You know the saying, when one door closes, another opens?
Well, fuck that self satisfying, bullshit.
I grumble like the salty bitch I most def currently am, grabbing the handle of the glass door to Hayes Realty. I almost trip on the way in from the mixture of the slippery slush that’s accumulated on the ground outside, and the two drink carriers filled with some of the most Karenesque concoctions on the planet that I’m juggling in my hands.
And yes, slush. November can be such a finicky bitch as far as the weather department goes. No matter what, even in this puffed out black parka kind of thing I got goin’ on... I just can’t seem to make my body absorb any warmth. I guess that happens when you adjust to a different climate for several years.
Not that I miss it, Arizona was a great time, but I was undoubtedly ready for a change. Unfortunately, things aren’t going the way I thought they would, or maybe I knew deep down that I’d feel this way. Fuck it, delivery time.
I make my way to the meeting room, having to hook my flats on the bottom of several doors as I work my way through the office, awkwardly bobbling the coffees and teas and random shit, saying a silent prayer that I don’t end up wearing them.
Already been here for just about two months, and I gotta admit, things have been meh... at the very least.
I’ve almost finished the required courses, been whipping right through those suckers, maybe another month, give or take, once I pass the test I’ll be a licensed realtor in the great state of Pennsylvania—insert ultra sarcastic excite, here.
Been learning the ropes, sorta kinda, though, after a little stunt I pulled on a showing last week—I was just being honest—good ole Ceci kiboshed me going on anymore for the time being, said I was obviously way too green and needed to learn how to act appropriately.
Here’s that bullshit again. How can you get better at anything if you don’t get the practice? Also, I felt like it was appropriate to divulge the truth, whether or not it meant botching a sale.
The house had mold. How was I gonna sleep at night knowing the couple with a new baby was ready to sign for it? Sorry, not fucking sorry.
“Ah, Briar.” My dad looks up from the head of the table. Everyone has their laptops out and tons of papers scattered around as they do their normal Monday morning jam, establishing who gets what and blah blah blah. “Thanks, sweetie.” He stands up, giving me a warm smile, his sweet brown eyes matching mine, study my exasperated expression. None of the other realtors even bother to glance up from their little shark tank of numbers.
“You’re late.” Both mine and my dad’s heads jerk towards my mother—Cecilia—who does a little eye roll, sliding back in her leather chair, arms crossing as she strums her perfectly manicured, French tipped nails over the long black sleeves of her dress.
“It’s icy out and she went and got—”
Mommy dearest holds a hand up to silence him, and the ever so loving man who always tries to come to my rescue is shut down immediately. Okay, she’s really not that bad... we’ve just been having the odd tiff here and there, not to mention she still seems overly keen on being in control of my life, I’d had a reprieve for years, but now it’s most def been game back on.
“She needs to be held accountable for her actions, Ted,” she snips out the words as I roll my eyes.
“Sorry, Cecilia.” My voice oozes a false sincerity that she most def picks right up on, her perfectly tweezed and filled brows arching as I throw on the best fake smile I can. “It took a little extra time for them to adjust the temperature of the machine to get your beverage from the standard one-forty to one-thirty.”
Like there’s a fucking difference. Drop an ice cube in that shit and carry on with your life.
“If you want to be taken seriously, act it,” she says in a low growl as I bend down to place her cup on the marble tabletop. Her blue eyes shoot me a warning look as I nod. Glancing around, everyone still engrossed in their morning roundup.
This is the time they compile all the leads for the week, sift through emails and divvy up clients who have sent inquiries, if they don’t request a specific realtor, it’s fair game... and seriously a bit cut throat if you ask me. These people are just numbers to them, and I can’t stand it.
Jonathan’s almost grey stare meets mine above his computer screen, I can tell there’s a smile on his face without even seeing his lips just by the way his eyes crease a smidge in the corners. I return his sentiment with a short-lived smirk, adding in a slight raise of my brows. Sigh. Fucking Jonathan, literally and figuratively. More on that later.
“Stacey.” I place another drink down as I work my way around the table. A skinny fucking macchiato, with whipped cream and finished off with a chocolate drizzle. Way to watch those calories.
“Light ice?” she asks, not even bothering to look at me. All of them becoming used to this sort of personal assistant I apparently became.
“As requested,” I reply, keeping my lips tightly curved, batting my lashes several times.
Honestly, I can’t complain too much. Okay, I can, and I usually do... but just in my head. Need money to at least pay some of the bills. It’s a little painful that my parents finance my living arrangements at this stage of the game, but at least I’m working, kind of, for some sort of income.
In reality, I’ve gone from a barista to the sad bitch that comes in with a lengthy list, watching the eye rolls and hearing the annoyed huffs that come along with the stupid requests. How the mighty have fallen.
I deliver the rest of the drinks around the table, trying to make sure I don’t spill, or put them in the wrong spot, tuning out entirely when I know I should be listening. I just don’t care about it.
“Vanilla cappuccino, no foam.” I grin at Karen, yes actual fucking Karen who clearly doesn’t understand that the entire point of the drink is the foam. I cannot!
I lower a drink next to Jonathan—dark roast, two sugars, simple enough—one of the up and comers of the area, new to my parents’ team, recently transplanted here from the west coast.
His hand lingers over mine for a second or two longer than necessary, eyes staying focused on his screen in front of him. Older guy, so that’s new. Got that whole lightly salted pepper hair going on. It’s a pretty sexy look. But there’s still one person, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t shake from my head.
“Here, sweetie.” My dad reaches for the molded paperboard or whatever the fuck, as my mind wanders. “Lemme take those trays for you.”
Right, been almost two months.
So, what happened?
Well. Lemme put this thing down, flip it, and reverse it.
TWO-ISH MONTHS AGO
I wake up in the hotel room as the sun just barely filters in through the heavy, drawn curtains. My entire body feeling warm, and holy hell, fulfilled. The enormous smile on my face couldn’t get any smaller even if I wanted it to—and I don’t.
Trey was like a dream for me, seriously.
The sex. The sex was amazing. One for the books for several reasons. The first, okay, pretty sure it’s obvious. The second, I can’t lie, there was something about it that was soooo... intimate. Not at all how I’d envisioned a one nighter with someone I hardly know.
And the way he completely read the signs, saw how I’d just about made a dash for it—I’m glad I didn’t, by the way. Because for whatever reason, despite the phone call from my mother, pretty much informing me she would be my life coach, telling me she’d had my apartment fully decorated—the intent was nice enough, but seriously!? I tried to tune out all the things she said to me, how she’d already drawn up a full itinerary for how my life would go over the next several months, wanting me to be her protege or some shit.
Anyway, when Trey was nervous, and I was nervous, my head was all nervous and I almost jumped ship. And when he stepped in, stuck his arm into the elevator door, the looming feelings of doubt and insecurity just slipped away.
Okay... that’s a stretch. But they definitely lessened.
I run a palm down my side. Not a single shred of clothing on my body, remembering the way he fit so perfectly behind me, kept me warm when he fell asleep, the side of his face pressed against my shoulder. The heat from his bare chest radiating to me. The soft breaths falling from his lips onto my neck.
I’ve never been a big cuddler. I happen to like my own space. But with him... well, with him it was a different story.
I drag my feet over the side of my bed, sliding the white comforter from my body—no doubt that sucker is gonna need all the bleach—trying to generate a little body heat, rubbing my palms against my arms as I immediately feel about thirty degrees colder, standing up.
Blinking several times, trying to adjust to the barely lit room, only a small trace of light coming from the bathroom, I scour the floor for my dress. A brief wave of panic washes over me when it’s nowhere to be seen.
Fuck, that would level up the whole walk of shame thing.
Anyway, when I open the bathroom door, I find my dress, neatly hung on the back of it. My shoes tucked underneath the bathroom sink, and a fresh pair of briefs, a toothbrush still wrapped in plastic, and a brush. I’m not even surprised.
I sigh again, ignoring the panging sting in my chest, because I know it seems perfect. He does, all of it. And dream girl!? Don’t get me started.
“Hey, Fucky, I’m home,” I call out after I push open the door to Chaz’s apartment, twisting the key from the lock, immediately taking my shoes off, soaking in the relief from just having to walk almost fifteen blocks as my feet flatten on the cool floor. Side note—I rocked that fucking stroll home, pink dress, wild hair, smudged makeup and all.
That’s a lie. I just avoided eye contact.
The apartment is seemingly quiet, bedroom door closed. Pulling my phone from my dress pocket—ultra convenient, yes—already nine am, and this guy is an early riser. Plus, he never and I mean never has women stay over.
I hear a high pitch giggle and then a few telltale grunts from his room. “Ew.” I cringe, I’m not trying to hear that shit. Also, I guess strike the above comment from the record.
I attempt to tune out the porn type of wails muffling out, grabbing a pair of sweats and a tee, quickly changing in the spare bathroom, washing my face, pulling my hair up into something mimicking a giant rat’s nest.
Another guttural moan and I’m reserving myself to the fact that I’m gonna need to pop some headphones in and wait this shit out on the couch. Chaz and I have always teetered this line where we can talk about some things, but we certainly don’t wanna know about it, and the same goes for hearing it... like come on, man. He had to know I’d be coming back here.
Ugh though, I’m tired. And while I promised, and I’d hold good with my end, to not be a cock block, I feel like the following is only fair...
“Hey!” I rap my knuckles against the white door. “Picked up the meds for that weird rash you have.” I laugh to myself, delivering an internal high five. Let’s be real about the amount of times this douche canoe has fucked up my game over the last few days.
I hear scuffling inside the room as I hurry over to the couch, grabbing the blanket laying over the black leather and quickly covering myself with it. Nothing’s gonna damper my good mood today... nothing.
Twenty-five is feeling great!
“Briar.” Chaz finally opens the door with a sharp look on his face, lips pressed tight with both eyebrows raised. Only after a minute or two of pleading with whoever last night’s fuck and chuck is that he does not, in fact, have any transmittable diseases. Okay, I’ll agree it’s a low blow. But fuck it, it’s just a random piece.
I don’t bother looking up, lounging across the leather sofa, gearing myself up for a nice little nap so we can maybe chill, hang out before I grab the evening train and head to my final destination.
Shit, now I’m thinking about logs on the back of a truck and fish hooks that’ll give me tetanus.
“Chill, was only kidding,” I mutter, lifting my head slowly, blinking a few times with my lips for sure in a straight line. I take in the jet black hair of the female peeking her head out from the doorway, a huge grin on Chaz’s face like he’s proud of himself or thinks I am or what the hell!?
“Well, you already know—”
“Danielle?” Interrupting him, my nose crinkles and I can feel the crease slicing between my eyebrows. I open and close my mouth several times, not able to formulate any words.
My old roommate. Totally forgot she was coming to my party, oops to that. But also, my old fucking roommate!?
“You’re a dick.” I stand from the couch, enunciating the last word as I shake my head repeatedly, breathing out several ridiculously unamused laughs, just wrapping my skull around this double standard.
Chaz’s head jerks back, and Danielle lets out an anxious cough next to him as I take a few steps towards them, trying to ignore the smell of sex hanging in the air.
“Ew.” I cross my arms in front of me, shaking my head, not once deviating my glare from this so-called bestie. Look, I don’t give a shit who he sticks his overused junk in. But I do care about the fact that he had such an opposition to me even mentioning Trey, because this is all too—
“I’m sorry if this is... uncomfortable,” Danielle says, tugging her lips up around clenched teeth, yanking the bottom of the white t-shirt down in attempts to cover her legs.
“Pants might help,” I snap, still not looking away from Chaz, who now has a shitty expression painted on his face.
“I’m... this... I’m gonna go.” Danielle slips back behind Chaz, I’m guessing to get her clothes or whatever. Enjoy the walk of shame, it’s super fun.
“You don’t have to... she’s in a mood... it’s really not a big—” His head darts from her in the room back to me multiple times as I stand in the center of his open-floored apartment, blinking, trying to chill my flaring nostrils, my tongue running along the inside of my cheek.
“Such a fucking hypocrite,” I seethe the words as my eyes narrow. I’m annoyed, a little hurt, and I’m undoubtedly highly pissed at the moment.
“Oh, please. You know it’s two different things and—”
“Do I?” I mumble, already packing up some of my stuff, the temperature inside my body doing a steady increase as I slam things around his place as loudly as possible.
“I’ll, um...” I hear Danielle’s quiet voice stammer to Chaz.
Aw, poor thing, I guess if you knew shit about him, if you’d actually paid any ounce of attention to the things I used to preach about his playboy ways. Granted, we only roomed together for a year, and it was in the mix of six other roommates, still. Oh well, sorry about your luck.
“I’ll call you. You’re back in town next weekend?”
You fuckin’ serious, Clarke!? He... Chaz... is asking her that? What happened to I don’t wanna get in the middle of two friends, I don’t want any drama? I grip the edge of the white marble of the bathroom vanity top, trying not to let the feelings bubble over.
“I’m sorry, Briar.” She stands a few steps away from the bathroom, out of my striking distance. Look, I actually like her. Though, like I said, we weren’t super close, I still considered us friends, we did the whole keep in touch shit via likes and comments on social media. Normally, I don’t think I’d care all that much. And honestly, she’s not the one who deserves my irritation, it’s him.
“It’s fine.” I shrug my shoulders. Why do I feel like I wanna cry? “Just, umm... I’ll talk to you a different time.”
Okay, so anyway, Chaz and I had a bang out fight and we never spoke again.
That’s a lie.
No matter what, if someone is your friend, no matter how heavy of a dick lard they’re being, you gotta talk it out.
He delivers a mixture of apology and annoyance in his unwavering stare, chewing on the inside of his bottom lip.
I take in a few deep breaths, staring at my face in the mirror.
“I didn’t think...” he begins as I walk towards him in the living room, Chaz standing by the closed front door. “I mean, she said you guys weren’t super close and...”
I give him a smile, a sickeningly sweet one, feeling the little devil sitting on my shoulder, urging me to play tit for tat.
“She’s really cool. She didn’t know anyone. I told her you left with your... ya know? That chick. And, well, one thing led to another. She’s actually moving to the city and it...” He finally closes his mouth, lips scrunching side to side as he awaits my reaction.
“Don’t worry about it.” I let my arms fall to the sides. Delivering an obnoxiously overdone grin.
“Huh?” he asks, scrunching his nose, a single brow raising as he narrows an eye.
“Fucking my old roommate,” I say as nonchalantly as possible.
He blinks a few times in response, head tilting to the side.
“Because I slept with yours.”
The second the words slingshot out, I immediately want them back. Not for my sake, but for Trey’s. We agreed we’d keep it all in that room, not bring it up unless the situation called for it. But, well, like I’ve said... this mouth.
I lift my shoulders unapologetically as he shoves a hand back through his messy hair. Eyes shifting to the side as a deep scowl appears on his face.
“You... you and Trey...”
I bite the inside of my cheek, offering another shrug.
Okay, I feel a little bad here.
“But you left with that chick. You guys kissed and...”
I can see the wheels turning behind those eyes, brows knitted together.
“Yeah, I left with her, but then we met Trey out—”
“Nuh-uh?” A wide grin forms on his face before his jaw drops open, giving me an incredulous look, crossing his arms in front of his white shirt. “I didn’t think he had it in him.”
“Okay, that was a poor delivery on my part, but seriously, my old roommate... after all of your shit.”
“Fuck it.” He waves a hand. “I mean, I don’t wanna know the details.” He blows out a long breath, shaking his head. “Damn, Moreau.”
“I know he’s definitely never done that before. You know? As far as I’m aware, his ex is the only person he’s ever been with.”
My eyes grow so wide I think they may pop out of their sockets, my throat gets a little dry. I’m out of words. How’s that even possible!?
“But a threesome.” His lips curve to a massive smirk, shaking his head. “Well ain’t nothin’ serious about that.”
Annnnnd, we’re back.
“Briar, did you get all those notes?” My mother’s sharp voice echoes out in the moderate sized, crisp white meeting room, several windows spanning one wall, pretty standard for a business, really in any big city.
“Oh... yeah, sure did.” I glance at the swirly lines and flowers and random shit I’ve been doodling as I strolled down memory lane.
Oh, so Trey... guess I really didn’t get anywhere with that.
A day later, I got a message on social media from him, questioning why Chaz was congratulating him, telling him he was glad he went for it. That he didn’t want all the details because of, well... me. But he was all like hell yeah. Trey didn’t know how to respond.
I told him just to play it off, to roll with it.
And then I told him...
To take care.
Hahahha 😈 c’mon now... you know their end game from Ties, you knew I wasn’t gonna make this ish easy.
So, thoughts, comments?
Jonathan 👀👀👀 and what in the world has been going through Trey’s head? I’m sure you’re dying to know, which is why... you aren’t gonna find out just yet.
Also, Chaz!? Remember the name Danielle from Ties????