Peaches and Cream Pt. 05byncpecanpie©
Hi Everyone! I can't believe it has been 7 months since I last posted. Life got crazy the second half of 2016. Some of that craziness will be revealed in the next parts. Hope you enjoy. Ms Pie.
In the months following his break up with Cat, Matt replayed the last time he held her over and over. They were standing in the parking lot beside her car. She had refused his phone calls and emails for two weeks. He was desperate to see her.
Nicole had shown up at his apartment earlier in the week carrying a box of items she no longer wanted. Nicole gently told him to back off, to give Catherine time to figure things out. He tried to explain himself to Nicole to persuade her to intervene on his behalf. Nicole hugged him and told him her loyalty was with Cat.
Looking through the box was a dagger to the heart. There was a menu from the restaurant of their first date, a baseball from the batting cages, various photos from parties at Salem, and other assorted mementos. There were only two things missing the pearls he'd given her winter formal and the stuffed bumblebee. If she'd kept those then there had to be hoped.
He skipped track practice to wait for her in the parking lot of the Fine Arts Center. Catherine was a creature of habit. Thursday night was the student mass and she would then have dinner with the Catholic Student Union. After dinner, she would drive back to Salem meet Nicole in one of the practice rooms and then they would walk back to the dorm together.
Right on time, she pulled her blue civic into the parking lot. Matt jogged over to her car. She didn't seem shocked to see him. "Peach, I am going crazy here. I need to talk to you. I need you, Catherine..."
She looked at him and before he knew it tears started to fall from her eyes. Oh, those eyes...the look of betrayal and sadness would haunt his dreams for months. Matt reached out and took her in his arms. At first, she felt wooden and then she melted into him.
"I am so sorry Peach. I love you...we can get past this. Catherine, please say something?"
"Go home, Matthew." She pulled herself out of his arms. "I don't want to see you tonight or any other night. I need this... whatever it was... to be over. I can't trust you. And if I can't trust you then what do we have."
"You don't mean that Cat." Matt's words came out anguished. The weight on his chest was crushing him. "Peach...you don't mean that. You love me. You are always saying where there is love, anything is possible."
Catherine walked past Matthew. She looked at him with a coldness that sent a chill down his spine. "When exactly did you love me, Matthew? Did you love me when you were kissing her? Or maybe it was when you lied to me?"
"I am confused exactly how you show your love for me, Matthew." Catherine was screaming at him in the parking lot. Every word punctuated by hurt and anger.
"I didn't have sex with her Cat. I would never betray you."
"Matthew, you are the English major. Betrayal comes in many forms. And when you looked me in the eyes and lied to me, you betrayed me. You forfeited your place in my bed, my heart and my soul." The tears flowed freely from Cat.
"This is killing me. I loved you with every part of me."
"Loved? Do you mean that Cat? We can get past this. I thought we were each other's future." His voice was begging her. "Please, Catherine! I can't live without you! You are the air I breathe, the light in my darkness and the other part of my soul! We are soulmates, Catherine! You can't walk away from this!"
"Don't Matt! Do not make this harder than it is. If you love me, leave Matthew! Go Home! Don't call me! Let's part company. If you love me, you will stay away. Please..."
Matthew grabbed Catherine and kissed her. He kissed her with everything in his soul, everything in his heart and everything he needed her to know. With a final slap on the ass, he turned around and ran for his car. He ran from her tears, the pain in her voice and the look in his eyes.
In the years since he wondered what could he have said? What could he have done differently? How could he make her see they were supposed to be together? He'd always wondered what he would say to her if he saw her again.
Time stood still the moment Matt turned around and saw Catherine. She stood there with a broad smile on her face clearly pleased with herself. "I can't believe you were going to jog by me and not say hello. I thought we were better friends than that."
Matt strode back to where she stood with her dogs. "The last time I tried to talk to you, a man rushed you out. For all I know, he trained these dogs to do the same." Catherine laughed. "Besides I did not know if you were happy to see me, Peach. As I remember, I am dead to you and you never were a fan of ghost stories." His blue-gray eyes peered into hers "Are you happy to see me, Cat? I am really happy to see you."
Catherine broke their eye contact first. Her heart was slamming against her chest and she could not catch her breath. One of the dogs saw a squirrel and lurched forward. Already feeling unsteady, Catherine fell forward and hit the paved path. When she tried to stand up, she lost her footing and slid back on the ground.
"Cat!" Matt was by her side in an instant. "Are you ok?" He grabbed her arm and helped her up slowly. "Oh God, Cat you're bleeding." Her left knee was a bloody mess and her shins were scratched up. "We need to get that knee cleaned up and bandaged. A small crowd had gathered to offer assistance. Catherine nodded she was ok. Somehow she still held on to the dogs' leashes. Cat looked down at her legs and suddenly felt dizzy.
"It's ok everyone, I got her." He wrapped his arm around Cat. He whispered into her ear "The sight of blood still makes you sick doesn't it." Cat nodded. "Don't worry I got you. Nothing bad is going to happen. I promise you, Peach, it will be ok. Just don't look. Now tell me where your car is so I can help you there."
"I didn't drive here. I live three blocks away so I walked here." Catherine's knee was starting to throb. "Gambit, you're a naughty dog." The dog paid no attention to her and continued sniffing the bushes. "Come on puppies, it's time to head home. Who wants a treat?" The magical word caught their attention. "I am ok, Matt, I think I can make it home from here. It's just a scrap; I will not bleed to death by the time I get home."
Cat, let me help you. If not for me, you wouldn't have stopped so I am partially responsible." He gave her a small frown. "Besides I know you, pain and blood are a very bad combination." He didn't loosen his grip around her.
Cat nodded slowly ok. "Can you handle the dogs for me?"
Matt took the leashes. "Gambit? Really?"
Catherine looked up at him "The black one is Storm."
"Catherine, I wanted to discuss your midterm grade. Can you meet me in my office now?" Catherine's stomach tightened. This was not going to be good. The midterm was awful. Cat was completely unprepared for it. She blanked out at question one and never recovered.
Catherine grabbed her notebook and followed Dr. Dixon down the hall. Dr. Dixon was not only her instructor for Differential Equations but also her advisor. The silence as they walked was heavy. Dr. Dixon usually loved to chat but her silence spoke volumes. Catherine slipped into one of the office chairs preparing herself for what may come.
"Cat, I was shocked when I saw your test. This is my third class with you so I know what you are capable of. Grading this test was very disappointing." Dr. Dixon pulled a folder out of the file cabinet before sitting down. She fixed Cat and sad smile and slid it over to her. "I thought it best if I gave it to you privately."
Catherine opened the folder. A 63! Her jaw fell open. "Cat, this test is 25% of your grade. The second test is 25% and the final is 50%." Cat's mind quickly processed what she was saying. She would need to be almost perfect on the two remaining test to salvage a good grade. "Plus you can earn up to 5 points by doing the Extra Credit."
"I don't know what to say..." Catherine stammered. This was earth shattering. Catherine never failed a test before and to Cat a D- was a failure. Catherine looked over the problems. How could she have made such simple mistakes? Where was her head?
"Catherine, you will be applying to Master's programs in the fall. Grades like this will derail your chances. I need you to seriously think about what you want." Dr. Dixon slid off her glasses. "I was hoping you would be open to taking some classes next year at Wake Forest. Salem has a great program but Wake offers more. However, if your grades continue to suffer I don't think that will be an option."
Cat's heart sank. Dr. Dixon knew taking classes at Wake Forest was Catherine's goal. "Dr. Dixon, this test is not an example of the work I can do. Clearly, I was unprepared for the test."
"Why were you unprepared? None of these problems were new. We spent class time going over these exact problems. Or maybe the bigger the issue is that during class your mind is clearly on something else. Catherine, the class has 6 people. It is very obvious when a student does not show up physically and mentally. And the truth is you are not showing up. I don't take attendance but we both know how much class you've missed. And when you are there you clearly aren't. You need to take stock of your priorities. If you don't soon then not taking classes at Wake is the least of your issues."
Dr. Dixon put back on her glasses a signal to Catherine she was being dismissed.
'Matthew kept stealing glances at Catherine. She was telling him about her research for the navy. He didn't have the heart to tell her he was completely confused and overwhelmed. "Matthew, are you listening to me? Or are you too busy watching me?"
There were sitting on her back porch looking out over her nicely landscaped back yard. "Cat, you should know by now my brain is only designed to handle simple math. You lost me at triangulation. But I do see someone has been reading Pride and Prejudice." His eyes shifted to the book lying on the porch. She must have knocked it off the chair when she went to walk the dogs.
Matt leaned over and whispered, "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."
Catherine blushed. "I think you got me in bed once quoting Mr. Darcy. "
Matt looked at her "Will it work again?" Catherine's blush deepened. She straightened out her legs. The scrape on her knee was much bigger than she originally thought. Thankfully Matt helped her and the dogs' home. He'd even stopped and picked up Gambit's poop.
'Once they arrived at her house, Matt settled her in a chair on the porch and elevated her leg. In quick order, he'd given the dogs treats and found her first aid kit. Then he spoke to her in soothing tones as he cleaned the scrape with peroxide and bandaged her knee and shin. Catherine quickly flashed back to when she cut her hand chopping onions in his apartment.
"Do you remember when I sliced my finger cutting onions?"
Matt laughed. "I felt sorry for that poor ER doctor. Clearly, he was not prepared for the combined hurricane of Catherine and Patricia Miller."
Matt invited Catherine over to his apartment with the grand plan of making her dinner. Insisting on helping, Catherine began to slice the onions for the salad. Instead, she sliced her finger down to the bone. Once Catherine felt pain the hysterics began. There were tears, gnashing of teeth and rendering of garments.
Matt insisted it was a flesh wound but Catherine insisted he take her to the ER. To prove her point, she called her mother Patricia. Patricia was in complete agreement that Catherine needed to go to the ER immediately. Not so veiled threats of what would happen to him were shouted through the phone "If he'd let her daughter bleed to death."
The ride to the ER was eerily quiet. Matthew didn't know if Catherine was angry with him or in that much pain. Check in had gone smoothly. It was until the nurse looked at her finger that all hell broke loose. Catherine fainted. One sight and she literally fell to the floor. The nurse screamed out for help and several people ran into the room. Cat was picked up settled into the bed and attached to machines.
Matt felt like a jerk. The dishtowel Catherine used to cover her finger was soaked with blood. The wound was deep and the doctor feared she sliced the tendon. Things went from bad to worse when her parents showed up.
Patricia Miller kicked Matt out of the room and told him to leave or sit in the waiting room. She demanded the ER doctor come and talk to her immediately. Matthew was not sure what transpired but Catherine ended up with IV fluids and a morphine drip. Luckily she had not sliced the tendon but the finger required two sets of stitches to close the wound.
"Catherine, if I never said it I am sorry I didn't believe you. You just went from normal Catherine to hysterical Catherine in a blink of an eye. Hopefully, I redeemed myself today."
"Matt, that's the past. I survived and Patricia did not kill you." Catherine laughed and stood up. "I am being a bad hostess, can I offer you something to drink: water, lemonade, beer, wine or bourbon. A little something to snack on maybe."
"Since when did you start drinking beer? As I recall you thought it was disgusting."
"When I discovered that there was more to beer than Icehouse light. And for the record that was at the time, I stopped considering Boon's Farm wine." Catherine disappeared into her house. He could hear the sound of doors opening and closing, drawers shutting.
"Cat, your back yard is beautiful. You must spend a lot of time out here." Matt had to admit all of what he'd seen of Catherine's home was beautiful. The house was a green craftsman with cream trim. Despite it being only early April the grass was a green carpet. There was a white picnic table with benches. Along the detached garage was a tulip bed with amazing color. In the back was a fire pit surrounded by chairs and a small water feature. A herb garden was closest to the house.
"I can't take credit it for it. Most of this is my Dad's handiwork. When I bought this house the yard was mostly dirt patches. He put his heart into it." Catherine sat down a tray of assorted cheeses, crackers, nuts fruits, and olives. There were 2 beer glasses filled with dark brown liquid. "None of that IPA stuff in this house."
"Well, you were always his little girl. And clearly, you are Patricia's daughter too. If you want snacks at my house I'd be hard press to offer you more than some beef jerky or Oreos. Is that a cheese server?" Matt could see Catherine blush, it just made her look more beautiful to him.
This is a very nice house for one person, Catherine."
"I don't live here alone." Cat noticed that Matt paused in mid drink. "The dogs live here too and there is an old cat somewhere in there."
Catherine could see Matt relax. "No husband or children then, just a very territorial boyfriend."
"Did you come here to talk to ask me about my boyfriend?" Catherine popped an olive in her mouth. Silence settled between the two. She knew Matt wanted to ask but knew he didn't want to hear her answer. "We met a little over 2 years ago at church. He's an orthopedic surgeon, an avid hockey fan, makes me laugh and takes great care of me. My parents love him and his parents love me. He is ready to get married and have babies."
"No comment. So what about you Matt? Wife, children or significant other?"
"I am divorced about 4 years now. We met in law school and got married after graduation. She said there was a ghost haunting our relationship and I married her because my first choice was unavailable." He took a slow sip of his beer. "I never thought I would see you again Catherine. I tried to put you out of my mind but you kept creeping back in. I guess I didn't do a good job of covering it up."
"Well, John would say you are not the only one haunted by a ghost. I never told him about you and he is pissed about it. One doesn't exactly expect to run into your former great love at a coffee shop. I would have put on makeup."
"You look beautiful Cat. You still look like that girl I met on the third floor of the library." He turned and looked at her.
Catherine raised her beer glass, "Then let's toast to my hair stylist and expensive face creams. But on a serious note, you weren't going to mention you were a lawyer?"
Matt smiled at her "Graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2010. I taught English and coached track at a prep school in Charlotte before that. I practiced general law and then specialized in patent law. I joined a firm in Alexandria about 6 months ago."
"I wonder what was more impressive the teenage crushes inspired by you reading the poetry of Keats or you in your track shorts. I am sure you got plenty of requests for after-school tutoring." Catherine knew she hit a nerve when his ears turned pink. "I know all the dirty thoughts that would run through my mind." Catherine licked her lips.
"Having any of those thoughts now? If it helps, I could recite some poetry. I remember that used to turn you on." Matthew put his beer glass down and stood up. "Maybe you want to give me a tour of your house?"
Catherine stood up. "Any room, in particular, you want to see?" She stuck her tongue out at Matt. "We can start with the laundry in the basement if you want." It only took a few quick steps before she was in Matt's arms. His mouth descended on top of hers.
Catherine showed no resistance to Matt's kiss. She closed her eyes and melted into him. His tongue parted her lips and slid into her mouth. Her tongue resumed a familiar dance with his. She tickled the roof of his mouth with hers. He could feel her smile.
Matthew rubbed his hands up and down her back. He didn't want this feeling to end. But he didn't want to push Cat to feel uncomfortable. He broke the kiss. He pulled Catherine into a hug. He wanted to feel her body close to his. "Peach..." her murmured in her ear. "Oh how I've missed you Peach..."
Catherine kissed him along his jaw and under his chin. She kissed her way to his ear and took it between her teeth. She nibbled on it. "Peach, I don't want to push you into something that you don't want. Just let me hold you."
"Matt, your friend is saying something different" Catherine whispered in his ear. Matt was aware of his erection pressing into Catherine. She looked into his eyes. "Matthew, I have wanted this since I saw you at the coffee shop." She stepped out of his arms, smiled at him and took her top off.
"I think you said something about seeing my bedroom...follow me." Catherine took Matt's hand and led him into the house.
Catherine was waiting for Matt at their usual table in the library with her math book spread open. Dr. Dixon's test was on Monday and for Catherine the stakes were high. Her parents were already concerned about the amount of time she was spending with Matt. If she failed this test, Catherine knew there would be consequences.
"Hey, beautiful." Matt leaned down and kissed her cheek. He took the seat next to her. "How are things in the world of Differential Equations?" Catherine gave him a pained look. "Cat, I know you are stressed out but you need to relax. You won't do well if you are all tensed up."
"Here let me help you relax." Matt looked at her with a goofy grin. He took the sides of her face in his hand and planted a kiss on her. Catherine wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back. "Dr. Dixon would say less of that and more time in the books."
"So when is the big test?
"Monday. I am starting to think she doesn't want me to have any fun this weekend. I am considering heading home to my parents to avoid any distractions." She winked at him.