Home > Caught Up in Her (Caught Up In Love 0.5)(6)

Caught Up in Her (Caught Up In Love 0.5)(6)
Author: Lauren Blakely

At some point that afternoon, I stopped thinking about Nate. Sure, in the back of mind there was that little nagging ball of guilt, a reminder that I’d need to man up and tell my friend I was having very unfriendly feelings toward his sister. But I found it far too easy to ignore that worry because so very much of my brain was occupied with thoughts of Kat, what she liked, how well we got along, how she laughed at my jokes, how she teased me right back, and how I was going to have to find ways to spend more time with her.

I’d become that guy falling hard for a girl.

That’s who I was that week, counting down the hours until our shared morning shift ended, and we went to the theater. It was our routine, our habit, right down to the popcorn, and the seats in the second row from the back. We worked our way through the marquee, seeing a thriller the next day, then catching a sci-fi picture, and after that we saw a movie with talking animals in it, starring a chipmunk as the lead character.

Kat laughed the whole time, and so did I. The fact that this girl had such a wild sense of humor was another chink in my armor.

When the final credits rolled, she stroked her chin and spoke in a deeper voice, adopting the persona of a pretentious movie critic doing a review show. “You know, Bob, this has shades of that talking raccoon movie that audiences fell in love with years ago. Do you recall John The Chattering Raccoon? It had similar themes, wouldn’t you say?”

I nodded as if she were intensely seriously. “Absolutely, Sally. Though I do have to say I feel John brought a bit more pathos to the lead role than the chipmunk did in this picture. A touch more empathy, do you think?”

She pretended to consider my question, staring thoughtfully at the ceiling, then returning her focus to me. “Might that have been because John had such a nice mask around his eyes?

Then she cracked up, a deep belly laugh where she placed her hands on her stomach as she laughed, and I couldn’t help myself. It was too fun to be with her. “You can’t deny the makeup people in John the Chattering Racoon did an excellent job,” I said because I wanted another laugh, and I got one.

We returned to our normal voices as we stood up and made our way out of the theater. “You’ve pretty much seen every movie, haven’t you?” I asked.

“I’ve seen a lot of movies.”

“Why? I mean, besides the obvious. That movies are fun. Why are you such a fan of movies? Don’t get me wrong. I love them too. But your love is intense.”

“Isn’t that a good enough reason? Just for entertainment?”

“Totally. So that’s the reason?”

“Sure,” she said with a little shrug that seemed to suggest there was more to it.

“All right, Kat Harper. What’s the story?” I asked as we walked down the street, the afternoon sun warming us. I wanted to know everything about her. I wanted to understand her. “Tell me where your love of movies comes from. I mean, where does it truly come from?”

She took a deep breath. “I do love movies for pure entertainment value. But I also love them because they kind of represent family to me, if you know what I mean?”

“Tell me. Why do they represent family to you?”

“All these big events in my life were marked by movies,” she said, as we walked past a local art gallery where a guy had set up an easel outside and was painting a vast open sky. “When Nate was in eighth grade and won the election for class president,” she began, and my gut twisted the slightest bit from the mention of her brother, but I pushed the feeling aside to listen to her story, “We all went to see the re-release of Raiders of the Lost Ark, because it was this great action adventure, and I gripped the armrest when Harrison Ford raced against the boulder. The time I was picked to design the cover of the junior high yearbook we went to see Ocean’s Eleven. That’s just how we celebrated things. I even remember when my grandmother died. We went to the memorial service. I was twelve and I read a poem at the service, and then we decided that we should see Elf. Which probably sounds like a weird thing to do after a funeral,” she said, lowering her voice a bit as if that was hard to say.

I reached for her arm, resting my hand against it briefly before I pulled away. “No, it doesn’t. Not at all.”

“It was really the perfect movie to see, because I think we all just needed to not be sad every second, you know?”

“It actually makes perfect sense,” I said, and she stopped walking and looked me in the eyes. This time, there was no flirting, no wink and a nod. Just a truly earnest and caring look in her deep brown eyes, as if she were grateful that I’d understood her.

“But I guess it all started with my mom. She’s a huge romantic comedy fan, so she started showing me all the great ones. Sleepless in Seattle. Love, Actually. Notting Hill. You’ve Got Mail,” she said and we resumed our pace. I wasn’t even sure where we were headed – to her house, to the beach, down the street. But I didn’t care. I was with her, and I didn’t want the afternoon to end.

“And do you still love romantic comedies?”

“I make jewelry. I drink caramel machiattos. I wear Hello Kitty to bed. Of course I love romantic comedies,” she said, and the second she spoke those last few words, I knew I had to seize the moment. To somehow turn these afternoons at the theater into the possibility of a real date. I’d deal with the barriers. I’d find a way to tell her brother. I knew I was treading in dangerous waters, but I was too far gone to swim back to shore.

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