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A fine state of affairs, part 11 by Marieke Vink

Kim grabbed the steering wheel. She had definitely interrupted something back in the doctors' lounge. Now why did that upset her so much? The little scene in the lounge had at least showed her something was happening between these two. As she had encouraged both of them to try. Yet when she walked in and saw them standing close together, she suddenly wasn't so sure anymore she wanted Kerry to be with Abby. Or with anyone else for that matter. All she could think of was to get out of there and break the tension between the two women. She would have dragged Kerry out of the lounge but she had managed to remain polite enough to enquire about Maggie. Not that she had cared much for the answer. She looked at Kerry again.

--She looks tense. That is the third time in 5 minutes she has checked her watch. It's not like we have not been in a car together since we broke up. I thought we were past this long ago.--

Kerry fumbled with the radio. The Dixie Chicks. She gave Kim that CD for Thanksgiving last year.

Not a night goes by
I don't dream of wandering
Through the home that might have been
And I listened to my pride
When my heart cried out for you
Now every day I wake again
In a house that might have been
A home

Four walls, a roof, a door, some windows
Just a place to run when my working day is through
They say home is where the heart is
If the exception proves the rule I guess that's true

The silence between them was palpable and making her nervous. Finally she took a deep breath.

"Kim, I lied to you. I am not going to bed when I get home. Abby and I are going out for dinner. I didn't want to tell you because..........well, I don't know why really........I was going to tell you afterwards I swear.......but when you woke me up earlier and I saw the look on your face.....I remember that used to look at me like that when we...........I didn't think you wanted to know about it. I didn't want to hurt you."

"You didn't want to hurt me?"

Kim didn't look at Kerry but her hands tightened on the steering wheel, something that didn't go unnoticed by Kerry.

"You didn't want to hurt me so you lied? Why Kerry? If I recall correctly, I am the one who told you to get your head out of your arse and go for her."

The hard look on her face unnerved Kerry.

"I know, I's just.... I am not sure why you are so determined to get me and Abby together. Is it because you want us to be together? Or do you want at least one of us to move on so that the chance of something happening between you and me is really definitely over?"

There, she had said it. She had dropped the bomb and all she could do now was sit and wait for it to go off.

But it didn't. Not like Kerry expected. Kim didn't speak. She stared at the road ahead. Then, after a few minutes she leaned forward and changed the song on the CD player. She turned her head and looked Kerry straight in the eyes.

I Can't Find A Reason To Let Go
Even Though You've Found A New Love
And She's What Your Dreams Are Made Of
I Can Find A Reason To Hang On
What Went Wrong Can Be Forgiven
Without You, It Ain't Worth Livin' Alone

Sometimes I Wake Up Crying At Night
And Sometimes I Scream Out Your Name
What Right Does She Have To Take You Away
When For So Long, You Were Mine
Kerry let out a breath she didn't realise she was holding. Her body had gone limp with shock. Kim pulled up Kerry's driveway without a word. She switched the engine off and leaned back in to the seat. Her hands fell in to her lap. Her eyes brimming with tears that refused to break.

"I thought it was over Kerry. I really did. Our friendship is worth everything to me. I was so proud of us, that we could pull it off...........being friends after everything that has happened. I really thought I wanted you to go out and find someone new. I wasn't lying about that. And I really believe you and Abby would be wonderful together. But as long as you two were avoiding it and scaring away from it, it was safe. And I didn't see that I was caught up in it. I thought I could just go and bring you two together and be happy for you."

Kerry was still unable to speak. She looked at Kim. The pain on the face of her ex-lover made her chest tighten with sorrow. She looked at the clock...........15 minutes before.............She couldn't leave Kim like this.

"Kim........I don't know what to say. Do you want to come in and talk about this?"

"I am not sure that is a wise thing right now Kerry. This is MY problem, not yours. I shouldn't have told you. But then again, I suppose I somehow wanted to or I wouldn't have put that song on. I did consider yelling at you for a second and telling you you were talking crap.................but I couldn't. I hate how you see right through me. For someone who talks about people's troubles all day, I really suck at talking about my own. You should go and get ready for your dinner with Abby. I will be OK, really. I will have to deal with this and I will. Now go and enjoy your evening...........please."

Kim's voice had faded to a mere whisper. Kerry knew a lie when she heard one. She grabbed her cell phone.

"Abby, Kerry here. Where are you? Oh OK, so you are not actually on the train yet? Look, would it be a terrible hassle if we push dinner up a little further? Something unexpected has come up and I have to deal with it. Why don't you come to my place at about 8:30? I will make us dinner if you like. I am really sorry. OK, see you later. And sorry again."

8:30 gave her an hour and a half. She turned to Kim, her voice a lot firmer now that she was in charge of the situation.

"Come on sweetie, get out of the car. It is freezing here and I could do with a nice brandy to warm me up."

With that, Kerry opened the door and got out of the car.

Kim took a few moments to make up her mind. Not sure if this was what she wanted to happen. She wiped the tears of her cheeks, took the keys out of the ignition and opened the door.

Kerry had already opened the front door and was waiting for Kim to follow her in. Kim paused a second before she entered the house. Even though they had remained friends, they spent most of their time outside the house. They usually met in restaurants, bars, cinema's and art galleries. Last time she had been at Kerry's place was to return a box full of stuff that Kerry had left at her apartment after they broke up. But things were different now, Kim tried to tell herself. -- Yeah, now we are friends and there is no need to feel strange about being in Kerry's house, even though you have just told her you are so not over her yet.--

She stepped inside the hallway and was immidiately struck by the changes she saw. When she was last in this place, it was a house, nothing more, nothing less. Nothing on the wall, everything meticulously in place, nothing outrageous. Now there were photographs everywhere, books scattered around on the floor, flowers on the table and even some dishes in the sink.

"Oh my Kerry, what happened to your place?"

"Remember when you told me to back to my life, after Romano fired you? Well, I did. I went back to my life the way it was before we met. But I could no longer recognise myself in that life. I had never felt the need for a home, a house was just fine. But after......well, after you.......after us, I felt such a massive black hole every time I entered this place..........everything reminded me of you, where you had been, where you had slept, the chairs you sat on.........instead of this place being a kind of refuge, it just made it worse. So I decided to reclaim it as MY house again. I guess all I did was loosen up a little. If there is one thing I learned from you, it is that the world doesn't fall apart if you leave a few coffee mugs on the kitchen bench for a day."

Kerry's smile made Kim's heart jump. Of course she had seen Kerry smile in the past year. But this time it felt like a lighted match had been tossed into her soul.

Kerry handed Kim her brandy. The silence was suddenly thick, the tension palpable. Kim moved closer to Kerry. Her eyes turned from blue to black. Kerry moved back a little and leaned against the table. Kim put her hand on Kerry's arm and took another step towards the redhead.

Kerry felt the panic rise from deep below. What the hell was going on here? This was not supposed to happen. She was going to have dinner with Abby, whom, to the best of her knowledge, she had a crush on. And now Kim was touching her, staring at her, moving closer still. This was over, they were friends.

"Kim....I don't think this is a good idea...........I........."

Kim leaned forward and put her glass on the table behind Kerry. No matter how confused Kerry was, she did not move away as Kim leaned in closer. Kim cupped the small face in her hands and stared hard at Kerry.


A look of fear across Kim's face.

"Please Kerry, don't make me ask..........."

She slowly leaned in to Kerry's face and brushed her lips against her forehead. When Kerry didn't pull away, she lifted Kerry's chin up and kissed her eyelids.

"Kim....we shouldn't be doing this......."

Kerry struggled to get the words out.

"Then tell me to stop. Just say the word and I will stop."

Kim's lips traced the outline of Kerry's jaw, leaving a trace with her tongue.

Kerry sighed in response and then, in total surrender, put her glass down on the table behind her, put her arms around the blonde's body and leaned in for the kiss. And as Kim's tongue came crashing in, time....stood.....still.

A fine state of affairs, part 12