Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chapter 16

I've had a couple of you let me know that you weren't sure how you felt about the fight in the last chapter and as I always say, when you're looking into something from the outside, sometimes you have to have a little patience and emotions and facts will reveal themselves in time. I hope you have the patience to let Tabby and Sid reveal themselves.

“It was like providence or something, your calling when you did,” Tabby explained, linking her arm in her friend’s arm as they walked down the street. “I was already having my doubts about what I was doing there,” she added, trying to ignore the voice in the back of her head that kept saying she’d been too rough on him, that she hadn’t given him an opportunity to explain. “You gave me just the push I needed to get my head out of the clouds. You know what they say about too good to be true.”

“Believe me honey, if anyone does it’s me. How many times have you been there for me when I’ve picked yet another married jerk who swears he’s about to leave his wife?” Tabby tried to hide a smirk behind her cup. Poor Mel, she did seem to be a magnet for married men. It was probably her carefree nature. “I’m just glad you wised up to his bullshit before you ended up following him who knows where, into some shitty little apartment….” Tabby held up her hands and shook her head.

“I know, I know. I can’t believe I was this close to begging him to take me with him and I didn’t even know where he lived,” she added, giving a little shudder at the thought.

“Well I’m just sorry it’s taken a month to get this show going,” Mel apologized for what seemed to Tabby like the hundredth time since she’d arrived back in Vancouver.

“I had no idea just how much fixing up the gallery needed. It looked fine to me when I saw it with the agent,” she added as they rounded the corner together and headed down the street towards the new art gallery slash store that her friend and class mate Mel had just sunk her inheritance into.

“Well, let’s just hope we sell some paintings then,” Tabby laughed as they stopped at the coffee house on the corner. Mel ordered and Tabby didn’t argue. She really needed to sell some paintings. What with the flight home, tuition and rent, she didn’t have a lot of money left over, and she hadn’t managed to complete any of the commissions Harlequin had sent her. Not without her muse.

“I just wish we had more of the stuff you did of that lake,” Mel said, turning to hand Tabby a Venti caramel macchiato. “I think those are gonna go like hotcakes.”

“You don’t have to do the whole art dealer sell on me Mel,” Tabby snorted as she wrapped her fingers around the cup. It hadn’t exactly got cold in the mornings, but it felt good to have her hands wrapped around the warm cup anyways. She inhaled the strong scent of espresso mixed with sweet caramel and her stomach growled in response.

“And you don’t have to do the whole starving artist thing on me,” Mel grinned, handing her a doughnut.

“I had oatmeal this morning,” Tabby replied, partly to herself as she bit into the oversize, sugar glazed goodness of the gooey ring of deep fried fat.

“You’re probably just replacing sex with food,” Mel said as if she knew what she was talking about and both women laughed as they headed back onto the street. “Tell me again about your muse,” Mel added, sighing wistfully. Mel had taken one look at the jpgs on Tabby’s pc and demanded the entire lurid story.

“I’d never realized you were a romantic at heart,” Tabby replied, evading the question as she sipped on her coffee.

“Oh yeah, I love a good mushy romance, and what you had,” she grinned as they stopped in front of the gallery and Mel began to fish in her pockets for the keys, “was perfect right up until he called you cheap. I would have shoved my fist in his nose,” she added as she stuck her key in the lock. “You were way more mature than I would have been.”

“Oh I don’t know about that,” Tabby mumbled, the part of her that was still clinging to the belief that he really had been that perfect causing that little voice in the back of her head to get louder. “I’m not sure that running away was the most mature option I could have taken.” That was the other thing that wasn’t sitting so well with her. It had never really been like her to cut and run but the more she’d had time to think the more she’d convinced herself that he had someone else and that idea, more than anything else had made her run.

“Believe me, if he’s already lying to you and he hasn’t even made any kind of commitment, it’s just going fucking downhill from there,” Mel replied sagely as she turned the lights on and, for the first time, Tabby found herself standing in a room full of her work.

“Sheeit.” Tabby turned in a slow circle in the middle of the room, taking in the white washed walls, the subdued lighting and her work, hanging at eye level with spotlights and little cards next to them with her name on them.

“Impressed?” Mel asked, now having ditched her jacket, was wearing a black and silver gypsy top and matching broomstick skirt, looking every inch the art dealer.
“Overwhelmed,” Tabby grinned, grabbing her friend in a bear hug.

“Good, it’s good to see you smile again,” her friend whispered and as she stepped back and held her at arm’s length. “I’m telling you, if I met your muse boy, I’d kick him in the nuts.”

“Thanks but I don’t think I’m going to run into him again,” Tabitha sighed as she rubbed at her nose. “What perfume are you wearing?”

“Calypso Bellini, why, you want to borrow some for later?” Tabby shook her head and breathed in through her mouth.

“I dunno, must be coming down with something,” she laughed, dismissing the tickle in her nose as she headed for the centerpiece of the collection. It was a larger canvas, a bigger, more sweeping version of the painting she’d left behind to for Patrick’s mom of the doe and fawn. “Three thousand Mel? That’s a bit steep, don’t you think?” she asked, staring at the price written on the name tag. “I know I said I wasn’t sure if I wanted to part with it, but….”

“Oh you’ll part with it,” her friend replied, leaning her head on Tabby’s shoulder. “Everyone that’s seen this one wants it, including me, but I’ll be damned if either one of us is going to part with it for nothing. Now…I have all these fliers to fold and the champagne is being delivered in a couple hours, are you going to stay and help or what?”

“If you’re going to get us money like that, then yeah, I’m your indentured servant, at least until tomorrow morning. Maybe then I’ll be too rich and famous for you.”


Sidney sat on the edge of the bed, his feet on the floor, and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. Yawning, he stretched his back and winced. That was just another problem with not sleeping in your own bed, he thought to himself critically, not everyone could afford a posturepedic mattress.

“Where are you going? Come back to bed.” He didn’t even turn around. It was the same every time and he had his customary answer ready.

“I have practice.” It wasn’t a lie. It was an optional, but he went to every practice. As far as he was concerned, there was nothing optional about being in peak condition. Sid reached for his jeans, discarded on the floor next to the bed, and dragged them on.

“But you’ll call right?” There it was, the hopeful all too eager follow up question. Sid smirked as he reached for his dress shirt, taking the time to button it properly. It might only be practice, and half of the guys would know he was wearing the same clothes he’d been wearing last night but there was still no point in going in with the buttons in the wrong holes.

“I’m not gonna call,” he admitted as he turned, doing the last button up, grabbing his tie from where it had landed, draped over the lamp shade next to the bed. “And no, I probably won’t see you again.” He knew what it sounded like and he didn’t look back. He didn’t want to see the expression on her face go from hopeful, maybe even playful, to scorn, even hate. But it isn’t a lie, he thought, rolling his tie up and putting it in the pocket of his suit jacket.

She’d probably face-book her friends later that he was a lousy lay, and maybe she’d be right about that, he thought as he walked out of the room, already pulling his blackberry out to call a taxi to take him to the arena. He didn’t much care. This hadn’t been about her, so her feelings didn’t exactly come into it. She was just another girl with long dark hair that had, when he was onto his fifth glass of bourbon, reminded him of Tabby.

He knew it was bordering on pathetic and the guys definitely gave him the gears about it, but every time he convinced himself that he was over her, he’d see some girl with legs as long as a summer day and a thick mane of ebony hair and he couldn’t help himself. If he couldn’t have her, and he’d tried to find a Tabitha King on face book, twitter….he’d even had his agent put out feelers, everything short of hiring a private detective, with no luck.

If only he hadn’t run, but it was way too late for what if’s. He blamed the anger management work he’d been doing with the team psychologist. He’d been working so hard over the past two years to ‘cage the rage’ as the sports therapist called it, that it had just come naturally to him to turn and walk away when he’d felt the red mist settle around him.

And going to Vegas? Well, that wasn’t the most mature move he’d ever made. Of course he hadn’t really thought that she’d actually be gone when he got back, with his tail between his legs, ready to tell her everything and beg her forgiveness but instead of her he’d found an empty house and some snot nosed acne riddled teenager behind the counter of the bait shop.

And now? Well now he was sleeping his way through the regular season schedule with anything that looked remotely like her and feeling emptier inside every morning he crawled out of some stranger’s bed. But for an hour, or maybe, if they played along, a few hours, these girls whose names he didn’t want to know, were Tabby and he could be with her again.

“Feel better?” Jordy asked, rhetorically, as he fell into step beside him in the hallway. He didn’t need to be told that his behavior was far from his usual habits.

“You up to wind sprints this morning?” Sidney asked, changing the subject and getting in a dig of his own. His tall, blonde friend rolled his eyes in response and both chuckled as Sidney pushed the door open and walked out to the waiting taxi.

“I told you it would sell,” Mel whispered into Tabby’s ear, handing her another flute of champagne and grinning broadly. “And full price too,” she added as the two stood side by side, watching the young couple who were standing in front of the centerpiece of the show. “Go on,” Mel gave her a little shove in their direction. “Maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll offer to be your patron.”

This was why Tabby preferred the whole commercial side of the art world; having to thank people for putting money in her pocket made her feel awkward, at best, and a lot like a panhandler at the worst. Gulping down the champagne and letting the bubbles fill her head, she walked over to the couple who were still admiring their purchase.

“I was a little reluctant to let this one go,” she said hesitantly from just behind them. Both turned to look at where the voice was coming from. They were adorable, young and stylish, and it reminded Tabby of just how painfully alone she was in her black cocktail dress on a night that was important to her, but with no one to share it with.

“It reminds her of Bambi,” the ruggedly handsome young husband teased his wife, brushing his lips against her cheek as she made a face at him. It was an intimate moment and Tabby almost felt like she was intruding except that neither of them seemed to mind.

“Well, I don’t think any of us ever gets over Bambi’s mom…you know,” she added putting her finger to her temple and miming pulling the trigger of a gun. Thankfully they both laughed. “Hi, I’m Tabitha, the artist.” Tabbi rolled her eyes as she held her hand out to them both. “I’m sorry but it sounds so pretentious when I say that out loud.”

“I’m Kevin, this is my wife Katie and that,” he said hooking his thumb towards the painting, “is going in our daughter’s room,”

“I wanted to put it in a plain wood frame, you know, reclaimed wood. Like something from an old house or barn or something. But Mel, she owns the gallery,” Tabbi added, hooking her thumb towards where Mel seemed to be deep in discussion with another client near one of her paintings of the lake. “She said something about not making decisions for the client and how it confuses them when they’re trying to decide about where it fits in their house.”

“But those ones are framed,” Kevin replied, raising his eyebrow as he turned to look at some of the Harlequin prints.

“Well those ones are just prints. The originals are…well, they belong to a commercial company so they don’t really count,” Tabbi explained.

“Oh yeah?” he walked towards the wall where two of the prints were hung. Tabby felt herself flush as he turned back to her. “Like this guy needs more cash am I right Katie?” She watched as the two of them looked over the prints and felt her heart flutter in her chest like a caged bird.

“You know Patrick?” she asked, her voice almost catching in her throat as she said his name.

“Patrick?” Kevin turned to her and then back to the picture. “Huh…guess not. Must just look like someone.” He shrugged, reaching for his wife’s hand and Tabby felt her heart sink.

“Well…enjoy the picture,” she said quietly, heading for the privacy of the bathroom and some cold water to splash on her face.

They’d taken Philly down easily, almost too easily, he thought as he leaned against the bar, a glass of JD in one hand as he surveyed the bar. Max and Tanger had a couple of girls cornered near the dance floor. Jordan had a leggy blonde bent over the pool table, his arms along hers’ ‘correcting’ her shot. Dupes and Flower had a row of shots lined up and it looked like TK was planning on going head to head with one of the veterans, the goalie everyone called Johnny. Sid thought about going over to place a bet against TK on that when two girls walked by, one with playfully short brown hair and glasses, the other a little taller with a lean athletic build and long, long black hair brushing the small of her back.

“Give me a bottle of your best champagne,” he snapped his fingers at the bartender as he kept his eyes glued on the two girls. The bartender reached into the bar fridge below the cash register and handed it to Sidney along with two champagne flutes.

“Again?” Gogo asked as Sid pushed off from the bar and began to follow the girls. Sid didn’t answer, merely shrugged. “Why don’t you go after the real thing instead of this…bullshit?” he asked. Sid paused, staring after the girls before turning back to Gogo.

“If I knew where the real thing was, I would,” he replied with a shrug. It was the truth and it was all he could say and the only answer he could give.

He took the bottle and the glasses and began to push his way through the crowd looking for the girls. It wasn’t the answer, he knew it, but this is what he had. Tabby was like a ghost and she’d disappeared and he didn’t think he was ever going to feel what he’d felt in her arms.

“Looking for me?” a husky voice matched with sharp fingernails dragging down his arm got his attention and he turned to find the red lips of the dark haired girl close to his. He nodded and she smiled like the cat that got the cream.

“I want to blow this joint,” he said hoarsely as she slid her other hand around to grab his ass. “Coming?” He held the bottle up and she smiled, her smoky eyes creasing as she devoured him with her gaze.

“And coming and coming,” she purred, leaning in until her tongue was sweeping up his cheek and around his ear.

“We’ll see,” he replied, reaching for her hand and leading her out of the bar.


  1. Oh dear God. I almost died when he said “I’m not gonna call.” Gut-wrenching, and awesome of course. But SAD! I can't wait till they get back together, even if it's only have a huge fight. More soon please!!

  2. So close, yet so very far...almost thought Kevin and Katie were going to give it away in the gallery!

  3. Aw, I hope they meet up soon, they are so great together...I get the feeling she is pregnant!!

  4. I wanted Kevin to give it away SOOOO BAAAD! but Sid, Sid, Sid looking for love in all the wrong places was heartbreaking. Tabby seems to be eating alot and is sensitive to perfume? (or maybe I am reading into it, too much?)hhmmm.. I have been and continue to be hooked.

  5. I so thought that they were going to tell Tabby about that being Sid she had painted! Sid is really handling things very poorly. Can't wait for more!!!

  6. seriously i love this story and your writing soooo much! Half the time, when i finish reading a chapter all i think is "oh-muh-gosh!" ... like today ;)great update, still can't wait to see how tabby reacts when she finds out who Patrick really is! :)

  7. Tabitha sighed as she rubbed at her nose. “What perfume are you wearing?”

    “Calypso Bellini, why, you want to borrow some for later?” Tabby shook her head and breathed in through her mouth.

    “I dunno, must be coming down with something,” she laughed, dismissing the tickle in her nose as she headed for the centerpiece of the collection.

    she's deff pregnant!

  8. im not sure if i wanna go with what everyone else is saying about her being pregnant, just yet. seems to early to say that. sid is totally kicking himself in the ass right now. im hoping they can met up again soon.

  9. can we please hurry the makeing up process up please lol

  10. That was so incredibly sad to me. I felt bad for both Tabby and Sid with all their "what ifs" and dealing with the choices they made that day. I am wondering, however, how they'll find each other again. The circumstances surrounding that meeting are ones I'm really looking forward to. Great job!

  11. OH NO!!!!! Not Pregnant!!!!!! Meredith I have never asked you for anything, anything at all...Ok maybe a couple of things....OK I'm over my freak out now...sorry....continue...

  12. Sid came back from Vegas with a too little too late.
    So now he's a like a gigolo sleeping with every dark haired girl he can find.Hope he is using protection.

    Love Go-go's statement-“Again?” Gogo asked as Sid pushed off from the bar and began to follow the girls. Sid didn’t answer, merely shrugged. “Why don’t you go after the real thing instead of this…bullshit?” he asked. Sid paused, staring after the girls before turning back to Gogo.

    I hope she's not pregnant right now.She doesn't need that right now.

    So the question is.......will she find out who he is before he finds her again?

  13. Ok, so I'm not the only who thought she might be preggo... I really hope that's not what it takes to get them back together.
    and I hope she finds out who he is before he finds. I think she might be able to forgive a lot more easier that way.