It is the Christmas season... if you want to gift us with more Kate x Reader?
[A/n: Of course I do! Truthfully, this whole universe was the first thing that I wrote that was Kate x Reader, and holds a special place in my heart. Happy Holidays, there is more to come!]
Title: Just Like the Ones We Used to Know
Summary: It's been three years since your disastrous plot to bring a fake girlfriend to the family Christmas. Not much good came out of the endeavor, but you did manage to get the girl. What happens when your estranged family makes a second appearance, disrupting your life with your found one?
This is a Sequel, Read "I'll Be Home For Christmas" Here
When you first saw Clara, you didn’t recognize her. There was a cold feeling of familiarity that hung in the air before your mind caught up with the shock of the situation. Three years. It had been three years since you watched her fade into a small speck in the snow in the rearview mirror. Your fingers had gone numb, just as they did now.
You stood behind the mahogany counter and squinted over the stacks of books before cracking a random one open down the center and covering the heat in your cheeks with words not registering. Fuck- this city was massive and bustling and of course, your older sister chose to walk into your bookstore.
Thankfully, her husband wasn’t around, or at least not where you could see him. Steven struck you as the type of man to wait outside while the December air chilled him to the bone instead of picking up anything remotely interesting, or at least, following his wife like a dog on a lead.
“How to Raise Children Who Aren’t Assholes? Darling, is there something you’re not telling me?” Kate cocked her head in an odd way to read the title. It was, in fact, upside down, and the least of your concerns.
She had brought in a wintery blast of air with her, cheeks blushed with the elements. Kate held two cups of coffee from the café next door, hers a straight black and yours overloaded with cream and sugar that would end up hurting your stomach later. Kate kissed your cheek as she handed it off, nose frigid.
“Clara is here.”
She pulled back and scoured the shelves. You set the book back down on in its rightful place and used your hand to grab her chin and focus her attention back on you. “don’t look.”
“You do realize if she buys something, one of us will have to check her out?”
Curse Kate Bishop and her sound logic. You had sent Cassie home early. It was so close to Christmas and the day had gone by slowly, but steadfastly. You had kept yourself busy with each customer and Kate had let out strings of curses as she struggled to wrap the books purchased. She finally gave up and conceded to a coffee run when disaster struck.
“What are the chances she won’t recognize me?”
“You came from the same womb, so slim.” Kate frowned as Clara scrutinized the cookbooks, hugging her designer bag close. “Me, on the other hand.”
You shook your head, “Uh-uh, babe. Clara is the definition of mean girl. Three years isn’t enough to bury her hatred for the stranger that crashed Christmas.”
Storming out of your Politian parents’ home on the biggest day of the year hadn’t been the best move in hindsight. But the more time that passed, the more comfortable you felt about cutting them out of your life and welcoming Kate into it with such open arms.
The two of you spent every major holiday with Garrett and Noelle, who were on their way to having a little girl. That would make three, squirming kids that you’d happily cart around and change diapers for. You’d eaten Thanksgiving dinner in their suburban ranch-style home after watching the Macy’s Day Parade with Kate’s adoptive father and his family.
You had found your own way these past three years, though there were some rough patches. Your first novel was a hard sell but was eventually picked up by a small indie publishing company before they were bought out by a bigger one that ordered three more books in the series.
It was Kate’s idea to open up a bookstore, and when this place went up for sale with a full stock of literature, it was hard to refuse the offer. In the mornings you worked on your manuscript and spent your evenings running the shop. Kate would pop in between meetings at Bishop Security, which had fallen into her lap after some distasteful business practices from her mother, who you had met only once.
Clint and Laura were Kate’s salvation, and in some ways, yours too. They showed you how a family was supposed to be, and showed both of you that it was okay to love and trust and make mistakes as long as you figured things out together.
Clara was not in the cards this year. Clara was never in the cards, and it had been so easy to avoid her up until this point. From your vantage point in the parenting section, she looked relatively harmless.
“Maybe she’ll leave without buying anything.” Kate suggested, “We can hide out here until we hear the bell above the door.”
“Right, yeah, okay.” You took in a deep breath and ran your finger over the spine of a home-childbirth book. “This is why you’re the brains of this operation.”
Kate scoffed with a charming smile. A bell rang, and unfortunately, it wasn’t the one that was above the door. There was no chill from the winter air or the scent of day-old scones from the café next door. It was the tiny silver bell that was situated at the front of the store. A little handwritten sign sat next to it: Probably shelving, Please Ring for Assistance!
You and Kate gave each other a wide-eyed look as you soaked in the realization that you would, in fact, have to interact with your sister. You whispered (You go, no, you go) hastily to each other, both shoving forward before you popped out of the aisle of books, looking disheveled.
Kate straightened first, smoothing down her sweater with a solid smile. You were a little late to recover, pulling awkwardly at the forest-green apron filled with price stickers and decorated with cheesy holiday pins.
Clara lifted a perfectly sculpted eyebrow at you, lilting her head to the side. “Little sister,”
Hearing her voice after all this time sent a chill down to the base of your spine that made you feel woozy. But this was your shop after all, and the cookbook in her grasp was something that she would have to purchase from you. So, you rounded the counter, careful to avoid her searing gaze.
“Would you like to buy that?”
Your voice shook as you swiped the laptop to wake it from its peaceful sleep. Clara gave you a tight smile and put the book down on the counter. She eyed Kate with malice that made you want to kick her out of the store. It would be easier to ring her up and politely get her out. You could always buy another store or give up on the bookshop dream altogether.
“Nice choice,” You noted, keying in the price on the back of the book. Christmas Cooking: How to Satisfy Your Growing Family.
“You’re working here, now?”
Clara ignored your remark and looked around the meticulous swell of bookshelves. There was a second floor where Kate had decorated a live Christmas tree. It sparkled in brilliant color as a faux fireplace cast an orange glow over everything. There were comfortable places to read and sip coffee, a window seat overlooking the city street as snow began to fall.
“No, I own it.” You dropped her book carefully into a paper bag adorned with small snowflakes and reindeer. “That’ll be $16.50.”
She let out a humph of a noise and swiped her card with discontent. Kate was watching the interaction tersely. She grabbed at the closest book when Clara turned and glowered at her. Gardening suddenly became the most interesting thing in Kate’s peripheral.
“I see you’re still trotting around with your fake fling.” Clara slid the bag towards herself.
“Oh no, Kate and I are very much involved.”
“I don’t see how a relationship can be built on a lie.” She frowned.
“Didn’t Steven tell you he owned the L.A Country Club?”
She snapped her jaw shut and tucked the book under her arm. Clara had the posture of a ruler and maintained it as she let out a huff and stalked past you both. Kate gave a delicate wave but held her tongue as Clara walked from the shop and vanished into the crowds the setting sun in winter could bring.
There was a collective exhale of breath as you slumped over the counter. “Oh, fucking God.”
Kate reshelved the book before wrapping you in her arms, you buried your nose into the crook of her neck, breathing her in. “You did amazing, darling, truly. I would have hopped over that counter and… it’s not important what I would have done.”
“You know what this means, right?”
“That we have to up the security.”
“Well, yes, but she’s going to tell my mother.”
“Not your mother.”
Yes, your mother. Who would undoubtedly show up just as Clara had, but with a purpose. You’d seen her do it with your aunt when you were six years old. They had a similar blow-out that lasted much longer than yours had. Her name was forbidden in the house until that desire to reconnect reared its ugly head and she stuck around for another holiday season before crystal glasses and Christmas bulbs started flying, your aunt a stranger again.
Kate gently grabbed both sides of your face. “We can handle this, okay? You are a best-selling author. You’re dating one of the coolest girls in New York City, not to brag.”
“Very humble, Katie.”
She chuckled and soothed the color in your cheeks with her thumbs. “Fuck your family and whatever they throw at us. We’re unstoppable.”
You kissed her, tasting the caramel coffee against her lips. She hummed into the embrace and pulled you back into a comforting hug. You really hoped she was right, but you had a sneaking suspicion that this Christmas was going to be hell.