I stared at Mr. Bryne from across the yard. After what happened in his bedroom, I tried to avoid him at all costs. But Mason wanted to stay at this party all night and Melissa begged me to just stay over, so all chances of avoiding him kind of went right out the window.
Shirt off, towel hanging off his shoulder, he stood by the grill and aimlessly flipped burgers, looking as if he was lost in his own little world. Some girls from the sorority stood by him, their tits hanging out of their stupid, little bikinis, as they talked to him. I clenched my jaw and pulled out my phone, texting Mom. “Hope you’re doing alright. I’ll come see you tomorrow.”
She texted back a few moments later. “Can’t wait to see you. Love you with everything,” she texted. My lips curled into a smile, and then another text came through. “Is Mason coming?”
I glanced over at Mason, sitting by Melissa and some of the other guys from his frat. “No.”
Mom sent me a frowny-face emoji, and my frown deepened. God, why did I feel like this? Why couldn’t I love Mason and think he was the most perfect person in the entire world?
“Mia,” Melissa shouted from the fire-pit. She shoved a hotdog on a stick into the fire. I took a deep breath and sunk further into the cushioned seat. Why couldn’t Mason care about me the way he used to? We used to go on so many dates. He used to buy me flowers, write cute playlists for how he felt about me. Hell, I’d appreciate a text every now and then.
“Mia,” Melissa said, hopping onto a seat next to me. I pressed a hand to my chest, feeling startled, and stared at her, face void of any emotion. She nodded to everyone now cuddling up near the fire and eating. “Come on. We’re playing truth or dare--not safe for work edition.”
“Melissa…” I sighed through my nose and threw my head back, staring up at the stars. “I’m not really feeling it right now.”
She sat up, brows furrowed together. “What’s wrong?”
“Oh, don’t give me that.”
“It’s nothing,” I said again, glancing at Mason. I frowned, partly because of the guilt and partly because I didn’t want to spend my life with someone who barely paid attention to me. Stupid Mr. Bryne putting stupid thoughts in my head about stupid Mason.
Melissa followed my gaze. “I told you to dump him,” she said yet again. Then she winked at me. “Or… if you like him for his mon--”
“I don’t like him for the money.”
She arched a brow at me. “You can always have a little fun on the side.”
I swallowed hard and closed my eyes. I never wanted to cheat. I really, really never did. I hated the guilt and the lies and the feeling of being just like my father.
“That’s what I do,” she said. I stared at her with wide eyes. She had said it with such… with such… a lack of remorse, like cheating on her boyfriend didn’t make her feel guilty. She laughed and grabbed my hand trying to pull me to my feet. “I’m just kidding, Mia. I wanted to get you to smile.”
I yanked my hand out of hers, anger pumping through me, and sunk back into the cushion. “I’m not feeling it right now, Melissa. I’ll be over there later.”
She shrugged her shoulders and walked back to her father, telling him something. Mr. Bryne closed the grill and glanced over at me, holding a plate of food. I looked away from him and stared at my toes, wiggling them.
What was wrong with me? Why was I even letting him get into my head?
“Take it off!” one of the guys yelled. The fucking chick who had been trying to get with Mr. Bryne all night stood up, shaking her head from side to side. All of the guys--drunk off their fucking asses--cheered.
I rolled my eyes. Jesus fucking christ. Were we on spring break or in high school? Playing truth or dare and making people strip off their clothes? It was so damn childish. I glanced over at Mr. Bryne to see him picking up his plate of food and heading straight toward me.
“Don’t you want to see the show?” I asked, voice dripping with anger, when he approached me. I didn’t even know why it came out that way; it just did. I crossed my arms over my chest. Maybe I wanted him to watch, so I’d have a reason to stop obsessing over him.
I could convince myself that what was going on between us would’ve went on between him and any of Melissa’s friends. That I wasn’t special to him. That he really didn’t care about me as much as it seemed like he did.
Mr. Bryne placed a plate of food down in front of me and sat in the pool chair to my right. “Eat,” he said, grabbing a burger for himself. I stared at the food, my stomach growling, and snatched a burger.
We ate in silence for a long time. I didn’t dare say a word because I didn’t know what to say to the one man I was trying so hard to avoid. When he finished his food, he looked over at Mason who was doing god-knew-what for his dare. “What did I tell you?” he said. “He doesn’t even know that you’ve been here sulking.”
“I don’t want to hear it.” I pressed my lips together and crossed my arms over my chest, watching fireflies light up in the darkness. “I already told you that this isn’t happening anymore. We’re not happening. We can’t.”
A/N Sorry for the late update <3 Happy November!
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