‘So.. when are we going on a date?’ Thom asks me while I put on my bra.
‘You know my rules – no dates, no gifts, no pet names. Or anything romantic. We are just two colleagues who use each other’s bodies to get some relief’ I answer.
‘And that has been fun, but I’d really like to take you out. To see if this can go anywhere’ he says, sounding a little to hopeful for my liking.
‘Thom! I told you from the beginning that this would be something casual, nothing more. Don’t ask me to do something I don’t want to do’ I say annoyed.
‘So you don’t even want to grab a cup of coffee somewhere? Is the thought of going on a date with me so repulsive to you?’ he says upset.
‘It’s not you. You’re funny, smart and kind and I’m sure you’ll make someone else incredibly happy, just not me. I just don’t want to date. Anyone. Period’
‘I like being on my own’ I answer quietly. It’s only half of the truth, but he doesn’t need to know the other half.
‘Then we probably should stop with.. this’ he says and he points to me and then to himself.
‘Why?’ I ask and I whine a little. ‘You’re not seeing anyone and the sex is good’
‘Yes, the sex is great, but I want more than just to be a booty call’
I sigh. ‘I understand, but you know you can go on dates with other women and still have casual sex with me sometimes’
‘Come on, this is like the dream of every man. Only sex, no strings’ I say smiling a little, trying to persuade him. I love having sex and I’m not ready to give Thom up as my booty call just yet. Not as long as he’s single and still wants to have these rendezvous together. ‘Don’t you like having sex?’
‘Of course I do, but-‘ he says, before I cut him off.
‘Then let’s keep having sex, until we don’t want to anymore. I know you still want to, otherwise you wouldn’t have made those noises just a couple of minutes ago’ I say smiling.
Thom blushes. ‘True..’ he reluctantly admits.
I check my phone. It’s almost 3pm. ‘I have to go meet a friend. I’ll see you at work Monday, okay?’
‘Sure. Nice weekend’ Thom says, still looking a little upset, before I close his bedroom door behind me and take my leave.
‘Hey, Kitty Kat’ Finnick, my closest friend in this whole wide world, greets me at the entrance of Stars and Bucks, a cheap knock-off coffee place. He knows I hate the nickname, but after he’s been using it for 18 years, it has become a nasty habit. It doesn’t annoy me like it used to.
‘Do you even know my actual name?’ I joke, while I give him a hug.
‘I’m not sure if the world would keep spinning if I’d use Katniss instead of Kitty Kat and I don’t want to take that chance’ he jokes. ‘I have to think about the safety of my family after all’
‘Yes, how is Annie? How’s Adam doing?’ Adam is his and his wife Annie's son. We walk into Stars and Bucks to order a coffee and a donut like we do every Saturday.
Finnick sighs. ‘He really is in his terrible twos.. He cries and screams a lot when he’s not getting his way and when he gets angry he acts out. The other day he found the butter on the countertop and he covered everything he could reach with the butter. It was such a mess..’
It’s our turn to order. Finnick knows my order by heart (a latte and a donut with sprinkles), so he orders for the two of us and then he pays.
‘No, I’m paying!’ I say annoyed. He pays way to often in my opinion.
‘Too late’ he says grinning and he gives the barista the money.
‘You pay way to often’ I complain when we walk to a table so we can finish our conversation sitting in peace.
‘Kitty Kat, it’s 6 bucks. It’s not killing me to pay for it and it’s not killing you to accept this coffee from your best friend’
‘Fine’ I reluctantly say. I hate it when people pay for my things. It makes me feel like I owe them, even though I know it’s ridiculous to feel this way when my best friend gets me a coffee. ‘What are you guys going to do for dinner tonight?’
‘I don’t know. Why?’ Finnick asks.
‘Want to do a pizza night? I’ll pay’
‘As a thank you for the coffee?’ Finnick smiles and shakes his head. ‘You don’t-‘
‘And the donut’ I cut him off. ‘And not just as a thank you, but also because I want to have pizza tonight and it’s more fun to eat it with my best friends and my favourite two year old’
‘I’ll text Annie’ Finnick says and he starts typing.
‘Speaking of my favourite two year old, where were you when Adam was covering everything in butter?’ I ask.
‘She was in the bathroom’ Finnick laughingly says. I laugh too.
‘Poor Annie.. How’s she?’
‘She’s doing okay, but she really misses her job as a flight attendant and Adam can drive her nuts sometimes’
I’d go nuts too if I was her…
‘Give her some flowers when you get home. That’ll cheer her up’ I advise.
Finnick nods. ‘Good idea, Kitty Kat’ Finnick says.
I roll my eyes at him for using the nickname, what makes him laugh.
‘Katniss!’ Annie yells when I walk through the door. She squeezes me in a tight hug.
‘Hey Annie, thank you for having me over’ I say. ‘The pizza will be here any minute, I already ordered’
‘Good, I’m starving’ It’s already eight o’clock, because Annie and Finnick wanted to eat a little later, so we could have a grown-ups only dinner.
‘Wine?’ Annie asks.
‘Yes, please!’ I answer.
‘Finnick is already at the patio. You can go to him, I’ll be right behind you’ Annie says.
I make my way to their backyard. It’s a great evening to eat outside. It’s not to cold and the sky is clear, so we can really enjoy the starry sky. Finnick is looking at the stars. He’s so deep in thought he doesn’t hear me coming, but then again, I do have a very light tread.
‘Finnick’ I say.
He looks up at me and he gives me a sparkling smile. ‘Kitty Kat’
‘What were you thinking about?’ I ask.
‘O..’ his smile falters a bit. ‘Nothing much’
I don’t believe him and we never kept things from each other, but I don’t press him. I decide to take his mind of the thing that’s apparently bothering him. ‘Starry skies like this always remember me of the nights we spend as teenagers camping at the lake’ I say. And one night in particular, but I won’t bring that one up. Ever.
He chuckles. ‘Yeah me too. Those were the good days’
‘Yes.. But now you’re living the great days’ I say, eyeing him. He’s still looking at the stars.
‘Right’ he says, but before I can say something more, Annie joins us with a bottle of wine and the pizza.
‘The pizza’s here!’ she says joyfully.
‘So, it’s time for some girl talk!’ Annie demands. Finnick cringes and I laugh at his immature reaction.
‘How’s it going with that guy?’ Annie asks me.
‘What guy?’ I ask while stuffing myself with pizza.
‘That colleague’ she says.
‘O? Thom? You know just as well as I that there’s nothing going on with him. It’s just casual sex, nothing more’
‘And there isn’t anyone else?’ Annie asks, sounding hopeful.
‘No and there will never be someone else. You know I’m not the relationship kind’ I pour myself another wine.
‘Maybe you would be if you met the right person’ Annie says between bites.
‘Yeah..’ Finnick says, with a weak smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. He grabs his beer and finishes it in one go.
‘Probably not Annie. Promise me you won’t count on it!’ I say annoyed.
‘Annie can you pass me a beer?’ Finnick asks his wife.
‘I’m not!’ she assures me while she gives Finnick his beer. ‘It’s just that you make us all very happy and I believe you can make a certain someone very happy someday’
I roll my eyes, but smile. ‘You’re a hopeless romantic’
‘And you’re so good with Adam!’ Annie enthusiastically continues. ‘You would be a really good moth-‘
‘I already did my fair share of parenting when I was a teenager, Annie. I don’t want to do it again’
‘Okay, next subject’ Finnick says. ‘When are we having dinner with Gale and Madge again?’
‘Next week!’ Annie yells excitedly. She even claps her hands. ‘Adam is staying with my parents, so we can have a real night out. A good meal, some booze, pot and poker!’
I laugh. ‘I can see you’re really looking forward to it!’
‘Not just looking forward to it Katniss, I need this! I love Adam so much, but sometimes he’s driving me insane!’
‘Yes, the terrible two’s.. Finnick told me’
‘Did he tell you the butter story?’ she asks me. When I nod she continues. ‘It was horrible! I still can’t get it out of the couch!’ she says, sounding desperate.
‘Try doing the pillowcases in the laundry machine. That saved me one time’ I advise her.
‘Yeah, I could try that’
‘And I have good news if you can’t get the butter stain out – you can get a new couch!’
‘No!’ Finnick yells.
Annie and I laugh. ‘It was a joke Finnick’ I say laughing.
‘You are so cheap Finn’ Annie says.
‘Couches are very expensive!’ Finnick protests.
‘Talking about expensive, Annie why don’t you get back to work? I know how much you loved being a flight attendant’ I ask.
‘Well.. Actually, I have a job interview for a ground stewardess at the airport next week. It’s part time, so it would be perfect!’ Annie tells me. Her eyes lit up out of excitement. ‘Annie that’s amazing! Why didn’t you tell me?’
‘I didn’t want to jinx it’ Annie says seeming a little embarrassed.
‘You can’t! You’ll be perfect for the job, I know it. Let’s toast to your interview’ I say and I raise my glass.
We toast and I drink my wine. Suddenly I feel a massive pain going through my head. It’s like a lightning bolt that goes right through my brain.
‘Ouch..’ I groan. It hurts so badly I can feel my eyes well up. I close them and bring my hands to my face.
‘Katniss, are you okay?’ I hear Finnick ask. He sounds really worried. I almost laugh when I hear him actually say my name, instead of using his stupid nickname for me.
‘Yes, I’m fine. It’s just a migraine showing its ugly head’
It’s like a warning. Every time I feel the lightning bolt go through my brain, I get a horrible migraine a small hour later. ‘Just give me a second’ I say, my hands still covering my face.
‘Do you want an aspirin?’ Annie asks me.
‘No, I’ll take one at home’ I answer. Just as quickly as the pain emerged, it vanishes, leaving me painless. ‘I’m fine’ I say looking up and smiling at my friends.
They both look really worried, especially Finnick. ‘Are you sure?’ he asks.
‘Yes, it’s just a migraine. I get them sometimes. I should probably go home’
‘I’ll give you a lift’ Finnick says.
‘No need, it’s just a twenty minute walk’
‘And a ten minute dive’ Finnick says sternly.
‘You’re not walking home, Katniss! Finnick’s driving you, end of story’
I know when I lost a battle. ‘Okay’ I say.
When I’m home, I quickly take some migraine medication I got at the drugstore. It doesn’t make the pain go away, but it makes it more bearable. It takes the edge off. I also take a sleeping pill so I can get through the night easier. Almost every time I take a sleeping pill I get this horrible nightmare about my father, but if I don’t take them I’ll wake up ten times a night due to the pain.. It really is choosing between two evils.
I take a quick shower and I head to bed, where a night of troubled sleep awaits me.