After waking alone, Richie found Kara in the kitchen, dressed not in her robe but in the pajamas he had seen her in once before. The red flannel pants with snowflakes scattered over them were matched with a red sleep tank and a white zip up hoodie sweatshirt. Her feet were covered in thick red socks, her hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail and she had her glasses on.
He slid his arms around her from behind, “what are you doing?”
Kara looked up over her shoulder, “playing tiddlywinks with manhole covers.” She said it with such a straight face that Richie had to laugh.
“Smart ass, what are you making?”
She turned and kissed him, “pancakes, how’s that sound?”
His stomach rumbled, loudly, making them both laugh, “Pancakes sound good. Apparently I’m hungry.”
She poked him in the stomach, making him step back. “What was that for?”
She grinned at him, “I need to get to the stove and you were in my way.”
He rubbed a hand across his stomach, “you could have asked, I would have moved.”
She poured batter on the hot griddle, “it was more fun to poke you.”
He rolled his eyes and reached for a coffee cup. “What do you want to do today princess?”
Kara pondered his question, wondering what he would think of what she wanted to do. She flipped the pancakes before turning back to him. “I want to stay in my pajamas all day and just read or watch movies or just talk. Would that be all right with you?” She turned back to the griddle, missing the smile that crept across his face.
“Princess?” He waited for her to turn her attention back to him.
When she turned her head she saw the smile and relief washed through her. “Since you have such cute pajamas on, how could I refuse that?”
She looked down at herself, then back up at him, “they are cute, aren’t they?”
He laughed, “you are in some kind of mood this morning princess. What got into you?”
She brought the pancakes to the table, “you did, last night.”
He nearly choked on his coffee, “Jesus princess. I think I’m in trouble here today.” She just smiled at him and kissed his cheek.
After the breakfast dishes were done Richie and Kara settled themselves in her oversized chair, put their feet up on the ottoman and surfed through the channels looking for something to watch. Finding nothing of interest Richie flipped to one of the music channels and set the remote aside, letting the quiet music envelope them.
He wrapped his arm around Kara and kissed her head, enjoying the closeness. It was something he had been missing since his breakup with Heather. And with Denise, there weren’t really any moments like this. She liked to be on the go all the time.
Kara flipped through her People magazine and Richie stopped her when she came across a random picture of Heather. She looked up at him, “something wrong?”
He shook his head, “no, not really.” He looked at the picture again, “do you want to know about her” he paused, “or Denise?”
Kara closed the magazine, “do you want to tell me about them?” He took the magazine from her and dropped it to the floor before taking her hand and lacing their fingers together.
For the next hour Richie filled Kara in on everything that had transpired in the last few years of his life. His divorce, his dad, getting together and then breaking up with Denise, the drinking; he didn’t hold anything back. She had told him about Greg, this was the least he could do for her.
Kara shifted and draped one leg over the arm of the chair, resting her head on Richie’s chest as she looked up at him, “how has Ava fared out through all of this?”
That one question cemented in Richie’s mind just what a gem he had found in her. None of the other women he had dated had ever asked about Ava. He looked down at Kara, “actually, better than I would have ever expected. She seems to have adjusted to her new routine without any problems.”
Kara reached up and pressed a kiss to Richie’s lips, “good. It can be hard for a child to go through all of that and come out unscathed. I’m glad she’s doing so well. You are doing the best that you can and it shows, through her.”
Richie pulled her fully onto his lap and hugged her close. His voice was full of emotion when he spoke “that was the nicest thing anyone has said to me princess. You are truly a gem baby and I’m glad I found you.”
Kara kissed him again, lingering this time, the tip of her tongue tracing his lips until he parted his lips. The kiss was gentle and soothing rather than igniting the passion between them. With a sigh Kara pulled her mouth from his and laid her head on his shoulder. The morning had moved on to mid-afternoon while they sat there, listening to the music and learning more about each other.
Kara was idly running her hand across his chest when she looked up to find him watching her, “what?”
He shook his head, “I know we were going to just sit here all day but I was wondering if you want to do something?” His stomach rumbled, “how about we get dressed and go have a late lunch and then catch a movie?”
She walked her fingers up his chest and wound them into his hair, “can I pick the movie?”
He kissed the tip of her nose, “only if I can pick where we eat.”
Kara agreed, “as long as I don’t have to get any dressier than jeans and a sweatshirt, that’s fine.”
Richie slid his arms under her and stood, “I don’t think Barnacle Bill’s has a dress code, I think you’ll be fine.”
She smiled and kissed his cheek, “good, let’s go.”
The burgers were juicy and messy, just like a good burger should be. She had ketchup on her cheek and chin. Richie reached over and wiped her cheek with his finger, “you missed a spot.”
She smiled, “at least I didn’t get any on me. This is my best shirt.”
He had to laugh. The ancient Giants hoodie had seen better days. It was faded to almost gray from so many washings. “If that’s your best shirt, I’d hate to see what your worst one looked like.”
She flipped her hair over her shoulder, “my worst one is a rag that I dust with now.”
He just shook his head and motioned to the waitress for the check. “Come on, ready for the movies now?”
She stood and grabbed her jacket off the hook, “aren’t you worried that I might have picked a chick flick?” He hadn’t asked what they were seeing.
He helped her with her coat and slipped his own on, “did you? Pick a chick flick I mean?”
She shoved her hands in her pockets as they stepped out into the cold February air, “no actually, I didn’t.”
He opened the car door for her, “good.” He rounded the car and slid in behind the wheel, “what are we seeing?”
She turned to face him as he started the car, “a foreign film, with subtitles.”
Richie put the car in park and turned to meet her gaze, he could see the laughter twinkling in her eyes, “good, I love those.”
She crossed her eyes at him, “you’re no fun.”
He laughed at her, “actually, I am a ton of fun. So come on, what did you decide on?”
She stuck her tongue out at him, “the new Matthew McConaughey movie, Fools Gold.”
He put the car in drive again, pulled out onto the main road and headed into town, “good I can fawn over Kate Hudson while you drool over Matt.”
She elbowed him, “I do not drool!”
He chuckled, “we’ll see about that.”