Love that, ten feet tall, and HER house. That must sting.
>
>“I’m not patronizing you, Katie.” An obstinate look
>had crept onto his face. “I’m trying to have a decent,
>civil conversation…”
>
>“Oh, bullshit!” she interrupted. “You’ve had plenty of
>chances to be decent and civil, but this isn’t one of
>them. And as for that, you don’t deserve decent and
>civil. You broke my heart, you son-of-a-bitch! You
>broke it, you mangled it, you stomped on it…” The
>sight of his eyes closing against her tirade and the
>slight shake of his head made her want to shriek.
>“Don’t you try to deny it! You broke my heart and then
>left me there all alone!”
Oh I hate that patient way of shaking ones head, I know it personally and it really is bad ;) Love it, very real
>
>“I’m not denying it.” He opened his eyes and pinned
>her with a warning look. Once, that look would have
>made her back off and rethink what she was doing, but
>now it only served to enrage her further.
>
>“You can say it all you want, but when you’re sitting
>there shaking your head ‘no’ to everything I’m
>saying…Fuck you, Jay! Fuck you. I don’t want to talk
>to you.”
>
>Jay got to his feet and took her upper arm in a tight
>grip. “I don’t give a shit if you want to or not, but
>you’re going to!”
>
>“Let go of me!” Katie tried to pull away, fighting not
>only his grip, but the resultant flood of emotions at
>his touch, but he only tightened his hold. “You have
>no right to touch me after what you’ve done to me.”
>
>“I’ve got a news flash for you, babe.” Jay shook her
>arm. “Yours wasn’t the only heart broken!”
>
>“Oh, boo hoo.” At her cold tone, Jay released her arm,
>and she took three quick steps back. “Who broke your
>heart?”
>
>“You did.”
Never saw that one coming, great!
>
>The words penetrated the red haze of anger in her mind
>and rendered her speechless for a moment. She saw the
>hurt in his eyes and took quick action to harden
>herself against it. No way was she going to let him
>play her like that.
>
>“Impossible,” she spat out. “First of all, you don’t
>have a heart to break. And furthermore, there’s no way
>I broke your heart. You’re the one who left, remember?
>You’re the one who slunk off into the night like a
>coward while I was on tour!”
>
>“And what about you?” The lines of strain on his face
>became more pronounced, and it was obvious he was
>fighting to keep himself under control. “After I dug
>my head out of my arse and came home, you were nowhere
>to be found.”
Men! lol
>
>Katie’s mouth dropped open in outrage. “Are you
>fucking kidding me? Did you really think I’d just sit
>around waiting for you to decide to come home?” The
>fact that she had done exactly that for six months
>infuriated her, and she turned her back on him. “I
>know when I’m not wanted.”
>
>“Not wanted?” His voice came from right behind her,
>and she jumped. She’d forgotten he could move so
>fast. Jay’s hands on her shoulders turned her to face
>him, but she kept her eyes screwed shut. She couldn’t
>risk seeing if he didn’t. More to the point, she
>didn't want him to see the devastating effect his
>touch had on her.
>
>“Look at me.” His voice was firm. “No, Katie, look at
>me.” He took her chin in his hand and tilted her face
>up. “Please.”
>
>The desperate plea in his voice brought her to open
>her eyes. The naked, raw emotion she saw on his face
>made her want to cry aloud. The thought of how she’d
>felt when she’d seen that empty closet, though, erased
>any momentary tenderness she might have felt. She
>hardened her features and attempted to shake his
>fingers loose.
>
>Ignoring her efforts to pull away, he leaned close and
>captured her gaze. “There has never,” he gritted out,
>“never been a day I didn’t want you.” She closed her
>eyes, refusing to be drawn in. “I mean it, Katie. Even
>when I didn’t want to, I did.”
>
>He meant it, she was sure of it. And, brother, could
>she identify. A small voice whispered in her head,
>telling her that he’d been going through the same hell
>as she for the last year. She felt herself giving in,
>giving up, giving herself back to him. But, oh God,
>could she trust him? Could she be sure he wouldn’t
>just walk out again?
>
>“No!” His grip loosened with surprise at her
>exclamation, and she jerked away from him. “No, no,
>no! That’s not how it works, Jay. I don’t believe
>you.”
>
>“Christ, Katie.” His voice broke. “I’m sorry. There
>aren’t words to tell you how sorry I am for what I
>did. Believe me, you can’t hate me more than I do
>myself. But I want to try and make it right, to make
>it up to you any way I can. What do I have to do?”
>
>She drew a shuddering breath. Was he kidding? He could
>have himself drawn and quartered; that would be a
>start. A span of years spent prostrate at her feet
>would be another. Tar and feathers, hot oil, a stone
>cell with only bread and water; yeah, that might begin
>to make up for the searing hurt she’d been living with
>all this time. “You can get out and leave me alone.”
>The words dropped like rocks from her mouth, and she
>turned away.
>
>Silence so deep she could almost feel it stretched out
>between them. She waited to hear the sound of the
>front door opening and then slamming behind him.
>Steeled to hear exactly that, she squeaked in surprise
>when he spoke again.
>
>“That’s the one thing I can’t do.”
>
>As his words penetrated her brain, she turned to face
>him again, fire in her eye. “So what’s the plan this
>time? Got some new bit of torture worked out for me?”
> She shook her hair back. “I hate to disappoint you,
>but whatever new ways you’ve come up with to hurt me
>won’t work. There’s not anything you can do to hurt me
>more than you already have.”
>
>An alarming shade of red crept up his neck and
>suffused his face. “The last thing I want to do…” He
>broke off and took several deep breaths. “I know
>you’re hurt. I fucking know that!” It was becoming
>quite clear to Katie that he was enraged. She’d never
>seen him so angry before, and a quiver of apprehension
>slid down her spine. His eyes had changed from their
>usual piercing hazel to an almost tawny shade. She
>expected to see them glow red any minute. “I came here
>to try and…I’d give anything to…But you won’t even
>fucking tell me what I can do to…Goddamn it!”
That would be too easy, although men have a tendency to ask what they can do instead of thinking up their own ideas. My DH does it all the time if he wants to convince me of something.
>
>He reached down and seized his half-full coffee cup,
>and Katie expected it to fly across the room to smash
>into something. Instead, he turned and stalked into
>the kitchen, leaving her breathless. Her knees were
>quivering with reaction, and she sank down on the
>raised stone hearth of the fireplace. Her hands rose
>and crossed over her chest, protecting her pounding
>heart. Seeing him like that had shaken her to the
>core. He’d always been the even tempered, calm,
>collected one, bearing her occasional outbursts of
>emotion with equanimity. But it seemed she’d finally
>pushed him to the breaking point.
>
>She looked up with trepidation as he strode back into
>the living room, a coffee cup in each hand. It was
>obvious he’d made some effort to regain his composure
>during his absence. His eyes were back to hazel, and
>the flush of anger had faded from his face. He sat one
>of the cups on the coffee table.
>
>“Here. I found it on the kitchen counter. I assume
>it’s yours.” He sat on the couch and crossed his legs.
>“It’s a fresh cup.”
>
>Coffee. He was sitting there talking about coffee
>after everything that had happened. Katie grabbed her
>temper in both hands and throttled it. She wasn’t
>going to let him get another rise out of her if it
>killed her. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on her
>breathing. When she felt she had her emotions under
>control again, she opened her eyes to find herself
>under intense scrutiny. Jay was looking at her with an
>unwavering stare, his eyes a bit unfocused. Katie bore
>it as long as she could, but she felt her nerves being
>stretched to the breaking point. “What?” she snapped.
>
>The focus in Jay's eyes sharpened at her exclamation.
>“I'm just looking at you, alright? I'd forgotten how
>lovely you really are.”
>
>Katie made a rude noise and rolled her eyes. If he
>thought he was going to win her over with flowery
>words and romance-novel sentiments, he had another
>thing coming.
>
>A muscle jumped in Jay's cheek as he clenched his jaw.
>“Will you kindly stop being so dismissive of
>everything I say? Jesus, Katie, what do you want?”
>
>“What do I want? I'll tell you what I want.” She
>glared at him. “I want to know why, that's what. I
>want you to tell me what I did that was so horrible
>that you had to just walk out on me without one
>single, solitary, bleeding word of explanation.”
>
>Jay sighed and ran a hand over his face. “You didn’t
>do anything.”
>
>The heavy weight of self-doubt and blame she'd carried
>for so long started to lift at his simple statement.
>But it wasn't enough. She deserved an explanation, and
>was determined to get one. “Then why?”
Not sure, but I would get so mad at that, cos he didn't even tell her that or let her know in some way. She has to ask for it, that would irk me like hell.
>
>He took another sip of coffee and put it next to her
>untouched cup on the table. “I just got in my head
>that…” He cleared his throat. “You didn’t need me
>anymore.”
>
>Her head jerked up and she looked at him in amazement.
>“I’ve heard you say some stupid things before, Jay
>Carey, but that has to be the dumbest one ever!”
>
>He shrugged, betraying how uncomfortable he was with
>the conversation. “It’s what I thought. I just
>couldn’t shake it loose. I mean, what the hell did you
>need with a washed-up guitar player, hooked on smack,
>who’d pissed his band away and was watching his
>fortieth birthday speeding toward him? You had the
>world at your feet, clamoring for your records, your
>tours, your interviews.” He sighed. “You didn’t need
>me anymore.”
>
>“I’ve heard through the grapevine that you’re not
>hooked anymore, but you sure as hell sound messed up
>now.” Katie shook her head with exasperation. “None of
>that shit mattered to me; it never did! I only made
>records because you wanted me to. You seemed so proud
>of me, so I kept doing it, even though I hated it.”
>Frowning at the look in his eye, she tightened her
>lips. “Don’t act so surprised. I told you that years
>ago. This isn't news; you knew it.” She leaned
>forward. “And let me tell you something else. The fact
>that you produced my records is not why I needed you,
>you bleeding idiot! And not because you were a fucking
>rock star, or because you were successful. I needed
>you because I loved you.”
>
>“Yeah, well. I thought I’d blown that, too.” Jay
>frowned at the cup in his hand.
When did he pick that up again?
“I didn’t love
>myself, and I couldn’t see how you could, either.
>Especially with the way I treated you there toward the
>end.” He sighed, a tired, beat sound that wrenched
>Katie’s heart. “I didn’t want any of my problems to
>affect you, and so I pulled away from you. It was
>never because I didn’t care.”
>
>Surprised, Katie’s eyes popped open. That was the
>last thing she’d expected to hear. “Bloody fool.”
>Mortified, she clapped her hands over her mouth. She
>hadn’t meant to say it out loud.
>
>Jay laughed, and looked at her with admiration. “I
>couldn’t have put it any better myself, love. I was a
>bloody fool, but I’m not anymore.” The laughter faded
>from his face as he sighed and re-crossed his legs.
>His manner made it clear he was ready to bring up
>another uncomfortable revelation, and Katie’s guard
>went back to full alert. “I saw Adam last week.” His
>throat moved as he swallowed, and when he resumed
>speaking, his voice was strained. “He told me you
>still love me.”
>
>Katie snatched her coffee cup from the table and
>raised it to her face. “Gossiping old woman,” she
>muttered, bringing a surprised snort of amusement from
>Jay. She swallowed from the cup, the warmth settling
>into her stomach, drowning some of the butterflies
>that seemed to have taken up residence there.
>
>“Do you?”
>
>Not fair. Not fair, not fair, not fair. She wasn't
>going to lie to him, but at the same time she didn't
>want him to think a declaration of love would make
>everything all right. The silence grew uncomfortable,
>and each moment she hesitated seemed to bring some
>horrible doom rushing toward them. Finally, more
>afraid of it than of how he might take her words, she
>answered. “Yes. I still love you.”
>
>“I love you, too, Katie. I always will.”
>
>Not trusting herself to look at him, Katie shook her
>head, raising her hand in an unconscious warding-off
>gesture. She was relieved when he didn't speak
>further, and used the silence to marshal her
>see-sawing emotions into some semblance of calm. When
>she dared glance in his direction, she thought for a
>moment his exhaustion had caught up to him. His head
>was thrown back against the high back of the sofa, his
>eyes closed as if he slept. Katie took the opportunity
>to look at him the way he'd scrutinized her earlier.
>His words may have been flowery, but Katie recognized
>the truth in them. The reality of Jay was more
>beautiful than any image she'd carried in her memory.
>
>“Do you remember...”
>
>His soft voice made Katie jump like she'd been
>electrocuted. Does she still hold her coffee here? ;)Jay opened his eyes a slit and regarded
>her for a moment. He sighed and closed his eyes again.
>“Do you remember the night we first met?”
>
>Katie frowned, on guard. “Of course I do.”
>
>“So do I. I walked into Maureen’s flat and saw a
>fucking angel standing there. An angel who seemed to
>be wearing nothing more than a piece of black lace.
>I'd never wanted anyone so badly in my life. It
>happened that quickly.” He snapped his fingers. “And
>then I took your hand.” Jay drew in a deep breath.
>“Something...something happened when we touched. It
>was like...like...”
>
>“Like time had stopped,” Katie said, low. “Like the
>earth had tilted on its axis. I felt it, too.”
>
>Jay nodded. “I know. I saw it in your eyes. And the
>sad thing about it all, is that it's still there.
>Whatever it was that was set in motion the first time
>we touched is still there between us.” He drew in his
>breath. “It’s always been there, even after we both
>began to take it for granted. I don't know much,
>Katie, but I do know it doesn't happen to everyone. We
>have something so incredibly special, and it's a
>fucking shame to just throw it away with both hands
>like this.”
>
>Steel fingers seemed to be digging themselves into
>Katie's throat. She tried to swallow past them, to
>regain her voice to berate him more for the searing
>hurt she'd felt when she'd realized he'd left her. But
>she couldn't. His words had conjured up too many old
>feelings, things she hadn't let herself feel for a
>long time. She could hear the ticking of the clock on
>the wall, but she felt again that time had stopped,
>that the rotation of the earth had changed. She
>attempted to fight against it, but just as before, it
>would not be ignored.
>
>“We didn't throw it away then, Katie. Remember? We
>wanted each other, and we did what we had to do to be
>together, things we never thought we'd do. We ignored
>everything and everyone who got in our way. But even
>though it hurt people close to us, I’d do it again.”
>
>Startled, Katie looked at him, her eyes wide. Jay
>nodded. “You were more important. We were more
>important. Nothing else mattered more to me than being
>with you.” He raised his head and pinned her with his
>gaze. “And nothing else matters more to me now.”
>
>She didn't want to see the complete conviction in his
>eyes, but she couldn't look away.
>
>“I'm only half alive without you, Katie. Even when
>things turned to total shite in our lives, it was
>still a million times better than anything I have now.”
>
>A phrase she had once read in a letter written by
>Robert Browning to his beloved Elizabeth popped into
>Katie's head. She whispered aloud, “I would not
>exchange the sadness of being away from you for any
>imaginable delight in which you had no part.”
>
>Jay took a quick, indrawn breath. “Do you mean that?”
>
>“Yes. No.” Too agitated to sit still, she jumped up,
>and went to the patio doors, and stared with unseeing
>eyes at the ocean. “I don’t know.”
>
>Behind her, Jay heaved a distinctly irritated sounding
>sigh. “That helps a lot.”
>
>Katie’s own irritation rose at his words. “Well, what
>the hell did you expect?” She turned to face him.
>“You show up out of thin air after all this time, and
>start laying all this on me about how much you love me
>and want me back, and start pressing me to make a
>decision on the spot.”
>
>“I should think it’s a simple one, Katie.” Jay got up
>and came to stand beside her. “Either you love me or
>you don’t.”
>
>“I’ve already told you I love you.” Katie narrowed
>her eyes at him. “I just don’t know if I can believe
>you.”
>
>Jay gave every appearance of a man who’d just been hit
>over the head with a brick. “I should think that’s
>simple, too. Either you believe me, or you don’t. I
>don’t know what else I can do.” He pushed his hair
>back with both hands, throwing the gray at his temples
>into sharp relief. “I’ve told you how sorry I am, but
>if you don’t believe that, then I’m at a complete loss
>at what more to say.”
>
>A sudden urge to kick him in the balls shook her, and
>she fought it off with grim determination. She
>stalked past him, and picked up his bag.
>
>“What are you doing?” Jay’s voice was wary.
>
>Katie walked across the room, the black bag banging
>her knees with every step. She entered her bedroom,
>and dropped the bag on the floor at the foot of the
>bed. With quick economy, she began throwing the
>decorative pillows from the bed into a pile on the
>floor. “You’ve had time to think about all this, but
>I haven’t. I need some time, and you need some rest.”
> She pulled the covers back, and waved a hand at the
>bed. “So you sleep while I think, okay?”
>
>Jay sat on the side of the bed, and sighed, his
>weariness etched on his face. “That’s fair. I did
>rather spring all this on you.”
>
>“Yeah, you did.” Katie moved to the door. “I can’t
>make any decision right now, and know it’s the right
>one. Just…just give me some time.”
>
>Jay nodded, and stood, removing his jacket. “I should
>tell you, though, that if I don’t agree with your
>decision, I’m going to fight you on it.”
>
>Her eyes stuttered to his face, and she felt the blood
>drain from her cheeks.
>
>He arched an eyebrow. “That’s right, Katie. If I
>have to hang round for the rest of my life playing
>guitar under your window, I will. I love you, and I’m
>not going anywhere. I left once, and I’ll be damned
>if I’ll ever do it again.”
>
>Mute with astonishment, she gave him a brief nod, and
>left the room, closing the door behind her.
>
>
>
>Pearl grey light tinged with pink washed the sky as
>dawn broke behind the house. Katie watched from the
>deck as the surf rolled into shore in the brightening
>light, cradling a cup of coffee in her hands. The
>early morning breeze molded her lilac satin robe to
>her body, and lifted her hair from her temples. She
>breathed in the fecund scent of the ocean, and resumed
>her contemplation of her heart.
>
>She’d been thinking about that particular organ since
>she’d given up trying to sleep. Jay’s presence in the
>house had kept her too keyed up to get anything but
>brief naps, and they left her more tired than if she
>hadn’t slept at all. So she made a pot of coffee, and
>began gingerly probing her heart.
>
>It surprised her to find that a substantial hole had
>been patched, and some of the shards had started to
>reassemble. The cracks were still there, to be sure,
>but for the first time since Jay had left, it seemed
>like she had something close to a whole heart again.
>There were still empty spots, but Katie had the
>feeling that they might just fill in with time.
>
>Christ, she’d missed him! The moment she’d seen him
>standing on the porch, she’d realized for the first
>time just how lonely she’d been. Even though their
>conversation had been uncomfortable, it had still
>healed something within her to be in the same room
>with him, to know that he cared enough to come to her.
>
>
>She sighed, and glanced toward the closed bedroom
>door. She’d sneaked in the room the night before, to
>get her toothbrush and her robe, but Jay hadn’t
>stirred. A sudden urge to reassure herself that he
>was still there propelled her back into the house.
>She deposited her cup on the kitchen counter, and
>strode toward the bedroom.
>
>The door swung open silently on well-oiled hinges, and
>her eyes made out Jay’s form under the quilts on the
>bed. As she drew closer, she could hear his even,
>heavy breathing, still deep in sleep. Reaching the
>bed, she dropped to her knees on the soft carpet, and
>filled her eyes with him. His hair was tousled, and
>she stretched out a hand to smooth it. Her breath
>caught as she thought of touching him, and her hand
>hesitated, opening and closing in indecision. The
>muscles of her upper arm were beginning to protest by
>the time she let her hand skim across his hair.
>
>It felt just the way she remembered, soft as satin,
>but still a little coarse against her palm. She
>rubbed a curl between two fingers, and remembered when
>she’d plunge her hands into it, feeling the firm shape
>of his skull, the warmth of his skin. Her eye was here eyes were... I have never been good with english grammer, but that sounds better to me.
>caught by the touch of gray at his temple, and she ran
>a finger across it. It didn’t feel any different from
>the rest of his hair, and she smiled. She didn’t know
>what Jay thought about it, but she thought it was
>incredibly sexy, although she couldn’t help but wonder
>at what he’d been going through to turn his hair gray
>in such a short amount of time.
>
>His eyebrows were still black as night, though,
>arching perfectly over his eyes. His thick black
>eyelashes rested on his cheeks as he slept, and Katie
>grinned at a sudden memory of Maureen, and the way
>she’d always groused about Jay’s lashes, declaring it
>was unfair for Jay to have them when she had to wear
>false lashes and mascara every day to keep from
>looking like a rabbit. Still smiling, Katie let her
>eyes travel down his nose to his lips. His top lip
>was firmed in sleep, but the fullness of his bottom
>lip made her reach out again to touch it. She stopped
>herself, her hand clenched, afraid of what the touch
>of his skin might to do her.
>
>With an inaudible sigh, she let her gaze roam
>downward, over his neck and shoulders, and the light
>furring of black hair on his chest. His right hand
>was lying over his heart, the long lean fingers
>relaxed in sleep. Katie’s skin seemed to cry out at
>the sight of them, yearning for their touch. She
>fought against it, tried to remain calm, but was
>unable to stop the gentle trembling that overtook her.
> As if pulled by a magnet, her eyes continued roaming
>over him, and settled on his left hand draped across
>his abdomen, the sheet caught under his arm. The
>light coming through the door had grown stronger,
>revealing what she hadn’t noticed before – the
>platinum wedding ring on Jay’s finger. Her own hand
>trembled as she held it next to his, the matching
>rings filling her vision. Out of nowhere, the words
>she’d said to Adam last summer in the garden came back
>to her.
>
>“He’s my husband, and he made a promise to me. And
>I’m going to hold him to that promise, no matter
>what…”

>
>She’d meant that then, and she meant it now. But it
>occurred to her that maybe Jay was going to hold her
>to her own promise to him. And she was hesitating,
>trying to hold something over his head, something for
>which he’d apologized. Wouldn’t she expect him to
>believe her if she were to tell him she was sorry?
>What kind of a bloody hypocrite was she, to hold Jay
>to a higher standard than she’d hold herself?
>
>Hot tears threatened to overflow as she lowered her
>head, and pressed a gentle kiss on Jay’s wedding ring.
> And she realized that the cadence of his breathing
>had changed.
>
>She jerked her head up, and met his eyes. Those
>beautiful, intense, mesmerizing hazel eyes, almost
>translucent in the dimness. As always, they held her
>captive, unable to look away. His hand moved under
>hers, a gentle grip on her fingers as he pulled her
>hand to his chest, and laid it over his heart. Tears
>blurred her vision again, overflowing down her cheeks
>in scalding tracks. She knew what he was going to say.
>
>“Do you feel that?” he whispered in the semi-darkness.
> “That’s the first time my heart’s beat since the last
>time I saw you.”
>
>All her hesitation, all the mistrust, all of her
>doubts were wiped out in an instant as she recognized
>the truth in his words. Her own scarred heart, so
>recently begun to heal, started beating with an
>urgency, a depth of feeling she’d thought was gone
>forever. Love flowed through her veins once more, its
>warmth dispelling the last of the cold loneliness
>within her, and obeying its insistent demand, she
>leaned forward and kissed him.
>
>In an instant his arms were tight around her, and his
>mouth devoured hers. She scrambled to get onto the
>bed, to lie on top of him and feel his body under
>hers. She was lost in the intoxicating feel of his
>tongue thrusting against hers, and the feel of his
>breath in her mouth. She drew it into her lungs, and
>let it course through her, bringing her back to life.
>
>Jay rolled her over onto her back, and began to
>struggle out of the confines of the bedclothes. Katie
>took the opportunity to yank open the sash tie of her
>robe, and gasped as the warmth of Jay’s body covered
>hers from neck to feet. Her skin seemed to cry out in
>thanksgiving, and she reached between them to take him
>into her hand. His moan went through her like
>lightning, and she felt it sear the empty spaces in
>her heart, sealing them shut.
All of the empty spaces? Don't know but that to me seems to much, she will still have the urge for a while to make sure he really is there when the house is quite and things like that.
Exerting gentle
>pressure, she pulled him forward, and guided him home.
> And the world tilted on its axis, and time stopped.
>
>Music News and Notes
>The Western Star, 1/9/79
>
>The hole left in the world of rock has been filled,
>nay, plastered over, boarded up and nailed shut, by
>the release of Carey On, the first offering by
>Shadowed Knight guitar virtuoso Jay Carey and former
>Whistlepig lead singer Katie Carey. Oh, yeah. They
>also just happen to be husband and wife.
>
>The duo has proven in the past that, separately, they
>were forces to be reckoned with. Carey On reveals that
>together, they're unstoppable.....
>

I like that but after the third re-read I began to wonder. Katie had said she hated making records so has that changed?

I like this scene. I know you already posted a revision, but I only remembered that after I had this crit half way finished. And I have to admit that I like this version actually better. I can understand the sex in the end without problem. That "wanting to be whole again" after a decision has been made, the reassuring that the other one can still heal and make you forget...
I think you end this book really with a highlight here. :) (and I don't talk about the sex)

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