This story is based on two songs, “Natural” by Imagine Dragons which was suggested by my good friend, Mandi, and “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica suggested by…me! 🙂 While both songs are serious in nature, my story didn’t want to be. It takes the themes and hugs them. I hope you enjoy this story. (Yes, I’m not done with the A to Z. I’ve never been behind before in this challenge but I do know how to catch up! 🙂 )
Nashville Ate Me Up and Spit Me Out
They say you can’t go home again, but folks do all the time. So, I reckon it’s something philosophical or at least I hope so because I’m driving down Main Street of Huntley Creek right now and if it’s something physical and supernatural, I’m a duck out of luck.
I pull into Wolfram’s Garage to fill up with gas and do my first bit of returning-home stalking. After I get out of my neon green VW bug, I glance toward the open bays, wondering if Sam still works here. Would he throw a wrench at me if saw me?
Three years, five months, and 20 days ago I turned down Sam’s marriage proposal because I was going to be the next big thing in Nashville and for three years, five months and 19 days, I’ve regretted it. I’ve changed in the time I’ve been gone, no doubt he has too, and maybe we won’t fit together any more and maybe he plain won’t want to.
I start pumping gas, flick the little metal lever so it pumps on its own and nonchalantly start walking along the perimeter of the garage. Guys I don’t know look up and then one I do notices me, Dwayne the pain Henry.
“Well look who it is, little Miss Nashville-I-will-be-a-star-and-you-can-just-kiss-my-ass-Jolene Carter!”
Great. I guess even the guys I don’t know have heard about me because they all stop what they’re doing to escape their bays and coming like lemmings to the sunshine…do lemmings come to the sunshine?
And then the door to the office opens and there he is, all 6’4” of Sam McCallister the man. I can tell the moment when he sees me because his entire body jerks like he just walked into a forcefield. His eyes narrow and his lips flatten, and I interpret none of those as good signs.
I stick my left hand into the pocket of my cut-off jeans shorts while my right hand flails around in something that’s supposed to be a “howdy.” He in response turns on the heels of his faded brown leather boot and returns to the office.
“Well, that went well,” I say to myself.
Dwayne laughs. “No, it didn’t. Didn’t you notice the part where he just went back into the office when he saw you? That’s slash and burn, baby.”
I glare at him. He cowers. I still got it.
“Is he with someone?”
“Huh? Didn’t you see he was alone? There’s no one in the office.”
I fix a are-you-really-that-stupid?-look on Dwayne. “Is he dating someone? Married to someone?”
I wince. Carrilou always hated me. She always thought she was going to be Nashville’s next big thing. It turns out that neither of us were.
“Dating for well maybe three weeks.”
Three weeks I can deal with without feeling like I’m poaching on someone’s territory.
The garage’s office hasn’t changed. It smells like oil, has actual oil stains on the avocado green carpet, and there are pictures of cars on the wall. It’s basic and basically nondescript.
Sam doesn’t look up at me when I enter. He acts as though whatever paper he’s staring at has his full attention, except that I know Sam and I know that his bouncing foot is a dead-giveaway that he isn’t entirely focused on anything except trying to be focused.
“Hi,” I say, unoriginal but safe.
He looks up and tries to be surprised, which is so unlike Sam that I frown.
“You were right. Nashville wanted to eat me alive and serve me up as sushi.”
He raises an eyebrow. I feel parts of me tingle. I have so missed that face. I’ve missed those lips, damn have I missed those lips. I’ve missed those fingers that are splayed across the desk because I know how they can make me feel.
“I’m sorry to hear that because you have some real talent.”
“Yeah. Well, some things aren’t meant to be. I’m sorry.”
“Walking out on you. You were the best thing that ever happened to me,” I say.
He looks away from me, those blue eyes staring at the calendar of a woman with her butt cheeks hanging out of her denim shorts, typical garage calendar. I roll my eyes and return my focus on him. His gaze returns to me.
“Okay,” he says.
Well, maybe only on odd days and every two hours did I ever think he’d be over the moon at me being back and professing…oh, I didn’t actually say it.
“I love you. I always have and I always will,” I say.
“I made a huge mistake…kind of. Will you consider taking me back? Maybe dating again, find ourselves, see if we still fit like a hand and a glove?”
His eyes brighten but his lips don’t twitch. There’s no smile, no encouragement. “I’ll think about it.”
“Damn you, Sam McCallister!” I say and then throw myself at him, straddle him. His momentary surprise gives way to an incredible kiss, even better than I remember.
“You think one kiss is going to erase three years?” he asks, his lips soft, warm against mine.
I grin, kiss him again. “No, but I know a few other things that might work.”