Adam had slept in and it had been glorious. He knew he couldn't do it every morning, but just that once it had been exactly what he had needed. It had been a long time since he had let himself sleep in and it made him think about the lazy saturday mornings he and Kat had spent in bed or on the couch eating breakfast.
Thinking about that, or more accurately, about Kat, he pushed back the covers and swung his feet to the floor. His hands rubbed over his face as he worked on clearing his head and considering what he would do that day. He wanted to spend the day writing, working on stories, but there were other things he should do. All those things that he had been putting off, things he'd been too busy to do.
Getting groceries and doing some laundry were near the top of that list. There were a couple other things he had on his mind as well.
Padding out into the living room, Adam looked over at the phone. He wouldn't have missed a call, but it had become habit, hoping Kat had left a message. Thinking about that, he realized that there was a chance she would call when he was there. Panic flooded through him. As much as he wanted to talk to her, desperately, he was afraid of what it would be like. What if it was awkward? What if he sounded different or said something stupid? He had terrifying thoughts of fumbling through saying something and sounding like an idiot. Or blurting out the wrong thing.
He looked out the window for a moment, seeing the windows across the alley, then back at the phone. Talking to her was a scary thought, but so was not talking to her. She'd been leaving messages for him and had no way to know that he was getting them or how he was reacting. How was he going to fix that? He thought for a moment about waiting by the phone all day, just in case, and talking to her.
Sweat broke out on his palms and his heart raced. He wasn't ready yet. Not quite. Getting there, but... not yet.
So if he wasn't ready to talk to her directly, what else was there? He smacked his forehead with a palm, feeling like a dolt. His voicemail message! Of course! Why hadn't he thought about it before?
Probably because Adam never used it except for his parents. Not until Kat. Now, though, he had to think hard. It had to be the right message. Had to say the right thing. It wasn't like leaving a message on someone's phone. This was something he could get right, absolutely right. And he would.
He snatched up the handset, then dialed in to his voicemail settings. Then he hung up. Thinking this out first seemed like a good idea. Taking the handset with him, he snatched up a notepad and a pen, then flopped down on the couch.
Kat, if this is you, I got your messages. I'm here. Waiting for you.
Adam looked at what he'd written, thinking about it. It had simple going for it, but was it enough? She kept bringing up all the stuff from the past. Should he mention something? Would it seem like he was trying to hard?
Maybe he should come up with something different, a line from one of the stories.
Kat, if this is you, I got your messages. I'm here. Waiting for you. For a princess like you I would give my kingdom. I miss you. I'll be waiting.
Adam looked at it again, then promptly scratched most of it out. That definitely didn't work for him. It was too much. Simple was better. Simple was what he should go with.
Kat, if this is you, I got your messages. I'm here. Waiting for you. For a princess like you I would give my kingdom. I miss you. I'll be waiting. I'm sorry. See you soon.
Ok. That was good. That would work. It said all that really needed to be said. Until he could see her.
Picking up the handset again he got back into the voicemail system, then selected the option to change his message.
He tried it, but when he listened he sounded funny. It didn't sound like him. So he tried again. It was the fourth try by the time he got it right.
"Kat, I got your messages. I'm here. I'll be waiting. And... I'm sorry. I'll see you soon."
He hung up the phone, looking at it for a moment, then pushing to his feet and crossing the room to set it back in the cradle. He took a couple deep breaths, standing there. The room around him disappeared and just for a moment he saw everything the way it had been the last time he'd seen Kat. The apology on the voicemail wasn't nearly enough, but he would work at it. He would show her he was sorry and he understood. That he had changed.
Looking at his watch, he shook his head. One quick glance at the phone as though it might just ring if he watched it, then he headed to the shower. Time to get going.
Once he was cleaned up, he headed out to run errands. There were a whole lot of the. Groceries alone took him what seemed like forever. He picked up favourites, both his and Kat's. Staring at his cart, he wondered if Kat still liked Cheerios. Well, if not, they could get something else when she got there. Whenever that would be. Soon, he hoped. Not quite yet though.
He finally got back just before he would normally be returning from work. Hauling all his groceries in he got things put in the fridge and the freezer, looking at the bags and other things scattered over the floor. It was a bit surprising to realize how long it had been since he'd really done this, bought a bunch of his favourite things, stocked up on more than the basics and necessities. Something in him expanded as he thought about it.
That was when he realized that there was a bag missing. Must still be out in the car. Quickly he hurried back out, not bothering to pull on his coat, just dashing out and finding the bag tucked in the corner of the trunk. He snagged it, then loped back to the door. He was just tugging it open when he saw a woman approaching, carrying bags of groceries. She looked a bit familiar, but he couldn't quite place her. Must just be from seeing her around. He pulled the door open wider, standing out of the way and offering her a smile as she came closer. "Quite the load there," he quipped.
She returned the smile, brightening a little. "Hey there! Nice of you to return the favour." At his confused look she flushed a bit, looking just a touch crestfallen. Then she rallied and her smile returned. "Holding the door. Last week. It isn't a big deal."
He remembered, vaguely, what she was talking about. It made him be even happier about the fact that his old life was unravelling so he could make it all new. Better. "I'm sorry. I feel like a jerk. I'm Adam, by the way." He gestured with his chin and she preceded him inside, looking back over her shoulder.
"You aren't a jerk. Just busy. I know how it is. I'm Sadie." There was a pause as she looked down at her groceries, then back up at him. "Listen, this might be kinda forward but... I bought too many groceries and I was going to make a big supper tonight which would mean a ton of leftovers since it would just be me. My freezer isn't that big, and I wouldn't want it to go to waste. Do you want to join me?" She offered a shy smile, nothing too familiar, but the kindness in it tugged at Adam and he wondered if she was as lonely as he'd been.
"I'm... there's... sort of someone." He stood uncomfortably, clutching his lone bag. Sadie seemed nice, but he didn't want her to think the wrong thing. He was waiting for Kat.
Sadie's laughter broke out and she offered a bright smile. "That's ok. I wasn't thinking for a date. Just... I've seen you around. You seem nice. It would be nice to know someone in the building, you know?" He was nodding as she talked and he smiled back at her, relaxing.
"Then dinner would be great. It's been a while since I made a new friend. Too long." He laughed softly, thinking about what Kat would say. He figured she would tell him it was about time.
"I grabbed some cookies and ice cream when I was getting my own groceries. How about I bring them? Not a fancy dessert or anything, but it's the best I can do." Sadie laughed and nodded, giving him her apartment number.
"Do you want some help carrying those? I don't mind." Adam smiled again, feeling a little bit awkward but thinking this was a step in the right direction. A step back to living again.
"Nah, I'm fine. Just come up in 20 minutes. Give me a chance to get things put away and start supper." Then she hefted the bags, adjusting her grip, then flashed another smile and heading up the stairs. He followed, stopping at his own floor and dropping his bag off and rifling around until he found the cookies and ice cream.
It felt good, starting something new. No more just stagnating, dying slowly by degrees. It was because of Kat. She was the reason his heart was beating again, the reason he was drawing a breath finally and opening his eyes.
He couldn't wait to hear from her again.