Everleigh stopped at the bottom of the stairs, eyes shut, taking a deep breath, smiling, before opening her eyes again and stepping around the corner.There he was.
The same old KC, handsome as ever, but this time not here as a friend, but her date. Her heart was racing so hard that it nearly made her breathless as she tried to look effortless and elegant walking towards him.
He noticed her now, smiled as well and just said
That one word and smile made her incredibly giddy, she found it hard to hide her excitement.
“Mr. McCoy…” she smiled.
“Miss Cameron…” he returned her smile, and she felt herself flush, even more so when he produced a single red rose he had hidden behind his back, handing it to her. Her knees were about to go weak.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw her mom, producing suppressed “Aww” sounds next to her dad, looking on from a safe distance, as she accepted the rose and kissed KC on the cheek.
“Ready?” he asked, still with that same smile on his face.
“I’ll take that! Hi KC, have fun you guys!” Katie swept in and grabbed the rose as they left.
After KC opened the passenger side door of his car for her, she looked up and saw her parents in the kitchen window. ‘Helicopter much, you guys? But that is kinda sweet of them …’ she thought smiling.
He took her to a nice restaurant. Everleigh felt incredibly special, even though she had been to restaurants a million times. But never like this.
Walking next to him on a little stroll afterwards, holding hands, she felt so strangely happy, giddy and her heart skipped a beat each time she sneaked a peek up at him.
“Enough with the stares now. Since you are not offering, I am taking…” he said when he pulled her into his embrace and kissed her.
After the kiss she leaned against his chest, listening to his heartbeat, closing her eyes. OK, yeah, it was definitely safe to say that she was head over heels for him.
The following weekend was KC’s birthday – and the party her grandparents were throwing for him. They had not given him a choice, it was his 21st birthday, it was special and they would make it something to remember.
When Everleigh arrived it was already noisy and busy and colorful, music and food smells, people everywhere.
She greeted her family, then went up to KC’s room.
“Happy birthday!” she beamed as she entered and ran into his open arms.
“Definitely got that happy part right now! Glad you could make it.”
“Are you serious? I have been at every single one of your birthdays since you have lived here. And any other holi…”
He muffled her explanation with another kiss.
“So what didcha get me?” he teased.
“What makes you think you deserve a present? You already got me…” she giggled.
“True.” he chuckled.
“Don’t worry, I have a present, but you’ll have to wait for it. Sorry, not sorry.” she ruffled her nose, stuck out her tongue at him so he kissed her again.
“Stop! You’re almost wearing all my makeup now!”
“Does it make me look pretty?!” he joked, posing like a model.
“Not the right shade…”
They teased back and forth some more when a knock on the door interrupted them.
“KC, are you coming down? We’re about to do the cake! You too Evey!” they heard Cailean giggle from the other side of the door.
“Busted….” she giggled.
The party was fun, loud, the younger ones played party games until they couldn’t see anything anymore for laughter. When the older generation left or went to bed, the younger ones stuck around to watch some scary movie until they also went home. Except Evey.
“Just us now, huh?” KC smiled down at her.
“You wanna say hi to Heath?”
“Nope. Heath already congratulated me, he was the first to, actually and gave me a gift.”
“He had a gift?” Evey looked surprised.
“What was it?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?”
“Fine, I’ll go ask him…”
She acted as if she were gonna walk off, when he pulled her back.
“A nice woodworking tool set. Pretty cool and useful actually. Who knew that dude had good taste. Although … on second thought, topic change.”
“Can I see it?”
“The tool set?”
“Is it upstairs?”
“Yeah .. sure… since when are you interested in wood chisels?”
She already ran up the stairs, he followed. Once in his room she locked the door.
“We are not here to look at tools, are we?” he asked.
“Nope. At least not any like what Heath would give you.”
“All right … this is the best birthday ever.”
“Maybe. All I know is: you know how you always complain to always be second? How do you feel about being the very first for something … with me?”
The look she gave him made him hot and cold at the same time.
Laying next to him in his bed, she shifted and began running her fingers across his chest, then whispered
“How many girls have you been with … before me, I mean?”
“Oh Evey ….”
“That many?! Did you sleep with all of the ones from the jar?”
“No, some party pooper threw away the numbers before I could get to all of them …”
“Hardy har har. What about the ones before…”
“Why are we having this conversation now?”
“Cos I want to know where I rank … in your endless list …”
“Oh girl, you can be so aggravating. Fine, if you must know, I have been with girls before you, but none of the ones from my little … scheme. Happy?”
“So … if you had to guess, how many would you say ….?”
“No. Can we not leave this alone and just enjoy this incredible day?”
“I really want to know!”
“Because you have all that experience and I have … none.”
“You may know so many more things and may get bored with me …”
“There is no parallel universe in which you could ever possibly bore me. You are something else, Barbie.”
“Do you have nicknames for all the other girls too?”
“Nah, I ended up giving them all numbers so I can keep track.”
“WHAT!? That is NOT funny!”
“So more or less than 10? 20? MORE?!”
“Oh my god Evey… I am not going to answer that, but I will tell you this. You are so far off it is not even funny. I am not that horrible of a guy as you seem to think I am….”
“Far off … up or down ….”
“Then answer me.”
“OK, I’ll tell you this: I have been with girls. Not as many as you seem to think, but I will take that as a compliment that you think I could have been. Truth is, in good ol’ KC-fashion, I did start messing up by out sleeping around recklessly when I was like 15 or 16. I was young and dumb and just didn’t care about much anymore. Until I found out I was going to be a father….”
“WHAT?!” she sat up, he pulled her back down, caressing her cheek.
“Yeah. I was 17. Staying at some run down place with two other dudes, one day a girl I used to ….. let’s call it ‘date’ … showed up, big baby belly, claiming I was the lucky winner. I was frigging shocked. If there was one thing in the world I never wanted, it was a kid, especially not at 17. But now here we were. After flying off the handle for a while I figured what the hell, and that I wasn’t innocent in all the mess, so I found us a place, found three jobs that paid jack all and took her to her appointments, bought baby stuff. She went into labor when I was at work and the prick I worked for wouldn’t let me leave, so when I got to the hospital, she had already had the baby. I go up to the room and look at my son. Only, his complexion does not quite match mine. The baby was black as coal. Still, even uneducated me knew that that can happen, genetics sometimes work odd ways and with my messed up family, no telling. But while I am standing there some big, buff, deep black dude walks in and wonders what the hell I am doing there, standing like a fool with a teddy bear in hand. I guess by now you figured out where this is going. Paternity test confirmed the obvious. I was taken for a fool, good enough as a stand in daddy when the real one wanted no piece of this, and then dropped when he changed his mind. Long story short, that right there ended my man-whore career. I was not gonna get myself wrapped up into something like that ever again. That is when my life really went downhill, cos I really didn’t give a crap anymore. Until I went back to that house and found a certain phone number written into the dirt. My saving grace in a way, except by then I had driven that entire show into a wall so badly, there was no getting out of it anymore. You know the rest.”
“WOW. Yikes. I am so sorry! That was crazy. Your life really is messed up.”
“Was. I am feeling pretty good about it right now… but any chance you can let that go now and just lay here with me and let me bask in this awesome day?”
“Just to make sure … you do not have any other kids – like really yours – hiding anywhere right?”
“Not that I know of, but maybe you should take a test …”
“THAT is not even remotely funny. You are not the only one with baggage. There is this thing with that curse in my family … we call it the Cameron curse and it basically means that we tend to end up with unplanned kids at the worst times ever.”
“Not sure if I should propose to you or pack my bags and run….”
“Shut up! But yeah, my dad and aunt Natty were both born out of wedlock. My dad was almost 4 when grandma and grandpa married.”
“Whaddaya know. I can top that though, my parents are still not married.”
“Probably for the better.”
“For sure. Although, they still live together.”
“Were they both there when … you know .. when we were kids and …”
“Yup. That dark haired one who kept bouncing my face off the floor was daddy dearest. My mother was the crackwhore looking one who shoved me back against you. The other two women were my aunt, aka. as my fathers’s ex, and my cousin, her daughter, with my dad’s brother who was the other younger dude there. That grimy old fart was my grandfather. Confused yet?”
“I may need you to draw me a picture…”
“Gets better. My mother was a one night stand, a stripper from that strip club across the street from my lovely childhood trailer park, where my father, uncle and grandfather spent almost every night, still do. One night my father paid her a little extra to get a little more than a lap dance and ended up with something extra himself. Me. At least that was always her story. Who knows if that is even true.”
“Dang .. KC.”
“You regretting getting involved with me yet?”
“Like I said, I cannot help what they did, but they will never be a part of our lives.”
“My family will always be part of my life….”
“Understandable. Your family is pretty great. Your grandparents are the best. I owe you and your grandparent a LOT. Wish I wouldn’t have been too old to be adopted when your grandpa took me in.”
“Umm … yuck! That would make this REALLY friggin weird.”
“Hey, I know a nice trailer park we could move into …”
The next night Evey went to the shed at her grandparent’s home.
“Knock knock …” she said.
“Hello Little Leigh.”
“Heath, I have something I wanted to tell you …. it’s about KC and me.”
“No need. I knew that would happen sooner or later. Congratulations.”
“You are not … mad? Or sad?”
“Of course not. Are you happy? Then I am happy.” he smiled.
“I don’t want to hurt you Heath …”
“You’re not. You and I could never be. I have always known that. And I am okay with that. Your friendship, your family’s kindness, are invaluable to me. I am glad you moved on. And I am glad it is him. He loves you so.”
She nestled her head against his.
“You’ll always be very, very special to me, Heath…”
He just closed his eyes and held her.