Looking over I can see Josh has attempted to curl his giant frame onto a chair even smaller than mine and is sleeping soundly, that little shit could sleep anywhere.
Steve is resting his eyes but I can tell he’s not asleep, he’s probably in too much pain to really get the sleep he so desperately needs.
I run my fingers across his bruised knuckles but he doesn’t flinch, instead turning his hand and interlocking his fingers with mine just like last night. He doesn’t open his eyes but I can see the small smile that means I’m bringing him comfort, which I’m glad of.
A tall male nurse comes through the door, he picks up the clipboard and starts to check all the machines. His eyes wonder over to me over the clipboard and I follow the trail to see my boobs are barely in this dress anymore, I’m basically giving him a free show.
"How long have you two been together?” He asks fiddling with the drip still attached to Steve’s arm.
Oh shit, how am I supposed to answer that? Um how long is long for a relationship? A week? Ten years? I don’t fucking know!
“Three years.” Yeah that sounds good, a girlfriend of three years would definitely be staying the night in the hospital.
The guy smiles. “Three years huh? Still no ring though?”
I look down at my hand that is still interlocked with Steve’s. He hasn’t said anything and I’m starting to wonder if maybe he just sleeps very quietly. Either that or this conversation is just as uncomfortable for him as it is for me.
“Actually I found the one I want, there’s this place in the bay that makes these one of a kind rings from the stones found in the area. There was this one in the window, blue stone surrounded by diamonds. Absolutely gorgeous. Think he’s waiting until he can get me that one.” It wasn’t a total lie, me and Al always stop when we pass that place. I’ve never thought about doing something as stupid as getting married but I saw that ring there a few months back, made with a stone plucked from the waters Harley now swims in, and thought if ever did get engaged then that’s the rock I want sitting on my finger.
This guy is clearly stalling, he’s checked that same chart three times now. He turns back to smile at me, puffing his chest out and flexing his pretty impressive arms. “Well he should hurry up, another guy might come along and take you off his hands otherwise.” Oh shit, he’s seriously hitting on me while my ‘boyfriend’ is sitting right here? Got to give it to him - Bold.
Steve’s head snaps to the guy as his eyes fling open. “You can have her when I’m fucking dead. Fuck off before I put you in the bed next door.”
Fucking hell, okay so definitely not sleeping then. Wow, if he gets this protective over a fake girlfriend can you imagine what he’s like with a real one? I mean, I guess I’m definitely not against the whole dominant Alpha male stuff...
Steve didn’t say another word after the nurse practically ran for his life, he also didn’t let go of my hand but I figured it was more of a reassurance thing because he could barely see through his swollen black eyes and just wanted to check someone was still here.
The doctor said he wanted Steve to stay in for a few days for observation but Steve was having none of it, even Josh couldn’t convince him. The doctor reluctantly agreed to release him with some seriously strong pain killers and a promise Steve would do nothing but rest.
Jayce came to pick us up and I immediately connected my phone to his car to avoid Jayce’s shockingly bad taste in music, seriously what kind of guy in his twenties is still listening to Taylor Swift? This boy worries me.
We hadn’t even got two minutes into the drive when a call came through and I answered it to Sonya’s booming voice shouting through Jayce’s speakers.
“BRIANNA! WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?! THERES A DELIVERY HERE AND I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT IT IS! DO YOUR FUCKING JOB YOU IDIOT, YOU’D BETTER BE TALKING TO ME AS YOUR GHOST RIGHT NOW BECAUSE BEING DEAD IS YOUR ONLY EXCUSE FOR NOT BEING HERE!”
Shit, I thought I had more time to get there.
Jayce looks at me in disbelief, he knows as well as I do that I would never let someone talk to me like this in any other walk of life. Think quick Brie. “Sonya I’m at the florist, they called this morning to say that after a shortage of roses throughout the US this week they couldn’t guarantee the delivery for the engagement party. I’m just here to remind them what will happen if they miss this order.”
There was some silence before Sonya spoke. “Fucking tell them I will ruin their lives, their kids lives and their grandchildren’s fucking lives if they miss this order. I’m not fucking around Brianna, I will burn that place to the ground.”
I could hear everyone in the car trying to hold in giggles and was starting to feel sorry for the poor innocent woman at the florist I’d just inadvertently put in the line of fire. “I will make her aware, I’m just going to check everything thoroughly and I’ll be in, I’ll bring coffee.” Sonya didn’t even bother to respond before hanging up abruptly.
Nobody got a chance to say anything as the car started ringing again and I answered it quickly, this bitch always had to have the last word. “Hi Sonya.”
There was a moment of silence. “Not sure I’m loving that new nickname babe.” Oh shit, Connor.
Steve had been resting in the back seat with Josh but suddenly became very alert at the sound of Connors voice. I’m not sure Connor has ever called me anything other than Brianna, babe was definitely new.
“Oh sorry, I thought you were my boss hounding me again. Are you okay?” It felt really weird to be having this conversation over loud speaker but I’m pretty sure it would get more weird if I just suddenly cut it off to hide him.
“Yeah, just worried when you didn’t answer any of my messages yesterday. Wanted to make sure you’re okay before I went into class... how was the fight? Josh’s brother okay?”
Steve seemed to be uncomfortable, moving slightly in the seat and avoiding eye contact. He was probably in agony in this car but trying to hide it. I hadn’t even thought to respond to Connors texts, it was kind of a manic night. Shit, see this is why I’d make a fucking terrible girlfriend, this kind of crap doesn’t even occur to me.
“Sorry babe, fight went well but some shit happened after. I’ll call you after work to explain okay? You’re going to be late for class so go. Give Hope a kiss from me when she gets in and tell her I want to know how her teacher liked her spins yesterday.”
He chuckles. “Okay, I will. She talked about you all night last night.” There was some hustling and loud noise on the other end of the line. “Sorry, I’ve got to go, class is coming in. Speak to you later beautiful.”
I say goodbye and hope to God everyone just leaves it but Jayce and Josh are already smirking. Jayce looks over at me. “So Connor huh? First you bring him to the house, now your having cute morning calls and asking about his kid? Damn Brie, you actually got yourself a boyfriend.”
He better watch his damn mouth. “He’s not my boyfriend Jayce, we’re just... I don’t know to be honest. Dating? Haven’t got a fucking clue. We’re just seeing where it goes.”
Can that be the end of this please?... Of course not. “Brie he’s a good guy, you know you deserve to be happy right?”
Oh god please make him stop. Jayce senses my frustration and takes it as an opportunity to continue the torture. “Plus he’s already got the cute kid, you can do the mum thing without doing the pregnancy thing just like you said you never wanted to... Brie and Connor sitting in a tree-”
Josh attempts to join in with his little song but I reach one hand behind to smack them both in the face at the same time. “You two sing one more fucking word and I’m telling Al that you both referred to her as Shamu when describing how she’ll look in a few months.”
Their faces drop. Josh looks at me with total fear at the idea of receiving the wrath of Aleah’s pregnancy hormones. “You wouldn’t.”
I smirk. “Fucking watch me. Now zip it, both of you, before I mess your faces up worse than Steve’s.”
They decided it was best we travelled in silence for the rest of the trip and I think they finally had the right idea for once.
Josh and Jayce had to support Steve into the house before lowering him to the couch. I said I’d stay whilst Jayce took Josh to get his car and then he’d come back for me.
Steve was in so much pain, he was trying to hide it but he couldn’t even move without the hurt being plastered on his face. “Babe is there anything I can get for you?” I ask scooting down on the seat next to him.
He smirks. “Babe? Not sure your boyfriend-ish person would be comfortable with you calling me that.” Oh god not him too.
“Jesus, when did everyone get so obsessed with who I’m fucking? News flash – I enjoy sex with guys, I’m good at it and I do it a lot. Why is everyone making such a big deal out of this one?!... Now, can I make you some coffee or something?”
He smiles at me. “Sorry, I was just surprised that’s all. You said last night you weren’t the settling type, I wasn’t expecting to hear that...” Why does his face look like that? He looks... hurt? “...He must be a pretty special guy to have locked you down.”
Steve’s eyes scan my face and I start to feel naked under his glare, it’s so intense.
I still can’t put my finger on what it is about Steve, ever since I met him back at the club I’ve felt drawn to him, just this weird connection I’ve never been able to shift. Like my soul knows somehow that he’s important but I can’t figure out why. He’s a sweet guy but there’s an edge to him too. It’s like he’s the kind of guy that your mum would like, your dad would hate and your sister would fancy. Even with all this swelling, those blue eyes if his still shine through.
My head falls back against the couch as I turn to face him. “He is, he’s a good guy, a really good guy. He’s the kind of guy I know most women have fantasised about being with. He’s cute, loving, he has this amazing job and this gorgeous little girl with this perfect house. He’s like a dream, he’s definitely most women’s vision of their future.”
Why am I unloading this on him? Why do I always feel so safe with Steve, like I could tell him anything. Is it because he’s Josh’s brother? Is there like something in my heart that recognises something in his?
Steve’s hand reaches out and his thumb runs across my cheek bone, my eyes closing as my head sinks further into the cushion behind me and I relax under his touch. It’s so different to Connors. Steve works with his hands, he fights and fixes his own bike, his hands are rougher but I don’t hate it.
As he let’s out a deep breath the warm air tickles against my lips. I can’t even open my lids to look at him, a part of me afraid it will make him take his hand away from my skin. “You’ve never been most women Brie.”
That’s exactly what I’m afraid of...