Troubled Sincerity

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Chapter 13 | Fruity Pebbles

After Riley walked away, Mark turned to face me.

“Come on, say it.” He sighs.

“Say what?” I ask causally.

“It bothers you that she’s going out with Dylan.”

I give mark an incredulous look. “It absolutely does not.”

“I saw the look you gave her.” He challenges. “It’s alright if it bothers you. I know you and Dylan have a past, and Riley is your best friend. It’s natural to feel a little taken aback.” He shrugs.

“How are you so calm about this? If it were last year, you would’ve had a meltdown.” I cautiously chuckle.

He only smiles at me. “I’ve grown a lot since last year and over the summer, Nave. I don’t want to be that person anymore. I want to be different. I want us to be different than last year. I really want this to work out between us, because there is literally nobody else on this fucking earth that I want to be with every single day.”

My eyes widen at his adorable confession, so I lean up and kiss the life out of him.

“I will admit, it feels a little weird knowing that Dylan is going out with Riley, even as just friends. But you are the only guy that I want, now and forever.” I shyly smile at the word ‘forever’. I’ve never used that word before with anyone, not even back when I was with Connor.

Could Mark and I be together forever? Is that even humanly possible? Could we grow old, get married and have an entire family together?

Okay, brain, slow down.

“Forever sounds fucking amazing.” Mark agrees with a nod, and my insides melt.

“You wanna stay at my place tonight? We can watch Netflix.” I smirk while wrapping my arms around his neck.

“Oh, you wanna Netflix and chill huh? I’m so down.” He laughs before kissing the tip of my nose playfully.

I roll my eyes but can’t hide the smile that’s been on my face since this morning. I’ve never felt a happiness this strong before. It’s like being with Mark makes more sense than anything else in my entire life. It’s almost as if we were meant to be together, no matter what obstacles we face. We’ve come such a long way already since last year, and I can’t wait to grow even more with him.

We’re both just better people when we’re together.

“Let’s go you nut.” I smile as we both walk to his car and get inside.

The entire ride home is spent singing along to the radio, and trying to decide what we want to eat for dinner. We end up stopping at a local Chinese place and grabbing take-out, because we both wanted to eat at home.

I hope Mark hasn’t gotten too comfortable in his dorm room, because I have a feeling he won’t be spending much time there anymore. Although I’m sure Greg, Mark’s roommate, is grateful to have the dorm to himself.

| Riley’s POV |

It’s seven-thirty when I hear Mark and Naveah pull up. I’m already dressed and sitting in the living room, waiting on Dylan to pick me up for dinner.

When they both walk inside, Mark takes their bags of food into the kitchen, leaving me alone with Naveah.

“Hey, so are you really okay with this?” I ask calmly, turning my attention to Naveah as she walks over and sits beside me.

“I mean it’s a little weird, but yeah I’m fine with it. And listen, if you like Dylan, I don’t want you to hold back because of me. I’m more than happy with Mark, and I don’t want to stand in the way of your happiness.” She says with a smile.

Wow, she’s taking this a lot better than I thought.

“I don’t know if I like him.” I say honestly, because I truly don’t. “I mean he’s hot, sure, but we’ve never really talked all that much. We hardly talked back in Europe either.”

“Well, if sparks fly tonight, I want you to do whatever makes you happy. Oh and tell Dylan I’m glad he’s trying to move on. I feel terrible about how things went down between us, it was never my intention to hurt him, I just got so caught up in Mark again that I disregarded Dylan completely and that wasn’t cool.” I watch as she frowns.

“I understand. You can’t help how you truly feel, and I know you’re in love with Mark.” I nod, completely understanding how she feels. “Nobody can fault you for your feelings.”

“Thank you for saying that. It actually makes me feel a little better.” She chuckles nervously. “After last year, I’m just so tired of being judged, I guess I just like knowing that I’m not a complete horrible person.”

“You’re not a horrible person, Naveah. Sometimes naïve, but never horrible.” I smirk as she laughs in response.

“Well thanks for that, I think. Anyway, go have fun tonight! Don’t worry, I won’t wait up.” She winks at me before standing up to go meet Mark in the kitchen.

I’m actually glad I’m leaving. One can only take the sounds of sex so much before they lose their minds.

It’s five minutes before eight, when Dylan knocks on the door.

I open the door and he steps inside, just as Naveah and Mark leave the kitchen.

I see Dylan glare in their direction, as they carelessly walk down the hall and into Naveah’s bedroom. Naveah doesn’t even give Dylan a glance, and I think that pissed him off by his facial expression.

I snap my fingers in Dylan’s face. “Ready to go, or do you wanna stay here and continue to glare in their direction all night?”

Dylan chuckles, but then his eyes darken as he looks up and down my body.

This tight, black dress is one of my favorites. It does wonders for my body of curves. My red pumps and red lips pair perfectly with the entire outfit, if I do say so myself.

“Wow, you look perfect.” Dylan comments in a deep voice.

“Easy tiger, if you think for a second you’re getting laid tonight, you can think again.” I say smugly as I pass him and walk outside. He follows me outside and shuts the apartment door behind him.

“The thought never crossed my mind.” He lies, a knowing smile on his face.

“Right, and my name is Alfred and I’m a one legged pirate.” I deadpan with a blank look.

Dylan laughs loudly as he opens the passenger car door for me.

“You’re wild, but I think I like it.” He says smoothly after sitting inside the car himself.

“Sweetheart, you have no idea.” I smirk as he pulls away from the curb and starts driving down the road. It takes us about fifteen minutes to make it to a nearby restaurant, and after Dylan opens the car door for me, I immediately glare.

“What did I tell you before I agreed to this?” I stare at him angrily.

His eyes look at the sign in front of the restaurant. “Honestly it’s the closest restaurant around, and I didn’t feel like googling any other places. Besides, Mark isn’t even working tonight.”

“You’re lucky he isn’t, or I would be punching you in the face right now.” I say simply.

“Wow, so violent. I think I like you even more now.” He smirks as he takes my hand and leads me to the front door of the restaurant.

“Yeah, yeah, eat your heart out.” I say dryly, allowing him to open the door for me. I walk inside and he follows, telling the host that we would like a table for two.

After the server takes our drink orders, he leaves Dylan and me alone for a bit.

“I’m happy you agreed to come tonight, I was worried.” Dylan begins the conversation.

“Of course you were. I’m sure this has absolutely nothing to do with Naveah.” I reply a little too harsh.

“I swear to you, it doesn’t. At least not anymore.” He finally admits.

“I knew it.” I glare, throwing my straw wrapper at his head.

“Thanks for that.” He rolls his eyes. “I’m serious though. I really do like you, Riley, and I’m not just saying that because I think I’m going to get laid. I have no intentions on doing anything like that, I honestly just want to get to know you better.” He explains.

I eye him. “I accept that.”

“Good, now, let’s order. I’m starving.”

We both look over the menu and order our dinner. Dylan went for a simple steak dinner, while I settled on a pasta dish. We both devoured our food, while laughing at anything and nothing at all. We were able to talk freely, and about whatever we wanted. I honestly found myself enjoying the night, as it came to its end.

After Dylan paid, we left Ashlynn’s and started to drive home. I knew Lucy was staying at a friend’s dorm room tonight, so they could work on a class project together, and I honestly didn’t want to be home alone so that I could listen to Mark and Naveah have sex all night.

“Can we go back to your place?” I find myself asking.

Dylan nods and turns down a different street. After a few more minutes, we end up at his place and he leads me to the front door. We both step inside and he turns to shut the front door, locking it.

“What made you want to come over here, love?” He asks with a smile.

“Not what you’re thinking… I just didn’t wanna be stuck at home with them.”

“Mark and Naveah?” He asks dryly.

I nod.

“Well, you can have my bed, and I’ll sleep on the couch.” He smiles while walking over to the hall closet. He pulls out a blanket and pillow and drops them on the couch for himself.

“Well, I wasn’t planning on going to bed just yet. Do you have a movie or something we can watch?” I smirk as I take a seat on the couch.

“Sure, be right back.”

He walks down the hall to his bedroom, I assume, and doesn’t come back for a couple minutes.

When he does return, he hands me a small stack of DVD’s and tells me to pick one. I look through them, not surprised to see a lot of action and comedy, but eventually I pick Dirty Grandpa with Robert De Niro.

Halfway through the movie, I must have fallen asleep, because when I wake up I’m still on the couch with an arm around me.

I look up to see Dylan fast asleep, his light snores just barely filling the quiet room. I reach forward and turn the TV off, and debate on whether I should move to his bedroom to sleep alone.

I watch his face, and notice how peaceful it is. He’s got a slight smile on his lips as he sleeps, his chest rising and falling at a normal pace. I catch myself smiling at him, taking in all his features.

Sure, he’s probably only using me as a rebound after Naveah, but I can’t get myself to say that I don’t like him. He’s funny, and sometimes a smart ass, but he’s genuinely nice to me and I haven’t had that in a long time.

Right before I met Naveah last year, I had just broken up with my ex of three years. We met in sophomore year, and were glued to the hip practically all the time. His family knew my family, and our parents trusted us together. We always had sleepovers at each other’s house, and sometimes he would earn money from his parents just to take me out to eat or to a movie. Eventually though, he got a job and met some new friends.

One of those friends, was a girl named Venus. Odd name, but he seemed to really like her. They worked together, and I noticed him slowly starting to spend more time at work than with me. He started taking extra shifts, even on the weekends, so the only time I ever really got to see him was at school in between classes.

Right before our three year anniversary, he texted me and told me he thought we should see other people. Yes, a text. He didn’t even bother to tell me face to face, or even by a phone call. All I got was a text telling me he just didn’t feel the same and that he was bored of the routine.

In simple terms, he was bored of me.

Not even a week later, I saw that he and Venus were a couple.

It took him a week to get over everything we went through over the course of three years. It hurt, it really hurt a lot and to be completely honest, I’m still recovering.

I dyed my hair black, changed my wardrobe, and met my now best friends all in the course of a couple weeks. I was surprised when they invited me to go to Europe with them. I had to beg my father to pay for my ticket, and to give me some extra spending money, just so I could go with them. He almost wasn’t going to let me, but then he told me that it would be my senior gift, due to how expensive it was.

Europe was exactly what I needed to forget all about Tommy. I never told the girls, but them befriending me, saved me.

I never used to be this outgoing or bold, but getting your heart broken, changes you.

I told myself the day Tommy broke up with me, that I wouldn’t be boring anymore, and that I sure as shit wouldn’t let another guy hurt me the way that Tommy did.

I made a vow to myself, but as I sit here in the dark, staring at Dylan’s sleeping face… I can’t help but feel as though I make break that vow.

Dylan stirs in his sleep, and eventually his eyes open.

“Hey.” I smile sheepishly. “I totally wasn’t watching you or anything.”

“Good to know, creep.” He smirks playfully. “You hungry?”

“What? It’s the middle of the night.” I laugh. “We had a pretty big dinner, how can you be hungry?”

“I’m a man.” He replies simply. “I’ve got different cereals if you’re interested.”

At the mention of cereal, my favorite midnight snack, I leap up and rush into the kitchen. I hear Dylan chuckle while following me. He points to the cabinet next to the fridge, and I open it to find at least four different boxes of cereal.

“You don’t cook much, do you?” I tease.

He only shrugs. “I just love cereal.”

I roll my eyes, but snag the box of fruity pebbles, and take two bowls from the sink rack. He points to the drawer with his silverware, and I take out two spoons before joining him at the table.

It’s two in the morning, and I’m eating cereal with Dylan at his apartment. He tries his best to smile at me with a mouth full of cereal, and I can’t help but snort as my own mouth is filled to the brim with the delicious fruity delight.

Tommy, who?

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