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Things Are Different Now

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'Things are different now.'

Kate's words had been running through Betty's head for hours as she stared up at the darkened ceiling. She didn't really like this rooming house on the other side of Toronto. It was cheap and the landlady didn't ask for a background check. Those were her only reasons for choosing it.

It didn't feel right. It didn't feel like the rooming house. It didn't feel like home.

Kate's room had. Room 10. It was much of her home as Room 11 across the hall was. But she had made a choice. She didn't move back home. She was letting everyone move on.

'But, as you can see, I'm still here.'

Everything about her reunion with Kate had made her feel stupid. Stupid for not preparing something better to say. Stupid for having to be saved by Kate and then Marco as she walked back into VicMu. Stupid for not knowing what was really going on with Gladys. And stupid for not kissing Kate the second after she closed her bedroom door.

She understood now didn't she? How she truly felt about her? Hopefully, Kate was starting to accept that she felt the same. Everything she had been doing and saying the past few days seemed to hint that she did. Gladys said Kate understood before Betty went to prison. The thought never occurred to Betty until she heard her name being yelled by a pained angelic voice from behind her in the police station.

Now, she was having trouble understanding what Kate wanted. They had been spending less time together. But they were working on different lines and only saw each other before and after shift and at the canteen at VicMu. Living on opposite sides of the city had also decreased the amount of time they had spent together. But, Betty was going to see her sing at the Jewel Box. They had talked after. Gladys was there too. Betty found it nice to be with both of them, but whatever mystery that had been pulling Gladys away from her continued that night. Luckily, a swagger filled Vera and Marco swung in to take Gladys' place.

That had been two nights ago and Betty was still thinking so much about it. Was it something about sitting at that table beside Kate and across from Vera and Marco? She had had friends that were engaged before but nobody made her believe in love and marriage as much as Vera and Marco did.

Kate had grabbed her hand under the table at one point while Vera was talking about what food they would have at the wedding. Betty figured she was turning it into much more than it was. Kate used to grab her hand a lot before prison, before her father, well just before. It meant nothing then and it probably meant nothing now.

That Monday Kate sat eagerly at a table in the middle of the canteen during lunch. She slowly picked at her food as she kept her eyes fixed on the door, her excitement at the ready for any flash of green.

She had done the same during the morning coffee break, but no girls from green shift had showed. Kate wasn't even sure if green shift took the coffee break. She hadn't had a reason to notice before. Gladys had been on the shift for only a couple of days. Part of her felt scared to admit, even to herself, that she cared so much more about seeing Betty than she did about seeing Gladys. But, she did.

Kate had realized a lot, maybe too much about herself in the 13 months and six and a half days between the time she yelled for Betty in the police station and when she walked back into her room at the boarding house. She knew it would be awkward and messy and possibly painful but she thought Betty was the only person she could talk to about it. She knew Gladys and Vera would understand too, but not like how she wanted, not like how Betty would understand.

"Something on your mind, Church Mouse? You look a little distracted," Leon asked as he sat across from her.

"It's Betty," Kate told him.

For some reason she didn't feel nervous even with Beau, one of the fresh faced stock boys joining Leon at her table. Last week she had received every kind of insult from Donald and a few others could think of to throw her way. She held back Betty once and Marco held them both back at one point. Over the weekend, she realized she didn't even care anymore.

"Having a spat, are you?" Leon asked sincerely.

Kate shook her head. "Oh no, nothing like that. She has barely spoken to me."

She looked down at her uneaten food for a bit and then back up at her band mate.

"I was just waiting for the green shift girls, but I don't think they are going to show," she admitted sadly.

"They probably busy. Ain't they testing a new form of TNT down there?" Beau asked.

"I believe so," Leon stated with a pointed look in Kate's direction.

Kate nodded. She had heard that too, but she was almost certain it wasn't true.

Kate glanced at the door every few seconds all though lunch, but it was no use. The bell rang and she was forced back to work without seeing anyone from green shift.

She followed everyone else out and back to her station on the line. Kate had a familiar feeling as she got back to work. She felt nervous again, but for all different reasons than before. Betty was there, but in some other part of the factory. And then there was Ivan floating around and shooting her disgusted looks whenever he was forced to place cans on the table near her.

She hadn't felt like she needed Betty standing beside her in almost a year but now she wished, almost more than she did the first day without her, that she was beside her.