kris allen, katy allen (kris/katy)
notes: happy new year! weird title; i know, sorry. slightly inspired by ferris bueller.
He’s such a good actor sometimes.
Kris’s eyes went wide as they locked themselves with her. There wasn’t a hint of a smile when he whispered.
“Katy.” Nothing more.
His tone alarmed her, draining her off all the excitement of seeing him after weeks being apart.
She gaped at him. She honestly couldn’t find any words to say but a simple “Yes?”
Kris cast his eyes downward. She would later kick herself for not noticing all the signs. It was there in the way he bit his inner cheek, as if trying to keep something—a giggle, a snort—from coming out. It was in his overdramatic sigh. It was the way he kept his left hand inside his jacket’s pocket all the time.
But at that moment, all she could do was frown, watching his right hand as it reached for another pocket in his jeans. Slowly, slowly. Too slow, actually. But, again, she missed this small detail.
He was being very careful with the thing he was getting from the pocket. When his hand reappeared, he quickly curled it into a tight fist, making it impossible for Katy to catch a glimpse of what was hidden inside.
She opened her palm then, because one thing Katy didn’t miss was the understanding that he wanted her to receive this thing. Whatever it was.
For a moment, his fist just hovered, doing nothing. And then, it opened. Something fell on her palm. The object’s natural shine had dimmed since the first time Katy saw it but she still recognized it. Because, really. How could she forget the look of her own husband’s wedding ring?
“I can’t wear that anymore,” Kris said between silences.
Later, he would mimic the way her head systematically turned from the ring to him, then back to the ring before returning to him. She must have sounded so silly when she cried out, loud and desperate.
His fingers combed through his hair; a movement that somehow seemed unrehearsed at that time. “It’s just. Katy. It’s,” he hesitated. “It’s getting in the way—”
Katy searched for a reply; another meaningless syllable, a different question, anything as long as her jaw didn’t stay uselessly open. But whatever chance she had, she lost it when Kris yanked his left hand out of the pocket of his jacket to show her the back of his hand, placing it merely inches before her face. He did this so swiftly, that she had to blink in surprise. And even afterward, her eyes refused to focus and she could only make out the blurred outline of his hand.
Between his fingers, she spotted his almost manic grin. He then—although he would never admit to this—continued with a shriek, “—Of my awesome new tattoo!”
And that’s when she saw it. It wasn’t done yet, not to mention small, so it was easy to miss it. But it was there, and it was real. Permanently inked on his ring finger was a half-finished, semicircle tattoo; a precise replica of his wedding band.
It didn’t take long for Kris to start guffawing; somehow, he still managed to mention something about how he still needed to go back to LA to finish the tattoo, how he was just dying to show it to her.
Katy drew a deep breath, taking her time. He was still laughing when she stared at him long, longer. And then she said.
The rest of his laugh was stuck in his throat. Kris’ eyes got wider again, filling themselves with guilt. He found himself chuckling nervously.
“Oh, come on,” he said. “Not after we’re married, remember?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Katy said, sharply. “Are we married now?”
Kris paused, fumbling for words. “Of course we are. We are. Babe.” He took her left hand with his wedding band inside it. His thumb ran over her own ring. “I was just— I thought it’ll be cool. Here. See? They’re basically the same thing. It’s— Marry me?”
He sounded so helpless, that Katy couldn’t help but giggle.
“I thought it’ll be cool,” he repeated, with a smile now. “We’re married again now, right?”
Katy rolled her eyes, returning his grin with her own. “Yes,” she said, this time with no question mark.
Kris threw a punch in the air; his left fist knocking the confetti and rice that were showered down in their general direction. This might look like an act of strength, but Katy knew better. After all, it was her who held his hand inside hers, sharing his excited tremble and, not to mention, his nervous sweat.
Still, Katy tightened her grip, slightly leading their way along the aisle, away from the canopy at the lakeside, under which they just became man and wife.
Katy tried to remember what they were supposed to do next, skimming through her mind for the checklist. It was Kris who stopped walking first, pulling her into a halt at the same time.
“We’re here,” he said. “This is good.”
They turned to look at the guests heading toward the reception tent and waited for the family and friends to gather before they could walk in there. But all Katy could think about was the aisle she and Kris just walked through, inwardly counting the amount of steps it took for them to reach one end to another. “Not more than 17,” she thought. Seventeen steps. Only seventeen steps were needed to change her life.
From the corner of her eye, she found Kris with his jaw dropped; his own eyes were fixed on the lakeside direction. And it’s funny how things worked, but she just knew that he was thinking of the same thing.
He somehow confirmed it when he nudged her. “Hey,” he called out, turning to face her. “Guess what?”
“What?” she asked. And she giggled because she almost added a “Kristopher.” And Kris covered his eyes with his palm, going, “Oh, God!”
He, too, laughed because there was a memory of him staring into Katy’s eyes, cupping her hands in his, making her promise to not call him “Kristopher” after getting married. “My mom calls me that,” Kris had told her at that time. He had blushed as well. “It would— It would get weird.” Katy remembered replying, “Only when I’m mad at you, then.”
Meanwhile, Kris was finally opening his eyes. “Anyway!” he said, between her giggles. “Anyway, Katy. Katy.”
He waited as she recomposed herself, straightening her shoulders and licking her lips as she did so.
He swallowed. “We just got married. We’re married now,” he said not long after.
Katy nodded. “I know. Crazy, right?”
She continued afterward, letting the phrase roll out of her mouth. “Kris,” she whispered, more to herself than to him, letting her tongue be familiar with how short the word was.
One of the first things anyone would notice about Katy was the undeniable fact that she was a fast reader.
So, the fact that she spent four minutes—and counting—to read a one-sentenced letter was a bit unnerving for certain individuals hiding behind a tall tree, not far from where Katy was seated at the end of a row of five benches.
The truth is, she had finished reading it. For approximately ten times, even. There were, though, a couple of reasons why she kept rereading, not only the last letter, but also the ones before that. First, she wasn’t sure if she would be ready for what she knew—or so she thought—would come next. Second, she just simply loved reading them. Over and over again.
Each of them started with a question, “Do you remember when—?” and, except for the last one, ended with an instruction that sounded more or less like “Move to the next bench and look for another letter.” In the third and fourth letters, though, it changed to, “You know the drill” and “One more! Promise!”
From behind her, there were whispers. More whispers. Cough.
She pulled a smile.
“Umm, Katy?” This was the first time she heard Julie’s voice after she left Katy alone at the other end of the row of the benches. After she told Katy to sit down and search for a letter that was taped underneath before she disappeared behind the tree. After she led their way through the town square towards said benches. After she parked her car and said she needed to get something for her mom but insisted Katy to come with her. After she drove herself and Katy all the way from their dorm. After she begged Katy to take a road trip together without any solid reason whatsoever. She must have been behind this all along.
The voice continued, “Are you done yet?”
Katy giggled, calling out to somewhere behind her right shoulder. “Yes!”
It was typically Kris how the first thing she heard after a few moments of silence was the sound of guitar strings being strummed with trained fingers. Streams of notes became melodies became a song.
Katy closed her eyes, listening to the music as it got closer. She’d heard it before. Well, parts of it, actually. It was the one Kris hummed absentmindedly when he thought she wasn’t in the room. It was the one Kris stopped playing on his guitar as soon as he saw her coming.
She could feel his steps approaching. Katy opened her eyes, and there he was. Kris was smiling as he delivered the lyrics; the lyrics, she just realized, she had never heard before.
They were a companion to the letters. They spoke of the same thing; of the same memories. Of first meeting, first date, first kiss, first I love you’s, breakups, makeups, fights, secrets, dances, promises. There was, though, one difference. A question came in the beginning of each letter, but in the lyrics, it showed up in the end.
Kris took a deep breath before he finished his singing; his voice sounded deeper and it even broke a little when he let out the last line of the lyrics. “Will you marry me?”
Twice a week—sometimes more—Kris would perform in a café, trying to get his name out there and find money at the same time. Whenever Katy accompanied him at the backstage, she told anyone who asked that she was his manager, so the security wouldn’t kick her out. When it was Kris’ turn to perform, she would sit closest to the stage, told anyone who asked that she was a fan and clapped so loud, Kris was afraid that other people in the café would kick her out.
This time, when Kris finished his song, she didn’t clap. In fact, she needed to stay still, or else her tears would start to fall off. Later, she would regret not letting them fall because, behind her tears, her eyes almost couldn’t make out Kris’ movement as he got down on one knee and rampaged through his pocket, before finally presenting her with a small box. He revealed the ring inside and said, “Katy, will you marry me?”
It’s almost embarrassing how fast she answered. “Yes!”
She put her arms around his neck almost immediately, if only because she needed to bury her face in his shoulder and begin crying. She mumbled something to his shirt, and it made him laugh. “I love you too,” he told her then. “We’re getting married, Katy!”
She had to swallow before she could manage a reply, “Yes, Kristopher!”
Kris roared with laughter. After weeks of preparation and hours of waiting in the cold night, with nothing but a tree and his guitar to keep him company, he allowed himself to be amused by the slightest thing.
He whispered in her ear, snorting as he spoke, “We need to talk about that later.”
Sometimes Kris writes songs to himself. He writes songs about other people, yes. But he writes them to himself. To remind himself of things that happen around him. To remind himself of how much other people mean to him.
When Katy stepped out of her room to greet him, wearing a new red dress she bought for the Christmas party and looking absolutely breathtaking in it, he swore—and he did realize how cliché this might sound—he could hear bells ringing.
“Stop that!” It came from Katy, who paused and pinched his nose all of a sudden. Kris gently brushed her hand off, keeping his fingers around her wrist when he joined her in laughter. They were in the town square at the moment, en route to the party; they had been strolling through it at Kris' insistence, if only because he didn’t want to take the shortcut and spend less time together with her.
“What?” he asked.
She raised her finger to point at his forehead, right between his eyebrows. “You were staring,” she continued, giggling.
Kris shrugged. “Well, not my fault!”
Katy glanced down, smiling at her heels. She rocked back and forth on her feet, as if it could make the flush across her cheeks waft away. When it stubbornly stayed, she looked up at him, half-biting her lower lip.
“I love you,” she said, matter-of-factly.
For years to come, whenever asked, Kris would say that this was the time when he really knew. So he told her, “I’ll marry you, Katy. I’ll marry you.”
When she beamed at him, the bells rang again. They almost sounded like the beginning of a song.
Until today, Kris still calls it “Katy’s scary superpower.” Everytime he says that, Katy merely shrugs and says, “I have great instinct.”
It’s the way she knew what questions that were going to come out in the final exams (She’d tell him, “I studied the old exams, Kris.”) The way she believed they were somehow going to be together again even after he broke things off with her. The way her eyes went wide when she first heard him playing his guitar; her voice was earnest when she told him that it was “really, unbelievable good.” The way she told him to keep playing because she knew he was going to be big one day. The way she turned on the radio and nonchalantly said, “One day, I turn this on and it will be Kristopher’s song playing.” The way she literally begged him to not stop making music because she believed he was meant to do it for the rest of his life. The way she bobbed her head to songs that ended up in the album, or the way she curled her lips at what would prove to be a questionable arrangement. The way she muttered under her breath, “I told you so,” as they held each other on the Idol stage.
When they’re alone, or amongst close friends, though, Katy tells him, “It’s because I have great faith, Kris.”
And Kris will insist, “No, really. You can predict the future.”
Katy will roll her eyes at that.
Then again, maybe he’s right.
Sometimes Katy remembers this one specific night—one specific date night, to be exact—when everything went wrong. Well, it always did when Kris tried to pull a surprise, but this one was different.
In this one, they were lying down in the back of his pickup truck, staring at the stars, when a policeman came over and told them they weren’t allowed to be there; threatened to call their parents, even. They couldn’t stop laughing the whole ride home; it was a miracle they didn’t hit anything on the road.
She was still laughing when they arrived at her house and Kris walked her to the front porch. In fact, she would still have been laughing if Kris hadn’t leaned in and given her a goodnight kiss.
He was half-smiling as he turned around, strutted back to his truck and, with one last look, drove away.
There was a smile on Katy’s face too when she spoke to nobody in particular. “He’s gonna marry me.”