Uninhibited

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I missed your face

Briar


“Small, medium, or large?” Courtney asks, swiping the rounded edge of a wooden stick between my brows, coating my skin with a molten layer of wax. Okay, maybe not quite that hot. But damn, the shit burns.

“Huh?” I scowl, laying on my back over the polyester or whatever scratchy bullshit, swanky fucking sofa my mother ordered. I’m sorry, comfort is a thing. And there’s no rule stating that things have to offer either looks or coziness. You can have both.

My old tan sectional, that I’d shipped up, along with the very few pieces of furniture I had in my old shoebox apartment, was allegedly damaged in transport.

The movers—paid for by my parents. When I say I’m broke, I mean it—had arrived a day early, getting to my new place on Saturday morning instead of Sunday. My mother had offered to take care of all the preparations. And when I made that knee-jerk decision to get the fuck outta Phoenix, I wanted as little responsibility as possible.

But damn, I loved that couch. One of the few purchases I’d actually financed on my own. There were several things that Ceci said sadly didn’t make it. Bullshit.

Giving a solid smack on my forehead. “Fix your face,” one of my only true remaining friends in Philadelphia says, referring to my what-the-fuck line. Also, small, medium, or large? Are we getting a value meal I don’t know about?

She smooths the cloth strip between my brows before ripping it off in one quick pull.

“Ow, Court,” I grumble as she puts aloe or whatever the fuck on my now, non-unibrow. Look, I got dark hair, that shit’s a mess, you gotta maintain.

“Don’t be a baby.” She rolls her eyes. Sitting on one of those small, square, upholstered ottoman type of things—you know, the ones you can store all kinds of random shit in—pushed up alongside this ivory-colored, scratchy excuse for a sofa. “Plus, if you kept making that face, I’d have missed all those rogue black hairs. Do you wanna look like Bert or some shit?”

She laughs, leaning forward and pinching my cheek. Her teal hair hanging down, framing her flawless face, evidence enough of her trade, an aesthetician.

I mean it. The skin, the lashes, the brows, the everything... perfect. Twat-waffle.

“No, bitch. But, damn.” I scowl, rubbing a finger between my cleaned up brows. “I feel like you’re being cut throat with it.”

Court lets out a single laugh, lips pulling to a smirk as she straightens up on the box chair or whatever. She tilts her head, unapologetically. “Beauty is pain.”

She finishes up, waxing all those strays, under the brows, above them, the upper lip. Oh well, it’s a fact.

I really shouldn’t complain. She has her own shop, and I’m sure charges a hefty amount. But she’d offered to bring some of her stuff over, claiming she needed a night out, and saw I was looking a hot mess—she’s sweet.

Anyway, she’s probably one of my favorite confidants, because let’s face it, I can’t talk to Chaz about everything.

We became fast friends the first day of high school, and even after we graduated, and I hauled off across the country, we always remained close. Courtney stayed in Philly, forwent the whole college thing, focused on a trade, worked her way up, and here she is. At twenty-five, running a spa, married, two kids—she started young.

We could go weeks, months, without talking, but each time we’d pick right back up. One of those super easy friendships that just work.

“So, which is it?” she questions. I slide myself to sit on the sofa as she stands, cleaning up all the products littered across the coffee table, throwing the hairy strips—gross—into the trash. “Small, medium, or large?” she calls out from the compact, but totally usable kitchen area. My sad little glass table, for one—depress—sitting right outside the partially enclosed room. It’s cute, though. A little cut-out window type of thing, overlooking the sink, into the main room. An oversized doorway—sans door. The potential is there.

I let out a single grunty laugh, my lip curling on the side. “The fuck?”

Walking out from my kitchen area, the walls an obnoxious, bright shade of yellow in there, carrying two glasses of rosé. So fancy, yes, yes. Handing me one, Court plops her tiny five-foot, small frame next to me. “His dick,” she says plainly, shrugging before taking a sip.

Turning my head, I meet her inquisitive stare. Her hazel colored eyes wide under her raised eyebrows, lips smirky as fuck.

“Um...” I furrow my brows. “Medium...” Crinkling my nose, I shake my head. This chick lives for the details. “I guess.”

Taking a sip of the wine she brought over, knowing that she doesn’t have all that much time. Told me that Thursday is always a sex night for her and her husband, Heath. Do you legit have to pencil in the deed when you have young kids?

“You guess?” Her lips smack together as she turns to the side, one leg bet on the couch as I mimic her stance, raising a shoulder.

“I mean...”

“Does he know how to put the motion in the ocean”—she thrusts her hips a few times—“like Chaz’s buddy, Trey?”

“Don’t use their names in the same sentence,” I say with a huff, followed by an eye roll.

Chaz... ugh, he’s fine, we’re fine. He’s actually been dating my friend, or my old roommate. Like, exclusively. So that’s fucking weird.

I’d say Trey is fair game at this point, or he would be, if he lived remotely close.

Court laughs, leaning back in her head to toe black outfit; leggings and some oversized sweatshirt. But no matter what, she always looks amazing, always has had a gift for making less seem like more. Okay, she does have blue hair.

But seriously, that’s the approach I always liked with design. To have a simple base, a nice shade of paint—anything is better than the fucking buttercream, or whatever off-white, yellowish walls my mother had the main area of my apartment painted—and accent with decor and lighting.

“Anyway...” I shrug. “The sex is fine. Only been like three times, or maybe it was two?” I scrunch my lips to the side.

She lets out a single cough. “Sounds... impressive,” she says, voice dripping with sarcasm.

Leaning my head on the back of the sofa, a wood panel or something connecting with my skull.

“I hate this couch,” I mutter, definitely wanting to change the subject.

I’d told her everything, immediately, well, after I left New York. How I’d finally had an orgasm, and not even just one. How he hadn’t even done anything special. Okay, the little finger curl is a treat. But for real, the sex was fairly missionary. Nonetheless, it was just so...

“Don’t change the subject,” she says, brows squeezing together with a completely unamused look on her face. “You don’t even know how many times... why even waste your time with this”—waving her hand in front of her—“Jonathan? Like, what’s the point of him when you could have—”

“Yeah.” I grunt out a laugh, taking a sip—more like a chug—of my drink. “What would be the point?”

“A good dicking?” she offers with a smug grin, throwing her feet into my lap, back leaning against the wooden, scrolly type of arm of the sofa. “Fuck,” she grumbles. “This really is uncomfortable.”

We spend the next thirty minutes talking about random shit. Courtney urging me to keep trying to look for interior design jobs, even if it’s consulting on the side, telling me what I already know. That the key is to build a portfolio, get myself out there.

Also, tons of comments on how my place—which it’s a nice one-bedroom, little balcony—is okay, but looks like the house I grew up in.

Tell me something I don’t know.

The conversation is easy with Court, I’m kind of sad that I’ve missed a lot of years hanging out with her, but now we can make up for it, I get to know her kids, two little girls, three and only six months old.

Babies really are so cute.

Speaking of...

I absently start scrolling on my phone, clicking the little message button on the top right, slipping right into that DM, and staring at the picture of Trey, holding his friend’s newborn.

That handsome grin on his face, the nice olive-colored complexion, and those eyes, those ridiculously sexy eyes, covered with his nice thick lashes.

“Fuck!” I yell out, standing from the couch, throwing my phone onto the white fabric like it’s a hot potato. Like it’s going to explode at any second—would be super convenient. I look at Court with wide eyes, teeth clenched together, cringing.

“What’d you do?” she asks, sitting up, tipping her chin as she takes a drink. Studying my expression. A smile playing out across her lips as she watches me shaking my head super fast.

“I... I...”

Oh, my God, he’s gonna see it! Holy what the fuck.

I cover my face with my palms, letting out a low groan. “I was just creeping in his... in Trey’s messages.”

She nods, encouraging me to continue, taking a sip from the bottle—yeah, we leveled up—an entertained look on her face.

“A text came through, and I went to open it.” I stare at the phone. “But I hit the video chat button.” I groan again, pressing my palm to my forehead. “I hung up, but it says it. It shows it. He’s gonna see. Shit!”

She chuckles a few times, kicking her feet up on the coffee table, eyes rolling up to the ceiling. “What are you, thirteen?” she asks with a snort.

“Court,” I whine. “That is so fucking stalky. Ugh.” I fall back down next to her, taking a dramatically deep breath. “He’s gonna see that I did... I didn’t even know you could do that.”

She sits there, just laughing, completely delighted with my humiliation. Maybe he won’t see it? Or maybe he will see that I started one and ended it quick, he’ll realize it was a mistake.

“I still don’t understand why you guys haven’t spoken?” She tilts her head, raising a shoulder. “I mean, you clearly had some type of connection. You obviously like him.” She clicks her tongue when I open my mouth to say something.

“Because,” I begin with a frown. “Because I’m trying to figure out who I am. And we live multiple states away from each other. We both agreed that it would be a one and done.” The words come out and I realize how sad my voice sounds.

Why’d I even have to tap into his messages, why’d I have to stare at that picture? Not like I’ve looked at it at least once a day. Not like I found out what he meant by he works with his hands, that his father has a carpentry business, that he’s been building all the benches, tables, and bars for his new place, and Trey’s been helping him. Not like I know that each of his four sisters and his father have names that begin with the letter T, and his mom’s name is Vada.

I’ve gone absolute cyber-stalker on his ass, secretively, of course.

“You wanna know what I think?” She props her elbow on the arm of the sofa, sitting up a bit.

“Not really,” I reply, forcing my lips to a smile, knowing she’s going to tell me, anyway.

“I think that the way you talked to me about Trey, when you first came home. And the way your face was just looking, when you were clearly staring at his handsome self... it’s obvious.”

“Nothing would come of it.”

“Not if you don’t see,” she says like it’s a no-brainer. “I’m not saying you go into a full-blown relationship. Keep doing Jonathan...” She rolls her eyes again. “If that’s what you want.”

He is a nice guy, and like I said, it kind of just fell together. We started with this subtle flirting, both agreeing we’d just keep it easy, simple. And honestly, the two times... okay, it was three. Well, every time I finished, so that’s good. Curse has definitely been broken. But if I’m being totally truthful, at least in my head, I was thinking about Trey.

And like the Universe, in its funny little way of pulling things together, my phone buzzes on the cushion.

“Pick it up,” Court says, grabbing my bright pink cased cell, urging it towards me.

“Nuh-uh.” I throw my hands up, shaking my head. “I don’t even know what to say. I feel like an idiot... I feel like...”

“Briar’s phone,” she answers, flashing an enormous grin at the screen, her eyes shifting up to mine before returning to the rectangle, held up in front of her.

“Hi... um... hey. I’m—”

“Trey.” She nods. I purse my lips together and give her a death stare, which she completely ignores. “Briar talks about you all the time.”

“Fuck-nugget,” I hiss out, clearing my throat, snatching the phone from her grasp.

Lifting the screen to my face, I can’t fight the wide smile that tugs at my lips as I stare back at him. His hair slightly longer. He matches my sentiment, showing off those perfectly straight, white teeth. His facial hair, having grown a bit.

He never posts pictures of himself on social media. Not that I’ve scoured the web. Okay, I have. Only progress, with captions about what’s going on, what’s in store, total PR bullshit. Hence, how I know he has a dog named Moxie. Hence, how I know about him working with his father. He plugged his business a few times, which sent me down a rabbit hole. His stuff is actually amazing.

“Hey,” he says after a few seconds, in that deep, velvety southern drawl.

“Hi,” I respond after an awkward pause. Rushing in a deep breath and waiting a bit before blowing it out.

“So you talk about me all the time?”

“It’s good to see you,” I speak out the words at the same time as him, feeling a nagging heat drifting up the back of my neck to my cheeks. “No... um... what?”

I stand from the sofa, shooting Courtney a dirty look, as she keeps a satisfied smile glued on her face. Walking with the phone in my hand, into my bedroom. The only place I’ve actually done how I wanted. Paint, decor, and all that shit costs money.

The muted dark blue walls, creating a pleasant warmth as I click on one of the silver lamps next to my bed, settling over the fluffy grey comforter. This is the one place that actually feels like me.

The conversation starts flowing. Just talking about what we’ve been up to, how he is progressing with the club. I let him know I’m close to getting my realtor’s license, and that my friend, Courtney, just likes to stir up trouble. He showed me a few paint colors that he’s been thinking about, but it’s almost impossible to get a good idea, unless you see them in person.

It starts off rocky, then transitions into a normal conversation.

“I could definitely use your help with a few design things,” he says with a quiet smile.

“Oh... yeah,” I reply, remembering the offer I’d given him back on Chaz’s sofa. “What do you need?”

“Everything.”

I sigh, scrunching my lips to the side, wishing the whole entire design career path would’ve worked out for me.

“Are you okay?” he asks with a hint of a frown, his eyes searching mine through the screen.

“Yeah, of course,” I lie. Nah, I’m not sure that I am. My newfound approach to the world was incredibly short-lived. And now I was back to more of the same, just going through the motions.

“So, you were hanging out in my messages?” he asks, a smirk on his face, laying back on a navy covered pillow, brushing a hand through his hair. A plain white tee, showing off the top of that chest, the one I can visibly remember running my palms over.

Get a grip!

I contemplate making something up, lying, giving some excuse. “Yeah,” I finally reply, scrunching my nose. “I just...” I roll onto my side, laying my phone on the cover. Trey turns his head, mirroring my movement. “I just missed your face,” I say, truthfully. Damn. I really did miss his face.

He lets out a few chuckles, that genuine smile plastered on his lips, dimple showing.

“I missed your face, too,” he says after a brief pause. Letting out a sigh after he says the words. A little frown forming. “I’m sorry I didn’t call or—”

“It’s okay,” I cut him off. “I mean... that’s what we agreed on.”

“Yeah.”

“Fuck this,” I hear the words muffle from the other side of my door. Court walking into the room with a huff, laying down behind me, propping her chin on my shoulder. “Trey.” I can see her smile, and also the mischievous gleam building in her eyes. The screen split, with me on the top and him on the bottom.

“Yeah, hi again.” He waves, sitting upright in what I’m guessing is his bed.

“Hi.” She gives a quick smile. “So, you need some help with your club’s decor, yeah?”

He nods, offering a slight shrug.

“Super,” she says, real dry. “Well, Briar needs some help building her design portfolio. Anyone see where I’m going with this?”

“Court,” I hiss out her name, my hand covering the little camera, blocking out our screen.

“I’m just trying to help you out.” She plants a kiss on my cheek, before giving a light smack. “This way you don’t have to keep staring at his picture. You can go see him live and in person. And you can stop daydreaming about his magical fingers and go give them another ride.”

“I don’t know if he’s seeing anyone or if he even wants me to visit.”

“I can still hear you,” Trey’s amused voice sounds out from my cell. I lower my hand, delivering a nervous smile.

“Sorry, she’s just—”

“I’d love to see you.”

I suck in a breath. A stupid kind of smile spreads so wide across my face and my heart does an extra thump. “Yeah?”

He nods. “Yeah, and I really need help with this stuff. I know you said before you’d help me but I didn’t want to take advantage of... your services.”

“Oh, she’ll offer you all her services.” Court raises her brows several times as I nudge her off my arm.

Rolling my eyes, I shake my head, but I can’t help smiling at his amused expression staring back at me. My stomach does a little somersault at the idea of seeing him in person again.

“So it’s settled.” Court sits up, her back against the darker grey upholstered headboard—made it myself, thank you very much—still visible on the screen, clicking furiously on her phone. “Where do you live in Georgia?” she asks, without looking up.

“Outside Savannah,” he replies, his eyes staying on mine. His lips in a straight line, as we both just stare at each other.

“Perfect,” she says after a few more clicks sound out. “She lands Friday, tomorrow, at six.”

A/N: 🤪🤪🤪🥰🥰🥰🥰 Are we ready to “see” that beautiful face again????
Soooo.... thoughts. Hahahaha okay okay, Trey is up next. Also, as always, thanks for reading. I’m going away this week (Yay!) so idfk how much I will get written. But I do have the next several in my head. That’s huge for me Bc I’m a pantser. 🥰🥰🥰

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