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How Soon Is Now

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The door opened quite unexpectedly and both Patrick and Kat understood horrified that it was Walter. He froze on his place the second he saw the unmade sheets and his naked daughter and her boyfriend.

"I'm not going out!" he screamed, when they did not move.

"Turn around" Kat said, although in no position to order.

Crap crap crap! a tiny voice in her mind cried. What was she going to do now? The day that started as awful and slowly turned lovely thanks to Patrick was about the be ruined. Patrick! What was he going to do about it? Was he going to say something?

Or was he even going to stay?, the voice of betrayal asked. No, no, of course he is, she tried to stop it, while putting on her T-shirt quickly. When she turned around, Patrick was completely ready and his father was watching them with a look of accusation and in the same time betrayal.

"So," he started quietly, "I go out for two hours unexpectedly and you sneak up behind my back, bringing here this manboy,when you know this is forbidden and then you do THIS with him?

"It wasn't like that! Dad, I am mature enough to make my own decisions and this is one of them, so you'll have to accept it. If you don't…"

"Kat, you are not exactly in the best position to bargain with me, so don't you dare. I know that maybe your intentions are serious, but can you be sure about manboy here? No, you can't, because that's life and you can't be sure of anything. So don't try to tell me that you know better than me on this one, because I'm your father and I'll always do the best for you."

Kat found herself feeling really guilty about going behind his back, but what's done is done and she couldn't do anything to change it. And after all, she didn't want to. She felt happy and like she was right where she should be in Patrick's arms and she was not willing to throw this feeling away that easily.

She looked at Patrick for support, but he was silent. And really, what could he say? This was her father, therefore her problem. But still, she wished he had said something, done something to help her out.

"Dad, give us five minutes and we'll come down" she asked. She saw the look on his face, which wasn't very promising. "Please! I assure you, we'll both be downstairs."

Her father sighed but closed the door after himself. Kat turned towards Patrick.

"What was that?"

"What was what?"

"You. Here. Not saying a word in my defense. Look, I know he is my father, but you should've done something. We're in this together, Patrick." She wanted to punch herself in the face for even trying to say something. It was clearly not his job to protect her or to talk with her father. But it was too late and it seemed like he had some things to say too.

"Kat, stop it. You know me. I don't get involved in things like that. You see, this drama with your father... this is not my concern."

She gasped, without knowing what to say. Yes, she had gotten too far, but what about him? He actually didn't care. And it was no joke, it was no act, it was the simple truth. She had given him herself, body and soul, and he was tossing her away, saying that he doesn't need her. She wanted to lock herself in her room, sob and never go out, but she knew she had to be strong. She wouldn't let him see her cry, he didn't deserve it.

"Okay then, Patrick." She said calmly. "Then go out. Just get the hell out of here."

"No, be reasonable, you know I didn't mean that."

"Oh, I know exactly what you mean. My father, my problem, my life. Well, you see… I have no interest in you being in my life anymore, since you don't seem to care."

He was just sitting there, not moving. She thought he would do something at least now, just comfort her and kiss her and tell her she is not right, that they are really together for real. But he didn't do that and she was as pissed off as heartbroken.

"You're right. I don't.. Have a nice life, Kat, you deserve it."

With these words he grabbed his motorcycle helmet and left through the window, as he had done so many times before. She sat on her bed, not realizing fully what just happened. Everything had been so perfect, so real, so amazing and now it was gone. He was gone and so was everything that happened between them. Her father was right – her intentions were serious, but his were not.

She stood up, getting prepared to face her father downstairs. She picked herself of the floor and knew she had to leave everything behind and start over, because after all, she was Kat Stratford. She wouldn't let anyone break her, she wouldn't let anyone know that she suffered. She was stronger than that and she was no one's princess or cactus.

Seven years later

He was finally back to California. He couldn't believe he actually was there, he backed off and tried to run away so many times, that he didn't thing he would arrive. He didn't leave many things behind, when he left so many years ago. No, he only left one thing, the one thing he really cared for. From the distance of years, he knew it was a mistake, walking out of the window that day, but he couldn't do anything then. He was scared, scared of the responsibility, scared of the feelings he knew was there, scared of her power over him.

Still, he had not come for her. He didn't want to see her and remind her and himself of the unfinished story between them, because it was necessary pain. So he would try to avoid her as much as he could.

But could he at all?