tagFirst TimeCaitlin

Caitlin

bylittleladyfun©

My name is Jason. As of this moment, I'm 35 years old. I work for a marketing firm that taglines our services as "the evolution of marketing". Nah, I don't own it or anything. My girlfriend kinda calls me their "bitch boy" because of the tremendous and, most of the time, sudden workload I would get on the fly.

I was born in London, but very quickly soon after, we moved to New York. I was, what... 3? So, yeah, barely a shred of memory there. One would certainly agree that I was more American than anything else.

I met Caitlin many years ago. Her dad would come into the bank (where I was working then) and he would take her with him. She was 16 at the time, still in her catholic school uniform and the somewhat snobby, "I'm better than you" attitude. I was 24, pretty much fresh out of Uni, obnoxious and, yeah, I admit, a bit of a player.

I would see them about twice a week, her dad would enter, the manager would make a call and he and her dad would enter one of the top level offices. Caitlin would be left at the waiting area doing... whatever. The first time, she had a schoolbook. I felt bad for her being alone, so I went over and sat with her.

"Hey kiddo, what're you reading?" I asked.

She looked at up me with a frown, "I'm not a kid, you idiot! I'm 16!" I find it extremely funny that she says it almost syllabically, "i-di-yet!"

Biting my lower lip from grinning, to no success though, I replied, "I was just playing nice. You look nowhere like a kid." What a dumb reply!

She stared at me with piercing eyes for a minute and turned back down to her book. "Go away," she mumbled.

"Would you like a soda?" I asked.

"No," this time, she replied without looking up. "I'm not eight. Go away."

The first few meetings we had were mostly like that. I'd ask how she was and she'd start it out with the "i-di-yet" name-calling. I was just messing really, even handed her one of those big colorful lollipops once, to which she replied with a look as if she was gonna smack me on the face with it.

One day, about a year since our first encounter, they came in and she looked like she had just come from crying, her eyes were still red and puffy. Her dad went on his usual routine, into the big doors and she sat, this time at the corner of the waiting area, her head down and flipped through the huge textbook in her hands.

I stared at her, thoughtful for a moment, and checked to see if my supervisor was around before getting up.

"Hey," I said, taking the seat beside her. "Are you alright?"

She didn't say anything.

I took a peek at the book she was reading, Math.. higher level math, to be specific, algorithms and probability. What??!! She was, like, what, Senior high?

She mustered a sniffle, which brought my attention back to her. "You know, I'm pretty damn good at Math. I could help you a bit, if you'd let me," I told her with a sincere tone. It's true, I'm fuckin fabulous at Math, among other subjects.

She stayed quiet for a moment, thinking maybe. I sat back against the chair, not wanting to be too pushy about it. Her dad must be the strict, over achiever type, not something I was a stranger to. My parents fought a lot because of that. They stayed together but, any dumbass could tell, it wasn't really a harmonious relationship.

I saw my supervisor coming out of her office. I got up to avoid getting into trouble but a "wait" made me turn around.

It was the first time I got to really see her vulnerable side, albeit blushed and puffy from crying". There IS something soft and delicate beneath all that bitchy exterior she used to put on. At the same though, there was a look of unsureness.

"I have to go. My boss might fire me for leaving my desk," I grinned, "I don't really care but, I won't get to see you again, if that happens." I smiled and, the same time, there was like a mental smack to the back of my head about what I'd just said. It sounded exactly like some line a player would use, and she was just a kid. "How about, you think about it and we'll work up something, a day or time when I'm off work."

She bit her lower lip in thought, "I don't know if... my dad would let me," she said, embarrassed about it.

"We'll work something out. He doesn't have to know anything other than your math results at the end of the year," I smiled, "that good?"

She forced a smile and nodded.

I turned back and realized one of my teammates covered for me by intercepting our boss, blocking her sight. I smiled and turned back to Caitlin, "I have to go now, will you be okay?"

She nodded.

About 20 minutes later, her father exits the big office. I turned to check on her, she had tied up her hair and looked much better than when she entered. She watched him take the steps going down, walking over to meet him. She turned to me and handed me a note.

When they left, I opened it. It had her mobile number and a "thank you" written on it. I felt a pat on my shoulder and turn to see the guy who covered for me, with a silly grin on his face. "Congrats dude, you finally got her number."

I shook my head, grinning as well, "Don't be an perv, she's a kid. I was just helping."

He laughed, "You think she's a kid? Better get your eyes checked, Jay. She's hot and far from being a child!" With that, he went back to his desk. I shook my head and went back to work.

I texted her that evening, realizing I didn't even know her name, nor did she know mine. (Yeah, I know, stupid huh? It's been, what, a year?) I wasn't wrong about her father though, so it was definitely a problem getting around him, not that I had any devious plan in mind to manhandle his daughter.

One of our recourses was online chat. I informed her when I was free from work and she would just message me when we could commence our "tutoring". It went pretty well at first. She wasn't slow or anything. Sometimes teachers just aren't very good at explaining in simpler terms but seriously, it was way too advanced for her. Since then, when she came back to the bank with her dad, she would flash me a smile and sit on her usual place by the corner of the waiting area.

Our once cold-shoulder meetings became goofballing around and jokes that only we understood. She even got to meet some of my friends at work and, I'm glad to say, she's warmed up to our environment. Oftentimes, she would open up about her thoughts, her concerns with her parents.

When the topics got too difficult to explain online, we started to meet outside, at parks, at the mall, some fast food place, even if it was during my lunch hour, any bit of time that I could make, I found myself making. We started to click really, she mellowed down and I... well... she was polite enough to laugh at my jokes. I guess I became her friend.

Admittedly by her, she wasn't very sociable with others because of the pace of education her father her through. She would be the youngest in a class or the smarter ones would think she got where she was because of her father's influence, those types of things.

Our meeting at work became more relaxed. On instance, we would toss each other candies from my desk to where she sat or she would actually come to my desk and chat about nothing (in an effort to distract me from meeting the deadline). So, yeah, we became really good friends.

There was a week of vigorous review for a big quiz she had coming. The day after, we met at a park on my lunchbreak. It was a nice day, the sun wasn't glaring, it wasn't too chilly or too warm. She laid down on the grass and I sat leaning against a tree, eating an apple.

She turned and looked at me.

"What?" I asked.

"Will you share your apple with me?" she smiled as she asked.

"Hmm..." I pretended to think, "how about you lay still with your mouth open and I'll toss you a chunk?"

"You're such an idiot! Can you be any less of a gentleman?" she pouted.

"Oh, don't give me that look. You know it never works," I grinned and bit down on my apple again. "I'll make sure to pack some berries next time, that way, they'd be a perfect fit in that mouth of yours."

She growled in exasperation, turning over and crawling towards me.

I raised an eyebrow and playfully "protected my apple" under my arm. "Are we gonna wrestle for it?"

She slapped at my arm, "Oh shut up!" and laid back down, her head over my legs this time. I smiled, it was nice spending time with her after all the hard work we put on studying the week before.

"Do you think I passed the test?" she asked, staring up at the sky.

"I'm sure you did, you did pretty well on all the mock tests I gave you."

"How did you get to be so good at math?"

"I grew up not really having much toys or gadgets, and I love puzzles. I enjoy the challenge. I don't know, I just see the numbers differently, I guess."

"My dad would love you," she mumbled out.

I wasn't sure what she meant at first, so I didn't react to it.

She turned sideways so she was looking right at me. "My dad's an actuarian, did you know that?"

I shook my head, my eyes focused on hers.

"He seems to depend on numbers so much. It's been his whole life," she continued. "I think he wants me to follow his career."

I cocked my head to the side in thought, "Is that why you're doing higher level math? I can't imagine being at your age and learning what you're learning, if I'm honest."

She nodded. "Ever since I was little, it was always seeing things in numbers, computing for probabilities and statistics." She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "He'd like you. You think in numbers."

I laughed, hard, "You're joking, right? I don't think in numbers. I just... get to thinking when I see something interesting, not necessarily number-related." I ran a hand through her hair and reassured her, "You're great, Caitlin. Don't let your dad dictate your life or put you down. You're a lot more than just numbers."

She took my hand in hers and stared at it thoughtfully, "Maybe..." She kissed the inside of my hand and, for some reason, my heart seemed to skip a beat. "Thank you," she said.

I grinned, "Now, close your eyes."

"Why?"

"I know how you like surprises," I smiled.

She smiled as well, a look of excitement filling her face as she closed her eyes. I lifted her head up off my legs and laid her back down gently on the grass. I moved closer to check if she was peeking. I took out a handkerchief and tied it around her eyes.

She laughed, "Seriously??"

"Very much so," I replied. As I tied the knot behind her, I realized just how close we were to each other, our faces just inches away. I could feel her warm breath on my face. For a moment, I just stared at her, that silly, excited, little girl grin, holding back excited laughter. My gaze lowering to her soft, pink lips, what it must feel like to kiss her... I traced my finger along her cheek, against her blindfolded eyes, down her nose, tracing her lips, watching them part slightly. I could feel her body tensing up in anticipation. I felt so drawn to her, in that very moment, I drew closer and she leaned up to meet me. Our lips grazed like a feather brushing lightly, before I pulled away and put the apple on her mouth instead.

I got up quickly, anticipating her retaliation. She laughed, like always. She got up and pulled the blindfold off, throwing the partially bitten apple at me. "You're such an idiot," she called out.

I laughed, "shielding myself from the flying apple, "now, now, no need to get feisty!"

She charged at me. I prepared myself to catch her, I did and we both fell on the ground, laughing. "You're like twelve," she said, giggling.

Needless to say, she did pass that test and the following tests since. I thought, at least by now, her father could no longer fault her for anything because, to me, she was perfect.

As she got closer to her 18th birthday, she started applying to, of course, the big universities across the globe. She would talk with a glimmer in her eyes about how excited she was, what and where she wanted to go. It didn't take a genius to know that we were nearing the time to part ways. We all know how universities change people. I think, that was probably why I didn't let the kiss happen, apart from her being so young. I feared the time would come that she would "actually" grow up and realize I wasn't anything special.

I watched her talk (and talk and talk) about everything she was looking forward to. I did my best to show support and encouragement, even suggestions to what uni would be great. Then my lunch-break was over and I had to leave her again. She smiled and leaned close, I thought it was to whisper something, until I felt the softness of her lips against my cheek. "You did all this for me." She smiled, "I don't know how I'll survive without you."

I didn't know what to say. My inner consciousness wanted me to beg her not to leave at all but that wasn't fair. So, I did what any idiot would do. I smiled and got up, "Try not to miss me too much. I'm sure you'll meet many more guys who're way better than me." Before I walked away, I thought I saw her smile fade at my reply. I inhaled deeply and went on back to work.

My concentration started to fade as her (and her father's) visits became lesser and lesser, compounded by the fact that she would be gone soon. There was only one more goal on her to-do list and that was the acceptance letter to wherever. Ironically, the result would come out just around her 18th birthday.

Whenever I was free, or a had a moment to myself, I would try to think of the perfect gift to give her. It would've been easy if she was just a typical friend, I would wrap them up a calculator with the biggest font I could find. But she wasn't that to me.

One day, after one of our math sessions, she tossed an eraser at me. I look up, thoughts interrupted.

"Why are you so quiet?" she asked.

"Have you ever been in a test room where people chatted and laughed and played pranks?" I answered.

She shook her head and smiled, "You can't fool me anymore with those jokes. I know there's more to you than being an idiot."

"Gee thanks," I smirked, "glad you think so highly of me."

She cocked her head to the side and punched at my chest, "Come on, what's up?"

I mustered a smile, "It's nothing. Any word on the results yet?"

She smiled widely again, "No, but I'm so excited! By the way, daddy's celebrating my birthday at the hotel across the street from the coffee place we went to. Can you come?"

I stared at her blankly for a minute, "Uhh I doubt you could sneak me in on the guest list."

She laughed, "Don't be silly, it's my party. I can invite anyone I want. Please say you'll come. Pleeeaasseee??" She flashed me the same old pout she would use.

"I'll think about it," I replied. This time, her phone came flying at me, which I caught easily with one hand. "Whoa, easy there!"

"You have to be there," she whined and followed with a pout.

I grinned and turned on her phone, aiming the camera at her. "Oh that's cute, another skill to add to that blossoming resume."

"Damn you," she cried out, smiling and reaching for her phone. "Listen, Wednesday's a holiday which means... no work for you. Let's hang out."

Hang out? I thought.

"We can go the mall in the morning and maybe grab lunch and..." She looked at me with some mischievous grin, "hang out at your place," capping the sentence with a cheeky smile.

I stifled a laugh, "I... don't think that's a good idea."

"Why? I'd love to see where you live."

"I can't, Caitlin," I looked at her apologetically. "It's... bound to stir up issues."

"What issues?? It's my birthday on Friday. I'll be a certified adult by then. I can do anything I want. Besides, who's gonna know?"

"You're just evil incarnate on two long, creamy legs, aren't you?" I chided. "What exactly are you planning in that silly brain of yours?"

She flashed another mischievous grin.

Wednesday came and, as usual, I was conned when she said "let's go to the mall." Because where we headed AT THE MALL, wasn't exactly... well... kosher for me. She wore this white, button down top and a short pink skirt, that just seemed to make her legs look really long, and was chatting with the attending lady while I was... just there... you know, surrounded by all the soft, lacy, "delicates" and "intimate apparel" section, with other women, older women looking through the merchandise and looking at me and looking at Caitlin and then back at me.

At some point, I noticed an older man staring at me for what seemed like an entire minute, to which I returned a "What??" look with my hands in the air, making him turn away. I walked over to her, just in time to hear her call out her size.

"Caitlin, baby," I said, in a low voice, "I think we should go."

She looked at me questioningly, "why?"

I grumbled and mumbled, "Mmm... it's not exactly my area... How about we meet up somewhere later?"

She and the attendant smiled at my uneasiness. "I assure you, sir, many of our customers have their husbands and boyfriends and fathers and brothers with them."

I turned to the attendant, "but I'm neither of those!" Her smile disappeared and, instead, turned her attention back to Caitlin, both discussing the style she wanted. I took a peek at the black set, the light pink set, and the white set. I pointed to the pink set, "That's perfect. Now, let's go, please?"

Both women looked at me with surprise. Caitlin smiled and turned back to the attendant and nodded. "I told you he'd pick one out." I rolled my eyes as they both laughed.

We finally left the mall. She slipped her arm into mine and leaned her head against my shoulder. "Your place?"

"Oh, you really enjoyed that earlier, didn't you?" I said.

She smiled, "anything that makes you uncomfortable adds to my power."

I shook my head, "try not to wallow in pity when you're at my place."

As soon as I opened the door, she spared no second entering, eyes scanning the entire area of my apartment. I closed the door behind us and held my breath for some cheeky comment that was about to come.

"For a guy, you're really neat," she said, nonchalantly, which was surprisingly decent, coming from her.

"Thanks, I think," I went over to the kitchen and looked in the fridge. "Want some cereal?" I felt her hand on my back and her face peering beside mine. "You can't expect me to believe that's all you've got," she said.

"I can call for pizza," I teased, closing the fridge door, "I was more hoping you'd forget about coming here."

She bit her lower lip and sat back on the couch, facing the tv. "pizza and champagne?"

I laughed and slumped down beside her, "Are you serious?"

'Yeah, we must celebrate," she threw her hands in the air and made this big whirl around and smiled.

"Celebrate what?" I grinned, reaching for my phone, "Pepperoni?" I asked, as I dialed the number.

"Hot and spicy," she replied before nudging me on the ribs, "It's my birthday, you idiot! I am finally a legal adult, free from the oppression and limitations that society holds upon me."

I raised a brow at her statement, to which she reacted by tossing a pillow at me. "It's big deal!"

I shrugged, "I miss being a teenager, oppressed or bound by parental rules, but at least, no bills or responsibilities." I flashed her a wide smile just to irritate her.

She shook her head, "no way, you're not getting me fooled by all that."

I sat back, staring blankly at the ceiling, "So, today is actually your 18th birthday..."

"Yes," she beamed, proudly.

"And the hurrah thing on Fridays is...?"

She made a sound of exasperation, "My dad's idea. He wanted to throw some big party and he thought Friday would be much more appropriate. You will come, won't you?"

I dropped the phone as she positioned herself sat on my lap, facing me. My eyes grew wide.

She laughed, "why do you always seem afraid of me these days?"

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