And Then I Met You – 9

Characters: Actor Chris Evans, OFC Kayla Brooks

Warnings: None, Fluff

Chapter 9

“Kayla, it’s Chris. I just wanted to tell you what an amazing time I had last night. Or this morning I guess too. Talking to you was, well you’re an amazing person and you’re so different than most of the women in L. A. Which is a good thing. You’re just really easy to talk to and be with. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to talk to someone for so long about nothing and about everything and, well I know this message doesn’t make any sense but I wanted to thank you for finally saying yes. I had an amazing time with you and I can’t wait to see you again. I’ll be in Boston after the Super Bowl but I hope to talk to you before then. If you have time this weekend give me a call. I’d love to hear from you. And thank you again for an amazing night. Bye.”

He hit the end button and closed his eyes, with his fingers on the bridge of his nose, mentally counting the number of times he said ‘amazing’. Hopefully she didn’t think he was a pathetic, rambling idiot. He had his bags ready to leave for Phoenix with Scott for Super Bowl weekend. He hated leaving right after their first date, then going to Boston for a week after that, but he felt good about this. They had a great time together and he would only be gone 10 days.

“Hey Kayla, it’s Chris. I know it’s early, I hope you’re not sleeping. I wanted to call before we leave for the stadium. I was hoping I would have a chance to talk to you. I really did have an amazing time the other night.” He rolled his eyes at himself. “And I can’t wait to see you again. I know you’re busy with work and school but if you get a chance, please call me? Remember I’m an actor with a frail ego. I need constant reassurance.” He added a chuckle at the end before he terminated the call then frowned and tossed the phone on the bed.

“Kayla, it’s Chris. I was hoping I would hear from you by now. Hopefully you haven’t changed your mind and decided that I am actually an entitled egotistical celebrity.” He let out a nervous laugh. “Boston is beautiful with the snow but I miss L.A. right now.” He paused. “That’s not true. Actually I . . . I miss you. I really want to see you again. Please call me?” He ended the call and sighed looking at the blank screen.

“Hi Kayla, it’s Chris. I had a déjà vu moment today. I was visiting the kids at Christopher’s Haven, the place I told you about. I was half expecting to turn around and see you in scrubs standing next to the kids. I hope everything is okay. I know you’re probably just really busy with work and school. Please call me and let me know you’re alright.” He ended the call and threw the phone into the pillows on his bed, narrowly missing the headboard.

“Kayla, it’s Chris.” Chris left another message for Kayla. It was the 5th message and she hadn’t returned any of them. He knew he should just forget about her. But he really thought they had a connection. He knew it sounded really lame. Still he couldn’t stop thinking about her. He couldn’t give up without at least seeing her face to face.

He decided to show up unannounced at her door. It was Tuesday so she would go to the grocery store after work. He arrived at her house at 8:00 just to be safe. He was nervous when he rang the bell. Jess answered the door and her expression turned grim when she saw Chris standing in the porch light. “Is Kayla home?”

“Chris this isn’t really a good time.” They both heard a noise inside the house. Jess stepped outside and shut the door behind her. “Kayla needs some time. You have to understand how hard this is for her. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.” She turned to go inside.

Chris started to go but turned back. “I want to hear it from her. I left half a dozen messages that she never returned. I just want to hear her say no. I know she can say it, she’s said it to me plenty of times before.”

Jess stood firmly in her place. “No. You can’t see her. Not right now.”

“Something happened.” Chris could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand up sensing there was something wrong.

Jess let out a long sigh. “Two years ago today her husband died. She probably didn’t tell you that this day was coming. She thinks she can handle it. She thinks because she’s getting her masters in psychology that she can handle days like today.”

Jess put her hands on her hips and shook her head. “But she’s never dealt with her grief. She just pushes it aside and keeps moving. And then a day like today comes and she falls apart.” Her frustration was apparent, but Jess would defend her best friend to her dying day.

Chris could feel his heart breaking for Kayla, knowing the pain she must be feeling. “Please let me see her. You know I don’t want to hurt her. I want to help her as much as you do. Please let me in.”

Jess debated the idea. She knew Kayla would hate her for letting Chris in right now. But she also knew that if she didn’t let him in Kayla would probably never see him again. And she really thought Chris was good for Kayla.

“She likes you, a lot. But you don’t know what she’s been through. If this is just one of your little hook-ups then walk away. But if you honestly want to be with her, fight for her. Don’t let her push you away.”

Jess pushed the front door open and let Chris in. “Just stay here though. Let me at least tell her you’re here first.” Jess disappeared down the hall leaving Chris to stand and think about what he was going to say.

He heard voices from the back of the house. Kayla was saying no but he couldn’t make out what Jess was saying. Jess came back. “She doesn’t want to see you.” Chris’ face fell. “But I’m not going to stop you if you try. Down the hall and to the right.” Jess turned and went into the kitchen.

Chris slowly made his way down the hall. He knocked on the bedroom door. “Kayla, it’s Chris.” He opened the door halfway but didn’t make a move inside.

“Go away.”

“If you really want me to leave I will.” Chris waited but there was no response. He opened the door all the way and stepped just a foot inside. Kayla sat up in the bed and started to sob as soon as she saw him. Chris rushed to her and pulled her into his arms.

“Shhh, baby it’s okay.” He stroked her hair and rubbed her back and held her as tightly as he could. He felt his own tears start to fall as he felt her pain. When her crying subsided he asked, “do you want me to leave?” She shook her head against his chest.

Chris kicked off his shoes, took his jacket off and tossed it on the floor. He lay back on the pillows and pulled Kayla down next to him. Laying her head on his chest, she tucked herself into his side and fit perfectly. She gently rested her head on his chest and felt the rise and fall with each breath he took. He placed his hand over hers and they lay in quiet stillness until Kayla was ready to talk.

“After Kyle died there was so much to take care of.” She took long pauses between sentences. “It was so overwhelming. I moved to L. A. to be with Jess and had to get readmitted into school here and find a job.” She sighed and snuggled deeper into his chest. “I just kept moving and doing things but I never stopped to grieve over him. I never actually started my life over. I think that’s what I needed to do.”

“I had such a great time with you the other night and then I felt guilty because I . . . I still love Kyle. How can I move on when I still love Kyle?” Her voice broke at the end.

Chris took a deep breath to steady his emotions. “You still love Kyle. That’s okay. Maybe you’ll always love him. I hope so because the woman who has that much love to give, who never stops loving . . . that’s the kind of woman I want to be with.” He reached down and brushed the stray hairs from her face. “I’m not intimidated just because you still love him. You can’t make me run away that easily.” He smiled warmly at her.

“Will you stay for a while?” Kayla asked.

“Of course I will.” He shifted in the bed until they were like one person and he pressed his lips against her head, waiting until she fell asleep before he would close his eyes. Then he spent hours laying quietly thinking about her. She was truly unique. A mixture of feisty and sassy and soft and vulnerable. She would challenge him like no other woman had, but would stand by his side no matter what happened. She was that type of person. She was the woman he didn’t know he was looking for. But it was as if she had been there all along, waiting for him to find her.

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