Common Duty

Common Duty

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Summary

Carrie has sole custody of her younger brother, a twelve year old in a twenty-two year old body. Caleb struggles with daily life and acceptance and Carrie struggles with keeping him out of trouble. Can an unlikely source help her straighten things out with her brother and help her see that men aren't out to break her heart at the same time? This is one of my lighter stories, nothing too crazy just a simple romance to take my mind out of the gutter for a while. I hope you enjoy.

Summary

Carrie has sole custody of her younger brother, a twelve year old in a twenty-two year old body. Caleb struggles with daily life and acceptance and Carrie struggles with keeping him out of trouble. Can an unlikely source help her straighten things out with her brother and help her see that men aren't out to break her heart at the same time?
This is one of my lighter stories, nothing too crazy just a simple romance to take my mind out of the gutter for a while. I hope you enjoy.

Chapter44 (v.1) - Just a theory

Author Chapter Note

I can only apologize in advance, my writing is crap on this one, I think i have the errors out but I don't like the flow in a couple spots, however I want to move on because I have so much to get done. I may come back at a later date with an update but I think this at least gets the point across.<br /> Thanks for reading.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 09, 2019

Reads: 296

Comments: 2

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 09, 2019

A A A

A A A

The three of them sat in the comforts of her living room, Caleb on the floor using his favorite bean bag chair as a prop and Carrie on the opposite end of the couch to Nate. He smiled at her as she set the popcorn in the middle between them after handing Caleb his own bowl. He was enjoying the evening, even if things between them would never be more than this he loved spending time with them. As they watched the movie his mind reeled his relationship with Carrie and how crazy it had started. How reluctant she’d been to even consider a relationship with him. The time she was at the bar drunk and wanted to be ‘friends with benefits’ stuck out in his mind. She never really wanted a relationship in the beginning and even throughout their relationship she struggled to call it anything along the lines of serious unless of course she was trying to convince Jordan.

And then there was Jordan who was surprisingly absent this evening. He’d been here nearly every day when Nate dropped Caleb off after work and so often he’d seen the assholes car in the drive during his usual route through the day. He looked at Carrie as he wondered. “So where’s your boyfriend tonight?” He tried to keep the anger out of his voice and not let his jealousy show.

She smirked. “I told you; he’s not my boyfriend.” She took a drink of her soda before she continued. “Jordan is in New York for the week, he had work or something.”

“Or something?” Nate questioned the uncertainty in her voice.

She shrugged, she hadn't paid attention when he was trying to explain why he had to go. “I really don’t know. Something about a meeting with a group of writers.”

He nodded. “So if he’s not your boyfriend, what did you do; put him in your ‘friends with benefits’ category?”

She gawked at him. “No!” She scoffed. “He doesn’t get benefits either.”

Nate chuckled but was pleased to know that Jordan was getting nowhere with Carrie. All this time he thought maybe she still loved Jordan and wanted to be with him but he was starting to understand that her issues from the beginning were still there, she was afraid of any commitment, even one with her ex. Then it hit him like a bucket of ice water. She split with him because she didn’t want to be in a relationship, not because she wanted to be with Jordan. He smiled as he finally understood the problem. Now he just had to figure out if he still had a chance to fix it. And he couldn’t help but tease her further. “So can we be friends with benefits?”

Carrie eyes swelled at his request, his teasing smile told her he was kidding but the images in her head, little flashbacks to how he made her feel, could not be ignored. This man made her feel things that she hadn’t in the past and she’d like to say that was due to maturity and the difference between Nate and Jordan but the truth, she couldn’t deny, was the fact that Jordan never made her feel like Nate has. Trying to control her breathing as she actually considered saying yes she tried to hide her thoughts by tossing popcorn at him.

He chuckled turning back to the movie as he picked at the popcorn on his shirt and threw it back at her. He didn’t miss the dark shade of lust in her eyes, he knew that look all too well. “Let me know if you change your mind.”

He left after the movie ended but for the first time in months he was excited about his relationship with her. Before tonight he’d been certain he wouldn’t ever be with her again, he knew Jordan was struggling but he could only guess she was feeling guilty about how it all went down. He never imagined she didn’t actually want Jordan. Whoa! He had to stop his thoughts, she never said she didn’t want Jordan but her actions speak louder than words, they always have, she’s terrible at communication but he can read her body language and that shit spoke volumes tonight. If she wanted Jordan she wasn’t in a hurry to get him and there has to be a reason for that.

When they were dating he thought she was using him to avoid a relationship with Jordan, even that asshole assumed it but she’d been using them both to avoid a relationship all together. He laughed as it hit him. He had no clue what to do about it but he was confident no matter what happened next: she was his, he just had to wait for her to see it.

******

Carrie was surprised to see Jordan on Monday morning, she’d spoken to him over the phone a few times and after Nate asked she was curious herself so she asked what he was doing in New York. His answer surprised her. “I’ve been offered a chance to open for another band this summer, he loves my music and wants to help me put out an album. I’ll tell you about it when I see you on Monday.” And now he stood on the doorstep of her daycare holding a cup of hot coffee and a white box with a red ribbon.

“Is that more chocolates for me?” She giggled.

He smiled, nodding as he set them on the hood of her car along with the coffee. He wrapped his arms around her. “I missed you.”

She smiled in return, offering the same greeting. “I missed you too.” She felt a little guilty thinking she had actually enjoyed a little Jordan free time. It seemed he was always around and she didn’t mind the time to think on her own for a change.

As he stepped into the kitchen behind her, she started her usual morning prep with Jordan helping. “So tell me about this new opportunity.”

He gave a small smile. “I’m not sure I want to take it yet but if I do; I’ll be touring all summer with Taren Walter’s band.”

She looked up her eyes growing wide at the mention of one of her favorite singers. “Doesn’t he sing one of your songs?”

He nodded with a pleased smile. The song was about her, he’d made that clear. She had heard it often on the radio and as much as she wanted to turn it off she couldn’t. Hearing Jordan sing it over the summer was burned into her mind. “Why wouldn’t you want to consider it?”

He didn’t look up as he answered. “I just don’t think the timing is right. I mean, I haven’t even started a full album of my own material so I would be limited and then I would be on the road for four months and I’m not sure I want to be away that long.”

She looked down at the food on the tray. “Because of me?” She didn’t like the idea that he would give up such a great chance for her.

He nodded. “I’m not sure I want to put too much space between us, it wouldn’t be good for us.”

She stacked plates to fill. “Jordan, don’t give this up for me. It’s not like I’m going anywhere.”

“I know.” He smiled. “I was kind of hoping that you would come. At least for a couple shows. I think you’d enjoy it and we’d have a great time, plus you’d meet some awesome people.”

She put her hands down and looked at him. “I told you I can’t travel.” This was all too familiar, they had this same argument in the past.

“You can leave this place for a few days, it’ll be here when you get back. I’m not asking you to give up anything, this isn’t like last time. Plus, Caleb can come with us.” He looked at her with pleading eyes. “Compromise. Remember we talked about making compromises for each other?”

She nodded recalling the conversation but she was reluctant to consider leaving her daycare business for too long but Jordan was right, Marci could run things just fine without her.

 ***********

Carrie worked on washing dishes in the kitchen of her daycare, she was surprised by a sudden outburst filled with squeals and cheers from a room full of kids, curious to see what Marci was up to she dried her hands and headed down the hall. The children were giggling and a sudden tremor ran down her spine as she recognized the deep voice of Nate. She smiled as she realized why the kids were so happy.

Marci stepped out of the room grinning from ear to ear and Carrie couldn’t help but ask. “What are you up to in there?”

Marci shrugged a shoulder. “I spotted Nate at the gas station this morning and I told him he needed to come read another book to the kids before I had to listen to them ask for him one more day.”

Carrie giggled as she peaked in the door, all the kids eagerly working to gain his attention as he made his way to a chair in front of their cots. She studied Nate, holding her breath as she felt the usual heated feelings she had for him, the ones she tried to ignore because let’s be honest she didn’t need either man in her life. She slipped back to the kitchen to avoid drooling over him any longer. Why did they break up again? Oh yeah Jordan! Her brain tried to process. So why am I not seeing Jordan? Caleb. All this back and forth between Nate and Jordan was hurting Caleb. She was right in the beginning; she should have never started dating again. All it did was mess things up. Dwelling on the what if’s and the possibility of going to see Jordan perform this summer had her lost in thought as she worked to clean up lunch. How much fun would it be to go see a few concerts? Caleb would probably love it. It would give her time to see if she could make things work with Jordan. Why wouldn’t they work? She had to ask herself. He’s a great guy, he obviously cares for them and he really wants things to work. So why can’t I just accept it and move on, why do I keep putting him at arms-length? Caleb. She answered her thoughts. But Caleb is doing better now, he has Nate in his life. What if Nate gets tired of being in Caleb’s life, what if Nate wants out someday? Then taking Caleb on few trips this summer and letting him see there is more out there might be a good thing. Right?

A knock on the kitchen door pulled her from her thoughts and she smiled at Nate standing in the door frame watching her. “Hey. Thanks for coming to read to the kids.” She stated.

He shrugged. “Marci threatened to bring them all to my apartment and drop them off if I didn’t.”

Carrie giggled. “She’d probably do it if she could get away with it.”

She watched him smile and push off the door frame to enter the kitchen. “That’s why I didn’t hesitate.”

The room was filled with awkward silence as he continued to watch her wipe the counter she’d already cleaned before he came back here. She was all nerves with her stomach doing summersaults while he was in the room. What did he even want anyway? She forced a smile as she looked at him to question but couldn’t think of the right question. His grey eyes were holding her hostage and she struggled to find a decent breath.

“I have a question for you.” His voice was deep, husky and washed down her spine.

She nodded as she looked into his eyes hoping to discover the question before he asked. His eyes gave no clue. “Okay.”

He stepped a foot closer. “Are you using Jordan to avoid a relationship with me?”

Her jaw fell as her eyes grew wide, it wasn’t the question she was expecting for sure. “What?” She gave a nervous chuckle, she had no clue what he was talking about but any conversation involving him or Jordan was going to make her nervous.

He leaned against the steel cabinet beside her, crossing his arms. “I have this theory.”

She gave a wry smile and went back to cleaning the spotless countertop. “Oh yeah?”

“When I first tried to get anywhere with you, I had a hell of a time and I’ll admit your defense broke down when Jordan came to town. I think you caught a glimpse of what could be with us and that only scared you further. You said in the beginning you didn’t want a relationship but I know deep down you don’t want to be alone but for some reason you refuse to see it. I thought you were using me to avoid Jordan but I think you’ve been using Jordan to avoid me.”

She scoffed with a little humor in her voice. “That’s your theory?”

He nodded but there was no humor in his eyes, he was serious, his gaze holding hers and the tremor from earlier making its way back up her spine.

“That’s crazy. I love Jordan.” She protested.

“So what’s the hold up with him then?”

“I don’t want to hurt Caleb anymore, changes take time for him to adjust.”

He smiled as her tell all signs of lying exposed the truth to him. She couldn’t look him in the eye and her fingers nervously twisted the rag in her hand. His theory was right and he was thrilled. “Stay single for Caleb?” He asked.

“Yes. I plan…. I mean WE plan to move forward, we’re just taking it slow for Caleb.”

“So my theory is wrong?” His voice full of humor this time.

She forced herself to look at him and nod. “Sorry, maybe you’re just hoping for more.” She offered.

He pursed his lips together in thought as he shook his head. “Maybe so.” He offered as he watched her nervously fidget with the rag in her hand. He didn’t need to pry further, he had the information he needed. He straightened and headed for the door but stopped short of his departure. “Oh by the way. My parents are having a little gathering at their house Saturday and I was asked to invite you and Caleb over.”

“Why?” She automatically responded.

He shrugged a shoulder and smiled. “Beats me. I don’t know why anyone on earth would enjoy your company.”

She looked up to his teasing grey eyes and then threw her rag in his direction as he ducked to avoid it while walking away chuckling.

“Oh God!” She breathed to the empty room. His words hit home, her heart sunk as she realized his theory was dead on. Things weren’t moving with Jordan because deep down she knew she’d made the biggest mistake. But she knew she’d been right in the beginning, being in a relationship in any form hurt Caleb, she needed to keep away from any man. That’s just the way it needed to be. That’s the way it should have been from the beginning. Why did she ever let Nate break through her defense in the first place? She looked out the window as she watched him walk towards his patrol car. He still looked so fucking hot in that uniform. Her eye caught sight of Jordan pulling up as Nate drove away. “Oh Great!” She knew he would question Nate’s appearance at the daycare.


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