My Mate, My Best Friend

Epilogue #2: Narlie

Nathan’s POV:

“Carlie, can you pass me the rag,” I ask as I move a stack of washed dishes onto the counter.

She hands me the rag as the washes the last of tonight’s dishes. I begin drying the plates one by one. When she’s done washing, she picks up a rag and starts helping me.

“Do you really have to go tomorrow?” She wines.

“You know I do, beautiful,” I answer.

Carlie gave me a sad little pout before putting down the dishes and crashing into my arms. I set down the plate and the rag to wrap my arms around her. She snuggles into my chest.

“I only see you like two or three times a month.”

“I know, Carlie. But once we graduate, we can move in together back home. Then I’ll see you every day,” I gave her a kiss on the top of her head and continued, “Plus, we’ll be back with Lauren. We just have to get through this last year.”

She nodded into my chest. “I know… But it’s so hard not seeing you. Not seeing her or Rat-thony or mom and dad.”

I pulled away from her to look at her face. “Maybe we should visit home next weekend,” I suggested.

She remained quiet while she gave some thought before answering, “I can’t. I have to prepare for the fashion show that’s at the end of the month.”

I gave her an understanding smile. Going home was hard with all our responsibilities as college students.

I took Carlie’s hand in mine and led her to her bed. “How about we leave the rest of the dishes for tomorrow and watch a movie?” I asked as we sat down on her bed.

Her face instantly lifted into a bright smile. “Can we cuddle?” She asked excitedly.

I chuckled. “Of course.”

Carlie crawled into my arms, snuggling into me as I turned on the television and flipped through Netflix.

To Carlie’s request, I put on a cheesy rom-com for us to watch. The movie had a friends to lovers storyline, which reminded me of Carlie and I.

I thought back to when things first started to change for us. It was the night my family and I went over to her house for dinner. Carlie had been away from the dinner table for a long time. Her mom asked me to check her room and ask her to come back. When I did, I found Carlie crying on her bedroom floor.

“Carlie, what’s wrong?” I asked after I rushed to her.

“I’m not a baby anymore,” she wailed as she looked down at a photo in her hand. She had a box filled with photos next to her and a few loose photos lying on the carpet.

I looked to the photo on her hand. It was a young little girl, probably two or three years old, sitting on a dining chair with a bowl of mashed potatoes in front of her. I assumed that the little girl was Carlie. She could barely reach the table and had mashed potatoes smeared all over her face.

“Aww, Carlie. Everyone grows up,” I responded.

“I don’t want to. I wanna be a baby,” she insisted. “I wanna have my stubby little fingers and my chubby legs. I wanna be carried by mom and have a cute baby face.”

“How about this,” I begin and pick her up, making her squeal, “I may not be able to make you a baby again but I can carry you like one.”

“Yay! Mommy’s carrying me!”

I chuckled. “I’ve been given many nicknames, but ‘mommy’ is a first.”

Carlie didn’t respond; instead, she gasped and jumped out of my arms. She scrambled to her closet and exclaimed, “There’s more in there!”

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