Episode 29 ~ I’m Not on the Rebound
They stepped out into the chill. The first day of spring was just around the corner but it seemed as though the temperature was dropping just a bit. Nathan was grateful for the cool air on his face. He’d nearly lost himself in there. He observed that they both were behaving like they’d be struck by a spell of some kind. Nathan and Carrie stepped apart, considered one another for a second, snapping back into the world.
“So how far do you live? Do you want to walk in those shoes or grab a cab?” he asked.
“It’s not far,” she reached deep into her bag and pulled out a rolled up pair of ballet flats and then reached for his hand for balance. She slipped out of one shoe, which she handed wordlessly to Nathan. He dutifully accepted it while she swapped the other shoe. She released a high-pitched, “Ahhhh,” as she lowered her heels to the ground.
“You’re cute,” he repeated for maybe the tenth time, “and short,” he teased.
“I know,” she sighed,” Ruined my life.”
“What? “Nathan laughed.
“My mom,” she shrugged, “she was a model and I wanted to be one too.”
“Really?” he mused.
“Yep,” she said proudly. “She was Miss West Virginia before she married my dad. She put me in pageants and stuff when I was little. My dad ix-nayed that after she died, though. He hated them.”
They began the walk towards her apartment.
“Yeah, probably. And he supported everything else I ever wanted to do.”
“What does your dad do?” Nathan asked.
“He’s…in politics,” Carrie said cryptically.
“Oh.” Nathan took her by the hand, lacing his fingers through hers, holding it easily now. “Hang on, your dad is Congressman Davison?”
“Yeah,”she smiled. “how do you know a Congressman from West Virginia?”
“The only thing I ever watch is the Mets and the news. You must have had a really interesting childhood.”
“I guess so,” she said sadly.
“So, your friend Legacy, she was there with you tonight or last night as is the case.,” Nathan quickly redirected.
“The guy, David, who is he?”
“Well, he’s my business partner and he’s been our friend for years.,” she paused and inhaled sharply. “His weirdness is because he’s also my ex, kinda recently so it’s a little strange right now.”
“Were you together long?,” Nathan asked, bracing himself for disappointment.
“No, about a year, off and on. We probably should never have dated at all. We’ve known each other for years and there were always rumors that we were dating even before we really were. It never stuck. We were more like friends than anything. We broke up for good a few weeks ago and I’m not on the rebound if that’s what you’re asking., ” she blurted quickly.
“Yeah, that’s what I was asking.” he sighed, relieved. “Have you ever been in love?”
Well, you answered that pretty quickly. You seem pretty sure.” He noted.
“I am. I’m not even sure what that looks like, but I’m positive I’ll know it when I see it.”
She was beginning to get a pretty clear picture but she didn’t dare say that out loud.
“You will,” he insisted, winking at her. It was so easy to flirt with her. He wished that he could have recorded the entire evening with her. He’d play it back for his brothers. He was actually good at this, with her anyway. They’d never believe him.
“You sound like you know what you’re talking about.”
She said, interrupting his thoughts. Now it was her turn to wonder. Had there been someone, a heartbreak, a lost love?
“No, I really don’t. I’ve had one real girlfriend, you know other than things that only lasted a few weeks, and a handful of first dates.”
He didn’t mention that he’d been such a nerd that school was all that had mattered to him. He’d graduated a year early with 2 years of college under his belt, thanks to the International Baccalaureate Diploma he’d earned. He was a junior in college at 17. The girls he was around were all turning 21 and going to bars and clubs. He could get into R rated movies. Dating had definitely been challenging for several years. Med school was different but by then it was a time issue. There had been girls and one older woman, but Amy really had been the only thing he’d call a relationship. Nathan had been buried in books while Carrie, many years younger than he, was conquering the world. They were very different but, he hoped, not too different.
“This is me,” Carrie said, sounding a little disappointed that their walk was over.
The sun was up by then and people exited the building, walking their dogs and bustling off to wherever it was they bustled to. He brought her knuckles to his lips and met her eyes. She visibly sighed which he took as a very good sign.
“Carrie? Can I see you again?”
She nodded in silent agreement looking up at him with big wide eyes. God, he needed to be kissing her.
“I, I enjoyed tonight, this morning..whatever,” she blushed.
Nathan leaned in and kissed her cheek and then lingered near her mouth, nuzzling her nose. Self-conscious, she put her fingers to her lips. “My…Nathan, I haven’t brushed my teeth in like, 14 hours.”
“Yeah, me too,” he stepped back. “I am going to see you again, right?”
“Yes,” she promised.
He pulled her to him once more and kissed her forehead. It was just as well. The streets and sidewalks were full of people. He could pretend that a simple kiss would be enough but the way she stirred in him, he worried that he’d take more than he should. She didn’t strike him as someone who wanted to put on a show. She glided her hands up his chest and threaded her fingers through his hair. Did she know what that did to him? Pulling him to her, she left a soft kiss on his cheek grazing his face with her eyelashes as she pulled away.
“Call me? ” she whispered.
“I’ll let you get some sleep and I’ll call this afternoon.”
“Okay," She replied, softly and peeled herself away. She walked in through the revolving door before turning to find Nathan watching her. He raised his hand to wave and watched her disappear before turning to make his way home wishing he could tell Ethan everything, to relay each and every tiny nuance of the hours with Carrie. He wanted to but as his twin was supposed to have been walking down the aisle that week, it was probably best not to tell him that he’d fallen recklessly in love. Erin would be awake. He reached for his phone to find a missed text message…from Amy.
Hey, I know we aren’t supposed to talk until this weekend. I just wanted to say thank you for putting me back on cardio while you’re out. BTW, I snuck down and heard part of your speech. You did great. Can’t wait until Saturday.