Sky Full of Stars


Instead of going with Jamie all the way over to their parents' adjacent homes, Calista has him drop her off at her brother's house on the way. Casey and his family live in a dark green wooden cottage with a small front yard and a narrow sidewalk winding up to the sunshine yellow front door with its little flower boxes on each side. Both his truck and his wife Emily's car are parked in the driveway and she can faintly hear the sound of her nephew Oliver's favorite cartoon on the television even from out on the front stoop. She takes a deep breath before she raises her fist to knock and within fifteen seconds, the door swings open and she's face to face with her surprised sister in law.

"Calista, hi!" Emily squeals, pulling her into a tight hug. "It's so good to see you!"

"It's good to see you too, Em," she says, laughing at the other woman's excitement.

"What the hell are you doing here?!" the older woman asks, pulling Calista into the house and closing the door behind her. "Casey didn't tell me you were coming home just yet."

"He didn't know," Calista shrugs, letting Emily lace her arm through hers and pull her along through the cozy living room that's empty at the moment even though the television is on full blast and there are several little wooden cars sitting atop the coffee table, abandoned. "It wasn't really planned."

"Oh, even better! I just put Ollie down for his nap so we have some time to catch up! Babe, look who's here," Emily announces as they cross the doorway into the kitchen.

Casey is sitting at the little round table in the breakfast nook area with his nose in a book and his hand buried in a bag of trail mix and his head pops up immediately at his wife's words. "Cali, what the fuck? You didn't tell me you were coming."

"I know, I just-....missed home, I guess."

"Everything okay?" he asks, immediately suspicious.

"Yeah, fine."

"Did Tyler come with you?"

"Uh, no, he's still in Dallas. I came with Jamie."

The fact that Tyler is not here with her only makes Casey scrutinize her more closely. She tries not to shift under his gaze but she knows he can tell that something is off and she just prays he won't ask her about it because she's not a great liar and she really doesn't want to have to tell him the whole ordeal. Luckily, Emily either doesn't notice or she does and purposely shifts the subject.

"Sit down, Calista!" she says, pulling out the chair next to her husband and motioning to another as she takes her seat. "Tell me all about your new job!"

Thankful for the distraction, Calista sits down at the table and begins telling her sister in law all about her job with the Mavericks, but Casey never butts into the conversation as he normally would and when she glances over at him, he's just watching her carefully, his brows furrowed in either frustration or concentration, or maybe both. She and Emily talk about little Ollie and all the new things he's doing and words he's saying since she last saw him at Christmas and still he says nothing. Emily makes a pot of coffee as she tells her about her classroom full of second graders and Casey still stares, not moving, his eyes never leaving his sister's face.

It's not until baby Ollie stats babbling loudly, awake from his nap, and Emily gets up from the table to retrieve him that Casey finally speaks. Calista watches her sister in law leave the kitchen to head down the hallway before turning her eyes to the empty mug on the table, avoiding his gaze across from her even though she can feel it. She fiddles with the mug, turns it in her hands just as a distraction but as the seconds tick by, she only feels more and more uneasy.

"Okay, tell me the truth," he finally says, and she surprisingly doesn't flinch, doesn't even look up.

"About what?"

"Oh come on, Cali. Don't play dumb with me. What happened with you and Tyler?"

"We're fine, Casey."

"You know you're a bad liar."

Calista sighs heavily, setting her mug down on the table in front of her and finally looking up at him. "We just....had a fight. That's all."

"He didn't hit you, did he?"

"No of course not, it wasn't-..." It wasn't that kind of argument she finishes in her head, and then "he'd never do that anyway."

"It's bullshit my mind even goes there and I have to ask that question."

"I know," she mutters guiltily. "But you don't have to worry about that with Tyler."

"I'd thought so," he sighs, leaning back in his chair and lacing his fingers over his stomach. "So? What happened with you two then?"

"It was stupid to begin with but my feelings were hurt and I didn't react how I should have. I didn't try to talk things through, I just-....I shut him out. And then," she pauses to huff out a breath and shake her head. "Then I came up here. I left him in Dallas without resolving anything."

"Does he even know you're here?"

"He does now, but I didn't tell him before I left."

Casey purses his lips at that, obviously disapproving, but he doesn't say as much and it's fine because she knows and agrees with anything he might have to say about it. She knows she shouldn't have left Dallas without settling anything or, at the very least, she should have told Tyler that she was leaving instead of just disappearing. She feels guilty enough about it without Casey having to add to that.

Emily emerges from the hallway with a sleepy little boy in her arms, his face buried in the side of her neck and his chubby fist clutching the little tan bear Calista bought him when he was born. "Say 'Hi, Auntie Cali'," Emily coos, gently poking his little cheek, and Ollie's head pops up only long enough to scrutinize his aunt for a moment before he drops it back down to his mother's shoulder. Emily takes her seat back at the table with Ollie on her lap and Calista just watches fondly as Casey reaches out to tickle the little boy's side, earning a giggle.

Spending the afternoon with her brother and his little family is exactly what she needed and by the time Casey drops her off at her parents' house around 6, her mood is lifted and she feels lighter than she has in days. Her father's truck is missing from its usual parking spot under the big tree in the front yard but her mother's little silver hatchback is where it always is, parked right next to the steps that lead to the kitchen door on the side of the house. She follows Casey up the front steps and through the front door, staying silent while he bellows at the top of his lungs, "Hey Ma, look what I brought!"

There's some clanging of dishes coming from the kitchen and then a confused "What?" before a graying auburn head appears in the doorway and a pair of dark brown eyes widen in surprise. "Oh my God!" her mother shrieks, flinging herself at Calista and wrapping her arms around her so tight she can barely breathe.

"Hey, Mom," Calista chokes out a laugh, hugging the older woman back.

"What are you doing here?" she asks, grabbing her by the shoulders and pulling her back to look at her. "Is Tyler with you? Are we going to get to meet him?"

"Sorry, not this time," Calista replies, throwing a guilty glance at her brother a few feet away. "He's in Dallas still."

"Oh, that's too bad. Well I'm so happy to see you anyway! It's been too long, Calista Rae. We've missed you."

"I know, Mom, I'm sorry. I missed you guys too."

"Well come on, come into the kitchen and sit with me. I'm just finishing up dinner. Your dad will be home soon. Casey, are you staying honey?"

"Nope, I gotta get back," he says, leaning in to kiss his mother's cheek. "Just delivering the precious cargo for you."

"You and Emily will come over tomorrow for dinner then? We'll have the whole family here."

"Sure," he agrees, throwing one arm around Calista and pulling her into a side hug. "Good to have you back, sis."

"Good to be back, Case."

He presses a kiss to her temple then releases her before he heads back out and once the door closes behind him, her mother ushers her into the kitchen and onto one of the bar stools across from the stove where something delicious smelling is currently simmering in a large pot. Calista just sits quietly, watching as her mother flits about the room grabbing things from various cupboards as she hums softly to herself. It reminds Calista of the many times she sat in that very spot, her sister perched on the stool next to her while they watched their mother cook and had their many many girl talks.

Her mother breaks her out of her reminiscing, asking about Jamie and Jordie, her new job, basically anything and everything going on in her life and it feels good to just be able to sit and have a conversation with her in person, not over Skype. She listens to her mother's updates on all the neighbors and her friends, the Taylors' daughter who is engaged now and the nice Davis kid from church who got into the University of British Columbia. They're so busy laughing at the ridiculous made up name the Andersens down the street gave their new baby boy that they don't hear the truck pull up into the driveway.

The kitchen door swings open and then her father steps inside, grumbling to himself about whatever it is he's reading on his phone until he glances up and sees her sitting there at the counter with a big smile on her face. "Baby!" he exclaims in surprise, dropping his phone and keys onto the counter carelessly and crossing the room to hug her tight. "What on earth? Did I forget you were coming home?"

She laughs, standing up from the stool to properly hug him back. "No, Dad, it was a surprise."

"It's so good to see you," he says, pulling back but keeping his arm around her shoulders. "Your mother has just been going on and on about how much she misses you."

"Are you sure that was me?" her mother interjects with a chuckle from where she's standing at the stove stirring the big pot.

He turns his head to look at Calista and winks, hugging her tighter before letting her go completely to walk over and kiss his wife's cheek on his way to the fridge. He grabs a beer, pops the top on it, and takes a long sip before he leans back against the fridge door and levels his gaze at her again.

“So, this new boy of yours," he begins, and she braces for whatever he could possibly have to say that Casey hasn't already. "I've heard what your brother thinks, and Randy, since he's met him."

"And?" she asks hesitantly.

"And I just have three more questions." He walks over to the kitchen table and pulls out a chair, motioning for her to sit down as he pulls out another one for himself. He waits until she's settled in the chair in front of him before he sets his beer down and folds his hands on top of the table. "Does he make you laugh?"

Calista smiles automatically, thinking back to the many times Tyler's goofy ass has had her doubled over in laughter at whatever ridiculous thing he happened to be doing, and nods her head.

"Does he treat you well?"

Again she nods because aside from his little post-series outing a few nights back, he's been pretty much a picture perfect boyfriend. And if she's honest, it goes back to even before they were anything.

"And do you love 'im?"

She feels a pang of guilt at that word. The bottom line is she does love him, has for longer than she could admit, and she'd actually believed him when he said he loved her too. Suddenly she wishes that he were here with her so that she could throw her arms around him and apologize better than just a stupid text message.

"Yeah, I do, Dad," she finally replies and she can see her mom break out into a huge grin where she's now turned to look at her daughter.

"Well then," he sighs, sharing a meaningful look with with wife before he looks back at her. "I guess he's okay with me."


Having the whole family back under one roof is so special, the last time being all the way back at Christmas. She always misses them but her heart aches the most when they're all together because she's already dreading the time when she has to leave and not see them again for a long time. She wishes Corinne were here to join in on the family meal, knows that if she were here, she'd be the one filling every pause or moment of silence with some joke or story. She misses her sister more than she could ever express and it's only magnified when the rest of the family is all gathered together without their missing piece.

The doorbell rings loudly in the foyer and her mother looks up from where she's cutting into the cheesecake that she made for their dessert. "Calista, honey, could you get that?"

She passes baby Oliver over to her brother and slides her chair back to get up then heads through the living room but when she pulls the door open, her eyes widen in surprise at who's standing on the other side.

"Tyler?" He's the last person she expected to see standing on the front lawn of her childhood home, thousands of miles from where she left him. "W-what are you doing here?"

"You know," he starts, hoisting his leather duffel bag higher onto his shoulder and slipping his hands into the pockets of his gray jacket. "This is the second time in less than a year that you've left the country to get away from me."

She bites her lip and looks away from his eyes, feeling guilty. "I'm sorry I left without telling you."

"Can't say I blame you. I mean, me even coming here is kind of a dick move since you asked for some time."

A pained expression crosses her features and she shakes her head, flinging herself down the steps to wrap her arms around his waist and bury her face in his shoulder. "I'm glad you're here," she mumbles into the soft fabric of his shirt. He freezes up for a moment, taken aback by her reaction, before his arms snake their way around her back and he hugs her tightly to him, pressing kisses into her hair.

"I'm so sorry," he says, rubbing his hand up and down her back soothingly. "I was an idiot."

"I'm sorry, the way I reacted-"

"No, Calista," he interrupts, grabbing her shoulders and pulling her back from him so that he can look at her. "No way. I was way out of line and no loss excuses that."

Her eyes are glassy with unshed tears and as he reaches up to cradle her face in both his hands, she closes them, letting a few strays slip down her cheeks. "Let's never fight again," she whispers, and he leans in press his lips to hers before pulling her back into his chest in a tight hug.


With both of them reluctant to let go of each other, they stay locked in their embrace as the moments pass but it's not long until Casey comes looking for her, wondering what's keeping her. "Cali, what the fuck's taking you so long?" she hears just before the front door swings all the way open and her big brother's head appears, looking both surprised and confused. "Oh....uh, Tyler?"

Tyler only throws him a quick wave, unwilling to let go or even move too much from his current position. “Can we have like two more minutes please?” Calista says, drawing Casey's attention to the fact that he's interrupting a fucking reunion here and he needs to buzz off like now.

He rolls his eyes. “Fine, but don’t be too long, you know how Mom is.”

Once he disappears back into the house, she loosens her hold on Tyler and looks up at him, brows raised. “So? Are you prepared to meet the parents?”

“Duh, you think I came all this way just for you?” He asks, playfully pushing her to the side and jogging up the front steps.

“Oh!” She laughs in surprise, following him up onto the porch and grabbing the door handle. “Well if you’re up to it.”

She opens the door and steps into the foyer then turns to look back at him where he’s still standing rooted to the spot. She holds her hand out for him to take but when he does, he pulls her back to him, looking suddenly serious as his eyes bore into hers.

"I love you, Calista."

She breaks out into a grin, unable to contain the happy tears that spring up in her eyes. "Say it again," she whispers, squeezing the hand that's holding onto hers so tight.

Tyler chuckles at that. "I said--" He pauses to peck her lips. "I. Love. You."

"I am definitely never gonna get tired of hearing that," Calista sighs, draping her arms around his neck to keep his face at her level. "And I love you too."
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