Orange soda poured out of the mouth of the bottle like a waterfall of carbonated water as it slipped out of her hand. Time seemed to stand still as the plastic container took longer than normal to fall the three feet to the floor. With a soft crunch it hit the wood floor, a river of Sunkist racing towards the door, forming a lake by the base of the door.
“Hi to you too,” Eli’s nervousness would have almost been cute if Carrington wasn’t infuriated by his very being. She’d been dreaming about this day for months. Opening the door to a frantic ringing of the door bell only to be face to face with the one man other than her daddy that she truly loved. She just didn’t expect it to be six months later. Each dream had been different. Some dreams she’d launched her body in to his arms, raining kisses on his cheeks and forehead before finally settling on his lips. In other dreams she’d slammed the door in his face after unleashing an angry tirade on him, not giving him a chance to explain why he’d come back. In neither scenario had she lost her nerve to do either and dropped her pop when she’d seen him.
“Hi,” What was she supposed to do? Kiss him? Kick him in the shins? Flip a coin and let fate decide?
“Carrington we need to talk,”
Here he was. It was about to happen. She was finally going to get to let him have it. She needed to get away from him. Now. Holding up her hand as a sign for him to stop, she shook her head, “I need to clean this up before it gets sticky,” Not giving him a chance to say anything, she disappeared into the safety of her house no doubt leaving him just as confused as she was half a year earlier when he’d told her he was leaving and didn’t give any reason as to why.
Scrambling for old cleaning rags in the kitchen, she forced her heart to slow down and her thoughts to follow suit. She could do this. If he could leave what they had before really giving it a chance to begin, he didn’t care as much as he claimed. Her resolve returning, she squared her shoulders to revisit her past one last time before she moved on.
Avoiding eye contact, she sunk to her knees to clean up her mess. The twenty – four ounce bottle had about half her beverage in it now. Putting on the table by the door, she concentrated on ignoring him. Even though she wasn’t looking at him, his musky cologne let her senses know that he was a still a little too close for comfort. She’d spent long enough staring at him that his maple syrup colored eyes were burned in to her memory. Damn him coming to her house looking better than she’d ever seen him.
“Here, let me help,”
Her heart rate accelerated again when he bent down, not waiting for an invitation to take the second towel and help her clean up.
“What do you want?” Her voice was as shaky as her resolve seemed to be. Kissing him was becoming a better idea than kicking him and really he deserved the later.
Her brain screamed for air about thirty seconds after she stopped breathing. That explained a lot. This was all a dream. This wasn’t actually happening. Abandoning her efforts of soaking up the liquid, she jumped to her feet, needing space between them.
“You can’t be serious,”
Thankfully he gave her a reason to go off, “You leave the way you did six freaking months ago and then you walk in here and expect to just pick up where we left off? Freaking really?” The emotion behind her statement shocked even her, but it was time to direct the anger where it really belonged instead of keeping it in. If the Sunkist bottle got to explode, then so did she.
“It wasn’t just that easy you know,”
She knew what he was talking about, but wanted to hear him say it. Directing her attention to the towel on the floor, she pressed her brightly painted toes in to the soft, comforting fabric, watching it turn a darker maroon as it soaked up more pop, “What wasn’t?” As much as she needed to hear him say it, she didn’t want him to see the emotions swirling in her eyes.
“You act like the decision to leave was as easy as deciding what I wanted for breakfast. I did what I thought I had to do Carrington,”
“Not returning even a thank you for the birthday card is what you thought you had to do?” So maybe that was childish, but he could have at least told him grandma to tell her thank you. All this time not a peep from down state and here he was asking for forgiveness like what he did was a minor infraction.
Even after all this time his deep chuckle still revved up her hormones. “I got the card girl. Granny told me that the look in your eyes was enough to make a sinner repent. I couldn’t stand the thought of you sheddin’ any more tears over me especially around the holidays so I thought I was doin’ the right thing,”
Tears lining her eyes, she finally looked at him, “You weren’t,”
Pulling her to him, he wrapped his arms around her crushing her body to his, “I know girl, I know,”
They were quiet for what seemed like forever, standing on the towels, his fingers combing through her hair. The faint thump of his heart lulled her fears in to submission.
Pulling back just enough to look at him but not enough to untangle from their embrace, she conjured all the courage she could.
“It’s not going to be this easy you know. You can’t just walk back in here like nothing happened,”
Gently tucking her hair behind her ear, he nodded, “I fully understand that. I just wanted back in the door,”
“You were never out it,”
With a wide smile, he bent down putting his lips on hers, thanking her for the invitation back. She sighed contently as their tongues met. This ending was definitely better than anything she could have dreamt up.