“I’m so glad you decided to come over for dinner, Katie,” Rebecca exclaimed as she flitted about the kitchen.
“Hey, thanks for inviting us.” Katie smiled. “You’re actually doing me a big favor. I need to go to the grocery store. We’re pretty much completely out of food.”
“It’s you doing me the favor. Callum keeps bringing home these bottles of wine that I can’t touch. Ugh, you would think having a wrestling match going on in your stomach at two in the morning would be torture enough.” She rolled her eyes. “He doesn’t know this yet, but he’s going to be doing the late-night feedings and diaper changes for at least the first two months.”
“Why limit it to two? You’ve done nine months of hard labor; it’s only fair he should do the same.” Katie laughed.
Rebecca snickered. “You are absolutely correct. I’ll talk to him tonight.”
“Hey, just don’t tell him the idea was mine. I don’t want him hating me, especially since I’m probably going to be in his life for a while,” Katie whispered.
“Have you and Brandon talked long term yet?” Rebecca asked.
“No. We’ve been focusing on this case,” Katie muttered.
Rebecca frowned. “Katie, I know solving this case is important. Believe me, I’m just as worried about it as you are, but don’t put your life on hold. Focusing solely on this darkness will destroy you. You need to let a little light in your life.”
“I know,” Katie agreed. “I just don’t know how to bring it
Rebecca chuckled. “Well I never thought I’d see the day when Katie Quinn would be at a loss for words.”
“Yeah, don’t get used to it.” Katie laughed back.
“What’s so funny?” Brandon asked as he wrapped his arms around Katie’s waist.
“I was just commenting on the baby gymnastics going on in my stomach nightly,” Rebecca quipped.
Callum smiled. “Bo’s just practicing his baseball swing.”
“Ugh, not this again,” Rebecca groaned. “Now you two go set the table. Dinner’s almost ready. Katie, you pour yourself a giant glass of wine and drink some for me.”
“Yes ma’am,” Katie replied then marched to the cabinet to grab a glass.
Callum chuckled. “She’s gotten bossy these last couple of weeks.”
“It’s only because I want this baby out of my belly,” Rebecca groaned. “Now go set the table.”
Brandon and Callum quickly scuttled out of the kitchen. Katie poured herself a large glass of pinot grigio, as ordered, and sipped on it. “I’d forgotten how good their wine is,” Katie commented.
“Yes, it is one of the best. Callum’s done a good job with making new blends. You should try the pinot grigio/chardonnay blend next. It’s fabulous.”
Katie could hear the envy in Rebecca’s voice. “Well only a few more weeks and your forced sobriety will be over.”
“Yeah, the sooner the better,” Rebecca muttered.
“I’ll tell you what, I promise to sneak a bottle into the hospital room after the baby is born. We’ll have a toast to the new addition.”
“No need to sneak a bottle in. I already have one stashed in my hospital bag.” Rebecca smiled mischievously.
“A woman after my own heart.” Katie laughed. “Let’s go eat. I’m starving.”
Rebecca placed her palm on her belly. “Now you stay still for an hour so Mommy can eat,” she commanded the baby taking residence inside her.
Katie grabbed her wine. The two women were laughing as they left the kitchen.
Katie put on one of her new nightgowns, a knee length blue silk number with lace trim. It was sexy, but not too sexy. Brandon was putting away the groceries they had bought on the way home from Rebecca and Callum’s. Once she was dressed, Katie stepped out of the bedroom and headed to the kitchen. Brandon had just put the bags back in their spot when she returned.
“Wow, you’re quick,” Katie commented as she entered the kitchen.
“And you’re beautiful,” he replied, taking a nice long look at her. “I like the nightgown.”
“Me too. It’s comfortable.” She wrapped her arms around him. “Let’s sit down. I want to talk to you.” Katie guided him to the couch.
“Is everything okay?”
“Yes,” she replied then plopped down on his lap. “So, Rebecca and I were talking tonight while we cooked.”
“And, well, she said something that makes a lot of sense.” She was having a hard time getting the words out.
“What did she say?” Brandon asked with a concerned look on his face.
“Well, let’s face it, these past few days have been strenuous to say the least.”
“Katie, I promise when we catch this killer things will be better. I feel like I’m close to an answer right now. Just give me a
little more time. I know it’s been hard, but please don’t give up on me.”
Katie shook her head. He was missing the point. “Brandon, don’t worry, I’ll never give up on you. What I mean to say is…well, let me put it this way. Do you remember when we were dancing at your mom’s party?”
“Do you remember the song we were dancing to?” “Yeah, Marry Me by Train.”
“Do you remember the question you asked me before your mom cut in?”
Brandon was silent for a moment. “You said you liked the lyrics. I asked if you were hinting at something.”
“Well I was,” Katie stated. “You see, this investigation has consumed our lives these last few days. While it’s important, we shouldn’t put our lives on hold while we search for this maniac. I understand we need to take precautions, but I want you to be more than just a bodyguard. We deserve our relationship.”
Brandon smiled. “So, you’re saying you want to marry me?”
“I’m saying that when you ask me, I’ll say yes.”
“I imagine you’ll want me to get down on one knee, declare my love for you, and give you a nice shiny ring.” He grinned.
“Doesn’t every girl?” Katie chuckled.
“Well, the formal proposal will have to wait a couple of days. I need to get your ring. But as for now, Katie, will you marry me?” he whispered into her ear.
“Absolutely,” she replied then stood up. “Now let’s go to bed. I want to see if this nightgown is as comfortable to sleep in as I think it is.”
“Honey, I’m afraid that experiment will have to wait until another night,” Brandon replied, tossing the flimsy silk gown to the floor.
Katie stared at the dark ceiling. Brandon was sleeping peacefully next to her. Unfortunately she couldn’t make herself rest. After a few minutes she silently slid out of bed and wandered into the living room. The lights were still on. She quickly pulled on her nightgown then headed to the kitchen. She started a pot of coffee and searched through the fridge for something to eat. It’s not that she was hungry, but she had a bad case of the munchies.
Once the coffee was done she poured herself a cup, grabbed the strawberries she pulled from the fridge, and sat at the table. She knew she should be tired, it was well after three in the morning.
She and Brandon had spent at least four hours exploring the many fantasies they both had imagined up over the past year. So far they had barely made a dent in hers. She imagined he still had quite a few to enact himself.
She popped another strawberry in her mouth and thought about all that had happened tonight. Had she really agreed to marry him? It’s not that she was second guessing it. But she had expected a more formal proposal from him. Then again, he had promised a more formal one later.
She felt herself get giddy at the thought. She wondered what all being married to him would entail. She knew he wanted kids, so did she. They’d probably have to do it pretty soon. She wasn’t getting any younger, that was for sure. It would be difficult raising kids and going to school. It would be even tougher with a cop as a husband. That last thought sent a chill down her spine.
She would hate to ask Brandon to quit the force, but she wasn’t quite sure she could bring herself to raise kids while she worried if he would be coming home at night.
Katie shook her head then took another sip of coffee. These were all things they could discuss later. It’s not like she could figure out all this by herself, especially with a murderer searching for her. No, you’re not going to worry about that now, she said to herself. Right now she needed to think about something positive.
She pulled her laptop towards her and pulled up her browser. Since she was in a wedding mood, she figured she could search for some wedding dress ideas. She pulled up a couple of dress sites. While she waited for the sites to load, she got up from the table and walked back to the coffee maker. She had just picked up the pot when her world was pitched into blackness.
Brandon rolled over and reached for Katie. His eyes flew open when he noticed her side of the bed was empty. He quickly jumped out of bed and pulled on his boxers. He noticed a light coming from the living room. He quickly dashed out there, silently hoping that he would find Katie watching a movie or something. Once he found her he was going to give her what for.
“Katie!” He shouted as he walked into the living room. The TV was off and the couch was vacant.
“Katie!” He called out again as he walked towards the kitchen. Her laptop sat open on the kitchen table. He glanced at the screen. She’d pulled up a wedding dress website. He felt tears gather in his eyes as he went into the kitchen. The tears spilled over when he saw the broken coffee pot and cup on the ground.
She was gone.
He took a deep breath and pushed the anguish out of his head. Right now Katie needed him to be calm and collected. He forced himself into police mode then carefully left the kitchen and headed to the bedroom. He grabbed his phone from the nightstand and dialed Chief Holmes. She answered on the first ring.
“Brandon, what happened?”
“Katie’s gone. I need you to get a CSI team over to my house right now.” He kept his voice calm and stoic.
“I’m on my way.”
“Thanks.” He replied then ended the call. He quickly dialed another number.
“Hey Brandon, what’s up?” Callum’s sleepy voice answered.
“Is Rebecca with you?”
“Yeah?” He replied. He sounded more alert now. “What happened?”
“Katie’s gone. I need you both at my house as soon as possible.”
“We’ll be right there.”