Caroline & The Song
--Richard couldn't give up this chance to get Annie off his back. Ever since she'd found the love letter he had written to Caroline, she had been using it to blackmail him, but that was about to change. Annie's sister Donna found Richard's letter in Annie's diary and wanted to use it as lyrics for a new song, but when Richard refused, Annie then made a deal with him:
"Write new lyrics for Donna and I'll forget all about your stupid letter."
Richard, not being a songwriter, made an attempt, but what he wrote just wasn't rock-n-roll style. Against Richard's wishes and while on stage in the middle of her concert, Donna sang the song based on Richard's letter anyway... 'Meet Me At Remo's'.
~If you don't arrive by 7:00, I'll have to let you go...~
It took mere seconds for Richard to realize that she was singing the song based on his letter, and he frantically motioned to Annie to stop her…
"What am I supposed to do?" Annie asked, only to be shushed by her mother, Angie.
~But before you marry someone else...~
"Caroline, I have to talk to you about the strip!" Richard whispered anxiously.
~There's something you should know.~
"Richard, I'm trying to listen." Was Caroline's whispered reply.
~I have feelings...~
"You're absolutely right. Let's talk about this outside, ok?" Richard stood, but Caroline did not…
"Richard. No. Sit down."
~Meet me at Remo's.~
"Remo's!" Caroline announced cheerfully, surprised to hear her favorite restaurant mentioned in a song. Just then Richard put his hands over Caroline's ears... "What are you doing?" She asked, annoyed…
~I want to share your laughter, and wipe away your tears...~
"You've got something in your hair Caroline! It's a bug, it's a fly... it's alive!" Richard informed her, messing with her hair…
~So if you love me, meet me at Remo's.~
She pushed Richard away… "Quit doing that!"
"I'm just trying to get it out." Richard whispered defensively.
"Shhh! I can't hear my daughter singing!" Angie snapped quietly.
~I want to share your laughter, and wipe away your tears. So, if you love me, meet me at Remo's.~
Caroline's face took on an expression of shock as the lyrics started to make sense… "Oh my God..."
Richard turned to face her… "Ok, Caroline... listen... I..."
"Richard. No, no, no... I'm putting this all together now. I mean, 'Meet Me At Remo's' and we were at Remo's..." Caroline said as she placed her hand on Richard's shoulder. Richard placed his hand over her hand and sighed deeply. They both sat in silence, staring at one another as Donna finished the song.
~I have feelings, strong feelings, meet me at Remo's. I have feelings, strong feelings, meet me at Remo's. I want to share your laughter, and wipe away your tears. So, if you love me, meet me at Remo's. If you love me, meet me at Remo's.~
"Look, I think we should go somewhere and talk..." Richard suggested as everyone in the club applauded for Donna.
"Yeah... ok..." Caroline agreed, still in a bit of shock.
They left the club quietly, not saying a word to anyone or to one another as they did. They walked over to a nearby bench and sat down.
"So... I think I'll let you go first..." Caroline said softly.
"I don't even know where to start..." Richard replied nervously.
"Start with the song." Caroline suggested.
"The lyrics were taken from a letter I wrote."
"What letter? When did you write it?"
"Right before I left for Paris. I left it for you on top of the box of 'thank-you' notes."
"Meet me at Remo's... and when I got there, you kissed me..." Caroline said, almost to herself.
"I thought you had gotten the letter..."
"Is that why you left for Paris?"
"Yeah, kind of... I tried to get the letter back... but I couldn't, so I left... because I was embarrassed... and..." he trailed off…
"And?" Caroline said, encouraging him to finish.
"And... I couldn't stand the idea of seeing you with Del."
"Because... I..." Richard stammered, trying to find his courage.
"I love you, Caroline."
"You love me?"
"I didn't mean to fall in love with you... it just sort of... happened." Richard said as if trying to excuse his actions.
"Wow. I... don't know what to say..." Caroline responded with a far off expression, like she was in her own world…
"I'll understand if you don't feel the same... but... we can still be friends... right?"
"Of course we're friends Richard... I just..." Caroline stammered, not sure of what to say.
"I just... I gotta go..." With haste she was up and leaving, and Richard sighed as he watched her walk away. He hung his head as the tears welled up in his eyes, unaware that Annie had approached…
"She had to go..." Richard whispered, continuing to look at the ground so that Annie wouldn't see him cry.
"What did she say about your feelings for her? You did tell her... right?"
"I told her. She said we were friends..." Richard replied, then removed his glasses and wiped his eyes… Annie could tell he was crying.
"I am so sorry..."
"It's ok. I guess it had to come out sooner or later. I'm gonna get going... tell Caroline to call me if she doesn't want me to come in tomorrow."
"Richie! Don't think like that! She still wants you to work for her! You're the best assistant she's had!"
He just shrugged… "Yeah... maybe. See 'ya..."
--Annie let herself in to Caroline's loft as usual, noting immediately that Caroline was sitting alone… in the dark… and she had been crying…
"You want to talk about it?" Annie asked as she headed for the light switch.
"Don't turn the lights on... please..." Caroline said as she wiped her eyes.
"How long have you known?"
"C'mon Annie! How long have you known about Richard's feelings?"
"A couple months..." Annie admitted.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Richie asked me not to. Besides... I didn't think it should come from me."
"Now what do I do Annie?" Her voice sounded conflicted…
"Well, I think you need to determine what your feelings are..."
"My feelings..." Caroline repeated to herself quietly.
"Richie is in love with you... are you in love with him?"
"It's not as simple as that Annie..." Caroline avoided the question.
"Whether it's simple or not was not the question. You two are as opposite as night and day, so of course it won't be simple, BUT... let's take this one step at a time. Do you love him?"
"Of course I do Annie."
"Not like a friend Caroline. Are you IN LOVE with him? Could you see yourself dating him?"
"Ok, so, next step... what about that worries you?"
"I'm worried that if WE, as a couple, didn't work out... I would lose him as a friend." Caroline admitted.
"You and Del didn't work out... you're still friends with him..."
"I know Annie, I'm being irrational..."
"You wanna know what I think?"
"I think you're afraid of the relationship failing, NOT because of Richard and how 'difficult' it would be. I think you're afraid of the relationship failing cause you are focusing on the fact that your relationships with Del and Joe failed."
"You can't close yourself off hoping to avoid the pain of failed relationships! If you do, you'll never find your 'sincere amore'!"
"You really think Richard could be my 'sincere amore'?"
"It doesn't matter what I think... it matters what YOU think. Do YOU think he could be your 'sincere amore'?"
"Yeah." Caroline whispered.
"I think that's another reason you're afraid. I think deep down you KNOW Richie is 'the one', and I think that scares you. I know it scares ME!" Annie chuckled. Caroline laughed at her friend's joke and wiped the tears from her eyes...
"Yeah, that might be too. So... what do I do now?"
"Go talk to him..." Annie advised.
"Ok... you're right. I should go talk to him..." Caroline grabbed her jacket and headed out the door… "What should I say to him?" she asked as she waited for the elevator.
"Tell him you are in love with him... the rest will fall into place..."
"Good luck!" Annie called out to her…
"Thanks!" Caroline shouted back as the elevator doors closed.
--Richard painted frantically, anger and pain evident in his work. He wasn't really even in control of the brush... his heart and soul were.
*How can I face her now?* he asked himself as he continued to streak and blotch dark colored paint onto the canvas. *How could I be so stupid?! I should have denied everything... I should have walked away... I should have...* "I should have... but I didn't.."
He threw the paintbrush and palette to the floor, plopping down on his bed and running his hands through his hair in frustration. He took off his painting shirt and was looking for a t-shirt to put on when there was a knock at the door. Without even giving it thought he walked over to the door and flung it open. He was shocked to see Caroline standing there and quickly covered his bare chest with his arms folded across himself.
"Hi." Caroline said nervously.
"Can I come in?"
"Oh! Sorry, of course..." he replied, stepping back, allowing her access. He quickly searched for his shirt and turned his back while he put it on.
"We need to talk..." Caroline stated softly, avoiding eye contact. Richard dreaded what was coming next.
*She doesn't want me working for her anymore... I make her uncomfortable... She won't be able to get any work done knowing how I feel...* Richard's mind raced as he waited for her to say something. It seemed like an eternity...
"My attempts at love always fail... maybe it's me. Maybe it's them. Maybe it's cause they weren't my 'sincere amore'... I don't know... but because of those failed relationships... I ran. I needed time to think. I needed to sort through my feelings... and I have. I don't want to lose you... and cause all of my relationships seem to fail, I was worried that 'we' would fail too... and that I would lose you. Then Annie helped me realize something... she helped me realize that if I close myself off to avoid getting hurt, I also miss out on love. I don't want to do that. I don't want to miss finding my 'sincere amore' cause I was too busy hiding out of fear of failure. What I'm trying to say here is... I have fallen in love with you Richard."
Richard felt like he couldn't breathe. He couldn't have heard her right. She couldn't have said what he thought she just said. He was dreaming. Or it was wishful thinking. He stood silently, staring at her. His gaze was making her uncomfortable.
"Richard?" Caroline asked, breaking his trance.
"Are you gonna say something?"
"Say something?" he was too nervous to do or say anything. Caroline noticed his nervousness and approached him slowly.
She smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck... "I said I am in love with you Richard."
Richard instinctively wrapped his arms around her in response and pulled her in tight... "I love you Caroline." he said breathlessly, leaning in and kissing her passionately, the intensity creating a strong, evident desire in both of them.
Caroline grabbed the hem of his t-shirt and lifted it up, breaking the kiss just long enough to remove it, tossing it to the floor. She reached around her and grasped Richard's hands, guiding them under her shirt and up her back to the hooks on her bra. Without conscious thought he unhooked her bra and ran his hands up and down her back, causing Caroline to shiver. She unbuttoned her shirt and dropped it and her bra to the floor, causing Richard to break away from their kiss.
"Are you sure about this?" he asked softly, caressing her bare shoulders…
"Very sure..." she replied, unbuttoning his pants. With gentle hands he reached into the waistband of her skirt, slowly pushing it down her legs, allowing it to fall to the floor. Caroline tugged at Richard's pants and he pulled them off, kicking them aside. Richard pulled her to him and kissed her passionately as he slowly moved towards the bed. He eased back on the bed, gently bringing Caroline with him. His soft, artistic hands caressed her body as he kissed her tenderly. Caroline was lost to him as the two became one.
--Richard held Caroline in his arms as she snuggled into him, resting her head on his chest.
"Stay with me tonight..." Richard pleaded.
"Mmm-hmm…" she hummed... "And after tonight?"
"Stay with me every night." Richard begged…
"We'll move you out of here tomorrow."
"I love you Caroline."
"I love you too Richard."
"Can you feel it?"
"Feel what?" she asked, momentarily confused…
"This. This is forever." he replied, moving just enough to look at her face. Caroline smiled at him and kissed him softly...
"Yes. I can feel it too."
They spent the night together, making love, wrapped in each other's arms. It was their first night together, but not their last.