Sand & Clay (Her Stolen Rock Star) (10 page)

BOOK: Sand & Clay (Her Stolen Rock Star)
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“I am. Good guess. You must be
Ellis.” Caroline responded and shook his hand, checking his name tag.

“How did you guess?” He laughed. Caroline
just forced a laugh back because she really had no idea how to respond to that
or what to say now. She shifted uncomfortably in her seat. A pause descended
between them for a minute or so as the two looked around the room and tried to
think of what to say next.

“Do you like cats?” Ellis asked
suddenly. Caroline looked at him with a funny expression and then responded
that she did. He got really excited at her response and reached into his
pocket, pulling out his wallet. He slid out a couple of small photographs and
laid them out on the table in front of her. There were eight photographs in
total and all of them were of different cats wearing different seasonally
themed outfits.

“So, this is Tidbit, my calico. This
one here is Spots, see she loves Christmas. And this little fellow in the Leprechaun
outfit is Clover, get it? I thought that was pretty clever. Over here is
Gibson, Lightning, Jinxy, Nibbles, Rosey, and Cally. I got her when I lived in
California, so that’s why I called her Cally.” Ellis went on and on, describing
each cat in the photographs. Caroline just nodded her head and smiled,
pretending to be fascinated by what he was saying. It was not an easy task.

Mercy showed itself and the bell
finally rang again, Caroline couldn’t possibly have been more excited. The host
got back on stage and addressed the crowd.

“Hello again, potential matches! We
are at our half way point so let’s take a little intermission. Everyone get
some drinks and mingle!” The host had a high pitched and overly excited voice. Caroline
couldn’t help but find herself annoyed at the lady. Either way, she was glad
for the break. She got up and walked over to Aralia, Jackie quickly joined
them, and they headed for the bar.

“So, how were your dates?” Jackie
asked the girls.

“Let’s just say that I would be
totally fine with skipping out right now.” Caroline said.

“I am close to feeling that way
too,” Aralia chimed in, “but I am an optimist and I think it will probably get
better. Probably. We saw some cute guys when we first came in! Eventually, they
will have to sit at our tables, right?”

“Logic hasn’t always been on my
side.” Caroline chuckled. They all ordered refills at the bar and finished the
drinks they had. The two cousins headed back to the tables after they picked up
their drinks but Caroline lingered at the bar a moment longer. She sipped on
her drink and watched everyone getting back to their tables, gulping her nerves
as she scoped out the men and didn’t see anyone she was interested in getting
to know further.

“Can I have one more?” Caroline
asked the bartender, finishing her drink again. She was feeling a little buzzed
but she wanted more than that if she was going to sit through some more awkward
dates.

“Lawyer with a drinking problem,
now who is the stereotype?” a voice from behind Caroline said. She turned
around to see Turner, the Jewish accountant who had been her second date,
smiling at her. She couldn’t help but laugh.

“I guess you got me.” Caroline
smiled at him and leaned against the bar to face him, “but can you blame me for
wanting to be drunk when meeting some of these people?”

“Oh heck yeah, did you see the girl
with the rainbow colored hair and piercings? She has more heavy metal on her
face than I have on my iPod.” Turner said to Caroline, gesturing to the area of
the room that the woman was at.  Caroline burst out laughing at his joke.

“Well, I don’t know if that can
meet my train conductor who was overly excited to tell me how he gets discounts
at crappy motels.” Caroline made a grimacing motion at the thought of it and
Turner raised his eyebrows in surprise.

“Yeah, I think you got me there. Cheers
to crappy dates.” Turner chuckled and lifted his glass to her, the two clinked
glasses together and sipped their drinks looking at each other over the rim of
the glasses.

Caroline couldn’t help but feel a
little flutter in her stomach which she couldn’t quite explain. Turner was
sweet and funny but had a nose you could hang a hat on, a massive amount of
curly hair, and what could be described as a beer belly at the very least.

Only a few weeks ago, she had been
in the arms of a man with chiseled, magazine perfect features and a negative
percent body fat whose arms around her made her lose all control of her body,
and her thoughts. Now she was entertaining the idea of Turner, a sweet guy who
she felt pretty confident would never hurt her but instead be the romantic and
sensitive lover she had always wanted.

However, he was an accountant,
quite nerdy seeming, and extremely clumsy- not exactly someone who comes riding
in on a white horse in a shining suit of armor.

“So, Ms. Caroline, are you hungry?”
Turner asked her, placing his drink on the bar along with a few bills to pay
both of their tabs.

“I could eat.” She smiled at him.

“Let's play hooky then.” He said
and winked at her, extending his arm to her. She grinned, accepted his arm, and
followed him out of the restaurant. Caroline knew that Aralia and Jackie would
be mad at her but she really didn’t care. She was exhausted meeting so many new
people after having holed herself up in her room for so many weeks.

Turner and Caroline walked a few
blocks down and across Manhattan’s busy streets until they stopped at a small
red door with a flickering red sign saying “EAT” above it. Turner reached for
the door and Caroline stopped in her tracks.

“Uh, are we actually going in
there? I pointed out like eight different places on the way here that didn’t
look like a morgue.” Caroline said to him which made him laugh.

“Yes, but none of them are going to
be as good as this place. I can guarantee you that you will never see food the
same way again. Do you trust me?” Turner said looking at her, he extended out
his hand to her. She paused for a moment then gave a half-hearted smile and
took his hand.

Turner opened the door and led her
inside to a small restaurant no bigger than her apartment with small booths
that were decorated with dingy, red checkered table cloths. They picked one on
the right side and sat down.

“Well, you certainly know how to
wine and dine a girl.” Caroline said sarcastically with a chuckle.

“Yep, that’s what makes me such a
player.” He joked, stretching his arms out to act bigger than he is. The
waitress walked up to them and looked like she was only a few years shy of one
hundred.

“What can I get you?” She asked in
a hoarse voice. Caroline looked at Turner confusingly, they didn’t even have
any menus yet.

“We will both have the Hebrew
special.” Turner said to her. Caroline didn’t say anything but wondered what
she was about to be in for.

“Drinks?” the waitress asked. Turner
looked to Caroline.

“Coke?” Caroline said. Turner
echoed her choice in agreement. The waitress left their table and headed back
through a swinging door into the kitchen, at least what Caroline assumed was
the kitchen.

“So, a Coke lady?” Turner said,
“Most dates I have been on, the lady always orders a diet Coke.”

“Coke tastes less like chemicals.”
She laughed.

“Brains and beauty. Why are you on
a date with me then?” Turner asked.

“One of life’s great mysteries.” She teased back. A moment
later, their food arrived and Caroline inspected her food. She really couldn’t
tell what it was, just a whole bunch of mystery ingredients and sauces in a
wrap of some sort. Caroline bit into her falafel, as Turner had told her what
it was. It was delicious even though she still couldn’t tell what was in it. She
looked up at Turner with a surprised look on her face.

“Oh, Turner, this is delicious!” Caroline quickly took
another bite.

“Told you to trust me.” He said while gulping his food down
as well. The two finished their meals and chatted about their lives, leaving
few pauses in their conversation. Caroline spent most of the time laughing
since Turner was an expert at witty banter. The things he actually shared about
his life were quite dull but his sense of humor made up for everything.

He was an accountant living in a studio apartment who still
did laundry on the weekends at his parents' house in New Jersey. He dreamed of
owning his own accounting firm and living in the suburbs of Jersey with a white
picket fence and a dog and a cat. It all seemed so easy and simple.

The couple finished up eating and paid their bill, then
headed out to the street. Turner hailed a taxi and the two hopped in.  Caroline
gave the driver her address and they headed back to her house, Turner was just
going to drop her off and had kindly offered to pay for the cab. A few minutes
later, the taxi slowed to a stop in front of Caroline’s apartment building and
the couple hopped out. Turner handed some cash to the cabbie and asked him to
wait for a few minutes.

“Are you escorting me to my door?” Caroline asked him,
blushing.

“What kind of gentleman would I be if I didn’t?” He told
her, smiling. He then extended his arm to her and she happily accepted,
wrapping her arm around his. The two headed towards the door where the night
doorman opened the door for them. Once in the lobby, Turner pressed the
elevator button and then turned to face Caroline.

“I am really glad I went to that event tonight. I didn’t
expect it to actually work though.” Turner told her.

“Expect what to work?” Caroline asked.

“To actually meet a girl that makes me excited to wake up
tomorrow just so that I can call her and ask to see her again.” Turner said
softly, looking down and then back up at her. Caroline leaned backwards against
the wall and smiled back at him.

“Well maybe she will wait by her phone tomorrow.” Caroline
smiled back at him, looking at him from under her eyelashes. She couldn’t help
but feel a stirring in her stomach like fluttering butterflies.

Turner took a step towards her and placed his hands on her
upper arms, pulling her towards him lightly.

“Caroline?” Turner said softly, looking deep into her eyes. He
was nervous and wanted to just lean in and kiss her, but his nerves were making
him lock up.  

“Yes, Turner?” Caroline responded, leaning in, expecting him
to kiss her. Instead, he pulled her to him, gave her a hug and then kissed her
on the cheek. The elevator doors opened behind her and he pulled away,
releasing her. She blinked in surprise, staring at him.

“Have a good night.” Turner answered. He smiled at her and
then headed towards the door to the waiting taxi outside. Caroline turned
around and stepped into the elevator, her face was puzzled as she tried to
figure out what had just happened and why he hadn’t kissed her. The doors
closed and she hit the button for her floor. She sighed and shook her head. She
couldn’t believe the luck she was having with men lately. 

 

 

Chapter
Thirteen

 

Turner hopped into the taxi that
was still waiting for him out front and gave the driver his address. He sat
back in his seat and sighed, silently smacking himself in the head for screwing
that up. He saw the confused look on her face when he had walked away. She had
definitely expected him to kiss her, so why had he doubted that and chickened
out at the last minute?

“You look upset, mon.” The cab
driver spoke to Turner in a thick Jamaican accent, looking at him through the
rear view mirror as he weaved through Manhattan’s streets.

“Yeah. I think I just messed that
up.” Turner said, pushing his curly hair back with his hand.

“I don’t know about that, guy, the
lady looked like she was really feeling ya, know what I am saying, mon?” The
driver responded.

“I wish I had realized that about
three minutes ago.” Turner sighed again.

“Ah, well, mon, I think there is
always another go with the ladies. It ain’t never too late, you know? You just
gotta make it up, you know the ladies, mon, they like the big gestures and
romantic stuff, you know?” The cabbie said as he pulled up to Turner’s
apartment building.

Turner thanked him for the advice
and paid him, then headed up to his apartment. His building was definitely not
as nice as Caroline’s and didn’t even have an elevator. He huffed and puffed up
seven flights of stairs until he got to his door and let himself inside his
small studio apartment. He quickly undressed and got into bed. He closed his
eyes but all he could see was her face.

Her soft and pale face surrounded
by those wavy locks falling past her shoulders, the piercing hazel eyes peaking
out under dark, long eyelashes, and her gentle blushing cheeks turned up by her
red, smiling lips. He fell asleep smiling for the first night in a long time.

~**~

“What the hell, Caroline?” was the
first thing she heard when she picked up the phone the next morning.

“What? Who is this?” Caroline
asked, confused. She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes, yawning.

“It’s your best friend that you
completely left stranded with a bunch of weirdos last night without as much as
a wave goodbye.” Aralia barked into the phone, clearly ticked off.

“Didn’t you get my text?” Caroline
said.

“Uh, no, because you didn’t send a
text! You just up and left and the bartender told me you left with some guy.” Aralia
responded.

“Alright, well I didn’t send a text
but I thought about sending one. That should count for something.” Caroline
said, trying to lighten the mood. Aralia paused for a second, then laughed.

“Jeez, stop it. I am trying to stay
mad at you.” Aralia said.

“But you love me and you are at
least slightly proud that I left with a guy last night. Admit it.” Caroline got
out of bed, tucking the phone between her cheek and her shoulder, as she got
dressed.

“Well, that is true, I guess. Okay
well you better tell me all about it then! Spill.” Aralia demanded.

“Well, his name is Turner and he is
an accountant. He is a little nerdy but he is so sweet and he has the best
sense of humor ever. He kept me laughing all night.” Caroline beamed into the
phone, recalling her night.

“Oh, Caroline, that sounds perfect
for you! Your dad would definitely approve.” Aralia laughed.

“Yeah, I know, that is the only
down side.” Caroline said sarcastically and the two girls laughed in response.

“ Tell me you didn’t sleep with him
though.” Aralia asked.

“Gosh, Aralia, who do you think I
am? Of course, I didn’t. He just walked me to the elevator.” Caroline
responded.

“And?” Aralia pushed.

“And nothing. He didn’t even kiss
me. I thought he was going to but then I just got a hug and a peck on the
cheek. Not sure why, I think he just got nervous. He said he was going to call
today though. I think he might actually be what I need right now though. After
Logan, I just don’t think I can handle that kind of whirlwind romance anymore.

I need someone just steady and
average and who will be there for me. I think that Turner would be that kind of
guy, I feel like he would be the kind of guy that would never hurt me.” Caroline
started explaining.

“Well, I guess that is good then,
right? At least that is good for now. But I wouldn’t give up on that whirlwind
type of love. You never want to settle, you know?” Aralia told her.

“Yeah, I know. I know what you are
saying.” Caroline sighed, brushing her hair while looking in the mirror.  “The
truth is that I miss Logan. I still do and I know I shouldn’t and that I should
just move on, and maybe dating someone like Turner is the only way to do that.”

“Yeah, I can understand that.” Aralia
agreed. “Well, I guess since I know you are safe now and not chopped up in
lying in a ditch somewhere, I will let you go.”

Caroline laughed at Aralia’s
sarcasm and said goodbye and the two girls hung up the phone. It was Sunday
morning and Caroline was enjoying having slept in a little bit and having the
full day off to renew her energy before another long week at work. She clipped
her hair up into a loose bun, ran a washcloth over her face, and slipped on
some old jeans with a rip at the knee and tears in random places.

She then put on her sports bra and
headed into the kitchen to make something to eat. Her apartment was a bit warm,
so she was enjoying the breeze of not wearing a shirt which was pretty normal
for her anyways. Anytime she would go work out, she would just wear a tight
sports bra.

Caroline was pouring coffee beans
into her coffee grinder as she heard a knock at her door. She knew it was
probably Jackie since Aralia had most likely just told her about Caroline’s
night and now Jackie would want to hear the whole story herself. Jackie was
always coming over for brunch because Aralia was the night owl but Jackie was
the morning bird. Caroline put down the bag of coffee beans and trotted over to
the front door, tossing it open and then heading back into the kitchen.

“So, Aralia called you? I mean I
just got off the phone with her.” Caroline laughed as she turned on the coffee
grinder. “Word travels fast with you two!”

“Well, I don’t know who Aralia is
but I am sure she meant to catch me up on all the juicy details.” Turner was
standing in her kitchen doorway smiling at her. He was holding a white paper
bag with a bagel shop’s logo on it and awkwardly shuffling his feet.

“Turner!” Caroline spun around to
realize who she had just let enter her apartment.

“I am sorry, I wasn’t expecting
you! I thought you were my friend, Jackie.” Caroline explained and pulled her
ground up coffee beans out of the grinder, dumping them into the coffee maker.

“I hope it is okay that I just
showed up like this.” Turner told her, placing the bag of bagels on the
counter.

 

“Of course, I am glad to see you.” She
paused what she was doing and leaned against the counter to look at him. She
surprised herself realizing that she really was happy to see him, very happy
actually. He smiled back at her and took a step towards her.

“I realized last night that I
completely forgot something.” Turner said, his hand running down from her
shoulder to her elbow in a gentle caress.

“What’s that?” She smiled shyly at
him, looking up at him through her eyelashes. He was a bit shorter than her, so
that wasn’t super easy to do but she did it anyways, trying to look flirty. He
leaned in a little closer to her and her breath quickened.

“To ask you for your share of the
bill for all those drinks and dinner.” Turner said, inches from her face,
grinning. Caroline pulled back and furrowed her brow at him.

“What?” She asked surprised.
“Seriously?”

“Am I ever serious?” Turner said
and then pulled her tight up against him, his right arm wrapping around her
back and his left hand cupping the side of her face, pulling her toward him. His
lips touched hers gently and Caroline’s tense body began to ease as she let go
and enjoyed his kiss. She slipped her arms up around his neck and leaned into
his body, allowing him to hold her up.

He dipped a little and she realized
he wasn’t strong enough to hold her entirely so she regained her balance. She
smiled as she kissed him because she had never imagined herself with someone
smaller than her who couldn’t even hold her or look her level in the eyes. It
didn’t matter though because he was a good kisser, he was funny, and he was so
sweet to her.

Turner pulled back from her after a
few minutes and broke their kiss, putting some space between them.

“Alright, lady, control your
hormones. I am not some play toy, you know.” He said smiling at her and she
laughed in response. He grabbed the bag of bagels and held them up.

“I see you made the coffee and I
have the bagel and lox, it’s a perfect match.” He grinned and grabbed two
plates off the dish rack and laid them out on the kitchen table. He began
pulling food out of the bag and preparing their breakfast on the plates. Caroline
grabbed two mugs from the cabinet and poured the hot coffee into them, added
some cream and a bit of sugar and brought them to the table.  

“I’ve never had bagels with lox
before.” Caroline told him as she sat down in front of her plate and picked up
the breakfast entrée.

“Seriously? My goodness, Caroline,
I am seriously beginning to question your upbringing. First falafels, now lox,
I mean what is a man supposed to think?” He joked, mocking her.

“I guess I have a lot to learn.”
She teased back and started eating her breakfast. She chewed her first bite for
a moment then looked at him with a nervous look on her face.

“You don’t like it.” Turner said,
watching her grimace as she attempted to swallow her breakfast. She shook her
head no and grabbed a napkin, quickly spitting it out.

“I’m sorry! Oh god, you are
probably pretty grossed out right now.” Caroline said, quickly jumping up to
discard her napkin.

“Of course not, you could never
gross me out.” Turner laughed at her and pulled the lox off her bagel,
replacing it with another layer of cream cheese instead.

 

“There, this should suit your
tastes better, my dear.” Turner replaced her plate and she sat back down.

“Thank you. I’m so sorry.” Caroline
smiled at him sheepishly.

“Nothing to be sorry for. Especially
when you are dressed like that.” He told her, winking, and reached over to tuck
a piece of hair behind her ear. She smiled at him and he couldn’t help but kiss
her after seeing her gorgeous smile. The couple kissed gently for a moment and
then smiled and returned to their breakfast. About twenty minutes later, they
cleaned up their breakfast and headed into the living room. Caroline briefly
ducked into her bedroom to find a tank top and pulled it on before heading back
out to the living room to Turner.

“Not a fan of the new look.” Turner
grinned mischievously at her from where he was sitting on the couch. Caroline
stuck her tongue out at him playfully and then plopped down on the couch next
to him. He had turned on the television and was clicking through different
morning shows. Caroline tucked her legs up against Turner and lounged back
against the couch, watching him.

“Oh, awesome, you have all the
music channels. High roller, huh?” He glanced at her and winked, she smiled at
him. She was just enjoying being with him, it was easy and simple.

“I love this artist, have you heard
this song? It only came out a few weeks ago and has already topped like every
music chart, which is pretty impressive for just a simple love song. Clay
doesn’t usually have such mellow music which is probably one of the reasons it
caught everyone’s attention, but I think it’s because it is so real.

You can tell Clay must really love
his girlfriend, I think its Jenna or something like that.” Turner was rambling
but Caroline had frozen the moment she heard the song playing through her
television’s speakers. She was glued to each word that she had already
memorized because she had listened to Logan’s song so many times over the last
few weeks.

 


Her hazel eyes over hazelnut
coffee,

her upturned nose, and her
stubborn pose.

She rules the roast as she
scoffs into her cup,

and rolls her eyes as if I’m not
enough.

 

She tossed my music, like she
tossed my heart,

her little button nose like a
cupid’s dart.

Can’t stand her mouth because
her tongue is sharp,

her words cut the strings on my
harp.

 

but she is the sour that made my
day sweet,

the prettiest lips I should
never want to meet,

and the shiniest eyes I never
want to leave,

through my heart strings, she
started to weave.

 

Those hazel eyes hide her
chained up heart,

but her play is over, now it’s
my part.”

 

“Caroline? Caroline? Earth to
Caroline?” Turner was staring at her and she realized that he had been trying
to get her attention for awhile.

“Sorry? What did you say?” Caroline
said, trying to choke out the words and keep from starting to cry.

“I was saying don’t you think that
Clay’s jump from his usual rocker playboy status to this love song means he is
probably head over heels in love with his girlfriend, Jenna? It’s great to have
role models out there for young guys that aren’t playboys.” Turner continued to
talk.

“It’s Gina.” Caroline interrupted.

“What?” Turner paused.

“Logan Clay is dating Gina, Gina
Vile.” Caroline said softly and then burst into tears. She covered her face
with her hands and tried to stop the tears from continuing. Turner sat up
abruptly to look at her, concern and surprise covering his face.

BOOK: Sand & Clay (Her Stolen Rock Star)
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