Half awake, I reached for my phone on my headboard. I flipped it open and squinted against the bright light of my screen. It was 5:45 am. Why was I awake at 5:45 am on a SATURDAY? I checked my email, as I usually do when I wake up at random times throughout the night. One email from Restaurants.com telling me I could save 80 percent on giftcards I’d never use. An email from Twitter, telling me that Kayle Barnes was now following me (Thanks, Kayle!). And a Daily Candy e-mail trying to disguise an ad as editorial content. Delete.
My heart sank when I saw that I didn't have a ‘Good Morning’ email from Cayden. At the thought of him, images flashed through my mind. Kissing. Licking. Nibbling. Cuddling. Cayden. Cayden. Cayden. What a vivid dream.
I whipped my head around and squinted at the lump in the bed next to me. I held my breath and listened to it breathing. I wasn't dreaming. Cayden was here. Last night had happened. My heart started beating again, slamming against my chest the same way it had when I'd spotted him at the airport the day before. Every time I looked at him it was like seeing him for the first time all over again. At that moment, I was lost in the feeling of being the big spoon. There's just something comforting about reaching my arms around his narrow waist and pressing my cheek against his warm back.
He squeezed my arms and I realized he was awake, too. What in the hell were we both doing awake so early? Sure, we had gone to bed before 10 pm on a Friday night, after a night of sex, crappy TV, and delicious LA Gourmet Pizza. And it was 11 am London time.
I started to doze off again pressed up against him, but then my eyes shot open. It was Saturday. The day of Rae's first 5K. We'd promised we'd come cheer her on because she cheered me on the week before. My alarm clock would be going off in 30 minutes. Just enough time to...
I kissed the back of his neck and waited for his reaction. He squeezed my arms again. I kissed his shoulder blade. He turned onto his back. I trailed my hand down his stomach until I ran a finger underneath the band of his boxer briefs. He grabbed my hand and pulled himself on top of me in one swoop.
We both reached for the LifeSaver Tic Tacs.
Rise and shine! Get your ass up and put your cheering face on!
I sent the text to Carson because she promised to go cheer Rae on with us.
Why are you so damn chipper at 6 AM??
Why do you think?
God, I hate you.
By 7:15 Cayden and I were pulling into the Starbucks by the Galleria. Carson was stepping out of her car, looking sleepy, grumpy, and cold. It had been in the 70s every day until that day. It was 40 degrees and we were about to stand outside for the better part of an hour.
"Carson is grumpy pants," she said as we stepped out of my car. She looked over at me with sleep still in her eyes. When she saw Cayden her face lit up.
"Cayden! Good to see you again!"
He leaned down to hug her. "Good to see you, too! Looks like you need some coffee."
"Yes!" Carson and I said in unison.
In the back of Carson’s car with coffee in hand and a beautiful sunrise pouring in every window, I was perfectly happy. I didn’t care that I didn’t get to sleep in. I didn’t care that it was freezing outside. I didn’t care that I had a stack of work waiting for me on my desk Monday morning. Cayden was here and everything was perfect again.
That’s not to say my life isn’t amazing without him. I had the best friends I could ever ask for. I had an awesome job that other people would die for. And my family? Well, they fucking rock. But when Cayden was here, everything was easier. Everything was better.
I laughed to myself as I watched Cayden in the front seat. He gripped the door, white-knuckled. He checked everyone’s blind spots whenever Carson tried to change lanes. He was scared shitless. Carson’s not a bad driver in my opinion, but Cayden thought otherwise.
On time and in one piece, we made it to the race and started the search for Rae.
“Whitney!” I heard her voice behind me.
“Hey!! Are you freaking out??” I asked.
“Trying not to. But, I mean, what if I have to go to the bathroom while I’m running?” Pure fear filled her eyes.
“Just go now, you’ll be fine,” I tried to reassure her.
“Oh my god. Cayden! I can’t believe I haven’t met you yet!”
Cayden politely held his hand out and shook hands.
“I know! Too bad you weren’t here for my last visit. I heard you’re helping Whitney handle the long distance?”
Rae’s boyfriend, Chaz, moved to Germany for a 6-month internship. He’d only been gone a month and a half, but Rae was already losing her mind. Sure, I wasn’t happy to see one of my friends going through the same torture I was enduring. But on the other hand, it was nice to have someone to bitch to about it who could understand. Misery loves company and all that jazz.
“Yep,” Rae said. “And she’s helping me. Speaking of which, meet Chaz’s parents.”
A vibrant Jamie Lee Curtis lookalike and an older version of Chaz stepped toward us. How adorable was that that her boyfriend’s parents came out to see her run?
"Now I wish we'd signed up to run with her," Cayden said, jumping up and down to stay warm. I agreed. Running a 5K sounded more appealing than standing in the freezing cold watching people run.
"Would you like a massage while you wait?" a voice asked from behind. Parker College of Chiropractic (which is oddly enough where Brady went to school) had a booth set up and they were offering free massages during the races.
It looked like we'd found something better than watching or running a 5K. And after our night of, um, exercise, and our early morning, uh, workout, a massage sounded like just what the doctor ordered.