Previously on "She
" (Part 2 of The Dim Sum Diaries Romantic Mini-Series)...Later that evening after the party, Dan sat on the couch of his darkened apartment. The TV was tuned to ESPN. He sat nursing a beer while watching the sports highlights of the day. The doorbell rang. Perhaps it was Kate, he thought. He nervously ran his fingers through his hair. Wearing only a bright yellow "Semper Fitness" t-shirt and boxers, he hoped he looked presentable. He walked over and opened the door. However, the person standing casually in the doorway wasn't who he expected.
It was Brad.And now, the exciting conclusion!!!
"What are you doing here?" Dan asked without preamble.
Brad straightened and shrugged. "I wanted to talk. Do you think I could come in?"
Dan folded his arms across his chest. "No."
"Look, Dan," Brad said, dropping all pretense of politeness. "I know I screwed up, but I'm trying to get back with Kate."
"And?" Dan said sarcastically.
"I'd have a better chance if you got out of the picture," Brad said bluntly.
"You pretty much screwed yourself over when you left her waiting in the ER for two hours with a broken arm while you watched the game!"
"I already apologized to her! Shit! How long is it going to take for her to get over that?"
"I don't know. You'll have to ask her," Dan said.
"She listens to you, Dan."
"I'd only be telling her what she already knows."
Brad narrowed his gaze. "I know why you are acting like this. You want her for yourself, don't you?" he said. "I have to admit, she's a nice piece of ass."
Dan lost what little patience he had. He moved forward menacingly, poised for confrontation. "Talk about her like that again and I'll break both your legs," he said grimly.
Sensing it was time to retreat, Brad backed off. "Fine. But just remember she'll never go for a dumbass Jarhead like you," Brad said as a parting shot. He walked away quickly before Dan could make good on his threat.
His jaw clenched, Dan closed the door firmly behind him.
Kate sat nervously in her car. She had been parked outside Dan's apartment for the last ten minutes, debating whether she should go in or not. She'd better decide soon, as the pizza she brought with her was getting cold. She caught someone walking out of Dan's apartment building out of the corner of her eye. The figure headed in the opposite direction.
Was it Dan? If it was, crap. All this planning would be for naught. But then she recognized the figure. She narrowed her gaze. It was Brad. Damn damn damn!
Kate picked up her cell phone and quickly dialed Lynn's number.
"Lynn!" Kate whispered loudly when she heard Lynn say hello. "I just saw Brad walk out of Dan's apartment building!!! What the hell is that about, do you think?"
"What? You're still not inside? What are you waiting for?" Lynn said ignoring Kate's initial comment.
"I'm getting there," Kate protested half-heartedly.
"The both of you need a kick in the butt!"
"What if he thinks I'm being too assertive?"
"Well its time one of you was. You mooned over him the entire time he was deployed," Lynn reminded her.
"I did not!"
"So what was with all those packages and letters? I swear, you single-handedly kept the U.S. Postal Service in business. By the way, I hear they have a budget surplus this year," Lynn sniggered.
"Can't you be serious for a minute?"
"Fine. You really want to know what I think?"
"I'm sure you are going to tell me regardless."
"I think you are in love with Dan. So get off your ass and do something about it. And don't call me again. Until tomorrow morning to give me the juicy details." The phone clicked as Lynn cut off the call.
"Fine," Kate muttered to no one in particular. She took a deep breath, gathered her resolve and stepped out of the car.
Dan was in a foul temper as he sat trying to read the Noam Chomsky book he bought the other day. However, after reading the same sentence several times, he rubbed his eyes tiredly. He took Kate’s picture, the picture he had carried around with him when he was deployed and tucked it into the page as a bookmark. Perhaps he should just go to bed. Maybe he should call Kate first, just to check in with her... His thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door.
It was probably Brad again, Dan thought grumpily as he stalked to the door. Perhaps pummeling Brad would relieve some of the pent-up frustration he'd been feeling. Without even bothering to check who it was, he flung the door open and stopped and stared as he realized it was Kate.
She had a pizza box in one hand and a bottle of Merlot in the other. She grinned impishly. "I come bearing gifts," she said.
When Dan still said nothing, she said, "Am I interrupting anything?"
"No," Dan said and stepped aside to let her in. You didn't have to go through all this trouble."
"Oh, it was no trouble," she assured him. "I thought I saw Brad walking away from here. What happened?"
Dan's jaw tensed. "Nothing worth recounting."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes," he said. "Let's eat." He took the pizza and the wine from her and went to the kitchen to get some plates. Although she raised her eyebrow at his foul mood, Kate let the subject drop. They made quick work of the pizza and the excellent wine, then decided to watch a movie. As he searched through his stack of DVDs, Kate finished putting the dishes away. Settling back on the couch, she spotted the Chomsky book. Dan probably wouldn't mind her borrowing it, so she picked it up and tucked it in her purse.
“Hey,” she asked. “I'm borrowing one of your books, okay?”
"Sure, sure," he muttered. "So, what’ll it be? Lord of The Rings
or Die Hard 2
Perhaps it was time to make her move. "I'm going to the restroom. Be right back," she said. She sounded casual, but her heart was pounding a mile a minute.
"Sure," Dan said distractedly. The bathroom was located in his bedroom. She closed the bedroom door behind her and opened Dan's closet in search of one of his dress shirts. Finding one, she went to the bathroom to slip out of her clothes and put the shirt on. She left the top three buttons provocatively undone, coupled with a sexy pair of black lace panties. Nervous now and biting her lip, she fussed with her hair a bit. She eyed herself critically in front of the mirror. Not bad, she thought.
She turned off the bathroom light and took a breath, attempting what she thought was a sexy pose.
"Dan, can you come in here for a minute? I need your help with something."
"Did you fall in or something? I..." Dan walked into the bedroom, but stopped when he took in the sight of her. "What are you wearing?" he gulped.
"Your shirt. Do you want me to take it off?" she said silkily.
"Yes! I mean, no! I mean..." Dan backed away as she advanced towards him, unaware that she was angling him towards the bed. He stopped when the bed hit the back of his legs. There was no retreat.
"You kissed me the other day, Dan," she said. She pushed him onto the bed. He fell flat on his back with surprising ease. "And now I'm going to kiss you. Do you have a problem with that?"
"Yes...no...Kate..." he managed to babble before she climbed onto the bed and straddled him. She pressed her lips to his in a tentative kiss, pulling back after a moment. She could feel his harsh, uneven breaths against her cheek, as he pulled her roughly against him so that her body was full-length against his. His body was hard and clenched all over as she ran her hands up and down his back. Groaning, he pulled back.
"Kate," he managed. "We better stop before..." Her response was to wantonly rub herself against him. He gasped. The sensations were intense...too much, too soon... He could only take so much. He firmly but gently pushed her away.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
He rolled them both around so that their positions were reversed. Now he was the aggressor. He gazed into her dark chocolate brown eyes. "Its all or nothing, Kate," he demanded tersely.
Her hand moved of its own volition from his cheek to his jaw line. "All then," she said equably.
Dan groaned and kissed her again with all the love in his heart...
A few days later, Kate sat alone at the bar, sipping a martini. It was after work and she was meeting Lynn and Dan, both whom hadn't yet arrived, for drinks.
"Walter," she called out, gesturing to the bartender. "Another one of these, please."
Walter the barkeep finished wiping up the dark mahogany counter and winked at her. "No problem," he said cheerfully.
The bar had not yet filled up with the upwardly mobile young professional crowd that usually hung out here. As she toyed with her drink, she smiled giddily to herself. Things with Dan were going well...and one could dwell forever on his powerful well-muscled body that always moved with easy grace. His brilliantly intelligent eyes...his excellent ass...
"Hey, baby!" a deep voice boomed behind her.
"What!" she yelped, startled from her thoughts. She turned to see Lynn gazing bemusedly at her. "Lynn, you have to stop doing that."
Lynn grinned as she sat down next to Kate. She gestured to Walter the barkeep. "A white wine please." She turned her attention back to the conversation. "So how are things going with Dan?"
Kate sighed happily. "It's incredible..."
Walter stopped by them again. "Don't look now, but Brad's coming this way."
"Shit," Kate muttered under her breath.
"Hi Kate, hi Lynn," Brad said as he walked up to the bar and took the other seat next to Kate. Both returned his greeting with something less then enthusiasm.
"Hey Lynn, do you mind if I have a minute alone with Kate?" Brad asked.
"Sure," Lynn replied. "I need to freshen up anyways." After sharing a decidedly feminine glance with Kate, Lynn stood up and headed towards the restroom.
"Anyways Kate," Brad said, "I want you to know that I still love you. I'm so sorry about the broken leg incident, but can we put that behind us?"
Kate raised an eyebrow. "You have a funny way of showing your love," she said sardonically.
"Kate, I said I was sorry! Can't you give me another chance?" Brad asked plaintively.
She took another sip of her martini. "I don't think so, Brad," she said firmly.
"Its Dan, isn't it?" Brad said bitterly.
"That's none of your business."
"He got to you, didn't he?"
"I saw you walking out of his apartment building the other night. What did you say to him?" Kate demanded.
"Never mind that..."
"You better tell me. Now."
"Fine! I asked him to step aside so I could have a chance with you!"
"Let me make it perfectly clear. You and I were over a long time ago. I'm with Dan now."
Brad took Kate's hand in his. "I don't understand how you can be with a guy in the military," he tried in a more reasonable tone. "His occupation is so unstable and you'd have to move everywhere. His kind stands for all that is wrong. Didn't you oppose this conflict?"
Neither Kate nor Brad saw Dan enter the bar and stop suddenly. He stared at the pair arguing heatedly for a moment and left.
"Brad, it’s over." She took her hand from his. "I think you should leave now."
Realizing Kate would not change her mind, Brad sighed. "Fine," he said and left the bar.
Lynn came back. "Is everything okay?" she asked cautiously.
"Yes," Kate said calmly. Kate and Lynn waited for Dan, but he never showed.
It had been exactly three days. Dan hadn't returned her calls. Or wouldn't, Kate fumed as she scrubbed her tub. Cleaning her apartment was her way of coping with stress and frustration, resulting in a meticulously clean abode. She'd guessed that he'd seen her arguing with Brad and walked out. And didn't even give her the chance to explain.
The man had a stubborn streak a mile wide and a head like a rock. Perhaps drastic action was necessary to remedy the situation. She considered her options briefly. Deciding on a course of action, she got up and picked up her cell phone off her bed. After punching in a number, she waited.
Dan sighed as he sat in the family room of his parents' house. He and his Dad were watching the news and drinking beers. After not answering any of Kate's calls for a few days, he'd come to the conclusion that he was a fool. He missed her rather desperately...the way she walked around barefoot (big turn-on for him)...silly little things like that. Perhaps he should call her...
He was about to tell his dad goodbye when the sound of his mom banging around in the kitchen caught his attention. He leaned over to his dad.
"What's up with Mom?" he asked curiously. Karen had called Dan and suggested that he come over. Knowing the tone that his mom had used as one he would never dare disobey, even if he was a full grown adult male, he had come over immediately.
Dan's father rolled his eyes. "I don't know, Son. I just nod and smile. She's been like this all day. Shh! She's coming now!" Dan's father quickly quieted at Karen's approach. Karen beamed at Dan. The hairs on the back of his neck prickled in warning.
"Dan," she said cheerfully. "I need you to do me a favor, Son."
"Sure, Mom," he said cautiously. "What is it?"
Karen held out a large box. "I need you to deliver this to Kate. It’s my heirloom Waterford punch bowl. She needs it immediately for her parents' 30th anniversary party tonight."
Dan took the box from his mother and stared at it suspiciously. "Why does she need your whatsit bowl? Doesn’t the caterer provide such things?"
"The caterer didn't have one," Karen hedged. "So she needs it now." Karen glanced pointedly at her watch. "And by the way," she added as she handed Dan a garment bag. "You better wear this."
Dan frowned as he unzipped the garment bag. "My dress blues? What? Where did you get this from?"
Karen paused for a moment. "You left one hanging in your old bedroom. It is a formal affair, after all," she said a little too innocently.
“So, you called me over here to deliver a punchbowl to Kate,” he said incredulously. “In my dress blues.”
"I'd go, but my joints are bothering me." Karen patted her heart in a gesture that always got the men in her family to see things her way. Realizing that he was fighting a losing battle, Dan shook his head in bewilderment as he went to his old bedroom to change. His mother had successfully played the trump card of guilt. "I thought the party was next week," he mumbled to himself. He'd forgotten how adroitly his mother could handle him. After dressing in his uniform, his mother had all but pushed him out the door.
“Don't mess it up! It’s very delicate!” she warned direly.
“Yes, ma’am,” he muttered. He wondered if she meant something other then the punch bowl as he drove towards Kate's apartment.
Feeling somewhat of a fool, he knocked at her door. Kate answered and let him in. The apartment was dimly lit with candles, and soft romantic music floated through the air. Dan looked so handsome in his uniform that Kate caught her breath.
He thrust the package into her hands. "My mother said you needed this," he said curtly.
"Oh, the glass flutes. Thanks," she said.
His gaze narrowed. "No, it was a punch bowl."
"That's right." She cleared her throat. "The punch bowl." She walked over to the kitchen counter to set it down.
"The party isn't tonight is it? You and my mom set me up," he accused.
"That's right. You were set up." Temper flaring, Kate put her hands on her hips. "I can't believe you! You didn't even ask for any explanation before you passed judgment! Then you don't talk to me for three days! Something drastic was needed to get through the rock that passes for your head!"
Dan raked his hand through his hair. "I'm sorry. I was jealous," he said contritely.
She'd been ready for an all-out argument with Dan. Getting none, she eyed him warily. "I gathered. But I told Brad it was over. But there is something I want to know. What is this?" She held up her picture she'd found in Dan's Noam Chomsky book. "Why is the picture so battered? Did you use it for target practice or something?"
"No!" he said. He took the picture away from her. "Its nothing," he muttered as he shoved it into his pocket.
She moved towards him and put her hand on his shoulder. He stilled. "Dan," she said gently. "Please tell me."
He looked into her eyes for a long moment before he answered. "That picture. I carried it with me everywhere. It meant home, and you. That way you were always with me. It always gave me hope," he said.
Moved beyond words, she cupped his face in her hands and touched her forehead to his.
"I love you," he said hoarsely. "I think I've always loved you."
“I love you,” she murmured as he drew her face to his in an urgent kiss. "And by the way, I'm not wearing any socks..."finis