Kitty And Cal
They had worked on Alva’s accounts all day in preparation for a visit to the IRS office coming up after the first of the year. Christmas was around the corner, stores all strung with lights, the whole city a big gaudy display with only here and there something that reminded Kitty of what Christmas had been like that last time – the time her father was there, when they were all still a family. She rarely thought about her husband, but for some reason – maybe it was the feeling of sadness in the season, or the forced gaiety with everyone rushing around trying to pack into the few remaining days of the year all the getting they could get, all the consuming they could consume – Kitty felt a heaviness that was more than cold weather or sleet or being wrapped in layers of heavy clothes.
She stepped into her boots and took her coat off the rack. Cal came from his office, took the coat from her and held it open. She turned her back to him and began to slip one arm into the sleeve, but she had trouble locating it and Cal took her hand and guided it into the sleeve, slowly, carefully. As she lifted her other arm and he began to slowly slide the sleeve over her hand, his arms encircled her for a moment and he left them there and she felt his breath on her neck for a few seconds.
That was all it took. Just those few seconds and the simple act of helping her on with her coat. Except for Alva, Kitty couldn’t remember when anyone had helped her with anything. She had never expected anyone to help her. Especially not a man. Yet here was Cal, helping with Alva’s accounts, taking Kitty into the city to find that old lawyer who had disappeared, listening to her life story.
He held her that way for longer than necessary, for the coat was on now and Kitty was holding the top button to begin closing it against the cold that would meet her outside. Cal covered her hand with his, both of them holding the button, and his other hand wandered inside the coat and he ran his finger down along the small hollow just at the base of her throat. When she did not pull away, he let go of the button and opened the coat slightly and moved his hand down to lightly cover her breast as one might encase a soft peach to test it for ripeness. She heard him breathe deeply and then he said, softly, so softly that she hardly heard him, “You are so special to me.”
This stirred a place in Kitty that had been dormant for decades. Feeling Cal’s arms around her, and hearing those few simple words, something in her softened, and she collapsed a little backward into Cal and leaned against him for support. He encircled her in his arms and kissed the top of her head, brushing his lips against her soft, auburn hair, breathing in the scent of her.