“Sammmmmmm,” Carla groaned. It was Wednesday night the week after her hip hop date with Peter and she was laying on Sam’s bed staring up at her ceiling, griping about life. She rolled on to her stomach and looked at Sam who was furiously texting Chris with a blissful smile on her face. When she giggled at something he said Carla made gagging noises and threw a pillow at her head.
She swiftly dodged it without even turning around from her chair, much to Carla’s disappointment.
“How can you be so love dovey when you’ve only been together for like a month. And only three of those weeks did you let anyone actually know about it. You disgust me,” Carla finished rolling over onto her back again. Sam put her phone down and walked over to join Carla on the bed.
“I’m sorry my happiness disgusts you but I need to get it in now so you remember what this shit feels like when you start dating Ridian.” Carla’s eyes widened and she half heartedly attempted to smack Sam.
“What makes you so positive it’s going to be Ridian?” She asked suddenly defensive. “I don’t even know yet.” Sam simple gave her a look before propping herself up on her elbows.
“Oh please honey. We both know that Peter is the obvious sex god here but that’s not you and as much as he thrills you and chills you,” Carla snorted at her rhyming earning a teasing glare from Sam before she continued. “It’s Ridian who’s captured your heart.” Carla nodded grimly.
“But I really like Peter! I lot! And I don’t want to like hurt him. And I’m starting to think that Ridian is just a big brother feeling not a romantic thinking bout you feeling.” Sam nodded thoughtfully.
“Whelp it’s a good thing that you’ve got a date with him this Friday. Figure it out and try to sense the type of emotions you’re getting.” Carla gave her a blank look. Sam shook her head.
“If he’s touching you and you’re like YES I WANT THE D then no he is not right for you but if you look into his eyes and you’re like ,TIFFANY’S BOX? I THINK YES! then hop on that train and take a round trip,” Sam finished before walking back over to her phone which had been vibrating nonstop throughout the conversation.
Carla thought over the”wise” words of her friend. They made little sense to her but she did decide to follow the one thing she could understand that was to just wait until the date and see where it would go from there. What Carla didn’t expect when Friday to be rolled around was to be even more conflicted after the date than when she went into it.
It started off decent.
But then again a lot of things start of decent.
Some of them take a turn for the worse and leave the person feeling sad and disappointed but the opposite happened to Carla. It got ten times better. Carla opened her door to find a pair of legs sticking out of a giant bouquet of fruit and then Ridian’s head peaked out behind it.
“Um hey,” Carla said cautiously around the giggle that was forming in her mouth.
“Can I come in?” Was the muffled reply she got back. She stepped back and opened the door wider believing it was okay since her mother wasn’t home and he would only be inside for a brief while. Not long enough to leave a mark.
She followed Ridian into the kitchen surprised he remembered the way after only one visit. He set the large fruit bouquet on the kitchen counter with a soft grunt from the effort before turning towards Carla with an infectious grin on his face Carla couldn’t help but to return. Her eyes raked over him appreciating the view.
He could make the simplest of outfits look like the lineup for a Calvin Klein shoot. His dark blue skinny’s hugged his skin in all the right places, revealing all the right bulges as well. He had on a casual grey band tee for The Smashing Pumpkins and the old school reference surprised and pleased Carla. His dark brown hair was out in loose waves falling just above his ears and framing his face.
“So fruit huh?” Carla asked before reaching over and popping a peace of pineapple shaped like a flower into her mouth. Ridian smiled wider at her before nodding and following her lead in the consumption of the fruit.
“The best way to start anything off in a good way is with food and you rarely have such beautifully fresh looking fruit in October so of course I had to be the one to give you something so special and unique.” Ridian winked at her causing her to blush slightly under his gaze and focus in on shoving her face with more watermelon hearts than she thought she could handle.
About twenty minutes the fruit bouquet was nothing but a bunch of barren sticks and Carla and Ridian were both quite satisfied with the sweet snack. Carla throughout out the finished sticks in the trash before wiping her hands on a towel and turning towards Ridian an expectant look on her face.
“So what’s next lover boy?” She leaned on the counter smirking slightly at him.
“Whatever do you mean cupcake? You don’t think a hundred dollar fruit bouquet is enough?” Carla just narrowed her eyes at him.
“Stop shitting around and just tell me.” Ridian mock gasped.
“Such foul language for such a sweet thing.” When he’d finished speaking he’d moved closer and ne of his fingers had found itself trailing on the inside of her jaw moving back to tuck some loose curls behind her ear. Carla gulped at being in such close proximity and the sparks that were bursting inside her at such a small touch from Ridian.
As if he knew what effect he was having on her he smiled and moved a step back leaning slightly on the counter. Carla’s heart raced and her breathing was slightly faster as she stared at him trying to act like that had no affect on her.
“I was thinking a little verbal seduction was needed in our relationship,” Ridian finally said. Carla cocked her head in confusion.
“And what does that mean?“. Ridian only smiled and jangled his car keys in his hands before walking out the kitchen towards the front door.
“You’ll see if you follow me cupcake!” He called out over his shoulder. Carla rolled her eyes at his attempts at being mysterious and followed after him. She shrugged a cream colored fleece lined coat over her sheer azure blue button down and slipped on some black combat boots on top of her gray skinnies.
After an hour drive into the city they pulled up in front of this little coffee shop with tinted windows and a bright neon sign above it flashing “I Yawn, You Yawn, We All Yawn When The Coffee’s Gone”. Carla liked this place already.
When they entered Carla gasped at how big it was on the inside. It was like stepping into Mary Poppin’s purse and discovering a whole world full of vintage furniture, bookshelves, coffee and hipsters. There was also a huge stage in the back with a lone microphone stationed on it. Next to the stage was the sign “Open Mic Tonight 7:30pm-10:30pm”. Carla turned wide eyed to Ridian.
“Are you going to perform for me?” She whispered her question because it just felt like the appropriate volume to have in such a place. Ridian smiled back at her.
“You might get to see a little something.” Then he noticed a group of people waving him over. “Hold on I’ll be right back. Grab us a seat,“. He pressed a light kiss to her temple causing her to freeze momentarily as he walked off.
He’d done it so naturally like he’d been doing it all his life. It had felt so natural to Carla like she’d been receiving them all her life. She shook of the feeling of deja vu before walking over to a small half circle couch that already had one couple on one end but there was still more than enough space for her and Ridian.
They were locked in a heated discussion when Carla sat down and after picking up bits and pieces it sounded like they were arguing which was the best movie and book franchise, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. Carla smiled, these were her kind of people. She instantly relaxed feeling no pressure to do or feel anything besides what she wanted.
She ordered herself a Madagascar chocolate hot chocolate she was surprised had a sweet rather than bitter taste, loving the warmth it filled her with banishing the chill of the cold weather. She guessed that Ridian was more of a tea person with a ginger chai that was still steaming when he came back. He came back throwing an arm around her shoulders and she automatically leaned her head into the crook of his arm.
“This mine?” he asked already picking up the steaming forest green colored mug. Carla nodded watching his reaction with wide eyes while she sipped from her drink. He sniffed it first and when he realized it wasn’t coffee he smiled.
He took a large sip his lips puckering slightly at the heat but they morphed into a grin looking down at Carla.
“How’d you know I was a ginger tea man?” Carla shrugged nonchalantly secretly thrilled she’d done good with his order.
“Lucky guess I suppose,” she commented softly. For the rest of the night they chatted softly commenting on the different performances of singers, poems, stories and even just some rants. Everything was met with snaps of appreciation that left Carla with an air of sophistication she’d never felt before.
When the night was coming to a close, a sad thought to Carla, Ridian excused himself to use the john before driving the hour back. Carla nodded checking some things on her tumblr before she heard the announcement of the final act. She looked around for Ridian but couldn’t see him anywhere and decided to just stay put.
Then her eyes fell on the figure standing on stage grasping the mike in one large hand that she knew could whip the hell out of a lacrosse ball and caress a cheek with as equal gentleness as a mother with her child. His dark brown hair fell in his face but he shrugged it back revealing dark grey eyes staring directly at her. It was Ridian.
Carla literally felt her jaw drop open and din’t even bother to close it as she stared at him. He smirked at her reaction, adjusting the mike to his height. His smirk brought some of her sense back to her because she blinked before mouthing, “What are you doing to?” to him. He only winked at her which seemed to say “Watch,“.
When the mike was properly adjusted he cleared his throat but not in a nervous way. In fact he looked more comfortable than if he was just lying in bed at home. The stage looked like another home to him, like he reveled in the feel of lights and eyes on him. Not in an arrogant way so much as in the way of someone who finally feels the arms of their loved ones wrap around them after war.
Like this feeling was something he’d missed and yearned so long for. It gave him life and although he could live without it, he’d rather not. It was a completely new side to him that Carla had never seen but she was really starting to like.
“Hey guys,” Ridian started. Even his voice sounded different. Smoother like the feel of silk on skin. “So tonight I’ve got a nine line poem that I wrote awhile back. It’s for a special someone in the audience today who I think has some questions for me. I hope this gives them the answer.” There were whoops in the audience and Carla blushed at being called out but thankfully he hadn’t pointed at her so she could remain embarrassed in secret.
He took a deep breath closing his eyes as he got into the emotion that was needed for his piece. It was dead silent in the shop. Even the couple that hadn’t stopped arguing for most of the night had halted their discussion to watch. Everyone was entranced with him and he hadn’t even started yet. Then he opened his eyes, locking them onto Carla’s green ones, and it was fire.
“Cold fingers on warm skin, they’re shocking, like the feel of a good word in your mouth.
Missing you hurts more than I thought it would.
To love someone who loves another is a doomed fate, so it seems I am doomed.
For awhile my heart has been a man lost at sea but I think I finally found that green dot Gatsby was talking about, it was hidden in your eyes.
A symphony has nothing on the bells in your voice.
Fire has nothing on the flames in your hair.
Snow has nothing on the brilliance of your skin.
A cupcake by any other name would taste just as sweet and a woman by any other name would not be mine.”
Ridian said each line slow and strong, his voice filled with so much passion it blazed down to Carla’s core. Not a word he said was cheesy, she could feel the sincerity in everything. There was no doubt what he was saying. He took a deep breath before the last line; his eyes never leaving Carla’s
“A soul mate is not the person who makes you feel the happiest, but the one who makes you feel the most.”
The next day as Carla got ready for the Halloween party and her big announcement she was more or less sure who she was going to pick. Ridian had basically called her “the One” the night before in more or less words and the fact hadn’t made her feel pressured or scared. It had made her happy.
As she dug through the back of her closet for her pair of red kedds to go with her navy blue jean high waisted skirt, panda tights underneath and black 3/4 sleeve tight tank, her hand hit the outline of something hard and rectangular. Thinking it to be the shoe box housing her kedds she excitedly pulled it out.
It was a box yes but not a shoebox. A tan rectangular cardboard box with the word SECRET painted in big, bold, black letters on the front of it. So naturally Carla didn’t hesitate to open it as her curiosity grew. She removed the lid to find a small black leather bound book and a stack of pictures tied by a blue rubber band.
First she took of the rubber band, carefully sliding it slowly off the old pictures so it didn’t ruin them. She slowly studied one. It was her as a small child running around a park with a little grey eyed boy. She looked at another. It was her and the boy playing in a pool. Another. Her and the little boy playing in a meadow. Another. They were in a fort. Another. They were at the beach. Another. They were holding hands under a large oak tree in what looked like a middle school park.
Carla’s heart began to speed up as her mind raced, slowly figuring out what had been hiding in front of her all along. She tentatively picked up the small black book and turning to the first page realized it was a diary. The entry date indicated it was during first grade and flipping towards the back it looked like it ended around fourth grade.Then she began to read.
“I heard Mommy talking with Ridian’s mommy about us. She hoped we would give them pretty grandchildren. I don’t how to make grandchildren though and I don’t think Ridian does either.”
“Ridian and I played hide and seek today. I won again and made him buy me ice cream. He’s really bad at hide and seek.”
“Ridian knocked me over at the pool today and I scraped my leg but he carried me to the chair and got a bandaid and kissed the booboo so it would go away. I forgave him.”
“Ridian and I played tag at the park today. He won but he still let me pick the movie for movie night. He’s really nice.”
“Ridian said I was pretty in the meadow today. He said I always looked pretty. It made me smile.”
“Ridian protected me from bullies today. He promised he’d never let them hurt me. I believe him because mommy says you always trust the people you love.”
Carla slowly closed the book, tears watering in her eyes with the overwhelming force of the truth. She knew what she had to do. She grabbed her kedds which she saw under her bead and slipped them on before rushing out her room with her phone and grabbing her coat by the front door she slipped it on. Then she darted into the crisp fall air and ran straight to Sam’s house where the party was.