Cara Michaels’ Picture Choice: 1
Title: Miss Me, -Kait
I didn’t close my eyes. I wanted to see it. I had to see it, as much as I felt it.
Adam kissed me like he did everything, with every part of himself committed, and God, I could do it forever. Even as his brain tackled mine. No way could I keep him out. My walls collapsed beneath the rush of emotion and thought.
A kiss is just a kiss…
Until it’s with someone who matters.
Fuck, you taste so good. You matter so damned much.
The onslaught had me wrapping myself around him, holding on for dear life. Holding on for more. Flickers of his life played out in my mind. So open, so—Adam.
Which of us thought it? I only knew for sure it could have come from me. But Adam—Murray, he had to be Murray, because I needed the distance—jerked away. My fingers found my lips, still part of me, even if they felt as though they belonged to him now.
“I’m sorry.” His hoarse words hit as hard as any slap. “I shouldn’t have—”
I didn’t let him finish. Spinning on my heel, I walked. As fast as I could go, as far as I could get.
“I hear you in my head,” he called.
Innocence lost. He’d been inside my head and he’d never see me the same way. Eventually, I’d let him use it as an excuse for apologizing after kissing me.
I turned a corner around the lake park’s public showers and restrooms and ran straight into faces I knew. The small group startled at my approach, jolting apart with guilt and fear in every line of their bodies.
“You’re Kait’s friends,” I said. “Where is she?”
Probably should have used a more sensitive approach, but I felt like an exposed nerve scraped raw and forgot to play nice.
“I’m Detective Murray.”
I felt him at my back, like we still touched. He surrounded me, sheltered me.
“You all know Kait Pierce?” he asked.
Some shuffled feet, some mumbled ‘yes, sirs.’
Murray flashed his badge. “Who wants to chat first?”
The girl I recognized from my first moments with Kait proved the most courageous. Murray took her off and I wandered in the opposite direction, needing space, claiming an empty picnic bench for thinking space.
How could I still feel him, even now?
I turned my head, saw him try to focus on the girl instead of me.
“Is Kait dead?”
A young man approached me with the question and a much needed buffer between me and Murray. He sat down next to me. Blinding noon sun turned the lake into a flow of glittering diamonds. This day—fresh, green, bright—stood out in opposition to the case. To the questions surrounding Kait Pierce.
“At this point?” I cast a glance toward Murray, thirty feet away, cop face engaged. Officially, I doubted the detective would appreciate me talking to the young man, but it didn’t feel right to turn him away. “We’re not entirely certain. Something’s definitely happened to her.”
“Shit,” the boy said. “Some friends we are. We never stood up for her.”
“In what way?”
“Everything happened so damn fast,” he said, ignoring my question. “Is it true what they’re saying about you?”
He nodded. “On the news today. They said the cops are working with a—a psychic.”
“Hm. They don’t usually admit it.”
“You’re the one?”
My focus on the water, I nodded slowly.
“And you’re Chad.”
He sucked in a sharp breath.
“Then—can you—I mean—” From the corner of my eye, his Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed hard. “Maybe if I don’t actually say it.”
“You’re scared of someone? To name someone?”
“Someone who maybe got Kait?” I asked. “Is this person here?”
Chad shook his head hard. Wrapped in the arms of a muggy, hot Florida afternoon, he shivered. I looked directly at him. Late teens, tall and handsome, with the rangy build of a jock. He should still be caught up in the youthful throes of immortality. What kind of person scared a kid like him?
“I should have stood up,” he whispered. “I didn’t know how.”
Did I really want to know?
“You know what happened to Kait, don’t you,” I said.
“I know how it begins,” he said. His fingers drummed off-tempo beats on his thighs. “None of us knows the ending.” Wide, terrified eyes locked on me. “I need to know how it ends.”
Heart heavy, I rested a hand over his. He started and I immediately withdrew.
“Oh,” he said. “Touch, right? That’s how it works?”
“You got it in one.”
Breathing uneven, he turned his hand palm up to mine and this time, I owned the hesitation. We experience so much of the world with our hands, more than any other part of our body. An argument could be made for the desk jockey mating of ass to chair, but our fingers and palms touch damn near everything. The memories there would be much stronger, much more direct.
Maybe he’d even shaken hands with Kait’s boogeyman.
I laid my hand over his, fingers loosely twined, and let him pull me under.
Hey, Kaitie-girl. Who’s the new boyfriend?
He’s not my boyfriend, Chad.
He sure acts like one.
Kait, I thought— He wanted Kait. Loved her. Always from a distance. Until—he thought he’d finally made her see him.
But, no. Another disappointment. Another ache he’d never admit.
Another layer of hope and innocence deflowered, its petals stripped away.
Right. Yeah. Of course. He just had to play it cool. She held his beating heart in her cruel hands, but he could be cool.
Chad— Soft hands gripped the one I held, tried to tell him everything she couldn’t say. Kait’s sorrow flowed through him unnoticed. But her fear? Her hands held on with white-knuckled force.
Kait, what is it?
Cara Michaels is the author of the Gaea’s Chosen sci-fi romance series and host of the #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge.