Home > No Tomorrow(6)

No Tomorrow(6)
Author: Carian Cole

You’re my everything.

After he sings the last word and strums the last note I take a deep breath. “Wow. That was just…” I grapple for words, but can’t come up with any good enough. “Incredible. Amazing. Your voice gave me chills.”

I want to hear more. Begging isn’t beneath me. I can think of nothing I’d rather do than listen to him sing and watch his fingers drift over the guitar all day long, just for me, without the small crowd of people that usually surrounds him.

A hint of shyness reaches his crooked smile. “You’re the first to hear that one.” He strums his fingers across the strings.

“I feel special now.”

“You should.” He places the guitar back in the case and snaps it shut, causing Acorn’s ears to perk up. “That’s all for today,” he announces, snuffing out my hopes to hear more. “Now you owe me an ice cream date.”

My cheeks burn at his choice of words, and I feel a stab of unease as we walk toward the ice cream cart. Is this wrong? Having ice cream with a homeless guy who’s sort of becoming a friend? I think his flirting is harmless. It’s probably the way he acts with all women. It doesn’t mean he likes me. And the strange fluttering of my stomach is just a side effect of listening to amazing music up close, like having front-row seats at a concert by my favorite band.

That’s all.

“You’re really talented, Evan,” I say as we walk. “I don’t understand why you’re playing here in a park for dollars and change when you could be—”

“A famous musician?” He finishes my sentence as if he’s heard this hundreds of times before.

“Yeah. I mean, I really think you could.”

We stop at the ice cream stand and browse over the menu of flavors.

“I’ve had offers, been flown to L.A. and Seattle to meet with bands and producers and all that shit. That’s not what I want. I don’t care about money or being known. All I care about is playing music I love and being free. I don’t give a shit about anything else.”

His answer baffles me. Who walks away from the chance to make money? Why would he choose to stay on the streets?

He pushes my hand away when I take my wallet out of my bag.

“I can afford ice cream, Piper.”

I hesitate, feeling bad. Not only for insulting him, but for allowing him to spend his money on me. I’ve seen what people throw in that tip jar of his. Reluctantly, I put my wallet back as he orders two cones for us and a scoop of vanilla in a cup for Acorn, who’s waiting next to us with a wildly wagging tail and what could almost be a smile. My heart clenches at the dog’s excitement, and all I want to do is take him home with me and give him a big bowl of food, a soft doggy bed, and some toys.

Where do Evan and his dog even sleep at night? On the ground? In a sleeping bag? In a tent? I wonder if the rest of his stuff is hidden under a bridge or in a shopping cart in the bushes, or who knows where?

“You okay?” he asks after he pays with a handful of folded dollar bills.

I force a smile. “Yeah, I was just thinking.”

His tongue sweeps over his mint chip ice cream, and the glimpse of a silver bar pierced through it grabs my attention. I’ve heard that men get their tongues pierced to heighten the sensation when giving oral, and I wonder if that’s why he has one.

“You know what I like, Piper?” He takes another lick. “People who say exactly what they’re thinking.”

Hint taken.

“I was wondering where you sleep.” And what you do with that tongue bar. “I know it’s rude, but I was just curious.”

“It’s not rude. We sleep under that bridge where we ate lunch yesterday. It’s quiet and mostly dry, and the cops don’t give me a hard time. Some nights, I can see the stars.”

I swallow my ice cream too fast, and it spikes into my brain like an ice pick. “Oh.”

“Do you like where you sleep, Piper?”

What a question that is. So simple to answer, really. But deep down, in the secret places of my thoughts, it’s not so simple at all.


“Do you sleep alone?”

“No.” I pause to gauge his reaction, wondering if he’s fishing to see if I’m single. “I sleep with my cat.”

He grabs the hand that’s holding my cone and brings it to his lips. I watch in fascination as he licks my ice cream, without asking, without hesitation, and with his smoldering eyes locked right onto mine.

“I wanted to taste yours,” he says, licking the pink raspberry from his lips.

I blink and swallow. “I-I don’t mind,” I reply, running my tongue over the spot he just had his mouth on. Our eyes meet as he licks his ice cream. It’s a kiss that isn’t a kiss.

An erotic shock jolts through me. My germ radar has gone dark.

Finished with the last bite of his cone, Evan picks up Acorn’s empty dish and throws it in the trash, then walks me back to the tree where he found me.

“It’s probably time for me to get going.” I smile up at him. “Thanks for the ice cream. And for singing for me. I really loved it. If it was on a cassette, I’d probably play it over and over and over again.”

Stepping closer, he pushes my hair behind my ear and holds his hand there with his thumb on my cheek. I can smell tobacco on his hand but it’s not unpleasant. My breathing stills at the uninvited touch. My head screams at me to slap his hand away, but every other part of me savors the intimacy, the glimmer of desire in his eyes, and the sudden heat between my thighs.

“Tonight when you’re sleeping with your cat in the place you only like sometimes, close your eyes and you’ll hear the music. I promise.”

He pulls away. Walks away. Every time I watch him walk away, I’m struck by a sudden fear that I’ll never see him again. The feeling disappears just as quickly as it comes.

I’m still so buzzed by my unexpected reaction to his touch that I walk in a daze to my office building, only to realize my car isn’t there and is parked about six blocks over in the other direction.


His lyrics are still in my head as I trek toward my car, as I cook dinner with my mom that night, and later when I’m in my bed and close my eyes to drift off to sleep.

And then there was you,

Slayer of my heart,

The one I would destroy,

Keeper of my heart.

Chapter Four

I’ve glanced at the digital clock sitting on my desk so many times this morning I’ve practically given myself a seizure. My heart pitter pats with every minute that brings me closer to noon.

What the hell is wrong with me? This isn’t like me at all. I’ve never felt butterflies over a guy before—not even when I started dating Josh—my first, only, and now ex-boyfriend.

That was different, though. Josh and I were strictly friends with no feelings for each other whatsoever for two years, until one day we were having lunch and out of nowhere he suggested that we date. I stopped chewing my corned beef sandwich and stared at him for a few seconds, then agreed.

And that was it. We added kissing and groping to what we were already doing, and it worked. For almost a year. Then he went off to college a few hours away, and we slowly drifted apart. We never even slept together. We fooled around a lot, but every time things started to go further, we both froze. Not purposely… It just happened, like a reaction we couldn’t control.

Josh is a sweet, easy-going guy. He never pushed or coaxed me. The crazy, giddy, I want-to-kiss-you-nonstop-and-rip-your-clothes-off passion wasn’t there. I used to think those types of feelings weren’t important as long as two people had trust and care for each other. And we had that. He made me laugh and he made me feel safe and comfortable. But now, after watching Titanic a bajillion times, I’m wondering why I didn’t feel more with Josh. Did I unknowingly sacrifice chemistry and passion for comfort?

What am I feeling around Evan, anyway? It’s not butterflies, exactly. It’s more like fireflies. A spark of light and heat fading into the dark. A quick feeling of ooh that I can’t wait to feel again.

It’s unsettling, but even more than that, exhilarating.

When noon finally arrives, I head over to the park, and the absence of acoustic music hits me hard as I walk through the iron gates. I quicken my steps and strain to hear his guitar, but the air is populated with chirping birds and people talking as they walk by. Evan and Acorn aren’t in their usual spot at the brick wall. As I sit on my bench, a pang twitches in my chest. I was hoping to see him today. I desperately wanted to feel that surge of strange excitement when he smiles at me. I wanted to hear what songs he would play today and guess which ones were his own.

As I eat my salad, I watch people walk by, everyone appearing to be in a rush to get somewhere. I fear I’m going to end up just like these people—rushing through the day and life in general to get to the next place, only to keep rushing more to get somewhere else. Maybe Evan has the right idea after all, being completely free.

I wonder if his quest for freedom has taken him away from here for good. Saddened by that possibility, I throw my salad container in my lunch bag and leave my bench to stroll around the park. Unlike the others, I walk slowly, shutting out the voices and rapid steps to enjoy the sound of the leaves blowing in the trees. Without conscious thought or plan, I find myself nearing the old stone bridge. The place Evan ate his burger. The same one he told me he slept under.

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