Been alone since you were twenty-one
You haven't laughed since January,
You try and make this up this is so much fun,
But we know it to be quite contrary
-The Shins: Australia
“Katie?” Becky's soft voice could no longer bring comfort. In the year that had passed, Katie had read a birth announcement and slipped into a state of loneliness. She wanted nothing to do with the friends that she, Angelina, and George had shared. Now all she had left was her friend, Leanne March, and of course Becky. Sighing, she looked up to her sister.
“Hey,” Katie said half-heartedly. She continued fiddling with the necklace she was attempting to make for Becky's daughter, Ruby. It wasn't the most attractive piece of jewelry, but it was something to keep her mind busy for a little while. She picked up a silver bead and slid it gingerly onto the chain of the same color. Holding the piece of 'art' up to the light, she smiled. It was looking better than she had expected and her niece was sure to like it. Ruby liked anything that sparkled.
“How are you doing?”
“Oh, I'm okay. I have the day off so I'm trying to keep myself busy. Where's Ruby?”
“Todd took her to a Quidditch game.”
Katie nodded. That was typical of Becky's husband, Todd. He loved Quidditch as much as Katie did and they got along very well because of it. When she looked up from the instructions, she caught Becky looking at the pile of letters on Katie's nightstand. At that moment, the happy facade she had been putting up for her sister would crash down around her. Becky's blue eyes looked at Katie sadly as she picked up the top letter.
“You said that you weren't getting letters from them, Kate.”
“Those aren't from them.”
“Then who are they from?”
“They're your friends, Katie.”
“They still are, you just need to open your heart to them.” Without asking, Becky took her finger and slid it under the seal of the envelope. The sound of the paper ripping made Katie turn away. She bit her lip as her sister pulled the letter from the envelope carefully.
“This one is from Oliver.”
“I don't give a damn about what he has to say. He's just going to say 'I'm sorry that this happened to you. Want to shag?'”
“No he won't. Have more faith in men.”
Katie sighed, knowing she wasn't going to win this argument. She put the unfinished necklace on the table and curled up in a ball in her chair. Frowning so that Becky knew exactly how she felt about this choice she didn't get to make, she sat quietly and listened to each word Becky read from the letter. The words poured out of her sister's mouth and Katie was surprised. Someone in the world did understand how she felt.
“Give me the letter,” Katie demanded. Becky smiled and willingly handed Kate the piece of parchment. Her hands shook as she read Oliver's messy handwriting. His story seemed eerily similar to how hers seemed to be going.
I never thought I'd tell this to anyone, but you seem to need to hear it right now: I know exactly how you feel. You love someone with all your heart, give them your all, but they still don't want you. She was always energetic, happy, and very cute. No matter what I did, she never looked at me the way I looked at her. She was always preoccupied with something – and that something was never me.
Now that I've sickened you with my sorry love life, I wanted to say that if you ever needed someone to talk to I'm here. I always have been, even if you never thought of that. Please send me an owl back soon!
I'm always here for you,
“Send that poor kid an owl for God's sake. He sent that to you two months ago.”
“Is it Katie now or Kate?”
“Katie, but people call me Kate,” Katie said, still shocked at who was standing in her doorway. The burly man was anything but a new face. When the shock had finally faded she smiled and attacked him with a hug.
“What're you doing here, Oliver?” she asked, allowing him into her apartment.
“Your sister said you'd lost my address and wanted me to come visit.”
Becky had decided to be sneaky. Once she was done chatting with her old friend, Katie would most certainly give her sister a large piece of her mind. Keeping the happy face on, she led Oliver to the kitchen and had him sit down. From her icebox, she took the pitcher of water and grabbed two glasses from her cupboard. She placed them on the table and poured a glass of both herself and Oliver.
“What took you so long to reply? It was two months ago when I sent the owl.”
“And what's your response?”
“I – I just couldn't.”
“It's hard for me. I honestly wanted nothing to do with you or Alicia.”
“We're your friends.”
“Then why do you talk to them?” The word came out like it was poison on her tongue. Them. Those two traitors. Them. Two of the people who meant – and one who still did – the world to her. Them.
“They're my friends. They didn't break my heart.”
“If you're just going to tell me to get on with my life, you can get the hell out of here and stay away from me.”
“I'm not telling you to move on. I still haven't.”
She cautiously sat down at the table across from Oliver and watched him to make sure he wasn't just saying that. He must have been honest with her, for he just drank his glass of water and attempted to talk about jobs and other things that friends talked about. The one thing he didn't touch was romance and for that Katie was thankful.
“Is your mum doing well? The last time I talked to you you said that she wasn't doing to great.”
“She...she's not with us anymore.”
Damn it, she thought. Does he have to bring up everything that hurts me?
“I'm sorry; I didn't mean to bring up anything bad.”
“Don't worry about it. I'm a big girl; I can handle not having a mother. I have Becky.” She could feel the tears threatening to pour out, but she was determined not to let him see her like that. Making a quick excuse to go to the restroom, she walked as fast as she could to the bathroom. The tears began to fall from her eyes the moment she shut the door. Becky would never be her mother, no matter how much she tried to be.
Becky had always been like a mother to Katie. With an emotionally absent mother, it was almost Rebbecca's job. She was five years older than Kate, so it was only fair that she tried to be her mother figure. It didn't work all the time, though. Sometimes you simply needed your real mother, and it didn't matter if she was an alcoholic. A mother was a mother no matter what disease she did or did not have.
“Kate? Are you all right in there? You sound upset.”
“I'm fine. I'll be out in a minute.”
“Don't lie to me.”
“I'm not lying.”
The door opened a few seconds later and she found comfort somewhere she never thought to look: Oliver Wood.
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