The Quest, Part 1
Kevin wandered into the kitchen with the cuffs of his splintered jeans dragging on the ground. His feet padded across the wooden floor and up to the coffee pot. He poured a cup for himself.
“We out of sugar?” he asked and rubbed his hand over his damp, dark hair. “Coffee’s ready.”
“What? I don’t use sugar!” Lucy hollered from the living room. She sat on the couch, immersed in a morning entertainment show.
Sure, he thought but didn’t respond. “Eggs?” he asked.
Kevin cracked eggs and dropped sausages into a frying pan and let them sizzle in the heat. The sun filtered in through the windows leaving the space so bright that no overhead light was needed. He pulled at the neck of his sweatshirt to fan himself; it was warm in the kitchen so he opened a couple of the windows to let the cool spring breeze in. As breakfast cooked the toast popped up and he lathered both pieces with butter. After flipping the eggs, he grabbed the plates and divided the food between the two. “It’s ready.”
Lucy jogged into the kitchen and slid across the floor in her red socks, coasting to the counter. She poured a cup of coffee and then, without thinking, reached for the sugar. It lifted lightly which triggered the comments of just moments before. She peaked back to see if Kevin was watching her but his back was to her as he walked towards the door. My two worlds are colliding, she thought and then scolded herself. . .
Kevin carried his eggs and coffee to the back porch outside with Percy, his medium-sized golden mutt, trailing behind. He sat at the green plastic table covered with a yellow vinyl tablecloth and opened the Chicago Tribune wide in front of him. Percy curled up on the wooden deck and dozed off, basking in the sun. He was pooped from a long run with Kevin that morning. Lucy pushed her way through the door, carrying her plate and coffee and plopped them on the table. She pulled one of the sausages off her plate and dropped it on Kevin’s.
“Let’s go out to the barbeque early, around two,” Kevin put the newspaper down, his brown eyes softly looking at her. He then picked up his fork and started eating.
“I have Pilates at two and then I was going to get a mani pedi, sometime after that?” Lucy scooped up some of the scrambled eggs and shoved them into her mouth.
“But Andy and Val have to go early, remember? Don’t you want to see them?” Kevin paused and then added, “Wasn’t running enough this morning? You’re doing pilates, too?”
“I’ll drive out separate if you want to see them that bad,” Lucy wiped her mouth with a napkin. “Yes, I’m doubling up because I missed a day this week.”
“Come on, ditch your plans, let’s go have fun,” Kevin’s eyes popped wide open as he raised his black eyebrows. He turned up the excitement in his voice to try to convince her. They hadn’t been doing much in the fun department except watching movies at home because they were saving for the wedding. It was rare that they both had that Saturday off from their side jobs and Kevin wanted to take advantage of it.
“No,” she sighed as she bounced her hand off her belly as if it were really round. “Too much last night.”
“Good cake, eh?” Kevin winked at her. It was unlike her to want to order dessert but he attributed it to the glasses of wine that had made her a bit tipsy. It was nice to see her indulge because she had been so regimented. Their wedding was planned for fall and she wanted to lose a bazillion pounds, even though he thought she was at a perfect weight.
“Gawd, I’m sorry, see what I mean. It was unbelievable . . .I don’t know where it went.” Lucy lifted her palms up and batted her blue eyes. They had ordered a chocolate flourless cake to share. The waitress had dropped it off just as Kevin got up to go to the restroom. There was one bite left when he got back. He teased her saying that she got the flour part and he got the less part. They were out to a birthday dinner with friends the previous night and Lucy had been so caught up in conversation that she barely tasted the dessert as it went down.
“I told you to order another piece,” she smiled and shook her head.
“And take the chance that you’d eat that, too? No way,” he razzed her. She rolled her eyes. Kevin paused and then asked, “Who was that guy you were talking to?”
“On your way to the bathroom?”
“You know, I told you last night . . . I thought I knew him. He looked familiar.” She gulped as she realized whom she thought he was . . . Drake, a computer-generated hottie. I’ve got to quit it, she told herself as she squirmed in her chair. And eating that dessert and sugar . . . there was only one place that she allowed herself all the indulgences of life.
“You were flirting with him,” Kevin teased her. It was so unlike her. Lucy was usually pretty closed off. Even before Kevin, Lucy’s friends joked that she usually made friends with the corner of a bar. And it wasn’t like she was ugly with her dark hair, bright blue eyes and luscious lips. In fact, Kevin had an immediate attraction to her when he picked her up at a late night burrito place over three years ago.
“I was not!” Lucy giggled uncomfortably and turned red.
“I felt a little jealous,” he smiled. There was no way that Lucy would ever cheat on him. “And he was staring at your ass when you came back to the table.”
“He was not!” She didn’t feel good about her body, especially her butt.
“I wish you’d realize that you have a nice butt,” Kevin raised one eyebrow.
“I wasn’t flirting,” she mumbled and sipped her coffee.
Kevin put his phone down and peaked into the bedroom to announce that he had found a ride to the barbeque. She could meet him out there later. Lucy dug into her closet and flung her clothes from one side to another. She became frustrated at not finding her dress.
“Really?” She turned around. The small roll of her belly hung at the edge of her jog shorts as it peaked out under her tight tank top and pouted at him as she did. Her shoulders rolled down so that the ends of her thick brown hair brushed the base of her neck. Kevin ran his hand over his curly hair and rubbed at some of the stiff hair product.
“Have you seen my red flowered dress?”
“I’m not sure which one you’re talking about,” Kevin stared at her. He had never seen her wear a red flowered dress.
“Now I want to go with you,” she whined.
“No, you go, I have to do pilates. Ugh, and look at my nails,” she held her slender hands out in front of her face.
“I wish you would relax a little. Maybe we should just run off and elope and the stress of trying to be perfect will go away.”
“Yes?!” Her face lit up as she jumped up and down. “Please, oh, please! Then I’ll go to the barbeque early. And I get to quit my catering job!” Lucy never was one of those girls who dreamed of her wedding day and she had been working her butt off for it. In fact, she was fine with just living with Kevin. They were in a committed relationship and she saw no real reason to get married. But it was important to him and she didn’t want anyone else.
“Hmmmm,” he grumbled. There was no way his mother would allow him to elope. She had dished out tons of money for her friend’s kid’s weddings and wanted her kid to be lavished upon. “I don’t think so,” he whispered and shook his head.
“It’s our day . . . I’m sick of trying to please everyone when really it’s our day,” Lucy crossed her arms over her chest. “You know what? I refuse to attend this wedding.” She stomped her barefoot on the ground.
Kevin’s phone rang. He looked at the caller ID and put a finger up to indicate one second. He turned and walked into the living room. “You’re downstairs? Okay, I’ll be right down.” He dropped his phone into his pocket and went back into the room. “Can we talk about this later?”
“What’s there to talk about? I’m not going to be at the ceremony,” she put her hands on her hips. “I’ll watch the video of it.” He didn’t know what had gotten into her. Lucy’s low-key demeanor had vanished and this sassy teenager had shown up. He stepped closer to her to give her a quick kiss good-bye on the lips, but as he leaned in she turned her face. He wanted to reach out and shake her shoulders but instead shook his head and turned to go.
He turned around and narrowed his eyes, “Are you sure you don’t want to talk now? I’ll tell Beth to go on without me.”
“There’s nothing to talk about,” she smiled tightly at him. As far as Lucy was concerned, she had made her decision.
“I thought you wanted to have a wedding,” he lifted and dropped his shoulders.
“I’m sorry,” she replied and sat at the edge of the bed. “I want a small wedding, with you, our close friends and family . . . not a big church wedding with the stupid alligator dance at the reception.” Her voice quivered as she held her face in her hands.
“Everything’s in motion, all the money we’ve already spent,” he moaned.
“You better go, she’s waiting for you,” Lucy took a deep breath, still staring at the floor.
“We’ll make it work . . . we’ll talk about this later, okay, babe?” Kevin pulled her up into his arms and hugged her. Lucy held on to him tight, trying to pull the gap between them back together.
After she heard the front door shut, Lucy called Anne. She cried into the phone, telling her the whole story. It had nothing to do with the love she had for Kevin but for the fact that she didn’t want to get married in front of a few hundred strangers. Lucy was certain that something bad would happen at the ceremony. She had fainted at her sister’s wedding. Bam! One Maid of Honor on the floor and everyone had freaked out. The ambulance came whizzing in. It was completely humiliating.
Lucy wanted to escape from her anxiety through shopping and it wasn’t hard to convince Anne. She was always game.
To be continued . . .