#18 “wednesday night date night”

His heart was heavy. He had to find the right words to let her know. It would be a shock for her and he wasn’t sure how she would handle the news. Why? He had asked himself that question thousands of times over the last thirty minutes. Why? Somehow there had to be an answer for it. If only he could come up with one before he had to tell her. 

It was Wednesday night date night, and Kaine MacRaltek shook as he buttoned up his plaid shirt, shook as he belted his jeans, shook as he slipped into his dress boots, shook as he hugged his girlfriend hello.

“You nervous or somefin’?” Lacey asked, patting his cheek endearingly as they slipped out to the road where Lacey’s 1969 Corvair sat parked. “‘Cause, ya know, we dun hafta go out t’night.”

Kaine forced a smile. “Geronimo’s has all-you-can-eat ribs tonight, and I know how much you love ribs.”

“Ya know me so well, Kaine, baby.” Lacey scrunched up her nose and smiled at her boyfriend of seven years. Then she turned back to the steering wheel and laughed into the open air.

Kaine supposed it was more of a guffaw than a laugh. Lacey’s dad said it sounded like a constipated donkey trying to take a shit. Kaine thought it was kind of cute. He would definitely miss it.

“So ya know that girlie at work I told ya about,” Lacey began, nonchalantly waving her right hand in Kaine’s general direction. She looked a bit funny, gesturing mindlessly as her eyes remained fixed upon the road, but at least she was a focused driver.

“Yes, hun,” Kaine replied. “Eleanor.”

“Tha’s right, Eleanor Bing,” Lacey said. “The l’il seventeen-year-old twerp. She caught me scribblin’ in the breakroom. So I showed her summa my old paintin’s.”

“Really,” said Kaine. “Did she like them?”

“‘Course she liked ’em!” Lacey grinned. “In fact, she liked ’em so much, she’s showin’ her dad ’em! ‘parently, he’s some kinda bigshot in the art dealer world. If he likes m’stuff, I’m off to the grandstands of art!” She sobered and snuck a quick peek at Kaine, who sat perched upon the edge of his seat, forearm gripping the edge of the open window. “‘course, if it means I’ll leave you, I’d turn it all down. You know I love you, baby.”

“I love you too,” Kaine said quietly. “And I’d love you even if I left you.”

Lacey gave him a weird look. Kaine peered over the side of the car and stared longingly out at the Texas scenery.

“I mean- but, what if left you?” he said finally.

Lacey snorted. “D’ja find some hot cowgirl chick when you were rodeo managing or somefin’?”

“Well, no-”

“What, she got bigger boobs then me?”

Kaine groaned. Lacey giggled, then reached to the right and patted her boyfriend on the head.

“Ya know I’m just messin’ wit ya.”

Kaine hmmed. “I know.”

“So what is it really?”

Kaine looked up at her, eyes wide for a second. “Oh, nothing. Just- just a hypothetical question.”

Then Lacey frowned. “People allaways think I’m a dumb blonde, ’cause of the dumbass way I talk. But I’m no idiot.”

“Of course you aren’t.”

“If you ain’t gon say anything, then I’ll say it for ya,” Lacey said, swerving the old Chevy to the side of the road and parking it there. “I told you, Kaine. I ain’t stupid.”

Kaine could hear the tears in her voice. She was doing her best to suppress them. His hands started to shake again.

“I know you have cancer,” Lacey began, and then she really did start to cry. “I was tryna prank you, put whipped cream in your socks an’ stuff, and then I saw the doctor’s report in the drawer. And then alla the times you complained you had a headache an’ stuff, and the times you felt dizzy- alla that made sense then.”

She hid her face in her hands. Kaine reached over and hugged her close. “Ya know you could told me about it,” she sobbed into his shirt.

“I didn’t want to hurt you,” Kaine whispered, voice shaky.

Lacey pulled away, looked straight at him. Her eyes were beginning to swell, but the indignation emanating from them was incomparable. “I’m not the one with frickin’ cancer.”

Kaine stroked her hair with a hand and offered a weak smile. “It’s not that bad, hun. The doctor said I might not even need chemo.”

“Don’t sugarcoat your bullshit, Kaine MacRaltek!” Lacey cried. “You and I both know that’s only ’cause you’re so far gone, the docs dun even know if treatment’s gonna do anyfin’!”

“Do you want me to die?”

“No,” mumbled Lacey, burying her head in Kaine’s chest. “And I hate to be the downer, but you’re gonna go some time or another. All I want ya to do is to be honest wit me.”

“I’m trying,” whispered Kaine, voice cracking. “I’m trying so hard,” he said, starting to cry.

“I know, baby,” Lacey hugged him tighter. “I know you are.” They stayed there like that, Kaine crying, Lacey holding him close.

Then, when Kaine’s sobs subsided, Lacey sighed, pulled herself off of him, and placed her hands back on the steering wheel. “You know I’m shit at romantics, at alla this comforting people stuff.”

“I know,” replied Kaine, rubbing his eyes.

“But you better damn well know I’m sticking wit ya through this.” Lacey shot him a fierce look. Kaine laughed, a little sad but a lot relieved. “I ain’t never leavin’ ya.”

“I know,” Kaine whispered, then leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. “Let’s go get some ribs.”

Word count: 879. First time trying the Finish It! prompts. The first paragraph was the prompt paragraph. I really just wrote this on a whim, so it’s largely unedited, but hopefully my intentions shine through the muck of grammar mistakes and redundant phrasing.

✪ Angie


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