Warning: Long. Very long. About 2.5 chapters of my usual length kinda long...
"As an answer to what? And by the way, most people say 'hello' or 'hi' when they answer the phone." Kaity rolled her eyes.
"Hi. Now, what do you want from me? Or rather, what are you about to force me to do?"
"I'd never force you to do anything... Ok, maybe I am forcing you. I got you three VIP passes for Saturday nights 'Summer Shindig' at the Grind. It's basically in Winter's honour, to celebrate the season naming thing."
"That's what I said."
"Winter is away." Kaity stated, a bit annoyed that Leighton wouldn't even think to ask after they'd only spoken about this a week or so ago.
"What? No way!" He sighed. "Well, you and Shae still come, and if you can find a third then bring them, if not then don't worry. But let me know so I can put their name down."
"What if I don't want to come?" Kaity teased.
"Then you're a terrible friend and I'll have a very lonely night on the decks." Kaity laughed, and agreed they'd be there before hanging up.
"To the party? Why not?" Sophie asked, looking at her sister.
"Just because of Leighton, really." Jaydean shrugged.
"Oh, because of that kiss?" Sophie realised where her sister was going. "Do you think she'd do that again?" Jaydean shrugged. "I thought you said she loved Winter?"
"I thought she did, but I don't think she's told him. I don't think he told her either. He told me like, immediately after meeting me, but I think all the stuff with Autumn and then Bonnie and finally Leighton... Do you think he doesn't love her anymore? That he's only around for Autumn?" Jaydean asked, wide-eyed.
"Nah!" Jaydean and Sophie answered together, smiling.
"He definately loves her." Sophie assured her. "But I don't think he knows how to tell her."
The girls fell silent for a bit, contemplating their next move.
"No way." Her sister responded. "He saved her life, even if she didn't love him then she owes him."
"Can we not talk about that night." Jaydean pleaded.
"Sorry." Sophie apologised. "I just think you sometimes forget what he's done for us."
"He has done a lot. I wish he was our dad." They fell silent again. They didn't often think about their real dad. They'd known the story of their conception for as long as they could remember, and didn't particularly want a flaky father like that, but just one meeting would have been nice. There was always going to be that 'what if'.
"Lets go see what's for dinner." Sophie broke the silence after a while, and the girls headed to the kitchen.
"Yes!" Kaity repeated. "I give you too much crap from a packet, so get some leaves down you."
"But I want pizza." Jaydean moaned.
"Yeah, and ice cream." Sophie added.
"Tough, you're having salad." Kaity said, dishing up three plates and handing the girls one each.
"To do what?" Kaity answered with a question of her own.
"To go out drinking without Winter?" Kaity choked on her meal as she gasped. "Sorry if I offended you mummy, I was just wondering." She added quickly, realising that maybe that comment was a step too far.
"Yes, Sophie. I'm an adult, I have self control." Her mother gasped out.
"Does he know you're going?"
"Yes. What's with the constant twenty questions games?"
"We're just trying to look out for your best interests. We know you didn't mean to kiss Leighton that-"
"How do you know about that?" Kaity interrupted her daughter, putting down her fork as her appetite suddenly shrank.
"Look. We don't talk about that, ok? Mummy was stupid, and didn't think things through. And you know that not everything you read in the paper is true, don't you?"
"Yes, mummy." Sophie nodded. "We just really like Winter, and we don't want anything to happen that would make him leave."
"I really like him too, Soph." Kaity smiled. As much as her daughters were winding her up recently, probably just in an awkward phase pre-puberty, she did love them. Moments like this when they pointed things out with such innocence and clarity reminded her of that fact. "I love you two, you know that? No matter what happens I will always love you and support you. You'll always be my babies."
"Puke!" Sophie shouted, making the three of them laugh.
"Ah, it's Kaity and Shae-na-nana-na-nana-na!" He sang along with the music, the girls giggled.
"How long you been waiting to do that one?" Shaena asked, rolling her eyes.
"I've had that song lined up to go since I started. So... A couple hours." Shaena shook her head, smiling at the silliness still.
"Lay, get us drinks." Kaity demanded.
"What am I? Your servant?"
"No, you're the guy who forced us to abandon our children for a night." Kaity stuck her tongue out.
"Fine." Leighton stuck his tongue out back, before waving a hand towards a barmaid. "You can sit, by the way." he gestured towards a single seat behind him.
"There's only one seat." Kaity pointed out.
"Yeah, ladies first." He grinned, gently pulling Shaena by the arm and directing her to sit.
"You!" Kaity laughed, and Shaena giggled as she stood back up.
Kaity stood, sipping a cocktail, looking out at the mass of writing bodies on the dancefloor. Shaena was stood a little back, talking and laughing with Leighton. She didn't recognise anyone on the dancefloor, and she thought back to when the twins were little, younger than Autumn even, when she'd be here several times a week and know everyone. Not necessarily their names, but their faces, at least. She smiled at the memory of all the fun times she'd had in these four concrete walls.
"Are you ready to mix things up?!" The crowd cheered. "I can't hear you!" They cheered louder, and Leighton started on a fresh mix of tracks as Shaena pulled an annoyed Kaity onto the dancefloor.
"K, maybe you should think about getting her home?" Leighton laughed.
"No!" Shaena protested. "You invited us for the night, we'll stay for the night." She pouted, and Leighton copied her expression mockingly.
"She has a point, Lay. 'Sides, maybe pole dancing will make her sweat out some of that alcohol." Kaity shrugged, not apposed to the idea herself. "Plus, would give you something to watch." She winked at Leighton.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Leighton gasped, in mock shock.
"Come on, you think I'm blind? You keep whispering in Shae's ear, and touching her arm, making her giggle at secret things you can't tell me? I know your moves. Or did you forget all about those years?" Kaity said proudly, she felt like she had the upper-hand knowing how he worked. She was sure they would have blushed, if Leighton had his own blood, and Shaena wasn't so drunk that she didn't care. "C'mon, Shae." Kaity took her friends arm and led her towards the pole, glancing over her shoulder at Leighton to check he was watching.
A veil. She was wearing a veil.
A bouquet. She had a veil and a bouquet.
'Shaena', was that what he was mouthing? She turned her head.
"Just meeting a pretty lady. Sorry, were you jealous? I have room enough for two."
"No, thank you very much. You keep your dirty hands to yourself, you can tell she's too drunk to know what's going on, you're just a predator."
"Hello, princess. Don't worry, you can have me while our friends are busy." Kaity's mouth fell open in shock, and it took a second for her body to respond and kick him in the shins, hard. He quickly dropped her after that.
"Kait, that was awesome!" She grinned.
"Someone has to keep an eye on you." Kaity returned, smiling a little now that was over. What would I have told Winter if that guy had took me home? Well, I guess I don't do that anymore, so I don't need to worry.
"What happened is that you were too busy plying Shae with free drinks to think about the concequences." Kaity accused angrily.
"K! I thought you were looking out for her!"
"I was but I don't have eyes on the back of my head, do I?! If you weren't so concerned with what's hidden below your zipper, then none of this would have happened."
"Are you kidding me?! Little Miss Daydreaming-about-her-boyfriend over there? You agreed to go to that pole with her, I'm working. You're just lucky I looked up when I did."
"Looked up? You've not took your eyes off her all night, Lay. She's not an object for you to stare at, taking mental pictures for later, were we?"
"Fine. Lets get home, Shae, I don't feel like partying anymore." And I don't want anymore visions in public. She added in her head.
"Well I do. I'm gunna stick around. There's supposed to be an afterparty, and I wanted to go to that." Kaity sighed and looked at Shaena. She was right, she was old enough to look after herself, and some of that alcohol seemed to have been scared out of her. Plus, Leighton wouldn't let anything happen to her.
"Ok. Do you need cash for a taxi?" Shaena shook her head. "Ok. See you at home."
"Sorry for the argument, and thanks for inviting us!" She shouted, before gritting her teeth and muttering into his ear. "Leighton. I don't care how much she thinks she wants you tonight, you are not to take advantage of my best friend. Do you understand? You get her home safely, ride the taxi with her, and then go back to your own house alone. You know she's still going through therapy, and the whole Alex thing hasn't blown over properly yet. She thought Winter was hitting me the other day. But anyway, if you do anything with her, I'll personally see that you can't do anything like that again." Leighton laughed quietly.
"Baby K, don't worry. You know I wouldn't do anything like that. She's too wasted to know what she wants, so, as hot as she is and as much as I'd love to tick her off my list, she'd want a relationship and I can't do that to her."
"Thank you." Kaity muttered again before pulling away and giving Shaena a quick hug, a peck on the cheek and telling her to 'be good'.
I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.
It was just after midnight when she got back. She dismissed Michael the babysitter, and checked on the kids in turn, loitering in Autumns room. His hair was a massive reminder of his temporarily absent father, and that was all that was on her mind as she hit 'call' on her phone.
"I love you too." Kaity blurted out before she lost her nerve, and hung up. She did. She really truly did love him, and if it had taken a few drinks, two visions and an over-friendly stranger to make her realise that, then the night was a success.
Thank you to Misty and Sunny for lending me Daniel and Buck. They made great creepy club stalkers!