Author's Note: Deanna is Kay, period.:)
Miguel stared into the darkness of the cold winter night silently praying that Kay and Maria weren’t on their way up to the cabin. Maria’s lungs couldn’t handle the brisk winds and Kay’s car wouldn’t be able to make it through the snow which threatened. He let out a breath and watched the long stream of crystals form and looked up to the sky. His car would be able to make it back home if she was crazy enough to venture out with the threat of snow.
Shoving his hands in his pockets, he began to pace. It was of course Kay’s first chance to get away since Maria had been born and, he reasoned, she didn’t know that everyone else had decided that it would be too dangerous to make the trip up. He knew Kay though, so he had climbed into his truck and just begun to drive so someone would be at the cabin when she arrived.
As the first snowflake brushed Miguel’s cheek, he saw the headlights of Kay’s compact car. Sighing, he ran to help her with Maria’s things.
“Hey,” Kay smiled as she unlatched her
seatbelt and got out of the car. Using the auto unlock, Miguel watched
as Kay carefully lifted Maria’s car seat out of the car. “I want to get
her in the house before I unload everything,” she explained covering the
baby’s tiny mouth with a pink crochet blanket his mother had given her
when Maria was born.
Kay walked up the cobblestone path the frost covered cottage as Miguel followed with Maria’s things.
Kay placed the car seat on the soft blue carpeting that covered the living room. “Where is everyone?” she asked puzzled as she unstrapped their daughter and lifted her.
“Umm… they’re not coming,” Miguel said with a frown as he placed Maria’s bags beside the cream colored overstuffed sofa.
“I swear I didn’t know Miguel I mean it.” On the defensive, Kay’s eyes opened wide.
“I know.” Miguel laughed as he took his daughter from Kay’s arms and kissed her downy soft hair. “They called when you were already on your way up here. I know you didn’t know.”
“Why aren’t they coming?” Kay asked as she took Maria’s bottle from the diaper bag and offered it to Miguel to feed Maria. “You want to?” she asked heading towards the kitchen to heat the bottle.
“Yeah,” he called following her into the wood trimmed kitchen. He watched as Kay ran Maria’s bottle under the hot water and tested it on her wrist, knowing instinctively if the temperature was too hot or too cold for their tiny daughter.
“So it’s just us this weekend?” she asked handing Miguel the bottle. “Why didn’t they come?”
“They were afraid of the snow. They said it was going to be too bad to get back down.” He followed Kay back into the living room with Maria and her bottle.
“Should we get home?” Kay asked as she took off her coat and placed it on the sofa.
“It should be fine until morning.” Miguel lifted the bottle to Maria’s lips and let himself enjoy the time with his daughter. For one night, he would be able hold his daughter whenever he wanted. For one night, he got to be selfish.
“You sure?” she questioned again. Miguel nodded as Kay kicked her shoes off and sat Indian style on the couch beside him.
Miguel smiled, not hearing Kay’s words. “I think she has my nose.” As Miguel pulled the bottle away to check how many ounces the baby had drank, she let out a scream.
“And my temperament,” Kay laughed. “Are you sure that we shouldn’t go home?”
“It’s already dark and we all know how you drive in the dark,” Miguel laughed. “We should be ok.”
Kay shivered and rubbed her arms to warm herself.
“You want to burp her and I’ll light
a fire?” he asked handing Maria to Kay.
“Thanks.” Kay took their daughter and gently rubbed her back. “Always the gentleman,” she whispered trying to let only Maria hear her.
Miguel smiled and piled the wood. If
he had really been a gentleman though he would have married her when he
had found out she was pregnant. If he was really a gentleman, he would
tell her that he remembered everything about their night together and wanted
to hold her in his arms again. He shook his head to get her out of his
“Miguel, I’m making your mother’s hot cocoa, did you want some?”The lamp is burning low
upon my table top
snow is softly falling
the air is still
in the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly calling
He looked up to see Kay smiling in the kitchen doorway. “Sounds great.”
Kay ducked back inside the kitchen leaving
Miguel to the fire and Maria who sat in her swing, gently rocking in tune
with the crackling of the blaze her father had started in the hearth. Once
upon a time, they might have been a family. If Maria had been born before
Luis and Sheridan had met, they would have been a family.
He had played the scenario over in his mind thousands of times since the almost wedding to Charity. Luis would have come into his room and made him sit on the old gray comforter he had since he was ten. Then he would have sat and watched as Luis paced the worn black carpet.
You’re going to marry her Luis would
have said with his eyebrow raised and his hands shoved into the pockets
of his jeans. He would have given Miguel their grandmother’s wedding ring
to use for Kay because neither of them had any money.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Kay sat down indian-style on the floor beside Miguel and handed him a dark blue mug filled with cocoa.
Laughing, he took a sip. “My thoughts aren’t quite worth a penny Kay.” He grabbed Maria’s blanket and drew in the scent. “You really want to know what I’m thinking,” he said as he looked over at Kay.
“Yeah.” As she took a sip of the hot
cocoa, Miguel watched the fire dance in her eyes and a smile play on her
lips. “What’s going on in that brain of yours?”
“Smell this,” he said handing her the tiny pink blanket.
“What?” Kay laughed as she placed her mug on the floor in front of her.
“Humor me. Just smell it.”
Kay obliged and smelled the blanket. “Ok?”
“Close your eyes. What does it smell
like?” Miguel watched as Kay ran the soft blanket against her skin and
smiled. “What does it feel like?”
“Miguel, you’re crazy.” Kay opened her eyes shook her head.
“I know,” he laughed.
“It smells like fabric softener and it feels soft.” She raised an eyebrow with a smile. “Ok?”
“Yeah,” he whispered. “Do you know how happy it makes me that our daughter’s blankets and clothes are soft and smell like fabric softener?”
“Now I’m confused.”
“Kay, when we were kids your clothes were always so soft and they smelled like fabric softener. You know, that clean scent.” He placed his mug beside Kay’s and ran his sweaty palms along his jeans. “We never had the money to buy fabric softener. I know it seems like it’s not a lot of money but it adds up. I remember, once I left my sweatshirt by your house on purpose once, just so your mom would wash it for me.”
“Miguel,” Kay’s eyes filled with tears and her voice lowered to a whisper. “I had no idea.”
“It’s alright Kay.” Miguel took Kay’s hands in his. “I didn’t say all that to make you upset.”
Kay shrugged. “I’m sorry, I just…” She looked at the fire avoiding his eyes. “If you had told me I would have made mom wash all of your clothes.”
Miguel laughed causing Kay to smile. “I should have.” Taking his thumbs, he wiped away her tears. “But I was struck by Luis’ pride.”
“Damn pride,” she whispered as Maria
gurgled in the background.
“Any more of that cocoa?” Miguel asked as he looked into the bottom of the mug as if the hot cocoa would manifest itself.Smoke is rising in the shadows overhead
my glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines
upon each page,
the words of love you sent me
“Should be,” Kay replied with a smile. “Did it come ok?” she asked with hopefulness in her eyes and face.
“Just like Mama’s,” he replied. The answer was obviously what she had been looking for, Miguel thought as he stood and walked towards the kitchen. “You want some more while I’m in here?” he called.
“I’m good,” she said softly from the doorway.
Miguel felt his heart pound in his chest as he watched her standing there with Maria in her arms. She looked like a child babysitting the neighbor’s kid. The thing was that Maria wasn’t the neighbor’s kid, she was their kid. He, Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald and his best friend in the world, Kay Bennett, had a baby together. A beautiful baby girl.
“Where’s your daddy?” Kay cooed softly to the little girl wrapped and dressed in pink. “Huh? Where is he?” she asked as Maria giggled.
Right where he should be, Miguel thought, his heart melting on the cold winter night. How many nights would his little girl get with both of her parents under the same roof? How many nights would they be able to get along the way they were getting along that night? A night without Charity nearby could be dangerous for their relationship, Miguel knew that. A night alone with Kay and Maria could be even more detrimental to the already fraying relationship they shared. He shared a bond with Kay. She had made him a father and even if he and Charity had a dozen more children, Kay would have still made him a father.
The matter at hand was that by marrying Charity, he wouldn’t get to be Maria’s Daddy; he would forever remain her father. Father, a word that basically only meant sperm donor. He’d had a Dad once upon a time. Kay had a Dad. Maria deserved one.
“You keep zoning out Miguel. Are you sure that you’re alright?” Kay asked gently shifting Maria to an upright position so she peeked over her shoulder.
The truth was, he wasn’t alright. The truth was, he was constantly doubting what he felt for Charity. The truth was that he wanted to hold her in his arms and pull her into a steaming shower the way he had done before. The way he had done while Charity’s life hung on the line. The very insensitive way he had done. Insensitive to both Kay and Charity.
“I’m fine,” he lied placing a hand on
the small of her back and leading them back to the comforts of the living
room where he hoped he could resist Kay.
“It’s gotten pretty bad out there Miguel,” Kay called over her shoulder from the bay window in the front of the house.If I could know within my heart
that you were lonely too
I would be happy
just to hold the hands I love
on this winters night with you
Miguel sighed. He knew how bad it was and knew that the roads were probably impossible to get back down. He knew it from the first snowflake that landed when Kay arrived. There would have been no turning back though. If she had, the roads would have been too icy before they reached the main road, the main road which happened to be on a cliff.
“Kay, does Maria have enough diapers and food for a few days?” Miguel asked picking himself up from in front of the fireplace.
“Yeah, I think. Why?” she asked, her eyes growing wide.
“We’re going to be up here until the roads unfreeze.”
Kay closed her eyes and muttered something under her breath and jumped on the sofa.
“You’ll see,” Miguel said as he sat beside her. “It’ll be ok.” He wanted to hold her in his arms and stroke her light brown locks. “We get to talk this way,” he said with a smile.
“What do you want to talk about?”
“I dunno…” he looked around as if something would jump out at him. “Seeing anyone lately?” he asked. It was a question he really didn’t want to know the answer to but he asked it anyway.
Kay let out a wry laugh. “I smell like baby wipes Miguel, who is going to want to go out with me?” she asked.
“Vanilla and baby wipes,” he said softly.
The frown that had formed on Kay’s face turned into an amazed smile. “Y-you know what I smell of?”
He wanted to tell her that he would stand so close to her while she changed Maria or asked her to watch as he changed to make sure he did it right just to be close to her, just to smell her. When she touched his hands, her soft skin made all of his hair stand on end. She aroused his senses and made him feel like a man. Charity had never made him feel like a man. Charity made him feel like he was a teacher or a big brother who had been sent to look after her. But Kay… Kay had been his first- first everything. First kiss, first love. Yes, his first love. He’d fallen head over heels for her the day that he met her.
“Kay…” her name fell off of his tongue in a whisper. As soon as her name left his lips, the power went out leaving the only light that remained in the small cabin the flickering flames of the fireplace.
“Miguel,” she spoke as he neared her.
He could feel her warm breath on his face.
“Don’t Kay. Please.” He was shaking as
he closed the distance between them. He felt her heart begin to race as
his lips touched hers, he thought it was her heart anyway. Being so close
to her, he couldn’t tell it may have very well been his own heart that
was pounding through his chest. The kiss was soft and gentle at first to
see if she would respond the way he hoped she would. As Kay began to kiss
him back, the kiss became more intense, more earth shattering, like the
kiss they had shared in the shower at the hospital.
They had fallen asleep in each other’s arms in front of the fireplace. Miguel had awaken at dawn and watched the sun gently peer through the filmy curtains. A gentle ray of light illuminated Kay’s face. Her eyes were closed but he knew that brilliant sapphire orbs lay beneath the closed lids. Maria stirred from the portable crib they had set up earlier the evening before. The baby cooed as Miguel smiled at her.The Fire is dying
my lamp is growing dim
shades of night are lifting
morning light steals across my window pane
where webs of snow are drifting
“Don’t wake your Mommy,” he whispered as he stood and picked up his little girl. Carrying her to the kitchen, he placed her in her seat on top of the table and began to warm her formula. “Ok, I can talk to you little girl,” he said measuring her formula. “I am totally in love with your Mommy,” he said running the bottle under warm water. “That means, Charity, she’s your cousin, will be heartbroken.” He picked Maria up and began to feed her. “Daddy is supposed to marry Charity. When I don’t know, when Mommy and I found out about you, Charity and I didn’t set another date.”
Miguel was so absorbed in his discussion with Maria that he didn’t notice Kay standing in the doorway listening to their discussion. “Anyway. Daddy doesn’t think he loves Charity anymore but I just don’t know how to tell your Mommy that I love her. That I’ve always been in love with her, even when we made you,” he said in a whisper. “She’s been my best friend all of my life. I guess I didn’t realize that you could fall in love with your best friend.”
“You didn’t realize that you should be in love with your best friend,” Kay said, her arms folded over her chest as she walked in. “You didn’t realize that your best friend has loved you for more than half of her life.” As she spoke, her eyes filled with tears and her breath got caught in her throat. “You-you didn’t know that I did anything to try and get you to love me,” she managed through sobs.
Miguel held Maria in one arm and tried to pull Kay closer with the other.
“No,” she whimpered as she pulled away and ran from the room.
“Kay,” he called after her as Maria began to scream.
Miguel had been sitting outside of the bathroom door with Maria in her car seat beside him for over an hour waiting for Kay to open the door.If I could only have you near
to breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy
just to hold the hands I love
on this winters night with you
And you'll be once again with me
“I know you’re in there,” he called through the wooden door. “I’m going to be waiting right here until you come out, you know that don’t you?”
Miguel looked at Maria and then back at the closed door. “You’re Mommy is crazy little girl.”
“I can still hear you,” she yelled.
“Good,” he yelled back and rolled his eyes. “I’m going to sing until you come out here.”
“Knock yourself out.”
“A hundred bottles of beer on the wall, a hundred bottles of beer. Take one down and pass it around, ninety-nine bottles of beer of the wall.” His voice was loud and obnoxious as he counted bottles of beer. Maria found it amusing and laughed at her father who only sang louder.
“If you don’t shut up!” Kay opened the door, her eyes red and her face blotchy.
“Kay please talk to me,” he begged shoving his foot in the open door so she couldn’t close it. “We need to talk.”
“You love me, I love you, we can’t be together. It’s that simple,” she said with a sniffle.
“Kay, you sound like Barney who needs Zoloft.” He stood and pulled her closer.
“Miguel, there’s so much you don’t know, so much I haven’t told you.” Her head rested on his shoulder. She was through fighting. Collapsing against his chest, she began to cry again. “I did anything I could Miguel. Even-“
“Selling your soul? Yeah, I know about that one,” he laughed. “It’s a good thing you got it back because I was getting tired of your hands being so cold all the time.”
She pulled away. Confused, she met his eyes. “You knew?” Miguel nodded and offered a half smile. “You knew and you still love me?” she asked softly. Again he nodded, this time his smile wider. “Why?”
“We’ll be here for the next three days if I gave you all of the reasons Kay,” he laughed pulling her closer. “First and foremost is that sleeping baby over there. You made me a Daddy,” he said watching her eyes fill with tears once more, happy tears this time. “And I want to make you my wife. I want to make an honest woman out of you.”
Miguel sighed. Letting Charity down would be rough. “I want to be her cousin. I don’t love her the way I love you Kay. I’m not in love with Charity.”
Miguel watched as Kay bit her lip, the events of the last few hours running through her mind. Finally, a wicked smile played on her lips. “Want to take a shower,” she whispered into his ear as she unbuttoned his shirt. Leaving the door open, Kay dragged Miguel into the shower and pulled the cream colored curtain closed. The things that could happen on a winter night in a snowed in cabin…
Song credits: Song for a Winter's Night by Sarah Maclaughlin