Katie opened the umbrella before shutting the car door. The rain continued from the late afternoon well into the evening. She hadn’t anticipated his message waiting for her after the run. But it had been there suspended in time like those things that haunt people.
“Lindsey,” she nodded as he stood in greeting. She hated this restaurant, she thought as she turned her face so he couldn’t kiss her on the mouth. She hated the cheesy décor and the employees ready to pounce at any second. A quizzical look passed through his face but he covered it quickly. She did not want to postpone the inevitable.
“How was your trip?” Lindsey asked. Her brain flipped through flashes of a maze and searching for water taped to the bottom of chairs. She thought of the bruises and scrapes obtained while attempting to trip her captor by surprise. She had done it too, more than once. She had enjoyed lying to him and enjoyed getting caught in her web of falsehoods almost as much.
“It changed my life.” She spoke softly only to be interrupted by the overanxious waitress. “Don’t worry about me; I’m not staying.” The server’s smile froze and Katie’s tone kept the girl from staying. Girl, thought Katie, they probably weren’t far in age.
“You’re not?” she’d surprised Lindsey. Katie shook her head because there was so little left. He started to say something then paused to gather his thoughts. “What’s wrong?” I was called a liar on my ‘trip’ and it changed my life, she wanted to yell. But there would be little point. Lindsey wouldn’t understand and she didn’t want him to.
“We’re not right for each other,” she settled for this instead of just not returning his calls.
“That’s what you figured out on your trip?” He spoke slowly like he didn’t believe her.
“I never asked for exclusivity,” she reasoned like he really shouldn't take this all that hard.
“Yeah, you wouldn’t let me tell anyone we were dating,” he snarked. Dating highly exaggerated their situation. She met him after work a couple of times on the nights she stayed late at work. It had not interrupted her routine and that is how Lindsey had stayed within the cheesy décor. “Did you meet someone? You owe me that much.” She had met someone but it did not mean what Lindsey thought it did.
“It’s important that I be alone right now.”
“You’re different.” She leaned over the table and kissed his cheek with a mysterious smile.
In the car she contemplated Lindsey’s statement. Yes, she was now the type of woman who could keep a relationship a secret from people who had dossiers. That’s not what she wanted and neither was Lindsey. She wanted to break a heart… break a specific heart by letting him know she was a liar before the course. That specific heart cared about taking her apart and putting her back together the way he wanted. He hadn’t gotten everything out of her because he didn’t know her like he thought he did. And this is why she needed to be alone or at least with someone who wouldn't care about scars on her shoulder or bruises on her body gained in an attempt to not be a coward. Katie finally understood what bravery was and that was worth holding onto.