Home > No Tomorrow(10)

No Tomorrow(10)
Author: Carian Cole

“Why aren’t you at work?” She glances around my tiny living room as if something illegal might be happening. “It’s after nine.”

“I’m not feeling well,” I reply, not meeting her eyes and pulling my hair over to the front of my shoulder to hopefully cover the hickies and bite marks on my neck. “I called in sick.”

“Sweetheart, your boss will never take you seriously if you call in sick for every little thing. They’ll think you’re lazy and irresponsible.”

This is where I get my chronic worrying from. I love my mom, but she worries about everything under the sun.

“Mom, I have about a hundred sick days. This is only the second one I’ve taken since I started working there. I haven’t even used any of my vacation time.”

“Just be careful it doesn’t become a habit.” She eyes my teacup. “Do you need anything? Soup or tea? Toast? I can make you a tea with honey. That always makes you feel better.”

“I have tea, but I had to make a phone call first. After I drink it, I’m going back to bed for a little while. I didn’t sleep well last night. There’s a bug going around the office that I probably caught. That’s all.” I bounce the tea bag up and down in my mug by its paper tag.

She nods and reaches for the doorknob. “Okay. I’ll be home all day so let me know if you need anything.”

“Okay. I’m sure I’ll feel better once I get some sleep.”

She closes the door behind her before Archie can make a run for the upstairs, where he likes to climb the drapes in the dining room and make bizarre chirping noises at the squirrels in the backyard.

Too bad I can’t sleep for the next two weeks and just skip the fourteen days of worrying.

I’ve heard people can change suddenly, and maybe I have. My escapade with Evan under the bridge seems to have tilted me off my steady, boring axis, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

I lie on my bed longer than I care to admit, staring at the ceiling fan going round and round, and replay all the moments of last night in my head. My body quivers and heats with the memories. I loved every minute of it. The second his lips touched mine and we shared the same breath, I changed. I felt it.

I want more.

For the next two days, I call in, faking the flu. It’s not a total lie. I feel sicker than I’ve ever felt in my life. Sick with worry and sick with wondering if Evan is thinking about me, too. Because if he’s not, I think I’ll die of this sickness.

I’m tempted to call Ditra and spill it all to her, but I know if I do, she’ll tell me I’m being dramatic, congratulate me for finally breaking out of my shell, and then want to hear every detail from the length of his dick to how long my orgasm lasted to when I’m going to see him again. She’ll also want to meet him.

Ditra and I have been best friends forever. Literally. Our mothers grew up next door to each other and have always been best friends. They got pregnant at the same time, and they had Ditra and me a week apart. Back then, they did practically everything together, so we were together all the time and just naturally became best friends, too. But I still can’t bring myself to pick up the phone and tell her about Evan.

It’s not because I’m ashamed of him. I want to covet him. Savor him. Keep him my own little secret. If no one knows, then he’s just mine.

Chapter Five

Thursday, I return to work to find the inbox on my desk piled a foot high with work. I immerse myself in it, grateful for the distraction. I eat lunch at my desk while I work, skipping my usual lunch break.

That doesn’t stop me from wondering if Evan and Acorn are at the park and if he’s looking for me or missing me, but I’m not ready to find out if I was just a quickie for him. I want to stay in my safe bubble of not knowing for a while longer.

On Friday, I do the same ‘I’m going to work non-stop for eight hours’ routine, and by the time five o’clock rolls around, I’m ready to head home, shower, and meet Ditra for dinner. We’re meeting two guys she’s friends with. I suspect one is supposed to be a potential set-up for me, even though I told her I have no interest in being set up with any guys right now. Ignoring my protests, she insisted I meet up with them tonight anyway. I finally agreed because I’ve been feeling stir crazy for the past week and getting out of the house will probably be good for me.

All this is running through my mind as I cross the office parking lot. As I get closer to my car I spot a white note tucked under the windshield wiper. I know it’s from Evan before I pluck it off the windshield and read it.

Well, damn. He knows where I work. He knows which car is mine. Which means he’s been watching me.

My body quivers with fear and delicious anticipation.

He wants me to come back.

I don’t even have to think about it. Tucking the note into my purse, I already know I’ll be going back to the bridge tonight after dinner. Because I want more. Of what, I’m not sure. Just him.

Three hours later, I’m walking into the small but popular pub downtown. Scanning the smoke-filled, noisy room, I spot Ditra and her friends at a high table a few feet from the bar. At the other end of the room, a band is setting up, and I breathe a sigh of relief that we’re not sitting near the small stage. Last time we were here, the music was so loud we couldn’t even hear ourselves talk.

I feel self-conscious wearing tight jeans, high-heeled black boots, and a V-neck sweater as I approach the table because Ditra’s friend, who I’m naming Guy Number Two, has his eyes glued to my chest, and trust me, there’s not much to look at. Smiling, I climb on the empty stool across from Ditra and Guy Number One, who she’s obviously claimed because she’s practically sitting in his lap.

I hope Guy Number Two is just a boob-ogler in general and I’m not giving off any overly sexual vibes. If I see Evan later, I don’t want him to think my push-up bra is an invitation for another bang against the bridge.

“Piper, this is Phil and Mitch. Guys, this is Piper. Be nice to her. She’s shy, but she’s my best friend in the whole wide world, and I’ll kick your balls if you misbehave.”

“Duly noted,” Phil the Ogler says.

“I’m so glad you came out with us tonight.” Ditra leans across the table toward me. “You’ve been mopey all week. Every time I called you, you sounded like a zombie.”

I pretend to be engrossed in the menu. “I told you I was just tired. I’ve had the flu.”

“What do you do for work?” Phil asks.

“I’m an administrative assistant.”

He sips his beer, and I try not to look at his receding hairline, which can’t be a good sign if he’s only in his early twenties. I think of Evan and his long, wavy hair and how erotic it felt tickling my skin when he was feasting on my neck. Closing my menu, I have no idea what I want to eat, but I decide all men should have long hair.

“That’s cool,” Phil says.

“And you?” I ask to be polite. I don’t mind Phil and his receding hairline, but I’m currently in a hopeful something with Evan and therefore, unavailable.

“I’m a landscaper.”

“We both are,” Mitch jumps in. “We’re partners and started the business last year.”

“That’s great.”

I’m bored.

Ditra runs her hand up and down Mitch’s muscular arm like it’s a genie’s lamp. “That’s why they’re so tan and muscular.”

Instead of getting dinners, we order one of every appetizer to share. I debate getting a fruity alcoholic drink like Ditra ordered, but I don’t want alcohol on my breath if I see Evan later. I have no idea if drinking is part of his substance abuse problem, but after the pill debacle, I want to be careful.

“I was thinking we could all go back to my place after dinner, have some drinks, and hang out,” Ditra suggests after the waitress brings the food to our table.

“I’m down for that,” Phil answers with his eyes on me.

I spoon small glops of ranch dressing and honey mustard sauce onto my plate from the large cups that came with the appetizers. I don’t want to dip my food into the same condiment everyone else is dipping theirs. That’s a germ farm I don’t want to be part of.

“I wish I could, but I have plans after this,” I reply.

“Plans?” Ditra repeats. “What plans? Sitting with your cat in bed and reading isn’t a plan.”

The guys laugh.

“Very funny, but no, not with my cat.”

She nudges my leg with her foot under the table. “Well, now you have to tell me. “

“No, I don’t.” I flash her a teasing smile, knowing it’s making her crazy I’m doing something she doesn’t know about, but I’m not about to get into my personal life here in a bar with two men I don’t even know at the table.

The guys divert the conversation to discussing a recent hockey game, leaving Ditra and me to chat about clothes and makeup while we share mozzarella sticks and crispy chicken fingers, but something in the back of my mind keeps distracting me. Then I realize it’s not something in the back of my mind at all, but something in the back of the room.

The band has started to play, and a woman’s sultry voice fills the bar. But that’s not it, either. It’s the very distinct sound of guitar echoing after her voice that’s pulling me in, making my heart race. Turning my head toward the stage, I think my eyes must be playing tricks on me at first, but there’s no denying the guy sitting on that stool, playing guitar on the left side of the stage under a blue light, is Evan. He looks different here, out of the park and surrounded by people. He looks sexier. More real. Somehow less of a fantasy.

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