SECOND PART RECAPS
***author’s note: Sorry for the abysmal posting schedule~ Hope you enjoy! ***
8:11 a.m. | Starbucks
The entire time they make their way to the coffee shop not far from the Sentinel HQ, Daisy keeps her arm linked through Aislyn’s; as though she feared she’d make a run for it any second. “I promise you, I’m not going anywhere.” Aislyn says with a raised eyebrow. “Hmm, I’m not entirely sure about that.” Daisy says with a grin. It’s only after they’ve ordered their drinks: the usual cappuccino for Aislyn, with an extra shot, and a caramel macchiato for Daisy, topped with whipped cream, that she finally lets Aislyn go, not that she’d minded. Something about Daisy’s touch was calming; as though a bit of her cheerfulness was seeping into Aislyn where their arms touched.
“I like your necklace.” Aislyn says, noticing the flower on Daisy’s neck. “Very fitting.”
“Thanks!” She says enthusiastically, reaching for it as they wait for their names to be called. “My boyfriend got it for me.” Daisy adds with a warm smile. “Liam?” Aislyn inquires. In their time rekindling their friendship during Aislyn’s first month in Bayville, she’d learned that Daisy was still in a relationship with her high school sweetheart. A quiet boy Aislyn recalls seeing briefly at an assembly or two. Daisy nods, seemingly touched that Aislyn had remembered.
They walk in a comfortable silence to a nearby park. Aislyn appreciates Daisy’s restraint in asking everything she likely wanted to. It’s only when Aislyn places her drink on the stone bench they decide to relax at, that she notices her name misspelled on the cup. ‘Aislon’ it reads, and she feels herself smile. Daisy seems to take her expression as a green light to finally speak her mind. “So…” She begins, “Fight with Axel?”
“What gave me away?”
“I bumped into him in the stairwell before I saw you leave, and after seeing the look on his face, I kind of put two and two together.” Daisy says with a shrug.
“Well, believe it or not, he’s not the only person I’ve managed to upset in the past few hours.” Aislyn sighs and rests her head on her fist.
“That sounds rough. May I ask what happened? You don’t have to share if you don’t want to, but it might help.” Daisy tilts her head as she cautiously asks her question.
Aislyn ponders this. Since Daisy was going out of her way to try and make her feel better, she felt the least she could do was be honest. “Cailean found out I’d been keeping something from him. I was planning on telling him… eventually, but he ended up hearing it from someone else.”
“I can see how that’d be upsetting, but I’m sure you had your reasons.”
“I did…” Aislyn says weakly. “Did you tell him that?” Daisy continues. Aislyn shakes her head.
“That’d probably be a good place to start to make things better before you start to feel distant.”
“You’re right, but…” It’s not that easy. Aislyn thinks, letting her sentence trail off. She knew she’d have to provide some kind of explanation to Cailean, but she didn’t think she could clarify one thing without sharing everything, and she still didn’t feel ready to do all that. “If I can guess what you’re thinking.” Daisy says once Aislyn makes no attempt to finish her sentence. “You don’t have to divulge everything. Something, however small, is infinitely better than nothing. You can tell him what you were thinking at the time, without telling him why you were thinking it.” “That’s… really helpful.” Aislyn says as she lets Daisy’s words sink in. “I’m glad you think so.” Daisy says, taking a sip from her drink.
Aislyn wasn’t aware of it, but she’d been thinking in extremes when it came to Cailean. She felt that she’d have to have the same talk she did with Kim and his mother when the time came; detailing every significant and insignificant happening that resulted in her being the way she was. In hindsight it seemed silly, but she hadn’t really considered doing what Daisy was suggesting: starting small. For a moment they drink in silence. Daisy reaches across and gives Aislyn’s hand an encouraging squeeze.
Her mind drifts to J.D. Normally this is the kind of discussion Aislyn would be having with him. She knew he was right; she did rely on him quite a bit, and she knew why it would be a problem in the long run. Her conversation with Nicole the previous night, and chat with Daisy in this moment made Aislyn realize that she did have others in her life that could say things that she needed to hear. And if that were the case, then there was no reason for J.D. to keep his distance. He was so much more than a voice of reason to her, and she missed him. Aislyn was suddenly overcome with the desire to see him. She springs up from the bench.
“Aislyn?” Daisy says, slightly startled by her movement. “Thanks, Daisy, you’ve made me realize that there’s something I need to do.” “You bet! I’m glad I could help.” Daisy beams. “I’m sorry to just bolt off like this.” Aislyn gives an apologetic smile. “I had a feeling you would. It’s why I held onto you earlier.” Daisy winks. “Go on.” She says. Aislyn laughs, “I’ll treat you next time.” Aislyn picks up her nearly finished cappuccino. “I look forward to it.” Daisy says with a wave.
If I were J.D, where would I be? Aislyn thinks. She downs the last of her drink and chucks her empty cup into a garbage can near the park’s exit. There was only one answer, and Aislyn extends her hand to hail a passing cab to where she needed to go.
9:43 a.m. | Bayville Graveyard
Sure enough, Aislyn sees a familiar silhouette as she approaches the graveyard, and a feeling of relief washes over her. She pulls back the rusting gates, and the noise doesn’t attract the attention of J.D. who appears lost in thought, looking at the sky. It’s only when Aislyn comes to a stop by his side, in front of the mausoleum, that he tilts his head in her direction in acknowledgement. He immediately returns his gaze to the clouds overhead, “Up for talking now, are we?” He says dismissively. He’s upset. Aislyn thinks as she eases herself down onto the floor beside him. “The ground’s filthy.” J.D. says, still refusing to look her way. “I’ll live, I’m sure.” The irony of her words given where they were causes J.D. to crack a reluctant smile.
“I’m sorry, J.” Aislyn says. “What for?” The way the question rolls off of his tongue sounds like a test.
“I didn’t want to prove you right last night after the disaster that was my phone call with Cailean.”
“Prove me right?” J.D. echoes. Aislyn knew he was aware of exactly what she was referring to, he just wanted to hear her say it.
“If I could nudge you right now, I would.”
“Do go on.” J.D. says, ignoring her remark. Though he was still facing away from her, Aislyn could hear the smile in his voice. “I depend on you. A lot. And you’re right; I do need to talk more with those around me instead of trying to handle things on my own or turning to you.” J.D. lets out an exaggerated gasp. “How shocking! Me being right all along? Who would’ve thought?” He finally turns his head towards Aislyn, likely satisfied with her answer, and she copies him to meet his dark eyes. “I hate you.” Aislyn smiles. “I’ve missed you, too.” J.D. says. They lie beside one another in silence, their faces inches apart. J.D’s warmth washes over Aislyn like a summer tide.
“I have to say, I’m extremely curious as to what exactly pretty-boy said to you last night.” J.D. says, breaking the silence. “I feel like you could probably guess what happened.” Aislyn redirects her focus to the sky, a heat of embarrassment creeping into her cheeks.
“Let’s see… You mentioned an uneventful encounter, so I’m guessing he found out about your little chit-chat with his mother dearest.”
“Ding-ding-ding.” Aislyn says. “Does that mean he knows about…” “I don’t think Daphne actually told him anything.” Aislyn answers J.D’s unspoken question. “In the moment I panicked thinking maybe she did, but Cailean asked me if she’d threatened me or something, so I’m guessing she didn’t say a word.”
“How frustrating for pretty-boy, the two women in his life sneaking around behind his back, leaving him in the dark.”
“I know.” Aislyn says with a sigh. “But, I plan on making things right.”
“I’m going to go and talk with him.”
Aislyn can see J.D. raising an eyebrow in disbelief in her peripheral vision. “I don’t plan on saying everything… just a bit of clarification as to why Daphne and I met.”
“And how are you going to give him an explanation without giving him the explanation?”
Aislyn rises from the ground, brushing off the dirt plastered to her pants. J.D. follows her movement. “I’ll think of something… something small is better than nothing, right?”
“Those are unusually shrewd words coming from you.”
“I actually got that advice from a friend.”
“I figured.” Aislyn rolls her eyes at J.D’s response. “She seems wise. Not as wise as me, but acceptable.” J.D. continues and Aislyn laughs.
“So, when are you doing the deed?” “Of all the ways to phrase that…” Aislyn shakes her head. “If you mean when do I plan on clearing things up – then tonight. Cailean will probably be off work early unless he’s started on another case.”
“Speaking of work, shouldn’t you be at it?” J.D. asks as they approach the gates.
“I was planning on playing hooky and spending some time with you… If you’d like.” Aislyn turns to look at him. “Sunshine, you know I’d love that.” J.D. says with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
6:11 p.m. | Scott House
“Okay, I’m here. What’s the emergency?” Cailean says once Kim answers her door. He’d gotten home from work early, went to the gym, and found he had a string of texts from Kim after he’d hopped out of the shower, imploring him to come over the second he read them. He’d tried calling her to get the bottom of what was going on – since he didn’t feel up for being grilled by Kim’s keen eyes – but she hadn’t answered. He felt like it wasn’t something significant, but Gus was going to be out of town for the weekend, and just in case Kim did need something, he didn’t want that weighing on his conscience.
“What’s the rush?” Kim asks. “Come inside.”
“If nothing’s wrong, I’m leaving.” Just as Cailean prepares to turn, his phone starts ringing in his pocket. He pulls it out and notices it’s from Aislyn. Whatever expression he has on his face doesn’t go unnoticed by Kim. Her eyes narrow. “Who’s that, and why are you reluctant to answer in front of me.” “It’s nothing.” In a quick motion, Kim lunges forward and snatches his phone from his hand; Cailean gives a defeated sigh.
“Woah, woah, woah. Ignoring your girlfriend now?” Kim asks wide eyed once she sees Aislyn’s name on the caller ID. Her thumb hovers over the answer button. “Don’t.” Cailean says. His tone only serves to make Kim’s eyes widen more. “Oh… you’re angry.” She says. “You never get angry.” “I’m not in the mood, Kim.” Cailean says. He reaches for his phone, still ringing in Kim’s hand, and she draws her arm away from him. “I had a feeling something was up. Now you definitely have to stay.” Before Cailean can protest, Kim slides his phone into her back pocket, and links her hands around his arm. “Trust me, this will do you two some good.” “Us two?” Cailean echoes as Kim proceeds to drag him in. Knowing his attempts would be futile, he allows her to pull him along. His question is answered the minute they enter the kitchen.
“Hello, Cailean.” Mai says once their eyes meet. “I see you’ve also been roped in.” She adds as she stirs the contents of the bowl in her arms. Despite the smile she plasters on, Cailean can tell Mai didn’t want to be here even more than he himself did, evident by the faint vein protruding from the corner of her temple. “Now, now, you two. Could you please try and hide the fact that you’re annoyed?” Kim places her hands on her hips and shakes her head. “No.” Mai and Cailean say simultaneously. “Great. You’re just proving my point that you need this.” Kim gives a satisfied nod. “Need what, exactly?” Cailean asks as he leans against the wall. “A night to vent and unwind. With these of course.” Kim pulls out several beers from the fridge and swings them back and forth.
“Oh, and what are we venting about exactly?” Cailean raises a brow. “Well, at our last girls’ night Mai expressed that she and Chad were going through a rough patch, and as for you…” Kim lets her sentence trail off, seeming to catch herself. “Of course you already heard from Gus. Why am I not surprised?” Cailean crosses his arms. “Congrats by the way.” This was Cailean’s first time seeing Kim since learning that she and Gus had started dating each other. A blush creeps into her cheeks. “Oh, um… thanks.” Kim says as she tucks some of her hair behind her ear.
Cailean had told Gus he wasn’t aware that he’d had feelings for Kim, but he couldn’t say the opposite was true. Over the years there were times where he suspected that Kim may have thought of Gus as more than a friend, one particular occurrence standing out amongst the rest, but didn’t think to bring it up out of fear of making things awkward within their group. The brief silence following Kim’s words is broken by the sound of Mai opening a beer using the edge of the kitchen island. “Fine.” She says after taking a sip. “Let’s do this.” She opens another and extends her arm in his direction. Cailean supposes spending some time with his friends, as opposed to being left alone with his thoughts, couldn’t be such a bad idea. He takes the drink Mai offers him and they clink their bottles together.
“I think this is it.” Mai says, nearing tears as she slams her head on the table. “He probably hates me now.” “Chad doesn’t hate you.” Kim says as she raises her near empty bottle to her lips. “Oh, yeah? Then how come he’s not trying to explain himself every time I get angry with him? I kicked him onto the couch days ago and he’s made no attempt to try and come back.” Cailean suddenly felt for Chad. Since their conversation, it appears as though he made little to no progress patching things up with Mai. “I’m sure he has his reasons.” Cailean says. At that, Kim snaps her head in his direction. “Like what?” Cailean is unable to utter a response and Kim’s eyes narrow. “Wait a minute… Do you know something?” She asks, pointing an accusatory finger. Mai rotates her head to the side to gaze at him. “Do you?” She asks softly.
Cailean runs a hand through his hair as he averts both of their eyes. “I don’t. I’m just saying that for him to act that way, he’s probably dealing with something else.” Mai sinks her face into her arms in disappointment. I’m sorry. Cailean thinks. He couldn’t tell his friend in distress that the boyfriend she was so suspicious of was actually trying to propose. Kim opens her mouth, likely to challenge his lie, and Cailean quickly shoots her a pointed look. Drop it. He mouths. Kim perks up. I knew it. You do know. She mouths back. Cailean takes a quick glance at Mai to make sure she hasn’t lifted her head, before giving Kim a small nod. She doesn’t say anything more but gives him a look as if to say, ‘you owe me an explanation’. He’d have to apologize to Chad. He nods again, and Kim, seemingly satisfied, quickly changes the subject.
“So, how long are you going to ignore Aislyn for?”
“I’m not ignoring her… anymore.” Cailean means it. Despite all of the other emotions he was experiencing, he did feel guilty leaving Aislyn’s calls the previous night unanswered.
“Oh? You didn’t pick up the phone earlier.”
“That’s because you were right there.”
“I didn’t know my presence could make you so shy.” She says sarcastically. “No offense, Kim, but you’re the last person I want to talk to about this.” Kim seems stung by his words. “Why not?” Her smile falters. Cailean sighs. “Don’t look at me like that. It’s only because I know you know a lot more about everything going on with Aislyn than I do.” Kim doesn’t deny this. “Sorry.” She mumbles. Cailean cracks a smile at her response. “Why are you apologizing? I’m not mad at you.” Cailean takes a few sips of his drink in silence.
“You aren’t going to ask me what happened?” Kim asks after a moment.
“It wouldn’t be right, hearing it from you.” At this, Kim nods. “Not that I planned to, but had I asked, would you have said anything?” Cailean asks, and Kim shakes her head. “Sorry.” She says again.
“I didn’t agree to stay so that I could hear you continuously apologize.”
“Then why did you? You aren’t venting.”
“Because I know how you are.” Cailean reaches out to poke Kim’s cheek lightly. “You were going to such lengths to try and help, and I appreciate it, but Aislyn and I aren’t going to make any progress if we don’t work things out on our own… Right now, just being in your company is enough.” Cailean says. Kim’s face brightens at his words. “I think we might’ve lost Mai.” He adds. They both turn to see her taking in quiet, steady breaths, her back steadily rising and falling as she remains face down on her arms. “We can’t have that. The night is only just beginning!” Kim exclaims.
9:33 p.m. | DeCarlo House
The evening chill greets Aislyn as she exits her car. After wandering around Bayville for the better part of the day with J.D, she’d gone home and prepared – physically and mentally – for her talk with Cailean. J.D. had asked if she wanted him to tag along for the ride, but Aislyn refused; she wanted to use the drive to organize her thoughts. Her attempts to call Cailean before she left to give him a heads up that she’d be arriving were unsuccessful, unsurprisingly. Though she was expecting it, Aislyn was slightly hurt. A feeling of guilt for all the times she’d done the same to Cailean when wanting to avoid having to talk washed over her. So that’s how it feels.
The DeCarlo house is quiet; there are no cars parked out front. Given the hour, Aislyn expected Cailean, at the very least, to be home. She rings the doorbell anyway, and after a few minutes of standing in silence, walks back to her car. Waiting around didn’t seem like the most ideal course of action, and so, Aislyn decides to pay the places Cailean was likely to be found at a visit, feeling determined.
Over the hour and a half she spends searching through Oldmerrow, most of Aislyn’s resolve slowly fizzles out. In addition to Cailean’s workplace, she’d gone to Mai and Chad’s, and Gus’s places – all of which were empty. She’d even paid the graveyard, library, and town park a visit for good measure, to no avail. Aislyn was beginning to wonder if everyone had gathered somewhere and a feeling of defeat began to well up inside her. It would be difficult to talk to Cailean if that were the case. She figured one of his parents would be able to direct her, but Daphne wasn’t at the police station and Neil couldn’t be found at he and Cailean’s special spot. With her inability to run into even one familiar face, Oldmerrow was feeling especially large and empty.
The last place she had on her list was Kim’s house which was on the opposite end of town compared to where Aislyn currently was. Feeling drained, she pulls over onto the side of the road and decides to send a message first. She didn’t think she’d be able to handle another fruitless search effort, even if she did want to see Kim. Her phone buzzes shortly afterwards with a reply, and Aislyn feels a surge of energy course through her at the response she receives. She tosses her phone onto the passenger’s seat and immediately turns back onto the road.
12:13 a.m. | Scott House
Aislyn arrives at Kim’s house much quicker than she’d anticipated, likely due to a combination of her returned determination mixed with a hint of newfound anger. When she reaches the door, she steps inside without bothering to ring the bell or knock. Kim’s mother would likely disapprove of her actions, but Aislyn suspected she wasn’t home. She had been in Kim’s house enough times to know where they were. She ascends the steps, taking them two at a time in her haste, and sure enough, sees Cailean, along with Kim and Mai – to Aislyn’s slight surprise – in the bar room at the end of the hall. Aislyn pauses at the door. The girls were cheering amongst themselves, while Cailean stood behind the counter opposite them, appearing to be lost in thought, his cheeks glowing red even from a distance.
Aislyn knows the situation she’s found herself in was entirely her fault, but the sight of Cailean relaxed and seemingly unaware of how frantically she’s been looking for him irked her. She suspects her irritation is fairly apparent on her face as she enters, but doesn’t have it in her to attempt to hide it.
“I’m not interrupting, am I?”
“Aislyn!” Mai says cheerfully at the sound of her voice. Kim, who was in the middle of taking a sip, chokes on her drink. Cailean’s eyes lock onto Aislyn’s briefly, and widen only slightly. Aislyn expected him to look more surprised. He turns his head towards Kim – who recollects herself after her brief coughing fit – a frown tugging the corner of his lips. Kim raises her palms, “I swear, I didn’t.” She says looking at Cailean. Aislyn wonders what Kim means by that. If she had to guess, she suspects the two likely had a conversation that mentioned her in some regard. Mai walks over to Aislyn; her movements slow and unsteady. Compared to the usual gracefulness and natural poise Mai possessed, her current state was a jarring sight. Once she’s within arm’s reach, she pulls Aislyn into a bone crushing hug. Aislyn returns the gesture. “It’sbeenawhile.” Mai slurs her words together. “Hey, Mai. It has.”
“Joinus!” “No, I’m-” Before Aislyn finishes her sentence, Mai pulls off the jacket she’s wearing and tosses it in a nearby chair. “Thatseemsmorecomfortable.” She says with a giggle. Aislyn is unable to get a word out as Mai pushes her down into the stool she was sitting in moments prior, leaving her sandwiched between the two girls, and across from Cailean. “Hey.” Kim says apprehensively. “Hi.” Aislyn says back. Kim’s tone serves as a confirmation that Cailean definitely said something to her. “It’s late.” Cailean says. “I would’ve been here sooner, but someone wasn’t answering their phone.” Aislyn meets his gaze, some of her own anger seeping out. “I was busy.” Cailean sets his bottle down on the counter. “I can see that.” Aislyn scoffs. Waving her hand over the empty beers strung along the counter.
If Cailean is bothered by her words, he doesn’t let it show on his face. Instead he remains still, maintaining their eye contact, waiting. “I wanted to talk to you, but I don’t think now’s a good time.” “There usually isn’t a ‘good time’ for you.” Cailean’s tone is neither condescending, nor sarcastic; his words are spoken matter of factly. Aislyn can feel the stares of Kim and Mai boring into her sides, but Cailean appears to have forgotten their presence entirely, his sole attention locked on Aislyn. She had never seen Cailean upset before; there was a coldness in him that was unrecognizable, and it sent a chill through her.
Aislyn pushes the stool back wordlessly. Without casting a glance at either Kim or Mai, she makes her way back to her jacket that had been tossed aside. Aislyn had also never seen Cailean drunk before, and wonders if perhaps his different demeanor was a byproduct of the alcohol he’s consumed; a part of her was hoping that was the case. Her path is intercepted by Cailean. “I thought you wanted to talk.” “Not anymore.” The shakiness in her voice as she responds only serves to fuel Aislyn’s embarrassment. Cailean shows no sign of budging and Aislyn attempts to reach around him.
Cailean grips the arm she extends before it makes contact with her jacket. “Excuse us.” He says over his shoulder to Kim and Mai whom he seems to have remembered. They nod in unison. Cailean then begins to make his way out the door, hauling Aislyn along behind him. He remains silent as they walk, and Aislyn bites her bottom lip to do the same. A million questions springing to the forefront of her mind. She’s pulled into a room at the end of the hall, and Cailean shuts the door behind them, releasing her as he does so.
“You came all this way and you were going to leave, just like that?” He asks, still facing the doors. His tone remains calm and even, Aislyn wonders if the expression he has on his face matches. All of her thought out explanations scramble in her brain. What was I going to say? At her silence, Cailean turns around.
“It seems like you have no trouble talking to everyone but me.”
“That’s not true.” Aislyn says, finding her voice.
“Kim, my mother, Gus-” “What they think of me doesn’t matter as much as what you think of me does.” Aislyn interrupts. Cailean’s eyebrows lift in surprise. As the words exit her lips, Aislyn’s clarity returns. “I didn’t come here to argue, or make things worse.” She begins. Cailean remains still, listening carefully. “Are you… up for hearing what I have to say?” Aislyn lets her eyes briefly drift over the color gathered in his cheeks. She wasn’t sure how many of the scattered bottles in the other room belonged to him.
Cailean’s lips curve into a small smile, and Aislyn is amazed at how the small gesture immediately soothes her. “If you’re wondering whether I’ll remember this conversation tomorrow, or not, I assure you there’s no need for concern. Alcohol has little effect on me. Aside from the flushed face, I’m fine.” Hearing Cailean speak, Aislyn could believe that. Unlike Mai who’d become a bit uncoordinated, Cailean’s eyes were as focused as usual. His strides moments ago were quick and confident, his words now were clear and direct. “Okay.” Aislyn says. She lowers her head and takes a deep breath.
All she needs to do is clear up her conversation with his mother.
The time to bring up her ability and all it entails could come at a later time.
If she could just… “Aislyn, wait!” Absorbed in her thoughts, Aislyn wasn’t aware of Cailean’s attempts to get her attention until she feels his hand beneath her chin, tilting her head up. “What?” She says, startled – their faces are inches apart.
“You look like someone bracing for a crash.”
Is that how she appeared? It was certainly how she felt. Aislyn had no idea how Cailean would react to her words – as soon as she managed to vocalize them. His expression looked pained. “I came to make things better, but why do you look even worse than when I arrived?” Aislyn mumbles. Cailean places his palms on her shoulders and guides her to the bed of the guest room she just notices they’re in, gently sitting her down on its edge. “This is clearly difficult for you.” Cailean pauses to let out a breath. “I don’t want to be the kind of guy who forces their partner to do anything.” He lowers his arms and Aislyn resists the urge to reach for them.
“I don’t know what you were planning to say just now, but it’s fine. You don’t have to-” “It’s not fine.” Aislyn interrupts. “I know. Doing this… talking, communicating in general is something that doesn’t come naturally to me anymore. But, I won’t get any better if you keep offering me an out. Knowing myself, I’m just going to keep taking them.” Aislyn scoots back on the bed and gestures in front of her for Cailean to sit. He watches her carefully for a moment before complying, perching himself on the edge. “No outs then.” He says, and Aislyn gives a small smile.
“Your mother didn’t do anything wrong.” She begins carefully. “She noticed that my name appears quite a bit in the Oldmerrow P.D’s records.” Amongst other things that I promise I’ll tell you later… At Cailean’s visible confusion, Aislyn hastily clarifies. “Just so we’re clear, I do not have some secret criminal past.” Cailean chuckles, “You don’t seem the type.”
“I just happened to have given a lot of statements regarding things I’ve seen during random incidents.” “Should I be concerned that you have a tendency to be at the wrong place at the right time?” Aislyn lets out a shaky laugh. “Your mother was. I was advised to be more careful; she was sweet.” Cailean’s expression tells Aislyn he doesn’t quite believe her. “My mother? Sweet?” He says incredulously. “It was nice talking to her.” “I’m sure it was.” Cailean says sarcastically. “My mother has a habit of doing this: digging into the people in my life. You don’t have to entertain her.” Cailean says. “If it were anyone else, I wouldn’t. But she’s your mom, Cailean, I met with her to share my side of the story. I don’t want her to think negatively of me.” Cailean’s expression softens at her words.
“Well, that explains some things.”
“Like what?” Aislyn asks, her pulse quickening. “The advice you gave me to barge over to the Phillips’ house during the night did make me wonder if you tended to do such reckless things yourself.” Aislyn laughs. “I do- I mean, I did.” Cailean smiles as she corrects herself. “And…” He pauses to move closer to her. “It explains why I felt like you were distant on Valentine’s.”
“I wasn’t.” Aislyn protests, thinking back to their date.
“When I was kissing you goodnight, you pulled away as though you couldn’t leave quick enough.” The instance Cailean mentions comes to mind. “Just because I didn’t say anything, doesn’t mean my ego wasn’t slightly bruised at how you reacted.”
“You think I didn’t enjoy it? That I didn’t want to invite you in? I only stopped because I was feeling guilty about going to talk with your mother and not telling you about it.” Aislyn notices the color in Cailean’s cheeks deepen and realizes what she’s just said. She imagines her own face mirrors his.
He gives her a look that makes her insides twist. “I think this is the part where we kiss and make up.” Cailean says in a low voice as he leans towards her. He places one of his hands on her cheek and draws her towards him. Their lips brush against one another briefly, and the sensation sends a warmth through Aislyn’s body.
“I didn’t know you took the expression so literally.” She says once he draws back. “Is that a problem?” Cailean cocks an eyebrow. Aislyn doesn’t answer. Instead, she wraps an arm behind his neck and pulls him close.
“Aislyn, even if you did happen to have a dark past, with a string of misdemeanors, we’re past the point where something like that would bother me. I think you’re underestimating my feelings for you.” Aislyn feels her face grow hotter. “It’s because I lo- because I like you so much, that it bothers me that much more when you don’t tell me things like this.” Aislyn is at a loss for how to respond to that, so she simply nods, and her heart begins to race.
“So, does this mean you’re not mad at me anymore?” Aislyn asks, Cailean’s face was hovering mere centimeters away; she could make out the flecks of gold in the green of his eyes.
“I wasn’t that angry with you to begin with. I was more upset with the situation as a whole… and my mother primarily.”
Aislyn furrows her brows, “I feel like you always let me off so easy.”
“What’s that? Are you saying you’d prefer I be upset with you?” Cailean gives a sly smile. “Because I can.” He places one hand on the small of her back, and lowers her gently onto the pillow beneath her. “But I’d much rather do this.” He says as he returns his lips to hers with more fervor. Aislyn works her mouth against his. Just as she’s about to part her lips, she feels Cailean’s hand slip beneath her shirt, his fingers trailing along her abdomen, and flinches in surprise. Cailean pulls back.
“You know, what I said before about not forcing my partner to do things, that applies to these kinds of situations as well. Tell me when you don’t want me to do something.” As they lie in a brief silence, gazing at one another, Aislyn wonders how the atmosphere that was so tense before, had transformed into one that was so warm and charged. She could feel all the worries she’d arrived with melting away beneath Cailean’s touch. Stopping was the furthest thing from her mind. She reaches for the base of his shirt and tugs it upwards. Cailean’s expression displays surprise for only a fraction of a second before his hands meet hers to help pull the garment over his head.
The muted scent of Cailean’s cologne becomes much more pronounced. Aislyn inhales the notes of wood and spice that emanate off of his skin. Her eyes wander across his chest and defined abs. “You know,” she says in a low voice, “the only other time I’ve seen you shirtless was when I accidentally walked in on you when you came out of the shower at my dad’s place.”
“Why does it sound to me like you’re disappointed about that?” Cailean smirks.
“Perhaps I am.”
Cailean chuckles. He leans down, letting his lips run along her jaw, before resting on her neck. As he leaves a trail of kisses along her collarbone and shoulder, Aislyn becomes hyperaware of the fact that nothing but the thin satin of the top Nicole had gotten her rests between them. She wraps her leg around Cailean’s, and reaches beneath his arms to let her hands run along the planes of his back, tracing them downwards.
Cailean shifts beneath her, halting his movements. Aislyn feels his muscles grow taut under her fingertips. “Easy there. I wasn’t planning on going that far, given where we are.” Aislyn feels herself blush. “Kim… and Mai-” “Are probably asleep by now considering how much they’ve had to drink.” Cailean says, seemingly amused by Aislyn’s delayed embarrassment at the realization of what they were doing.
“Thanks, for coming to talk to me.” The smile Cailean gives her causes Aislyn’s breath catch in her throat. She wonders if she’ll ever get used to it. ”This makes it seem like I came to do more than talk.” She says, giving the leg draped over him a shake. Cailean lowers his head. “I’m glad to know that we’re both on the same page in that regard.” He whispers in her ear, and Aislyn’s heart hammers in her chest. “I think we’ll have to hold off on taking that next step for today.” Cailean says as he rests his forehead against hers. “I think so, too.” Aislyn says in a near-whisper. “For now…” The strands of Cailean’s hair tickle her cheek as his teeth graze her ear. “…I can make you feel good in other ways.” This was a side of Cailean Aislyn wasn’t used to, but couldn’t deny she’d been wanting to see. She guides his face back to hers. Using her lips to part Cailean’s she kisses him deeply, letting her tongue swirl against his. After a few moments in which they break for air, “I’ll be the judge of that.” She whispers back.
Hello! Yikes, another four months went by just like that~ Where does the time go? *cries* Thanks for reading and being patient like always! ❤️ There was quite a bit of talking this chapter, sorry for the somewhat excessive bits of dialogue, but they were necessary methinks 😇 Since this chapter was quiteee long *cough* 6k *cough* (despite me cutting out 1.5k words – I don’t know how, either) I’ll leave this ending on the short side, hehe. That last bit was a struggle because writing that is even remotely steamy or flirtatious does not come naturally to me by any means – even though this was super tame, lol – and that’s all I have to say regarding that. Next chapter is the fundraiser chapter! F I N A L L Y. It has been ages since I’ve taken the pics for it, so I can’t wait to get it out. There’ll be a few revelations that I’ve been dying to get out that no one’s seemed to guess so far~ Feel free to let me know your thoughts!