The room was eerily quiet – Karin, Pansy, Christine and Jess had just witnessed the end of the New York Knicks’ play-off run.
She had become more focused on Landry ever since that evening they made lobster ravioli together. That was also the last time they saw each other. He had called a couple of times. They sent each other messages several times a day. She knew Landry had not been getting quality minutes during the play-off games. When she tried to talk to him about it, Landry brushed it off, but Karin knew he was not happy. Who would be?
With Jeremy in Miami with the team, Karin, Pansy, Christine and Jess decided to watch the game together like they used to. They watched as members of the team accepted their loss and saw Jeremy comfort Landry with a pat in the back on their way to the locker rooms.
“Okay,” Jess exhaled, “I see I have some comforting to do when they get home.”
“I’m worried about him,” Karin said, without thinking.
“Jeremy? Jess will take care of him,” Pansy said.
Christine looked at Karin – had actually been watching her all evening. “I don’t think it’s him she’s worried about,” she told Pansy.
“Then who…”Pansy started to say. “Oh…” she said. “Bloody hell… why do I have to be the last to know?”
“There was nothing to tell,” Karin told her.
“Was – being the operative word,” Pansy pointed out. “Spill.”
Karin knew when she was cornered.
Her girl friends listened intently as she told them about their first kiss, the skating rink, the bookstore café and lobster ravioli.
“So he knows you dated Hagelin?” Christine asked.
“Yes,” Karin replied.
“He said he wants you to be a couple,” Pansy said.
“Yes,” Karin replied.
When she looked at Jess, Jess shrugged, “Jeremy thought Landry was in way over his head.”
Jess wasn’t smiling. “Landry is Jeremy’s best friend and I like him. I’m just worried about you getting involved with another jock. ”
“Whoa, claws back, sister,” Pansy remarked.
“That’s okay, I get it,” Karin said.
“You were so messed up after Hagelin. I’d hate you going through that again,” Jess said.
“It feels different, Jess,” Karin reassured not only Jess, but Pansy and Christine as well.
“Besides, we’re still figuring each other out.”
“Figuring each other out?” Pansy questioned with a raised brow.
“Exactly what it means, dear,” Karin answered.
“Sounds like foreplay,” Pansy sniffed.
The others gasped then burst into laughter.
Karin shook her head, “We’re nowhere near that yet.”
“Good,” Pansy retorted. “But when you get there – I’m the one you call first. You owe me.”
“You always know how to lift the mood, Pansy” Christine remarked.
“What I’m here for, sweetie,” Pansy said. “So is it me – or do we really hate Miami Heat’s guts right now?”
Can I drop by? It was a text from Landry.
She was waiting to hear from him; the team arrived from Miami today. It was nearly ten p.m. Anyone else would have been told no, but Karin did not hesitate as she punched an answer: Of course.
Landry arrived barely 15 minutes later. When he walked through the doorway he took Karin in his arms. Misery seeped from his body – Karin offered the comfort he sought. They stood in locked embrace for a while and said nothing.
“I need to close the door, Landry,” she whispered. “Go sit on the couch.”
He let her go. Karin looked at him as she closed her front door. He was a mess.
When she came to sit on the couch, Landry moved to lay his head on her lap. Karin’s sofa was long, but not long enough to accommodate his height, so he curled up a bit.
Landry still hadn’t said anything. Karin ran her fingers through his hair to soothe him. He’ll talk when he’s ready. She did not know how she should feel about his being here right now. It flattered her that when he needed comfort, he came to her; it also frightened her.
“I’m sorry. I know it’s late,” Landry finally said.
“I don’t mind,” Karin said as she continued to caress Landry’s hair.
“I just needed to be with you. I can’t even explain why,” he murmured.
Karin could hear the exhaustion in his speech. Poor Landry was about to fall asleep. She thought about what she wanted to do – the consequences of that step she was planning to take. If you take it further, Karin, there’s no going back, she reminded herself.
“Come on, Landry, you can’t sleep here,” Karin said softly.
Landry straightened up and barely registered what Karin said, yet focused on one word can’t. “Call for a cab,” he murmured.
Karin was quiet. She tugged at his arm and led him to her bedroom.
“Karin?” Landry asked as he registered where she took him.
“No, I am not sleeping with you – well, not that way. You can’t go home like this, Landry,” she said.
He felt her hands tug at his hoodie to help him take it off. “You take those jeans off and crawl into bed. I’ll be back in a minute.”
Landry did as he was told. He was barely awake when he heard her come in. Karin joined him under the duvet, her warm body slid next to his. When she wrapped her arm around his waist, he sighed and fell asleep.