Authors: Dina Silver
Kat Porter is a consummate romantic, eager for her chance to find love and commitment. But after her boyfriend of four years, Marc, grows apathetic and sends her calls straight to voicemail one too many times, Kat finally musters the courage to confront him. Though she's no fan of ultimatums, she's at the end of her considerable wits, and lobs a massive one his way, completely confident that he'll make the right decision when faced with losing her. He doesn't.
With radio silence from Marc, Kat's lifelong dream of finding a husband and forging a family is decidedly on the skids. That's when her childhood friend Julie steps in, forcing Kat on a blind date to help her move beyond the break-up. Not only does Kat botch the setup, she instead finds herself in hot pursuit of Julie's love interest, Ryan Sullivan. A man who, in addition to literally taking her breath away, is the living, breathing personification of everything Kat wants in a husband.
Can Kat connect with the man of her dreams without hurting two of the people she cares most about? At the same time, she must also contend with the quips of her beloved catty coworker Adam, her bi-polar boss Brooke, and a string of unpredictable plot twists. All the while, Kat's cheeky perspective and generous heart will leave readers savoring every moment of her endearing and comedic journey as Kat fights to land the love of a lifetime.
"I love Dina Silver's writing. She can write really great drama, romance, and comedy. Kat Fight was everything I wanted and needed. It was funny, sexy, and romantic." -
The Autumn Review
"Kat Fight has many of the elements we've come to expect in a great beach book, and Silver draws from her personal experiences to craft this fun read." -
"Kat Fight was hilarious, extremely enjoyable, and totally realistic. I felt that I knew Kat personally right away." -
Lost in Literature
Dina Silver is a writer, red wine drinker, cheese fry lover, and future cat hoarder. She currently lives with her family in suburban Chicago. Inspired by how she met her husband, Kat Fight is Dina’s second novel.
By Dina Silver
Copyright 2012 © Dina Silver
All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
To my husband
I’ve always wanted to get married. Not simply because I enjoyed fairy tales and layers of tulle at a young age
and I did—but because I truly wanted a husband and family of my own. My parents divorced when I was nine years old, leaving me desperate for my own chance at getting it right. A chance to meet my soul mate, fall in love, and stay committed. A chance to do things my way. A chance for a normal family with no screaming, no cowering children, and no more loneliness.
And while I’ve held onto that dream like a child holds onto a ratty, drool-stained blanket, I’ve never really obsessed about the particulars that are typically important to a bride. Things such as the gown, the flowers, and the color scheme never entered into my imagination. So on my actual wedding day, I was a little surprised to realize how meticulously every detail had been attended to.
There I was, all dressed in white with a soft veil loosely brushing against the skin on my face, feeling blissful and resplendent. I wore a strapless satin sheath and in my hands was a bouquet of dark red roses. I started walking slowly toward my groom standing curiously far away from me at the end of the aisle. So far away, in fact, that I was having a difficult time focusing on his face. The more I walked the farther he seemed. I paused at one point to observe the people standing on either side of me on that gloriously sunny day and marveled at them smiling in my direction. It was finally my day. My chance.
Feeling much more secure, I closed my eyes for a second before continuing. When I opened them, I was lying on the lobby floor of my apartment building, trying to remember what made me lose consciousness.
I burst off the elevator like a racehorse out of its gate and run to my desk before Brooke realizes I’ve taken a two-hour lunch. I managed to get most of the groceries home before rushing back to the office, but I had to make one last stop on the way back to get Marc’s favorite salad dressing. Since the only things I’ve learned how to cook in my twenty-six years are baked potatoes, potato skins, spaghetti with jarred sauce and tuna salad—my kitchen is not equipped to make much else—so I knew when I planned this steak dinner for Marc that I would have a ton of shopping to do. I’m sweating as I dump the salad dressing in my desk drawer and then grab my phone and scramble to the conference room for a creative meeting. Adam stops me before I enter the empty room five minutes late.
“Where is everyone?” I ask him.
“Dave canceled the meeting,” he says, delicately placing an Altoid on his tongue. “Which you would have known if you hadn’t fled the building earlier. You ran out of here like I did when I had that phantom farter in my Bikram yoga class.”
“I’m making dinner for Marc tonight, and work has been so crazy that I haven’t had any time to go to the grocery store.”
He looks me up and down as if he doesn’t recognize me. “You’re making dinner for Marc?”
“You’d have better success climbing Mount Everest in those dated wedges you’re wearing,” he says and points at my feet.
“Thank you.” I smirk. “But I’m honestly not in the mood for you at the moment. I love you, and I will see you later.”
“Ta-ta,” Adam calls after me.
I finish my work by six o’clock, and after one last stop to
grab Marc’s favorite beer, I’m back at my apartment ready to make dinner. I live alone in Lincoln Park, a city neighborhood just a couple miles north of the Gold Coast area, where my job and the offices of Lambert & Miller Advertising are located. A brief commute is a must for someone like me who has trouble being on time. My apartment is a microscopic habitat that isn’t referred to as a studio only because there is a cupboard-like kitchenette with doors that separate it from the main room. Besides that, it’s four hundred square feet of home-sweet-home. The unit is located in a century-old Chicago high-rise that’s two blocks from Lake Michigan; however, my apartment is on the opposite side of the building and overlooks the much less serene Clark Street. This is nice because if I ever happen to sleep through my alarm, I can usually count on the #22 bus to grind its brakes outside my window and wake me up with that clatter instead. I try not to complain too much because at eight hundred bucks a month, the price is right, and I’ve suffered through enough roommates to appreciate any abode as long as I’m the only one living in it. Simple pleasures like my own leftovers in the fridge, my own socks on the floor, and my own long, brown hairy mess in the shower drain.
I asked Marc to come over at eight o’clock, so now I have roughly one hour to pan-sear two steaks, make two baked potatoes (my specialty), rinse and toss the salad, bake the Pillsbury crescent rolls and soften the filling for the cannolis, Marc’s favorite dessert.
Things between Marc and I have been strained lately. He’s been so busy with work that we haven’t spent any time alone together over the past few weeks. I’m hoping this dinner will not only give us time to reconnect, but also give Marc a renewed sense of appreciation for what we have. When he moved to Chicago for work last year, everyone assumed we’d get engaged soon after. Including me.
I initially fell for Marc in college, and I fell hard. He definitely brought out the best and the worst in me. I’d never fought with any boyfriends before Marc, so the few times I would find myself screaming at him about something, I was really surprised at my behavior because I hate arguing. I hate listening to people argue and I hate being in the middle of an argument. But after years of listening to my parents rip each other apart, I figured those were the struggles you had to endure for unconditional love. That to have someone care about you like that, you had to suffer a little bit too. “Some things are worth the fight, Kat,” my mom would tell me after one of her fights with my dad. Then they divorced.
But despite my arguments with Marc, there was always a lot of love between us. In fact, there were times when I thought no one else in the world would ever be capable of loving me as much as he did, even my own parents. If my parents truly cared about me, they never would have broken our family apart. They never would have made my sister and I choose whose house we wanted to go to for Thanksgiving—or who we’d rather have sitting in the bleachers during our ice skating show—or who we’d rather celebrate our birthdays with. Choices that made my stomach turn. Choices that made me soak my floral bedspread with tears. Then Marc came into my life and repaired my heart; he loved me unconditionally at one time and I was wise enough to appreciate it.
My cat Curtis is shout-meowing at me, so I tear open a can of tuna and dump it in his bowl. At about five minutes to eight I decide to pour myself a glass of wine and heat up the cast-iron pan. I double check the recipe book, which confirms to heat the pan slowly, that way, by the time Marc gets here he can have a beer while I finish up the meal. Small, non-threatening billows of smoke begin to rise from the empty pan at about ten past eight, so I lower the flame. At eight fifteen I send Marc a quick text, also non-threatening, asking what time he thinks he’ll be here. At eight thirty I turn the flame off and call him at the office. There is no answer. I call back five minutes later in case he was in the bathroom or something. Still no answer. At nine o’clock, I put everything back in the fridge, send another text and microwave myself a baked potato.
At nine thirty I get a text from Marc saying that he’s in a meeting, and that’s when I begin to lose my shit.
“Can you believe him!?” I scream aloud, although Curtis and I are alone in the apartment. And despite the volume, he sleeps through my outburst.
My stomach churns into a tightly wound mess as soon as I realize that, once again, Marc has simply brushed me off like an annoying fly buzzing in his ear. As I bravely prepare to call him for the third time in twenty minutes, I wonder which of his canned excuses he might use this time: “Someone is in my office” or “I’ve got another call” were likely candidates, but I am determined nonetheless. I take a deep breath; I pick up the phone and dial his number
. I can feel the blood racing through my veins as the line rings and goes straight to voice mail.
My throat clenches as I pace the dusty hardwood floor of my tiny apartment before sitting on the couch. Then I take a sip of wine and a deep breath and snatch the phone from the table in front of me. Tears of frustration begin to blur my vision, but I remain undeterred and repeatedly dial his number until I hear his voice on the other end.
“Marc Nolan,” he says curtly, as if it were one word.
“Where are you?” I blurt out.
“I’m at work, you just called me here,” he says.
I straighten my spine. “We need to talk,” I respond swiftly, shocked to hear both his voice and the apathy in it.
“Kat, I have someone in my office and I can’t talk now.”
I wasn’t surprised by his response, and in that moment the memory of countless other unreturned phone calls and texts come pouring down like a hailstorm. Like the time when my car died in front of Costco and I had to transport a trunk load of unbagged household crap into a taxi because Marc refused to answer his phone during the Bears game. And the time when I cooked lunch for him one Sunday and he never showed up. I sat and watched cheddar cheese congeal on two tuna melts because his phone was on vibrate. But I always forgive him because I love him. That’s what I do, and that’s what he expects from me. Why shouldn’t he?
“Then I’ll be brief,” I bravely interject, hoping he won’t hang up before I get everything out that I want to say. A fire has erupted inside of me as I stare at my empty kitchen. “I want you to leave me alone. I’m sick of your bullshit, Marc, so lose my number and don’t ever call me again,” I say as my hands begin to shake along with my lower intestine. Not exactly the confidence-laden monologue that I jotted down on the spiral notebook in front of me, but as the words exit my mouth, a wave of contentment washes over me.
There is a short pause and some muffled noise surrounding his phone receiver before he speaks again. Maybe he actually does have someone in his office. If I hadn’t already lost my pride the thirteenth time I’d hit redial, I might be somewhat embarrassed.
bullshit?” he shouts and whispers simultaneously. “You call me at work fifty times in the past five minutes to tell me this? It’s nearly ten o’clock. I’m trying to get out of here and I said I would call you back.” He makes no mention of our dinner plans.
“All you ever tell me lately is that you’ll call me back,” I enlighten him. “And that’s assuming I can even get you on the phone in the first place. You’ve been brushing me off and ignoring me for weeks now and I’m done.” I swallow, but the lump in my throat doesn’t budge.
My tactics for getting his attention have never been all that original, but they have proven effective in the past. After four years together, I know how to manipulate him to get what I want. And what I want now is for him to stop taking me for granted. I’m not one to publicly toot my own horn, but privately I think I’m a decent catch. I enjoy a good sporting event, I’m not a nag, I get asked out at the gym on occasion, and I don’t have a habit of throwing ultimatums around—until now. Because at this moment I swear that things between Marc and I will either go back to the way they were when we first started dating, or I will be forced to end our relationship. Right now.
Marc and I met during our senior year of college when we were both carefree and happily living off Ramen noodles and cans of tuna. We’d had the same Mass Communications class and became friendly over the course of a semester. After about six flirtatious communications of our own, he’d asked me to go to a fraternity barn dance, which, not surprisingly, included a roll in the hay and a suede flask filled with peach schnapps. At the time he was one of the funniest, most energetic people I’d ever met and we were inseparable for the remainder of our final year. He was always there for me, always doing sweet things like bringing me lunch or surprising me outside of my classes to walk me home. But those are distant memories, and lately he’s made me feel more like a burden than a girlfriend.
“You’re done?” he questions me with a snicker in his voice that only increases the pace at which my blood is speeding through my body.
“Yes,” I answer as calmly as I can so that he won’t accuse me of being irrational. “I’m sick of waiting around every night wondering if you’re going to text me or come over, or break our plans, or do nothing at all.” I wait patiently for him to respond and realize it’s taking longer than normal. His usual reaction is to appease me in the moment and then convey his annoyance later in the evening, a move which always puts me on the defensive and turns whatever was initially his fault into a situation where I’m apologizing to him. Another ten seconds pass.
“Fine,” he says.
“Fine, Kat, I don’t have time for this. You’re done, I’m done. I won’t bother you anymore and you won’t bother me anymore,” he says, leaving a deafening silence in his wake. “I have to go, so goodbye.”
“Goodbye, Marc,” I say and punch the talk button on my phone.
Did he really just say “fine?” Did the conversation seriously just end with him saying
? I stare, frozen and confused, at the ceiling hoping for some sort of clarity to come shining through the recessed lighting. Why didn’t he try and appease me? The coffee table in front of me is as good a place as any to put the phone down, but instead I hurl it all of six feet across the room and watch it bounce off the faux metal base of my Target floor lamp. Curtis lifts his tiny head from his front paw and glares at me.
“What?” I snap at him and then lunge for my wine.
I had a few preconceived notions about how the conversation would pan out, but what just happened wasn’t one of them. There was something different in his voice this time. Something indifferent, actually.
I flip through a magazine and wait for the phone to ring, but it doesn’t. At eleven thirty I tuck myself into bed and he still hasn’t called. As I drift off to sleep, I’m a little surprised by the absence of more tears. I can hardly remember a time when Marc and I had had an argument that didn’t conclude with my signature waterworks. It is liberating to lie my head down without the angst I typically endure. However, when my pea-sized bladder wakes me up in the middle of the night, I immediately check my phone for a text from him. There is none. I’m sure he’ll contact me in the morning. He doesn’t.
Today is Saturday, which will consist mostly of me lying in bed, watching TV, replaying my conversation with Marc over in my head a good forty-five times, checking my cell phone, and eating pizza-flavored Combos.
When the sun comes up Sunday morning, I crawl out of bed and sit on the floor in front of the mirror behind my closet door. My complexion is smooth, and my hazel eyes look especially green in the natural light. Curtis saunters in as soon as he realizes I’m awake and rubs against my hip. I grab my hair and fold it underneath itself to imagine what it might look like four to five inches shorter, then quickly release my grip. Just because one thing in my life has changed doesn’t mean everything else has to. As I sit staring at myself with Curtis now aggressively shoving his nose into the small of my back, my muscles become limp, like the air being let out of a balloon. Two nights before I’d been full of life, but once Marc called my bluff, he left me drained. Curtis climbs into my lap and I burst into tears.