Home > No Tomorrow(14)

No Tomorrow(14)
Author: Carian Cole

“I wish you’d call me Blue. Nobody calls me Evan.”

Using the plastic knife that was in the bag, I scrape some of the mound of cream cheese off my bagel and smile shyly. “Are we friends now?” I ask.

“We are.” He straddles the bench so he’s facing me. “The ladybug is hard at work making us soul mates,” he says with dazzling eyes and a crooked smile full of cockiness. I laugh but my insides are doing acrobatics.

“Is that right?”

He bites into his bagel and nods as he chews. “Yup.”

Our eyes linger on each other, the air between us full of hope and desire mixed with wisps of caution and defiance. If this keeps up, I may just start believing in his bug myths.

“Do you play in bars often?” I ask, needing to break the silence that looms over us.

“Maybe two or three times a month. I could probably get more gigs, but I have to bring Acorn with me, and not all the managers let him inside. I’m not just gonna tie him up outside and leave him.”

“I’ll watch him for you if you ever need me to. I could take him for a walk, and he could sit in my car with me while he waits for you.”

He leans closer and kisses the spot just below my ear, then pauses there with his nose in my hair, breathing me in. I savor the tickling sensation of his breath against my neck and flutter my eyes closed.

“Will you wait for me, too?” He moves his lips to my neck.

I lean my head against his. “If you want me to,” I murmur.

“I want.” He closes his mouth over my collarbone, and pulls me closer, between his legs. A turn of my head brings our lips together, and we kiss slow and soft, unlike the fiery, impatient kisses we shared before. Does the tenderness hint at emotion and care, or is this his well-orchestrated strategy to make me even more inebriated with him?

He pulls away and stares into my eyes, keeping his arm tight around me.

“I felt you wander,” he says.

“I’m sorry.”

“I can back off if you’re not into this.”

I grab his hand. “No,” I reply, shaking my head back and forth. “I-I don’t want you to.” I lace my fingers with his to solidify my words. “I’m just a little… thrown, I guess. By all of this. And what we’re doing.”

“We’re enjoying the moment. Right?”

“Right.” I picture myself introducing him to my parents. This is Blue, who I enjoy long moments with…

He gazes across the park, his eyes a shade darker than they were when we were kissing. I wish I hadn’t questioned his motives.

“Piper, I live moment to moment. I don’t mean to sound like a dick, but you can either take it or leave it. Don’t analyze it. I like you. I want to spend time with you. But that’s all I got right now.”

I let his words sink in, wondering where the ladybug myth is now. Regardless, I have to appreciate his honesty, even if it makes my heart ache.

Here, in my own moment, I’m a girl who’s crazy about a guy. Of course I want the dates and the title and the commitment and the hope of endless tomorrows together. But I still wouldn’t trade these random moments with him for anything.

Pressing my lips to his cheek, I whisper, “I’ll take it.”

He grabs the back of my neck and pulls me to him. The deep, demanding kiss is back, this time with a vengeance. The tightness of his grip beneath my hair and the rapture of his mouth on mine feels as if he wants to inhale me, swallow me, consume and own me. I don’t fight it because I feel the same way.

I want this man to be mine. His lips, his touch, his lust, his smile, his love. I want it all, and I’ll wait a lifetime for him if that’s what it takes. Call it lust or love. Call it whatever you want. I’m in deep. I’m drowning in him, and no lifeboat is coming to save me.

The longer we kiss, the more my body and heart want. His tongue rolling around mine stirs up a surge of desire that travels through my veins like liquid fire. My breasts ache to be touched and sucked by his amazing lips, and my thighs burn to be wrapped around his waist.

He groans into my mouth when I touch his cheek and run my hand through his hair, and then he pulls away with a heavy breath. “We better stop, or I’m going to drag you under this table like the dog did that cookie.”

I laugh, but I’m not sure I’d be able to stop him if he did just that.

“Keep laughin’, Ladybug,” he warns with a naughty, sexy grin as he lights up a cigarette. “I’ll show you I ain’t kidding.”

Smiling, I reach for my latte and finish it off, inwardly composing myself before I lose all control and pull him under the table myself. His lethal combination of hot and cute has managed to steal my virginity and sexual shyness in a matter of days, and it’s got my head spinning and my heart pounding and my panties melting.

“So… did you live around here… before?” I ask, hoping to get our minds off under-the-table shenanigans.

“I lived in New Jersey.”

“Is that where your family is?”

“Most of them.”

“Do you think you’ll go back there?”

He shrugs. “I’ll wander through, but I won’t live there again.”

“What made you come to New Hampshire?”

“I wanted to see the leaves in the fall.”

Ah, a man after my own heart. I look up at the trees surrounding us, gauging their color. “They’ll start to change soon. Probably in about three weeks.” As I talk, he moves his hand under the back of my shirt and stays there, warm against my spine. “Did you really just walk to New England when you left Jersey two years ago?”

“No. I traveled all the way to California, hung out in some cool places, then moved to the next place.”

“You walked all the way to the West Coast?” I ask in disbelief.

“No.” He laughs. “Sometimes I hopped a bus or a train, or I hitchhiked.”

“Oh. Don’t you ever miss your family?”

“Sure, sometimes. If I pass a payphone, I drop them a line. Let them know I’m still alive.”

“They must worry about you, no?”

“I think they’re used to it by now. They’re not the worrying types.”

“My mom would never get used to that. She’s ready to call a search party if I’m half an hour late from work.”

“Yeah, well, mine has had years of practice.”

I wonder when he plans to move on from here. The question sits on the tip of my tongue, but I don’t let it out. I swallow it down, and the words scurry to that place inside me where insecurity, doubt, and denial all huddle together, afraid to come out.

“How ‘bout you?” he asks. “Have you always lived here?”

“Yes. My grandparents and parents were all born here. It’s home.”

“You ever think about leaving?”

“No, not really. I wouldn’t mind going somewhere else for a vacation, but I’ve never had the urge to move away.”

“Do you think that’s true contentment or just staying where you’re comfortable?”

He’s echoed the question I’ve posed to myself many times in many different scenarios.

“I really don’t know. Is there a difference?”

“I think there is. Either is okay as long as you’re happy. Me? I never feel content. There’s always that feeling that there’s more out there I need to see. More people I need to meet. More things I need to do. It haunts me.”

“You’re restless.”

“Yeah. I want it, though.” The grip of his hand on my waist brings a dull pain, and I realize his fingers are directly over the fading bruises from the night under the bridge. A wave of heat warms my inner thighs. “I want contentment,” he says.

“I’m sure you’ll find it.” I hope he finds it right here in this tiny town, with me.

“Hope so. Otherwise, I’ll be wandering forever.”

“Maybe you can wander yourself back here every fall,” I say with a shy smile I hope is slightly flirty.

“Maybe I can.”

We finish our bagels, and then he takes his guitar out and plays every song I request. I laugh and try to pick songs I think he won’t know or can’t play, but he plays every one, even a childhood favorite—the theme song from a cartoon. Then he switches it up and asks me to guess the band and title of a piece of a melody he plays, and I fail miserably.

“C’mon. Don’t you listen to music at all?” he asks, laughing.

“I do, but I never know what band I’m listening to.”

He shakes his head as he puts his guitar back in the case. “In your defense, those were songs that never got a lot of air play, but they’re some of my favorites.”

I hope he’s not disappointed in my lack of song knowledge. I’m sure the beautiful singer of that band he played with knows every title to every song and I wonder if that’s a trait he’s interested in. Music seems to be his life, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

By now the sun is starting to set, the sky turning a blazing orange and pink, but I don’t want to go home yet.

“Do you want to go for a drive?” I suggest.

There’s no hesitation. He just nods yes, and I hope that means he’s enjoying our time together as much as I am. He grabs his things, and we head toward my car. That’s when I truly understand he doesn’t have anything other than his guitar, his duffel bag and all it contains, and his dog. Naively, I had thought he had more belongings stashed away somewhere.

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