‘Don’t be nervous.’
That did not help Emma at all. Of course, she was nervous. At least fifty people were standing outside the car waiting for Can to exit.
‘Just hold my hand, and everything will be fine.’
They exited the car, and the screams started. It was piercing. Can greeted them all with a blinding smile, and Emma could see why they were screaming. He really did have something. What was it you called it? Star quality? He had a presence that you could not deny. Emma held on to him for dear life until she felt a hand at her side. It was Zeki, his security man.
‘Do you want me to take you through?’
Did she ever. She let go of Can’s hand and let herself be guided through the crowd. She reached the inside, and just stood and looked out the window as he signed autographs and took selfies.
That women still behaved like this past the age of twelve, was baffling to her. But she supposed if she dug deep and connected to the feelings, she had felt as a young girl, for the star in her heart. She could understand the feeling.
If she had ever come this close to Shane Filan when she was younger, she believed she would have swooned, or begged him to marry her. Either or, it was weird watching women over twenty behave the same way.
He finally walked through the doors and took her hand in his and walked them to where they needed to go. Can was taken to a makeup chair, and they started fiddling with his hair and face. A young woman who seemed nice was working on him. They were talking in Turkish, so she didn’t understand a word of it. She picked up her phone and decided this was a good time to call Veronica and check-in.
Can saw her walk to the back of the room, phone to her ear. He hadn’t really thought this through. Emma would be bored senseless just sitting here. Elif, the girl who had worked on him multiple times before, was talking, but he could barely hear her. His eyes glued to watching Emma. She was having a good conversation from the looks of it. Probably with Veronica.
‘Hey. Are you listening to me at all?’
He refocused his eyes on Elif.
‘No, I’m sorry. What did you say?’
‘I said I’m going to the states on vacation next week. My first time in America. We will be heading to New York. Do you have any places to recommend?’
‘That depends on what you want to do.’
‘I don’t know. I’ve never been. Anything I shouldn’t miss?’
‘The Empire State Building, Central Park, and make sure you have either breakfast or brunch at a restaurant called the Boathouse there. It’s terrific. Rockefeller and Time Square. That’s about it. Can’t think of much else right now.’
She gave him a sardonic look.
‘I’m surprised you can think at all with the amount of staring going on. Who is she?’
He didn’t want to get into it with Elif.
Everyone had seen that fucking article.
‘Don’t start. And for the love of God, do not mention it when Emma can hear you. I do not want to have that particular discussion today.’
‘If I were you, I would expect to be asked about it today. You can’t really think that you can say something like that in public, and then not be asked about it. I didn’t even know you were capable of having a serious girlfriend, let alone a candidate for the role of wife.’
‘I’m going to say, no comment. And leave it at that.’
Emma walked up to them; she was done with her call.
‘Can. I’m going to take off and do some sightseeing on my own while you deal with this.’
Emma just repeated what she just said and Can didn’t like it.
‘I don’t think you should be walking the streets on your own.’
He didn’t want to embarrass Emma, but for some reason letting her loose in this large bustling city on her own made him sweat. She could be distracted and be run down by a bus, she could get mugged while she stood on the street with her wallet opened, ready to give all her money away to people coming up to her with sob stories.
‘I just think you should wait for me. We can go together.’
‘There’s no reason for me to just sit here and wait for you. It’s a waste of time when I could use that time to get a little culture. Just text me when you’re done, and I will let you know where I am.’
‘You don’t know the city, Emma.’
‘I know, that’s what I’m trying to rectify.’
Elif was looking at the exchange, laughter in her eyes. He didn’t care. He was going to say what he needed to say anyway.
‘All I’m saying is I think it will be safer for you to wait until I’m done, and we go together.’
She gave him a frown.
‘Well, I’m glad you gave me your thoughts. I have, however, made up my mind. I’m going.’
‘Seriously, what’s your problem. Your acting like I’m a child. I have managed to stay alive for twenty-eight years, even in big cities without your guidance and protection. I think I will manage to do so for a few more hours.’
With that, she just up and left the room. Elif let out the laugh she had been holding in. Maybe he was being a little overprotective. But he had spent time with her out and about in this city before. She lacked survival skills. He looked at Elif.
‘I’ll give you three thousand dollars in pocket money if you run after her and pretend to want nothing more than to be her guide tour.’
That wiped the laugh off.
‘Are you serious?’
‘Like a heart attack. Get someone else to finish this and go.’
‘Can. I’m not saying no, because I want the money. But she’s a grown woman. She’ll manage.’
He didn’t say anything, just kept looking at her.
‘Ok, I’ll go. Jesus. Overprotective much?’
All he did as Elif started running out the door was yell after her.
‘Don’t let her walk into traffic without looking and for goodness sake, keep the scammers away from her.’
He felt better.
That feeling lasted him all the way through his day. But when he was finally done about four hours after the girls took off, and he texted Emma to see where they were at. He heard nothing back. He didn’t think much of it, they might just be having a good time. So, he tried Elif instead. Nothing.
The minutes ticked by and turned into an hour and a half. In which time he had been imagining the worst. Before his phone pinged with an address to where they were. Nothing else. Just an address. He got himself out of the building, told Zeki to take a hike, and drove himself to go get them. He was pissed.
When he pulled up to the small café and saw them both sitting there, finishing a glass of wine, he jumped out and walked up to them.
‘What the hell? I was texting and calling you guys for an hour and a half. Why the fuck did no one answer or text me back?’
Emma just looked at him defiantly.
‘You assigned me a babysitter for today. That’s why. Luckily for you, we have had a really nice time. But nevertheless, it was uncalled for and embarrassing. So, I didn’t want to talk to you.’
Elif was having fun. He could tell.
‘I just did what boss lady here told me to do. She threatened to ditch me if I answered, and I thought you would like that even less. So, I just ignored your calls.’
He looked at Emma.
‘Are you ready to go? We have a long way back.’
She turned to Elif and gave her a hug and kiss on the cheek. Thanking her for spending the time with her. She didn’t spare him a glance as she went to the car and got in. He turned back to Elif.
‘So, how much trouble am I in?’
She just laughed.
‘Not that much. Emma will forgive you. You’re too pretty to stay mad at.’
‘How did it go?’
He saw her eyes becoming a little weary.
‘Really good. She would have no problem on her own.’
He just raised an eyebrow.
‘Unless you find coming home completely broke from helping anyone that asks, and bruised from head to toe from walking into both people and big objects a problem?’
So, he had been right. The smile on her face told him she felt the same.
‘I really like her Can. She is certainly different from other celebrity girlfriends I’ve had the misfortune of meeting. She’s kind. And the way she gets so engrossed in things. Like the entire world just disappears for her is truly a fascinating thing to see. It was also kind of cool to see the city through the eyes of someone who has never been here. Made me view it in a different light. You should hold on to this one.’
‘I intend to. You will have your money tomorrow; I’ll have someone drop it off at work for you. Thanks for today. I appreciate it.’
‘No problem. I’ll see you around.’
Emma wasn’t really mad, more irritated. They’d had a good time, she and Elif. But it irked her that Can seemed to look at her and somehow see a person that couldn’t take care of herself. I mean, she was a strong woman. Independent and capable. Did he not see her that way?
They’d been silent for an hour, and they still had two and a half to go. Can broke the silence.
‘Are you hungry?’
‘No. I’m ok. I had something with Elif.’
‘I’m sorry about today. I didn’t want you to be on your own.’
‘I was afraid something would happen to you. I’m overprotective. I always have been when it comes to you. I didn’t mean to imply that you weren’t capable of taking care of yourself.’
‘But that is exactly what you think Can.’
‘No, it’s not. You are just a little clumsy and too nice to people trying to take advantage. And you get a little absorbed in things, and that makes you not aware of your surroundings. It’s a new city, and I just wanted to make sure that you were safe. It’s my issue, not yours. But I would rather have you laugh at me for being ridiculous than be angry with me.’
‘I’m not angry. I was just embarrassed. We had a good time. It was nice to have the company.’
He took her hand and brought it to his mouth, giving it a kiss.
‘I’m glad you had some fun.’
‘How was it for you?’
‘It was fine. Boring interview. Plugging the perfume, and my next series that’s coming out in a month.’
‘What are you going to do next?’
He sat there silently for a few seconds before answering.
‘I’m supposed to start shooting a new series in two months.’
Wow, that was soon. If Emma remembered correctly, that was basically full time, all the time. For many months.
‘That sounds like fun.’
‘I haven’t signed the contracts yet.’
‘Ok. Are you not interested?’
‘I am. It’s a good role and a good cast.’
‘So why haven’t you signed?’
He didn’t answer straight away again.
‘Let’s talk about it another day. That’s part of a bigger discussion we are not ready for.’
That sounded ominous. She didn’t want to touch that yet.
The rest of the car ride had been light conversation and carefree laughing. They had fun together. They picked up pizza on the way to the beach house, and when they got there, settled in on the sofa. Can looked at her and asked.
‘Do you want to put a movie on?’
‘Yeah. What do you have here?’
As soon as she uttered those words, she realized. There it was again. Knowledge, just sitting there in her head.
‘We’ve sat on this sofa and watched the hangover together.’
She didn’t even phrase it as a question, because she knew they had done it.
She could see he was jumping to ask, and she just put her hand up to stop him.
‘Nothing else. Couldn’t even tell you if I liked it. I just know we watched it.’
‘You liked it. Want to watch it again?’
He put the movie on, and they started eating. Emma couldn’t remember anything about it, but it was funny. Once they’d finished the pizza. Can walked over to her and made room for himself next to her. And that’s how they spent the rest of their evening. Cuddling and watching a movie.
Emma had a little bit of a hard time concentrating on the movie while Can was so near. She’d had some time to think about their situation. And in talking to both him, Veronica and Edith. As well as looking into herself and what she wanted. She had decided to take these next twelve days and just go with the flow. Try and live life and not overthink it.
She liked Can a lot. He loved her, of that she was sure. There would be no harm in trying to see where this would lead her. Take a page out of Veronica’s book, and grab life by the balls. That’s what her cousin had told her today while they’d been on the phone. She wanted to explore this. More than she had been willing to admit, even to herself. And that’s what she was going to do. It was the last thought she had before she felt herself dozing off.
Emma woke up because she felt like she was floating. It was Can carrying her to bed.
‘Did I fall asleep?’
He put her down and tucked her in.
‘I’m just going to lock up, then I’ll join you.’
It didn’t take him long to close up and throw away the pizza boxes, but she was out like a light by the time he came back. He just stood there and watched her. Things were coming back. Nothing very helpful to his particular cause. Except for that second night. But it was something.
He had known from the moment he laid eyes on her again and realised that she didn’t know him. That if she’d suffered a memory lapse over a year ago, and still had not recovered it. There was a chance it might never come back.
That’s why he had told Emma that her getting her memory back, was the backup plan. It would be a bonus and something he dearly wished for. But it wasn’t something he longer expected to happen.
He would have to make new memories with her. And he was making headway. The way she was with him now compared to a few days ago was night and day. She was more comfortable with him. She had let down her guard. And the one thing that had truly busted it open had been their kiss yesterday. It was like her mind and body recognized him without her remembering him. When he took her in his arms, he felt the same amount of passion coming from her now that he had a year ago.
Now it was the emotions they had to work on. And he had to have faith that if he were just to act normal with her, they would follow. They had the last time.
He laid down next to her and pulled her close. Burying his face in her neck and just absorbing her scent. And joined her in sleeping.
When he woke up, she was gone.
Only her scent was lingering on the pillow next to him. He listened to see if he would hear her, but there was only silence. He hated that he still panicked anytime he didn’t have her near. Or knew where she was. He wondered after the year he’d had if that would ever leave him.
He got up and started going through the house to see if he could locate her. But she was nowhere to be seen. The coffee was warm, and the half-full cup left on the patio at least had him knowing he hadn’t dreamt her up. He looked out to the waves and, in the short distance, saw something that looked to be floating in the water.
He started hurrying down the steps and made his way down to the water. He called out to her, but she didn’t answer. It wasn’t until he got closer to her that he realised she had submerged half her head and was lying on her back, treading water. That’s why she hadn’t heard him calling for her. He was in a full-blown panic, and here she was floating, enjoying life. He shaded her face as he was getting closer, and she opened her eyes and smiled at him.
And that smile combined with the worry he’d felt just a minute ago made what little restraint he had left disappear altogether. He picked her up, and she let out a small laugh as she curled her legs around him.
He didn’t answer. Instead, he just gazed into her eyes; it didn’t take her long to realise where his mind was at. And he felt her tremble. He moved his hands over her wet and chilled body, enjoying every second of it, watching her getting excited.
And then he kissed her. His mouth was hard, hungry, and unyielding in trying to devour hers. But she matched him in every sense. They erupted like a volcano of need and desire. And her desperate moans did nothing to calm the raging hormones flowing through his body. How he managed to get them up on the beach he would never know, but he laid her down in the sand, never losing the connection between their hungry mouths.
It was insanity to feel like this for another human being, but Can had stopped questioning it a long time ago.
He let his hands roam free, and he could hear himself begging.
‘Let me, Emma. Just let me have you.’
He could feel her start to tug at his shorts to get them off, and he wasn’t far behind in speed when he began removing her bikini. He watched her glistening body in the early morning sunshine welcoming him, and the moment almost felt surreal. His hands moved gently over her breasts and body, almost reverently. He had her back.
He was rougher than he had intended to as he moved her closer to him, and without being able to stop himself, he drove himself into her hard and deep. He didn’t dare move; he leaned forward and framed her face with his hands. He looked deep into her eyes and then kissed her, putting everything he was feeling into that single kiss. His hands moved, sought hers, then he placed them over her head, holding on tight, and started to move.
He felt himself lose the last verge of sanity he had been able to hold onto. It was hot, wild, and erotic. And all he could do was let go and ride it out.
Emma could barely breathe, let alone think clearly. Was it always like this with them?
She opened her eyes and looked at Can. Who was still laying on top of her, connected to her in the most intimate of way. She had said that out loud. She could feel the familiar blush creeping up her cheeks and went to put her hands over her face only to have him intercede the action.
‘Don’t hide from me. I love your blushes.’
She couldn’t help the small laugh that escaped. She was lying naked on a beach after having sex out in the open, and what made her blush was that she had asked a question out loud? She was losing it.
‘I can’t believe we just did that.’
‘It’s a private beach. I own it. No one comes here.’
‘That’s not the only concern I have about our behaviour.’
He nuzzled closer if that was even possible and kissed her softly, tenderly.
And Emma let herself float away on that kiss. She could tell rational thoughts were trying to break through her bubble of happiness, but she pushed them away. This was a time to enjoy, not to ruin with sanity. For once in her life, she felt reckless abandonment. And she was going to hold onto it for as long as she could.
They eventually pulled themselves up and started making their way back to the house. Can didn’t so much as pause as he led them into the shower. The warm water started flowing over her body and Can was taking his time washing the sand off her, very slowly.
Emma felt herself responding, getting excited again. It was like a hunger that wouldn’t be sated. This time she was the one to initiate, she was the driving force. And while he was trying to be gentle, to take it slow, it didn’t take him long to join her in her urgency. When he lifted her up and anchored her to the wall, his hands hard and strong, she was ready. She wrapped her legs around him, water spraying over them, he plunged into her on a hard thrust, and she closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling of him.
‘Look at me, Emma.’
It wasn’t until she complied that he started moving, slow thrusts, hands that had enticed her earlier were soft and soothing, calm. He built them up slowly, nibbling and kissing anywhere he could reach. Whispering words of love and endearments, and when they finally reached the peak together, it was like coming home.
Lying in bed later that morning curled around Can all Emma could think of was, she was in trouble. The rational part of her brain told her that if she let him. This man could take over her entire being if she wasn’t careful. The other part of her, the reckless one, wanted everything he had to give. She moved her head to look at him, he was watching her. And with a sombre voice, he asked.
Did she have any?
‘No. No regrets.’
He moved in and kissed her, and then cuddling her closer, he rested his head on the pillow, closed his eyes and whispered.
‘I missed you.’