Living with Katrina Ch. 01byLaRascasse©
My second attempt at Romance. Let me know how it went, with your valuable comments and votes. Private feedback is also welcome.
Thanks to estragon for copy editing and SamanthaYvonne for plot edits.
"Hey, listen Jake. I'm in a bit of trouble right now. It was a stupid post-breakup stunt gone wrong and now they have me in the lock-up. Please come get me from the station. I'll owe you one."
Jake Gallagher groaned as the message played her liquor-slurred voice from his answering machine. She already "owed" him about a million with the various problems he had gotten her out of.
Stoned in Gramercy Park. Check
Lost in Hoboken with no money. Check
Car trouble in Staten Island. Check
Arrested for indecent exposure. Double Check. No wait. Triple Check.
One more. Nothing new. It was part of the whole experience of living with Katrina. He sighed reluctantly and put on his jacket. After a hard day of work, he had been looking forward to an evening of classical music and reading.
Then again, he was too used to it to care any longer. He had resigned himself to his fate as her reluctant guardian angel.
His Camaro revved up to the precinct parking area a few minutes later. He went inside and walked up to the desk. An old officer sat behind it, reading a magazine. He looked up at him over his horned-rimmed glasses.
"Yes. I'm back for the usual," he said, with a shrug of his shoulders.
"One crazy roommate, that way," the officer said, pointing in the direction of the holding cells.
Jake walked past a few cells until he saw Kat slumped against the wall. Her tears had badly messed up her mascara. The state of her hair and clothes could only mean drunk and disorderly.
Her eyes snapped open. She rushed to the bars and held his shirt.
"Oh thank God you're here. Thank God!"
He looked at her, reproachfully, like a parent surveying a guilty child.
"What happened this time?"
"Oh nothing," she slurred, "Paolo dumped me, like the bastard he is and I might have had a few daiquiris too many. I was just on my way back when some asshole arrested me."
Her breath reeked of the "few" drinks too many.
She went on in her indignant tone, "Like they don't have any actual crime to fight, locking up innocent people."
"You heard me," she said loudly, in the direction of a nearby officer, while Jake tried to restrain her. "You guys can't fight real crime so you go around catching people who have had a bit too much to drink. Fucking cowards."
Not wanting to antagonize anyone at the station, Jake hastily left her to tend to the formalities of her release. Katrina had to expend some effort to hold on to the bars and keep herself from falling.
The "coward" came soon enough and let her out. She fell right into Jake's arms, her drunken stupor not having completely passed.
The officer offered to help carry her, but Jake politely waved him off. He slung her arm over his shoulder and wrapped his other arm around her back to steady her. They hobbled along, across the street to his car, and he sat her on the front seat. Her head flopped to the side. He got in and put her seatbelt on.
Kat was steady enough to face him now.
"God I'm so sorry at messing up your evening. I'll make it up to you, I promise."
"It's all right," he said, trying to comfort her.
"No it isn't. I fucked up. Gosh, it's that bloody Paolo's fault. I am so done with Italian guys."
"Good thinking," he affirmed, thinking back to the last time she was "done" with Italian guys. Somehow they always ended up in her pants.
He helped her up to their shared flat and then to her room. She fell on her bed. He knelt at the foot of her bed and gently removed her shoes and socks. He was about to leave when he heard a soft whimpering.
"Lie down beside me. Please?"
Jake saw her large, entreating eyes pleading with him. He had a pathological weakness for that look and could not bring himself to refuse her. She draped her arm over his neck as he lay down by her side.
"What is wrong with me? Why does this keep happening?"
He brushed her honey blonde hair back.
"There is nothing wrong with you. Paolo is a cunt."
"Really? What does it say about me then to fall in love with a cunt?" she asked softly.
Jake paused to consider his reply. She raised her head, her brow furrowed.
"Answer me Jake. What does it fucking say about me?" she said, her tone rising.
He got off the bed and took a step back. He had seen that look before and had a fair idea what was coming next.
"I said fucking answer me," she said, a livid expression on her face.
"Well," he began warily, "You fell for the wrong person. It was an honest mistake. It happens to all of us."
"It seems to happen to me more than others," she said, getting off the bed.
"It's not your fault."
"Don't be condescending to me, you bloody prick! You think that your life is perfect, don't you. You think I fucking deserved to be dumped. You son of a-"
Jake's cheek burnt as her palm made a powerful connection with it. He staggered and took a step back, only to feel her fist against his lips. He fell flat on the floor, tasting his own blood. Kat stood against the wall, panting.
A few long moments later, the expression of anger on her face was replaced with one of horror as she realized what she had just done.
"Oh my God, Jake!"
"I'm okay," he said, trying to sit.
"No you're not. Look at you. You're bleeding!" she said, scurrying to his side.
"It's fine. I'll go wash it off."
He started towards the bathroom, but she cut him off.
"You stay right there. I'll get some wet towels and ice."
He took the invitation and fell on the couch. His lips were split and blood seeped out of the corner down his chin. She hurried to his side, armed with an ice pack and towel.
"Thank you," he said, gingerly taking the ice from her.
"No," she said, tears welling in her beautiful brown eyes. "Thank you for bailing me out. Thank you for being there for me whenever I need it. Thank you for just being... you."
He smiled as best he could with his bloody lips.
"It's what I do best."
She held him close. She had so much to be thankful for. He had been the victim of many of her outbursts and they had all left him in pain.
Katrina was bipolar. The disorder caused her to have extreme mood swings. Some of them were manic and caused her to lash out. It was invariably Jake who was in the way.
But he took it like a soldier.
She held him to her heart and they stayed like that. He quietly thought about them and their relationship. There wasn't a word in the dictionary to describe it.
Six years ago, he had put up an advertisement for a roommate. The rents in New York had forced him out of his hermetic lifestyle. His flat was big enough for two people, so it wouldn't really be a problem.
If for some reason the CIA decided to assassinate Jake, it would be their easiest job to date. For Jake is a man of habit. He wakes up at seven on the dot. His breakfast is dispensed with by seven thirty following his bathroom rituals. He boards the subway from the station down the street at eight, always on the same car, and reaches his accounting firm ten minutes before nine sharp.
Five days a week he followed the boring schedule to and from work. His job as senior accountant was monotonous, but it paid his rent and utilities. Right up until the landlord felt compelled to double the rent.
To a man as laid back as Jake, the thought of moving was too much trouble. Instead he decided to get a roommate to pay half the rent. He never had a girl over to his apartment in his twenty-seven years and did not indulge in self-gratification on lonely evenings, so an infringement on his privacy would not hurt much.
His only vice was classical music and his only companion his books. Jake Gallagher led the most drab life in the whole of Manhattan Island.
That changed when Katrina Bauer answered his ad.
He opened the door to the new applicant. She was dressed in a tight, figure-hugging dress with a loose overcoat. Her skirt was plaid and black. It was her face though, that was the most alluring. She had beautifully shaped eyes and a sharp gaze. Her skin was a light shade of pink and her face was genuinely pleasant. Her straight hair came down to her chin level and she'd placed a grey beret jauntily atop it.
This was sadly the first female company he had had in ages.
The discussions regarding rent and the split-up of their other bills went smoothly. She seemed congenial enough and wanted to be a good roommate. Within half an hour, she had her own key to the apartment.
Jake had a roommate.
But there was so much more to her than that.
Katrina was as tempestuous as her hurricane namesake. She lived a truly Epicurean life, going from one bohemian (mis)adventure to the next. She was an artist, who drew "whatever her muse painted in her mind". Her goal was to give the world a feel for "what they saw and yet failed to see".
One of her allotted two rooms immediately became her studio. It was her thinking space, her sanctuary, where her creativity put vivid colour on the canvas.
He never understood her art. To him it was a montage of bizarre colours and shapes, but to her it was a message, a calling. Abstract art took up most of her canvases, but she did make the occasional portrait for the paying customer as well.
Her studio was a perpetual mess of canvas and art supplies. There was some interest in her work within certain highbrow artsy circles, and she was eagerly waiting for her breakthrough.
Aside from her art, she shared his love for classical music and literature. They bonded over several cups of coffee and late nights chatting. One night, she brushed up against his side suggestively, hinting at her desire to consummate something other than their friendship.
Boring Jake failed to pick up on her obvious hints, so she stepped it up by pressing her angelic lips to his and giving him the first real kiss of his life. His previous attempt at kissing (his senior prom) was not nearly as torrid.
One of her hands was about to slip into the waistband of his shorts, when his senses cockblocked him. He grabbed her hand and pulled it out, giving a long discourse on how having sex could make things incredibly awkward between them and they should remain roommates and friends.
She was asleep by the time his droning lecture ended.
The others she hit on were more receptive. Katrina was a sapiosexual, attracted to intelligence. Her first attraction after coming to New York was an amateur artist, Spiro, who painted natural spaces. She actually got aroused hearing him talk about the beauty of Mother Nature and how he sought to capture that with his brush.
He took her to his studio to see his work and she took the opportunity to see his nakedness as well. His tongue in her mouth took her breath away. She held his hair and pushed his face down to her breasts.
He eagerly took her whole nipple in his mouth and began gently nibbling at it. His other hand found her other luscious breast and began kneading it. She gasped as the dual sensations travelled from her mammaries to every other nerve ending in her body.
Pushing his head further down, she placed his marauding lips on her taut stomach. His tongue slurped around it and covered it with a thin layer of wetness. Inches below, she was already drenched.
She held his hair and forced his head between her inviting legs. She clenched her thighs around it and pushed his tongue into her wet orifice. He feasted on her pussy intently, lapping at her inflamed lower lips.
"Oh that's it right there! Keep doing that," she moaned.
Spiro's Greek tongue tickled and teased her engorged clit. She shook from side to side, but he followed it expertly, not letting his tongue leave her. The familiar tingling sensation of orgasm stirred in the pit of her stomach. It grew and expanded, filling her with a pleasurable wash of endorphins.
Currents of pleasure radiated from her drenched vulva, exciting every hypersensitive nerve cell it passed through. She could feel her climax hurtling closer and pulled him off her slick opening forcefully.
"Not with your tongue," she panted, ushering towards his proud erection, pulsing just beyond her reach.
Nodding in agreement, he crawled up her body until his tool was lined up against her entrance. It was so wet that further lubrication was not needed. He held her gaze while sinking all his throbbing length inside her.
Katrina gasped as she felt his girth filling her up, stretching out her damp walls. She closed her eyes and clenched around his flesh, eliciting a low groan of pleasure from him. He lay on top of her, his hardon deeply embedded inside her.
Spiro pulled out slowly, letting his veins drag against her flesh until only the head remained inside her. He slammed back into her after a moment's pause, burying his erection against her cervix. The impact of the intrusion caused her to spasm. She wrapped her arms around his back, digging her nails in.
Stroke followed stroke with increasing intensity. She clenched her tight walls even harder around him. Their pleasure amplified with the rise of their mutual arousal.
He felt his orgasm flow over at the same time as she gushed all over him. Bursts of semen ejected deep inside her, mingling with her own sexual fluids. She felt satisfied, content and ready to take it to the next level.
Sadly the next level never came. Spiro Kostouros went back to his native Thessalonika unannounced. Life in the Big Apple was too rich for his blood.
His sudden departure left a distraught Katrina in its wake. She had conjured up elaborate fantasies about their relationship and future together. All for nothing.
Jake was on the subway back home when he got the fateful call. The signal reception was good enough for him to discern the words "help", "Greenpoint" and "wasted".
Not wanting to lose a perfectly good roommate, he rushed towards the Greenpoint neighbourhood in North Brooklyn. Frantically searching the streets, all he found was inebriated hippies and menacing street gang members.
His docile existence had left him utterly unprepared for the mean streets.
Night was falling as he turned his search towards the East Riverfront. He parked along a wharf and went to search for her on the pier. He was about to give up when he spotted her, sitting against a wooden column, a bottle in her hand.
Soon he would get used to that look - messed makeup, strewn hair and copious sobbing. It was part of her cycle. She would fall madly in love with some flamboyant guy who matched her criteria for highbrow intelligence. They would have a passionate fling (she usually was under the delusion it was more than a fling) and then when the inevitable end came, it hit her hard.
Her bipolar condition also gave her a propensity for acute depression. This made her extremely prone to going on benders. And Jake bailed her out of them. Every time. Any other roommate would have been fed up with her susceptibility to trouble, but not him.
For a reason that should have been best known to him, his conscience had appointed him her guardian angel. He needed to be for her sake.
All these thoughts passed through his head as he rested his face on her chest. They were very close, closer than best friends, closer than siblings. There was nothing they could not tell each other.
The irony of it was that they had not had any intimate contact. Not for lack of trying on her part. Katrina did have a few dry spells and tried tempting Jake, but he averted her amorous advances like an old-time priest.
In fact, Kat was under the impression that he swung the other way. All the way, until she found a stack of magazines buried in his closet. They were pretty tame by her promiscuous standards, but erotic enough to dispel her false notion.
And so the odd couple stuck together, through thick and thin.
Jake detached his face from her bosom, cursing the spot of his dried blood on her dress. She had gone to sleep on the couch, her arms still wrapped around his shoulder. Carefully sliding his head from her embrace, he carried her to bed.
He laid her down. His fingers wiped away a few residual tears. He tucked her in and gave her a small kiss on the forehead.
On his way to his room, he stopped in front of a mirror. For a thirty-three year old, he was in good shape. The few grey hairs could be attributed to the worrisome last six years he had lived with Katrina. He was six feet even and had an expressive face, which could show every emotion.
Turning on some Bach on his iPod, he went to bed. The weary day had taken a toll on his body as had the visible swelling, which had formed around his lips.
Even guardian angels need their sleep.
The next morning, Jake awoke to find his lips had turned a dark purplish hue. One more "walking into a door" story for his co-workers. Over the years he had many such incidents and visible bruises.
If he were a woman, they would definitely suspect abuse from the boyfriend. But being a man, he was spared the usual press conference of uncomfortable questions.
Breakfast was ready. It was his favourite combination of poached eggs and bacon sandwich. Kat had decided to make him breakfast as a small sign of gratitude for her antics.
"So... what are your plans for today?" she said, biting into her own toast.
"Oh the usual. Sit under fluorescent lights in a tiny cubicle. Stare at a screen. Type out useless numbers."
"Wow, fascinating," she exclaimed.
"If you say so."
There was a small break as she got some leftover takeout from the day before and put it in the microwave.
"You need a girlfriend," she said, pointing a fork in his direction.
"No I don't," he mumbled into his plate.
"Yes you do," she said indignantly. "You look like you need to get laid."
"No I don't," he repeated, surfing the news website through his Blackberry.
"I am not taking no for an answer any longer. I am setting you up with one of my friends. This time next week, you will no longer be single."
"You really must hate that poor girl," Jake chuckled.
"Oh haha." She was more sarcastic than usual. "Your sense of humour keeps getting better."
Jake carefully considered sharing his next thought with her. It could lead to a whole new set of problems.
"Actually," he began carefully, "There is a girl...."
The incomplete sentence hung in the air as Katrina seized the opening.
"WHAT?!! And you didn't tell me!!"
"Cool down. It's not like we're dating or anything. She works in my department and I have..." he paused to choose the correct words, "... grown fond of her."
"Grown fond of her?" barked Kat, tapping his forehead. "What are you? Twelve?"
"Okay, I like her a lot. But nothing can ever happen between us."
"Why not?" she said, banging her fist on the table.
"Haven't you heard of these things called sexual harassment lawsuits? I really doubt I want one at the moment."
"God!" she exclaimed, her eyes wide, "You really are something. I am suggesting you ask her out, not sexually harass her."
"There isn't much difference between the two when it comes to the workplace. I'll have you know that 53 percent of...."
"Dude. For once in your life, stop over-analysing every damn thing," she sighed, "Just go with the flow this one time. Be polite, courteous and don't come on too strong. Keep a respectful distance. Say the words, don't keep it in your head and you'll do fine."
"Okay," he said, mentally recording her instructions. "Suppose she does agree, what then?"
"Uhmm let's see," she said with a contemplative finger to her lip. "Then the two of you actually go out on a date. You know, like millions of other New Yorkers do?"