Note: Incase you're not in the know, this is the sequel to Why I Don't Date. Please read that story first and then enjoy this one!
I climbed up a mountain, and looked off the edge
At all of the lives that I never have led
There's one where I stayed with you across the sea
I wonder do you still think of me
Two and a half years.
That does not seem like a long time, but a lot can change. People change, things change. New experiences are brought into one's life; people come in and people walk out, whether by choice or forced, either way, it still must be accepted. Trends change. I changed. I observed myself in the mirror of the tiny airplane bathroom. Physically, my face looked older, basically as mature as a nearly 22 year old could look; Emotionally, yes, but that happened two and a half years ago; Mentally, I am ready to take on the business world, as a confident ivy league university graduated. Of course I am confident about it, I graduated in half the time as a normal student would. All of my advanced placement credits transferred over, along with the college courses I took. But because I was in a hurry to come back, I spent my summer vacations in the classroom.
The fasten seatbelt sign was turned on as I made my way back to my seat next to Robbie.
"Did you get lost there, lovey?" He asked as I sat down and fought with my seat belt, "I thought I was going to have to go in after you."
"Oh shut up, you wouldn't!" I retorted, "You would've left me there, and instead invited that hunky guy over there that you have been talking about the entire time to sit here instead."
"Well excuse me, we all cannot date Brandon Colburn!" He whispered and I rolled my eyes, "and we all cannot hide it from our best friends for like a year! God, Carly, I could die happy if I got the chance to date that fine piece of man. I better be able to come and visit!"
"Nope, because now you're just using me!"
"Well you owe me because I only just found out!" He said, referring to the time when he and Peyton found out about my love life that had been kept such a secret.
"You found out a year ago!"
"After I was your best friend for how long?" He asked leaning in towards me, I guess because he was tired of whispering, "After you and Peyton dormed together and I was just down the hall, we became close friends in like a week. Then a year after that we all got an apartment together, therefore living with each other, because I just HAD to be the token gay guy…"
"Oh hush, you love being the token gay guy, it was your idea!" I interrupted laughing.
He thought for a moment, "This is true, I was going for the Will and Grace effect, but that's not the point! Point is that was when I thought I knew everything about you! We lived together! Your habits, your routines, blahblahblah, then one day it hit me...I knew everything EXCEPT your type of guys. Then that one fateful day when I found that magazine…" He looked at me and I just avoided eye contact completely, "And now you are going back to work for him! You two haven't spoken in two and a half years after you committed the number one sin of just LEAVING and I can tell it's really getting to you now. You're all shaky, and your body language as I am going through all of this with you is awful! Good thing I don't know anything about aura's or whatever, but if I did, I would be able to see that your's is a mess!"
"Just shut up!" I snapped, "Let me think about this!"
"You're right, the best thing for me to do is be quiet and think about how it's unfair that you got the window seat and I didn't. I can't even see my motherland from the air after being away for four years."
I ignored him and looked out the window. It was nighttime, so I could barely see anything, and probably freezing. I'd know we were close when I could see the lights of London, it was incredibly beautiful, and Robbie was lucky enough to have been born and raised right in the heart of the city. He lived in the same dorm as Peyton and I, when he was a sophomore (but he was technically a junior..or a senior...I'm not sure, it's the whole credits thing). One day shortly after I arrived I heard his accent, and being incredibly homesick I ran straight towards him and introduced myself like an idiot. He basically lived with us since his roommate was disturbed by his sexual orientation, and by the next year we all bought an apartment together.
That year I was going down to Maryland for a family reunion after being in contact with my Aunt and Uncle since my arrival. Peyton and Robbie wanted to turn it into a roadtrip, so we all hopped in Peyton's car and drove down. Well, I drove since she was too scared. In fact, I always drove her car, she hated driving, and I loved it...despite that it took awhile to get used to. Oh geez, now getting on the roads here will take getting used to aswell… Anyway! We stopped at a rest stop to get gas, I was filling up the tank when the two of them walked out with goodies acting a little strange. Once we arrived at our hotel and got settled in, ordered room service and so on, they took out a magazine. The Men's Health magazine.
"When was this?! What is this!? That's you! Brandon Colburn! BRANDON COLBURN! You! What!? When!?" Was all that was coming out of Robbie's mouth, and Peyton just sat there amused at his reaction.
"I don't even know who he is," she shrugged.
"That was over a year ago, they had to wait to release it until the company gave full approval. A lot of work had to go into it to fulfill what would be best." I just said calmly.
"YOU ARE ON A BED TOGETHER! There's interviews about your RELATIONSHIP!" Robbie stressed, "Did you or did you not date him!?"
"WHAT HAPPENED!?" He shrieked, "He's been MY fantasy boyfriend for years! YEARS!"
Peyton just rolled her eyes and calmly asked, "How did you meet?"
"I've known him since I was seven, my best friend since I was five is his cousin. After my mom died, I basically lived at their house. He was my first kiss, he was my enemy and then he was the only man I ever loved," I got soft, this was getting personal and my two best friends have never seen me this way before, "Right before I came here, I just left him. We haven't spoken since. This ring wasn't my mom's as I told you guys, he gave it to me as a promise ring. The night he gave it to me I promised to be his, and only his for as long I wore it."
"You're still wearing it." Robbie pointed it, "In fact, I've never seen it off of you."
I shook my head, "He's all I think about. When you guys were trying to set me up on all of those blind dates, he is the reason why I refused. Then I met Mike and decided I needed to move on...but I had to dump him because he was nothing compared to Brandon, and it is not right to date someone if someone else is all you're thinking about."
"Well, hun, he is Brandon Colburn," Robbie reminded.
My first year there, almost nine months after I left, I was doing so well, I stopped thinking about him...frequently. There wasn't one day where I didn't. We were all watching television and a commercial came on. It was for men's cologne, and Brandon was their face. There he was, on the screen, right there in front of me. I soaked in his perfection for a second and then flew out of the room.
I refused to watch TV again for about a month.
I carry your image always in my head
Folded and yellowed and torn at the edge
And I've looked upon it for so many years
Slowly I am loosing your face
Now I'm coming back. I had no idea how he was doing, if he was working with the company full time yet, or if he was seeing anybody. The first time Keira and I talked, she mentioned him and I told her not to. Ever since then, during our frequent phone calls or video chats, she never mentioned the name Brandon. And I liked it that way.
I could see the lights of London now, and I knew we'd be landing soon. Was it possible that I could stay on this plane for the rest of my life? I was safe here in the air, with no Brandon around. Think about it, how awkward was it going to be when I eventually see him? What if I just run into him and have no time to process what to say? What if it's at work? What if he's seeing someone new, do I still apologize?
All of these moments are lost in time
You're caught in my head like a thorn on a vine
To forever torment me and I wonder why
Do I wish I'd never known you at all
Would I be prepared if he's seeing someone new?
I hate my life.
I didn't want to part from Robbie at baggage claim. He grabbed my shoulders and said, "Carly, we are two people ready to take on the working world. I, with my masters degree, and you with your lowly bachelors degree," I made a face at him and smiled, "I'm going to miss you dearly, so you better be in touch! Go it?" I nodded and he hugged me, "You got this. You and that damn dog of yours."
I clutched one of my bags, which happened to be a dog carrier, and yes it did have a dog in it, tighter, "Excuse me, but this dog is the world to me!"
We hugged again and went our separate ways. Him to the taxi's, and me to the pick-up area. When I walked through the doors, I saw the two faces I missed incredibly. There stood my best friend in the entire world, and my adoptive father. Both of their smiles grew as soon as they saw me. Keira ran over a couple people, almost knocking some over and threw her arms around me.
"CARLY!!! IT'S YOU, IT'S FINALLY YOU!" She exclaimed, "I miss you!!!!"
"I've missed you too, Keira, but I'm home now!"
She broke away and studied my face, "I can't believe this day came! I'm so happy you're back!"
David walked up to us and pulled me away from her into a hug, "It's great that you're back, Carly, but what is this I hear about a new member of the family?"
I smiled and dropped my bags, but lifted my dog carrier, "This is Barkley." He was my beagle, only 5 months old. I got him when he was just two weeks old during a weekend at Peyton's family's farm. Their dog had puppies and right before we were about to leave I got to play with them. I noticed the others always didn't like a certain one so much because of his limp, so they picked on him. On a whim, I bought him from her family and took him back with me. I've been taking him to therapy, so his limp is getting better, but will never fully recover. I treat him like my son, seriously, he's adorable.
"David, are you going tonight?" Keira asked as she picked up my other bags.
"Going where?" I asked.
"I don't think so," He said, ignoring me, "I'll probably see it some other time. I'll take Barkley and the rest of her stuff home, so you guys can go have fun."
"Wait, where am I going?" I asked, "Keira, the jetlag is probably going to catch up with me soon."
"Oh no, you're coming tonight," She said sternly, handing the bags she took from me to David.
"Where!?" I exclaimed as she shuffled through her bag.
"Have fun, Carly, I'm taking you for lunch tomorrow and I want to hear everything," David told me kissing my cheek, "And no worries, I bought a ton of dog supplies!" He turned to head out toward the parking lot as Keira pulled me into the closest bathroom.
She took out a black dress, heels, and a makeup bag from her bag, "Okay, you are to change into this and I will do your makeup!"
"Not until I know where we're going!" I protested, even adding the whole foot stomping action to get the full effect of my dismay.
"A party!" She finally said, so I grabbed the dress from her and just dropped my clothes in the middle of the bathroom, I didn't care, I was tired.
"Well why aren't you dressed?"
She unbuttoned her coat to reveal a lovely dark blue dress, "See? I am!"
"Where is this party?"
"Carly, just stop asking questions and go along with it. It's just somewhere we have to be, okay?"
After what felt like the longest drive of my life, our taxi came to a stop in front of a black gate, I tried to look out the window but could only make up a large house down the drive in the distance. Keira told the driver to go all the way up the driveway and let us off there, and he did as he was told. Many cars were parked around the lavish courtyard, and the sounds of people chatting and glasses clinking were heard from inside.
"Whose house is this?" I asked in awe. But Keira kept silent and paid the driver and just hopped out of the cab. So I just thanked him and did the same.
I walked up the stairs, still gaping at the gorgeous brick that the house was made out of. It was truly beautiful. Before she opened the door, I tugged on Keira's coat, about to ask her again, but she answered before I could say anything, "Settle down, Carly! It's Matt and Chelsea's! They just built it and this is their housewarming, geez!"
"Well that's all I needed to know!" I exclaimed as she opened the door, "Well, I am certainly glad I just made it in time."
Inside was breathtaking. The paint still smelled fresh and the furniture had to be all brand new. I was standing in the middle of the Titanic of houses, Matt and Chelsea were certainly lucky. I looked around and immediately recognized a few people who represent the company, just as I began to wonder where Matt and Chelsea were, the two of them appeared out of nowhere, "Carly!! Welcome back!"
"Chelsea!" I smiled and embraced her in a hug, "Matt, wow, this house...is just amazing. When this party dies down, I would love a tour!"
Matt gave me a look, "This isn't uh…oh yes, this is our house! It's so new, I just can't believe it's real!"
"Well dreams do come true, Matty."
I took one last look behind me before the door closed to take in the gorgeous front lawn, the circle driveway that pulled up to the front of the house, and the gorgeous brick outside.
The wood floors in the foyer were gorgeous, and the staircase pressed against the wall gave the room on open feel. To my right was I guess the sitting area, you know, one that is just fancy and there for show, but that stretched past the corner where the actual living room was, with a big screen, fire place and comfortable furniture. Since I was still in the foyer, that was all I could see. To my left, in front of the staircase, was a door...I'm assuming that's a room.
"Matt, did you build this yourself?" I asked, still browsing around.
"Uh, yeah, I found the land, saw it was perfect and just gave Chelsea everything she could dream of!" He coughed, "We're glad you're back, Carly!"
"I missed you two so much," I smiled, "I am so sorry I couldn't make it to the wedding!"
"No worries, Keira explained everything to us," Chelsea said, "We understood. But we're happy that you're back unexpectedly early!"
"Yeah, I couldn't wait to come back," I told them, "I just didn't know I'd be out and about as soon as I stepped off the plane."
"Have a drink! You'll wake up!" A voice said, and before I knew it a glass of what I'm assuming was alcohol. I laughed, until a face appeared from behind the glass.
"Kevin!" I shrieked, and threw my arms around him, "You never came to visit!"
"Yeah, well, there's a reason for that," He chuckled, "I told Keira not to tell you because it's a surprise, but shortly after you left, Gabby got pregnant and we're now proud parents of a son."
My eyes went wide, "Are you serious?" He nodded, "Wow, talk about a surprise! Congratulations!"
"I wouldn't say so 'proud' though," Keira chimed in as I took a sip of whatever Kevin gave me.
I looked at her and then back to Kevin, "You don't want him?"
He laughed, "No! No! I love Mason, he really made me buckle down, finally graduate and work on getting a steady job, but Gabby and I have been on and off since then."
"Oh, Kevin, I'm sorry to hear that," I sympathized, "Are you on or off right now?
"Off, for the time being. She's not here, because we couldn't find anyone to watch Mason, but she would be. We're not living together. She still lives at home, and I have my own flat, but sometimes I crash here."
"Wow, you're brave enough to crash here with Matt and Chelsea?" I laughed.
His smile turned into a confused look, but as soon as his smile faded another one appeared, "Oh shit! Yeah, yeah, Matt let's me stay here sometimes. This place is too big for two people, why let some rooms get dusty?"
I squinted my eyes, looking between Keira, Kevin, Matt and Chelsea, but I just shrugged the suspiciousness off, "Is there any food? I'm starving!"
"I bet, you've been on a plane all day!" Matt said, and grabbed my arm, pulling me toward the back of the house, "I'll show you to my kitchen!"
"Carly can smell bullshit a mile away, we can't do this all night!" Kevin whispered to Keira and Chelsea.
"Well if you and Matt could make it any more obvious, that would be great!" Chelsea said sarcastically.
"Guys, shush! I know she knows somethings up, but she's too tired to figure it out," Keira reassured, "We're okay!"
"What happens when she runs into Brandon, and they start talking? Then what?" Kevin asked, still in a low voice.
"Oh yeah," Chelsea rolled her eyes, "Because I'm sure at first sight, after not speaking for over two years after Carly just left him, it'll be a 'What's up?' - 'Oh, nothing much, by the way, this is my housewarming' conversation! Sure, that might come up, but we've still got time! Geez, Kevin, ever since you got that teaching job, you haven't been very bright!"
"Wow, Matt this kitchen is gorgeous!" I exclaimed looking around at all of the cabinets, utilities and available counter space. Then my eyes landed on the food, "And the food looks delicious! Who catered?"
"Chelsea handled that part," He said quickly, "Grab a plate and I'll show you what's good."
After I ate, and chatted with Keira and Chelsea for a bit, I walked around. The house had everything I could ever imagine: tons of windows, a deck, gorgeous back and front yards, brick, spacious kitchen, and so much more! There was nothing I didn't like, which shocked me because Chelsea and I have such different tastes.
I was wandering around the fancy sitting room, champagne in my left hand, when a woman came up to me, "Carly Presley, where are you been? It's such a pleasure to see you again!"
"Ms. Delany! Wow, you look great!" I told her as she shook my hand. She was one of the women I got to work with from the company in Denmark, whom apparently in the past two and a half years got a plastic surgery gift card. Remember I said how people change?
"Oh thank you, dear! I have not seen you around, did you go to Princeton?" She asked.
"Yes, I did. I actually just got off the plane before I came here," I told her, proud of my accomplishment of overcoming jet lag.
"Well it's just fabulous you could make it back in time!" She smiled, "Are you and Brandon still together?"
My champagne class seemed really interesting at that moment. I looked down and shook my head, "No, I'm afraid not."
"I'm sorry, Dear. Well that's ashamed, this is a gorgeous house!" She touched my arm sympathetically. I nodded my head, still in confusion, "Excuse me, I hear my husband calling for me. I'll be sure to see you around!"
I waved her off and then looked around. A lot of people were still in attendance, but no one that I knew. I was still taking in my surroundings, deciding that I'm moving in with Matt and Chelsea, because this house was everything from my dreams...including this dress. I loved this dress! A little shorter than what I would normally go for, especially in January, but still, I forgot how Keira always came in handy.
I pushed my hair out of face with my left hand and looked toward my left, where a figure caught my attention on the staircase.
There he stood at the bottom landing, wearing an all black suit, looking better than he did when I left him...if that were even possible. My smile faded as we held eye contact for what seemed like ever. I was frozen.
Should I walk over to him? Wave like an idiot? Say something? I was in the middle of this argument with myself when Kevin walked by the staircase. Brandon's eye flicked toward him, and then instantly pulled Kevin up the stairs with him. I kept my gaze toward that landing for awhile, until I finally looked away and went in search of Keira.
The sun and the moon, an ocean of air
So many voices, but nothing is there
The ghost of you asking me why
Why did I leave
Author's Note: First Chapter came out faster than I expected, due to another massive snow storm that hit the North East. So I had some time and decided to upload it for your enjoyment! I've been in a deep depression since Sunday, though, because my beloved Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Packers in the wildcard playoff game, so your reviews would be nice (unless you hate, then I won't be happy...so if you hate, then don't waste your time reviewing, mmkay?)
The song used in this is "The Ocean" by the Bravery. Listen to it, it fits perfectly. Once again, I don't own Princeton or Men's Health.