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It's not personal


I stretch my arms out to the sides with a massive yawn. My eyes still squeezed shut, but the sharp increase in outside traffic noise lets me know it’s definitely morning.

Finally, opening my lids, I stare at the high vaulted ceiling... What am I doing? I peel myself off of Chaz’s sofa. And yes, peel. You know the way leather wants to stick to your skin, it’s annoying. Fuck that couch.

I walk over to the terrace doors, staring out of the glass for a few minutes, arms crossed over my chest. What am I doing with my life? Where’s it going?

I start thinking about the thoughts that I keep trying to push back to the far corners of my mind, but the nagging truth is there. Tomorrow, I’ll be twenty-five, a quarter-century. One-fourth on my way to the ground—shit, probs not even. How many people really make it to one hundred?

Anyway, I begin to contemplate my entire purpose for coming home. I was stuck in a dead-end, living monotonous nothingness and bored out of my mind.

But the actual truth is...

I fear that’s exactly what real adulthood, when I go home and work for my parents, is going to be. And the thought of doing the same thing day in and day out... it fucking terrifies me.

“Just sugar still?” Chaz asks in his annoyingly chipper early as fuck voice, making me curl the side of my lip and scrunch my nose.

“Sure,” I reply. Super monotone, super irritated, super...


Why couldn’t he just shut his whore mouth last night? Let me have some fun? Who even wants to talk to someone through a door—though it wasn’t actually happening—during their daily constitution?

It’s weird. It’s obnoxious. It’s stupid.

“Well, you’re in a mood,” he says, handing me a cup of coffee as I walk into the dumbass kitchen, blanket draped around my shoulders like a cape, I shake my head at him mockingly with an ultra dickish look.

I grab the mug he extends, mumbling a “thanks” before sitting on one of the stools at his kitchen island.

I’m not in a mood.

I clench my thighs as I cross my legs, the vacancy between them and the lack of completion certainly not helping anyone out.

Like I said, I’m not in a mood.

I’m in the moodiest mood that ever mooded. Is that a word? It fucking is now.

I take a sip of the glorious hot coffee beans, ground and liquified, letting out a single snarky, and totally nonhumorous laugh at the falsity of even this—my favorite beverage. This bitch is a liar too. Let’s be real, I can have two cups, maybe even three... is it really gonna wake me up? Make me perky and shit?

I think the fuck not.

Placing the mug down, the ceramic of it hitting the countertop harder than intended. Chaz raises a skeptical brow while taking a sip of his own before leaning his forearms on the island, facing me.

“Out with it,” he says, with an eye roll. Scrunching his nose with an annoyed look when his sights shift to my nails, furiously tapping over the dark marble. “What’s wrong with you?”

Well, that’s an actual loaded question. I’d say it’s a mix of three things. The first being the impending fucking headache I’m feeling about moving back home. The expectations.

This has been a little reprieve, a vacation of sorts. This mouth can’t run forever.

Second, I actually feel like shit. I feel so damn bad that Chaz said those things. Not really that he said them, but I hate that Trey heard them in that way. That shit sucks.

Even though I knew Austin was a mega douche, it still feels like tainted dick when I’ve gotten texts from friends in the last day or so, saying they never liked him, or he was this and that.

Why the hell don’t people say what they feel?

I mean, fuck! Isn’t that what friends do? Don’t we tell the truth? Be honest. I know it’s hard sometimes, but if it’s done with the right intentions...

Anyway, the third thing. And the one that is making me sit here, snarling. Lip curling, eyes rolling as I stare at the pouty puppy dog look of honestly my favorite confidant. But, let’s be real... he’s to blame for my final and heftiest amount of annoyance—Fucking Chazus interruptus.

It’s not his fault, though.

I blow out a long breath. Out of the three things, also... combine them with the fact that I’m in no way, shape, or form a morning person. But put them all in the pot together, and there’s one that surfaces.

The shitty look fades from my face, and my lips fall to a frown. My eyes glancing down at my hand, fingers now silent, and resting flat on the counter. I look up and meet his concerned look.

“I knew something was up with you,” he says, lifting his elbow to the marble surface, chin resting on his fist. “You can tell me stuff, Briar. I know something happened...”

I feel guilty when his widened green eyes, that truly are caring, search mine. He will be okay with it... I doubt he’ll freak out.

“It’s about, Trey,” I begin, cautiously, immediately shifting my focus to the dark brown liquid in my mug. Chaz stands up straight from the counter.

“What about him?” His eyebrows pinch together, head turns to the side. “I thought you said he seemed—”

“When I was in the bathroom... when you were saying all that shit, well... I wasn’t...”

A single brow raises as Chaz scratches the back of his neck. To say his look is quizzical is an understatement. This is like final exam, no... state boards level.

“Hold that thought.” He lifts a finger before pointing it to his buzzing phone, obnoxiously vibrating on the countertop. Narrowing his eyes at me with a curious half smile. “Trey,” he announces into the phone as a single cough escapes my throat. “Briar was just talking about you.”

I quickly grab my coffee cup, dumping the largest amount of liquid I can in my mouth before swallowing. Trying to mask the loud gulp that was about to come out.

“She’s good,” Chaz replies into the line. His body, turned to the side in his kitchen, eyes darting towards me. Back at it again with the suspecting stare.

Oh, God. How cute is that? He’s actually asking about me. My heart flutters, and not gonna lie, my kitty most definitely purrs. I smile to myself, concealing my grin in the safe confines of my almost empty mug. Gonna need a few more of these.

I zone out for a few seconds, just caught up thinking about the quick little make out last night. Something about the way he kissed me, it’s hard to deny that pure electrical feeling that overwhelmed my body, both times. And there’s no denying that I’ve got this idea in my head. And I am gonna get what I want.

“What time’s your flight?” Chaz asks.

Ugh... if only there was a way to get him to stay... just a little longer.

“Okay.” He turns towards me, resting his forearms on the counter, propping the phone to his ear. “We can meet at eleven and then get you to the airport.”

And then it pings. The lightbulb moment. The epiphany... okay, it’s not really, but what do you want from me? I’ve only had one cup of coffee.

I pat my palm on the marble, repeatedly, catching Chaz’s attention as he looks at me, letting out a breathy laugh as my hand flaps wildly in front of him.

“Okay, let me let you—”

“No,” I interrupt him, shaking my head.

“Hang on.” He scrunches his nose, mouthing, “what?”

“Mute,” I mouth back a few times, pressing a finger to my palm before he finally catches my drift.

“What?” He asks with a laugh.


I do in fact feel bad that he said those things. And I promise, I fully intend to come clean, sure do.


Tomorrow is my birthday. My brief stint in New York is almost over. The final chance, the last hurrah—okay... dramatic much!? But for reals, I can think of a present that would be more outstanding, optimal, out of this world, and clearly overdue. See where I’m going with this one?

“What I was going to tell you...” I feel the slightest tinge of guilt but, eh, I’ll get over it. “Was that I think you were right,” I say the words in a whisper, even though I can see that the call is on mute.

“I mean, I’m always right.” He chuckles, pulling a hand through his still messy morning hair.

“Shut up,” I blurt out. Trying to keep my face neutral, no giveaways, plus, this isn’t lying. “I think Trey really does need to get laid.” He raises a single brow. “I mean, his confidence is lacking...” I swirl a fingertip over the pattern in the marble. “And like you always say.” I lift a shoulder, still covered with my blanket. “The best cure for anything...”

I cringe, taking a breath, but also trying to sell this shit. This foul and vulgar type of thing that Chaz always says, okay, me too.

“Is through the pussy.” He finishes my sentence. I swear, that’s honestly his answer to any ailment. He shoots a finger towards me, clicking his tongue.

“We are having our little party tomorrow and... I’m in town. And well, maybe he could stay in town... and—”

“God, you’re a genius.” Chaz gives me a monster grin, standing up straight and proudly tapping the button to unmute the call. “New plan,” he says, matter-of-factly into the line. “You are staying. I’m paying for your hotel because I’m not taking no for an answer. I never have both my best friends in the same place.”

Wow, he’s really going along with this whole idea. I mean, I figured he’d be a hard no about it, but if there’s anyone who understands sex drive—

“You can fly home Saturday, because tomorrow you are coming out for me and Briar’s birthday. And I’m going to find you the best, grade A, prime pussy New York has to offer.”



“You will have your pick. And man, I promise there will be options.”

Okay. No. That was not my plan.

“I’ll see you in a little and we can work out the details.” Chaz speaks so fast into the phone, and doesn’t seem to even give Trey a chance to react or protract or what the facccct!

After he hangs up, he shakes his head, walking right around and wrapping his arm around my shoulder. “You’re a genius,” he says with a breathy laugh. “I swear, I’m so glad you can think like a guy.”

“Yeah,” I mutter, “it’s super convenient.”

“Anyway.” He grabs my mug, refilling it with a huge grin. “We can scout you out a decent guy. Spencer said he’s in town for a few days.” Chaz places the cup in front of me, clicking away on his phone. No doubt already sending out loads of invites.

“Um.” I curl the side of my lip.

“He’s a good lookin’ guy, right?” he asks, raising a shoulder with an enthusiastic nod. “I mean, he seemed into you and—”

“Chaz?” I frown, looking down at the counter before meeting his eyes. The huge smile drops slightly when he sees my expression. “What about... well... what about Trey?”

“What about him?” He goes back to his phone. He’s not a birthday person, but he will use an excuse to party. And he loves making things work for other people.

“Well, what about me?”

His head jerks up and he sputters a few times, laughing. Staring at me, shoulders shaking. “I’ll make sure there are plenty of guys there for you. And girls.” He quirks a brow.

“It’s just...” I swirl my coffee in the mug before taking a sip. “It’s just, he’s a nice guy and...” Lifting my eyes, I meet Chaz’s. His head tilts down to the side, eyeing me with a scowl. Taking several seconds, I think to soak in what I’m trying to say.

“He is a nice guy. And whatever you’re thinking, just don’t... don’t go there, Briar.”

“Well, why wouldn’t you want—”

“No.” I jerk my head back as Chaz says the word with a tone of authority, finality.

“I’m sorry?”

“He’s coming off a breakup,” he says with a sigh, head shaking running a hand through his hair.

“Yeah.” I feel the crease slicing hard in between my eyes. “I got that memo. I mean, me too.” I shrug. The totally dismissive look still covers his face. “So, it’s kind of—”

His arms cross over his chest. “It’s not the same.”

Jerking my neck back, I throw him a shitty look. “Of course, it’s not. But he’s single... I’m single. It’s a—”

“I fucking said no!”

I startle as his fist pounds on the counter, leaning back so the blanket falls from my shoulders. Chaz’s jaw tensed as he shakes his head. “So while I suggested, sure, go and get laid. I’m gonna amend that statement. Because besides you, Trey is one of my closest friends.”

“Um, okay, it’s not like I’m all into him, you don’t need to go psycho over-protective of me—”

“He’s not a casual type.” Chaz stands up straighter. “He’s a good guy, like a really good one.”

“We established that. So, why...” I jam my brows together, standing from the stool, crossing my arms right over my chest, tipping my chin up to him, across the island. So he wouldn’t be alright with me hooking up with him... because he’s a good guy?

“So, it means...” He draws in a deep breath, curving his lips to a frown. And the realization that it’s not me he’s trying to protect feels like a kick in the gut.

“Forget it.”

“Briar.” He walks around, reaching out to grab my arm.

“It’s alright, Chaz.” I grit my teeth with his name, backing away from him. “I get what you’re saying, message received. I’ll steer clear.”

“It’s just that...” He shoves his hands into his shorts pockets. “Just that you’re wanting to do this whole freedom thing, and I know him... and he’s not like that.”

“I said it’s fine.” I’m not gonna lie here, this definitely feels like a bit of a smack in the face. I stomp off, but immediately try to take it down a notch. I get him, actually, I understand what he means. “I’m just gonna take a shower. It’s okay, I get it, I do.”

“I don’t have a lot of people in my life that I really care about,” he calls out behind me. “Neither one of you deserves to be a rebound.”

“Noted.” I shoot up a hand, not bothering to turn around. “I’m not even interested.”

“It’s not like anything would come from it. You guys live hours—”

“Oh my God,” I snap, turning back to face him. “Would you let it go! It was just a thought... I don’t even care.”

“Good,” he replies with a tone of finality and somewhat of a smug-ass, fuck face smile.



I throw him a shitty look, narrowing my eyes, before turning to his room.

“It’s not personal,” he yells after me.

I slam the door, walking into his bedroom. Staring at myself in the bathroom mirror, tears welling in my eyes.

Not fucking personal at all.

A/N: awww tho. Maybe there’s a bit more to Briar... thanks for commenting, voting all of that! Effing Chazus Interruptus. Anyone mad at him?

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