Previously on HFN: Storms and Skype
Kate nodded. She looked out the window. “Looks like it let up some. Want to run for it?”
“Sure. I’ll get your door,” he said, but Kate was already out and running for it.
Spencer shook his head, running after her. Kate waited for him inside the door. “Well, that was fun,” she said.
“Something like that. Come on.” He led her to the area where they could find the equipment he needed. Spencer picked up a few packages and some cables. Kate just followed, letting him do his thing. This was definitely out of her realm. “Got everything I need. You need anything?”
Spencer walked over to the checkout. Kate pulled out her wallet, but Spencer said, “Let me get it. It’ll be faster.”
She didn’t want to protest and make a scene, so she kept silent. Spencer paid cash which surprised her. She took the bag while he got his change. “I’ll pay you back in the car,” she said. “I’ve got cash.”
“Nope. I got it.” He headed out the door.
“Spencer, I’m paying for my equipment.” She stalked off after him.
Now I’ve probably made her mad, Spencer thought. Oh, well. Wouldn’t be the first time. Kate beat him to the car, and crossed her arms impatiently. Spencer walked slowly on purpose, so she had to listen to him when he got to the car. The rain had slowed to a sprinkle. “I’ve paid, and that’s that. I’ll put it together and if there’s any problem, I’ll have the receipt. So, are we cool?” He spoke slowly and succinctly as if to a stubborn child.
“I’m getting wet.” Kate answered through clenched teeth.
“So, are we cool with that?” Spencer repeated, making sure she looked at him. After all, he had the umbrella and wasn’t getting as wet. He could stand here all day.
“I’m not only cool, now I’m wet. Will you please open the darn door?”
“It’s unlocked.” Spencer grinned as he walked back around the car after opening her door, much to her chagrin. He slid in next to a cool and stiff Kate.
“You’re making it difficult for me to be independent and self-sufficient, you know.”
“I’m glad you brought that up.” He started the car, turned down the country music, turned the defrost on high, and flipped the wipers back on before he turned to her. “Why are you always refusing help and trying to be so self-sufficient, anyway? What are you trying to prove?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” She reached for the towel in the backseat.
“Have you ever been a damsel in distress?”
“Of course not! And why should I be?” Kate dried off her arms and legs vigorously with the towel before tossing it to him.
“Gosh, Kate, you make it sound like it’s a crime.” He took the towel and dried off.
“Maybe in my book it is.” Kate stared straight ahead.
Spencer didn’t say anything, but pulled out of the parking lot and headed for her apartment. After a few minutes of silence, he said, “I’m sorry. I just try to do the right thing, and sometimes I forget it interferes with women’s lib and all that.”
“I’m not a libber. Just fiercely independent.”
“You got the fiercely part right,” he muttered.
Kate dropped her head against the head rest. “I’m sorry, too. I just miss John and I’m tired of Ruth’s bullying and tired of the heat, and—“
“It’s okay. I got it.” Actually, if he told the truth, he didn’t. But it wasn’t worth arguing about. He figured it probably had something to do with her mother leaving her when she was a child and never getting over it. He’d sure feel hurt if his mother had done that. He knew Kate tried to put on a strong front, but he didn’t know how deep it went and whether she ever had counseling or therapy to help her deal with the emotional trauma.
As he drove down Interstate 64 back toward her place, he thought about Kate and John. Kate always tried to act cool and tough. And Spencer had a secret, sworn by John to never say a word to Kate about it unless he absolutely had to. He hoped that day never came. Because he didn’t know how Kate would handle it if she found out.
Next time on HFN: Kate and Spencer Have Dinner
Until next time,