Two // Formalities

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"Caroline!"
I whip around.
I don't see anyone in my apartment.
"Where are you?" I call out.
I hear a giggle.
My phone rings.
I answer it.
"Hello?"
"Hey, it's Ashton. Are you home?" He asks.
"Yeah, why?"
I continue to look around.
"I'm coming over- with Calum." He says.
"I'm babysitting my niece." I tell him.
I see a blur of black hair out of the corner of my eye.
I jump around and grab her.
She breaks into a laughing fit.
Her little dimples are the cutest things I've ever seen.
"Okay?" He asks.
I forget what he said.
"Yeah, alright."
I hang up and sit on the floor.
"Hey, CarCar." Tatiana twirls her hair.
"Yes, Tati?" I ask her.
She starts twirling my hair.
"I want some ice cream." She looks at me with her big hazel eyes.
I sigh.
"Alright, munchkin. Go get dressed." I tell her.
She jumps up and runs into my room.
I'm about to sit on the couch when my doorbell rings.
It's Ashton.
And Calum.
Fuck.
They walk inside and sit on my counter.
"Car-" Tatiana runs out and stops.
Her eyes flicker back and forth between the boys.
"Where did they come from?" She asks me.
I see Calum smiling.
"They just got here." I tell her.
"Ask them if they want ice cream." She nudges me.
I look at them both.
"Actually, I have to get going. It was nice to meet you..." Ashton jumps up.
"Tatiana." She giggles.
"Tatiana. See you, Caroline." He waves and walks out.
Calum shrugs.
"I like ice cream."

-

"So, Tatiana seems to like you." I say as I watch her run around.
Cal laughs.
"Yeah, she's adorable." He smiles at her.
She waves and starts twirling around.
"How was your little date with Ashton?" He asks out of the blue.
I cover my face with my hands and laugh.
"It wasn't a real date." I say.
He laughs really hard.
"I know, I know. It's funny."
"He said I wasn't your type." I blurt out.
"I know." He says without looking at me.
When I look over, he's smiling.

-

"And then, she told me I looked like a bitch. Who says that?"
Maria.
She never.
Stops.
Talking.
I nod.
"Yeah, crazy." I respond.
"So, I told her-"
"Caroline, 12 requested you. Looks like you'll be getting that raise soon." Kate walks in.
My heart jumps.
I tie back my hair and rush over to the table.
And there they are.
"You requested me?" I ask them.
"Well, Calum couldn't get enough of the spaghetti." Luke says.
"Or of Caroline." Michael responds.
I laugh a little.
"So, same as last time?" I ask them.
They all nod.
I go back to the kitchen, but Ashton follows me.
"What did you say to him?" He asks me.
"Who?" I ask as I hang up the orders.
"To Calum. He was mad yesterday."
I whip around and look at him.
"Mad? For what?"
"That's what I'd like to know."
I shrug.
"I thought we had a nice time."
I walk out with their drinks.
Ashton sits down, and Michael taps my shoulder.
"You know who's cute?" He asks me.
I roll my eyes.
"Oh, who?"
"That Maria girl."
I laugh.
"Too bad she's gay." I say.
His eyes widen.
"You're lying."
I shake my head.
"Would I lie to you?"
"Caroline, you should come over. Movie night." Ash says.
I laugh.
"Maybe some other time." I say.
"Please..." He begs and nods at Calum.
I shake my head.
"Fine, whatever."

-

I walk into their giant hotel suite.
Very nice.
I'm impressed.
I see a blonde girl sitting in the corner of the room, drinking a glass of wine.
"Ash!" She jumps up and hugs him.
Whoa there.
"Hey, Case. This is Caroline." He says.
She smiles and hugs me.
"Ash told me about your little date. I laughed." She says.
I laugh a little.
"So, you two are..."
She nods.
"Yeah, we've been together over a year." She says.
"I had no clue." I look up at Ashton.
He shrugs.
"Sorry."
"He's always helping out Cal." Casey says.
"Okay, we've decided on batman since you three are having a little potluck!" Michael shouts.
"And because Luke is a pussy!" Calum shouts.
I laugh and sit on the couch next to Calum.
He stiffens and then relaxes.
After the movie is finished, I check the time.
Shit, it's almost 2 am.
"Thanks for inviting me, guys. I really need to get home." I stand up.
"Bye, Caroline!" Casey waves to me.
"You're not taking a cab, are you?" Calum asks.
I turn around and nod.
"I'm not walking. Not this late." I say.
"Of course not. Let me drive you." He stands up and puts his jacket on.
I wave to everyone and follow him outside.
Cold air hits me as soon as we get on the street.
We walk around to the back of the hotel where his car is parked.
A Cadillac.
Nice choice, Calum.
I climb in and turn the heater on.
He laughs.
"What?" I ask as I rub my arms.
"Go ahead, make yourself comfortable." He says as he pulls out.
"Sorry." I say.
"I'm kidding. Are you warm enough?" He asks.
I nod.
"Yeah, thanks."
He stays quiet for a while.
"So, did I pass Ashton's little test for you?" I finally ask him.
I can see him smirking out of the corner of my eye.
"You're getting there."

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