justdidntseeit: (she's got some work to do now)
[ previously: "'bout damn time." ]



Kate shifts her weight on the stepladder, and twists slightly, all the better to reach the junction box. This new chrome fixture is going to be a gorgeous accent, if she can -- just --

"Ow ow ow ow ow."

She drops the wrench, and presses down on the pinched skin between her thumb and forefinger. A thin line of blood blooms beneath the pressure she applies; she bites her lower lip, blinking hard, and determinedly does not look at her reflection in the bathroom mirror.

She's not going to cry.

She's not.
justdidntseeit: (time here all but means nothing)
[ "Bill, I'm Kate. It's really nice to meet you." ]

She should tell him.

She should, shouldn't she?

A thousand and one possibilities cycle through her thoughts, the same fear shadowing each of them: What if this damages his timeline, somehow? What if she ruins something by telling him she met his younger self in the bar?



- - - - -



She falls into a fitful sleep, well before Bill comes home.



- - - - -



She wakes a few hours later, still in her short khaki skirt and summery top, to the sound of Bill snoring next to her.

She scrubs her eyes and sits up, rumpled and groggy. The light blanket Bill must've covered her with before bed slips to her waist.

Squinting at the clock on the nightstand, she breathes out something between a sigh and a yawn. With a glance at her wrinkled clothes, she slides out of bed to change into actual sleepwear.

She pulls on a fresh camisole, and finds her favorite pair of yoga pants, worn soft and thin from hundreds of washings. In the bathroom, she pulls her tousled hair into a ponytail; she washes her face and brushes her teeth as quietly as possible, in hopes that she won't interrupt Bill's sleep.



- - - - -



She can't turn off her brain.

Giving up, she pads out of the bedroom, careful not to wake Bill. She pours herself a glass of white wine, and flips on a single lamp in the living room.

She settles into her favorite corner of the couch, a navy scrapbook in tow. Its contents have become as familiar as some of her own family photo albums, each newspaper clipping and photo caption holding information that feels firsthand, now, instead of second and third.

As horrifying and heart-breaking as most of the photographs are, she draws a strange kind of comfort from every page she pores and flips.
justdidntseeit: (she's got some work to do now)
[ everyone loves him. ]
She kisses the corner of Bill's crooked smile.

"Have a good day, sheriff."

"That can't be it," he says.

She's chuckling against his chin when he pulls her closer for a true goodbye.

"Anything more than that, and I won't let you leave."

"Maybe I don't really want to in the first place."

Kate gives his ass a playful swat as he makes for the door, and he reminds her she's assaulting an officer.

She's still smiling to herself as she returns to the kitchen.

As soon as the breakfast dishes are drying in the rack and the counters are spotless again, she completes what's become her morning routine: She changes into a pair of battered jeans, a faded Stanford track and field tee, and paint-splattered Timberlands.

She has a bathroom to gut.


- - - - -


She's reaching into the fridge for a fresh bottle of water when the doorbell rings.

Wiping her forehead with one sweat-slick forearm, she heads for the foyer.

She doesn't recognize the man on the other side of the door; for one stomach-clenching second, she wonders if he's a friend or relative of Eric Lawson.

Don't be silly, she tells herself, but if Los Angeles and Wheelsy, South Carolina have taught her anything, it's that the worst is possible.
justdidntseeit: (so careful when i'm in your arms)
[ "so you're glad we decided to stay?" ]
Kate all but melts into Bill's side, her heart beating too fast.

The carriage house is dark and silent, save for her breathing and Bill's; waves rolling onto the nearby shore are a low, relentless blanket of sound.

"I should let you pick out unmentionables more often," she says, hiding a grin against his chest.
justdidntseeit: (sand and surf)
[ "that would be georgia." ]
Kate takes in a deep lungful of salt-sharp air, savoring the smell of the ocean and the spectacular view.

Foam-flecked waves lap at her bare feet and ankles; she gives Bill's hand a squeeze, not sure who needs the reassurance most.
justdidntseeit: (Default)
[ "that was better than dessert." ]
Kate wakes with the sun, wrapped in a warm knot of sheets and limbs. Bill is snoring lightly, sprawled on his stomach with most of his head buried beneath an over-sized feather pillow; what little of his hair she can see is sticking in every direction.

Smothering a smile, she eases out of bed; she wants a shower before breakfast, and she's sure he will, too.

She pauses in the bathroom's threshold, a line between her brows.

She glances over her shoulder.

The clothes they left in a careless, haphazard mess on the hardwood —

They're folded in a neat stack on top of the dresser.

And Bill's belt is draped over one arm of the sofa.



- - - - -



Breakfast is phenomenal: pesto and feta omelets, homemade sweet potato fries, buttermilk-and-brown sugar pancakes, and fruit so fresh Kate's mouth waters with every bite.

She spears another blackberry with her fork, her eyes moving from Bill to Mrs. Palmer as the woman brings out a second French press.

Kate breathes deep, the scent of rich coffee filling her nose. Feigning nonchalance, she offers a smile.

"Mrs. Palmer, this is fantastic."

"Thank you, dear. I take it you two are enjoying yourselves?"

Kate nods, mirroring Bill.

"But, um." She clears her throat. "Did housekeeping make an early round?"

Mrs. Palmer's eyebrows lift as Kate continues.

"Maybe someone dropped in to straighten up while we were still asleep?"

A half-smile tugs at one corner of Mrs. Palmer's mouth.

"That would be Georgia," she says, chuckling as she offers Bill more turkey sausage. "She always did love to keep this place in tip-top shape when she was alive."
justdidntseeit: (all that glitters)
[ "this is about relaxing, having fun -- that's an order, sheriff." ]
As they enter the darkened suite at the bed and breakfast, Kate's warm and loose-limbed from dancing and three glasses of wine.

After flicking on a low-burning lamp, she steps out of her heels with a murmur of relief; taking one foot in hand to massage her tender arch, she can't help a soft groan.

"Remind me why I'm a slave to fashion again?"
justdidntseeit: (when we walked in fields of gold)
[ "I'm sure I can make good time." ]
The Palmer Home is even more impressive than its photos implied.

After a warm reception and a short tour from the innkeeper, Kate and Bill return to the third floor to settle in.

Kate crosses the spacious suite and steps onto the piazza, taking in the view of the harbor and Fort Sumter.

"God, this is gorgeous."
justdidntseeit: (so not happy)
[ papering over the cracks ]
God, she's tired today.

She pushes herself harder on her morning run, tacking on an extra half-mile, then another for good measure.

(The more she works out, the more energy she'll have, she reminds herself with every punishing stride.)

By the time she makes it back to the house, there's a stitch behind her ribs and her knees have turned to oatmeal.

Should've eaten something, she thinks as she fumbles with the back door.

The house is quiet when she leans against the kitchen counter, sheened with sweat and shivering. Nausea washes through her, and she closes her eyes and breathes deep.

Bill will be up soon; she needs to make coffee and jumpstart breakfast.

She grips the edge of the counter with one hand, flipping on the faucet with the other.

The sound of running water fills her ears, fading to mute as her vision tunnels and the sink yellows at its edges.
justdidntseeit: (tidings of comfort and joy)
After leaving a few notes and gifts with Bar, Kate returns upstairs.

She still has one more to deliver.
justdidntseeit: (time here all but means nothing)
[ "about last night ... " ]
Kate wakes early -- too early, judging by the near-darkness of the bedroom.

After a few minutes, when it's annoyingly apparent she won't be drifting back to sleep, she presses a soft kiss to Bill's cheek and murmurs near his ear when he stirs.

Easing out of bed, she pulls on a pair of sweats and tugs on a couple of layers; she wants to keep warm during her jog.

After checking to make sure Boo's still sleeping soundly across the hall, she slips downstairs to make fresh coffee for Beckett and Bill before her morning run.
justdidntseeit: (time here all but means nothing)
[ every alcohol-soaked night has a morning after ]
Kate flicks off the lamp and slips into bed next to Bill, her eyes slowly adjusting to the faint light from the crescent moon filtering through the window.

She can't keep still-frames of the night before from flashing through her mind -- of Bill, of Beckett, of herself, together in a tangle of sweat-slick skin and limbs and lips and tongues and teeth; she's been seeing snapshots all day, a mental slideshow she can't turn off.

Despite how well the morning after went, Kate knows she and Bill need to talk.

But, rolling onto her side to face him, she can't bring herself to say we need to talk.

(For one, it's cliché.)

(For another, she can't.)
justdidntseeit: (saucy shoulder)
[ these stakes have a high alcohol content ]
She's lost count of how much wine they've put away among the three of them.

By the time they call it a night, she's also lost count of how many hands of Texas hold 'em have slipped through their fingers, wallets, and wardrobes.

Kate's laughing as they stagger-stumble upstairs in a tangle of arms and torsos and underwear.

(At this point, she's fairly certain Bill and Beckett are mostly carrying her between them.)

They clear the stairs and her ankle rolls -- how, she's not quite sure -- but she's taking Beckett and Bill with her with a warm tumble, the ceiling's spinning, and she can't stop laughing.

"God, guys, I'm sorry -- sorry -- "

Her fingers brush Bill's stomach, and her free hand grazes Beckett's ribs as she twists to peer at them.

"Everybody okay?"
justdidntseeit: (time here all but means nothing)
With Boo spending the night with a playmate nearby and Demeter away, the remaining grown-ups have the evening and the house to themselves.

Which means, after a long, unhurried dinner and plenty of conversation, Kate, Beckett and Bill find themselves working their way through more than a couple of bottles of wine from Demeter's impressive cellar.

And Bill's shuffling a deck of playing cards.

The stakes have yet to be determined.
justdidntseeit: (so careful when i'm in your arms)
She wakes in a warm tangle of limbs and sheets, her face buried in the hollow of Bill's neck and shoulder.

The room is half-lit in early-morning gray, and she stifles a yawn.

Shifting, her leg moves higher on his thigh; she breathes deep, blinking the blurriness from her vision.

Bill stirs next to her, his arm tightening around her to draw her closer. Her lips press against his neck, and she smiles against his skin.

"Morning," she says, her voice soft and hoarse.
justdidntseeit: (peering)
[ "i think i should talk to demeter." ]
Kate eases open Boo's bedroom door, and she isn't completely surprised to see that Bill has fallen asleep with Boo curled on his chest, her head tucked under his chin. They're both snoring softly, a copy of Where the Wild Things Are rising and falling on Bill's stomach with each slow, even breath.

Smiling to herself, Kate pads across the room on silent feet and lifts the book from Bill's torso. Once it's back on the shelf, she carefully covers Bill and Boo with a spare blanket.

She doesn't want to wake either of them -- Boo played hard earlier, and Bill hasn't been sleeping well for days; the purple smudges under his eyes hurt to see.

She's closing the bedroom door behind her with a barely audible click when a soft knock sounds.

Her heart rate doubles as crosses the suite, but tension drains from her shoulders when she sees who's on the other side of the door.

"Demeter," she says quietly, stepping back and opening the door wider. "Come in."
justdidntseeit: (time here all but means nothing)
[ that house of cards is gonna fall ]
With Boo tucked in bed for the night, Kate's curled on the couch, hardly reading a dog-eared paperback, while Bill works on a jigsaw puzzle at the kitchen table. On the TV screen, the PONG! console plays a silent game against itself.

As she turns another page, Kate absently brings a hand to her face. The swelling's much better than yesterday, but the bruise is ugly, an eggplant splotch marring her cheek just below her eye.

It's quiet in the suite; the knock surprises them both. Kate stiffens, and her eyes flick to Bill. She's trying to reassure herself that it's a friend on the other side of the door, or someone coming by to check on Boo, but her triphammering heart belies the notion.
justdidntseeit: (lost)
[ "you should have stayed out of this." // "something's come up that i gotta take care of." ]
The shower didn't help.

Cheek throbbing, she pulls her green terrycloth towel tighter around herself.

She needs to get dressed, she needs to wake Bill —

(she's sorry, she's so sorry)
justdidntseeit: (i think something's wrong)
[ "i can't see you get hurt again because your heart's bigger than your brain." ]
"Goin' s'where?"

Her stomach twists as she smooths Bill's rumpled hair from his forehead in the gray pre-dawn light.

"Just for a run. Go back to sleep."

He gives her a sleepy half-nod.

"Mmmkay. Careful, s'bunnies."

She nearly chokes on guilt as her lips brush his cheek.

"I will. Back in a little while."

She slips out of the suite and heads down the hall to Bill's empty room.


- - - - -


She finds the gun on the top shelf in his closet.

Jaw tight, she lifts the weapon with steady hands and checks the magazine, then tucks the gun into the waistband of her black running pants at the small of her back.

With its cold weight at the base of her spine, she's hyper-aware of every step, every flex of each muscle and every breath she takes as she locks Bill's door and heads downstairs.

She doesn't know if she'll find Ramon, but she has to try.

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justdidntseeit: (Default)
Kate Warner

May 2012

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