Kalinda rolled her eyes when she saw him approaching. He saw her reaction, but that didn’t stop him. “What do you want, Dominick?” Kalinda snapped before he had a chance to even greet her.
“Look, I know you’re mad at me,” He started, even though this admission was hardly a revelation to either of them. “I just want to talk to you for a little while.”
“If I had known that you’d be here, I would have killed myself instead,” Kalinda snapped back. “Consider it my last gift to you that I don’t tell my boss that you’re here.” She waved to a co-worker that she saw across the room. “Excuse me, I need to go say hi.” Kalinda left before Dominick could stop her. He reached out to grab her wrist then remembered just how furious she was with him and decided that would be a bad idea. Melanie had taught him not to grab women that were angry.
He watched as Kalinda walked across the room and greeted another one of the party guests that he could only vaguely place. He had technically been uninvited to her office’s Christmas party but with her ignoring him completely and no other way to know where she would be, he decided to crash and see if he could talk to her there. Clearly, it was not working.
Dominick spotted Melanie by the punch bowl and approached her. At least she understood what had happened and was still talking to him. Although, he knew so much about her that it would be hypocritical if she didn’t. “So Kalinda invited you as her plus one?” He asked as Melanie took a long swig from the highly-alcoholic punch.
“Yeah,” Melanie said, raising an eyebrow at him. “I’m not getting involved.”
Dominick sighed deeply. Not getting involved had been Melanie’s mantra since the entire situation had blown up. She had refused to talk to either party about what happened and had remained entirely neutral. This had only made things more difficult after Kalinda had cut off contact with him.
“I think you need to let it go, dude,” Melanie said, gently.
“I thought you weren’t getting involved,” Dominick snapped back.
“That’s all I have to say about it,’ Melanie said, tipping her glass to him. “I’m going to go check out the food.”
Dominick watched as his friend left him at the punch bowl and looked back at where Kalinda was still talking with her co-worker. He hadn’t seen her in over a week. In the two years that they had been dating, that was the longest that they had ever gone. She laughed at something the woman said, as if she hadn’t a care in the world. Dominick winced, realizing just how much he had been missing her. He decided to wait. Her boss’s office parties never went that long and Melanie would be getting back to Donovan soon anyway. He could talk to her once the other people had left.
It was almost two hours later when Dominick finally found Kalinda outside, sitting on the deck in the cool night air. She was by herself, sipping a glass of punch, deep in thought. He approached her quietly and sat down beside her, not saying a word. Kalinda looked over at him when he sat down and made a small annoyed sound. She crossed her legs and turned her body away from him.
“Look, can you just hear me out?” He asked.
“You don’t deserve that,” Kalinda said, her body still turned away from him.
“I know I don’t,” Dominick groaned. “I know I fucked up. I know, I know it all.”
“You did more than fuck up,” Kalinda said, turning to glare at him.
“Please just listen to me for a second,” Dominick said, putting his hand on her knee. Kalinda swatted him and he removed it. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
Kalinda sighed deeply. “I have told you about a million times before that I don’t want to see you anymore. I think you need to take a hint before I take out a restraining order.”
Dominick bristled at the mention of the police. “Just let me say what I came here to say and if you still want me to leave then I promise I will.”
Kalinda cocked her head and looked deep in thought for a second. “Okay, fine.”
“I want to tell you that I’m seeing a therapist,” he started. “I never want to do that again. I can’t screw up like this, I can’t hurt you like this. I just didn’t realize how far I was going and before I knew it, I was buying coke. I fucked up so badly and I can’t even tell you how sorry I am. I know that you have no reason to believe me, but I swear to you, this is never going to happen again.”
Kalinda looked at him with a cautious glance. “You’re seeing a therapist?” She asked.
“Yeah, and I’m going to a support group for drug addiction,” Dominick said nodding. He placed his hand over hers. This time she didn’t slap him away. “I’m so sorry, baby. I was such an asshole. I will never hurt you like that again, I promise.”
She regard him carefully. “It’s going to be a while before I can really trust you again,” she said after a long pause.
Dominick perked up. “I understand,” he said. “I just want a second chance. I know I don’t deserve it, but I love you so much and I want to try again.”
Kalinda sighed, deeply. “You have no idea how much you scared me,” she said, looking off into the distance. “I knew things had been going badly for you at work, I just had no idea it was that badly. I wish you would have talked to me or said something instead of doing that. I could have helped you work through this.”
“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I got so freaked out. I just wanted to show you that I could handle all of this responsibility and provide for you. I mean, I want to marry you. I kept thinking that I needed to keep this all together on my own and not ask for help and I couldn’t handle it. It was the wrong move and I realize this.”
Kalinda gently touched Dominick’s cheek. “That’s the whole point of a relationship, Dominick,” she murmured. “You can rely on me for support. We can help each other through the hard times. I knew that you were overwhelmed by everything that was going on, but I had no idea how bad it had gotten. You should have just told me.”
“I know,” he said, sighing deeply. “I realize how foolish I was being. I trust you so much and I should have trusted you with this. Please, just let me try again. I swear this won’t happen anymore.”
Her eyes fell as she pondered what he told her. “I’m willing to give it another chance. I mean, I want to marry you, too. We’ve had two fantastic years together.”
Dominick gently cradled her chin and kissed Kalinda deeply. Once they parted, they stayed close with their foreheads touching. “I want to go to a therapy session with you,” she said, softly.
“We can do that,” Dominick said without opening his eyes.
“I love you,” she whispered.
“I love you, too,” Dominick whispered back.
“Oh my god, get a room.”
The pair looked up to see Melanie walking out onto the deck. She was holding a bottle of beer. The young woman sat down next to Dominick and looked over at them.
“So, you’re both still alive. Is it safe to say that you’ve patched things up?” She asked.
“We’re starting to,” Kalinda said, giving Dominick a glance.
“Well, good,” Melanie said, sipping her beer. “I was getting super tired of this being in the middle thing. I have to say, it’s not fun.”
“Yeah, it wasn’t fun for us either,” Dominick responded.
“Besides, you begged me to come out tonight,” Kalinda said, raising an eyebrow.
“I needed to get away from the twins,” Melanie shrugged. “So sue me. There’s adults and alcohol here. I would have knifed Dominick to get out of the house.”
“No, no, no one is knifing Dominick,” said the man in question.
“Not nostalgic for the old days?” Melanie laughed. She looked out across the spacious backyard and sighed. “It’s so quiet here. I love it.”