Gabe rolled over with a groan and stretched his arm out across the bed only to find it empty. The spot where Katie had been lying was still warm, however. He blinked his eyes open, squinting in the light shining in the windows. “Kate?” He croaked, looking around the room. He heard footsteps thumping down the hall and her head poked in the door with a toothbrush sticking out of her mouth.
“Did I wake you up?”
“No…” he rubbed his eyes. “Where are you going?”
“I’m meeting my mom for lunch. I’m going to tell her about us.” She smiled.
“Do you want me to come with you?” He sat up.
“Not this time. I think I should ease them into it slowly, my sister doesn’t like you very much.”
“Well, she’s going to have to get over that, won’t she?” He kissed her cheek as he headed into the kitchen.
“Should I wear the sweater, the vest, or layer both?” She asked, holding two hangers up when he returned with two cups of coffee.
“I’d say both, it’s pretty cold out.”
“Thanks.” She grinned, taking the cup. “What are you doing today?”
“We’re meeting at the rehearsal studio to do some last minute adjustments for the tour. I’ll be back this afternoon.” She nodded, bringing her coffee cup to her lips. She paused, crossing her eyes to peer in the cup.
“Did you put a marshmallow in this? That’s just mean.”
“Who’s afraid of marshmallows?” Gabe laughed.
“I never should have told you that.” She picked it out and flicked it at his head. “I’ve got to go anyway, I’m already late.”
“Bring an umbrella, it looks like it’s going to rain.” He craned his neck to look out the window at the dark, ominous clouds.
Gabe stepped into the apartment shaking water out of his hair. Katie ran down the hallway and pounced on him. “You have to save me!”
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“They’re here!” She hissed.
“Who? What’s going on?” He panicked.
“In the living room. It’s horrible.” Gabe rushed past her, expecting the worst. He turned the corner to see Katie’s mother and sister sitting on the couch surrounded by magazines, binders and fabric swatches. “I don’t know where it all came from. I think they’ve been stocking up since we were in elementary school.” Katie whispered, sneaking up behind him. Katie’s mom glanced up when she heard voices.
“Oh, Gabriel. Just the person I wanted to see. Please, sit.” She smiled politely.
“Hello Mrs. Hawk, Dylan. What’s going on here?” He gestured at their supplies as he followed Katie to sit in the chairs opposite the couch. Mrs. Hawk held up her hand.
“No daughter of mine gets married in some seedy chapel in Las Vegas. We’re planning a proper society wedding. I think June at The Plaza.” She nodded to herself. “Or an English castle at Christmas, we can light the room with candles. Write that down.” She waved at Dylan who was scribbling in a notebook. Dylan looked up, squinting at Gabe.
“He’s definitely too dark for black.” Gabe gave her a confused look.
“You’re right. With your coloration, you should definitely wear a white tie. Or if we go with the charcoal suit, he could wear a nice navy or maroon. Make a note of that.” Gabe glanced over at Katie, slouched in her chair, staring at the wall above her mother’s head. She looked over, smirking.
“Want a sip?” She held out her can of Diet Coke. He took a sip, almost choking on contents. The soda was watered down with a large amount of some mysterious alcohol. No wonder she was so mellow about all of this.
“Now Katie, dear, about your dress. Were you planning on doing anything with your hair color?” Mrs. Hawk looked at her pointedly. “Your sister’s looks lovely, if you wanted to go with something like that.”
“No.” She sighed flatly. Gabe looked between the two twins. Katie’s hair was straight platinum blonde, while Dylan’s had at least 5 different shades of highlights running through it. It did make her look a little pale, but he always liked Katie’s hair better.
“Well then white will probably just wash you out, completely.” Mrs. Hawk shook her head. Dylan flipped through pages of a book of fabric samples.
“You could pull off the eggshell. Or ivory. Maybe cream, but only if you go tanning.” She held up the different shades.
“There’s an entire book of white?” Katie scowled at them.
“It’s a very complicated color.”
“It’s white.” She rolled her eyes. “You guys can do whatever you want, just tell me when and where to show up. Just let me take care of the dresses and tuxes. It’s what I do.”
“That’s fair enough.” Mrs. Hawk nodded. “We should be heading home.” She began gathering up their books.
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay in the city tonight? It’s raining really hard out there. It looks slippery.” Katie glanced out the window at the sheets of water blowing sideways.
“No, your father is having some business associates over for dinner. We wouldn’t want to be late.”
“At least wait until it lets up a bit.” Gabe suggested.
“We’ll be fine. The driver used to be a Marine. He can handle anything. Besides, you’re still in the honeymoon phase of your relationship. We don’t want to be in the way.” She grinned, knowingly.
“Eew. You did NOT just say that.” Katie scrunched her nose.
“I get to approve my maid of honor dress.” Dylan scowled before following her mother out. Katie shut the door behind them with a sigh of relief.
“Who even said she was my maid of honor?” Katie spat, stomping into the kitchen and tossing her half full soda in the sink.
“She’s your sister.” Gabe wrapped his arms around her from behind. “How many of those have you had?” He raised his eyebrows at the stack of empty cans on the counter.
“One was Dee’s and three were just regular. It wasn’t until about an hour ago that I figured this would all be a lot less painful if I started drinking. I’m sorry.”
“All of this. I told them and they freaked out. My mom pulled about 10 years of bridal magazines out of the closet. Then they just started giggling and talking about floral arrangements.”
“But how did it end up here?” He kissed the back of her neck.
“Dee said it was a good idea, because any place we called would have my number instead of theirs. And they wanted to check what size shoes you wore. I don’t know why.”
“They’re having fun. At least they approve. It’s a lot better than the other reaction they could have.” He shrugged.
“Chasing me through town with flaming pitchforks?”
“I wouldn’t let them do that.” She chuckled. “They both wear so much hairspray that they’d probably set themselves on fire.” Her face fell into a frown. “They didn’t even mention the fact that I was kidnapped. Not a single ‘how are you handling everything?’ or ‘I’m glad you’re not dead.’”
“That’s just how they are. They’ll never change.” He shook his head. “I like your hair much better than your sister’s.” He buried his face in her hair, her shampoo smelled like gummy bears.
Gabe was jolted awake by a scream in the middle of the night. He flew out of bed and dashed into Katie’s room to find her thrashing around in her bed, a sheen of sweat coating her skin. He kneeled beside her bed, gently shaking her. “Katie. Baby, wake up. It’s just a dream.” Her eyes snapped open and she stared at him silently for a moment, her breath heavy and ragged. Without saying a word, she rolled over and closed her eyes, curling herself up into a little ball. Gabe slipped into the empty side of the bed and wrapped his arm protectively around her shoulder.
Gabe was sitting at the kitchen counter making a checklist of everything he had to pack for the tour when Katie shuffled in with her hair sticking out in every direction. “Hey, you just wake up?” He smiled at her, glancing at the clock. It was almost noon; she never let herself stay in bed this late. She always said it was a waste of a perfectly good day.
“You could say that.” She shrugged, looking up through her hair. The dark circles under her eyes were becoming more prominent every day and weren’t helped at all by the bruises that had turned purple and were just starting to fade. She hadn’t slept more than an hour or two a night since she’d been rescued. In the hospital, her doctor had prescribed Ambien, but it hadn’t done much good. Gabe watched her movements as she gingerly made her way around the kitchen looking for something to eat. He could tell she was in pain and was having difficulty doing even the simplest things, but she was too stubborn to admit it. And god forbid he try to help her. She came around the counter and took a seat next to him, taking a bite of her food.
“I want you to come on tour with us. There’s plenty of room on the bus.” He blurted, bracing himself for her protests. She stared straight ahead for a brief moment before pulling the spoon from her mouth.
“Ok.” She nodded, taking another bite.
“Really?” he raised his eyebrows as she nodded. “Are you eating ice cream for breakfast?” She just shrugged and kept on eating.