Kate was tired. Curls fell loose from a less-than-perfect bun, she'd forgotten to put in earrings. It wasn't the sharp image she usually projected, but---messy chic was a thing, wasn't it? Kate wasn't sure she even cared at this point. Having Matt back was wonderful, but it was also work. A lot of work. Her daydreams that everything would quickly go back to how it had been vanished the day he came home, when she found herself suddenly the full-time carer of a very frustrated and irritable adult man.
She couldn't blame him. He had to re-learn so many basic things, his body needed time to build the strength it had lost. Stuck in a wheelchair and unable to do anything for himself, he got angry fast. Even the idea of the party hadn't done much to alleviate his irritability. What was the point, he said, if he couldn't tend the bar? Why were they celebrating a man who couldn't do anything?
He was at a table now, having demanded that she bring him down and have him seated before anyone arrived to see him handled into the chair. He was making every effort not to show the blanket that kept his thin legs warm, and trying to keep the way he leaned on the table as casual more than necessary. Kate saw through the facade. He'd pushed her away, again, for the night. This time she hadn't argued. A handful of Burdetts had made themselves at home at his table, she wasn't needed for the time being. A relief.
"Mr Izem!" Hazel's voice grabbed her attention through the room, and Kate paused in her wandering to watch her daughter's face light up as she saw her teacher among the crowd. The move to Tally had been so good for her. She was bright and confident and... barefoot. With lopsided pigtails and an inside-out cardigan on. Kate really didn't know how she'd managed to raise such a chaotic child.
But... she needed to get those shoes on. Kate wove her way through the crowd, nodding to Boaz as she approached. There was no hint of awkwardness behind it, though she remembered every detail of her visit. She saw no reason to feel ashamed, she had told no lie. Maybe it would have been more strange if he'd obliged her, and then Matt had woken---but even that Kate could resolve with herself. She liked Boaz, found him intriguing and enjoyed being around him. Whatever happened, Kate didn't see herself forming the same level of connection with Boaz that she did with Matt, and that was the difference. That was what made Boaz no true threat to her marriage, and what kept her comfortable in her cheeky admiration of... well. Everything that he was.
Although Matt didn't feel like her husband now in the way he had before the accident. That was a problem she was trying to bury with time and hope it righted itself. It would, surely, as he became more himself. Stronger. Less touchy.
"Nice to see you here, Boaz," she said lightly, prying Hazel's cardigan off her shoulders and turning it back in the right way. Hazel rolled her eyes as if Kate was the weird one. "You need to go and get your shoes, H. There's no way tonight doesn't end up with broken glass on the floor. Go. Now." Hazel sighed, rolled her eyes again, and obediently skipped off toward the stairs.
"She doesn't do that at school, does she? Abandon her shoes?" Kate asked, one amused eyebrow raised.