As soon as they stepped out of the car when they reached a local mall, a brisk wind blew right through them, making Calla shiver. Gary took his jacket off and wrapped it around her shoulders, resting his hand on her arm and rubbing.
“You’ll get cold,” Calla said, trying to remove the jacket.
“I have a long sleeve on, I’m fine,” Gary chuckled.
She nodded an unsure nod and followed him to the phone store. Jay and Joe Don went off on their own, leaving her and Gary alone. Calla could feel those butterflies again as he took her hand and walked around the phone store with her.
“Which phone do you want?” he asked, looking at the pricey ones. “You can have whichever one you want. Don’t worry about the cost.”
Calla released his hand and leaned against the display case to get a closer look at the phone she had hoped to own one day. Her eyes lightly up like a child’s on Christmas day. He was bewitched by her child-like actions, as he’s never seen her act like this before. Gary couldn’t help but smile as she looked at every phone she seemed to like.
“This one,” she said slowly as if she was expecting him to say no.
There it was, that guard he was trying to tear down was open once again. And he knew he had to reassure her that he wasn’t the bad guy. He nodded with a grin and let someone know that was the phone he wanted.
“Would you like a phone case and screen protector?” the sales associate asked with a big grin.
Calla nodded slowly and looked at Gary to make sure it was okay. He nodded and the sales person presented a few cases that she thought Calla would like.
“Do you have any Rascal Flatts cases?” Calla asked randomly, causing Gary to laugh a little too loud.
The associate blinked in disbelief, her mouth hanging open. “No… We don’t.”
“That’s fine… I’ll take this blue one then,” Calla said, blushing with a delicate sweetness.
Gary lowered his head and continued to chuckle as quietly as he could, his hand over his mouth to muffle it. The sales person’s face was priceless. Calla playfully hit Gary on the chest and shook her head.
“Stop laughing at me,” she said, a laugh in her voice. “I forgot… who I was with.”
The sales person smiled and giggled, handing her their purchase. “Have a great day.”
“That was embarrassing,” Calla said, sighing and shaking her head.
Gary grinned childishly. “Yeah, but it was pretty funny.”
Once he received a smile from her he grasped her hand and entangled his fingers with her. She absentmindedly leaned into him, tightening her grip on his hand and smiled innocently. He could feel his heart racing at this gesture and wondered if she could feel his pulse.
“Let’s go shopping for some clothes,” he said, leading her to the nearest store.
“I don’t need clothes,” she said.
He looked at her and smirked. “I’ve noticed the small handbag you were carrying around. I’m sure you don’t have sixteen pairs of clothes that you stuffed in there.”
Calla rolled her eyes and followed. “I don’t want you spending so much money on me.”
Gary stopped in his tracks, causing her to run into him. He turned to look at her and bent over low enough to meet her eyes.
“I promised I would protect you. In that promise of protection, I give you my word that I will also take care of you,” he said, placing his palm on her winter chilled rosey cheek and stroking it with his thumb.
He found himself looking at her lips then back to her beautiful eyes. She held the gaze, a visible blush showing as he lingered there. He stood straight up and took her hand.
“Let’s shop,” he said.
She nodded and followed him. Calla noticed a few people staring at him. Gary didn’t seem to notice as they walked right past them into the women’s section. He picked up a shirt he thought would look good on her.
“Do you like plaid?” he asked, holding it up to her.
She smiled and nodded. “Very country. My favorite color is blue though.”
He put away the yellow shirt and grabbed a blue one and held it up to her with a cheesy smile. Calla grinned and took it gratefully. The group of girls that had been staring at him for a while now inches closer, they bumped into her and shot her a mean look.
Gary was watching over a rack of clothes and shook his head in annoyance at their actions. He continued to watch as one of them purposely shoved herself into Calla, causing herself to trip and fall on the floor.
“Hey, watch where you’re going, idiot,” the girl said angrily, standing to her feet with the help of her friend.
“I’m sorry,” Calla apologized.
Gary made his move and jumped in front of the girls as they got in Calla’s face. He put himself between them, his back to the girls.
“She might as well have stayed on the floor since she wants to stoop herself as low as being a dog,” Gary said so they could hear him. “Let’s move on.”
Calla glanced at the girls and saw their mouths hanging open in disbelief. She childishly stuck her tongue out at them, Gary chuckling and kissing her forehead.
“Guess they didn’t like that very much,” Calla said, putting her arm through his. “Let’s get me a jacket so you can have yours back. I’m sure you’re cold.”
He just smiled, enjoying Calla in this moment. Her personality was starting to shine through and he admired her more for it. She seemed to be an outgoing yet shy person at the same time. But there was so much to admire about her. He could possibly write a song about it, but it would be a long song.
“Hey guys,” Jay came up behind them in another store. “Finding everything?”
“So far so good. Almost done, then we can go for breakfast and then ride some horses. The breakfast place doesn’t open till about thirty minutes,” Gary said.
Jay nodded and looked at Calla. “You seem like you’re having a good time with Gary.”
She blushed with a nod and without a word. Jay nudged Gary and walked off, saying he’d meet them at the car in thirty minutes. Gary and Calla continued to walk around stores, picking up a few items here and there. Soon Calla needed to take a restroom break near a jewelry store and while she was in the restroom, Gary browsed the store.
“Gary LeVox as I live and breath,” the store manager said, shaking his hand. “What brings you in here?”
“I’m looking for something special for a shy yet outgoing girl,” Gary said, looking at some necklaces. “Not too flashy and not too plain.”
“Hmm, I think I got just the thing,” the manager said, pointing out a pretty musical note necklace made of silver.
Gary looked closely at it and smiled. “How fast can you wrap this?”
The manager smiled and got to it, swiping his card and handing him the pretty wrapped box. Gary thanked him and shoved the box in his jacket pocket. He was glad he bought Calla her own jacket now.
“Ready to meet up with Jay and Joe Don?” Gary asked, leaning against a wall as Calla walked out the restroom.
They walked through the stores to get back to the door they had come in from and found Jay and Joe Don waiting by the car. Calla could feel excitement as they drove to the stables. She had never felt this happy… ever.