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A force to be reckoned with


She pulls open the door, and the breeze kicks up behind her, making her straight hair fan out, looking like one of those slow motion videos, where the hot chick walks in and suddenly it’s all eyes on deck. But it really is.

Briar takes two steps in, in a pair of jean shorts, showing off her incredibly long, tanned legs, a relaxed navy v-neck, a pair of grey chucks that have seen plenty of wear. Pulling the sunglasses from her face up to the top of her head, dark brown locks falling to mid-back, she spots me, giving a warm smile. There’s really only a few other people in the place.

“That’s her?” my newest confidant asks in a quiet, almost disbelieving voice.

“Yep,” I reply under my breath, raising a hand, the cheesy grin probably appearing way too enthusiastic across my lips, but it’s hard to contain. She just... she just makes me wanna smile.

“I’d say she’s worth a black eye or two,” he mutters, pushing his palms off the bar, standing up straight as she walks over towards us.

“Hi, Trey.” She delivers a quick jab to my shoulder before lifting her eyes to the bartender. “I’ll take a blue moon, hold the fruit,” she orders with a chuckle.

“Sure thing, sweetheart.”

“It’s Briar,” she responds to him plainly, not necessarily with an attitude, more so matter-of-factly. “But anyway. Where’s the bathroom?”

He sticks a finger out, pointing down the back hall, the smile tugging on his lips matching mine.


“So your guys’ stuff went alright?” Briar asks, pulling out the high top chair next to me, sitting down.

“Yeah... not much to it. Just signed some papers and stuff.” It’s nice, I feel more relaxed around her today. I wipe my palms against my legs. Well, almost more relaxed.

“Chaz said to give you this.” I pull out the black plastic card, handing it to her. “Told me to tell you to charge up what you want.” She rolls her eyes, taking the Amex from me, shoving casually into her shorts pocket.

“Trying to buy my forgiveness,” she says, shaking her head. The slightly curled under ends of her hair brushing against the metal bars on the back of her chair. “But I’ll allow it.” With a smile, the light impression of a dimple hints on her left cheek, she takes a sip of her drink.

“I was gonna... I was about to come clean to him and—”

“Me too.” She stares straight ahead, scrunching her nose with an amused look at our eavesdropper. “But ya know... I think that’s better to leave in the past. There’s nothing to it, was just some silly thing.” Turning to face me, she downs the rest, twirling a finger to get another glass. “Won’t happen again.”

“Yeah... it shouldn’t.”

She replies with a short-lived glance at me, a nice enough grin on her light pink lips, before turning her attention behind the bar. “Thanks,” she says, lifting her glass and taking a hefty gulp. “What’s your name, anyway?”

The bartender leans onto the wooden surface, forearms resting over it as a dopey type of look covers his face. “What do you want it to be?” he asks, mocking a suggestive look, obviously feeding off the playfulness that exudes from her.

“Hmm.” Tapping a finger against her chin a few times, she looks up at the ceiling before landing a narrowed eye back on him. “I’m gonna go with Jim.” She lifts a shoulder, head turning to me. “He looks like a Jim, don’t you think?” Raising her brows at me as I nod, she turns back to this newfound friend.

I barely say a thing. There’s really not much to say, and I’m not a man of a ton of words. She seems different today, a little less... I don’t know... a little less forward, and a little more relaxed. Still being her honest self, telling Jim, or whatever his name is, that he needs to update his decor, add softer lighting.

“So, Jimmy...” Leaning against the high back of the chair, Briar props an elbow on it. “What’s a girl gotta do to get some decent bar food? I’m starving?”

“Bar food?” He coughs out a few laughs.

“Yeah, ya know.” Gesturing her head to the little containers of various drink garnishes. “Bar food,” Briar repeats with a laugh. “I’m assuming this is more a drink your lunch type of place, but I’m honestly starving.”

Staring at him, a serious expression on her face. He laughs, I can’t hide the grin, and I can’t hide the fact that I’m obviously unable to pull my eyes from her. He reaches under the bar, sliding a bowl in front of her across the varnished cherry colored wood.

“Thanks, Jimbo.” She cracks a shell in her hands. “Love me some nuts.”

He crosses his arms over the chest of his t-shirt with a bellowing laugh. “I thought it was Jim?” he asks her, hanging on to her every last word. I think we both are.

“Jim, Jimmy, Jimbo,” she says, hand lifting in front of her like she’s conducting an orchestra. “Everyone has a nickname.”

“So, what’s yours? Briar Rabbit. I could see you as a bun—”

“Ugh.” She groans, sipping her drink after popping a peanut into her mouth. Turning sideways, I prop my elbow on the bar, cheek resting over my fist. She really is insanely gorgeous.

“Common misconception.” She draws in a long breath before exhaling, rolling her eyes with a fake annoyance. “Peanut?” Grabbing the bowl, Briar holds it towards me. Instinctively, I scoot back, sitting upright, lifting my hands.

“Allergic,” I tell her. She crinkles her nose, scooting her bar food as far from me as possible, wiping all the shells from the surface.

“Oh, sorry,” she says with a slight frown. “Well, no nuts for him.” Refocusing forward, she tilts her head to the side with a click against her cheek. “So anyway, James...”

He quirks a brow, still leaning towards her. Briar lowers her chin, looking down, tugging the lowest dip in the front of her shirt up. “Eyes up here, bud.”

Shaking his head, he stands upright, a deeper shade of red flashing on his cheeks. He looks like he could be my parents’ age. Stepping back, his arms raising apologetically.

“Anyway,” she continues, not missing a beat. She’s so animated. She so... much. “Like I said, common misconception. You are speaking about Brer Rabbit.” She stresses the long e sound in the middle. “And so many people do. And while yes“—she tilts her head, lifting her palms—“I do consider myself fairly witty.”

Throwing my head back, I laugh. Coming nowhere close to the incredible energy that seems to simply radiate from her. I could sit here, staring at her and listen to her talk all day. She’s nothing like... nothing like anyone.

Jerking her head to me, brows pulled together, lips scrunched to her nose. “I am witty.” Briar scowls, trying to stop the smile playing on the corner of her lips. “So, Jamie.” She leans back with a smug grin, pulling her focus from me. “My name is Briar, like urrrr, like the thorny shrubs.”

We all sit there chuckling along with her for a few seconds. Briar taking an extended sip of her glass, dark brows raised above her eyes, which from far away, look like a pretty standard brown. Up close and personal, you can make out the fading shade that turns to a honey color on the outer edges of her irises.

She is witty.

And she’s seriously, stupidly, and absolutely pretty.

“While I wish I could say I was named after a wonderful creature from a classic folklore.” She swipes a slow finger along her mouth, wiping the remnants from her last beer. “Sad truth is, J-bird...” She lets out an extended sigh, lips pressing down so that her cheeks bunch up. “I was named after a fucking prick.”

James, Jim, Jimbo, whatever his name is, and I burst into roaring laughter, Briar diving right in and joining us, her eyes catching mine as she looks to the side.

“Well, what about him?” He nods his head to me from across the bar.

“Hmm...” Briar turns her body towards me, head tilted back with a mischievous look dancing on her face. “I have a few nicknames for him,” she says, her eyes not leaving mine.

Tugging against the collar of my shirt, wanting to look away from her, but I can’t. She’s like a magnet, a gravitational pull, a force to be reckoned with. I grit my teeth in a nervous smile.

“All good.” She turns her attention to Jim. “All good.” Nodding her head. “But today”—she taps a finger several times over her pink and pouty lips—“today, I’m gonna go with...” She throws me a devilish grin. “Mr. Dexterity.”

I cough on the remaining bit of my beer. Jim, who turns out his name is really Ryan, slides another bottle in front of me without deviating his attention from our live entertainment.

The conversation flows for two more drinks. The more I’m around her, the more I relax, not to mention the more I realize that she actually is like this superior dream woman I created in my mind.

Briar seems to have this incredible way about her for making people feel extremely happy in her presence. Though the things that come out of her mouth are usually those that most people wouldn’t dream of saying out loud, there’s something so refreshing about it I can’t seem to get enough.

“Well, Jim.” She nods to the bartender before looking at me. “Trey. This has been fun.” Pulling the credit card from her pocket, she holds it up. “But I’ve got some buzzed shopping to do.” With a quick raise of her shoulders, she shoves it back into her shorts.

After settling up, her new friend reaches over and gives her a kiss on the hand, thanking her for one of the most entertaining afternoons he’s had in quite a while. Turning to me, Briar takes a deep breath, standing from her chair, fist on her waist.

It already feels quieter in the bar just knowing that she’s getting ready to leave. I catch Ryan aka Jim’s eyes widening, mouth gaping open, looking at me, nodding his head.

“Do you... do you wanna hang out?” I offer, trying not to make it a big thing.

“I’d love to.” She gives a genuine smile, standing next to me. I can already smell the faint scent of vanilla that I’d hardly had time to notice in our two quick bathroom exchanges. Lifting her phone from her other pocket, she holds it up, tilting her head to the side. “Chaz is done,” she says quietly. “But I look forward to seeing you”—sliding her sunglasses from the top of her head to cover her eyes—“for my birthday tomorrow.”

“Yeah, sounds good.” I try to play it off like I’m not disappointed, like I don’t wanna spend every waking second trying to suck in the amazing energy that comes from her. Not to mention, I do have plans to go see my friend.

“Later, boys,” she calls back as she reaches the door, getting ready to push it open.

“Can I... should I bring anything tomorrow?” I repeat the same question I asked Chaz, before she walks out onto the crowded sidewalk.

“Just yourself,” she responds with that infectious and genuine smile. “I’m pretty easy, no need for grand gestures.”

I nod, raising my hand. “Goodbye, Briar.”

“Bye, Trey.”

A/N: 😘😘😘😘 thank you guys for reading😘😘😘 lemme know your thoughts. Her birthday is coming up 😈

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