Chapter 3- The Rules
For 3 days after the wedding I was still floating on cloud nine. Jax was amazing and I was waiting for his call to set up our date. I hoped it would be soon. I tried not to feel down about the fact it had been more than a few days. Maybe he was just super busy and was waiting for the right time. We’d had such a connection, one I’d never felt before and I was anxious to explore this new found chemistry.
Adrienne and Olivia came into the bakery. Since El was on her honeymoon we were short one. But I got each a cup of coffee and a pastry. I stood next to the table sipping mine. “So how are El and Zane liking the Carribean?”
“Honestly I don’t know how much of it they’ll be seeing,” Adrienne said with a wink. I laughed as Olivia shook her head.
“I refuse to think of my sister and new brother in law having sex all day.” She shuddered again. We laughed at her reaction.
“I’m sure they’ll find time to do other things. They have such a great connection. It’s not always about the sex.”
Olivia beamed at me, as if waiting for an opening. “Speaking of connections, I think I might have found someone!” Adrienne and I exchanged looks. Olivia, though gorgeous, hardly ever dated. She was very focused on her law career and said dating room up time, energy, and available brain space that could be better put to use.
“Why the change in heart?” I asked.
Liv sighed dreamily. “He’s just so sweet. He’s smart and caring and just delicious. It just felt right. We met at the rehearsal but I gave him my number after the wedding and we are going on a date next week!” I felt a smile spread over my face as I felt genuine happiness for my friend.
“That’s great Liv! I hope it really goes well for you.”
“Yeah,” Adrienne chimes in, “you need to get laid.”
Olivia flushed. “It’s not all about the sex you guys! I want a man that an be supportive of me and my career. A man who is responsible and caring. One who sees my brains as well as my beauty.”
“We know Liv, you know how Adrienne’s mind works.”
“Guilty,” she said with a shrug.
Olivia relaxed a bit back into her seat. A flush spread over her cheeks as she fiddled with her fingers. “I let him kiss me though.” Our jaws dropped. For Olivia this was massive. Usually it took her 3-4 dates to let a guy kiss her. Usually after that she called it off. We all suspected she had a fear of commitment.
“Liv...that’s huge!” I said excitedly. “How was it?”
She sighed again, her eyes taking on a far off quality as she smiled softly. “It was...dreamy.” Adrienne and I exchanged glances. We knew we wouldn’t get much more out of Liv. She was a very private person and very shy when it came to intimate details, especially her own. We all stayed quiet for a moment, each lost in our own thoughts. Finally I broke the silence.
“Well, I think I met The One,” I said casually. Both sets of eyes snapped to attention on my face.
“The One? What is going on here?!” Adrienne asked incredulously.
I nodded gently, unable to stop the stupid grin crossing my face. “I met him at El and Zane’s rehearsal dinner. Then we really hit it off at the wedding. I’m supposed to be hearing from him soon to set up a real date. I’m so excited you guys,” I gushed. “He was so sweet and romantic. I could really see myself falling for him.”
Adrienne looked back and forth between me and Liv. “Where were all these delicious and perfect single men at the rehearsal? Was there a sign or a booth?” I laughed at her questions.
“If only. No it just happened. Like lighting you know.” I shrugged as I took a sip of my coffee. It had gone cold while we talked. I walked over to the sink and dumped it, filling it with fresh coffee and 4 sugars and 2 creams before bringing the pot over to my friends. I was really thankful we were the only ones in the shop so we could have this conversation.
Both my friends sipped their coffee. Adrienne picked up her turnover and took a bit into the flaky pastry. She let out a hard moan. “God these are better than sex.” I looked at her alarmed.
“What kind of sex are you having if these are better?”
She shrugged gently. “Not much that’s for sure.” I felt my brow furrow.
“Is everything ok between you and Blake?” I asked softly. I wanted her to confide in us but only if she was ready. She shrugged again, sipping more coffee.
“He’s just been weird lately. When I ask about the future or what we are doing he gets all shifty. It’s like he doesn’t want to move forward at all. We’ve been in this relationship almost 3 years now and I want to know it’s going somewhere, you know?” Olivia and I nodded gently we didn’t want to scare her if she was willing to open up. Adrienne sighed heavily, leaning back in her chair. “I don’t know hopefully we can have a conversation here soon. I think we need it.”
I nodded grabbing Adrienne’s hand gently. “We are here if you need anything.”
She smiled ruefully. “I wouldn’t want to bring you two, caught up in the frenzy of new lust, down would I? Ok now spill. Who are these mystery men?”
I glanced over at Olivia smiling. She did the same thing, both of us waiting for the other. I couldn’t wait anymore, I had to get it out. “Jax!” I said excitedly as at the same time I heard Olivia call out, “Jax!”
Adrienne’s eyes went wide as she looked back and forth between the two of us. “Uh oh...” she mumbled softly. I felt a roaring in my ears. It was like my heart was pumping twice as fast and I could hear it rushing through my veins. I turned toward Liv, a shocked expression on her face.
“I’m sorry, did you say Jax?” I asked gently. Maybe I’d misheard. She nodded slowly. Oh shit. I turned back to Adrienne, confusion crossing my face. Jax had asked us both out on a date? I wasn’t special? I felt my lip trembling as these thoughts all crashed through my head. I turned back to the counter and set down my coffee. I picked up a wash rag and began wiping down the already clean counter. I needed to keep my hands busy to keep them from shaking.
“I...I don’t understand. Jax said he wanted to take me out on a date. Why would he ask you out too?” Silence filled the room after Olivia’s question. I found myself thinking the same thing. Why?
Adrienne piped up. “Guys look, he probably was into both of you and wants to see who he’s more compatible with. It’s not a crime right? I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt either of you....” she trailed off as neither of us made a move to say anything.
“Look, maybe one of us should just back out,” Olivia said calmly.
I found myself nodding. “That’s the most adult thing to do right. After all, we’re friends. That’s way more important than a guy right?” Olivia nodded. Her eyes finally meeting mine.
“I’m so glad you understand.” I felt my heart sink.
“So...whose stepping out of the way Liv?” I asked lightly. I had stopped wiping and was staring directly at her. She looked confused.
“I...I thought you were. Obviously I feel like with my dating record I stand a better chance at making a real go at a relationship with him,” she stated matter of factly. I felt my face go hot with anger.
“Just because my relationships tend to be more casual doesn’t mean I can’t make lasting relationship. You know how I feel about finding The One and I really think it could be Jax. I really think it would be beneficial for me to pursue this.” I saw the heat creeping up Olivia’s face too.
“So I’m just supposed to through away my chance at happiness because you have this gut feeling that guy you’ve met twice might be the prince to the Cinderella fairytale you worked out for yourself?” I flinched, closing my eyes briefly, feeling like I’d been slapped.
“Ok ladies listen. Let’s not fight. Why don’t you just have Jax choose if neither of you is willing to step aside.” Adrienne said calmly. We both snapped our attention to her.
“You mean like a competition?” I asked.
“Or like a bet?” Olivia chimes in.
Adrienne observed both of us. She sipped her coffee and shrugged again. “Look, you both obviously really like him. Why not set some rules for dating him. Then once you guys see who he’s into then the other can step off. Easy.” She picked up her pastry and finished it in one bite.
I looked at Olivia. Her eyes looked distant, like she was mulling things over. I stood straight, my arms crossed over my chest. There was no way I was stepping down. “I think that sounds fair,” I said roughly. Olivia looked up at me, her eyes hardening.
“So the rules.” I nodded my head, coming out from behind the counter to stand closer to her. Of course Olivia is all about rules. I’m sure she’d already thought of 100. I crossed my arms over my chest. “Number 1. No Sex.” I felt my face heat up. That was a dig at me. Liv knew I enjoyed casual sex and that I would want to use it as a means to get closer to Jax. I nodded slightly.
“Done. Rule 2. We don’t tell Jax any of this.”
Olivia nodded in agreement. “Rule 3. We see him once a week each.” My jaw dropped.
“Once a week? What the hell?”
She held up her hand. “We can text or call but only a physical date once a week.” I felt like my skin was on fire. I wanted to scream or yell or throw something. Instead I nodded once, gulping down my anger.
“Rule 4. When he declares one of us his girlfriend, the other steps away calmly and rationally.”
“Listen here, I can be calm and rational. But even without sex at my disposal don’t be so sure he’s going to choose you.” I clenched my hands into fists at my sides. I didn’t like what Liv was insinuating.
“And rule 5,” Adrienne piped in, “you guys are friends. First and foremost. Don’t let a guy ruin the bond between you.” I felt myself seething. But Adrienne was right. I didn’t really want to lose Liv even though I was majorly pissed at the moment. I stared at her and she stared at me unblinkingly. Finally she nodded. “Agreed.” I took a deep breath.
Liv nodded and turned to pick up her phone. “I’ll write it out and bring it to you. You can sign it and I’ll return a copy to you.”
“What is this a contract?!”
“I’m a lawyer dear, contracts just help me feel better. In control.”
“Maybe you need to lose some of that control,” I muttered under my breath.
“Excuse me?” She said rudely. I smiled at her.
“It’s nice to have control. Go ahead and write it up. I’ll sign. And I’ll uphold my end of it. Even if we just met, I’m confident in our connection.”
Lib smiled coldly at me. “Funny enough, so am I. And I don’t like to lose.” We stared at each other for a few moments neither wanting to look away first. Finally Adrienne cleared her throat.
“Maybe shake on it for now?” We both paused before reaching out for the others hand. We shook once, squeezing each other’s hands tightly before letting go.
“Good luck,” Olivia said icily, if not outright unfriendly.
“Well, all is fair in love and war right.”
I heard Adrienne whistle softly, “Well, this is going to get bad isn’t it?”