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Authors: Megan Nugen Isbell

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BOOK: After the Sky Fell Down
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“Do you ever stop eating?” Ben asked.

“Do you ever stop asking stupid questions?” Lacey fired back, throwing a handful of popcorn at him.  Ben bent down and picked some up and threw it back at her.

“Hey!  I’m not picking up after you two.  C’mon Ben,” Kathryn said as she took Ben’s hand and led him down the hallway towards her room. 

“Always a pleasure Ben,” Lacey called out as she brushed her brown hair out of her face and smiled briefly before turning her attention back to the TV.

“Likewise!” Ben shouted back as they walked into Kathryn’s room.

She shut the door and flipped on the light, throwing
her sweater and wallet onto the desk.  She felt Ben slip his arms around her waist and begin kissing her neck.  She carefully slid around until she was facing him.  He moved his kisses from her neck to her lips.  She rocked forward onto her toes to reach him.  They moved to the bed and slowly lay down next to each other.  Kathryn kicked off her shoes, which landed with a thud next to the bed.

“Please put those back on,” Ben joked, holding his nose.

“Very funny,” she said reaching over and slapping him playfully on the shoulder. “Can you ever be serious?”

“Of course I can be serious.  I’m serious that I love you,” he sai
d kissing her softly.

Kathryn snuggled closer into his chest as he stroked her hair.

“So, do you think my grandma will ever let up until I’ve slipped a ring on your finger?”

“Probably not.  She’s too cute though.”

“It doesn’t bother you then?”

“No.  I know she means well.”

“Sometimes I think she’s onto something though.”

“What do you mean?” Kathryn said, turning her head so their eyes met.

“I mean, I wish we could get married.”

Kathryn took his hand and squeezed it gently.  While her brain knew the smart thing to do was wait, her heart wanted nothing more than to begin her life with Ben. 

“What’s the purpose of waiting?” he continued.

“School, jobs, careers…” Kathryn began. “Need me to list anything else?”

“So?  What does all that stuff mean?  We’re going to end up together in the long run, so why prolong the inevitable?”

“Are you serious?”
she asked with a laugh, staring him in the eyes.

“Of course I’m serious.”

“We can’t get married…not yet anyway.  Like you said to your grandma, we’re only nineteen.”

“Age is just a number,” he laughed.

“Yes, age is just a number, but that still doesn’t explain how we’d support ourselves.”             

“We’d manage.  Why do you always have to over think everything?”

“I’m not over thinking.  I’m simply thinking.”

“So you don’t want to marry me?” Ben joked, but as Kathryn looked into his eyes, she knew he was serious.

“Ben, I want to marry you.  I want to be your wife more than anything in the world, you know that.”

He was quiet for a while, his eyes staring at the ceiling.  Then a smile spread across his face.  He eagerly moved in and began kissing her.  She wrapped her arms around him and relished in his embrace.  She knew someday they would lie together like this as husband and wife, but for now, just being together would have to do.  They had the rest of their lives together; there was no need to rush anything.

Chapter 2

 

Crap!  He’s early.
  Kathryn thought as the doorbell rang at ten to six.  She was still searching around the room as she heard the door open and then the muffled voices of Lacey and Ben going through their usual banter.  She continued to search the room, but a second later, she could sense Ben standing in the doorway.  She turned around and smiled at him.  He was leaning against the doorframe with his arms crossed and his mouth turned up in a crooked smile.

“Hey!” she said as if nothing was wrong.

“So, what have you lost now?” he asked raising an eyebrow.

“Nothing,” she said but she knew he could tell she was lying.

“Is it your wallet?”             

“No. I have my wallet.”

“Your cell phone?” he continued guessing.

“No.  I have my phone,” she said reaching into her purse and holding it up as proof.

“Then what is it?”

“Fine,” she finally relented. “It’s my keys.  I had them earlier when I ran to Target, but they’ve vanished.”

“It’s funny how everything of yours just vanishes.  They just sprout legs and walk away,” he laughed as he stepped into the room and began in the search.

“You know, you
are
ten minutes early.  Had you come when you were supposed to, I might’ve found my keys and we could’ve avoided this whole conversation.”

“You just don’t want me coming in and saving you once again.”

“You are not going to come in and save me,” she said rifling through the papers on her desk for the millionth time.

“Oh, I’m not?”

“No, you’re not,” she said looking behind the desk.

“Well, that’
s where you’re wrong.”

She stood up and turned around.  He was standing by her bed, holding up the key ring.

“Where’d you find those?” she asked reaching over and grabbing them from him.

“Between your mattress and the
headboard.”

“I looked there!”

“Just like you looked behind the couch last night,” he smirked.

“Whatever,” she groaned. “You planted them there.”

“I guess I can’t fool you.”

His cocky smile was just irritating and she reac
hed over and slugged him on the arm.

“So now you’re resorting to physical violence?”

“Maybe I am,” she said slugging him again.

“I wouldn’t do that again if I were you,” he warned with a grin.

“Oh yeah?  What’cha gonna do if I do?” she said punching him once more.

“This is what I’m gonna do!”

He reached over and grabbed her into a bear hug and playfully threw her down on the bed and began tickling her mercilessly. 

“Stop!  Stop!” she laughed, almost unable to breathe as he continued to tickle her.  “Stop!  I’m gonna pee my pants!  I swear I’m gonna pee!”

He finally stopped and as he looked at her, he was smiling wickedly, but then he reached down and wiped away the tears that had escaped her eyes from laughing so hard.

“You’re a jerk!  I hate you!” she said trying to be mad.

“No, you don’t.  You love me,” he said confidently and then bent down and began kissing her neck.

“No, I hate you.”

“You love me,” he whispered as his lips moved down to her collarbone and she knew she couldn’t keep up the farce.

“You’re right.  I do love you,” she said softly, wrapping her arms around him. 

He found his way up from her shoulder to her lips.  She eagerly kissed him back and she felt his hands fumble with the buttons of her blouse.

“Ben, we can’t.  We’ve got to get to dinner,” she whispered to him and he stopped.

“C’mon.  We can be a little late,” he said softly as he kissed her ear.

“No, we can’t.  Your mom’s making dinner and my parents will be there.  We’ve gotta go,” she said reaching up and buttoning her shirt again.

He sighed, but then sat up.

“You’re right.  I don’t want you to be right, but you are.”

“Then let’s go.” 

“Fine, but we’ll continue this later,” he grinned and she felt her cheeks flush at the thought. “I do believe you’re blushing Miss Lane,” he teased.

“I am not,” she said quickly as she stood up and pulled him to his feet.

“Do I make you nervous?” he continued with a smirk.

“Seriously, you are such a dork,” she said grabbing her coat and then took his hand as they walked out to the truck.  He helped her inside and then a few moments later, he was in the driver’s seat and they were heading to his parent’s house for Sunday dinner.  These dinners weren’t new.  Kathryn had become a common fixture there since she’d started dating Ben in high school, and her parents had even come over on occasion, like tonight.  The Bradley’s had become her second family over the years and she’d always enjoyed spending time with them.  Like her parents, they lived in Westerly, about a half an hour away from Kingston, where Ben and Kathryn both were both attending the University of Rhode Island. 

As they drove,
Ben reached over and turned up the volume on the radio dial.  They had been together so long, that long drives had become routine and they didn’t feel the need to constantly fill the silence with chatter.  As he drove though, he reached over and squeezed her hand.  She smiled and squeezed back. 

When they pulled up to the house, his grandparents’ familiar car was already in the driveway, but she didn’t see her parents’.  Ben parked the truck and then led Kathryn to the front door, which was decorated with an autumn wreath for Thanksgiving. 

“We’re here,” Ben announced when they walked inside. 

“Hey!” a familiar raspy voice said.  Kathryn looked up and saw Grandpa Dom’s smiling face peek out from the doorway.  A second later, Val joined him.  She walked out and first embraced Ben and then Kathryn. 

“How were the cookies?  Did he share any with you?” Grandma Val asked.

“They were so good and yes, he actually shared.”

“Such a good boy,” she said hugging him again and patting him on the chest before they all walked into the kitchen where Ben’s mom was mixing a salad and his dad was taking the lasagna out of the oven. 

“Hey you two,” his mom said looking up.  Ben went over and hugged his mother, followed by Kathryn.

“Hi Sharon,” she said. “Can I help with anything?”

“Thanks, but everything’s under control.  Glad you guys could make it. I know how busy life can get.”

“Your lasagna sounded a whole lot better than the mac and cheese my roommate was making.”

“It’d better be better than mac and cheese,” Ben’s dad, Scott piped in.

Kathryn glanced into the living room and saw Ben’s younger brother and sister, the seventeen-year-old twins, Allie and Luke, fighting over the remote control.  Ben walked over and jokingly slapped Luke on the side of the head, causing him to drop the remote.  Allie grabbed it and smiled up at her older brother in thanks.  Luke just rolled his eyes. 

“That’s a real charmer you got there Kathryn,” Luke joked.

“Oh, she knows,” Ben said reaching over and putting his arm around her and kissing her on the head just as the doorbell rang.

“I’ll get it. It’s probably my parents,” Kathryn said and headed back down the hallway to answer the door. 

When she opened it, her parents were standing on the porch.  Her father was wearing the same blue coat he’d had for years and his brown hair had traces of gray in it that she didn’t recall seeing the last time they were together.  Her mom, however, was wearing a new mauve sweater under her black pea coat and Kathryn could tell she’d just had her blonde hair highlighted. 

“Hey Kate,” her dad said as her parents walked in.  They took off their jackets and hung them on the coat rack and she leaned over and hugged them both.

“How’ve you been?  How’s school?” her mom asked as they walked towards the kitchen.

“I’m good.  School’s good.”

“How are your grades?” her dad asked.

“They’re fine,” she said with an eye roll. “You don’t need to worry.”

“I’m your father.  I’ll always worry.”

“Okay Dad,” she said ignoring him and then changed the subject. “It’s been a while since we all had dinner together.”

“Yes, it has, but I’m glad Sharon called.  We don’t get to see you and Ben enough,” her mom pointed out.

“I know, Mom.  I should come home more.”

“Well, we know how busy you are,” she said as they entered the kitchen.

“Maggie, Brian…It’s good to see you.  You’re just in time.  Dinner’s ready.  Why don’t you go have a seat,” Sharon called as she took the corn off the stove and everyone made their way to the dining room.

 

****

 

After dinner, Ben and Kathryn helped clear the table.  Everyone had congregated from the dining room into the kitchen and living room.  Both rooms were now filled with chatter and
Ben and Kathryn sat down to talk to Scott as he loaded the dishwasher.

“So how’s school?” Scott asked.

“Not bad,” Ben answered.

“How’s that astronomy class you two are taking?”

“I love it,” Kathryn answered and she saw Ben stand up from the stool he was sitting on. “Where’re you going?”

“Dad just reminded my about the Leonids.”

“The Leonids? What’re you talking about?” she asked confused, although she knew the word sounded familiar.

“The meteor shower Dr. Weaver told us about in astronomy.”

BOOK: After the Sky Fell Down
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