Chapter 20: Seattle Calling

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Pike Place Market, Seattle (Photo credit: jsmags)

Moving, keep on moving

Where I feel I’m home again

And when it’s over

I’ll see you again

-Moving – Supergrass

Making love to Kate is like a balm to my soul. She is all fire, hot, unpredictable, scorching and dangerous. Then she is water, smooth, calm, cool and flowing carrying me along with her tide. She makes me feel playful, a risk taker, challenging all her expectations and mine. I want to make her laugh. I want to make her want me.

There has never been a shortage of women in my life and I have seen enough of life to be a cynic about love but somehow she makes me want to believe. Believe that I can have something close to what my parents have. That I am good enough for her to rely on and stay beside. That I am capable of being faithful to her cos since I met her the thought of being with anyone else just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

When I wake early in the morning she is draped across my body like a warm soft blanket. Her hair is a tousled mess and I brush it out of her face tracing a lazy pathway across her skin. Stretching along my body I can tell she is resisting opening her eyes but when she does she is smiling at me with a sleepy gaze. Her jade green eyes shine through and touch mine making me smile.

“Hey beautiful.” Part of me has always felt that ‘beautiful’ is an empty word I could just throw about but somehow it doesn’t sound so empty when I describe her. In fact, it really doesn’t do her justice and there aren’t enough ways to describe how gorgeous this creature is snuggled into my side. She takes my breath away.

“Hey. What time is it?” Stifling a sleepy yawn she looks around for the bedside clock. I reach over and grab my watch off the nightstand to take a look.

“Five.” I say, placing it back down. She groans, rolling away from me and covering her eyes.

“Too early.” Kate’s a night owl and long nights of lazy love making she can cope with but she doesn’t seem to do mornings very well. I figure she’ll need at least another hour or so of sleep so I roll her over on her side tucking my arm around her, our bodies spooning.

“Go back to sleep, I’ll wake you in an hour.” I murmur kissing her hair and in seconds she is napping again.

I, on the other hand, am a morning person so by the time she wakes again I have already been up, showered and gone out for breakfast.

“Hey sleepyhead.” I wave the takeout coffee under her nose to tempt her awake. She rolls on to her back with her arm across her eyes. A pert pair of pouty lips is all I can see and I resist the urge to kiss them.

“Go away. It’s too early.” Her voice is a husky groan that sounds so sexy. That voice alone could entice me back to bed but we have work to do. Placing the food on the bedside table to free up my hands I reach around her waist, hauling her into a sitting position. I ignore her little unhappy squeal as I prop the spare pillows up behind her. I grab a cup and hold it out to her.

“You don’t have to look so damn hot in the morning, Grey! Not when I probably look like shit!” Oh Katie, if you could see yourself through my eyes.

“Come on sleeping beauty. Time to wake up and smell the coffee.” She gives me an eat-shit-and-die look then with a grumpy harrumph snatches the cup from my hand. Apart from being mad that she won’t take a compliment from me, her mood doesn’t phase me. I’ve lived with Mia Trevelyan-Grey for most of her life, Kate is a breeze compared to my baby sister. “We need to get going. The truck is going to be here in fifteen minutes and I don’t think I want any of my guys trying to load this bed with you still naked in it.”

She gives a yelp and kicks the blankets off her legs. “Shit, Elliot, why didn’t you warn me you had organized a moving crew!” Pushing her back down I cover her up again. Breathe Kate.

“Calm down. They can load all of the stuff that’s ready in the lounge while you are in the shower. They will probably be on the road before you are even out. I can load all of your clothes and personal bathroom stuff into my truck and we can make a leisurely convoy to Seattle.”

“What about Ana?” She asks, blowing on her hot coffee.

“She is already up and dressed. We have moved her boxes out of her room already so she is mostly ready to go. I will get her on the road so she can meet the truck at the apartment and let them in.” She frowns at me. Now what?.

“You know, that’s my job.” Now I’m frowning. What the hell is she talking about? She peers at me from under her eyelashes. “I am the one who organizes everything… Bosses everyone about. I don’t do dominant men, Grey, its not my style.”

Shit, I’ll take that challenge. My alpha male kicks in as I take her cup out of her hand and put it down on the table. Then I push her down on the bed and climbs over her pinning her arms beneath my hands. Leaning in for a long lingering kiss I slowly pull away to look at her but without releasing her hands. She’s locked down I remind her with my body that I have all the control here.

“Get up Miss Kavanagh, before I truss you like a hog and throw you in the tray of my ute.” I whisper in her ear. Then I haul her to her feet, turn her around and swat her hard on her behind. She moves away with a yelp. “Now!” I yell, and she runs giggling to the bathroom.

Three hours later I am installing the entertainment center I have bought Kate and Ana as a housewarming present in their new living room with Kate sitting on the floor at my feet sorting CD s and DVDs into a shelving unit. I pick up the drill and begin fixing a bracket to the wall for the TV. Looking down at her I frown.

“Baby, you might want to find something to cover that stuff up and move out of the way.” I keep measuring up to find the right location. There is a pause where she doesn’t move and I raise an eyebrow. Suddenly she looks up at me like a reprimanded school girl and immediately gets up to do what I ask. Compliant Kate is an interesting concept, kinda hot really. But she can’t help her true nature kicking in.

“Do you even know what you’re doing with that thing?” She calls over her shoulder with a sultry teasing look. Not completely compliant, huh? Then she turns and starts walking backwards, taunting me by poking out her tongue. So fucking, cute, Miss K. “I mean, it looks awfully complicated and how can I trust you not to damage my walls.” She winks at me picking up a sheet to throw over the shelf. Very, cute.

I turn back to the wall to measure and mark. “Woman, this is what I do. I don’t expect your puny mind to be able to take in the finer points of masonry and loads but I think you can trust me to have this covered.” I smirk back at her. “Now let me do my work.” She gets too close and I take the opportunity to swat her for the second time today. Damn, I want to take her over my knee right now and I feel some empathy towards my brother for a moment. Cheeky women.

Within twenty minutes the TV is installed and I have it all hooked up and working.

“See baby, easy.” I grin at them as she falls back on the couch with Ana. Damn, is that the time. I start to pack up my gear. “I’d love to stay baby but my sister is back from Paris. It’s a compulsory family dinner tonight.” And I really don’t want to leave but I have to go.

“Can you come by after?” She looks shy. I know how she hates coming across as needy but it makes me feel warm inside. When she does that I know that I am slowly breaking down her defensive wall.

“I’ll see if I can escape,” Knowing that I will be back as soon as my family allows me to leave. She smiles and offers to walk me out.

“Laters, Ana.” I give her a wink as I follow Kate out of the room. As a big brother, I feel it is my duty to tease Ana a bit about Christian but she is tense. Christian has her walking on eggshells and I can’t help but feel guilty that Kate and I have it so easy. Of course, she still hasn’t said the ‘L’ word to me but I think she is getting closer and closer every second. Ana told Kate about meeting Mom at Christian’s apartment and how awkward that was. She doesn’t seem to know where she stands in the relationship which I understand. What sort of relationship starts with NDA’s, due diligence research and behavior contracts? I sense that she wants something more from him than this ‘agreement’ he is so keen to offer but he isn’t budging. Yet. I think that he will and I just hope that he does by the time we get back from Barbados. Given the depth of emotion I have caught a glimpse of in the past week I can’t help but feel he just needs time.

Kate on the other hand wants to give them a push. I don’t really agree with her tactics but I have an idea, “Katie, do you and Ana have plans tonight?” She turns to me as we emerge out of the building into a cool but sunny day.

“Just takeout and wine I would imagine. Why?” She lifts her hand up to shade her pretty green eyes from the sun as she looks up at me.

“Nothing yet, but I’ll give you a call in an hour or so.” I can see the question in her eyes but I shut her down by leaning down for a kiss. I can’t help but wrap her up in my arms as she moves in close to me. Her arms slip around my waist and her tongue slips in my mouth. People are looking at us as we make out on the sidewalk and quite frankly I don’t give a damn. An elderly lady walks past us and pauses turning around to stare at us in disgust. I drop her into another one of my patented Hollywood dips, kissing her passionately before lifting my head and looking at the woman.

“Enjoying the show?” I smile at her. She harrumphs but I see a twinkle in her eye as she shuffles off muttering something about getting a room. Kate giggles into my shoulder as I rights her.

“I gotta go. Laters baby.” Pecking her once more on the lips before moving off. I listen for the words that never come and a little piece of my heart shrivels. Burned again by the silence.

“Hey, baby girl, how was your flight?” I am standing at the door of my sister’s bedroom leaning on the door frame. She shrieks and runs towards me throwing herself into my arms. I laugh and give her a big bear hug. She is still all legs and arms but in the three years since she has been in Paris she has become all woman. I worry for the male population of Seattle now that Miss Mia is back state-side.

“Elliot, so great to see you.” She steps back a little to look at me with her huge brown eyes and full-lipped smile. “You look wonderful. Different. What’s going on?” There is no hiding anything from Mia. She may not ever have a good handle on her own love life but she can be very perceptive about other people and right now it seems that she has honed in on my happiness. How much to say?

“I need to ask you a favor.” She is eyeing me with suspicion from under a thick black fringe and takes her time to respond. I am trying to be still under her gaze. Don’t give to much away.

“Okay, Lelliot. Shoot.” She says finally. Where to begin. If I say too much then Christian is likely to hear her shriek all the way from Bellevue to Escala. But quite frankly, he needs her help and so do I. Here goes.

“Look Coco, I know this is your first night back and you probably were looking forward to a quiet family dinner but … I need you to convince Mom to invite Christian’s new girlfriend.” Luckily the G word has trumped her distaste of her hated nick name, the one that Christian and I gave her the minute she got her scholarship to Lenotre in Paris. Her eyes widen with shock.

“I knew it.” she exclaims smacking me on the chest. “I knew he was keeping something from me. Damn. Christian really has a girlfriend?” She has backed away and sits down on the edge of her bed in shock. I move into her room closing the door behind me and sit down beside her.

“Yeah, only I am not sure that he knows that is what he has.” She gives me a confused look. “I think he needs a little push.” Her head tilts to the side as she considers this and then she nods.

“I see. So you think bringing her dinner tonight, and introducing her to Mom and Dad will force him to admit it.”

“Well, technically she has already met Mom but yeah, that is the general idea.” Her mouth drops open.

“Mom knows and she didn’t tell me?” She stares at me in disbelief. Oh boy, I don’t know if Mom or Christian is in more trouble. One thing my sister doesn’t do is secrets. She is hopeless at keeping them and hellishly good at getting them out of people.

“I wouldn’t take it personally. I think Mom doesn’t want to jinx it. Which is why we need to get her to invite Ana tonight. But I wanted to check with you first. It is your night after all.”

“Oh, Elliot, of course. Let’s go talk to her.” She hustles me straight out of the room and we head downstairs to find our mother who is arranging flowers in the kitchen. She looks up as we enter, Mia dragging me behind her with an excited giggle.

“Mom, we have a request for dinner.” Giving our mother her best Mia smile she leans over the kitchen bench to look up at her as she nonchalantly steals a grape off the platter Mom is preparing. “Can you call Christian and invite Ana, is that her name Elliot?” I nod, ” yes, invite Ana to dinner tonight for my welcome home. Please.”

Mom stares at her with her mouth open then glares at me. “Elliot, what is going on? Why are you two plotting against your brother?” I can tell that she is angry and worried. Worried that any interference from the family will cause Christian to drive Ana away. This is why I have to throw myself on the sword, for Christian, for Ana and I guess in some ways for me and Kate.

“Mom, hear me out.” I take a deep breath, here goes. “I’ve met someone. Someone I really care about. In fact, I am going away with her and family for a holiday next week.” Now both Mia and Mom are looking at me as if I have grown horns. Shit. “Her name is Kate and I met her through Christian. She is Ana’s flatmate. Which is why I need you to invite Ana tonight, Mom. Kate and I are going away on Tuesday and I want you to meet her before we go. I just know that she will feel better if Ana is here, after all Ana and Christian met first. Kate just thinks its weird that she would meet you guys before Ana does.”

I look from one to the other while they take this in. Only some of it is stretching the truth. I do want Kate to meet my family, especially if we are going away together. The problem is that now they both know exactly how important she is to me. My one claim to fame in this family is that no girlfriend has crossed the threshold of my parents house since I dated Lisa Maxwell back in high school. Inviting Kate tonight is a big deal. I just hope that she doesn’t want to lynch by the time she has had the Mia treatment this evening.

“Oh. My. God. Elliot,” Mia shrieks, “you didn’t mention a Kate. I thought this was about Christian. When…how did you meet her? What does she do? How serious is this? When were you going to tell me? No wait. I knew there was something up with you. Damn you’re good. Throwing me off the scent like that.”

She has hardly stopped to take a breath through that whole rant and I just laugh at her. That is my baby sister. Sharp, beautiful, stylish and a megawatt bundle of energy in stilettos and tight skirts. I can just imagine all of that in French, she must have driven the boys of Paris mad.

“As I said, Kate is Ana’s flatmate. She was meant to interview Christian for the college paper which she edited up until graduation last week. Only she got sick and sent Ana which is how Christian met her first. Christian roped me in to help him get some time alone with Ana by looking after Kate and well…” They are fairly salivating with hunger for more details. Damn rabid women. I take a deep breath and continue. “Kate has a degree in literature and professional writing, she is starting her internship at Kavanagh Media when she returns from Barbados. She is smart, funny, beautiful and well…I really like her. A lot.”

I pause to let them take all of this in. Mia is leaning on her hands gazing up at me with a big cheesy grin. “Mom, I think your boy is in-lurve.” She gives me a wink and heaven help me I think I might even be blushing.

“Mia don’t tease your brother.” Mom walks around the bench towards me and wraps her arms around me. “I can’t believe this. Both my boys.” There is a hint of a tear in her eyes. “I can’t tell you how happy I am for you darling.” I hug her back giving Mia a glare over her shoulder.

“Thanks Mom.” I say. “Now, how about that call to Christian.”

Next thing Mom has Christian on the phone and has issued her invitation. We are all holding our collective breaths waiting for him to say yes. Once he does I take out my phone and speed dial Kate.

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