Spoilers: After cattle incident and snippets of S2 episodes
Disclaimer: Do I haaaaave to? Fine. NO. I DON't own these characters. Harumph. Happy now?
Pairings: Caitlin and Eric
Author's notes:People are still waiting on this one? Hehe...
Chapter Forty Seven
"Jake, would you quit that?" Caitlin shouted out of annoyance than anything. She fended off his hands, as they managed to find every ticklish spot on her body.
"Quit what?" he asked, his focus solely on the mission at hand, making her laugh. "I don't know what you're talking about." He chuckled as she continued to squirm under his expert touch. "I mean it!" she laughed, out of breath. "I can't...I can't breathe." There was a knock at the door. Jake paused his attack at the sound, and Caitlin used the opportunity to try to escape. However, his hands were quicker and they pinned her down, and continued their assault. "Jake, I have to get that," she gasped between laughs. "It's our pizza."
"No problem," Jake replied without a thought. "Hey, Lane, can you get that? Our pizza's here!"
"I'll get it!" Maisy exclaimed, rushing around the corner, wearing a pair of silk pajamas. "I'm stah-ving!"
Caitlin glared at Jake. He wasn't tickling so hard that it hurt, but there was only so much tickling a girl could take. "No, I'll get it!" she protested. But with Jake almost sprawled on top of her, it was kind of hard to refuse.
"No, I'll..." Maisy stopped mid-sentence to take note of the display. Then without so much as a word, she went to the apartment door. "Now, who is it?" she asked with her southern drawl. "State your name and your purpose for being here."
Caitlin had to laugh at her roommate. She did it everytime she answered the door. Even though the door had a peephole and most of the time, it was the people they had invited over, she insisted that the people they opened their door to announce themselves. Apparently it was something her father insisted she do. "Just answer the door," she breathed, pushing away Jake's hands. "It's our pizza. And I thought you were staaaahving?"
Maisy's brow furrowed a moment and then, without a second thought, she unlatched the chain and swung the door open.
All that Caitlin heard was a sharp gasp, a little too distracted with keeping Jake's hands off her sides. Glancing over top of Jake's broad shoulders, she saw the reason for Maisy's sudden loss of words. "Eric?"
He somehow managed to scrounge up enough cash to purchase a plane ticket to New York, not an easy feat, as he depended on the kindness of his dorm brothers and a couple of new friends he had made at U of M. Eric had never felt so excited and scared at the same time. He didn't think it was possible. He had managed to get through most of his classes without failing miserably. This kept his parents happy, so when he announced to them that he wouldn't be coming home for spring break, they didn't seem to mind so much. In fact, they even chipped in for the plane ride to New York, of course, unbeknowst to them.
The flight was fine. He didn't have much trouble. It was actually over faster than he imagined it would be. However, trying to catch a taxi at the terminal was a different thing. The people in this city were viscious. He swore an old lady nearly tackled him for the taxi that pulled up in front of both of them.
Griffin had come through for him, giving him Caitlin's apartment address. He did have it at one time, but he had foolishly thrown it away when he broke up with her. And now he stood on her doorstep.
What he saw really wasn't what he expected their first meeting since Christmas to be like. It wasn't even close. He had played the scenario over and over in his head and what he saw wasn't it.
When he was waiting for someone to answer, he could definitely hear her voice - to be more exact, her laughter through the oddly-painted green door. He saw the face of a chirpy red-head...and then them. Jake and Caitlin were obviously together.
The guy was practically mauling her when they managed to tear themselves away from what they were doing, and Caitlin finally noticed he was at her door.
That's all she had to say. She didn't even budge. She certainly didn't push the guy who was lying on top of her away. "Surprise!" he said rather lack-lustry.
He had planned to surprise her; but in the end, it would have seemed that he was in for the surprise.
"Do you know this stranger?" Maisy frowned, looking at the rather short boy on their doorstep.
"Hey, is that our pizza?" Lane bellowed, turning the corner from the hallway with her head buried in a book. Tearing her head from the novel, she found the whole room silent and a b-boy dressed wanna-be at their door. "So where's the pizza?"
"Uh," Caitlin breathed, sliding up from underneath Jake, as he tried to extricate himself from on top of her. "Yeah, this isn't the pizza boy." Her heart was pounding, as she straightened her clothes and stood up from the couch. She couldn't even look at him - it was that awkward. "Guys, uh, this is Eric."
When she said it, the words still didn't seem to compute in her mind. Why is Eric here? Why the hell didn't Griffin warn her that he was coming?
"E-Eric?" Lane nodded somewhat awkwardly. By the way Caitlin was acting, she knew it was 'the' Eric. Glancing briefly over at Jake, who seeemed to have let himself fade in the background, she also deduced that the earlier tickling scene she had walked out on may have been ongoing when this Eric guy arrived on their doorstep. Nice.
"Eric? THE Eric? This is the same Eric you were going out with?" Maisy asked bluntly, wagging her finger at blonde guy standing beside her.
Lane groaned inwardly. Leave it to Maisy...
Eric had never felt this awkward in his life. He wished he had never come. This was worse than any nightmare he could have had. "Uh, yeah," he said, clearing his voice. "That would be me." Shuffling his feet, he wondered if he should just hop on the next flight out of this place. Caitlin's expression was less than welcoming.
"Um," Lane raised a curious brow, glancing at the unmoving bodies, "do you want to come in?" She didn't know if that was what her roommate wanted, but she couldn't stand the cliched 'enter ex-boyfriend' scene. It squeaked her out.
"Uh, yeah," Caitlin quickly mumbled. "Come in."
"Maybe I should just go?" Eric was in a room full of strangers, whose eyes seemed to be fixed upon him. Yeah, this was where he wanted to be.
"Uh, no!" she exclaimed, her head jerking up at the offer. "Come in." Caitlin had been trying to register what was exactly happening. It took a few moments for her to realize that Eric was really standing in her apartment. It wasn't a figment of her imagination.
"No, you've got company and stuff..." It was a lame excuse, but all he wanted to do was to get the hell out of there. Seeing Jake and Caitlin like that...it turned his stomach.
"Uh, no, really," Jake interrupted, finally entering the conversation. "I was actually...uh, I was actually just leaving." Eric watched as the guy stood up from the couch, smiling at Caitlin and placing his hand briefly upon her back. He then proceeded to walk towards him, extending his hand out to Eric.
"It's good to see you again."
Hesitant, Eric took his hand and shook it. I'm not going to be petty. I'm not going to be petty. "Yeah, same," he coughed. "Jer...I mean, Jake, right?"
"Yeah," Jake said, smiling. Or in Eric's opinion, more of a grimace.
Caitlin watched the tense exchange, as she tried to regain her composure in the face of Eric's arrival. "Thanks for coming over," she blurted out. "I'll talk to you tomorrow?"
"Yeah, sure." Jake gave a nod and a wave before squeezing past Eric and disappearing into the night.
"So, I'm Maisy," the red-head held out her hand, "one of Caitlin's roommates."
"Uh right," Caitlin said, smiling briefly. "Sorry. Lane and Maisy, this is Eric. Eric," she pointed to petite Asian and fair red-head, "Lane and Maisy."
"Right," he said, plastering a smile on his face. He waved weakly. "Hi!"
"Well, I'm sure you and Caitlin have a lot to catch up on," Lane said, her gaze locking with Caitlin. "Maisy and I will get out of your way."
"B-But we...we just met him," Maisy pouted. "And what about our pizza?" She smiled politely at the boy in front of her. "We just ordered pizza and when I opened the door I thought for sure that it was..."
"Maisy!" Lane tried to sound less curt, but there was no way around it. Besides, she thought, he'd find that out about her sooner or later.
The red-head glared at her. "It was nice to meet you, Eric," she drawled. "Maybe we'll talk more in the morning?" With that Maisy stomped past her bossy roommate.
"I'll call you when the pizza get here, Maisy," Caitlin bellowed, feeling bad for her friend. She knew that Maisy was just curious about Eric's sudden arrival.
"Talk to you guys later," Lane said, waving to Eric. While passing Caitlin, she mouthed 'sorry', her finger pointing towards the hallway that Maisy had stalked down.
Caitlin smiled gratefully at her more subtle roommate, before turning to the...What did she call it? A problem? Situation? Taking a deep breath, she smiled weakly, "Hi."
"Hi," Eric breathed, closing the door behind him. "It's good to see you."
Good to see me. He thinks it's good to see me. Caitlin really didn't know what to do with those words. Here she was, standing in front of a guy she had thought she could possibly be with forever, and he's telling her it's good to see her? "Wow," she said, running her hands through her hair. "W-What are you doing here, Eric?"
"What? No, 'good to see you, Eric'?" he asked softly, unloading his backpack onto the ground.
"You know what?" she said, shaking her head in disbelief. "No. No, you don't get that."
"I deserve that," he swallowed, lowering his head. "I know I acted like a total jerk..."
"And I'm supposed to care now, why?" A sudden wave of anger flooded over her. She had moved on. She had chosen to put away the feelings she had allowed herself to develop for him. And now he's standing at my doorstep? Where had he been when she dreamed he would sweep her off her feet and tell her he had been wrong to break up with her? Where had he been four months ago?
"I screwed up. I screwed up majorly. I don't know how to say it in any other words," he admitted weakly. "I don't know what it was, Caitlin. We were apart and it felt like day by day we were growing farther apart."
"So you dump me?"
Eric knew everything out of his mouth sounded lame. Maybe it was even a mute cause. From the looks of everything, she had moved on with Jake. But even if it was true, he couldn't let their friendship die because of his stupidity. He realized that now. "I was jealous," he breathed. "I know it's no excuse, but when you told me you kissed another guy..."
"He kissed me," she corrected him tersely. "He kissed me."
"Right." Eric knew, as she stared at him coldly, that she wasn't going to make this easy. He was the one who had let her down. In storm of doubt, he was the one who had screwed things up, not Caitlin. "You're right."
"Okay, so you've apologized," Caitlin blurted out, folding her arms across her chest. "Is that what you wanted to do? You fly out here to New York to do something you could have done over the phone?"
Eric opened his mouth, and then shut it. How was he supposed to answer this question? He had planned on professing his love and now he didn't know where he stood with her. Not that he knew where he stood with her when he got on the plane. It was then that the memory of Griffin's less than enthusastic attitude towards his trip to New York came to mind. He knew. He knew that she was dating someone else.
"Eric, are you going to answer me?" Seeing him again, Caitlin did not know what kind of maelstrom it would wreak. But as he stood here, she knew there were lingering remmants of feelings for the guy. There were so many good memories...mixed in with the bad.
"Look, I'm sorry," he answered, giving the only answer he could. "I shouldn't have come. I should have done this over the phone." Then maybe I wouldn't have made a complete idiot of myself "I shouldn't have turned your whole world upside down by showing up on your doorstep."
"Why?" Her voice cracked. The anger suddenly vanished. All she wanted to know was why he here. Why had he come to New York. It was like something you'd expect out of some cheesy Hollywood movie. "Since when did you begin to play games with people, Eric?"
"I'm not," he exclaimed, moving closer to her. She still was beautiful. During all of the awkwardness, Eric hadn't been able to truly look at her. But as they stood here alone, he was able to really 'look' at her. She had lost some weight, which seemed like an oxymoron as a first year college student. Her hair had grown since Christmas, as well. "Caitlin, I don't want to play games."
"Then, why are you here?" she breathed, turning away from him. "I don't understand why you're here."
"Because," he reached out to grasp her hand, "because..." What was he supposed to say? How was he supposed to say it?
His touch still sent a shiver down her spine. She didn't want it to, but it still did. Oh God, why do I still care? Suddenly the familiar scent of soap and musk filled her senses. "Because what?" Caitlin took a deep breath before turning to face him. Their eyes met and it was as if time stopped. He was the same Eric, with a wry grin always lurking beneath the surface, ready to appear whenever she became too serious. He was the same boy she had hated at first sight, but forged a strange and unique friendship with under trial. He was Eric, the boy she thought she had fallen in love with.
"I came down here to tell you that I love you, Caitlin," he breathed. The words came out easier and faster than he thought possible. Being near to her, her hand in his - it felt right. "I came here to tell you that I want you back."
Without another word, he pulled her into him, causing her to brace herself with her hands against his chest. His eyes searched hers, telling her a story of turmoil, and also revealed the desire that remained hidden beneath. Caitlin could feel her heart pounding against her chest, and his as well, beating in sync with each. Her lips parted, as she tried to think of how to reply, but there were no words. His hand slipped underneath her hair, pulling her head closer to his, as he listened to as her breath became suddenly shallow. Swallowing hard, she felt his lips press against hers. The pressure was light at first. His warm soft lips brushed against hers. The sensation made her heart leap. Her hands slipped around his neck, drawing his body closer to hers. Electricity coarsed through both of their bodies, as they held each other in a tight embrace.
"Caitlin," he breathed, breaking their kiss. The guilt lingered, knowing how he must have hurt her. His heart was empty without her. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
With the back of her hand, she caressed his cheek, gazing into his clear blue eyes. She had missed that. She had missed him. And when he arrived, Caitlin hadn't wanted to see him. She hated him for what he did to her. But when he stood there, confessing how he had messed up and how sorry he was...When he told her that he loved her, and kissed her with such tenderness, Caitlin knew she hadn't forgotten him. She knew that couldn't forget him. It wouldn't happen in a million years because she loved him too. "I know," she whispered into his ear, as she wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.
"Caitlin, I just got so mixed up. I was scared and mixed up. I was too confused to..."
"I know," she breathed, pulling back slightly to look meet his gaze. For months she had tried to forget him. She had tried to push him out of her mind, but found herself failing miserably. And here he was... "I can't believe you flew all the way here to New York!" She laughed, suddenly realizing what measures Eric had taken to speak with her.
"Uh, yeah," he chuckled. "About that. Ex-nae to the parentae."
"Yeah," she said, rolling her eyes. "How did I know that was coming?"
"So," Eric breathed, licking his lips. It felt like they were back together...Were they back together? What about the other guy? "Uh, what about...the other guy?"
Caitlin frowned. "What?"
"Jake? The guy who you were making out with before I got here?"
Her and Jake? Caitlin laughed out loud. "You think Jake and I...are dating?"
"That's what it looked like," he said flustered. "Isn't that what you and he are doing?"
"No!" They had discussed it, but both felt that it just would never work.
"Well, then you've gone to just making out with friends?" he said in bewilderment.
"No!" she exclaimed, glaring at him.
"Then..." He wanted to know. Eric knew he didn't have a right to ask, since they really hadn't decided they were even together again. But the images of the guy sprawled on top of her...
"He was tickling me, and it got a little out of hand," she admitted, blushing. "But we weren't 'doing' anything."
"Not that it really is any of my business," he said offhandedly. "I mean, I know I broke up with you and if you found another guy..."
"You must think you're pretty forgettable," Caitlin laughed softly, not believing what she was seeing. Eric had always been so confident, but to see him miserable, wondering whether she had moved on really was an eye opener.
He shrugged. "Hey, it's understandable if guys might want to move in on you."
"Can I tell you something?" she whispered, leaning in, resting her forehead against his. "You're not that forgettable." Wrapping her arms around his neck, she drew him into a long, deep kiss - happier than she had been in months.