I'll never know if I don't try
Well, this makes things... interesting.
Briar’s eyes flicker to mine as she takes my sister’s hand, giving it a shake with her teeth clenched tight, her pink lips forced upwards in an obviously embarrassed smile. A bright flush coating her cheeks, matching my own—Teagan’s gonna have a field day with this new info. But that deep shade, covering her face makes me grin, makes me think back to the dress she wore on her birthday. On that night. The faint traces of freckles getting lost in the mix of her crinkled up nose.
So, I’ve learned a few things in the short time since I’ve been back in her presence. Everything I thought I wanted, the way I was gonna try to act—which was pretty fucking stupid and definitely felt uncomfortable—I just can’t pretend, not with her.
I really don’t want to.
But, I meant it when I said that I’d been trying to live differently, in these last two months, after... her. And I’ve been successful with it. Well, kinda. I’ve been happy... enough. Honestly, I’ve been really busy closing down my old place, trying to work on the new. I seriously thought she wanted things to be a certain way. But that part of me, that true piece of my identity that’s a hopeless romantic—I guess it can happen with four older sisters—is thinking that maybe she feels something... too.
Truth is, before I went to New York, I was definitely in a slump. I was heartbroken for sure. Not so much by Kyra—I mean, that did suck. When you’re with someone for a long time, you just get used to them, things fall into a routine. I realize it wasn’t a healthy relationship.
I was disappointed that I didn’t listen to everyone, but mostly I’d ignored the signs that were pretty obvious, swirling all around me. I guess that’s why they say hindsight’s twenty/twenty.
I don’t know why I even thought I could try to be this type of person? The whole player kind of lifestyle has really never intrigued me. I’ve seen the way it really works, how Chaz especially uses women to cover up pain, an attempt to fill some sort of void by sleeping with them.
Anyway, the confident thing has been working out—clearly not today—though Briar was right, I kept getting the cocky and confidence mangled up. There really is a fine line. I enjoy being flirty with her; I love it. But pretending to be a dismissive... what’d she call me? Bitch tits?! I laugh out a quiet chuckle, zoning out on the conversation my sister’s having with her, absently patting the curls on the top of my niece’s head. But treating her like a fuck buddy? Don’t think I can do it.
I haven’t even been able to treat the person who’d offered it up to me like a fuck buddy. Literally. I tried, I really was just attempting to get myself out there. But I couldn’t get it up.
Yeah, pretty embarrassing.
I think I knew why. No, now I definitely know why. Because the sound of Briar’s voice alone can make me sprout wood.
Who was I kidding? She’s not someone you can forget about.
Standing here after listening to Briar try to hold her own, having a conversation with my sister. Watching as the slight breeze whips those dark strands of hair across her face, I know I can’t just drop her at the hotel.
But all of them. I don’t know; I think it’s a little too much. Teagan’s forgiving, she enjoys funny situations. I can tell from her body language she’s already in the Briar fan club. The rest of them? Not that they aren’t great, love ’em. It’s just... they can be a bit... much.
Plus, anything having to do with meeting the family didn’t really feel casual to me. Catching a glimpse of the remorse in Briar’s eyes as she fumbles to put all the junk she bought into the car, I can’t stop staring at her, watching as she takes off, glancing back every few steps, her teeth clamped together. Teagan laughs, shaking her head, looking back at me. This will be like a breaking news announcement for them. She’s probably itching to grab her phone out, send off a group text.
Being the youngest, and by a decent amount of years—one of those last-ditch efforts for a boy—the group of them like to mom me to no end, always chiming in with advice. Like I said, they’ve been trying to get me back out there, Tara setting me up with her friend, Amy. Who, yes, I’ve gone on a few dates with. But it really wasn’t anything serious. Truth be told, every time she opened her mouth, I wanted her to say something witty, or silly. Silently wishing she could be more like—
“Briar!?” Teagan exclaims the second we both watch her disappear back into the store. “As in Briar, Briar?”
Her eyes shift to mine, mouth hanging open, an enormous grin covering her face. I lift a shoulder, inhaling a deep breath, nodding my head slightly.
“And Chaz is totally fine with—”
“Is Uncle Chaz coming?” Molly squeals, releasing her tight hold on my leg, giving me a second to replace the gas nozzle that had clicked off when Briar bolted up from the side of my car.
“No, baby.” Teagan’s eyes move to her daughter before back to mine. “He’ll be here for Christmas.” She waves her hand as my niece lets out a disappointed whine.
Every Christmas, since college, he spends the holiday here, staying at my place in Georgia, treating each of my seven nieces like his own. Treating my entire family like his. I think he talks to my mom at least once a week.
“So...” She doesn’t even try to camouflage her smirk, bows wiggling over her green eyes. Teagan and I are the only ones that inherited them from our mom, the rest have Dad’s dark brown.
“She’s just a... friend,” I lie, tearing my gaze from her, looking down at the ground.
Teagan doesn’t believe it for a second, letting out a loud hah.
“Okay.” She snickers. “Well then, what the shit—”
“Mama, language,” Molly scolds her.
“Sorry, love, why don’t you go ahead and wait in the car? So what in the sugar-honey-iced-tea was that?” she continues, getting another warning glare from the adorable five—today—year old, before the blue door on the opposite side of the pump closes shut. Teagan lifts a palm towards the store, eyes growing larger.
“I don’t know.” Crossing my arms over my chest, I lean my shoulder on the side of the truck with a sigh. “I think we are too different. We’re both in messed up places, or—”
“Or full of shit!” she cuts me off. “Oh, sweet baby Trey,” she drawls in that motherly tone all of them like to use on me. “Have you seen the way you two look at each other?”
“I can’t see how I look at someone else,” I state, plainly. A smile twitching the corner of my lips. Usually I’m not all that fast with the comebacks. I can only imagine the goofy look on my face. Well, when I wasn’t trying to play it off as if her mere existence didn’t make my heart—amongst other things—pound harder. When she first walked out of the airport, I had a total Garth moment. I felt it, that stunned, freezing, scary, overwhelming feeling.
“Bring her,” Teagan offers, a devilish grin on her lips.
“No way,” I respond.
She shrugs. “You like her?”
"Way too much,” I admit, blowing out a breath.
“That’s fantastic. She seems so... so...”
“Amazing,” I say, completely aware of the absolute love-sick way I sound. But it’s true. I can’t believe I didn’t just call her. “She lives in Pennsylvania.” I frown.
“So what?” Teagan replies. “She’s here now, isn’t she?”
“Yeah. But she just wanted casual.” I think. “She came to help me with some design ideas, it’s not a big—”
“Trey,” she interrupts, hand snapping to her hip, lip curling. “She came all the way here? From Pennsylvania?”
“To see you.”
My head continues robotically moving up and down.
“And she seems nothing like that wet blanket.” She’s referring to Kyra.
“She is definitely not. She’s so...” I trail off, turning my head to the store.
“Trey, driving or flying, or however she got here, is not a casual thing, okay? I can tell you that from a woman’s point of view. And look at her, she’s gorgeous.”
“So I don’t think she’d need to travel a lot of miles for a booty call.”
I scrunch my nose. This isn’t a conversation I want to have in proximity to any of my siblings. Also, at the thought of her with someone else, I wince. I’d attempted to not even think about her dating anyone. Her response was the same as mine, not like I can fault her. But it made my blood start to boil.
“I acted like a jerk.”
“Well.” She lets out a breathy chuckle. “She kinda just did, too. Though”—she lifts a palm, flipping it out to the side—“I can already tell you that I like her.”
“Bring her,” she pleads again.
“No chance in hell. She’s already freaked out, you all would have a field day with her.”
I stare at the front of the store, just a little under a mile from my parents’ house, cream painted tan bricks surrounding the tinted glass doors of the building she still hasn’t come out of.
“Well, fine,” Teagan concedes, smacking her lips together. “But at least go in there and get her. Tell her you’re sorry or whatever, because I’ve never seen my little brother looking at a woman like that.”
She gives me a genuine smile, an encouraging nod accompanying it.
“I’m not sure if she wants... I don’t know how to act.” A heavy breath falls from my lips as I bite down on the bottom one.
“Just be yourself,” Teagan says with a smile. She pats the front of my shirt. “Give it a go. Maybe things will be fun, maybe they’ll be more. You certainly will never know, if you don’t try.”
“You don’t have to think ahead, plan everything out all the time.” She rubs her hand against my arm, head tilted up, eyes searching mine. “You are one of the sweetest men on the planet. If she doesn’t want to be with you, that’s her problem. But I know a thing about looks... and reactions.” She lets out a quick chuckle.
I don’t even stop to think about it, already jogging towards the door. This is something I’d never have done in the past, I’d never have had the guts to even try. I’d also never have hooked up with someone in a bathroom, twice. I’d never have even attempted to go for it with someone who is out of my league.
But I know if I let her walk, or stomp away, I’ll definitely regret it.
And Teagan is right.
I’ll never know if I don’t try.
A/N: Well... ultimately I struggle with his POV, but meh here you have it. Got a bit more of a hectic one next and then we goin gloves off lol. What does that mean!? Find out.
Thoughts? Comments? I do seriously appreciate your comments, truly they help guide me💕💕