There was a lot Carson wanted to talk to Ricki about. He'd catch himself wanting to just talk because she was his best friend.
Of course, he'd remember what Gage had said about the whole Ricki situation. Did Carson really want to be stuck with someone who had a kid, one day? He wished he didn't take his kid brother so seriously. But Gage did have a point. Ricki did have a significant other.
Didn't he want to date?
It felt like a strange illness to him. When all said and done, maybe he really liked the idea of having Ricki to talk too. That way, he didn't really have to make new friends. But now Gage had him thinking, even while he was waiting for his little brother to get off work so he could take him to the dinner at their Aunt's house.
Of course, he got there a little early, and he went to the magazines. The first thing he did was to call home and ask Ricki if she needed anything. Luckily, the phone call went to voice mail, and just when he was about to leave a message, he saw a girl with a magazine about DIY projects.
He didn't know why he found that so interesting. Maybe it was because on the cover was in bold orange and blue of a couch with lots of pillows. Funny, he loved the shelves in the picture and wished he had a unit like that in his room to hold all his stuff.
He half smiled and she, with messy blond hair, looked up at him as if he might be looking at her. Then she looked awkwardly behind her as if she might be missing something.
"Oh..I'm sorry." He was very apologetic as if maybe he was the one having a brain freeze of some kind. "The..the magazine..I..I was wondering ..if there is anything about those shelves on the cover?"
She only nodded. Finally she showed him the article about the shelves.
Carson took a look at the article.
"Wow, looks complicated." He furrowed his brow, wondering if he had the nerve to even introduce himself.
"It wouldn't be that hard, if you have the right tools." She shrugged.
"Oh, believe me, it would be complicated." He told her he wasn't exactly great with tools.
"It takes a little practice." She was even lipped.
"You, don't build houses, do you?" He smirked.
"Not, lately." She was a little coy. There was almost a flirty flutter of her lashes.
"I'm Carson by the way." It felt like going over a speed bump.
"Oh." She sounded as if she wasn't suppose to be here. Perhaps, there might be a speed dating match up in the process. "Uh..Essie."
It was awkward as she stuck out her hand. Her fingers jabbed into his fingers. Finally it was a shaky start to a handshake.
There he was holding her hand as he stared into her eyes, so piercing and genuine. Then he noticed she was staring at him, holding her hand. It felt as if the connection between them was like a still painting.
"Um.." He pulled his hand away. Yet, he remembered how her hand felt in his. It was nice. Practically, a sensation that he thought was lost forever. That sort of feeling had only happened once before in third grade. He'd held Lily Clark's hand when she got caught in the rain at the edge of the soccer field by the school. The second grade girls had gone too far, out into the tall grass. Carson had found her and brought her back to safety before the P.E. teacher knew she was gone.
Funny, he'd felt so much older then. Like he might be a bold little solider of some kind. Now he felt just a bit dull and not sure where he fit in, anywhere.
"So, you go to the University?" He then asked.
She shook her head, no.
"I'm a senior." She shrugged.
"Oh, I'm just a Freshman."
"Really?" She winced as if that were too bad. "I thought, for sure.." She smiled then. "Oh, you mean..at the University?" She laughed. "I'm a senior in high school."
Now Carson felt faint. He'd probably be better off going to a bar. Maybe go to a club. But that really wasn't his scene. He didn't like places like that. It made him think of his past and the times, he did have to go to the bar to drag his mother home.
"Look, if you really need help on building something like this..." She showed him the shelving unit, again. "You could..I could..." She stopped herself from saying anymore. "Look, you'd have to meet my Dad. Who has lots of tools..." She sighed. "Well, it might be too much for you to have to deal with. They'd have to meet you."
She did make it sound as if was a big headache.
"But it would be fun. You know, building something like this. I mean, you wouldn't have to go to Home Depot. You, could just go to thrift stores and maybe take something old and make it your own." She told him.
"I'd like that." Carson told her. "And, and I really wouldn't mind meeting your family."