Summary: “If you can’t love him the way he should be loved, set him free”. Catherine sets Steve free because she thinks he’s happy. How are they coping? Does it work out for them?

Chapter 4:

It felt like the longest flight in his life. Steve couldn’t sleep, he kept thinking back about the past few days, starting from the moment he accepted the phone call from Catherine.

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Steve hadn’t seen Lynn in a while. The last time they went out, she accidentally referred to getting back to his house as “getting home”, which took him aback, in a very weird way. That startled him, made him hesitate about the thing between him and Lynn. He wondered if they were on a same page regarding this “relationship”. To him, she was just a “booty call”, or a “weekend booty” (Lou’s word), nothing more. Steve had never, ever, in his life, thought one day, he would think of any girl as his “sex toy”, but that literally was exactly what Lynn was to him. He had always been so serious about love and relationship, but he was hurt, badly. He sincerely felt bad for her, and he knew it wasn’t fair for them both, but he couldn’t stop. He lost the best version of himself the moment Catherine left again, Steve finally admitted to himself.

After that dinner, he told Lynn that he was busy at work, and didn’t sleep well at night, so he didn’t want to bother her. Lynn, of course, totally bought his excuse, so they took a temporary break.

Steve couldn’t help but comparing Lynn and Catherine.

Back then, when both he and Catherine were in the Navy, when they were stationed in different parts of the world, Catherine could always tell if he was struggling, even just in a phone call, or a text. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, he would receive a text or an audio message from Catherine, saying: “Hope you sleep well”. She called him out immediately if he pretended to be okay. His life was pretty much naked in front of her. Steve always slept better with Catherine lying next to him, so close, so warming. That used to freak him out, but also comforted him in an amazing way. He didn’t see that in Lynn, Lynn believed everything he told her, without questioning. She was too naive, too innocent, too shallow. She was someone he could have fun with, laugh with, but definitely not someone who he could count on when he suffered in life. In other words, deep down inside, Steve knew she wasn’t the right woman. At least, not right for him. But she was a good girl, she might be the perfect one for someone else. Just not Steve McGarrett. Or the best version of Steve McGarrett. Truthfully, he didn’t know who he became now anymore.

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When they had a break, Steve admitted to himself that he didn’t miss Lynn like the way he missed and longed for Catherine’s presence. She wasn’t the one he thought of when he went through the liver surgery back then. Sometimes, he forgot that he was seeing someone. He just missed having sex and she was right there. It was just convenient, especially with Lou’s encouragement, he couldn’t stop. That was the first date after the three-month-break, Steve finally called Lynn to invite her for a dinner at his house.

 

He prepared a homemade dinner at home for Lynn, trying to make it as fancy as possible. To make up for her for secretly cheating on her emotionally. Or cheating emotionally on Catherine, for that matter. He tried to block all the thoughts about Catherine in his head, which he didn’t do so well, because he couldn’t stop wondering how different things would be if he spent time for Cath more than he did in the past: starting by those simple things he was doing for Lynn – cooking dinner for her, taking her out to a real fancy restaurant on Valentine’s Day.

Standing in front of his mirror, Steve fixed his suit. He looked at himself in the mirror, couldn’t help but asking: Was that guy in the mirror really Steve McGarrett – the guy who waited 16 years to finally let his woman know how much he has loved her, just to let her go without fighting for her?

After that, everything on that day happened so fast. Catherine came back, when he tried so hard to move on. Doris somehow came back to his life, too. Everything was just so fresh. He saw Catherine after one year for the first time, listened to her familiar voice – watching her standing right in front of him yet couldn’t pull her closer for a heartfelt hug like he used to do for a million times. Watching her risk her career to save his mom. Watching her leave him, again.

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Steve finally reached the land of Hawaii. He was too exhausted to drive, so he called a cab. He kept thinking about all scenarios that could happen to Catherine, or how to contact Doris. He even tried calling Joe, but the call couldn’t get through, which made Steve wonder if Joe was also on a secret mission, or maybe he was in the same flight with Doris, but just didn’t show up.

Steve slowly pressed each number of Catherine’s number – the series he had dials thousand of times in the past. Sometimes, back when they were both in the Navy, even though he knew he couldn’t reach her because she was on mission as a Navy Intelligence official, he still tried calling her, just to be able to hear her voice – as he missed her so much. That always served him as a special treatment. Old habits die hard, he guessed. Steve didn’t realize what he was doing until he heard her voice on the voicemail.

Clearly, deleting her phone number from his phone didn’t work, because his heart already memorized it. He would always preserve everything about her in an untouchable place in the deepest part of his heart. He didn’t care if other people would think of him as a weak man when it comes to relationship. Catherine Rollins has always been his weakness.

A familiar melody from the radio of the cab’s driver travelled to Steve’s ears.

When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks”

A random song came on radio when Steve and Catherine were stuck in traffic in the middle of Waikiki due to some shooting event of one of the biggest US TV shows that were being filmed in Hawaii.

And darling I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Oh me I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am”

Steve, I like this song.”

It sounds so cheesy. But I think you’re cute.”

Do you know what I think of you when you turn 70?”

tumblr_n40i5iinde1tvga6uo1_500Catherine turned to him, laughing and teasing him, she looked totally care-free on that day. The thought of her thinking about the older version in life of him warmed Steve’s heart. It was so heart-warming and reassuring for him to know that Catherine sometimes thought of the future with him. Even though they avoided using the “L” word all the time, he was positive that their feelings were mutual and she felt the same way about him. He had never imagined he would spend his life with someone else other than this woman. Steve couldn’t stop the big grin on his face.

That I will still be a handsome sailor who still can make you pray to God every night?”, he played along by questioning her jokingly. “God” has become one of their inside jokes since Mary revealed the first conversation between her and Catherine when Catherine stayed over Steve’s place.

That you will still remember my phone number, even if you suffer from Alzheimer.”

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Oh yeah? How do you figure?”

Because you have called my number to ask for so many favours so far. Speaking of favours, I think your list of “You owe me” dinner is expanding, and I haven’t even got one so far.”

It is not my fault that we never make it to dinner. You always seduce me, one way or another.”

It’s not fair. I’m thinking it’s you who always seduce me. It’s your fault that we always end up in bed first and eat later. Sometimes, a proper dinner would be nice, Steve.”

By the way, Catherine, make it my promise!”

What?”

That I will never forget your phone number.”

Because you’re smart?”, Catherine let out a laugh, her eyes shining at his promise. She tried not to read too much between the lines, but it was a little too hard not to. His promise was just so sweet, simple yet very touching, even when they were trying to make it as a joke.

Yes, because I am smart”, Steve moved his hand from the car wheel to Catherine, squeezing her left hand. It was more than that though. He knew no matter what happened, he would never forget her number. Of course, calling her too much to ask for favours wasn’t the reason. He never told Catherine about thousand times when he pressed her number and just looked at it without actually calling her. He admitted to Danny once, sometimes, Five-0 didn’t really need Cath’s help, him calling her didn’t have anything to do with the case, it was just a way for him to hear Catherine’s voice when he missed her so much, or to inform her of his “another day at the office”. It was just that simple.

Steve kept staring at the series of number he typed on his phone, his thumbs silently caressed the screen as if that number were actually Catherine. He knew he would never reach her on this number, at least until who-know-when she finished her secret mission. His mind was so occupied with thoughts that he didn’t even realize he almost reached home until the cab pulled over in front of his house.

Exhaustion fully took over him. Steve slowly walked towards his house, opened the door, stepping inside the house.

The house that only Catherine could ever make a home for him. At some point, he really thought he could move on by using other women as a distraction, but he wasn’t successful. Yet.

He looked around the inner house. Every corner brought memories about Catherine.

The couch – where he and Catherine had shared a lot of kisses and intimate moments, where she tried to seduce him by forcing him to watch “The Notebook”, and he tried to seduce her by bringing up the Foxhole Fantasy which was on his head all the time, whenever he saw her in action at work.

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The kitchen – where he had watched Catherine cook ragu for them both. There was something about those moments that tugged his heart. Steve wasn’t sure if it was simply because Catherine cooked for him, or because she shared something that was so meaningful to her family with him, but he started dreaming about building a family with that gorgeous woman in front of him. A family for them, as husband and wife. The dream that has been shattered since she chose the place where he’s not.

The bathroom – where Catherine ran after him in the middle of the night when he tried not to disturb her, where she had hold him and whispered to his ears: “I’m here, Steve, it was just a nightmare, I’m here”, where they had taken so many fantasies together.

And of course, the bedroom – their sanctuary place.

Steve dropped himself on his bed – the bed that didn’t smell like Catherine anymore. Some days, he got through this easily. But some other days, he just missed her uncontrollably. Steve wished he could invent some sort of machine that he could forget everything about her by just pressing “Delete” button. That would be so good. Less painful, less heartbreaking.

Steve replayed the moments with Catherine on his head for the n-th time. When she said she could have said “Yes” if he had asked. When she said he deserved to be happy.

The tears silently made their way to his face, hitting the pillow.

Suddenly, Steve heard the door bell downstairs. Truthfully, he didn’t want to meet anyone tonight, he just needed time for himself to think. About Doris, and mostly, about Catherine.

But the doorbell didn’t stop, someone must be very impatient. It drove Steve crazy, so he went downstairs, opened the door, so ready to throw a tantrum to whoever stood in front of the door.

Steve froze. He clearly didn’t expect this woman to appear so soon. Lynn showed up earlier than Steve expected. He didn’t tell her when he came back, his team probably wouldn’t inform her either. He wasn’t sure how to deal with her after she accidentally spilled the beans to Catherine about the proposal. To be honest with himself, he didn’t know if it’s a good or bad thing. Technically, he got to know Catherine would have said yes thanks to Lynn’s “innocence”.

“Wow, how do you know I’m back?”

“Well, I’m dating a cop, the head of the governor’s task force. The least I can do is calling in to ask for a favour to keep tabs on my boyfriend.”

“Okay”, Steve raised his eyebrows in surprise. He had never thought of Lynn as a “girlfriend”. She was just a “booty call”, maybe a “sex toy” (Not the best version of himself speaking right now – he was lucky that John wasn’t alive, because John would have definitely punished him if he had known his son become so disrespectful to women). He admitted he didn’t use the term on Catherine either, but it was for a different reason. Catherine meant so much more than just a girlfriend to him.

“Steve, I will make this very quick.”

“Are you drunk?”, Steve could easily tell – based on Lynn’s weird behaviour.

“Yeah, I kind of need some alcohol to do this.”

“Okay”, Steve sighed. He wasn’t ready to deal with Lynn right now, but he guessed he had no choice.

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