Episode 40 ~ No one ever…
My baby? It’s like his mouth wasn’t connected to his brain. Who talked like that? Pull it together, Nate, he thought to himself. He looped his own words over and over in his mind the whole way home. Most of the evening had been about perfect. Even sharing her with Ethan for awhile, was not exactly the date he’d planned, but it had been nice. Then he had to ‘my baby’ her. Baby, would have been one thing but my baby?
Carrie let herself into her apartment, exhausted from her travels and exhilarated from her evening with Nathan. Tomorrow night could not get there fast enough. She played the night in her mind while she showered and went through her night time routine. Chamomile tea with gelatin, all her creams, and potions, and supplements, until she was finally under the sheets. My baby, she thought. He’d called her his baby.
Nothing had ever felt like this. She flipped over and over in bed trying to sleep. She must have eventually fallen asleep because she woke in the morning with a smile on her face. His baby, she thought. She’d see him in a few hours. She was not going to be nervous she decided. She was going to keep her head and be poised and elegant because that who she chose to be. If only Nathan didn’t make her heart flutter so, she could behave like a normal person and not some love drunk moron. But, evidently she was his baby, and that was something.
Carrie had managed to stay busy most of the day. Nathan had called in the morning, very briefly, just to confirm a time for this evening. They’d not spoken the rest of the day and she wondered how he’d occupied himself. She had some actual work to do and had met David at the club to discuss the repackaging and relaunch of the programs that had been released to her after the lawsuit. She’d not seen him since he’d hunted her down with Nathan a few nights before. He never mentioned it so she didn’t either. She left by 1:00 to get ready for the evening. Legacy had left a midnight blue lace romper and pewter slingbacks for Carrie to wear.
He’d not told her where they were going, only that they’d be able to kick back a little, so the lacy shorts seemed smarter than a dress but sexier than the pantsuit she’d worn the night before. She got a mani-pedi, since her shoes were open toed, a blow-out, and had her make-up done. She’d made a few adjustments to it when she got home and put on real cologne. She had just slipped into her strappy heels when he called.
“Hi,”she bubbled, excited to see him and surprisingly without a bit of nerves.
She’d had a good day, a classic Caroline Davison, ‘I’ve got the world on a string’ kind of day.
“Hi,” he returned. “I’m downstairs. I’m early. You said to come early but if you need more time, I can wait.”
“I’m ready. Come up.,” she said. She checked her face once more, flicked an eyelash from her cheek and took a long slow breath. Her palms were damp. He was coming into her apartment. He knocked on the door. Carrie trotted to the door, inhaled once more and blew out 1…2…3…4…5
He was standing, rocking nervously, forward and backward on his heels. He stopped mid-rock when she opened the door. She loved the way his face lit up when he saw her. It was a look reserved only for her.
Nathan sucked in a breath, “Wow. Um, wow!”
She stepped back and let him in. He glanced around the apartment, it wasn’t as girly as he’d imagined but it definitely seemed her. Lots of whites and grays, flowers in simple vases, tulips he thought and he made a mental note. He realized quickly that he’d seen her place before. Lots of her blogs and posts online had photos of the kitchen and he vaguely recognized a painting on the wall. He’d not really thought about it but he guessed that he had assumed that she’d been on a set and not in her inner sanctum. It was surreal.
“How did I end up here?” he asked, taking her hands in his and stepping back to admire her once more.
“The elevator I hope,” she teased, considering that she was several floors up. She nibbled her bottom lip.
“You look,” she sighed, “very handsome.”
Erin had mostly picked his clothes. She’d convinced him to actually go shopping to pick a new shirt, a dark eggplant colored linen that he wore with the sleeves rolled and a slim tie she’d insisted he needed. He’d protested until Erin pointed out that it would give Carrie something to tug on when she kissed him goodnight. She’d also forced him to buy a pair of boots instead of dress shoes. “Trust me,” she persuaded. “She’ll be in heels, these will give you another inch and you’ll stand up straight.”
Carrie reached without thinking and let the tie slip through her long, manicured fingers. Okay, good choice.
“You ready?,” he asked softly.
“Let me get my purse and then you can tell me where we’re going.” She urged.
“You’ll see,” He held her hand loosely. He was hyper aware of the feel of her hand in his. Her body was petite and lithe but clearly very strong. Her hands, though, were small and delicate. If he played his cards right, she’d touch his face, his arms, run them through his hair. Mmmm.
A short cab ride later and they stepped through the revolving door at Salete’. It was packed, wall to wall, and on a Tuesday night. They walked in and rather than stopping at the host’s station, he lead her to a hightop at the bar with a little ‘Reserved’ sign on it. A waitress walked by. “Hi, Dr. Dorough,” she piped. “Hi, Jenna.,” he smiled. He pulled out Carrie’s chair as one of the bartenders walked by.
“Dr. Dorough, how are you sir?” he said with a familiarity. “I’ll be right there!”
Nathan sat and pushed the little sign out of the way. “Did I tell you that you look amazing?” he asked.
“Doesn’t ring a bell.,” she teased, blushing. He loved that he could make her do that. “It’s not easy to get a reservation here…and you rescheduled.,” she continued. “Whose life did you save to get preferential treatment?”
“No ones.,” he insisted, keeping her in suspense.
The bartender returned with a bottle of something red and two glasses.
“I kept this for ya, Nate. If you don’t like it I’ll bring you something else. We just got it in and it’s brill.” He said nodding at Carrie. “How ya been?”
“Never better. Will, this is Caroline. Carrie, this is Will. He’s been here forever and they need to fire him already. You’ve got what, an economics degree? When you gonna get a real job?”
“I would but I’m no dummy. The economics here work out a whole lot better than some cubicle. Either way, I’d have to wear still have to wear a tie.” Will poured each of them a taste.
“Oooh,” Carrie raved, taking another sip. ‘what is that?”
“I’d say it’s yours.” Pouring her a full glass and then turned back to Nathan. “Your table is ready anytime you want it.” He emphasized the word “table” with a wink.
“What was that all about? She asked, her curiosity peaking.
“Okay, so you remember I told you that my dad worked in his uncle’s pub when he first got here?
“The pub was in this building. This was it,” he pointed around, “and the space over there used to be a little grocery and the last bay was a dry cleaners or laundry, I can’t remember. Anyway, they sold the building but my Uncle Joe, who’s like 88, and doesn’t know how to hold still, works here.”
“So, Joe is the uncle your dad worked for?” putting two and two together.
“No, it was Joe’s brother, my dad’s uncle Daley. When he died, he left the bar and the building to my dad and Joe. We pretty much, my family I mean, come and go at will.” he explained.
That explained it. “Okay, I’m impressed.” she marveled.
“Let’s order and then I want to show you something.” he said, clearly something up his sleeve.
They ordered their dinners and Nathan took her by the hand. “Here, take your glass.” He grabbed the wine and his now empty glass in one hand and lead her toward the kitchen.
“Where are we going?” she asked. His only reply was a wink and a raised eyebrow.
He pulled her into the kitchen where he greeted a few of the chefs and kitchen staff and then through a door that lead to a set of nicely polished wooden stairs.
“Come on,” he motioned toward the stairs with a nod. She tugged on his hand briefly stopping him in his tracks and gave him a wide-eyed, uncertain look.
“Please trust me.,” he pleaded “30 more seconds and then I promise you, no more mystery…Please?” He gave her that smile, the one that she feared would persuade her to give him whatever he wanted. He let her step in front of him on the stairs and held her waist as she navigated the narrow stairway.
‘What’s up here?,” she whispered. He opened the door at the top of the landing and she stepped through it.
“Oh, my God. Nathan?,” she looked around. “What is all this? This is…”
“Amazing, isn’t it?” he finished for her.
They stepped out a little further and were on the rooftop of the building. It was furnished with just a few chairs and outdoor seating, eclectic outdoor lighting, and an electric firepit that was already blazing. She could faintly hear the street below and the view of the city lights was breathtaking. She had considered herself a New Yorker for years but the truth was that a part of her would always be the wide-eyed girl from the hills of West Virginia. This city had been the place of dreams for her and now she was here with him, living a new, spectacular dream.
“I told you that our family used to own the building and my uncle still keeps the apartment up here.,” Nathan took her hand and lead her to the edge to get a better view., Nathan continued with his story.
“He lives up here?” she asked.
“The apartment isn’t much but the view is what makes it.
My parents and my older sister used to all live in it with Daley. But, when Daley died, Dad and Joe took over and ran it for a few years. The real estate became so valuable that they decided to sell. My brother was on the way by then and the space was just too small. My parents took their cut of the sale and Daley’s estate and moved to Connecticut. Joe moved up here.”
“And he works here.,” she said.
“They could never get him to leave. He’s had a lot of businesses, invested well but the man has always worked. He doesn’t know how to retire. His wife died and his daughters both married and moved away. He travels to see his grandchildren but this is home.” he he shrugged.
“So what do your parents do now? Since they left.” she asked, getting a little more insight to who he was.
“Oh,” Nathan clarified, "they moved before I was even born. They opened another restaurant in Mystic. There are a lot of tourists. They built a house right next to it."
“And they did all that with what they got for the building here?” she coaxed him to continue.
“More or less. It’s Manhattan so it went for a lot more than what Daley paid for it. He’d have choked. But my parents were, are, working people. They didn’t know how not to work so they bought a B & B but made it a restaurant. We lived there too until they built the house they live in now and we all worked there in high school. We practically grew up in the kitchen,” he said proudly. He did very well for himself but he hadn’t grown up with a lot. He’d worked hard for everything he had. Most of that drive had been hereditary.
“I don’t know if I could have ever left this. This view is unbelievable,” she replied. Her own apartment was fantastic but there was no outside and the windows didn’t face anything in particular. Here, on top of the building, the view was completely unobstructed so you got a full 360°.
“I love it up here. We used to come up here all of the time. We’ve all gotten busy and I kind of forgot about it. I wanted to take you somewhere really special but not too loud or stuffy and it just kind of popped into my head.“ he revealed.
She gave him a long look and considered the situation. She was up here, alone, with him. They could barely hear the noise from below so it was likely that no one could hear them. Everything inside of her had been telling her to trust him. She wanted to but it seemed smart to be on guard. He was a good guy, but still a guy. She wanted to ask him if he brought dates up here before. She knew he’d had a girlfriend before her but didn’t know the story.
“You know you’re safe with me, right?” he asked, almost reading her mind.
She nodded. Yes, she did know. She had to admit to herself that is wasn’t him that worried her. So far, he’d been so careful and really sweet with her. Her nerves stemmed from her sudden desires. The night they had met, she had been so real with him and though it had scared her, it had been resonating with her ever since.
“Look over here,” he drew her to him and pointed over the side of the building. Down below was a small garden, surrounded by a wall. “There’re tomatoes and peppers, and a bunch of other things, and over there, sometimes sunflowers.”
“I didn’t know you could grow sunflowers here.” She said surprised.
He shrugged. “I guess they do.” He pulled her to close. “Sooo, if I ever make you mad and send you sunflowers, you’ll know where they came from.” he smirked.
She tipped her head back and laughed. “Or tomatoes, “she giggled. “Tomatoes are much more practical.”
His mouth was on hers in a flash. No sweet build-up, no soft sighs or a hint of an invitation, just hungry searching. He lifted her from the ground and her fingers found his hair. The air was still, there was no sound, suddenly there was nothing but his warm mouth consuming her. She disappeared into him, her soft tongue gliding over his, willing him to deepen his kiss. He obliged, pressing harder, sucking gently on her bottom lip. She whimpered, he groaned. One arm fully around her waist and the other in her hair, Nathan crushed her against him forcing another small moan from her.
“Oh, God, I’ve been thinking about this for days, “he groaned into her mouth. Fingers laced through his thick hair, she tugged him toward her again, silencing him and draping her arms over his shoulders. She allowed him to lift her again leveling her hips against his. Pinned against her, she could feel his thickness through his pants. He wanted her. It frightened her and she loved it. Gasping for a breath, Nathan moved to her jaw, her neck, and finally landed a few soft kissed on her face. He held her, motionless, with his lips pressed against her forehead. listening to her breath return to normal.
“No one, ever…,” she gasped, gripping his shoulders before catching herself and going silent.