Summary: It wasn’t about her mother. It was about Wayne. And now…now there was no Wayne.
Disclaimer: I don't own Lost. At all. I wish, but alas...
Author's Note: For some reason, I have a big thing for trying to get into Kate’s head post-blowing-up-Wayne, so this is yet another attempt at that, with inspiration from Janis Joplin.
“Katherine! What did you do?”
She can hear her mother’s voice over the rattling of her bike. It’s all she can hear, in fact. It’s an endless repetition, the question echoing inside of her brain and bouncing back at her.
What had she just done?
She would love to believe that she had liberated her mother from a life of pain and subjugation. She would love to be able to convince herself that she had done what she had done out of love, out of a desire to protect her mother.
But she doesn’t believe that. Not in her heart. It was the answer that her mind screamed at her, but it wasn’t her mother that she had been thinking of when she had seen Wayne stumble, drunkenly, from his truck, when her eyes had hardened, cold with fury. It wasn’t her mother that she had been thinking of when she’d carried Wayne through the gas and into bed, taken off his boots and throw him into bed that one last time.
In her mind, she was seeing him staring at her as she walked through the hall in just a tee shirt on the way to the bathroom. She was thinking of him muttering drunken come-ons into her ear at a barbeque when she was seventeen. She was thinking of, remembering, every night that she had spent just like this.
It wasn’t about her mother. It was about Wayne. And now…now there was no Wayne.
She pulls over only when she absolutely has to, when her eyes start to sag and her exhaustion seems to be rapidly multiply. It’s the middle of the night, but she’s sure that, no matter where she drives, she’ll be able to find a room for the night. Not necessarily a clean room, but all she really needs is a bed. She spots a rundown motel by the side of the road and stops.
The bells over the door chime when she enters and she turns to face them sharply, startled. The desk clerk, an older man with more than his fair share of gray hairs, looks up from his magazine. He looks worn out and tired, and Kate glances at the clock over the desk. It's quarter to two in the morning. She sighs and pulls her bag more tightly over her shoulder.
“I need a room for the night,” she tells him, smiling pleasantly, even though she doesn’t feel like smiling – or being pleasant. He smiles back and removes his reading glasses. She gives him a name – Molly – and he gives her a key and rough directions to the room. She pays in cash, carefully hiding her driver’s license from view. He nods, and she nods back, heading back out the door.
She checks around her, finding herself alone in the night, and practically jogs to her room. It was small and sparse and more than a little dirty. Sighing, she tosses her back onto the bed and sends her jacket along with it next.
There is nothing for her to do but pace the same five feet of the beat-up carpet for the next twenty minutes, ordering herself to breathe. She has no plan, no idea what she’s going to do when the sun comes up, where she's going to go now. Her mother needed time. She was upset, and she needed space.
Maybe she could see Tom. Or her father. Her head throbbed at the thought, at what either of them would say if they knew. Would they look at her the way her mother had? Would they condemn her right away, not even waiting to hear her side of things.
Something in her gut, in her heart, told her they wouldn’t.
She nearly jumps straight out of her skin when a loud ringing fills the room. She looks around, disoriented, until her eyes settle on her jacket, where her cell phone lays within one of the pockets. She pulls it out, tentatively, and turns it over.
Tom. She lets out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding in and answers.
“Tom?” she asks, trying to sound tired, to make him think she had just woken up.
“Katie?! Thank god,” he replies. He sounds out of breath and frantic, but relieved now. “I don’t know what I would have done…”
“Tom, what is going on?” she asks, the freezes, wondering when she had started lying, when that instinct had taken over. She was going to tell him. Not a minute ago, she had sworn that she was going to tell him what she had done, knowing he would understand.
“You need to come home, Katie. Something happened, something bad,” Tom tells her, his voice grave, maybe even a little sad. Her eyes close as she sits on the edge of the bed. She had been going to tell Tom, but she knows now why she hadn’t, why her instinct had been to lie to him instead.
He wouldn’t have understood. He might not have looked at her like her mother had, but he wouldn’t have understood the way she needed him too. He would never be able to look at her the same if he knew what she had done, if he knew the kind of person that she was now. She could bear life without her mother's love, she felt like she had been for quite a while now, but she couldn't bare life without Tom's. She couldn't look at him and watch his love for her, for the little girl that she had one been, die and she couldn't hear it in his voice.
So she lied to him. She lied to him and she told him she would come home, that she would see him soon. She told him that she would take care of her mother and see to Wayne’s funeral, and tell everything she knew to the police.
And he believed her. She could see the smile in his voice when he said he would see her soon. “I love you,” she told him, the only truth she would tell him that night, and hung up the phone.