They rode quietly, crammed in the backseat of the cab; Legacy’s head on Carrie’s shoulder, shivering wasn’t cold. Nathan sat on Carrie’s other side. He spoke quietly with the driver, giving the address and chatting about the Mets just to give the girls some privacy.
“Are you going to be OK?” He heard Carrie whisper.
“I’m so stupid,” Legacy sniffled. She had held it together pretty well, all things considered, until Carrie had finally shown up to rescue her.
“No one thinks you’re stupid, Legacy. I’m not even sure why you’d say that.”
“I should have never gotten involved with Mandy Van Driesen in the first place. I feel sick about what happened but why do I have to get mixed up in it?”
Carrie sighed and hugged her friend close.
“I’m sorry,” Legacy continued and looked over at Nate. “I’m having a pity party. I should never have trusted her, and I definitely shouldn’t have gone after her. I know this makes me sound like a horrible person, but what if she dies and they find a way to stick it on me?”
“You’re not a horrible person,” Nate interrupted. “It sounds like what happened to her was really bad. Also, it’s likely that it would have happened no matter what, only you’re unlucky enough to have been on the sidelines”
“I threatened her,” Legacy screeched. Carrie nudged her taking her eyes toward the cab driver. Legacy lowered her voice. “If that’s not bad enough, I dragged Carrie into this.”
That statement caused Nate to sit up straight, his protective instincts suddenly,but only momentarily, activated. He took a long breath and smiled sympathetically. “Carrie has a mind of her own and…”
“And,” Carrie finished for him, “you dragged me into this long ago, tried like 18 years ago.”
The cab pulled up to Carrie’s building. Even at almost 3 AM, there were a few people shuffling by. Nate observed Carrie’s nurturing instincts as she nearly shielded, or at least attempted to shield her friend with her small body, as she ushered her into the building, Nathan in tow. It was sweet to watch and it made him think, for a second about what she might be like as a mother.
💕 💕 💕
“You want me to make you something to eat?” Carrie asked gently.
Legacy sat fidgeting on Carrie’s couch trying her best to calm down. “Remember the time I bumped that kid on his bike driving out of the Cracker Barrel?” Legacy half laughed.
Carrie smiled and nodded in understanding and began pulling things from the pantry and freezer. They really did have a language of their own.
“You two remind me of Ethan and me.” Nathan observed.
“I think that’s a compliment,” Legacy replied. “How do you mean?”
“You’ve got your own shorthand.”
“Sorry,” Legacy mumbled, curling up in a ball on the couch and wadding up under a blanket.
“A few months after we got our drivers licenses, we were coming out of a Cracker Barrel parking lot when this guy on a bicycle, who was A) driving on the sidewalk like he wasn’t supposed to and B) going against the traffic, pulled up from behind a bush and slammed in Legacy’s car.” Carrie filled him in. And then to Legacy, she said “He hit you, remember?”
“Yeah, anyway…” Legacy continued with the story, “he was high on something and he got off the ground and tried to take off but fell off the bike again about 20 feet later. He kept insisting he was fine but you couldn’t have a congressman’s kid involved in a hit-and-run so Carrie called the police.”
“We found out later that he was fine but got arrested for possession of marijuana and charged with, I think a DWI.” Carrie finished.
“By then, I’d already stressed eaten two double cheeseburgers and a milkshake.”
“Ah, got it,” Nate chuckled, eyeing the array of food now covering the kitchen counter. He yawned, “It’s late… Or early… Or something. I need to get a little sleep. I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry,” Legacy apologized sincerely. “I didn’t mean to drag you into this.”
Nate shook his head. “You need anything, you let us know.”
Us, Legacy thought, glancing back over at Carrie. She was so used to she and Carrie being us. Now that Carrie was an us with Nathan… She shook the idea out of her head. She’d had a bad night and Nate was a good thing. “Thanks,” she whispered quietly.
“Go get some rest,” Carrie kissed Nathan, her lips lingering softly against his. She whispered something Legacy couldn’t hear he laughed, kissed her neck several times until she swatted at him. “go away,” she laughed, kissing him again.
💕 💕 💕
It was nearly 6 AM when a knock came to the door. Legacy jolted. Were the police back? She rubbed her eyes and tried to sit up. She’d fallen asleep on Carrie’s couch with her face pressed so hard against the arm that she could barely move her neck. A blanket had been carefully tucked around her and she vaguely remembered Carrie trying to coax her into going to bed in the spare bedroom like she done hundred times before but obviously this time Carrie had not been successful.
The knocking must’ve been a dream she thought and she pulled the blanket up around her shoulders and tried to rearrange her body to straighten out her neck.
She heard the shower from Carrie’s bathroom turn on, some giggling, and then the shower door slam shut.
Knock, knock, knock. There it was again. She’d not imagined it.
Groaning and with her heart pounding (what if the police were back? what if Amanda had died?) she hobbled from the couch, across the hardwood floor to the front door. Bracing for the worst, she peered through the peephole just as David knocked again.
“You scared the shit out of me,” she whispered, flinging the door wide open.
David grabbed her by both shoulders, shoving the door closed with his foot and looked her up and down, a worried, kind of dad-like look on his face. “You alright?”
Before she could answer, she was wrapped in a hug, her head tucked in his arm, protectively.
“What are you doing here?” Legacy asked him, confused.
“I canceled my book signing for tonight. I didn’t want you to be alone. though, obviously, Carrie finally answered her damn phone.” David sneered, obviously irritated.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” Legacy insisted.
“It’s fine. anyway, I can always reschedule it.”
“Sure, you can.” Legacy eyed him suspiciously. It wasn’t that she didn’t appreciate his support but it seemed like a bit of an overreaction to cancel the very last appearance on his book tour and drive the 5 1/2 hours back to the city.
Carrie came stumbling out of her bedroom and into the kitchen. “I thought I heard voices,” she said sleepily turning on the Keurig glancing around the messy kitchen.
“I’ll help you clean up little later,” Legacy promised.
“Don’t worry about it. You should try to get some more sleep.,” Carrie yawned. “I’d still be in bed if I didn’t have to teach this morning. But I’ll be back in a few hours and I plan to nap the afternoon away.”
David grunted something inaudible.
” What are you doing here anyway?” Carrie asked, clearly ignorant or just too tired to notice his annoyance.
“That seems to be the question of the hour,” David scowled. “Where the hell were you last night?”
“Someone’s cranky,” Carrie brushed him off, “Do you want some coffee?”
“I’m cranky,” David emphasized, “because I drove all night long to get back here. Why weren’t you answering your phone last night?”
“No one asked you to drive all the way back here. We’ve all been up all night. No need to get pissy.” Carrie grumbled. “Do you want coffee or not?”
“Yes,” he replied flatly and then he added, “you left your shower running.”
“Nate’s getting ready for work,” Legacy mumbled, stretching and flopping back on the couch.
With her back turned assembling their cups of coffee, Carrie failed to notice David’s tightening jaw.
Next Post: Alone Part 2