11:32 p.m. | Aislyn’s Room
After walking back home with J.D. from recounting her past, Aislyn takes her time changing and getting ready for bed in attempts to prolong having to contact Cailean.
“Sunshine, you’re stalling.” J.D. says as Aislyn takes a seat, debating internally if it was worth going back to Bayville even if it meant meeting her favorite author.
“I know.” She mumbles as she fiddles with a loose string on her sweats. “Honestly, I’m doubting if that past of yours you told me about is true at all. You don’t seem like someone who was on the top of any social hierarchy.” “That’s because I had to grow up.” “You sure you don’t mean give up.” J.D. counters.
“Alright, alright, fine.” Aislyn says, annoyed at J.D’s pestering. She pulls her phone out of her pocket. “I don’t know his number.” She says, realizing she’d never actually gotten it in the few encounters she and Cailean had with each other.
“Stop making excuses.”
“It’s not an excuse, it’s true.”
“Ok then, call your boyfriend and have him give it to you. Honestly Sunshine, your attempts at prolonging this are getting pathetic.”
“Shut up…” Aislyn mumbles as she dials Gus’s number.
11:41 p.m. | Gus’s House
“How many times do I have to tell you, Cailean? I don’t want to go to your boring book signing.” Gus says. “It’s not boring.” Cailean says disapprovingly. “Right.” Gus says sarcastically. “Even if I wanted to you know I can’t. My mother is hosting that stupid dinner party at the house.” He adds.
“What about you?” Cailean asks, turning to Chad. “You know I wouldn’t mind, but I’d already promised I’d cover for someone at work tomorrow. We’ve been over booked with clients lately so I can’t bail. Did you ask–” Chad was cut off by the sound of Gus’s phone ringing.
Gus walks over to the window to answer it while Chad and Cailean continue their conversation.
“Hey, it’s Aislyn.”
“Oh, hey babe, what’s up?”
“Not much, listen I was wondering if you could send me Cailean’s number. I was going to text you, but just incase you didn’t see it in time I decided to call. You aren’t busy are you?”
“No, I’m not. What do you need his number for?”
“There’s this book signing we were talking about last week, and I wanted to let him know I’d like to go with him… if he’s still planning on going that is. It’s for that author whose movie we went to watch a few weeks ago, he’s–”
“Yeah, I know. Cailean was just asking me if I wanted to accompany him.”
“Oh, really? Are you–”
“I’ll pass the phone to him.”
“It’s for you.” Gus says rather emotionlessly, walking back over to Cailean. “Huh?” Cailean says reaching out for the phone. Gus drops it wordlessly.
Cailean, confused at Gus’s sudden change in demeanor glances down at the caller ID and notices it’s Aislyn. He hadn’t mentioned that he’d extended the offer of accompanying him to the book signing to her as well, partially because she’d already said no and hadn’t reached out to him all week. Perhaps Gus was feeling bitter about that…
“Cailean, hi. I didn’t expect you to be with Gus. I realized I didn’t have your number… How are you?”
“I’m fine, how are you?”
“‘How are you?’ Haha, you aren’t the smoothest of talkers, Sunshine.” J.D. laughs. Aislyn had blurted that out as an afterthought. She was surprisingly nervous when she’d heard Cailean’s voice over the phone. Was his voice always this deep? She thinks. He suddenly seemed more intimidating. SHUT. UP. She mouths to J.D. as she returns her attention back to the phone.
“Aislyn?” She hears Cailean say on the line. “Oh, um, sorry about that. I’m alright as well.”
“So…” He says.
“So…” She echoes.
“Are you calling about the book signing?”
“Huh? Oh, right, yeah.” Aislyn says with a bit of nervous laughter, surprised at how flustered she was. She could see J.D. roaring with silent laughter out of the corner of her eye, and resisted the urge to chuck something at him as it would just sink to the floor. She takes a breath and composes herself. “I wanted to know if you were still going.” “Wouldn’t miss it for the world. Have you changed your mind?” Cailean asks.
“You alright?” Chad asks. “Fine.” Gus says icily.
“That’s great. I was thinking of heading out in the morning to beat the heavy afternoon traffic out of Oldmerrow, around eleven. Want me to pick you up slightly before then?”
“No, no; if I remember correctly, your house is closer to the highway that leads to Bayville. It’d be counterproductive of you to head here first so I’ll meet you at your place.”
“Alright, if you say so.” Cailean says.
“So eleven then?”
“That’s the plan.”
“Nevermind… I’ll see you tomorrow then.”
“That wasn’t so hard.” J.D. says as Aislyn ends the call. “Yeah.”
“You sounded like a nervous wreck at the start though, what was that?”
“I don’t know… I was thrown off by the sound of his voice, I never really paid attention to it, that’s all.”
“If you say so… So, you excited?” J.D. asks.
“That’s not exactly the word I’d use… but I suppose I’m looking forward to it.”
“To what? Meeting your favorite author, or going back home?”
Aislyn answers automatically and is surprised at her response. “Both.”
After waking up early and packing the book she’d like to get signed along with several other things she figured she’d need, Aislyn stumbles onto her old Homecoming Queen crown in her drawer. She’d normally leave it in to collect dust, but since she’s decided to face her demons like J.D. suggested, she pulls it out and places it on her shelf.
“Wow, looks like you weren’t lying after all. Ready to go?” J.D. asks as he pops in and lays eyes on the crown. “I told you, and yeah.” Aislyn says as she picks up her bag and follows him out into the living room.
“You planning on coming?” She asks. “Nah, I still have some digging around I’d like to do here, but who knows, maybe I’ll drop by and see how you’re doing later on.”
“Unless you need me for moral support.” He adds with a smirk. “I think I’ll be fine.” Aislyn says.
“That’s the spirit. I’m telling you no harm can come from this.”
Aislyn was surprised at how true her words were. She really was calm and didn’t have any trouble sleeping last night. Maybe J.D. was right and the prospect of conquering something she’d been avoiding for so long would end up doing her more good than she’d thought.
“See ya later, Sunshine.”
Aislyn calls a cab and shows the driver Cailean’s address which he had texted her shortly after they’d hung up.
The ride seemed longer than she’d remembered when Cailean had driven her home after she had spent the night a few weeks ago. Perhaps that was because they had been talking which had helped pass the time.
11:03 a.m. | DeCarlo Household
After letting her thoughts wander, the taxi pulls up across from the house and Aislyn hands over the cash before stepping out. “Thanks.” She says. “No problem.” The driver replies before pulling away.
As she walks up the steps, she finds that same nervousness from yesterday coming back. Why? She’d managed to talk with Cailean perfectly fine in the library last week… It was probably the anxiousness she thought she didn’t have about returning to her hometown surfacing. That was the only logical explanation. After this trip was over and done with, she’d be back to normal.
“Ms. Persefoni? Well, isn’t this a pleasant surprise.” Commissioner DeCarlo says after answering the door. Aislyn had nearly forgotten that she was Cailean’s mother. Even though she’d managed to get out of that ‘break in’ fiasco, she still found herself rather nervous. “Commissioner DeCarlo, good morning.”
“Call me Daphne, please.” She says as she steps back to let Aislyn in. Her smile manages to dissipate the bit of tension that had bubbled up in Aislyn’s stomach. “What brings you here?”
“Oh, um, Cailean offered to take me with him to this book signing for this author we like. He hadn’t mentioned it?”
“I got back early this morning so I didn’t get to speak with him.” Daphne says. “That’s nice. How long have you been a fan of Mr. Grayham?”
“Um…” Aislyn pauses to think.
“Why do you always sound like you are interrogating someone, mom.” Cailean says as he descends the stairs.
“Sorry I’m late.”
“You’re fine.” Aislyn says. “About ten years.” She says in answer to Daphne’s earlier question.
“That’s quite some time.” Daphne says, seemingly lost in thought. “I guess…” Aislyn says unsure of what else to day.
“We should get going before my mother finds a way to drag this conversation out unnecessarily.”
“An occupational hazard, I’m afraid.”
“I don’t mind.” Aislyn says. “Well, I do. We’ll be back later.” Cailean says to his mother as he makes his way to the door. “Enjoy.” Daphne says. Aislyn smiles and follows Cailean out.
“So, what made you change your mind? You seemed pretty hesitant before.” Cailean asks once they are well along the road to Bayville.
Not ready to divulge her past yet again to someone else so soon, Aislyn opts for a white lie. “I thought I had something else to take care of, but I had my dates confused…” She says, brushing some loose strands of hair behind her ear as she does so. “Oh, well I’m glad it ended up working out.” Cailean says.
“Yeah, me too.”
As they travel further and further from Oldmerrow, Aislyn finds her anxiety about heading to Bayville turning into something else… something she had denied feeling when J.D. had asked earlier… excitement.
I’m going home… She thinks…. Home.
Thanks for reading! Sorry this chapter was sort of uneventful, the next chapter shall be the official homecoming for Aislyn, and setting up the characters and whatnot in present day Bayville is taking longer than I thought it would XD Despite not much happening, I hope you enjoyed nonetheless. I promise next chapter shall be more fun~ Feel free to let me know what you thought 🙂
Take care, and Happy Holidays for those celebrating!