17 - What Next?
Chasity texts Tucker her address as her parents drop her off at the door of her apartment. She knows it is getting late but she does not care, she needs to see him.
She sees Sadie as she enters the apartment and it surprises her. She was hoping to have the place to herself when Tucker came. “I thought you were going to your parents’ house tonight?” She tries to sound innocent as she asks.
“I am about to leave. What do you have a hot date or something?” Sadie looks curiously at her.
She cannot fight her smile as she thinks about Tucker. “Just an old friend.”
“Like a guy friend? Is it that jerk Darak?”
“Darak and I broke up. You never said you didn’t like him?”
“That is because I wanted you to be happy.” She picks a bag up from the floor and walks over toward Chasity. “I will be back in a week.” They briefly hug before Sadie moves away from her.
“This old friend better be nice to you!”
She smiles at how much Sadie cares about her. “He is a navy SEAL.”
“I love a man in uniform.”
“Can I meet him?”
“He is my ex. So...”
“Off limits. I know.” She sounds so disappointed. “I don’t have time to stick around anyway. My mom has me on a tight schedule. So tell me Bye and quite slowing me down with all this chatter.”
"Bye. Have a safe drive.”
“Uh. It is such a long drive.” She rolls her eyes before opening the door. “Bye. Enjoy the SEAL for me!”
Chasity looks at her phone seeing a new text from Tucker and it makes her heart skip.
Tucker: On my way.
She wonders how long it will take for him to get there. She wonders if she even looks presentable as she runs her fingers through her hair. She checks her appearance in the full-length mirror on the door. She knows she can look better and contemplates changing. She knows he saw her earlier though and she does not want to change and make it look like she is trying.
Her heart begins beating so fast as she hears a knock on the door. She feels frozen from her nerves. He is here! She dreamed of him being at her door hundreds of time over the last few years but now he really is here. She hears the knock again and realizes she must open the door. She is more nervous than she has ever been.
His smile as she opens the door makes her smile but does not quiet her heart. “Hi.” She manages to say to him.
“Hi.” His smile softens toward her.
“Come in.” She moves over for him to enter.
“How was dinner?”
“Good.” She watches him intently as he looks around the room. He seems taller than she remembered.
“So, what would you like to do?” He turns back toward her and she sighs heavily because she had not thought of what they would do.
“Um. I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
“It is your night, so your choice. We can go celebrate anywhere you choose.”
She does not want to share him with a crowd. “Or just stay in and catch up.”
He smiles cutely at her. She wonders if he still has feelings for her after all these years. “Are you sure you do not want to celebrate at a club or something?”
“I haven’t seen you in four years. I want to just hang out with you.”
“Alright.” He looks so relaxed and attractive. She fights her feelings as she moves toward the kitchen.
“Do you like Champagne?” She pulls the bottle from the fridge holding it up toward him. “It was a graduation gift.”
“I do tonight.” His response makes her smile.
“If you don’t, we have some other choices.”
“No. I want this.” He takes the bottle from her and begins to open it.
She gets two glasses down from the shelf and sits them on the counter in front of him. She begins to laugh as Champagne shoots into the air. She feels Tucker looking at her causing her to meet eyes with him. He looks so different. Older. Maybe even sad. The thought of him being sad hurts her heart.
His eyes break from hers and he fills the glasses. She wonders what all he has seen and been through. “You seem sad.”
His eyes meet hers briefly again as he hands her a glass. “I am far from sad to see you.”
“Was the navy everything you hoped?”
“I don’t know that I had specific hopes ever.” He lifts his glass towards her as if he is toasting. “Tonight isn’t about me. Congrats.”
She taps her glass to his with a smile. “Thank you.” They take a drink and she wonders if he is even the same person she knew four years ago. He even talks different.
“Do you like living in Florida?”
“Um, yeah it has been nice.”
“Has been?” He looks at her in interest. “You moving back home?”
“No. Actually, I received a job offer in New York.” She feels nervous as she wonders what he would think.
“That is awesome!” He taps his glass to hers. “When do you go?”
She feels relieved he is excited for her. “I haven’t actually accepted it yet.”
“I was waiting.”
“Is there another job you want?”
“Not exactly.” She walks past him toward the couch.
“Then what are you waiting on?”
She shrugs her shoulders because she is not exactly sure herself. “It is a long way from home.”
“Then find a job closer to where you want to be.”
“What about you?” She scoots closer to him as he sits on the couch. “What are you going to do?”
He seems nervous as he answers. “Well, I have an eight-year obligation.” She feels her heart plummet as he talks. “So, I can either do one more year active and three reserves or four in reserves.” He looks as if he is asking her a question.
“So, what are you going to do?”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“So, we are both indecisive.” She tries to sound as if she doesn’t care what he chooses but she hopes he chooses to be where she can see him.
“I guess so.” He leans his head back on the couch as if he is in thought. She wonders if he still has feelings for her but she does not want to ask.
His heart aches for her and he was only going to sign up for one more year active duty if she had moved on. He is not sure but she seems as if she has.
He notices a picture sitting on a table next to him. She is with a group of people but she is kissing a guy as everyone holds up drinks. It hurts but he must know more, as he picks it up for a closer inspection. “Looks like this was a fun night.”
Her small laugh makes his heart skip a beat as she takes the picture from him. “Yeah. It was after finals last year.”
He thinks about how different their lives would have been if he would have come to Florida State with her instead of joining the navy. “So, who is the lucky fellow there?”
“That is Darak.”
“Is he what you are waiting on to see if you should accept the job or not?” He had already accepted the fact that she might have moved on.
“No.” She laughs a little as she responds and it makes his hope reignite. “He and I broke up a few weeks ago.”
He wonders if a new boyfriend exists but does not want to be obvious. “So, you are single and done with school. What is holding you back from going to New York?”
“I do not know anyone there. It would be scary.”
“You didn’t know anyone here when you came.”
“Actually, I had Trevor.”
That was not someone he had thought about in a few years. “Oh yeah. That guy. Your cover boyfriend that became the real boyfriend. How long did that last?”
“Until the day after high school graduation. He figured out you and I were sleeping together when he saw us in your yard. He was cool about it and said we made better friends anyway.”
“You never told me that.” He is surprised. “Why did you not tell me that when I got back from Colorado?”
“I guess I did not see why it would matter.”
“It mattered.” Her eyes begin to pull him in. “I thought I would come back to you engaged to him one day.”
“You thought wrong.” She shakes her head and looks down at her hand adjusting her dress. “I didn’t date anyone until Darak. And he and I dated for about two years.” He feels surprised she waited so long and surprised she dated him for two years. “What about you? Have a special lady?”
He debates on confessing she is all he thought about since he left. “There are not a lot of options when you are deployed.” He looks away from her hoping she will not notice how he feels.
“Chasity.” He looks at her brown eyes for a moment deciding what to say. “You.” He debates on changing the subject but decides he must know. “You are the reason I haven’t decided.” He nervously searches her eyes for a clue of what she is feeling.
“Me?” She does not sound confused to his surprise. She looks like his old best friend for a moment and it takes his nerves away.
“I know it has been a long time. We have both changed a lot. The one thing that never changed was how I feel about you.”
She seems to be quiet for an eternity as she stares at him blankly.
“I know I completely caught you off guard. I just showed up today after being gone for years. I am sorry.” He sits his glass down debating on leaving.
Her hand on his arm surprises him. He looks back into her eyes and they tell him everything he wants to know. He takes her glass from her and sits it next to his. Just as he turns back to face her, he feels her arms wrapping around him and her lips collide with his. She feels and smells amazing just like he remembered.
The last thing he wants to do is stop this moment he had dreamed of for so long. But he did not bring any protection. “Chas.” He grabs her hands stopping them from unbuttoning his shirt. She looks confused for a moment. “I don’t have any protection.”
“Oh.” She looks relieved. “We have some.”
“We?” He asks confused as she moves off him.
“I have a roommate named Sadie.” She runs out of the room for a moment and he wonders how often she slept with guys the past years. It annoys him that she has been with other guys.
She emerges back with the small package and grabs his hand with a slight tug to follow her.
Her cute expression makes him smile so he follows her silent command. She leads him to a bedroom. “Is this your room?” He looks around noticing how everything looks like his old friend still exists.
“Yes.” She moves up in front of him again snuggling up to him. “And I dreamed of you being in here with me every day since I moved in.” Her hug tightens and it makes him smile in satisfaction. “Sometimes I had dreams about you that seemed so real.” He hears sadness sweep over her tone. “But then I would wake up and you were not here.”
He kisses the top of her head softly. “I am here now.”
“Prove it.” She moves out of his arms and pulls him toward her bed.
Oh, how he wants to prove it to her! He needed her more than anything.