Fiction logo

More Than a Year

What happens when you don't really know your partner at all?

By Charlotte StetsonPublished about a year ago 7 min read
More Than a Year
Photo by Susan Wilkinson on Unsplash

“Mom, last night’s anniversary dinner was lovely. One full year. So shut up now lol,” Carrie texted as soon as she woke up. She could hear Kevin moving around and the smell of bacon already filling the apartment. She set her phone down, got out of bed and headed to the kitchen.

Kevin was standing at the stove, spatula in hand, watching the bacon cook. Carrie walked up behind him and slid her arms around his waist, pressing her naked body up against him. He startled and stumbled against her.

“Hello beautiful,” he said happily once he got his footing back. “Come to get some burn marks on that gorgeous, unblemished skin?” he asked, pushing her away from the stove with its popping grease filled pan.

“I was just checking to see if you’re still interested in me or if I’m old hat and boring after a whole year of dating,” she said, affectionately tracing the slight sag on the left side of his mouth with her finger.

“I am, I definitely am. I’m excited to see what older woman sex is like,” he said as he reached to take the bacon off the burner. He pulled a pan with two omelettes out of the warmer. “First I need to recover from the night that young wild thing gave me!”

Carrie went and got her robe and the two ate their breakfast, idly twining their feet together under the table, talking lightly about their upcoming days and frequently breaking into laughter over some little reminiscence or shared joke. It was a good morning after. Six months living together and still no arguments over toothpaste, only the occasional moodiness from Kevin, that didn’t seem to Carrie to be connected to her at all.


“How come you’re out and loose in the middle of the day?” Allison sat down at the little table where Carrie was already settled in with her coffee.

“I took the afternoon off to go to the main library,” she said.

“What?” Allison looked confused. “Who goes to the library anymore? What are you, what are you doing there?”

“Well when I went to see that therapist to ask about Kevin – “

Allison broke in, rolling her eyes. “I still can't believe you did that,” she said.

Carrie said, “I know, it's a little bit weird probably. But he just won't talk about his childhood very much, and I know that kids that grow up in foster care can have some serious problems. I want to find out what I might be in for if I stay with him. I couldn't find any articles or anything online, and that therapist, who I thought was going to be able to just tell me all of the things, you know, that might be affected developmentally for someone in that situation, she said she just couldn't tell me very much without more detail than I had.”

Allison said “okay so, so what's the library about?”

“The library is so I can see if I can find any more detail about his childhood, so the therapist can tell me something. His foster care records won’t be available, I don't expect to see any of that, but I thought, since I know where he grew up, I might be able to find some newspaper articles or something like that, police report maybe, if there was an incident where the police were called when he was taken out of his family. So, you know I have to go to the library, because they have all these databases for newspaper archives and stuff and I can get the librarians to help me, cuz I can't do any kind of research but Google anymore,” she said, laughing.

Allison ran her finger up and down the handle of her coffee cup for a moment. Then she said “it sounds like it’s a good idea, but you better be sure that it’s worth it. You know Kevin – you passed that one full year mark your mom is stuck on – I think you know Kevin well enough to know everything you need to know. Don’t overthink this, Carrie.”

“I don’t think I am. Yeah, mom is like a broken record that you need one full year to really find out what a person is like, and we just hit that year. And yeah, he’s a wonderful person, but every now and then he seems to get lost somewhere else, his face changes, the way he moves changes, he gets sullen and he won’t ever talk to me about it. It’s like something sneaks up and wraps itself around him and he can’t get it off. And then when it is gone, he doesn’t want to think about it. I just need to know what’s happening, if that’s likely to get worse as he gets older, is it going to cause us problems.”


The librarian she spoke to was not only helpful, but very excited to be asked about something other than why the printer wasn’t printing. Carrie told her the name, the town and the year she was looking for information on. Nothing came up, so they tried some alternate searches – left Kevin’s name off since a juvenile might not be named anyway, added terms about abuse to the search, and still nothing was looking likely.

The librarian didn’t want to give up. She kept popping in different search terms and different parameters in her databases, having completely abandoned her previous task of shelving books in favor of this far more interesting project. Carrie had mostly given up and was just browsing old newspaper ads when the librarian looked up with a serious face and said “come look at this one.”

She slid out of her chair so Carrie could sit down for a better view. The microfiche were a little hard to read. On the screen Carrie could see a fairly large article with a photograph. She leaned in to read the headline. “Juvenile held in connection with local woman’s death,” it said. Carrie looked over at the photograph. It showed a young boy being walked toward a barely visible police car. She leaned in closer, and gasped. The boy’s general look was similar to Kevin, but so were a lot of little boys. The mouth of this boy, though, had a distinct sag on the left side. The same as Kevin. She started reading the article. Neighbors awakened by gunshots . . . police response . . . Mrs. Julie Harker found dead in kitchen . . . her eight year old son Brian found in a bedroom, a recently fired gun under his bed . . . unhurt . . .

“I need the follow up stories on this,” she said, her voice shaking. It might not be him, she told herself. That’s not his name, lots of kids look like that. “I need stories on Julie Harker and Brian Harker.”

The librarian went into action. Within an hour, Carrie had learned that there had been numerous police responses to the home in the past for domestic disturbances, that a Mr. Harker had not lived at the home for some time, that the son Brian was well liked at school but had a long disciplinary record, and, finally, that he was found by investigators to have intentionally shot his mother, killing her, and had been placed with the juvenile justice system until the age of 22. Carrie and the librarian were unable to find any mention of Brian Harker after that time, nor any photo other than two that appeared in the papers at the time of the shooting. Carrie still wasn’t positive this was Kevin. The name was wrong, the details were impossibly wild, but the age and the town were right.

And there was that mouth.

“Maybe he changed his name,” the librarian said. “Let’s check court records.”

And then, there it was. Carrie couldn’t explain it away any longer. An official looking document, under an official court heading, with an official seal and everything, the statement “this Court grants the petition to change the name of Brian Kevin Harker to Kevin Scott Wright.”

Carrie sat, unable to speak, not sure she was even breathing. The librarian pulled a chair close and sat next to her, saying nothing. She put a hand on Carrie’s arm, and they sat, silently, until Carrie came back to her body. She noticed her eyes were wet, her arms were shaking. She looked at the librarian. “I’m so sorry,” Carrie told her. She didn’t even know why she was apologizing to the librarian. It was the only thing she could think of to say. The only thing that she could pull out of the depth of her confusion. The only thing that came even close to explaining anything about how she was feeling, like the world could not be trusted, like her body was coming apart, like nothing was real and everything was collapsing.

The librarian pulled her close into a hug and held her for a while longer, drawing looks from the people around, but no one disturbed them. This was a profound moment, and all of them could feel it. After a long while, Carrie pulled away and sat up straight. “Thank you for your help,” she said to the librarian.

“What will you do now,” she asked Carrie.

Carrie stood then and thought for a long while, about the last year, about the morning, about the Kevin she had known up until now and about the Kevin – or Brian – she didn’t know at all.

“I don’t know yet,” she finally said. “I think I’ll know in another year.”

LoveShort Story

About the Creator

Charlotte Stetson

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For Free

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (1)

  • Rosie Ford about a year ago

    Wow!! I loved the mystery in this one and I really feel for poor Carrie! Tragic, but it sounds like she’s willing to give him another chance. This is great work!

Charlotte StetsonWritten by Charlotte Stetson

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.