Thirty-Six: Mason & Jenna
“Mase, I had no idea you were coming here,” I say as I close the door behind him. “Who’s looking after things at the office? With both bosses being gone, I assume meetings are needing some rescheduling.”
Mason nods his head slowly, “Yeah, I didn’t know I was coming until recently either. Spur of the moment decision, but I brought Ella along and she’s on the work tablet in the car right now, trying to get in contact with some business partners. I asked her to come in but she wanted to finish her calls in private first.”
Ella is here? My brows raise in surprise but I nod my head and try my best to act cool, in reality my thoughts are racing. Ella is here, Jenna is upstairs thinking that she and I are going to be together, and my little brother is here to fight for Jenna.
“I’ll go get her and tell her you’re here, then I’ll go outside to say hi to Ella while you and Jenna talk,” I tell Mason, waiting for his okay before I move, “You cool with that?”
Mason nods his head and smiles a little, “Yeah, yeah. It’ll give me a minute to pull myself together and plan what to say. Thanks, Tommy.”
Yeah, Tommy. Thanks for being a shitty brother.
I bang on the bathroom door waiting for Jenna to open. I hear her mumbling something like she’s almost done but I’m not waiting. I knock over and over until she finally answers.
Her hair is still wet but at least she’s dressed. She looks at me with an annoyed expression on her face, “Why do you have to be so persistent?”
“Mason is here,” I say simply. My anxiety has begun to run wild and I’m starting to think that maybe I jumped too fast with this.
Do I want Jenna? Yes. But do I want to hurt my little brother? Absolutely not. Family is supposed to come first but last night I wasn’t thinking that way, even this morning I hadn’t been - but the moment I saw Mason, I realized just how badly I fucked up.
“Mason?” Jenna pauses and I can see her face change. I don’t know if she’s feeling regret like I am, or if she’s just taken off guard but her mood changed instantly.
I nod my head, “Yes. He wants you back, Jen...”
“Oh my god... I didn’t think he would ever...” She grips onto her damp hair and looks at my pleading, “What are we going to do? How are we supposed to tell him that--”
“We’re not going to,” I interrupt her, shaking my head quickly. I refuse to make a bigger mistake than I already have, “You’re going to be with Mason, last night will stay between us and we will both move on with our lives.”
“What? You said that you wanted to--”
“I said it, and I meant it... at the time. But I just looked at my little brother standing there with flowers, ready to fight for his girl and I can’t destroy him like that. I won’t, Jenna.”
She’s hurt. She’s confused, and truthfully, I’m expecting a slap in the face or something but instead she shakes her head, looking at me with disgust.
“How dare you,” Her voice is shaky and her eyes glistening from the emotion she’s feeling, “You made me question everything! You made me relive old feelings that I had for you. Just so you could reject me one more time in your life?”
I sigh softly, her words stinging me, “I didn’t so it to reject you, Jen. I felt like I would be able to do this and not care but... the truth is that I can’t. I can’t knowingly hurt people I love and when it comes down to it, I love my little brother. I’m not going to be the reason he falls apart. This is what we need to do.”
Jenna’s expression is cold, she’s angry and I realize that she has considered this a lot more than I had. She was fully prepared to choose me over Mason, then I pushed her away, once again in my life.
“I can’t believe you. Honestly, Thomas - You were a jerk before but you actually just played me so damn good that it’s humiliating,” I stare at her while she begins to raise her voice at me, “You threw around empty promises and actually made me give up on my relationship with Mason emotionally just so you could what? See if I would jump at the opportunity to be with you?”
I shake my head, “It’s not like that.′
“But it is. You’re the same Thomas you always have been, only this time, I’m not sure I could ever look at you again.”
I spent our entire friendship hurting Jenna and when things had finally become good, I fucked things up all over again.
“I’m sorry, Jen.”
Instead of saying anything, she closes the bathroom door in my face and I take a deep breath.
God help me because I’ve gotten myself into some deep water.
I return downstairs to see Mason sitting on the couch, the flowers set on the coffee table. He looks in my direction and stands eagerly, “Is she coming down?”
I nod my head, “Yeah. She’s just finishing up in the bathroom.”
“Okay... wow, I’m more nervous than we I proposed to her,” Mason chuckles nervously and looks at Jenna’s engagement ring that he’s holding between his thumb and index finger, “I love her. Things were going so good between us and I screwed it up, Tommy. If she forgives me I’m going to need to make up for this for the rest of my life.”
“Don’t say if, she will.”
Mason manages a little smile and I notice he’s staring at the ring, “Did she say anything to you? I was really horrible to her. Now that I think about it I don’t know what came over me.”
“Look, Mase. You can each tell your sides of the story to me but what you really need is to talk to each other,” I hear Jenna coming down the stairs and before she reaches the bottom I stand up and gives Mason’s shoulder a little grip, “Good luck, little bro.”
Before Jenna gets to the bottom, I leave through the front door. I can’t risk Mason seeing Jenna shoot me any glares, I’m sure she wouldn’t be able to hide her sudden hate for me but I also wouldn’t blame her. I messed things up big last night because I was feeling in the moment. I reacted on impulse and I really needed to think about how this would affect Mason.
I see Mason’s car parked in the driveway, Ella has her head down with her cellphone pressed to her ear. As I approach the car I notice that the window is down and can hear her talking.
“Mr. Morris, I do apologize for the short notice, Mr. Reid is more than happy to reschedule at a time that is convenient for you.”
I wait for her to finish her call, smiling to myself and listening to her conversation with our client. I’m amazed that she was even willing to come out here with Mason, but I guess she feels like she needs to do whatever the boss asks of her.
It’s completely untrue, she could easily have said no, but Ella is a people-pleaser, clearly.
“Even on vacation you don’t stop working,” I joke as she hangs up the call.
Ella jumps and looks over at me with a mortified expression, “Holy shit, Thomas. A little heads up would be nice.”
“Sorry, I just assumed that you had eyes so you could see me,” I shrug, giving her a little smirk before leaning against the car to speak to her, “It’s nice that you came all this way with Mason. I hope he’s paying you well.”
“A free trip in a private jet to North Carolina is deal enough,” She jokes back, “When we get back to town I’m going to visit my friends. It’s been a while.”
I furrow my eyebrows, not knowing that Ella actually had friends in North Carolina, “You have friends here? I always thought you were a loner.”
“Yeah, well, we were loners together,” She rolls her eyes, looking at the tablet and scrolling through the work calendar.
As I take a deep breath, I purse my lips together and looks towards the beach house. After a moment of extremely awkward silence, I look back at Ella, “If everything works out with Mason and Jenna, you can come back to town with me... Maybe staying here together for a few days would be good for them.”
When Ella looks back at me she waits a moment before nodding in agreement, “Yeah, I suppose you’re right... I guess we’ll wait and see how it goes for them. I’m sure it’ll all work out... They’re Mason & Jenna.”