William glances upwards at the nearby clock and then releases a heated but quiet rush of air.'7:20 am'. He reads the clock silently as Katherine casually walks past his half of the bed, getting dressed for the beginning of her day.
'I'm not drunk...and she's in a good mood.' William rubbed his hands together until he could feel them warming up in the frigid, tense darkness of the room. He isn't sure if it's only him being afraid of what could come of his want to speak with her or if they have reached an uncanny sense of pre-knowledge about one another and Katherine is preparing herself.
As he opens his mouth to speak he hopes fervently that its the latter. He hopes that the conversation will lead somewhere without him putting pressure on it or testing her and her patience with it. He's already done that enough for one lifetime.
?We're going to have to talk about it eventually.? Whether this is more of a declaration to her based on his hope that she could somehow read his mind and tell what the subject would be about or just him telling that to himself he was unsure. Nervously he ran his warmed hands against his upper arms before pushing himself up from the blankets of his bed ? no reason to stay lying down during this.
?About what?? Her voice, floaty, heavenly and melodic voice drifted weightlessly through the air ? he loved hearing her tone when she was happy.
So he tore himself apart inside as he said his next word ? knowing the feeling and horrendous emotions it would bring with it. ?About North.?
Katherine's body seizes up before she momentarily takes in a jagged and unstable inhale of breath ? a clear signal that gives two messages to her attentive husband. 'Yes, we do need to talk about this' and 'No, I don't want to'.
The mother of two regrets allowing her reactions to show, knowing the signs and signals she was sending were going to be the death of her. Tongue tied and at a loss for words she tries to wriggle her way out of it rather then talk about it or ignore it ? talking about it is too hard and pretending ignorance just makes it ache worse. She gazes at him through the bedroom mirror with a plastered on and plainly involuntary smile. ?It's fine, I'm dealing with it my own way.?
?For eleven years now??
She bit back her curse and turned away, no longer wanting to look at her husband. William was too sharp now, no longer blinded and deafened by alcohol consumption and he certainly wasn't stupid ? in fact reminiscing back to when they had first met it was his intelligence that drew her to him.
She takes a quick breath and tries to think, tries to find a way to escape and wriggle her way out of this situation....she can't. ?I'm dealing with it, okay?? She insists and does her best to return to a 'normal' state while her body prickles with anxiety, renewed depression, and a want to leave and escape any place he's mentioned. A need to be at the lower end of a large bottle of alcohol to sort of drown it all out.
The alcohol always helped.
?Really?? He questions her already knowing its a lie before she can counter it. But he doesn't push the subject and instead lets it rest. ?If you ever feel like talking about it I'm here Kat.? He promises before relaxing himself and drifting off to a world of sleep, unwilling to wake up at such an early hour in the morning to begin with.
Noticing the calm lull of his breath and the lack of any thrown objects ? her time of living as an abused woman making her cautious around William even with his recent lack of drunk madness ? she quietly exited the room, carefully walking on the very tips of her toes and stealthily dodging the ever familiar creaky plank in the floorboards as not to alert him.
She practically stormed her way down the street, her walk hasted and her heels hitting the concrete like a proud soldier marching off to an easily winnable skirmish.
She felt like anything but.
She felt like a quitter...
She kept on walking anyway; pain needed to be dulled out and things need to be done, she'd quit later ? she wasn't like William during his drunk phases after all, she just did it because it made everything feel a little better. She could quit any time she wanted to....but for right now, she needed a relief.
Katherine came to a short stop and gazed upwards at the sound of a buzzing that made her feel more at home and relaxed then the house she lived in...
Then again, with the amount of time and money she spent here it was a wonder why she didn't just move in. Above her the flicking light sign of 'Open 24 hours a day' flickered like a dying flame light in the night and beside her an advertisement for another new 'flavor' of Budweiser and part of her considered getting it ? not that it really even mattered. She drank alcohol for the alcohol.
She needed some of the liquid in her system to drown everything out. At the bottom of a bottle things were quiet, peaceful even. No rapidly soul-absorbing guilt raging in her mind about things, none of the detestable voices of regret screaming and echoing off the wall of her mind making her feel guilty about everything that she did wron-
With much more physical force then necessary she pushed open the door of the small store and strode in, almost jumping at the sound of an all-too familiar chuckle.
She turned around to the counter and gazed warily. 'Jonathan' She mentally recalled all the times she was in here and almost shook her head in shame ? they both knew why she was here and instead of saying 'hello' she gave him an impatient look.
She was hoping this time she could skip the pleasantries.
Instead of the result she hoped for John leaned back in his chair, placing his arms back against it to form a makeshift pillow for his red-haired adorned head. ?So...? He spoke slowly and deliberately, making her stand there and wait for him just to finish a simple sentence.
Clearly she wasn't going to get her wish and upon realizing it she shifted her feet and rolled her eyes in annoyance. By the time she returned her gaze back onto John every fiber of every muscle in his face was being used to make a fox like grin that split it in two.
As if trying to anger her he put his feet up on the crumbled up newspaper, crinkled beer can and half filled cigarette tray laden counter and relaxed himself with a sigh that spoke of nothing but arrogance. ?Why...would you-?
Katherine couldn't move away any faster as she walked to the back of the store and extracted a cold one ? of no particular brand or label because really, all she wanted to do right now was get smashed - from the near-endless rows of golden alcohol. Then whirled around with impatience and returned to her standing spot, coming extremely close to slamming the bottle of beer onto the counter.
John took a single look at her and grinned, immediately reading the situation from her face and body language alone. He knew her for well over ten years now and she always came crawling to him for her alcohol, her fix at least once a week ? her personal record was coming by as much as seven times within five days.
?Well, my my.? He remarked with his own high-quality level of snark on full blast, absent-mindedly twiddling a small pen in-between deft fingers and grinning darkly like he had just been told the dirtiest and most hilarious joke in the world. ?Someone's not in a good mood tonight. Your time of the month?? He paused, brows pulling inward towards his nose before raising back up in feigned curiosity. ?In fact do you even still get those??
?Not tonight Johnathan...? She muttered, rolling her eyes again with a knowing that this is when it began. Here came the usual abuse and teasing, taunting that came with the territory of having to deal with a man as self-righteous, stuck up and untrustworthy as John.
?I mean like, your like forty now right?? A fake question, he knew her age.
?John.? She hissed impatiently and glared at him hatefully.
?I'm just saying, you're getting on in age is all~? He spoke in a sing song voice, half laughing as he avoided eye contact in a fake sense of wordless apology.
?Just shut up and ring me out.? She was reaching her limit with him.
?Alright, alright just...? He faked looking for a notepad as he so often did, just to keep her in the store a little longer. ?Gimme a second to find my-? He grinned, flashed her a cheeky smile and feigned a hand slip, knocking the bottle off the counter and letting it fall to the ground in an early morning cacophony of shattered glass and spilled beer.
The sound of utter hate that left Katherine's throat was unheard of and unrivalled by anything John ever heard before in his life. She was already stalking to the back of the store when he released his near-crazed hyena like laugh.
If there was anything she hated more then the memory of North breaking down her mental walls it was Johnathan's bullshit.
Doesn't mean she didn't force herself to deal with it to get her fix though.
After fifteen uninterrupted minutes of unspoken but passionately repeated death threats and having to make sure she kept her hands away from any sharp objects or Johnathan's face lest she become a murderer, she was back at home. Unsurprisingly twice as pissed off and needy for a release from reality then when she left since staying within the proximity of John usually did that to people who were in their right minds.
She skilfully sneaked her way into Mary's room with a large beer bottle shaped brown paper bag in hand that was rapidly dripping condensed water from the bottom ? fresh and cold from the local twenty-four hour grocer's freezer.
Katherine sealed the door shut behind her as she walked in, thankful she could slip into Mary's room without alerting anyone with the abnormal sound of a whining, half-rusted over metal door joint since Mary loved to have her door opened 'just a crack' so she could keep all the bad nightmares away.
As she began to make her way towards the closet, guilty pleasure in hand she left...frightened. As if she was being watched ? she glanced towards the door, nothing there...she glanced towards the bed...
And there Mary lay in her bed with her mouth shut in utter silence. Her wide-awake auburn eyes stared with a stoic knowing that far surpassed her age as it trailed over the figure of her mother, who clenched her entire body around the brown bag as if defending it from Mary's gaze as if she was been judged by it.
Katherine's eyes met hers and for a moment a spiral of tormented guilt swirled in the bottom of her heart, aching her in a way she almost never felt before. She knew what she was doing was wrong from the very start but then she had the gall to try and hide her indulgence of it in her daughter's room.
She took a painful, regretful swallow and unhooked herself from the bottle, carrying it normally and opening the closet door.
?Good morning Mommy.?
The door shut and Katherine sat on the ground underneath all of Mary's coats and seated on top of her shoes, responding quietly before allowing herself to sink to the bottom one more time.
?Good morning Mary...?