Still Holding On

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Chapter Nine

It's been two weeks since I told Luke about Josh. I gave Will the silent treatment for three days afterwards. He of course got all defensive and said I didn't have to tell Luke about Josh, but I did.
He'd been cheated on, had sex for the first time in three years then thought he was the other guy, not that I told Will any of that.
Will tried defending himself saying that if Tag ever sees Josh he'd shoot him on site.
"You've been spending a lot of time with Tag lately." Will comments as we start getting the bar ready for the evening.
"He's nice." I shrug fighting to keep the blush off my cheeks. "Do you like him?" He asks me outright. "What?" I ask spinning to face him. "Do you like Tag?" He repeats raising his eyebrows.
"That's none of your business." I say as I start putting more beer into the fridge. "Look, I know you know about Susie but you don't know about the rest of it. Just don't start anything with him unless you're serious. He don't need no more heartache." It's weird seeing Will being so serious.
"What else is there?" I ask pursing my lips. "Not my place to say." He shrugs as he puts the whiskey bottles on the lower shelf. "I like him." I whisper. "Knew it." He snorts. "At least I don't have to worry about him kissin' on you yet." He chuckles.
"What's the meant to mean?" I snap standing up straight and folding my arms. "It means he ain't ever even looked at a girl since he got with Susie. He won't move fast." He says and I fight back my smile.
Oh Will if only you knew.
Especially what we did last night on your table while you were working.
"Don't you be tryin' to kiss up on him either. We all know how you take rejection." He laughs. "Ha. Ha." I answer sarcastically.
"Did you tell him everything bout Josh?" He asks quietly. "Yes." I reply as Young Mary walks in twenty minutes late.
"You're late." Will tells her. She rolls her eyes in reply and goes to the back to put her stuff away. "Can't stand that bitch. But gives a good blow job." He says sighing slightly. "Ew." I fake gag as she walks back out. "What's going on with you and Tag?" She asks standing in front of me with her arms crossed over her chest.
"We're friends." I say casually. "He won't date you, you know?" She spits out. "So I've heard." I nod trying to step around her but she steps too blocking me in.
"Once his divorce is finalized he's gonna end up with me."
"Good for you." I mutter as I start to feel uncharacteristically angry. I would love to punch her in the face and tell her we've been sleeping together for the last two weeks.
"Hey y'all." James sings walking through the front door. "I'm thinkin' bout fourth of July." He sighs sliding into a barstool. "What about it?" Will asks popping a beer cap off and placing it in front of him.
"One of y'all reckon you can convince Tag to throw a bonfire like old times?" He says confusing me. I thought he was talking about the bar.
"I can." Mary offers immediately. "No you won't." James dismisses her and I have to bite my tongue to stop from laughing. "I asked him and he told me to fuck off." He sighs resting his chin on his hand. "I'll see what I can do." Will nods.
"You could ask Missy." James suggests hopefully. "Think Amelia is the person to ask her." He answers jutting his chin towards me. "In her eyes she's perfect." He adds with an eye roll while Mary scoffs.
"Alright, it's sorted. Will talks to Tag. Amelia talks to Missy." James claps his hands together. "I'll go work on the roster. If y'all need me I'm in the office." He says grabbing his beer and disappearing.
The night was unusual for a Friday, it's usually busy but not this fucking busy! I've barely had time to stop and catch my breath, even James has jumped behind the bar to help serve drinks.
"What the fuck is going on?" Will shouts as we pass each behind the bar. "Y'all want some help?" Luke's voice catches my attention. He's leaning over the bar talking to James.
"Focus girl!" Will says into my ear making me tear my eyes away from Luke. "I think you've got it bad." He says as we pour drinks side by side. "No I don't." I roll my eyes.
"What can I get you?" I ask a man I haven't seen here before. He's wearing a collared button down shirt, his hair is perfectly styled and his hands look like they haven't worked in a day.
"You must be new." The man smiles looking me up and down slowly making my skin crawl. "Beer? Whiskey?" I suggest hoping he orders and leaves.
"What's your name?" He asks licking his lips. "None of your damn business." Wills voice growls from behind me. "Get the fuck out of here." He orders but the man just smirks.
"Just remember Tag is a better man than me. I have no problem telling everyone here what you did. Or punching you in the fucking face." He says lowly grabbing my elbow.
"Tell James to get Tag the fuck out of here now." He says into my ear before gently pushing me. I frown wondering who this man is but go and do as I'm told.
"Why the fuck would I do that?" He asks me but I simply shrug. James rolls his eyes before he stomps down to Will.
I continue serving drinks before Luke catches my eye. He's sitting at the end of the bar talking and laughing with Henry the old drunk who I've come to love.
"Amelia." James yells out grabbing the top of arm making me flinch. "Can you get Tag out if here? Right now?" He asks sounding frantic. "But we're swamped." I say opening four more beers and placing them on the bar.
"Don't care. Get him out. Now." He orders. "Okay." I nod. "Hey." I smile going up to Luke and Henry. "Ma'am." They both say at the same time. "Can I talk to you for a minute outside please?" I ask locking eyes with Luke. "Sure." He smiles finishing the last mouthful of his beer before getting up as I slip out of the bar.
"What's up?" He asks as we reach the chilly air. "Can we go to your house?" I ask rubbing my arms. "In the middle of your shift?" He asks raising his eyebrows. "I'll tell you why when get there." I nod.
"That you want to jump me?" He teases. "Yup. I told James I'm really horny and need you to fuck me." I joke back making his eyes widen. "I'm kidding!" I laugh scanning the parking lot for his truck.
"I'm out on the road." He says before looking me up and down. "Do you wanna go grab your sweater?" He asks and I shake my head.
Once we've climbed into his truck he asks why we have to rush back to his house. "I'll tell you when we're there." I say shaking my head. "So it's really not because you're super horny?" He asks with a teasing smile.
"Not tonight buddy." I smile back. "Ooh ouch, buddy." He fake winces. "And here I was thinkin' we were a little bit more than buddies." He laughs turning down his road.
"Just a teeny bit more." I laugh. "Did you get a new phone yet?" I ask. After our little dip in the pond Luke realised his phone was in his pocket and completely ruined. I on the other hand was smart and left mine in my bag.
"No." He mutters clearly still pissed he ruined a brand new phone. "You know if you do I could always send you some photos." I trail off. "Sexy photos?" He asks narrowing his eyes as we pull into his driveway.
"As long as you send me photos of Sid then I will." I tease climbing out of the truck and heading for his front door.
I test the handle and nod in satisfaction when the door doesn't open.
"So are you going to tell me why we had to leave?" He asks finding his house key and sliding it into the handle. "I don't really know." I shrug as he lets me go in first. "I was serving this creep and Will told me to tell James to get you out then James told me." I explain ploping down on the sofa and kicking my shoes off.
"A creep?" He asks taking his own boots off and sitting down next to me. "Yeah some guy I'd never seen before. Blonde, dressed preppy, sleazing smile." I list off and Luke freezes. "Billy fucking Cole." He mutters.
"The pastor's son?" I ask biting my lip. "The one and only." He grunts leaning back so his neck is resting on the back of the sofa.
"What'd he say to you?" He asks rolling his head to look at me. "Just that I must be new and what my name was." I try to say as casually as possible. "And they made me leave for that?" He asks screwing his face up.
"Will said he'd tell everyone what he did and punch him in the face because you won't." I blurt out making his eyebrows shoot up. "Do you want too?" I ask nervously.
"I did. Not any more." He sighs before placing his hand on my bare thigh. "Are you over her?" I ask biting my lip scared of the answer.
"I am. I mean I still wanna know why she cheated especially with what happened with my momma."
"What happened?" I ask placing my hand on top of his and intertwining our fingers. "No ones told you?" He asks surprised and I shake my head.
"My momma had a boyfriend two towns over for a couple of years but he never introduced her to his family or friends even when she got pregnant." He begins looking at the turned off tv in front of us.
"He pretty much told her to fuck off. Turns out he already had a wife and three kids. Momma confronted him and wanted to know why he cheated, saying she couldn't go to the grave without knowing why, but he wouldn't tell her." He sighs shaking his head, his eyes full of emotion.
"Momma went and told his wife and she left his sorry ass. But he blamed her for ruining his life and beat the living shit out of her." I squeeze his hand gently seeing tears well up in his eyes.
"Three months later momma drove her car straight into an eighteen wheeler, killing herself." His voice breaks. "Oh, Luke." I whisper wiping away my own tears. "Can't change what happened." He mumbles blinking quickly several times.
"I don't know what to say." I whisper knowing saying I'm sorry won't help. "My heart hurts for you." I decide to say. "You don't need to feel like that." He half smiles gently tugging my hand. I climb onto his lap so I'm straddling him, I wrap my arms around his neck and he burries his face into my shoulder pulling me close to his body.
We stay holding each other, not saying anything for so long I drift off to sleep.
I'm woken when Luke moves underneath me. "Someone here." He whispers standing up holding onto me as we walks around before gently placing on his bed.
"Go back to sleep." He whispers before brushing his lips against my forehead. "Who's here?" I mumble snuggling into his pillow. "James." He answers quietly.
I hear the door open before I hear James' voice asking Luke if he's okay. "I'm fine." He grunts and the door closes. "She sleeping?" I hear Will. I open one of my eyes and see all three standing in the kitchen watching me. "Yeah, about a hour." Luke answers looking away from me and to Will.
"I ain't goin' to punch him." He states. "I know, but I wanted to beat him." Will sighs running his hand down his face. "I thought you woulda." James pipes up.
"But you're alright?" Will asks as I close my eyes again. "I'm good." He answers. "You look like shit." James comments making me nearly snort. Luke always looks good.
"Tired." He answers. "We'll let you get some sleep then. You good to drop her off tomorrow?" Will asks. "You need a bigger sofa." He laughs quietly as foot steps fill the room. "Then your ass would be here all the time." Luke jokes back. "Wanna do lunch tomorrow I gotta talk to you." He asks as the door opens.
Once I hear the door close again I sit up and watch Luke as he walks over to his bed. "He's going to ask you about Fourth of July." I state undoing my denim shorts and sliding them off.
"James was asking about that." He groans stripping down to his underwear. "What do they want to do?" I ask climbing under the blanket the same time as he does.
"A big bonfire out on the ranch. We used to camp out overnight." He says pulling me into his arms. "That sounds like fun." I comment with a small smile on my face.
"It was." He yawns. "I've never camped before." I state running my fingers gently up and down his bicep. "Are you tryin' to convince me?" He asks burying his head into my neck. "I mean it would be fun." I smile moving my hand to the back of his hair. "Fine, but you have to help me clean up." He grumbles making me smile. "Deal." I whisper kissing the top of his head.
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