10:02 p.m. | Cailean’s Room
After what could only be described as a very heated moment, Aislyn and Cailean are left standing in a comfortable silence. “So, what now?” Cailean asks with a grin. He and Aislyn pull apart and he walks over to his dresser to hang his jacket.
“Like I said, my timing couldn’t be worse.” Aislyn says; she walks over and sits on the edge of his bed. Even though Cailean wasn’t taking off all his clothes. Watching him made Aislyn slightly flustered and she lets her eyes drift to the wall of photos she had glanced at earlier. “What time are you leaving tomorrow?” Cailean asks as he pulls off his tie and places it in his drawer. “My dad and Nicole want to be in their offices before the workday starts so we are leaving in a few hours from now actually.”
“Well, you certainly left coming here for the tail end of your agenda.” At that Aislyn smiles, feeling some color seep into her cheeks. “Don’t they say to leave the best things for last?” She says, still unable to turn towards Cailean as she does. “That they do.” He replies, and without looking Aislyn can hear the smile in his voice.
“It’s funny.” He continues when Aislyn remains silent. “What is?” She asks, returning her gaze to his eyes in time to see him rolling the sleeves of his pressed shirt up. “How important you’ve become to me without me actually knowing a lot about you.” “Well, what would you like to know?” Aislyn asks. “For starters, your birthday.”
“Telling you outright is no fun, why don’t you guess.”
“Well it’s January’s right now, and we met some time around September of last year so your birthday has to be sometime between now and then. Is it soon?”
“Nope it’s relatively far.” Aislyn says, noting that Cailean doesn’t come any closer to her, and opts for leaning against his wall as he asks his questions. “You’re a summer baby then?” Aislyn nods her head. “What’s your birthstone?” “A ruby.” “So you’re born in July?” “Yeah on the seventh.” Aislyn says slightly surprised at how quickly Cailean answers.
“You know the birthstones for every month?” “There are only twelve.” Cailean says with a smirk. “Well, that’s still brain space you could allocate to something else. What about you?”
“That’s not too far from now.”
“Like I said, it’s amusing that this has never come up in our previous conversations.” “We tend to jump into the world of fiction when we talk, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise.” Aislyn says. Cailean looks over her shoulder towards the clock on his nightstand. “Well, I’d have liked to treat you to a proper dinner somewhere, but since most places will be closed if we set out now, I think we’ll just have to make do with what we’ve got here.” “That works for me.”
They head downstairs and Cailean begins pulling out ingredients from the fridge and pantry. “How do you feel about pizza?” He asks. “Who doesn’t like pizza?” Aislyn says as she helps organize the ingredients Cailean hands her on the counter. “So, do you like to cook?” She asks as he continues to take things out. “Yeah, my mother is atrocious in the kitchen, but my dad spent more time here than in the office when I was younger. He’d make pasta, bread, and pizza from scratch, just to name a few, and he taught me.”
“That sounds nice.”
“He often said that as an Italian, it was expected of him.”
“So you’re part Italian?” Aislyn asks. “Sì” Cailean says. “And you can speak Italian, too?” “A little bit. When I was a kid my dad wouldn’t use any English when he spoke to me, so it was easy to pick up, but now… I haven’t used it in a while, so I’m sort of forgetting.” Aislyn couldn’t help but notice that Cailean was talking about his father in the past tense, and decided now was as ideal a time as ever to ask something she’d wanted to the first time she came to visit the DeCarlo home.
“I couldn’t help but notice you call Stan, Stan.” “Well that’s his name, isn’t it?” Cailean says with an amused grin. “You know what I mean. I don’t know many people who’d address their fathers on a first name basis.” “Stan isn’t my dad, he’s my step-dad. My father passed away when I was in high school.” Cailean says, the smile on his face faltering as he breaks the eye contact they’d been holding.
“I’m so sorry.” Aislyn says, reaching out with a hand to place it on Cailean’s. “It’s alright, it’s been a really long time.” Aislyn found herself curious as to what happened, but didn’t want to dampen the atmosphere any further. “Say something.” She says, wanting to revive the previous mood. “Huh?” Cailean asks, snapping back from wherever his thoughts had wandered off to.
“In Italian; say something.” The smile she was hoping to see returns to Cailean’s face, as he now begins to set pots and pans on the counter. “Ti penso ogni giorno.” He says. “What does that mean?”
“I said it’s a beautiful night.”
“Liar! I know beautiful, it’s bella, right?”
“That’s right.” Cailean says with a raised eyebrow. “Did you take Italian in high school?” “No, I took French, and forgot most of it. So what did you really say?” Aislyn presses on. “Nothing important; would you mind grabbing some plates from the cabinet over there?” Cailean asks with a mischievous grin as he walks towards the oven and begins adjusting the temperature. “Since you’re doing a great job at avoiding my question, I’ll ask another.” Aislyn says as she tip-toes to teach the plates Cailean pointed to. “How do you really say it’s a beautiful night?”
“There are several ways, but one is: è una bella notte.” Cailean says. “Bella notte.” Aislyn repeats. “You know, chicks dig it when guys have accents or are multilingual.” “Is that so? Would you be happen to be one of those girls?” Cailean asks. “I haven’t decided yet, but the odds are looking like they’re in your favor thus far.” Aislyn says with a grin.
They work together rather efficiently, with Cailean doing most of the work, and Aislyn makes an effort to keep her stares at him less obvious; there was something incredibly attractive about seeing him so relaxed and genuinely happy about cooking.
“Where do you keep your utensils?” Aislyn asks after opening two drawers and failing to find them. “I’ll take care of it.” Cailean says as he returns the unused ingredients to the fridge.
“Why? I want to help.”
“You’ve helped more than enough. Need I remind you that this isn’t exactly what I envisioned for our first date, so at least leave the table setting to me.”
“But–” “You aren’t the best at taking direction are you?” Cailean asks as he crosses his arms. “No.” Aislyn says defensively. “Okay, maybe yeah… sometimes.” She says with a smile. “Why don’t you wait in the living room.” “Fine.” Aislyn says with an exaggerated sigh of defeat.
She plops down on the couch and hears Cailean walking around, opening and closing doors. After a few minutes of attempting, and failing, to invest in the program playing on the television she turns towards the kitchen, “You know it would be much faster if you’d just let me help.”
“I’m done.” Cailean says as he enters the living room. Aislyn notices he has pulled on a sweater over his shirt. He extends a hand and when she reaches for it she also notices he’s rather cold.
“What were you doing? I thought you were setting the table.” She asks.
“I was, follow me.” Cailean replies as he pulls on her arm and helps her off of the couch.
Cailean leads her towards the glass doors facing the outdoor patio and brings her to a stop. He turns and reaches for something from the cabinet behind them and Aislyn feels something heavy rest on her shoulders.
“You’ll need this.” Cailean’s voice rings right beside her ears as he drapes a thick blanket over her, and Aislyn feels some color rise to her cheeks at his closeness. “If you say so.” She says. Cailean steps through the door and holds it open and Aislyn feels the cold air bite into her face as she follows him. “Where are we going?” She asks aloud. “You’ll see; it’s not that special.” Cailean says.
He begins leading Aislyn down the stairs beside the house. “Watch your step, Stan and I haven’t gotten around to clearing up the excess snow yet.” Cailean says as he rests his arm on Aislyn’s shoulder and guides her along.
“I can handle a little–” Just as Aislyn begins to dismiss Cailean’s concern over a few inches of snow, she stumbles and the hand that was loosely resting on her shoulder grips her tighter and steadies her. “You were saying?” Cailean asks with a smile. A heat of embarrassment creeps into Aislyn’s face. “Nothing.” She says.
Cailean laughs and Aislyn joins, stepping closer to him as she does so, feeling comfortable in his extended arm. As they walk along, she pulls the blanket he’d given to her closer and notices they are approaching what she’d assumed was the garage; she never particularly paid attention to it the other times she was here.
As they draw nearer, Aislyn begins to smell the wonderful aromas from the kitchen, “You carried everything out–” Before Aislyn gets the chance to finish her question, a sharp chill directs her attention back to the house, her eyes dart around but no figure comes to view. Noticing Aislyn’s head turn, Cailean follows her gaze before turning back to her when he finds nothing in particular to look at. “Are you alright? Did you hear something?”
“I thought I did but I must’ve imagined it.” She says, pulling one of her hands free from beneath the blanket to tuck some of her new bangs behind her ear as she does so. “You were saying?”
As Aislyn redirects her attention ahead of her, she lays eyes on the fruits of their labor in the kitchen along with some candles spread out across a wooden table. It looked warm and inviting, and made Aislyn realize just how hungry she was, having been running around all day without taking the chance to fill herself with something of substance.
“Again, it’s not much.” Cailean says, running a hand through his hair. “It’s perfect.” Aislyn says looking up to meet his eyes. “I’m glad you think so.” A smile forms on Cailean’s lips that makes Aislyn’s heart skip a beat. She was beginning to wonder how she was ever capable of talking to Cailean without blushing or breaking eye contact as was the case whenever she attempted to do so now.
The fact that Cailean was handsome was something she objectively noticed when they’d met but didn’t truly pay attention to until now, perhaps because her feelings for him had changed in that time, she was now capable of appreciating the chisel of his jaw, the sharpness of his cheeks, the way his veins would faintly bulge out of his arms when he moved them a certain way, amongst other things. Aislyn wonders how red her face was turning as she let her thoughts drift. Thankfully, Cailean didn’t appear to notice as he guides her to the bench and takes a seat across from her.
“My father was a typical alpha male: strict, hardworking, good with his hands. The garage had become his workshop, he often tried, but failed miserably to get me into woodworking. This is one of his creations.” Cailean says as he pats the table in which their dinner is laid out on.
“That’s incredible. My dad was always good at working on intangible things.”
“Really? He strikes me as the type to be good at physical labor.”
“Looks can be deceiving. He was never a lean guy, but I think that changed once he started dating Nicole. I never asked him, but I’m pretty sure that’s what happened.” Aislyn says with a smile thinking about how her father’s looks changed drastically before and after meeting Nicole.
“What about your mother?” Cailean asks. “Can’t say, I haven’t seen her in years.” Aislyn says with a shrug. Despite the feelings she had for Cailean, she wasn’t ready to open up that deep yet. Cailean appears to pick up on her tone since he doesn’t press any further.
“You know how earlier, I mentioned that it’s pretty funny we don’t know that much about one another?” Aislyn nods, confused at the shift the conversation has taken, but glad that it was away from her mother. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I feel like a part of that is because you don’t particularly like talking about yourself – at least for prolonged periods of time.”
Aislyn pauses to ponder this, she felt like her mother was the only sore spot she didn’t like to delve into, but in hindsight her childhood in general wasn’t something she enjoyed retelling, given how downhill everything went for her after her accident. “I suppose that’s true.” She says. “But does anyone like sharing all the boring details of their adolescence?” She adds.
“It’s not boring when you’re sharing with people who care about you.” Cailean says, and Aislyn drops her head, the intensity of Cailean’s gaze paired with his words brought another blush to her cheeks. “You’re right.” She says. “I’d love to hear about your childhood. Were you born here?”
“Not exactly. I was born in Middlesbrough, but I’ve lived here practically all of my life. So when people ask where I’m from I just say Oldmerrow.”
“What about you? When we went to Bayville you mentioned it was your hometown and that was it. What made you leave?”
“It’s kind of embarrassing, but when I was graduating from college it was around the time my dad was thinking of marrying Nicole. I had a relatively strong attachment to my dad, with my mother leaving us and all, and I know now it was childish, but at the time I felt like I was going to be alone if he went through with it, so I fled, like an adolescent teen and came here, and ended up alone anyway. I kind of didn’t make things right until we went back for that book signing together.” Aislyn says with she assumes is an even deeper blush.
After sharing some generic memories of her life in Bayville – feeling it was much too soon to delve into the disaster that was her senior year – with Cailean, and asking about his childhood in Oldmerrow, the rest of their dinner, like the majority of their conversations, goes by fairly quickly. It’s only long after they’ve eaten and are interrupted by Aislyn’s phone ringing that she notices the time.
3:02 a.m. the screen reads, “I have to take this.” She says as she rises from the bench. “Cell signal is weak here, you might want to go closer to the house.” Cailean says. Aislyn nods and presses the phone to her ear after answering.
“Aislyn, hey.” It was Nicole. “Your father is trying to play it cool and appear as though he isn’t overly concerned by not calling, but I know he’s worried, we both are, since we haven’t heard from you in a while.”
“I know, I’m so sorry… I lost track of time.”
“I understand; we didn’t expect you to call, but a text would’ve sufficed.”
“I’m sorry.” Aislyn repeats, feeling guilty. “Do you need us to pick you up? You still haven’t packed, and we’re leaving in three hours.” Nicole asks.
“No, I’ll manage – and I’ll take care of all of that as soon as I’m back. I don’t have much to put away since I left most of my belongings in my suitcases anyway.”
“Alright then, sorry to cut your evening short, goodbyes are hard.” “They are.” Aislyn agrees. “I’ll let your father know you’re alright, he’s starting the checkout process downstairs.”
“Thanks, see you soon.”
With a sigh, Aislyn hangs up. She had a weird jittery feeling in her stomach now that her departure was so close, the kind you got the night before heading back to school; excited, but nervous.
Realizing it was now time to go, Aislyn slips off the blanket Cailean had given her and begins to fold it.
“I take it that call was to say I’ve kept you for too long?” Cailean asks with that same smile that now made her insides twist, as he exits the house.
“More or less.” Aislyn says with a grin. She drapes the blanket on the outdoor chair and sighs again as she leans back on the railing.
“What’s with the sigh? I thought we were having a rather pleasant evening.”
“We were… It’s just, we were just getting to really know each other and now I have to go. I practically came here, dumped everything I needed to unload, and now I’m running.” She says, unable to meet Cailean’s eyes as she does so. He walks over and places his hands on her arms.
“Are you saying you regret coming?” He asks. “No, no, of course not. I’d have suffocated from all the stress eating away at me if I didn’t tell you how I felt.” Aislyn says, turning to meet the eyes she was avoiding.
“Same here.” Cailean says as he joins Aislyn on the railing. He places a hand alongside her face, and runs it through her hair tickling her neck. “I’d been meaning to ask you, but what made you cut your hair?”
“Does it look bad?”
“I think you look beautiful either way.” Cailean says nonchalantly as he raises his hand to brush her bangs from her eyes. Despite them standing in the below freezing weather, Aislyn feels like her face is on fire.
“I was thinking of something along the lines of new year, new me at the time. Chad fixed it up for me earlier when I went to say bye to him and Mai.”
“It suits you.”
“Thanks.” Aislyn says, wondering how Cailean was capable of remaining cool and collected at his own words while she felt like she was in a furnace.
“Looks like this relationship will have to start out long distance. Bayville isn’t too far, meeting up when we’re free shouldn’t be a challenge, if you’re up for it.”
“I’d like that.” Aislyn says with a smile.
“It’s settled then.”
Cailean leans in and Aislyn lets her eyes flutter closed, expecting him to kiss her again. Instead, she feels his arm wrap around her shoulder and opens her eyes to see a wicked grin on his face. “I can’t let my new girlfriend hail a cab at this time of night, let me drive you back.”
“Wow.” Aislyn says as she scoffs, “I didn’t expect that from you.”
“Expect what?” Cailean challenges as they begin to walk away from the railing.
“Expect you to be a tease.” Aislyn says.
“Me? Why? Were you expecting something?” Cailean asks, with faux confusion as he attempts to stifle the amused grin on his face.
Wondering if she can turn any redder, Aislyn hastily says no as she takes a step away from Cailean, but doesn’t sound that convincing, even to herself. Before she can take another step, she feels the arm Cailean had wrapped around her shoulder hold her in place. Cailean’s fingers reach down and grip the hands she had begun raising towards her hair; he runs his thumb along them and the little bit of contact already makes her pulse quicken.
Aislyn turns to look back at Cailean; she sees his green eyes twinkle for a moment before being covered by his lids as he leans in. His lips meet hers and Aislyn can’t help but smile at Cailean’s playfulness beneath his lips before returning the gesture; it was an unexpected side to him.
She supposed there was a lot she still had to learn about the kind of person Cailean was, and how he worked, and while a part of her felt bad that she’d have to start doing that from miles away, she was still looking forward to it all the same.
Their kiss is not nearly as animalistic as their one upstairs had been, but Aislyn supposed that was because of their pent up emotions being letting out at the time. This one was controlled, gentle, and less invasive but oddly more intimate.
Cailean’s mouth is warm; he alternates the pressure between their lips, gently pulling away before pressing harder. He tightens his arm around Aislyn, drawing her closer to him, and she places her arms against his chest. The warmth building up in her face travels through her veins and throughout her body in an instant, and Aislyn makes a mental note to add good kisser among the list of things she’d learned about Cailean during the night as she settles into his frame.
Well, this chapter was relatively
short and sweet – for my standards. I figured, since I shall be pulling our new couple apart for a while, might as well saturate you with some cute moments before doing so~ I kind of rushed to finish this, which is why some parts are wordier than others – though I try to keep the text:screenshot ratio relatively even – so I’ll be knocking out now. I’ve read some of your new chapters in my reader and shall be a bit late in commenting because my time management is atrocious. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed learning a bit about Caislyn :3 Take care and I hope everyone has a great week!
p.s This is a bonus shot that I liked but couldn’t really incorporate into the story so here you go~