The next day Rosemary cut her hair up to her waist. I watched with a smile of amusement as she tried to even it out. I was impressed in the end when she finally did get it even.
So was Melanie when she and Jenna came to visit.
“Decided you had too much hair, did ya?” said Melanie.
“That and the fact that I’ve been getting all these headaches lately that I’ve never gotten before,” Rosemary told her, who was currently bagging incense.
“What’s that sweet sugary smell?” Jenna asked softly. “Are you guys baking cookies?”
“No, it’s the passion of my little princess here. It’s brown sugar incense,” I said.
“Packing orders like crazy, I see,” Melanie said.
“Not like crazy, but enough to get by.”
“Oh, so you could support her,” Melanie said jokingly as she motioned towards me, “if she decided not to work anymore and to make you the breadwinner?”
“Not quite. She’d still have to help or I’d have to sell more incense, including supplies.”
“What kinds of supplies do you have?” asked Jenna.
“Burners, sticks, bags, oils.”
“Dah!” Melanie said, placing the palm of her hand on top of Jenna’s head and shaking it.
Jenna pulled away, obviously annoyed and a little embarrassed as well.
Melanie went on as if she hadn’t noticed, and, looking at Rosemary she said, “They say you can sing really well these days and so Jenna and I were wondering if you could make us some karaokes on a CD.”
“I can if you can find karaoke songs you want me to sing,” Rosemary said.
“Well, we thought we’d let you pick out some songs you know and make us a CD, and if you could do some songs in Spanish too, that’d be nice,” said Melanie.
“Do you guys want them in wave format or as MP3s?”
“Huh?” asked a confused Melanie.
I laughed. “I’m still learning these damn computer terms myself.”
After Rosemary explained the difference between the two formats, Melanie told her to make a regular CD.
“I take it that means waves,” said Rosemary.
“Do you have any karaokes right now?” Jenna asked.
“Yes, quite a few.”
“Can we see how you record them?”
“Just how do you record them anyway?” asked Melanie.
“I sing over the music using headphones that picks up only my voice and not the music, then I merge the karaoke file with the vocal file.”
“Ok,” Melanie said, “just do your thing however you do it. Is now a good time to get started?”
“Yeah, now’s a good time,” said Rosemary.
“Oh, good,” I said, “I’ve been wanting to hear you sing more.”
They decided on a somewhat upbeat song in English and then a Spanish ballad. Melanie, Jenna and I sat on the couch while Rosemary set up the equipment and began to sing. She kept the music at a low volume, allowing her voice to carry over it, and carry over it is just what it did. We were all quite shocked and impressed, and just like Jenna had been when Melanie and Rosemary had done their circus routines, her enthusiasm soon turned to jealousy.
When she was done, Melanie asked. “Why didn’t you become a singer? You’ve got the voice now.”
“Because the more I became the opposite of a people-person, and the more I came to dislike traveling, the more I realized that singing for more than just for fun wasn’t for me.”
Melanie and I absorbed Rosemary’s words and weighed them in our minds. I could see that they made sense to us, knowing Rosemary as we did.
Jenna continued to appear rather uncomfortable. It was as if she felt left out. After a while, though, she loosened up and began to chat with Rosemary while I chatted with Melanie.
At one point, when Melanie and I weren’t looking, Rosemary signaled for Jenna to remain quiet by placing a finger across her lips. Then she sat down at the computer. A moment later, the geographical confusion began.
Both Melanie and Jenna took on baffled expressions.
“What the hell is this?” Melanie asked.
I shrugged, though I was smiling.
Melanie and Jenna listened some more.
“Sounds like you,” Melanie said.
“Yeah, I was just going to say that,” agreed Jenna.
Once the conversation ended, everybody was laughing. Rosemary then reached to cut the conversation and to explain it to Melanie and Jenna.
“Think you’ll return to the southwest anytime soon?” Jenna asked.
Rosemary looked at me, a doubtful expression crossing her features. “I don’t think so.”
“Thought you loved it there and missed it terribly.”
“Oh, I do,” assured Rosemary. “It’s just that some things here are worth missing it a while longer.”
“Like what?” Melanie asked with a knowing laugh. “The wonderful New England winters?”
“Hardly,” Rosemary said with a roll of her eyes.
Melanie and Jenna settled on the couch. Melanie put an arm around Jenna. I sat in the chair, and when Rosemary came to sit on my lap, I was ever so happy to have her do so, eagerly tugging her down onto my lap by the waist.
Melanie and Jenna smiled.
“No more long, lonely single nights for you, huh buddy?” Melanie said.
“I hope not,” I said with a broad smile.
“You better hope not,” Rosemary told me, “because you’re stuck with me.”
“Good,” I said, kissing her on the lips.
“Don’t you wish she was taller, though?” asked Jenna.
“Nope,” I said with a shake of my head, “I love her just the way she is.”
“So both of us belong to cops, huh, girl?” said Jenna.
Rosemary nodded. “Only I’ve got the better-looking one.”
Jenna’s jaw dropped in mock astonishment as Melanie and I laughed.
After a while, it was decided that ice cream was in order at the local ice cream place, but I didn’t want to join the others.
“I’ve got some files to go through and some paperwork to catch up on, so I think I’ll take some time to get that done,” I said.
“Want to come with us to get something?” Melanie asked me. “Your place is between our place and the ice cream, so it’s not putting us out. We’re only going to double back and pass this place on our way home anyway.”
Rosemary nodded eagerly like a child eager for a snack after a long day at school. “Fine with me if Katie doesn’t mind.”
“No, not at all. Go on and enjoy,” I said with a smile.
“Yeah, Rosemary,” said Jenna with a sly smile. “She isn’t your mother, after all.”
“Damn right she’s not!” Rosemary said with an emphatic nod of her head, bringing everybody to laughter.
I gave Rosemary money for a sundae and off she went with Melanie and Jenna, who probably wasn’t too pleased with the idea of Rosemary being invited to tag along.
When they returned, Melanie spoke first. “You’re right, this girl is psychic.”
“Oh yeah?” I asked curiously. “What did she do?”
“On our way back here she starts chanting louder and louder from the back seat, road obstruction, road obstruction, road obstruction – ok, I hear you! I said. A minute later we rounded the corner on Dickinson, and there’s a dead dog lying in the middle of the road. She then sits up, leans between us and once again says, road obstruction, with a matter-of-fact tone of voice and nod of her head.”
“Wow,” I said.
Not long afterward, Melanie and Jenna left with Rosemary promising to finish their CD soon.
“Don’t forget to do a few songs in Spanish, even though we won’t know what the hell you’re saying,” Jenna said on the way out, seeming to be in a hurry to leave.
“Come visit us soon,” Melanie added.
“We will,” I assured her. When I turned around, I saw that Rosemary was holding her temples. “Headache again?”
Rosemary looked up at me and nodded. “Yeah, it’s really weird. It’s sort of like it’s behind my eyes and at the sides. I’ve never had anything like this and no amount of spells I try to place on them helps.”
“Hmm,” I said, not sure of what else to say.
“I’ll just take some aspirin as I usually do,” Rosemary said with a sigh, heading over to our makeshift kitchen.
“Well, if the haircut and the aspirin don’t help, then maybe you need to see a doctor.”
“Yeah, maybe. Evil,” Rosemary suddenly said.
I frowned. “What’s evil?”
“I don’t know. Something’s not right tonight.”
Just then the phone rang. I glanced at Rosemary as if to say, I wonder if this has anything to do with something not being right tonight. When I picked up the phone, I could tell by my expression and the few words I mumbled about that being “just horrible,” that it was not a happy call. My glance flicked over to Rosemary periodically.
Curious, Rosemary came strolling over to where I stood by the desk a moment later, sucking on a lollipop. When I hung up, she asked what was wrong. I motioned for her to follow me to the couch where I sat down and pulled her down on my lap. I cuddled her in a snug embrace for a moment, then began to speak. She listened intently as she sucked on her lollipop.
“An old friend of mine named Audrey – well – we only go back a few years, actually. Anyway, I went to the academy with her, but she ended up transferring to New York. I didn’t see her much, though we kept in touch by phone every now and then. That was her mother calling to let me know she died in a car accident yesterday.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Katie,” said Rosemary, hugging me.
I hugged her back.
Rosemary then offered me her lollipop as a token to cheer me up.
“No thanks, babe,” I said with a soft smile.
“Are you going to go there to attend her funeral?”
“No, I don’t think so. We weren’t overly close. We were more like good acquaintances than friends, but still, it’s a sad thing. She was young. Right around your age.”
“Did she have a crush on you?”
I chuckled. Such an innocent question. “No, sweetie. She had a steady boyfriend.”
“Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?” Rosemary asked sweetly.
“You’re doing it,” I told her. “Just having you listen to me and being there for me gives me great comfort. I just hope you really meant it by saying you’re going to stick with me.”
“I meant it, alright. I’m not going anywhere as long as you don’t want me to.”
“I’ll never want you to go anywhere,” I told Rosemary, squeezing her tightly against me and stroking her thick, freshly cut curls. “Not squeezing too hard, I hope,” I said softly.
“No. I like it when you hold me snugly.”
“Good,” I said with a smile.
After a moment Rosemary pulled back and said, “You did use the word love, you know. Back when Jenna asked if you wished I were taller.”
“Yes, I remember.” Then after another moment of silence passed, I asked, “Is now a good time to discuss it? I know I’d like to discuss it at some point to see where we may be or may not be on the same wavelength.”
“Yes, we can discuss it now, and if you think you can love me enough to be committed to me and me only and can accept me as I am, then I’d say we stand a good chance of being on the same wavelength.”
“I can be committed to you forever and always and I can accept you as you are, but it’s
important that you understand the fact that we can’t just up and go to Arizona anytime soon.”
Rosemary nodded. “I figured as much.”
“I can put in for a transfer, but it may take time, even years. The only reason Audrey got transferred was that her aunt and uncle are cops there.”
“I can love you no matter where we are, officer Hawkins.”
“I would still love to visit Arizona on vacations. Would that be ok?” I asked.
“Sure,” Rosemary said with a smile.
I studied Rosemary’s eyes a moment, then asked, “So you’re sure you’re ready for this? Because once you decide to make your life with me, that’s the way it stays, Rosemary. That means that if you get pissed off at something I say, or I get pissed because of something you say, we still stick together. Got it?”
“I know what marriage is about, Katie. I was married before. Speaking of which,” Rosemary began hesitantly, “I know some might find this a cruel thing to say, but I’ve come to love you so much more than Teddy Bear in just the short time I’ve known you, and you’re so much better looking than she was, yet if I could bring her back, I wouldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it.”
I smiled lovingly, then pulled Rosemary tightly against me in a warm, snug embrace. Then I pulled back and kissed her rosy lips.
“Knowing me when I was a kid like you said you did doesn’t make you feel awkward?” Rosemary asked.
I shook my head. “Nope. What was then doesn’t change or affect what’s going on now. I just hope you don’t think we’re moving too fast.”
“Not at all. In fact, I’m really quite glad we got this all out in the open because I thought I was going crazy.”
“Going crazy how?”
“For falling in love so fast. I never fell for someone practically the instant I met them.”
I chuckled. “Well, if you’re going crazy, then so am I because it was the same for me. As soon as I saw you was when I realized that love at first sight truly did exist, and I didn’t even know it was you at first. I wasn’t expecting you the day you showed up, remember?”
“Still no memory of my picture or other pictures?”
Rosemary shook her head. “No, but if you’re telling the truth, and you certainly seem to be serious and honest enough about it, it’s too bad I can’t.”
“Maybe someday,” I said smiling.
“So you had braces and your teeth whitened, too?” Rosemary asked.
“No? That’s not fair. It cost me over two grand and lots of pain to get these teeth.”
“Wow. How’d you get the money, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“Various ways. Acting, dancing, selling stuff, making stuff.”
“Well, I’m glad I never had to have braces or anything else done. Having my wisdom teeth pulled was hell enough.”
Rosemary’s brows furrowed in confusion. “It was? Why?”
“It just was.”
“How long did it take to pull them?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” Rosemary asked with surprise.
“I opted to be put to sleep, so I wouldn’t know.”
Rosemary eyebrows shot upward. “You had to be put to sleep just to have teeth pulled?”
“Yeah, I’m a wimp,” I said, drawing a fit of hysterical laughter from Rosemary.
“Put-put to sleep just to h-have teeth pulled,” she laughed hysterically.
“I’m almost sorry I told you,” I said, although I was smiling and laughing too, pleased to see anything that could make Rosemary laugh after all the things I’d seen in the past that had made her cry.
“That’s just too funny,” Rosemary said.
“Hilarious. Can I ask you a question?” I asked. “You may want to slap me for this, but I gotta ask.”
“Are those your boobies?”
“Of course they’re mine. Who else would they belong to?”
I burst out laughing. “Well, you were so flat before that I didn’t know if you had implants or not.”
“I wish I did. That way I could get the damn things removed.”
“You don’t like them?”
“No, these titties are a real pain. I can’t even jog without a bra they bounce so much.”
“They sure are nice to look at,” I said smiling, “and to touch.” I cupped each full breast in the palms of my hands. Then I took Rosemary’s small hands and kissed the palms of each one both playfully and lovingly before our lips found each other’s for a sweet, passionate kiss.
Because I had to work that night, I showered and got into uniform. Before I left I gathered up some paperwork to file away in the file cabinet while Rosemary talked of how she enjoyed cooking for me and doing little things for me whenever she could. “It’s a good feeling,” she said, “and I like the responsibility that goes with caring for someone who cares for me and the commitment and all that.”
“Then marry me,” I said matter of factly.
Rosemary froze. Then a wide smile slowly broke out across her face. She seemed genuinely touched. “You really want me to?” she asked.
“Mmm hmm,” I said.
“You don’t think you’d get sick of me?”
“Nope,” I said with a shake of my head, “I’d never get sick of you. I don’t have a ring just yet and I don’t know how much of a honeymoon we could have since I assumed that when I did get married I’d be engaged for months in advance with plenty of time to plan…”
“It’s ok. I don’t need a honeymoon. As long as I’m with you, that’s all that matters to me,” Rosemary said, running to throw her arms around my neck and pull me down towards her for a kiss.
“Oh, ok,” I said laughing and crying at the same time. I was so happy.
We kissed enthusiastically.
“I love you, Katie.”
“I love you too, babe,” I said, playfully rubbing my nose against Rosemary’s, who giggled in response. “So it’s official? You’ll be my wife?”
Rosemary nodded, eyes misting over. “Very happily.”
“Would you want a big wedding, little wedding, or what?”
“Maybe just our closest friends.”
“Then I say we ought to run right over to the first justice of the peace we can find and get it done as soon as we can!”