Episode 38 ~ You Can’t Make this Stuff Up
Updated: Sep 6, 2020
As much as she had traveled over the years, she still hated flying. The flying part wasn’t so bad but take-offs and landings made her twitchy. If she could just get in the air, she’d be fine. Her flight was marked ON TIME and she was pleased when the plane arrived a few minutes earlier than expected. Then, about 20 minutes before boarding, the gate now full with awaiting passengers, the plane left and their flight was suddenly marked DELAYED. This was not good. Panicked, she called Nathan.
He picked up on the first ring. “Hi, I thought you’d be in the air by now.” He said cheerfully.
“Hey, I wasn’t sure you’d answer. What are you doing? ” she spoke quickly and sounded breathless.
“Nothing, really. Are you at the airport? ” he asked, confused.
“My flight is delayed and they have no idea when it’ll leave. It’s such mess here, and the airport is crowded. And they have no information. The plane was here and now it’s…And, God, I’m stuck.” she rambled, her voice getting louder. Flying sucked!
“Okay, slow down. If you don’t want to go out with me all you have to do is…,” he started to tease her. It didn’t go over well.
“No, I do, Oh my God, no that’s not what…Nathan, I’m really stuck.,” she pleaded.
“Shhh, okay, okay I’m sorry. I was teasing you and you’re upset. I’m sorry, love. It’s going to be okay. Okay?” He spoke slowly and gently. Even in her extreme state, she imagined this was who he was in an actual crisis.
Calmly, she stated, “I hate flying. I didn’t mean to unload on you.”
“It’s okay, just please don’t stress on my account. Alright? ” he chuckled but it was somehow soothing.
“I just wanted to let you know that I have no idea when I’m getting out of here and I really do want to see you,” she insisted, whimpering.
“I know.,” he replied with certainty. “ Alright, here’s what I’ll do. I’ll wait for a while but if I have to, I’ll change our reservations to another night. Are you free tomorrow?”
“Yes.,” she sighed. She didn’t want to wait until tomorrow.
“Okay, that’s plan B. I’ll head to your part of town, see if my brother will meet me for dinner, and I’ll wait for you. If you get in at a decent time and still feel like getting together, then meet me for a drink. If it gets too late for you, then we’ll make up for it tomorrow. Please, please don’t stress. And for heaven’s sake, go get a shot of whiskey or something.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” she admitted.
“I’m completely serious,” he replied.
“Thank you. You’re so easy, I mean…you know what I mean.,” she flustered.
“I do,” he whispered. She could hear him smile.
“I think you just used your important doctor voice on me.,” she giggled, feeling better.
“I did, didn’t I? ” he admitted, sheepishly. “Well, doctor’s orders then. Go try and relax and keep me posted, okay?”
Hours later, and with an unbelievable story to tell, she was finally in her seat, headed home. The flight was just over 2 hours. With the time it took to get through the airport and the cab ride, it would be after 10:00 when she made it back into Manhattan. She did not expect Nathan to wait but on the chance that he would, she had the flight to get ready. She’d had an appointment for a blow-out and makeup, which she’d forgotten to cancel. Now she was on her own. It wasn’t that she wasn’t capable but she’d had a well thought out plan for their first date.
She was doubly glad that she’d stuck to her mother’s rule about how to dress for travel. Her clothes would be fine. Before she flung her suitcase in the overhead compartment, she’d dug out all of her make-up and prayed that there wouldn’t be too much turbulence. She misted her hair and rolled it into a messy sock bun.
The minute her plane landed, she took her phone off of airplane mode to find a text from Nathan. Your phone is going right to voicemail. I take that as a good sign. I’m at 11 Tavern. would love to see you.
11 Tavern was just a few blocks from her apartment. She’d been there many times and undoubtedly, he’d chosen it because it was so close to her place. She unbuckled her belt and quickly typed a reply.
Carrie yanked the sock from her hair, as she ran to grab a cab, throwing it in a trashcan. She moved as fast as she could in 3-inch heels dragging her carry-on luggage behind her. No time to stop at home, her bag would have to come with her to meet Nathan. She bathed in scented lotion in the cab. It wasn’t how she’d planned it but she wasn’t willing to wait an extra day to see him. Carrie arrived at the bar and spotted him seated at a table on the patio, even before she got out of the car.
Having paid the driver, way too much, at the beginning of the ride, she launched herself from the car dragging her carry-on luggage behind her. There he was, sitting at a high top across from a carbon copy of himself. She inhaled sharply and he turned as if he could have heard her. His whole face lit up and he practically jumped from his chair and darted in her direction.
“Hi! ” he breathed. God, he was happy to see her. The patio was surrounded by an iron fence with sharp turrets along the top.
“Hi, yourself,” she whispered. “I guess I have to come from the inside. See you in a minute.”
“Oh, here,” he leaned over hoisting her bag. “See you in a minute.” He winked and she visibly blushed. It had only been a few days but it felt as if the day they’d met had been some perfect dream that had happened to someone else. In the past few days, he’d nearly convinced himself that she was a dream, that she was real, but not his. He had waited hours on the off chance that she’d come to see him. Ethan had been a champ, hanging in there with him.
“I can’t believe you waited! ” she glided up beside him looking fresh and lovely but he could see that she was still vibrating from her “adventure.”
“Hi,” she beamed brightly, extending her hand to Ethan. “I’m, Carrie” and then, leaning very close to Nathan, she whispered against his cheek, “Your brother is hot.”
Ethan released her hand and both men laughed.
“You think so? I don’t know. I think he’s funny looking, but whatever you say.,” Nathan snickered, helping Carrie out of her jacket, placing it on top of her luggage, and caressed each of her bare arms with his hands. It was a small gesture but it fired tiny little sparks all through her body.
“Did you ever find out what the deal was with your flight?” He fixated on her mouth when she spoke. What he would give right at that moment to have her in his arms, her body tangled with his, his mouth on hers. He wet his lips.
“You can’t make this stuff up., she began.
She was rattled and his proximity, his scent, those eyes searching hers sent tremors through her insides. “Okay, so the plane was there, sitting at the gate with no explanation for the longest time. Then they come and move it and bring in a different plane, no explanation. People get on, it takes off and we get moved to another gate. Finally, hours later, they tell us that the plane is there, but the crew was on a different flight, where they had this huge lightning storm and the baggage handler’s union or something wouldn’t let them load the plane. Our crew finally gets to the airport by which time, some of them have been on the clock for too many hours and they have to call to get replacements. These poor people got yanked out of bed to get me here.” Carrie drew in a breath and sighed.
Nathan pulled her to him with a natural familiarity and she leaned in is as if it were a common occurrence. She sighed deeply, her stress level rapidly decreasing. He nuzzled her face and allowed his closed lips to brush past hers in a gesture that may or may not have qualified as a kiss. Subtle, but nevertheless, his need for her threatened to take over. She buried her face in his neck, breathing him in and letting him rush through her. It calmed her and unnerved her at the same time.
“Can I start you off with drink, Miss?” Nathan and Carrie jumped apart both laughing nervously at the waiter’s interruption.
“YES! ” Nathan answered, emphatically.
“Yes, please. I’ll have your Tempranillo, she answered and then to Nathan, “I’ll be right back.” She’d run from the plane to a cab and had neglected to pee. Also, she needed a second to find her brain.
Ethan stood to leave. “I will leave the two of you to your evening.”
“No, no, please stay. At least finish your drink. Don’t let me run you off.’” Carrie was sincere. As much as she wanted Nathan to herself, she wanted to at least pretend she’d been raised with manners.
“I was just here to keep him warm for you.,” Ethan insisted, making a face at his brother. “I’ll finish my wine and then he’s all yours.”
All yours, she thought on her way to the ladies room. It really felt that way.
“Well? ” Nathan asked Ethan, taking a sip of his wine.
“She’s sweet.,” Ethan replied, sounding non-committal. She’s… high…energy.”
“That’s it? ” Nathan demanded.
“It doesn’t matter what I think.,” still with no hint at what he was thinking. Nathan could usually read his twin but as a therapist, Ethan could turn on the neutrality when he wanted to. It was annoying.
“That doesn’t sound good.,” Nathan’s heart sank a little.
“No, it’s…Fine, you want to know? ” Ethan started. “You’re Brooke and me, okay? You handsome, shit.”
“Man, do not do that! You scared the bejesus out of me.”
“That,” Ethan pointed toward the direction Carrie had gone, “is Mrs. Dorough. I’d put money on it”
“I know,” Nathan said seriously. ‘I’m insane.”
“A girl who looks like that and who looks at you like that, man, you wife that girl.,”
“Thanks,” Nathan said, ‘for not thinking I’ve gone clown-shit crazy.”
“She loves you or at least she’s going to. She may not know it yet, but I know what I saw.,” Ethan maintained.