"The hell you'll scream." The thought makes me laugh. "I'm sure our parents would love to walk into the room to see you wearing nothing but that t-shirt and holding a pad full of drawings of my cock."
She glares at me, and crosses her arms over her chest, throwing herself heavily on the bed. "Fine. Whatever. You already looked at them anyway, so I don't care."
"That's very sensible of you." I walk to the other side of the room, finally looking at the picture she was drawing. I expect to see me, but it isn't. "Is this your mother?"
She nods, and the look she gives me makes me feel ashamed for grabbing the pad from her. "I draw her the way I remember her, not, you know, how she was near the end."
"It's nice, Kate." Nice is such a stupid word, I think, as soon as it comes out of my mouth. Katherine's drawings are beautiful -- that was my first thought when I picked up her sketchpad, before I realized they were all of me.
"I wasn't drawing you before because I'm obsessed with you or something," she says. I hand her the sketchpad and she closes it, and I can tell by the way she looks at me that she's embarrassed.
"No?" I ask, my eyebrows raised. "I'm disappointed. I've always wanted a stalker."
She doesn't say anything for a minute, and I think I picked the wrong way to lighten the mood, but then she looks up and shrugs. "Well, I did take a lock of your hair for the shrine I made to you."
I sit down on the bed. Katherine is leaning up against the pillows on the headboard, her knees pulled up to her chest. She looks so vulnerable that I want to reach out and hug her, but that seems too corny, so I just pull her feet into my lap and cover them with my hands. There's something about being with her right now that feels comfortable. "That's good," I say. "Hair is okay. If you would have cast a mold of my cock, that would have been weird."
"Damn it. There goes my plan for the evening," she says. "I'll have to take the plaster I bought back to the store."
"Plaster would have been uncomfortable anyway. I prefer chocolate."
She laughs, but the sound fades quickly and we sit in silence, with me rubbing her feet. Isn't this something -- Caulter Sterling, two months of monogamy under his belt, rubbing a chick's feet and talking. "Do you think about her a lot?"
"Your mother," I say, nodding toward the sketchpad.
Katherine shrugs. "She's been gone a long time now, you know?"
"Not that long," I say. "A few years, right?"
"Yeah," she says. "At the end of my eight grade year. She was sick for a year before it happened. Breast cancer. It was too late when they caught it."
I'm sorry." I don't really know what to say.
Kate shrugs. "It is what it is, you know? I mean, there's nothing you can do about it."
"You've been at Brighton since then," I say.
"As soon as my dad could get rid of me, he did," she says, her voice bitter.
Being gotten rid of is definitely something I can understand. "He and Ella are made for each other, then."
She looks at me. "What do you mean?" she asks. "Is your father around?"
"Ella has been jonesing to get rid of me as soon as I came out of her," I say. "Who knows who the hell my father is?"
Katherine's brow wrinkles. "You really don't know?"
"She told me that he was some loser, lived out in Georgia somewhere," I say. "When I was fifteen, I hired a private investigator and tracked the guy down. He copped to her paying him to say he was my father and stay out of my life. Apparently she partied a lot back then. She doesn't know who it is."
"Aren't there DNA tests for that?"
"Not if you can't even narrow it down," I say.
"Shit. That sucks."
I move up to her calf, grateful for the distraction as I rub her leg. "Whatever. It's no big deal, right? That's life. At least your father is her fucking age, not like some of the guys she was dating, barely a day over eighteen."
"Sometimes I think I'm not supposed to be happy, you know?" she asks. "Like, other people are supposed to be happy, but I'm not."
That I can understand. Chasing happiness is like a fucking curse. "If you told your father to fuck off, I bet you'd feel happy."
She chokes on her laugh. "Yeah," she says. "You're probably right. I bet I would."