Patrick was annoyed. It was summer break after Kat's sophomore year of college and she and Patrick had barely seen each other all year except for a few brief encounters during the winter break. Those were all heavily supervised by Kat's dad thanks to him catching Bianca and Cameron a few weeks prior. She'd been back for two weeks, and they were constantly on the move. They were either going to catch a show of some girly band, meeting up with old friends, making new ones, or hanging out with Kat's dad who was already feeling empty nest syndrome even though Bianca wasn't leaving for school for another two months. Then finally, they had their chance at some alone time. And Kat had to go ruin it by answering her phone and inviting her bat shit crazy friend and her boyfriend, the most recent with a striking resemblance to Shakespeare, long hair, goatee, and that's where the resemblance ended, over to watch a movie. So while Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor played out The Taming of the Shrew, Mandella's choice of course, Patrick fumed in the oversized arm chair. When the popcorn ran out and Kat asked him if he'd help her refill it, he jumped up with a huff and stomped out of the room. She followed him into the kitchen and gave him a curious look as she emptied the unpopped kernels out of the bowl and into the trash. When he slammed the microwave door closed after throwing in another bag, she finally spoke.
"Okay, I give. What the hell is your problem?" she hissed scrunching up her eyebrows at him and crossing her arms.
"No problem," Patrick whispered back and shrugged. "Just can't have five seconds alone with my girlfriend apparently."
"What are you talking about?" she spat a little loudly. She chanced a glance over at the living room, but there didn't seem to be any movement. Then she gently bumped him out the the way with her hip and began pressing a sequence of buttons on the microwave until the machine roared to life. "We've spent practically every second together since I got back."
"And always with someone else around," Patrick rolled his eyes.
"So?" Kat posed.
"When you invited me over tonight you said your dad and Bianca would be out with Cameron's family," Patrick sighed.
"And?" Kat didn't seem to see where he was going with this.
"I thought I'd finally get a chance to spend some time alone with you!" Patrick yelled and then quickly lowered his voice to add, "Not watch Mandella lose her shit over yet another hippy-looking loser."
"Gary doesn't seem that bad," Kat argued. "And Mandella is just… a romantic."
"Not the point," Patrick narrowed his eyes at her.
"So what is your point?" Kat threw up her hands. "Is this about sex? Cause it's not like we haven't found time for that. And besides, just because we're alone doesn't mean I'm suddenly going to jump you on my dad's couch."
"Yeah, that's exactly what this is about," Patrick shook his head. "Sex is all I could possibly be thinking about. It's not like I just enjoy being with you or anything. And you going to school across the country is just so freaking easy. I…"
"Now we're back to this?" Kat interrupted. "It's not like you're in school. You could come with me to the east coast if you wanted to."
"You know I can't," Patrick countered. "My mum needs me here."
"Um, guys?" Mandella popped her head in. She bit her lip and looked awkwardly between the two who were clearly heaving with anger. "Is something burning in here?"
"Oh, shit!" Kat exclaimed and quickly popped open the microwave door which released a puff of smoke. She waved it out of the way coughing and Patrick grabbed the now burnt bag of popcorn carefully by the edge and tossed it in the trash.
"Maybe we should just watch a movie another time," Mandella offered quietly as Patrick and Kat turned back to glare at each other.
"No, you should stay and finish the movie," Patrick finally broke the tense silence. "I should go anyways. Have to get up early."
"Oh, ok," Mandella said going back to biting her lip as Patrick moved across the room and out the door. Kat didn't say anything as he left, and that's how he knew she was pissed. A couple days passed, and they barely spoke, not even when he came over for dinner with her family. Cameron tried to cheer everyone up with a bad joke, but Bianca just shook her head at him and they went back to an uncomfortable silence. So the next day, Patrick headed over to the house and brought a bass with him. When he showed up in the door to Kat's room, she was sprawled across the bed, a book in her hand. It took her a few seconds to look up, but when she did she didn't move or speak.
"Play a little something for me?" Patrick asked, gesturing to the bass in his hand. Kat moved to sit up against her headboard and he handed over the bass. She began picking at the strings as he laid out across the foot of her bed. He hadn't even realized how tired he was until he found himself waking up from a short nap, curled up on his side facing her. She was watching him, her fingers slowing on the strings. They studied each other in silence for a bit, and then she leaned the bass upright against her nightstand before beckoning him towards her. He crawled up the bed and she wrapped her arms around him as he settled in against her shoulder.
"I'm sorry," she whispered just as his eyes started to close again. "I was just worried we wouldn't have anything to say to each other anymore. I mean, all we've done is talk for months."
"It's okay," he replied after a bit, pulling away so he could look up at her. "I don't mind if we just sit together."
"Me neither," she smiled, and then they curled back into each other. They were in for a rude awakening when Kat's dad came home later and found them on the bed sleeping.
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Patrick was annoyed. They had been living together for a little over a year in Philadelphia where Patrick was a shop teacher and Kat was finishing up her PhD in linguistics and he found himself once again helping lug a bunch of equipment down their four-story walk-up after Kat's all-girl band had finished practicing.
"We should really add another practice if we're going to play this weekend," Kat was saying and Patrick groaned heavily. She shot him a look, but neither of them said anything. After her friends had gone, Kat came back upstairs and started to rearrange the furniture back to the way they usually kept things.
"Why bother if you're just going to practice again tomorrow?" Patrick sighed as he flopped down onto the couch that she was tugging over.
"I knew it," Kat rolled her eyes. She tugged at the couch a few more times, but with his added weight it wouldn't budge. Giving up she flopped down next to him. "You said you didn't mind us practicing here. That we had plenty of space. That we usually played when you were gone anyways, so it didn't bother you."
"All true," Patrick agreed. "I just didn't realize that I was signing up to be your roadie."
"I never asked for your help," Kat argued.
"So I'm just supposed to lounge around while you lug all that crap up and down the stairs," Patrick huffed.
"Yeah," Kat shrugged.
"I can't do that," Patrick sighed.
"Yeah, you can," Kat replied. "Just because we're girls doesn't mean we need the big strong guy to carry all the heavy things for us."
"I know you don't need me to," Patrick rolled his eyes, "but my mum raised me to…"
"Be a gentleman," Kat mocked. She stood up from the couch and put her hands on her hips. "Do us all a favor and stop pretending to be all noble and help out when you really don't want to."
"I just…" Patrick started, but Kat stormed off in the direction of their bedroom. He heard the shower running a few seconds later. He let his head roll back with a sigh. He knew how much it annoyed Kat when he pulled any of his more traditional hold the door open for a girl kind of behavior, but he couldn't help himself. The next day at school, he considered that maybe he should have just kept his mouth shut about the whole thing, but he was really tired of constantly lugging around her bandmate's gear. It was one thing for a show, since they were becoming rarer as they all settled into other career paths, but every week for practice was getting ridiculous. Especially if they amped up the practices in anticipation of a gig. Kat already had a couple guitars, a bass that he had given her years before, and a few amps. The only real problem was the drums. And that's when it hit him.
"What did you do?" Kat said when she opened the door and found Patrick waiting for her just inside beaming at her. He stepped aside to show her the practice area her band always set up. There were her guitars, bass, amps, and a shiny new drum set.
"Now you and your band can practice whenever you want without lugging around a bunch of junk," Patrick offered as she walked through the set up. "And just take your own stuff to gigs."
"This is…" Kat ran her finger over a cymbal, "crazy. You did this just to end a silly fight?"
"Maybe," Patrick smiled as she moved over to him and wrapped her arms around him. "It's kind of our thing."
"You're all out of instruments now," Kat laughed. "Now what will you do?"
"Well," Patrick paused thoughtfully, "I guess we'll figure that out."
"I guess so," Kat shook her head, though she was still smiling. She leaned in to kiss him, but he pulled away at the last second.
"Anyways, there's still a tambourine," Patrick added. Kat rolled her eyes, but pulled him in for a kiss anyways.
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Patrick was annoyed. He was having a hard time finding his way through the maze of hallways that all looked exactly alike even though he had just made the reverse trek a few hours earlier. He'd always hated hospitals for the bad smells and memories, but now he hated them for being so damn confusing. Finally he found the room he was looking for. Kat was sitting up in the bed, but she didn't look up as he came in, despite the fact that he was jangling with his every step. When he sat down next to her on the bed, she finally acknowledged him.
"You got lost again," she sounded amused.
"A little," he grumbled. But he couldn't stay annoyed long. He waved the bright little plastic tambourine in his hand over the sleeping face of his brand new baby girl and smiled as her little eyes opened a bit at the sound.
"A tambourine?" Kat questioned.
"A precaution," Patrick answered. "In case I made you mad."
"Not possible," Kat whispered as she stared down at the little tiny bundle in her arms. "Not today."
"You did good, Mrs. Verona," Patrick cooed, wiggling the tambourine again as little eyes followed the movement.
"Stratford-Verona," Kat corrected. Patrick rolled his eyes, but smartly refrained from comment.