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All Good Things

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“I’ve been off Dr. Pepper for three weeks now.” Angie smiles, her face twisting a little, and Kate watches close, watching her eyes for some sign of remorse. She knows it’s there, but she doesn’t see it, she won’t let herself see it. Not in the streetlight.

She just nods and walks off without saying goodbye when Angie explains that she’s sipping on water, unaware that lives are about to change.


The thing with Rob doesn’t last long. Not after Kate meets his daughter and makes a fool of herself, suddenly bringing up the surrogacy. It’s a blast from her past, something she knows not to do. New people don’t want to hear about uteruses on the first meeting. And yet. She can’t help herself.

He tells her, a week later, over lukewarm pizza, that things just aren’t working out how he’d pictured them. She asks if its about Lauren, if its because he doesn’t think she’d make a good mom to his kid. He says, no, no, of course it’s not about that.

But Kate just hears “No.” You wouldn’t be a good mom.


Two years go by and Barry’s stepped down from the company, saying that he’d prefer to take a more passive role in the expansion of Round Earth, sensing that his life will be better fulfilled by watching from the sidelines. He spends a good half hour projecting his positive energies into Kate before promoting her to Executive President of the company.

It doesn’t feel as good as she thought it would.

That night, she goes home and looks up her lawyer’s number, wondering if her new position would make any difference in the adoption list. She gives up before working up the nerve to call. This just isn’t something that life has handed to her.


“Honestly, Kate, I can’t believe you let it get that far-“


“That girl… just so… filthy, honestly. And really, Kate. Sometimes you just have to do things the natural way.”

“Yes, Mom.”

“I’m glad all this baby mess is over with.”

“I know.”


Kate doesn’t automatically turn to look at the sound of a baby crying like she did three years ago. But she does turn, hearing a male voice yell, “Shut the fuck up, why don’tcha,” at the entrance of her newest store. It startles her. Round Earth doesn’t typically attract the yelling parents.

She shouldn’t even be here, but the location is hosting a special opening and VIPs are expected to make an appearance. She brushes her hands against her woolen skirt, straightens her back.

The baby whimpers, tugged by the man. Her leggings are too baggy and her shirt too small over her babytummy. She doesn’t seem to want to be toted along for errands, but then, Kate thinks, what kid that age does?

Kate’s about to turn to the microphone when her insides twist alarmingly, and at first, she doesn’t realize why. She doesn’t react this way to kids anymore. She did therapy. But then, it sinks in. A few steps behind the man – the father - a skinny blonde with her hair in pigtails and her lingerie showing through the thin blouse she’s wearing.


Three years are stuck in Kate’s throat, compounded with months of living with Angie’s scent on all the furniture, long after she was gone. She taps the VP on the shoulder, indicates a trip to the restroom and makes a dash for the back of the store where she leans, suddenly desperate for air, against a shelving unit and tries not to sob.


“Come on, Stefani. Daddy’s trying to make a phone call. Come over with Mommy and look at the good food – pea soup!” It’s Angie’s voice getting closer, and Kate hears it and freezes. It’s stupid, but she can’t move. She wants to – needs to – see her face.

“Don’t like soup.”

They round the corner of the aisle, Angie walking backwards, trying to urge her daughter along. Kate sets her mouth. “Angie,” she says, her voice coming out louder than she wanted.

“I’m busy shopping-“ defensive, but then she looks up and blanches and her arms swing out blindly, looking for her daughter, guarding her, subconscious. “Kate.”

It’s like a face off. Someone, soon, has to pull the trigger.

“Can we get crackers?” the little girl asks, tugging on Angie’s pant leg.

Angie doesn’t even look down, just stares at Kate, not unkind, just… searching. “We can get crackers.” She swallows. Hefts her daughter to her hip.


Another three years and Kate could retire if she wanted to, but of course she doesn’t. What else would she do with her time? Date? That’s laughable. In fact, her mother nearly has a second stroke when Kate brings up the idea over a phone call.

Instead of dating or retiring, Kate just takes long lunches and sits in the park when the weather is kind. She feeds her bread crust to the birds, but then worries that she’s becoming the creepy bird lady and stops.

After a particularly large bite of pastrami on rye, a chubby girl plops down on the bench next to her and leans around to stare into her face. “My mom says she knows you,” the girl says, and Kate raises an eyebrow. She doesn’t know anyone with a daughter this age.

“She’s over there, and she doesn’t want to talk to you because she says she thinks you might still be mad, but I said that’s silly, that grownups don’t get mad, and she said, no, they do, so I said that I would come over and say hi to you.” The girl smiles, all cheeks.

Kate lifts her eyes and sees, behind a sparse bush, the somehow still familiar form of Angie, peeking from behind the foliage. “Angie,” she says. Because she never knows what else to say.

“That’s my mom’s name! Oh man, I told her you weren’t mad, you aren’t mad are you, I told her so.” The girl hops up and shouts, “Mom, she’s not mad. Stop being silly!”

Before Angie can come out, Kate turns to the girl and asks, “Hey, where’s your dad?”

“Oh, him?” The girl curls her lip. “We left that bastard.”


Three cups of coffee (Stefani insists, though she adds so much cream and sugar that it can hardly be called coffee anymore) and a pastry split between them in the shop. Kate pretends that because Stef is indulging in sugar and caffeine, she doesn’t understand the conversation going on above her head, though the urge to snap the cup away from her – so bad for her developing body! – doesn’t leave.

“I don’t know if I ever really forgave you.”

“I didn’t ask you to.”

“I couldn’t try again, not after…”

“Don’t blame you.”

“I’m company president now.”

“I went to fashion school.”

“I’m not even dating.”

“It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.”

“I forgive you.”

“I miss you.”


They exchange numbers – Angie’s has changed but Kate’s hasn’t – and it isn’t three days before Kate hits send, wondering into the mouthpiece if Angie can find a sitter for that night because she has a stupid work dinner and no date, not that this would be a date –

And she doesn’t even get to finish before Angie gushes “Yes.”


So, maybe the VP gives her a sideways look when she walks in the door of the restaurant followed by a beautiful blonde. Or maybe Kate’s imagining things. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Ultimately, the only looks that matter are the ones between green eyes and brown, served over organic roast beef and red wine.

Somewhere during dessert and coffee, Kate’s foot slips out of her practical-yet-glamorous heel and slides its way against Angie’s leg. Somewhere during the cab ride home, Angie’s knuckles caress Kate’s cheek.

“Would the sitter mind…?”

A head shake and a smile. “I’ve missed your bed.”