Living With The Boys (Journey to Love, #1)

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12. Invitations

Hope’s POV

As my birthday is coming up, in like a week and a half, I have no idea where I’m going to spend it or with whom. I know that because it is very close to Christmas that the guys would have already gone home and they live about an hour away from the university so I can’t make them travel back down to spend the day with me.

Even though it has been a week since Martin went on his date, that massive argument that I have no idea what it was about, things have gone back to normal. The house is calm again, there is no mention of anything that might have gone down and Mike wasn’t able to get anything out of Mark, as he insisted that everything was better than fine.

What has changed though, is that first date for Martin has turned into multiple and if I’m not mistaken it’s with different people every time. I should feel hurt or jealous, but the main thing I feel is worried about him. This is not the guy that I got to know or fell in love with so the sudden change makes me wonder what’s going on in his head.

It also made an impression on Mike as he said this was how Martin was before I moved in, way back in his first and second year when everyone goes a little bit over the top with the dating and relationships. He was only worried for a second though because of course Martin said that everything was fine and that he had spoken to me, it’s nice to know that now I really do have people looking out for me and people who put my feelings first and sometimes above their own.

I really couldn’t have picked a better house to live in.

Back on the birthday issue, I am finally turning 18 and even though I am probably a year younger or more than everyone in my classes, I feel a lot older in a lot of ways. I am confused as to what I want to do because on one hand I should spend it getting drunk and being out, but on the other I just want to stay in and make love all day and night long.

I wish that there wasn’t such pressure on young people to be a certain way, I want to be able to look back on this birthday and say that it was one of the best I have ever had. I want to have many stories of the crazy things I have done at university, because everyone else seems to have them in bucket loads.

I also know that the more time I spend thinking about this, the more pathetic it is starting to become. There are much more important things that I could be doing or thinking about yet here I am worrying about how I want to spend my birthday. A younger me would have laughed if she knew that there would come a time when worrying about my birthday would be the most pressing issue.

I wish that I could go back and give her some advice, warn her about what is yet to come but then I realise a couple of things. Firstly, I am still so young and there are so many things that have yet happened to me so how could I possibly know that I have already passed the worst. Then there is the fact that I know everything I have been through has had a hidden positive in it, I didn’t see it for years later but I’m glad stuff has happened to me because then I wouldn’t think like this or have this inner strength of mine that I love.

This may also seem vain to think about how strong you are and so cliché to say that bad things happening are a lesson in disguise, but fighting to see the good in certain situations is not easy. Finally when you start to see things differently little by little, you surprise yourself at how far you have come and sometimes you have to remind yourself because change happens very slowly, so slowly that day to day you don’t realise you have changed until months after.

I have this weird tendency to go into very deep thoughts when I should be relaxing. Like right now I should be watching the movie but I have somehow started thinking about how I have grown and the kind of person I have become. Of course that is probably linked to the fact that last week I did once again start writing my journal, since things are a little slow right now there aren’t pages and pages of writing but it has helped me put some things in order, like I thought it would.

I don’t even have an idea what movie we’re watching right now. Lily has come over to hang out for a little while before she goes home tomorrow. She has stayed back for an extra week to spend some time with her flatmates and me before she is gone for nearly a month back home. At least she has her parents and a cute little puppy waiting for her, I have hateful foster parents and a very creepy foster brother. I guess it could be worse.

I think Lily can see that I am no longer paying any attention to the movie because as she meets my gaze and signals that she wants to go to the kitchen. The guys of course are glued to the screen as we’re watching some action movie and nothing is going to distract them away from it so it’s a good time as any to slip away.

Thankfully in the kitchen you can’t hear as much of the shooting and screaming going on in the movie, thankfully that means my headache is hopefully going to go away for a little while if I stay in the kitchen long enough.

“What is it with men and loud noise?” She asks as she refills her glass of whiskey and coke, of course leaning more towards the whiskey. Luckily living in a house means everyone buys alcohol and since we haven’t gone out that much, mainly because I can’t means we haven’t finished all it that is left in the house.

“I don’t know, I guess they like the thought of doing that but of course they can’t. Then they have the gall to complain about women reading romance books, it’s a fantasy at the end of the day.” I note as I sip my own water, as right now I’m trying to cut down on fizzy drinks because of how much it causes me to swell and bloat.

“Don’t think the guys are going to agree with you, but where’s Mark?” She asks and of course it’s going to make an impression that the guy who loves movies the most is missing. He goes to the movies every chance he gets, sometimes he even goes alone which I would never be able to do but I guess is love is that strong.

“He just said on the group chat that he can’t make it tonight.” I say and shrug because that is all anyone knows. It’s been excuses after excuses and when he is here, he is distracted and unusually cranky but I could give him a pass this time, they have had to live with me during my period which is definitely not a fun time.

“I don’t know them that well so I can’t really tell you if anything is wrong, but if you genuinely feel something is wrong then talk to him.” I could almost hear the boredom in her voice, she has said this exact same thing at least a couple of times in the past couple of days. Well, mainly texts in all caps but I can take the hint.

“He would have to actually be here for me to talk to him.” I of course find another excuse, I mean what are phones for? The guys are rubbing off on me as in I’m finding ways to avoid having the important conversations.

“Now you’re listing excuses, just talk to him! Whatever is going on can’t be that bad, I think you’re overreacting.” She says before taking a large sip of her drink, she doesn’t like to go slow and it doesn’t matter where or with who she is drinking. I absolutely love that about her!

“Well it’s a good thing I have you to push me back onto the right road, right?” I ask sarcastically but I know that she is looking out for me at the end of the day and much to her pleasure she is often right.

“Push, shove, whatever it takes babe.” She smiles and jokes with me by actually pushing me into the fridge.

“We should probably get back in there and finish the film.” I groan because as much as I love action movies, I love the ones that have comedy in them as well. This one we’re watching is just loud shooting and fast cars, nothing funny about either.

“How the fuck did you manage to snag all of them? You didn’t leave us poor peasants anyone!” She jokes once again as we’re walking into the living room just to embarrass me but of course she doesn’t know about the conversation I had with Martin. It is so tempting to talk to her and tell her everything but this is something that I just know I can’t break his trust with.

“You’re not exactly lonely, every guy loves you!” I reply back but quietly because I don’t want to get any glares from Mike or Martin, well mainly Mike as I have to sleep in the same bed as him. I also might have other plans for said bed tonight and I want him to be in the best mood possible, but with what I have planned I’m pretty sure that he will be afterwards.

“Well what can I say, I have the charm.” She jokes and rolls her eyes but of course she does, and any guy would be lucky to have her and to be with her. We are still very young so she has plenty of time to find someone to spend more than a couple of days or weeks with.

I know that I am very different to everyone else my age, all anyone seems to want right now is to increase their numbers and have fun with as many different people as they can. I see nothing wrong with that but I personally don’t enjoy the stress of meeting someone new and getting to know them. Other people love the thrill of flirting and meeting different people, while I crave the comfortable and long-term relationship.

I guess I have found that with the guys, but I guess right now I am only dating the brothers. I am as confused about this whole thing as when we started, it might have only started a month ago but it feels like a year as so many things have happened. Not only that but I have changed drastically as I think the guys have, but then I realise that I haven’t known them for such a long time for me to make assumptions like that.

The most confusing thing about the whole situation right now is that I have no idea if the twins know about Martin and the change between us all. I have heard enough of the problems the twins have had with women and I do not want to come between them or cause any type of tension between them at all.

I know that Lily is right and I am overthinking everything but I just can’t help it. There is no possible when four people are involved that someone is not going to get hurt when things get complicated. This whole thing had complicated written all over it right from the beginning, I was just too curious to never start this in the first place.

There is a reason that people spend their lives in couples, that’s complicated as it is when you put two different people and expect them to last. But when you add more people to the equation it just gets more complicated and like I am doing right now, you can drive yourself crazy thinking about what everyone else is doing and feeling. Or maybe that’s just me worrying too much about other people’s feelings.

Luckily, while in the kitchen we managed to lose about 10-15 minutes of the film meaning it will be over pretty soon. I would normally be into this film, or at least trying harder than I am right now but my mind is elsewhere.

“Is there any of the rice and chicken left?” Asks Mike out of nowhere and I have to remember that he had a shift at work this morning and he hasn’t eaten anything at all today, I feel almost like a mother or wife looking after the men of the house and making sure that they are all fed and taken care of.

“There should be enough for you left.” I reply and take in his grateful smile at the fact that I cooked and there is some left for him. I don’t miss the pointed look that Lily is giving me, she of course remembers about two weeks ago how I said those three little words and he freaked out, she has been pointing out to me that she thinks Mike does love but is too scared to say so, especially after how he reacted when I said the words.

“Thanks babe.” He replies, the last moment where I have his full attention before it’s back to the movie again. I can still feel Lily’s gaze on me but even though I do have a tendency to over react I am not going to read anything more into his words than they are, he’s a hungry guy and I cooked the food.

For the next half an hour I try to get back into the movie, and I manage to do so just in time for the epic fight seen at the end where nothing that is being shown on the screen is remotely going to happen in real life, but it’s nice to watch anyway. Sometimes I even find myself laughing at the scenes in movies because they’re that ridiculous.

As Lily gets a text from one of her flatmates to go out for drinks tonight, she is quick to leave after the movie but I know that her hasty exit is more due to the fact that she wants to leave me alone with Mike. Once again Martin also got a text about a date and I should be worried if he is dating different people as even by his previous standards this is a little worrying.

He does leave on his date but before that he makes sure to come and give me a kiss on the head, unlike last week when he just stormed off. The most important thing is that when he comes back he has a smile on his face so I am going to have to put off the need burning inside me that keeps pushing me to talk to him. I just want to know who he is dating and what they’re doing.

I’ve surprised myself by how well I have taken this whole situation, I thought that I would lose my shit or at least feel jealous of the people he is dating. I thought that it would take me weeks if not months for me to be okay with any of the dating other people and yet here I am wanting to know the gossip about his week of dates.

“Looks like it’s just us again tonight.” Mike notes as we now stare at the news that are on, cuddling up on the couch as we have once again been left alone, not that I mind one bit.

“It does seem to be happening a lot, not that I’m complaining.” I smile up at him, I don’t want him thinking that I don’t like how much time we’re spending together. We might not have the most exciting lives but I love being here with him and most of the time just sitting in silence but comfortable because he’s next to me. This is the kind of relationship I have always wanted.

“I would find out what’s happening with them but then that might give them the idea we want them at home.” He jokes and pulls me righter against him, I hate to be so cliché but it feels as though he has been working out. None of the guys are obsessed with the gym but of course they go from time to time, I just haven’t noticed Mike spending time upstairs or how he would find time to go when he has so much work.

I don’t really care how he finds the time as I’m enjoying the rewards, I love the feel of his muscles against me. I am the most curvy or muscular girl, I am just in the middle and even though of course there are areas I would love to tone up, for now I am happy with the way I am. It also helps that Mike loves me the way I am, okay, maybe not love but I know he is attracted to me.

“Well it might be fun if they were home to see this.” I say quietly with a smile on my face, I was planning on trying out some fun lingerie that Lily bought me for my birthday, as I won’t see her until weeks later but now that I’m here, I’m thinking that christening the couch will be just as fun.

“What? Us cuddling on the couch doing nothing is interesting?” He asks and I am so glad that sometimes he is clueless to the vibes I give off. I don’t know what is happening to my body but it seems like I want to rip his clothes off every time I see him, although I don’t see him complaining. I also don’t think he understands how many times during the day I think about having sex with him, I am certainly not sad at this new increased sex drive that I have.

“Who said we were only going to be cuddling?” I ask and bring my legs up on his lap, not yet moving to straddle him. I kind of want him to make the next move, I have given him the opening and now I want him to seal the deal.

“I did want to ask you something before we went upstairs.” He starts off and I thought that I was pretty transparent in what I wanted to do but it looks like he has something else on his mind.

“What is it?” I ask and I feel a little shit that here I am thinking about how I can take his clothes off when something is bothering him.

“I wanted to ask you if you wanted to spend Christmas with me. I know you don’t like being at home and staying there for long periods of time and I would love to spend the holidays with you.” He gets out quickly and to say I’m surprised would be an understatement.

“We’ve only known each other for a couple of months, are you sure you want to spend the holidays with me?” I ask because to many people this is a massive step in a relationship and also things could become very awkward. What I am going to say to his parents when they ask me how long we’ve been dating?

“I want to spend your birthday with you and the holidays together, I don’t care how long we’ve known each other. My parents know about you and they know I’m serious about you. They’re very glad that you’ve come along and taken me out of the Alyssa funk, and honestly I just don’t want to spend 2-3 weeks without you.” He explains and there really is no choice for me, of course I want to spend the holidays with him rather than being here alone or at home where I have to watch my back and feel uncomfortable.

“You’re sure that your parents would be okay with me staying the holidays?” I have to ask because even though he is inviting me, it is not his house and I don’t want to impose on their family if they don’t want me there.

“I’ve already talked to my mum and she is completely fine with it, she is actually really looking forward to meeting you.” He reassures me and I have to believe him, and if he wants to spend the holidays with me then I am not going to start listing all the things that could go wrong, because there are many.

“Then I guess I’m spending the holidays with you.” I say with a wide smile as I realise how big this is, I have never been this excited for a holiday ever, or at least since I can remember.

“Don’t forget your birthday, you still have to let me know what you want to do.” He comments and they have asked me many times what I want to do for my birthday since they found out that I am turning 18, finally, it feels like.

“You know I don’t really care how I spend my birthday, we can just go to dinner and see a movie. I don’t need anything really fancy.” I reply honestly and even though I was considering going out to a club for the first time, a chilled time at the cinema sounds a lot better. Although I don’t think I am going to be able to get away without going to a club when we come back, Lily has been dying to take me to one but of course we needed to wait till I was 18.

“Then that is what we will do.” He smiles that big smile that just melts me and he leans down to kiss me gently, but gently is not what I want right now. I might as well just accept that I constantly want to rip his clothes off and fuck him.

“What do you want to do now that we’re alone?” I ask quietly against his lips, holding onto his neck and playing with the short strands in the back. I love how calm and at home I feel when I am near him, nothing can beat this feeling.

“I think you already have something in mind.” He smirks against my lips as he grabs a hold of my hips and easily lifts me up onto his lap, so I am straddling his hips. I feel like punching the air as this is finally going where I want it to.

I lean down to kiss him, this time I have both of my hands on his neck holding him close as I want to touch every part of his skin. Even though I am wearing a thin tank top I feel as though my body is burning up, the need to have him touching me everywhere is overwhelming and overpowering, I feel as though I have no control over my own body anymore.

I never knew that it could feel like this, the burning need and tunnel vision when kissing someone. My hands trail down his front, feeling the bulging muscle there which is nice to feel but I could not give a crap if it was not there in the first place. I just want to feel his skin pressed against mine.

My urgent hands lift his shirt up and tug it off quickly, having no time to appreciate the sight that is his toned chest. His once relaxed state catches up with me, sensing the urgency in my body his fingers are quick to lift my own top off and throw it somewhere in the room.

Our mouths fuse together with a new-found sense of urgency and lust, going from cuddling to here. We have thrown gasoline on the slow burning fire and now only he can put it out. My nails lightly bite into his skin as my hips roll over his, feeling him harden underneath me causes my panties to dampen even more.

The heat coming from his body and mine overheating, makes me restless to get rid of the rest of our clothes. I can feel how wet I am and it’s getting uncomfortable, as my core tightens needing him inside me. My hands go straight to his zipper where I fumble with it, my hands shaking a little bit but not with nerves.

Hearing his groan when I wrap my hand around him spurs me on further. Just as I am about to tug his jeans down and move to the floor, I hear my phone vibrating and ringing. I ignore the first call as I have more important things on my hands right but in the next couple of seconds Mike’s phone starts ringing and both of them start constantly pinging with messages coming through.

I swear while Mike almost growls at the interruption but it must be something important for both of our phones to be blowing up. I take a moment to catch my breath before I reach behind me to grab my phone to see that I have missed calls and texts from Martin, asking us to call back ASAP.

I turn to look at Mike and see him staring at his phone in the same way, just confused and full of questions. “Did you also get a weird text from Martin asking us to call him ASAP?” I ask because what are the odds that different people are texting and phoning us at the exact same time in such an urgent manner.

“Yeah he says he needs us to come pick up Mark from the A&E.” He replies and anything going on before these messages is almost forgotten as now I’m worrying about Mark. Why is he in the hospital?

“Is he alright?” I ask quickly as I look around the room trying to find my top, there is no way that Mike is going alone.

“Yeah, he says he’s fine but has broken his hand because he got into a fight.” Mike closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose as he reads out further details of the messages Martin sent him.

“What do you mean he got in a fight? And what is Martin doing with him, isn’t he supposed to be on a date?” I ask a million questions as none of this makes no sense to me. I have so many things I need to know about this, it just does not seem like Mark to get into a fight and it’s also confusing how he didn’t call us himself to say that he needed us to come to the hospital.

“This is all I know, Martin is not giving me more. You’re going to have to ask them when we get there.” Mike replies as he dresses himself back up and grabs the keys to the car the guys all share, the prices on insurance don’t really allow for everyone to have a car and we rarely ever use it anyway.

“This is going to be good.” I say angrily as I button up my coat and get into the passenger seat, within a couple of moments we are on our way to pick up Martin and an injured Mark.

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