Episode 39 ~ You know what this is, don’t you?
Updated: Sep 6
Leaving the boys behind, Carrie darted to the ladies room. Inside the stall, she dialed Legacy’s number, hoping for a pep talk. Of course, Legacy was out.
“Hey, I’m back, finally. I wish you were answering your phone. Anyway, I’m out, I met Nathan for a drink, I’m not myself at all. I’m practically walking into walls he makes me so nervous. Okay, so maybe that’s exactly like myself but I don’t want him to know that. Oh, and I totally blew the plan. I’m wearing what I wore on the plane and vanilla bean hand lotion instead of perfume. I basically took a French bath on the plane, put on lipstick and called myself dateable. Oh, and matching bra and panties…so, I’m left to my own devices” Carrie heard soft laughter from the stall beside her. “Alright, I’m better now. Call me tomorrow.”
She exited the stall, reapplied a little lip gloss, and was joined at the sinks by her stall neighbor, a tall black girl, who was one of the waitresses. Carrie had seen her here before but had forgotten her name. She wore impossibly high heels which was impressive given that she was on her feet all night and unnecessary since she was probably 5’11” barefoot.
Carrie gripped the counter, grabbed a breath and checked the mirror once more. Anessia! That was her name. Carrie read the girl’s name tag backwards. Anessia caught Carrie’s eye in the mirror. “You got this.” She giggled and then whispered, “The panty thing doesn’t work anyway. They don’t care. Just be strong.”
Carrie drew in a slow’ calming breath through her nose and on release said, “You’re right.” Conversations in the ladies room! They walked out one after the other and Anessia asked, “So which one is he?”
Carrie nodded toward the patio without pointing.
“The blond in the blazer?,” Anessia crinkled her nose.
“No, straight ahead, the twins,”
“I'm sorry, you’re on a date with twins?”
“No, only one of them is…is mine.”
“Well good, I’ll take the other one,” Anessia laughed “Have fun!”
Carrie returned to the table. They guys were engrossed in a conversation and laughing about something when she approached. Her wine had arrived and someone had brought her a chair. Nathan dragged it right up beside his chair and drew her to him. They sat, chatting easily, her hand in his. Ethan finished the last of his drink and stood to leave.
“Carrie it was really good meeting you. I’m sure I’ll see you.” Ethan said politely but genuinely. He would never have pegged her as Nate’s type. They didn’t seem to have much in common and she was perfect for him. She didn’t change Nate. It was like she magnified him and brought out all the good parts. He manned up around her. With Amy, Nate had been a good guy, he did all the right things but it was because he knew he was supposed to. But it was never enough and she’d always picked. Even when he’d been affectionate with her in public, it didn’t look the same as it did now. He’d been near Amy, he was with Carrie.
“Well, thanks for ‘keeping him warm.’ I hope to see you again too.,” she gazed up at Nathan when she said it and Ethan took his cue and headed out.
Alone, finally, Nathan took Carrie’s other hand in his, running his thumbs along her knuckles. After a brief, nervous pause, he spoke. “I’m glad you’re back. Thanks for meeting me.”
“Thanks for waiting,” she said softly. The patio was packed. Someone dropped a glass and it shattered on the cobblestone. Neither of them looked. If she’d had to describe what was happening to her, she wasn’t sure she could. It looked like nothing at all. They sat, nearly still, breathing in and out. She couldn’t have looked away from him if the city were burning down around them. She surveyed his face, his brows, his jaw. He had a shallow dimple, just one and delicious lips. She settled back into his eyes. No, if anyone was watching, they’d see nothing. Just two people sitting. But under the surface, there was this hum, a charge threatening to ignite. She let her mind play. She pictured launching herself into his lap, tasting his mouth and taking fistfuls of his thick hair. The nearness of him created such disorder, the core of her body zapped with electricity, her head was swimming but she could see everything clearly. She was not alone.
Nathan briefly glanced around the patio, considered the crowd and then turned his attention back to her. He brought her knuckles to his lips and the word, “consume” entered his mind. That’s what he wanted, what the chemicals smacking into his brain were telling him he needed; to consume. To lose himself in her, to be in her. Not because he loved her but because she triggered this frenzy in him and he desperately wanted relief. This last thought was like a bucket of ice over the head. She owned his heart, whether it made sense or not. There was no part of him that knew how to take from her; not even his fantasies would allow him to go there. This was already running away with them so fast. Nathan was a very willing passenger on this hot trip to heaven but he would be sure to take the scenic route.
“How was your visit with your family? ” he asked, squeezing her hand and shaking himself back to the present.
“Short, but good.” She gave him the greatest hits of her short trip, the meetings she’d had with Legacy, her concerns about Ayla’s health, even her conversations with Sarah though she left out some key bits of information. The bar closed and though she lived close by, they took a cab to her building so they wouldn’t have to carry her luggage. They rode wordlessly the few blocks to her place. She lay, with her head on his shoulder, his arm bent around her so that he cradled her head against him. Their breathing in sync, they each sourced energy from the body beside them.
What would happen when they got to her apartment she wondered?
Would he follow her upstairs or say goodnight on the street like he had a few days before? As if he’d read her mind, he murmured into her temple, “I’m going to say goodnight at your steps, okay?”
“Okay,” she whispered.
“I’d linger if I could but I’m…” instead of completing his sentence and telling her how volatile he felt, he simply pulled in closer and inhaled her sweet scent.
At her building’s entrance, Nathan paid the cab and helped Carrie exit. He held her hand tightly and pulled her suitcase along behind him. They walked slowly toward the doors and then ducked to one side so they wouldn’t be in the way. He drew her to him and kissed her face. Her heart was thundering, his heart was thundering. She hung on to him, pressing her body into his so their pounding hearts could find a similar rhythm.
“You smell good, “ he murmured, “like cotton candy.”
Of course, she thought. Usually, she wore YSL or Chanel. She’d smeared on some vanilla bean, drugstore lotion and it was sending him over the edge. He dragged his opened mouth over her jaw, along her cheek, and to her lips.
“I bet you taste like candy too,” he said sounding hoarse. He pulled her arms around his neck and her hands twisted themselves in his hair. Nathan nuzzled her ear, and lay his head on her shoulder, breathing her in. He wondered how many people when they kissed someone for the first time, were aware that it was the last time they’d ever kiss anyone for the first time. A small cry escaped her lips and in response, he dug his fingers into the small of her back and drew her hips into his.
“Nathan? ” she panted pressing her forehead to his.
“It’s okay, baby.” He cupped her face in his hands and lowered his mouth to hers. At the last second, she looked down and his kiss landed just between her eyes.
‘I ruined that, I’m sorry,” she said bringing her eyes back up to meet his.
“You didn’t ruin anything,”he whispered, “what’s the matter?”
“Nothing.,” she promised. “I just…” There were so many people, coming and going. Her building was a busy place on a busy street. She wanted this kiss to be just right. Her feelings frightened her but she’d already made the decision to trust him. She didn’t want to hold back because of a lack of privacy.
“Do you want to come up?” she asked., knowing it was a bad idea but committed to whatever he decided.
He released her and ran his hands through his hair. Did he want to come up? Yes, an emphatic oh, yes. “No, but yes, and no, definitely no.” He took her face in his hands again and smiled widely. He’d tell his kids this story one day and he didn’t want to have to edit out the part where he’d wrapped her naked body around his and put it to her because he was too weak to slow it down. “You know what this is, right? You and me?” he asked, his tone serious.
She nodded and opened her mouth to answer but no words would come out.
"Then we have plenty of time.,” he assured her. “Why don’t you go inside before I do something stupid?”
She touched his face tenderly, absorbing what he’d just said. Who were they?
“Carrie,” he said softly caressing her cheek, ”Go inside.”
“Come early tomorrow.” She pleaded, her voice barely audible.
“Good night, my baby.” He sighed, backing down the walk. She disappeared into the building leaving him standing, hands in his pockets, watching her go. He stood on the sidewalk for a minute or two before finally turning and heading for home.