I’m done. I’m done feeling sorry for myself and I’m done being this pitiful, little thing that does nothing for himself in order to change the current path that they’re on. A week ago, after that whole terrible situation with Becca, Tavish and I had a long talk at the bar and I was able to get buzzed enough to tell him exactly what was going on with me. I told him the good news first, announcing Niko’s engagement to AnneMarie and how he made me his best man. Tavish bought us both a couple shots after that news. I then proceeded to tell him how I was a little jealous of Niko in general and Tav put it so brilliantly that I was forced to take his advice. I’d be stupid not to. From what I can remember, I think it went something like this..
“So, what’s going on? Seriously, you’re acting all mopey and sad and I don’t like it,” Tavish began after our first few beers and some bullshitting to keep the silence away, but I knew this was bound to be brought up. For as long as he tried to avoid asking me, I knew he was going to eventually, and I kind of did want to talk about it, even though I thought I didn’t at first..
“I don’t know anymore,” I replied, starring down at my fresh beer, “So much shit happened today and I don’t know how to feel about any of it. It’s all made me confused on what I even want with my life anymore,” I answered.
“Just tell me what happened,” he offered and I chuckled softly.
“Fuck, where do I start?” I asked rhetorically, “I guess I’ll start with the only good thing about today.. Niko came home from college with AnneMarie, that’s why we all got together for dinner. He finally proposed to her tonight and asked me to be his best man,” I said with a smirk.
“Really? That’s awesome, man! Congrats to him, and to you for getting that awesome responsibility,” he expressed his excitement for the situation, finding a waitress we knew and calling her over.
“Hey, guys! What can I get you?” Our friend, Cassandra, asked.
“Four shots of whiskey, please,” he ordered and she smiled.
“Oh? What are we celebrating?” She asked.
“Luca’s brother is getting married and he made Luca the best man,” Tavish announced the good news and Cass looked at me with her excitement about to make her burst.
“Oh my God! You mean little Niko? Finally?!” She asked and I nodded.
“Yup. Little brother’s finally all grown up,” I replied.
“That’s so great! Congrats to him and you!” She then leaned into my ear a little, “Invite me if you get strippers for the Bachelor party,” she added and I laughed.
“I’ll see what I can do,” I answered and she winked happily before going off and filling our order.
Tavish then continued the conversation, “I always thought it was weird how all that the best man has to do is plan the bachelor party, while the maid of honor has to cater to the bride hand and foot and break her back for her.. Seems so.. Unbalanced,” Tav answered with a chuckle and I snickered.
“Huh.. Never thought of that before.. Sucks for AnneMarie’s maid of honor.. Which, actually, is probably going to be this girl that AnneMarie is trying to set me up with..”
“I thought you hated blind dates?” He guessed and I nodded.
“Oh, I do, it’s just a favor for her and Niko.. A wedding gift, I guess. The girl just moved a few towns over not too long ago and she doesn’t know anyone.. AnneMarie seems to think we’d be good for each other, so I told her that I’d think about it,” I answered with a shrug.
“The two best friends of the happy couple getting together.. It seems like the quarterback dating the prom queen type of cliche shit,” he added and I chuckled.
“Okay, here you go,” Cass came back to the table and set down four shot glasses, which Tavish and I downed two each quickly and gave them back.
“Thanks, Cass,” I replied.
“No problem. You give that little cutie my best, okay? Congrats, again, that’s a huge honor being a best man, too! ..And I was very serious about you inviting me if there’s strippers at the Bachelor party,” she added again and like before, I couldn’t help but laugh.
“I’ll talk to him. I’m sure he won’t mind a few of my friends coming along for the good time,” I gave her a little something to believe in and she seemed excited all over again.
“Yay! Okay, I’ll leave you two alone. Let me know if you need anything else!”
“Will do, Cass,” Tavish replied and she happily went off back to the bar.
“So, what else happened?” Tavish wondered and I appreciated him sitting here and listening to this boring shit, but I also appreciated that he could tell there was a lot more for me to get off my chest.
“My dad brought up my ex and asked if I was seeing anyone steadily because he doesn’t think I’m over it yet.. And my Pop’s ‘joked’ again for the millionth time that he wants grandkids..”
“Fuck.. Again?” He asked with exhaustion in his tone, as if he was just as sick of hearing it as I was.
“Yup.. And August stopped by, but none of us saw him except for my dad. I guess he showed up, made my dad feel like complete shit like he always does, then left.. And you know my dad, he’s just.. Sensitive, really sensitive, and one little thing can make it so he can’t appreciate the good in front of him no matter how hard he or anyone else tries..”
“Kind of sounds like what you’re doing now, too,” he pointed out and I chuckled.
“I’m not that sensitive.. I don’t know, man, it’s hard to talk bad about my dad, but he’s just weak, you know? Really, just.. Emotionally weak, and we all know it, but we cater to it because he needs us to in order to get better.. We try our best to make him feel better, too, because we love him and it sucks seeing him like that, but August is the only one of us that could give a complete shit about him. It’s like he goes out of his way to knock my dad off his rocker and it’s up to all of us to pick him back up.. Well, I try to pick him back up, at least, because I seem to be the only one that really notices their beef.. But, I just want to know what it is between them that makes August hate him so much,” I explained.
“I’m sure Augie doesn’t hate him.. Maybe they just don’t get along anymore?”
“Yeah, but, why? That’s what I want to know.”
“Have you asked your dad about it?”
“Yeah, but he refuses to tell me..”
“Well, not to be a dick, but.. It’s between them. I know you want to protect your dad against the wrath of the mighty beast we all call August, but it just doesn’t concern you. They’ll work it out eventually, I’m sure, you just gotta give stuff like this time. If it was hurting all of you guys, yeah, butt the hell in, but it just sounds like it’s between those two, so just let it go,” Tavish advised and although I didn’t like hearing that there was nothing I could or should do, he was right.. But.. Maybe going to the problem starter was better than going after the victim..? I haven’t asked Augie about any of this yet, whereas I’ve asked Dad plenty of times.. Hmm..
“What else? I know there’s more.. Like, who did that bikini top come from? You came home a lot more wound up than I thought you’d be after seeing that,” Tavish hinted as he pointed out the top Becca had left behind in the back seat of my car and I sighed heavily.
“Fuck, I dunno.. Everything just didn’t sit right with me at my parents place and I wanted different company.. Becca texted me telling me to come over.. I was glad to get out of there and go see her, take my mind off of things, you know? But, we started everything and it was good for a little bit, but then in the middle of it all, she drops the bomb that she’s had a boyfriend and this is the last time we’re hooking up because she’s moving in with him,” I explained and Tavish seemed more pissed than I was.
“What the fuck? She never told you?”
“Nope.. Never even told me about the other boyfriends she’s had other times we’ve fooled around, too.. You know me, I don’t like messing with other guys girlfriend’s, it’s just fucked up, so I got pissed and stopped everything and told her to never talk to me again. She got mad, started an argument, belittled me and called me pathetic, so I said some shit back that I’m not too proud of now and left. I don’t even remember all of what I said to her, I was angry, so.. Yeah, that’s it,” I put simply and he shook his head in disbelief.
“Fuck, man.. I’m sorry you had to go through so much today. That’s just not right, though, her not telling you something like that. It’s like, we protect ourselves for a damn reason, you don’t know what kind of stuff he’s working with down there, you know? Then what if she has it, too, and the condom breaks or something? You’re totally fucked,” he gave examples and I nodded strongly.
“Exactly! Or, what if he finds out and he’s a master of jujitsu or a fucking assassin or something and puts you in the hospital or worse just for sleeping with his girl?” I exaggerated a bit, “Taken girls just aren’t worth it.. I’ll never do that again. From now on, I’m asking straight off the bat,” I made a promise to myself.
“Well, it’s good that things are over between the two of you, though. Good riddance,” he replied and I chuckled.
“I know, right? I don’t even know why I ever thought hooking up with her more than once wouldn’t came back to bite me in the ass later. Fuck, was I wrong..”
“Anything else to get off your chest?” He asked and I still hadn’t explained how I thought I was going nowhere in life, not accomplishing anything useful, and also being jealous of my little brother made me uncomfortable to admit.. I didn’t want to talk about it.. It made me feel like I was being weak like my dad and getting too sensitive over things that didn’t make all that much sense to be bothered about.
“Nah, I guess not..”
“Come on, Luca.. You left your parents house only because you didn’t like seeing your dad upset? Don’t you dare think that I don’t know how happy he was after Niko proposed to AnneMarie.. I bet he completely forgot about August when he found out one of his sons was getting married. There’s obviously something else that bothered you enough to leave a celebration you all have been waiting years to have,” he called my bluff and I sighed.
I love you, Tav, but fuck you, too, for knowing me so damn well..
“I don’t know.. It’s a little difficult to talk about because I feel so stupid saying it..”
“..But?” He encouraged.
“But, I guess I’m just.. A little jealous of my brother,” I admitted and he chuckled.
“He just has everything, you know? Great education, free ride in college, pretty much the perfect woman, he’s getting married, probably will have a baby on the way soon after.. With everything he does, he makes my parents so fucking proud, he just.. He has it all, you know? And I don’t have shit,” I described.
“What the hell are you talking about? Did Becca fuck the ‘stupid’ into you?” He seemed bothered by my words and I looked up from my beer, “You have everything, too, Luca. You didn’t want to go to college, so you didn’t. You don’t want to get married, so you’re not going to, and no one’s forcing you. You don’t want kids, so you avoid the seriousness of a girlfriend that could lead to the marriage that you don’t want, too. Your parents are proud of you no matter what the hell you do. I’ve seen how they look at you and it’s the exact same way they look at Niko, or the girls, or Jiro, and even August, for fuck’s sake, and look at what a delight he is,” he said sarcastically and I couldn’t help but smirk.
“You don’t need a crazy-good education, either, because look at the job you have and look at how much you help Blair and the rest of your clients. If you’re looking for your parents approval or something, just be yourself, because that’s all they want. Sure, they might hound you to find a girlfriend, and sure they might hound you for grandkids, but that’s probably only because they have each other and want you to experience love, too, and they want you to experience what it’s like to have kids because yeah, it could be fun, but they don’t realize it’s just not for everyone. My point is that if you want to do something, then you do it, and if you don’t, then you don’t. You have full reign and freedom over your own life and that’s something to be really proud of.. Just because your brother has a different life than you doesn’t mean he’s doing life better than you. Your paths are just different, simple as that,” he put so perfectly and immediately I was feeling a lot better about all of this.. Why didn’t I just call Tavish after I left my parents place instead of going to Becca’s?
“And if I’m way off and you’re starting to want the things that Niko has, then do it. It’s been a long seven years, I know, but maybe it’s time to start doing things a little different if you’re not feeling fulfilled enough? Go for the change.. Go out with the girl AnneMarie wants to set you up with and enjoy yourself, take her out, talk to her, maybe kiss her at the end of the night, marry her eventually, or maybe not? Who fucking knows? Do whatever you want, though. If you’re not happy, then change things, and if you are happy, they keep doing what you do in order to keep it that way,” he concluded and I felt as if I was at a loss for words.
“You’re a wise, wise man, Tav,” I replied and he smiled.
“It’s been said,” he replied with a full ego and I chuckled softly.
Ultimately, what I took away from all of that was Tavish was right.. I needed to start taking charge of things that I wanted, that I was jealous of, that I was sick of not having. I needed to stop feeling so sorry for myself and look at the bigger picture, focus on something more and focus on things that didn’t revolve around my own self pity and what brings me down just thinking about it. The first thing on my list of stuff to figure out? What the hell was wrong with August and Dad.
I went out for a run this afternoon, but after thinking about what Tavish and I talked about a week back, my feet led me to August’s place. I walked through the open parking lot to the elevator that led up to the condos, but I didn’t look forward to seeing him. I’m not even sure if I ever really did.. I could already hear August’s voice in my head whenever he would answer the door, asking what the hell I was doing here or maybe just getting the door slammed in my face, but it as worth a shot, anyways. I wanted to get to the bottom of this.
I lifted my right hand and balled it into a fist, pounding on his door and standing there, waiting, listening and trying to see if anyone was coming to answer it. After a long wait, I raised my hand again and pounded on the door once more, finally hearing some life from the other side.
“I’m coming! God!” I heard, although the annoyed, feminine voice that came from behind the door didn’t sound anything like Blair’s..
Oh, fuck.. Not her.. What the hell is wrong with you, Augie?
The door flung open and Lien answered, a terrible woman that none of the family liked and someone I was surprised to see after the advice I had given August a while ago about how to get Blair back.. Clearly, however, he managed to fuck that up if she was here.
“Luca? What do you want?” She asked and the moment I realized she was wearing one of August’s shirts, I rolled my eyes with a face of disgust, pushing passed her and ignoring her to go look for my brother.
“Ew, you smell!” She exclaimed as she shut the front door and followed me into the condo.
“Yeah, that’s what happens when you run for exercise instead of making it through the day on your back,” I insulted and she didn’t seem too amused, “Where’s Augie?” I asked as I looked around the living room and kitchen, but no Augie in sight.
“He’s in the shower.. Something you should consider doing a lot more often,” she replied with a snappy attitude that I was all too familiar with from her.
“Ever thought of washing all that ‘bitch’ off of you, or is that just permanent?” I asked in return, looking to her as I stood in the living room and she smirked.
“Well, this bitch can get you feeling pretty dirty in other ways,” she flirted, a trait of hers that seemed more dominant than the rest of them, but I cringed at the thought.
I gagged a little, “Wow, sorry, I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit..”
“Oh, is the smell of all the meaningless sex and self pity you reek of making you sick?” She rebutted.
“..Are we still talking about me? Because that’s rich coming from you and where you are right now.. Wha’d Augie do? Call you out of the blue after ignoring you for a few months because he was with Blair? It must suck to always be the backup, huh?” I spat back and that seemed to be the one thing that phased her, but before she could reply, August came into the hallway with a towel on.
“..What are you doing here?” He asked, though he seemed to not even care as he then walked to his bedroom before I could respond.
I followed him, wanting to get away from Lien and I stopped at the doorway of his room.
“I came to ask you something,” I replied.
“And, what? You wanna ask me something when my dick’s out as I change? Get the fuck away from my room and gimme a second,” he replied harshly before slamming the door in my face and I had no choice but to go back to the living room.. It seems I received both greetings from him in a little under ten seconds.
After a few minutes, being forced to listen to the deafening silence of the room as Lien looked me up and down the entire time, August finally came out of the bedroom to where we were.
“Why’d you come here?” He asked, watching him walk passed us towards the kitchen and he grabbed a beer from the fridge.
I looked to Lien, “Do you mind, Medusa?” I said towards her and she rolled her eyes, walking out of the living room and going to the bedroom, shutting the door behind her.
“So? What do you want? Come to steal my watch again, or maybe one of my records this time?” He named a few things I had swiped off of him in the past.
“I deserve that, but.. What the fuck is she doing here? I thought you patched things up with Blair?” I brought up immediately and he was quiet for a moment as he shut the fridge and twisted the cap to his beer off.
“..You didn’t tell her, did you?” I guessed, knowing he didn’t take my advice and he didn’t tell Blair that he loved her like I thought he would.
“No, I didn’t.. I wanted to get what we fought about behind us first, but.. It just didn’t work out that way,” he explained, taking a sip of his beer and standing by the counter.
“Coming from a guy that’s constantly looking for a fight.. How surprising,” I said sarcastically, “How hard is it? If you feel it, then why don’t you just say it?”
“Yeah? And how’d that turn out for you? Please, enlighten me,” he rubbed in my face with a hostile tone and I threw him a hard grimace as my anger rose quickly. I was getting really fucking sick of being reminded of that by every damn person in my life.
“Fuck you, dude-”
“No, fuck you! Don’t give me that shit! You come here wanting answers to something I probably don’t give a shit about, but then you question me about my relationships when you haven’t had a real one in years? I’m not taking advice from a man who failed and got walked out on after he said it, that’s just pure stupidity,” he continued and I hung my head for a moment before I looked back up to him again.
“You know what? You’re right. I did fail. But, what you have with Blair is so much different than what I did. You still have her, she didn’t abandon you and she still lives right here in town.. You let her go on without knowing what you really feel because you’re too much of a chicken shit to do it! At least I’ve fucking said it! What’s your real reason for not, huh? That thing in the bedroom cannot be the reason, either, I know that for a fact without you even saying it,” I argued back and the look on his face that he gave me told me all that I needed to know. He regretted not telling Blair when he had the chance, but I could also tell that he was already getting pissed off about my presence in general.. How surprising..
A large sigh escaped passed his lips, “What do you want, Luca?” He changed the subject, which was probably better for the both of us.
“I wanna know what’s going on with you and Dad,” I explained and his eyes held a hatred that I was familiar with, but I summed it up to his normal look, anyhow, and didn’t know how to read it.
“None of your damn business, that’s for fucking sure,” he replied harshly.
“Come on, man.. Niko invited all of us to the house for a reason and you talked to Dad for two seconds, then split.. Do you have any idea what happened that night? What you missed out on because of whatever the hell you and Dad have going on?” I asked and he gave me a questionable look, as if he really hadn’t heard the news and I was disappointed all over again. He must be on his monthly binge of ignoring everyone’s phone calls..
“No.. What happened?”
“..Niko proposed to AnneMarie,” his eyes widened behind his blonde hair, finally seeing an emotion besides anger from him.
I saw guilt.
“He did it at the beach behind the house after dinner.. A dinner that you missed, even a simple hello that you missed out on because you saw Dad, made a bee line towards him, did whatever the fuck you did, then left,” I continued and he looked down at his beer in his hand, shaking his head gently at himself.
“Yeah.. You missed it.. So, tell me why,” I continued, but more so demanded, and he looked back up to me.
“You wouldn’t understand,” he said quietly.
“Try me,” I challenged.
August came over into the living room and set down his beer on the table, sitting on the couch and I walked over to join him, sitting down as well and waiting for him to explain himself.
I spoke up first, “You know you can talk to me, man.. We’re brothers, I want to know what you’re dealing with so you don’t have to do it alone.. I know how you can get a little quiet about stuff and hide yourself away and I admit that I do the same, but come on.. I wanna help, if I can,” I continued, still watching him staring down at his beer and he made an expression I hadn’t seen in so, so long.. A look of hurt, maybe even a look of betrayal.. What the hell was happening between the two of them?
“I don’t think you can help,” he answered.
“And why not?”
“Because only Dad can, but he refuses to..”
“Stop being so damn vague.. What are you trying to get out of him?”
“Well, you know that I wasn’t born from Cybal, right?” He asked and I squinted my eyes slightly in suspicion..
“I just wanted to know who my mom was, that’s all, but Dad hates talking about her. It took me a long time to even find out what her name was, but he eventually told me..”
“And where are you going with any of this? Why is it so important to you?”
“I just want to know what happened.. Why they didn’t work out and why she left me in his custody.. Why she gave me up so easily,” he answered and I sighed softly.
“Have you ever maybe thought that you don’t have a mom? Because you don’t. None of us do, we just have Dad and Pop. Why isn’t that enough?”
“Because it’s not,” he stressed, frustration in his voice, “You all grew up knowing exactly where you came from, but I didn’t. Instead of being born from someone that wanted to give a family some kids, I was born from someone that wasn’t a surrogate.. It’s completely different, Luca.. Cybal isn’t your mom, but I had one.. Why don’t you think that that would bother me?”
Shit.. I guess I could see what he was trying to say, but.. Why now?
“But, Augie, why the hell now? It’s been twenty six years and now you’re curious about it? That doesn’t make any sense,” I tried to understand.
“After finally learning her name, I tried to find her to get my own answers,” he admitted and I scoffed softly.
“Behind Dad’s back?”
“He had every chance to tell me this shit himself,” August immediately defended himself and I guess I couldn’t really argue with that, “Plus, it’s not like this is out of the blue. I’ve asked him a few times before to talk to me about it and he just really doesn’t like to. He says he doesn’t know what happened to her, but I can tell he’s lying,” he said with a rather solid attitude.
“What’s he told you, exactly?” I wondered.
“He said they had a home birth.. After I was born, they tried to get sleep and the next morning, she wasn’t there. It’s like she just disappeared into thin air. One day she’s giving birth, the next, nowhere to be found and no way to find her. She didn’t leave and check herself into a hospital to get checked-up, she didn’t go home, never went back to college.. She’s just.. Gone,” he went on and I found that to be very odd.
“Tell me about it,” he said rhetorically.
“What’s so weird about it, though, is that whenever I try to talk to Dad, I really can’t tell how he feels about everything.. I can’t tell if he hates her and hates talking about her, or if he actually loved her and it pains him too much to talk about.. Kind of like how you are about your ex,” he brought up again and I was so over this subject.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.. For the record, I don’t fucking love her anymore, okay? Let’s just.. Stick to one subject,” I expressed in slight annoyance, “And either way, Augie, it obviously upsets him no matter which way he feels about it. Why do you torture the guy?”
“I’m torturing him?” August repeated my words in anger, “He’s the one that’s torturing me by not just telling me the damn truth! I don’t give a shit if it hurts him, what about me? Don’t I deserve some information? Some closure? Why the fuck did he never even sit me down and talk to me about it? Why was I the one that had to bring it up first? And then when I do, he wants no part of it! How the fuck is that far, Luca?” August was starting to get upset to the point where I didn’t know how to calm him down.
“Hey, hey, take it easy, okay? Listen.. Have you ever considered that maybe he’s protecting you from something? What if she was a complete bitch and treated Dad like shit? What if she just stuck with him long enough to give you up and after, she didn’t want to be a part of it? Ever think about maybe that’s why she can’t be found, because she doesn’t want to be? What if she just didn’t want anything to do with Dad? I know it’s harsh, but it could also be absolutely nothing against you, so why are you-”
“But, I want the reason. The real reason. I can’t just keep going off of what-if’s. None of this shit makes any sense and it’s driving me nuts not knowing.”
“I can understand that, but why is this so damn important to you to the point where you’re breaking Dad down? I’ve seen the look on his face after he gets done talking to you and it fucking sucks! He looks as if he does hate himself for something, but maybe it’s just him being mad at himself for how upset you are over how he withheld all of that information? He hates making any of us mad or upset and you know how he gets.. But, he’d never intentionally hurt any of us, you know that.. It’s not like he’s getting a kick out of this stuff. This shit really does upset him, but if he gets so upset about it, then maybe you would get upset, too, if you knew the whole truth and he could just be trying to prevent that.. That’s just the type of guy he is,” I explained and August scoffed.
“You stick up for him way too much-”
“Someone has to! You can’t be understanding about any of this shit. I bet even if he did tell you the truth, you’d still be acting like this and being a complete asshole! Lying or truth alike, it wouldn’t fucking matter and you’d still put him through hell for no damn reason. You fucking know you would, too,” I spoke the truth and he shook his head lightly.
“I knew you wouldn’t understand,” he said softly with disappointment, standing up and taking his beer, “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out,” he finished coldly, walking away from me and I stood up quickly.
“Augie, come on, man, don’t be like that-”
His bedroom door slammed shut and I sighed as I stood there alone, knowing he wasn’t going to come back out until I was gone and I had no choice but to leave. Well, at least I can say that I tried to help, and at least now I know what’s going on between Dad and August.. Tavish was right, yet again, maybe this is something between them that they need to figure out on their own.. August was right, too, I really don’t understand and I felt a little bad for acting like I did, but I can at least see why this bothers him so much.. I just have no idea how to help and that’s what bothers me the most.
I left Augie’s and began the long run home, so caught up in my thoughts on the way to August’s that I hadn’t realized just how far I ran. I tried my hardest to understand what kind of position Augie was in, but it was hard to do because he was alone in this. I’m the first born from Cybal and all my siblings after me have only ever known Dad and Pop and we never have to worry about who our mother was because we didn’t have one, simple as that. But August was right, he actually did have a mother and she left him behind. Hypothetically speaking, if I had a mother that left Dad after the second I was born, I’d like to think I wouldn’t care and say good riddance because anyone that doesn’t like me can fuck off, but then again, I can’t honestly say what I would do because I’ll never be put into a position like Augie’s been forced in and I’ll never truly know how I’d react.. I think the thing that bothers me most about this, though, is that August isn’t happy with just Pop and Dad like the rest of us are. He wants more and it makes it seem like neither of them is enough for him. His mother had to have left for a reason, right? So why bother with the bitch at all?
The only difference is that we came from different places. Cybal’s not our mother, she’s just the woman that brought my little siblings and I to life for Dad and Pop, but she’s still been a huge part of our lives, even August’s. She’s taught us all Spanish, she babysat us all the time and she loves all of us as if we were her own kids, like Juliana and Napoleon.. Well, I guess we technically are her children, but that’s not the point.. I would think that August would look at her as his motherly figure that he seems to crave and call it a day, but it’s just not good enough for him. He has all of his siblings, Cybal, our parents, Blair and even gross Lien.. How many more people does he need in his life before he’s happy? I just don’t get it.. I truly don’t.
I just hoped that August hasn’t been trying to look for her because of how differently his life is from all of ours, because it really isn’t at all and I fear the worst for him if he continues down this rabbit hole.. If Dad really is hiding something from August about his mother, then he must be doing is for a damn good reason.. He has to be.
When I got home, I went straight upstairs to the shower. I took my hair down, jumped in and washed all of the stink off of me that Lien so nicely pointed out. I tried my best to stop thinking about August and how I could help him because I really couldn’t think of anything. This problem was so foreign to me and something I’ve never dealt with before, and as much as I wanted to help Augie so him and Dad could put this behind them, I just couldn’t. I hadn’t the slightest clue as to were to start helping, either.
I got done showering and went to my room to change, but when I was about to get dressed, my cell phone rang and I saw that Niko was calling me.
“Hey, man, what’s up?” I answered.
“Hi! Do you have any plans tonight?” He asked straight off the bat.
“No, not that I’m aware of.”
“Are you busy right now?”
“No, just caught me getting out of the shower,” I replied.
“Oh, awesome!” Awesome? Why awesome? “I was wondering if you’d want to do something fun tonight?”
“..You’re still in town?”
“Oh, uhm.. No, I’m not,” he replied and I was confused a little.
“Sooooo.. Would you drive here, or are you asking me to drive there?” I wondered.
“N-No, that’s not, uh.. Dang.. I wasn’t exactly talking about having fun with me, in particular,” he hinted at and I was slowly becoming more suspicious of this phone call.
“So, what do you mean by doing something fun and asking me my plans for tonight if you’re not even going to be there with me?” I asked and he hesitated a moment.
“Well, I won’t be there, but someone will,” he replied in a rather quiet tone and it all suddenly dawned on me.. The blind date him and AnneMarie had mentioned to me a week ago..
If he was about to say what I think he was going to, I was going to drive all the way to the southern end of Cali and beat the shit out of him.
“..Yeah?” He asked rather questionably with a high tone.
“What did you do?” I asked with a dead serious attitude.
“I-It’s.. It’s not really what I did-”
“What did AnneMarie do?”
“Okay, don’t be mad at her, please? Promise?”
“Niko, I swear to God, man.. What the hell have you guys done?”
“It wasn’t my idea! I swear!” Niko stressed, trying to save his own ass.
“Nikolai!” I heard AnneMarie scolding him in the background, “Let me talk to him!” I heard her again and the phone was being passed on to her.
This can’t be fucking happening right now.
“Luca?” I heard AnneMarie’s sweet voice, “Look, honey, I’m sorry, okay? It was my idea to, well, trick you into seein’ Riley, which Nikolai ruined the surprise of,” she said in slight annoyance, knowing she had just shot Niko a strong glare before she continued, “I told her that you might be interested in settin’ somethin’ up with her, but after a week without hearin’ anythin’, she started to get a little down on herself and figured you weren’t interested anymore. I felt really bad, so I ended up tellin’ her that you finally called and wanted to set something up tonight and I convinced Nikolai to call you to get you to meet up with her. It’s all my fault, all right?” She explained and it was so hard to be mad at her.. Even if it was Niko’s idea, it was smart of her to take the blame because I could never be mad at AnneMarie, but this situation still sucked.
“So, she’s under the impression that I set up this date, am I right?” I asked in slight annoyance.
“Y-Yeah.. I’m sorry, honey, but a week is long enough to think about it, right? I just kind of thought you might not figure it out ’till you got there and saw how lovely she was, so then it wouldn’t be a big deal anymore,” she continued and I sighed, trying to figure this out as well as try to keep my anger down while I was talking to her.
“Well, you better hope I like her, because after this, I’m not doing you any more favors. I don’t care how hot or perfect your friends are, I don’t like being put into these situations, especially if I’m not even aware of what’s going on and I don’t like not being in control of it, either. This is completely blindsiding and that’s exactly what I didn’t want,” I expressed.
“Understandable.. Do you want me to call her and cancel?” She asked, the most depressed I had ever heard her sound and I let out an aggravated groan before answering.
“Ugh.. No, it’s fine.. Where am I meeting her?”
“Okay, good. She’ll be at the tiki lounge at seven.. I hope you have fun, and you best not be using that dirty mouth around her, neither,” she added and I fought back the urge to tell her to fuck off strictly out of anger and to spite her.
“Thanks for this, AnneMarie. No really, thanks,” I said sarcastically and I hung up, tossing my phone on my bed and I stood there in the silence of my room trying to talk myself down from being so pissed off.
Dammit.. I’ve been trying to better myself and open up to things a little more, take better control over my life, but some things are still hard for me. I did want to agree to this blind date bullshit eventually, but only after I had a lot of time to think about it and prepare myself, and to me, a week wasn’t nearly enough time. I felt a little guilty about AnneMarie telling me that her friend was getting a little discouraged and sad about how I hadn’t expressed any type of interest for a whole week, I could see how that might make her think I didn’t want to meet her anymore, but I wasn’t trying to go at her pace, I was trying to go at mine, and if waiting a week, a month, or even a year is what I needed, then that’s what I’d do.. However, I wasn’t as lucky to get as much time as I wanted and was being forced into this tonight. From what AnneMarie and Niko have explained to me about her, I guess tonight was the night to put their words to the test.
She better be fucking worth it.
After calming myself down a little from being rather put off by this whole situation, I stepped over to my dresser and grabbed my contacts case, unscrewing each individual cap and I picked up the right contact first. I put it into my eye, no problem, but when I started to think more about tonight being a date, I started to get a little nervous again. My whole mindset was fucked up because of what I talked to August about, and now I had to force myself to be ready to go on a date that I wasn’t even prepared for? Not ideal in the slightest.. I hadn’t been on an actual date in years and even the thought of it made my hands shake a little bit.. I handled the left contact longer than I needed to before opening my eye and dropping it in, but something was off.
“Ow, ow, ow, fuck,” I let out quietly the second that the contact met my eye, quickly taking it back out and giving it a look over.
I ripped it.
“God dammit,” I said under my breath, knowing I should’ve just left them in during my shower instead of taking them out to clean them..
“Just my fucking luck,” I added as I then quickly looked over the top of my dresser, through my drawers and around my room, but when I realized I didn’t have any backup lenses, I had no choice but to put on my glasses.. I hated wearing my glasses.. I looked way too much like my Pop and they were annoying to wear, but I wasn’t going to go to this thing without being able to see, so I reluctantly put them on and got myself dressed.
I checked myself out in a mirror, trying to figure out if I looked okay when Pia suddenly came barging into my room.
“Damn, Pi! You don’t knock? What if I was jerking off or something?”
“That’s what I was hoping to walk in on,” she joked and I cracked a quick smirk.
“Whatcha need?” I wondered.
“Nothin’, I’m just bored and wanted to see what you were up to. What are you doing?” She asked back, curiosity evident in her voice.
“Do I look all right?” I asked, turning around to face her and she whistled flirtatiously towards me, which actually put a genuine smile on my face.
“You look hot! What’s the occasion?” She asked as she continued to look me over.
“Got a date to go on that I was forced into,” I replied with an annoyed tone.
“Ohhh! With that girl AnneMarie wanted you to meet?” She asked and I nodded.
“Yeah.. Kind of pissed me off, too,” I added reluctantly.
“Noooo, don’t be mad,” she expressed, walking over to me and straightening out my collar and my clothes, “You look handsome, especially with your glasses on. The girl isn’t gunna know what hit her when she sees you,” she said with a smile and I couldn’t help but smirk.
“Thanks, Pi.. I just don’t know if I’m ready or not. I haven’t even had time to think about it and prepare myself.. I feel like a lamb being thrown into a pack of lions,” I said with a rather lost tone and she scoffed.
“Oh, shush. You’re ready. It’s been a long time, but it’s not like you lost that charm of yours. That bed of yours is rarely empty, I know that ‘dating Luca’ is in there somewhere buried among your need for flings and sleazy past fucks,” she said with a smile and her words were a little more insulting than she led them on to be, but I couldn’t really deny it.. I guess I have been around a lot and have been successful with a lot of women, but this was different. This was one woman I felt the need to impress, and it also came with the end result of possibly needing to see her again.. Something I’m not too familiar with.
“Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and she’ll never want to see me again after this, so I’ll just need to get it over with and put it behind me,” I added and she quickly hit my arm with a balled fist.
“Ow! Fuck, Pi! I forget how strong you are,” I replied in slight pain, rubbing the part of my arm she hit.
“Well, that’s what you get for being stupid! Don’t go into this just looking to fuck her and get it over with or else it’ll never end, you’ll be dying to get out of there and you’ll be a complete dickhead that leaves having a terrible time and without getting any. Open your mind a little a just relax. Embrace the change. Test the waters, you know?” She suggested and I gave her a suspicious grin.
“Have you and Tav been talking about me behind my back?” I asked and she smirked.
“Only a little, and we think it’s exactly what you need. Hey, Niko said she was hot, right? At least it’ll be easy for you to flirt with her since you’re so good at it. Plus, what if she’s really nice and you end up liking her? What’s so bad about that?” She asked rhetorically and my expression fell blank, “Nooo, nooo, don’t you dare start thinking about that witch, anyways. She obviously didn’t know how good she had it. And past is the past, right? Let’s keep it that way,” she encouraged, feeling her finish fixing up my outfit for me and I nodded.
“Thanks.. I guess I’ll try it out, see how it goes..”
“That’s the spirit!” She tapped my chest joyfully, “Now go and have fun! I want you to come back with nothing but smiles.. Oh, and if you don’t come back tonight, I’ll just assume it went very, very well,” she added with a wink and I was finally able to hold a genuine smirk again.
“Thanks for always helping me, Pi, you and Tav. I don’t know where I’d be without you guys,” I said genuinely and she smiled, reaching forward and pulling me into a hug and I held her tightly in return.
“Never a problem. Now go on, go get her,” she pushed me towards the door, “Good luck, and I hope you have fun! Love you!”
“Love back!” I added as I left my room and went downstairs and outside to my car.
I left the house after straightening out my hair a bit and putting on some cologne in my car, driving to the tiki lounge as my nerves were still getting the better of me and I could barely hold on to the wheel because they were constantly getting clammy. I’m usually so composed and confident when going out to find someone to potentially have fun with, but this was nothing to compare a fling to and there was so much more pressure to impress and I also felt like I had to be on my best behavior. I don’t do well under pressure and I especially don’t do well in situations where I know I’m supposed to be a gentleman. My parents can attest to that. I just hope that I don’t make an ass out of myself, because if I screw up and make myself look like one, this won’t only be between Riley and I, AnneMarie and Niko will hear about it eventually, too, and Riley isn’t the only person I need to make a good impression for.
I got to the tiki lounge a little before seven and as I walked towards it, I decided to test myself and see if I still had at least some composure.. I needed to be on my game tonight and if I could pull this off, I’d feel a lot more confident in myself..
A man walked towards me on his way out, nice shoes, nice clothes, clean.. Right when he was about to pass me, I acted as if I didn’t see him, yet deliberately bumped into him.
“Whoa!” The man said in slight anger.
“I’m sorry, man, completely my fault. I wasn’t paying attention,” I apologized immediately.
“Well, keep your eyes open, will ya?” He warned and I nodded.
“I will, I’m just a little nervous because I got a first date tonight. My apologies,” I said with a sincere tone and he accepted it.
“Oh, well.. Good luck, I guess.. Just watch where you’re going next time,” he kept a serious face, though he seemed genuine enough.
“Thanks, man, I’m gunna need that luck,” I said with a nervous chuckle, “Have a good night,” I added and he continued on his way.
I stepped off to the side of the building where a fog machine was going, pulling the wallet out of an inside pocket of my sweater I had stolen from the man and when I looked inside, I found a little over a hundred dollars, some coupons for some pretty nice cigars, and credit cards galore.
“Well, thank you, Mr-” I looked at his I.D., “Elliot DuPont, for paying for my date tonight,” I said to myself with a grin.
I took everything except things that had his name on them and when no one was looking, I tossed it on the ground somewhat in the path he was walking so if he ever came back, it would seem as if it just fell out of his pocket. I was already starting to feel a little better about tonight, too, now knowing my sleight of hand was still spot on.
I waited by the front of the deck for about five to ten minutes, but still no Riley, so I took it upon myself to go onto the deck to the bar and have a drink so I could hopefully get my hands to stop shaking and sweating. The bartender was a friend of mine, Dillyn Beck, whom I’ve always gotten along with. I loved flirting with her, too, but she always seemed not interested, which made it funner, for some odd reason.
“Well, well, haven’t seen you here in a few weekends,” she began as I approached the bar.
“Always good to see you, beautiful. I don’t know why I don’t come here more often just to see your face,” I decided to test out my charm level and by the way she gave me a flattered, yet coy smile, I’d say I was already succeeding.
“So, what brings you here? On the prowl for your next in-and-out?” She teased and I chuckled as I shook my head.
“That hurts, sweetheart, you make me sound like a complete pig.”
“You’re not?” She teased and I scoffed.
“No way! Ladies don’t only fall for my incredibly good looks, you know,” she rolled her eyes with a smile, “If you’d ever give me the chance, you’d see that I can be pretty charming and I’m definitely a giver,” I added as I wiggled my eyebrows suggestively.
“Oh, is that all? Please, tell me more about how amazing you are and what I’m missing out on,” she said sarcastically.
“I’m really good in bed, too,” I bluntly replied with immense prowess and she laughed.
“I’ll take your word for it,” she replied with an amused smile, though still uninterested, “What can I get you to drink?”
“Just a beer for now, I guess. I’m actually a little nervous about tonight,” I admitted and she got my drink ready.
“Oh? Why’s that?”
“I have a date tonight,” I said with a sense of confidence, actually starting to feel a little proud of myself for taking this step, even though I was tricked into it.
“Wait, wait.. That word is actually in your vocabulary?” She teased again and I chuckled.
“You’d know it was if you ever went on one with me, but now you may never know what they could’ve been like. Look, I know you can’t keep your mind off of me and this must be hard to hear, but you’re just going to have to accept that I might not be available anymore and know that you had plenty of chances,” I teased back and she laughed.
“I’ll definitely lose sleep over it,” she said with her famous sarcasm as she handed me my beer.
Dillyn went off to tend to other customers and I didn’t really take my time with my beer, finishing it within about three minutes and ordering another, but with this one, I tried to go a little slower so I wouldn’t lose track, drink a little too much, and find out too late that I was buzzed. I didn’t want to make that kind of impression on Riley and I wanted to do this right the first time, so getting a few drinks in me before she gets here was strictly to calm my nerves, not to get drunk and be a jackass straight out of the gate.
Throughout my entire second beer, which I really did take my time on, I had been constantly looking over my shoulder and around the area to see if I could find a pretty woman with short blonde hair and green eyes that would appear to be lost or looking for someone, but I hadn’t seen anyone like that yet.
It was almost seven thirty by the time I finished my second beer and I didn’t know what to do. She wasn’t standing me up, was she? Didn’t AnneMarie tell me she was looking forward to this? I was starting to get a little discouraged, sitting there staring at my empty bottle just counting the minutes go by.. I even debated whether or not I should leave so I could avoid looking like an idiot that got stood up on a date that he wasn’t even ready for, but..
..Maybe I’ll give her a a little more time..
It was about ten minutes before eight and I was sick of waiting here for nothing.. I gave it my best. I showed up even though I didn’t really want to and I waited for almost an hour. She wasn’t coming.
I knew this was a stupid idea and I can’t believe I agreed to this. I thought I wasn’t ready to get back into the dating scene and I was right, because shit like this happens and there’s no way to see it coming. I wasn’t ready to get turned down like this and I wasn’t prepared on how to handle it if I did, so I slouched in the stool I sat on like a defeated man and even though I never even met the girl yet, I felt as if I was being broken up with.. Well, being stood up and broken up with weren’t the same thing, of course, but for me, it hurt just as much.
I got up from the bar at five after eight, threw Dillyn a few bills and a nice tip and made my way off of the deck and towards my car. This was such a mistake, a stupid mistake that just made me look like an idiot and I can’t believe I even gave this a chance. This is why I don’t do blind dates. This is exactly why I don’t date at all. There’s always a risk of the other person never showing up, being abandoned and making yourself look like a fool because you thought this was going to be different, but in all actuality, things are just never going to change. I’m a lost cause and I’m really not worth anyone’s time.
“Luca?” I heard from the area by the dance floor and before I unlocked my car, I looked over, seeing the woman that had been described to me getting up from her seat at a table by herself.
I was.. Wrong?
“You’re Luca, right?” She continued, walking away from the table to come over to me, “Have you been here the whole time?” She asked with worry, her accent just as sweet and smooth as AnneMarie’s and once she came into the light so I could see her better, I was in awe.
“Shit,” I expressed as I looked her up and down, but it wasn’t until I saw her cheeks blush that I realized I didn’t say that it my head, I said it out loud.
“I-I mean, shit, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that.. I, uh-” I stopped myself from talking, taking a moment to calm myself down and she giggled quietly as I took a deep breath, “Yes, I’m Luca.. And you’re Riley, right?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’m Riley,” she said with a sweet smile and instantly, as if nothing had ever happened, my defeated attitude about this whole thing disappeared, “How long ‘ave you been waitin’?”
It was a little difficult to find words to say when I couldn’t stop staring at her and getting tongue tied.
“I, uh.. I got here around seven and waited at the bar,” I replied, still unable to take my eyes off of her. Niko really didn’t do her justice with his description of her, but I was glad to see that he at least wasn’t exaggerating at all, and if anything, he didn’t exaggerate enough. She was pretty breathtaking.
“I got here about ten minutes after seven, but I just kinda assumed we’d be eatin’ together, so I got a table. I thought you might’ve been runnin’ a little late, too, but you were just sittin’ at the bar, huh?” She said with another soft giggle and I nodded.
“Y-Yeah.. I thought I was getting stood up, so I was just about to leave,” I replied and she made a concerned expression.
“I feel so bad, I should’ve checked the whole place instead of assumin’-”
“No, no, it’s my fault completely.. I should’ve waited for you in a spot you could see me easily, so I apologize,” I took the blame and I dared to think that she seemed a little impressed with me already.
“Oh, there’s no need for that. I’d hate for you to have left feelin’ like I didn’t wanna come, so I’m just glad I stopped ya before you drove off,” she expressed genuinely and I smirked.
“Yeah, me too,” I replied and she smiled sweetly again, “Do you want to go back to the table, now that we’re both here?”
“Yeah, let’s do that,” she agreed and I guided her back towards the table she had been sitting at.
Wow, she was.. Something else. Something else entirely that caught my interest immediately. Her hair was a lot more blonde than I thought it would be, or maybe it was a silver color? Either way, I liked it a lot, and AnneMarie also wasn’t joking when she said Riley had such pretty green eyes that you could stare at them for hours. I actually wouldn’t mind if I got the chance to.
But, I couldn’t believe that a swear was the first thing that came out of my mouth, then with the stuttering? What was wrong with me? She looked past it a lot better than I could’ve asked her to, but that’s still not at all how I wanted to represent myself. AnneMarie told me to pretty much be on my best behavior and if Riley was anything like her, swearing was a turn off, and so far I didn’t think I came off as much of a gentleman as I had hoped I would.. But, from here on out, I’d show her as much respect as I could so just in case this thing doesn’t work out, there isn’t all that many bad things she can say about me other than that it just didn’t work..
Fuck, I really needed to stop thinking like that.. I feel like my dad and how he overthinks things and I really didn’t need that, especially at a time like this.
Calm down, Luca, just calm down.
I pulled her chair out for her and she took her seat before I then sat in mine, taking another moment to look her over with a cemented smirk on my lips.
“You’re, uhm.. You’re single, right?” I asked first, keeping to the promise I had made to myself and she giggled softly.
“Yes, I am..” Awesome.. I’m in the clear of any competition I didn’t want.
“Well, then forgive me for being so forward, but.. You’re pretty beautiful, you know that?” I complimented right off the bat and she blushed profusely, knowing she wasn’t expecting it.. I was trying to make a smooth recovery after that bad first impression.
“Oh, stop that. You’re too kind, truly,” she said with a bright smile and already, I could tell she was a gentle and kind person. She oozed charm, just like AnneMarie did, and solely by her choice of words and how polite she was, she had to be just as sweet, too.
“Just pointing out the obvious,” I continued and she was still blushing, but for her own sake and seeming to be a little embarrassed, she changed the subject.
“AnneMarie has told me a lot about you. I mean, we’ve been friends for so long and she’s known Niko so long, you’ve been mentioned a few times before this whole setup ’cause you’re his brother an’all, but she always talks about how much she loves your family. I almost feel as if I already know you a little,” she replied and I found that a little amusing.. You haven’t seen anything yet, sweetheart.
“I hope whatever they’ve told you were all good things,” I said the classic line and she nodded.
“Yeah, they were all very nice things. So many nice things, in fact, that I can hardly believe you’re anythin’ less than a gentleman,” she expressed and I laughed.
“Well, I don’t mean to disappoint, but I am definitely not as good as I’m made out to be.. All of that was definitely one big hype, I’m sure.. I don’t want you to have the wrong idea about me and be surprised by anything that you wouldn’t expect me to do because of someone else’s description,” I explained.
“Oh? You make it sound like you don’t want me to get to know you,” she said curiously.
“Well, I mean.. Do you really want to? I’m told that I can be a bit of a handful..”
“Who on earth would say somethin’ that mean? I only just met you and you seem real sweet,” she complimented and I nodded appreciatively.
“I’m just warning you that I can be a little bit, you know, out there.. I’m spontaneous, I like to drink, and I love to do anything that gets my adrenaline pumping. I’ll try anything once,” I explained a little more, yet she seemed more intrigued than I expected.
“I think I’m up for that challenge. I’ll have to think of some fun activities for us to do to keep you interested in me, now won’t I?” She said with a warm, inviting smile and I couldn’t help but take it a little sexually, which made me grin slightly.
“I commend you for your bravery,” I joked and she laughed.
“So what do you do, Luca?” She wondered.
“AnneMarie or Niko haven’t already told you?” I asked and she gave me a coy smirk.
“I’d like to hear it from you,” she replied and I obliged.
“My dad’s a physical therapist and I didn’t know what to do after I graduated high school. I’m pretty athletic and pretty good with people, I’m told, so he suggested I become a personal trainer for the people that he gets done doing therapy with. For example, he’s had this one client since she was a kid, her knees were pretty messed up, but eventually, with a lot of patience and therapy, he was able to get her walking normally again. Once I got my certificate, she stopped going to her other trainers because she never really connected with any of them, but she’s known me a long time, so she felt comfortable with me even before I got into making it my career, or hobby, whatever it is,” I explained and she nodded in understanding.
“Oh, she’s the one that’s datin’ August, right?” Riley wondered and I didn’t want to get into what they were going through right now, so I simply agreed.
“Yeah, that’s her.”
“Do you not enjoy what you do?” She asked, “I just mean that you called it a hobby, so is it not somethin’ you’re that passionate about?” She continued and I thought for a moment.
“You know, I-uh.. I don’t know, really. I like doing it and I enjoy how happy my clients are after they’ve made even the slightest progress, but do I want to do it for the rest of my life?” I asked myself aloud, “I guess only if I can’t find anything else better,” I answered, a slight shrug lifting my shoulders and I watched her think for a moment to herself, which made me the slightest bit nervous again.
“You must think I’m a mess or something.. Don’t have anything figured out with no goals in mind and-”
“No, no, Luca, not at all!” She said with a smile, “I like that you’re keepin’ yourself open for new possibilities. Takin’ a chance is what it’s all worth, right? At least you can say you tried it,” she pointed out and I smirked slightly at how her words sounded like my own thoughts that I’d been having the past week since my talk with Tavish.
We ordered a drink for ourselves and some food, continuing to talk into the evening and I was surprised at the fact that I realized way later into the date that I was nervous up until we sat down together. I was completely fine now and she actually made me feel pretty comfortable. It was nice talking to her and I absolutely loved listening to her talk. She could call me every terrible insult in the world and I’d still love hearing it with that accent of hers.
“So, you’re a stylist, right?” I asked, putting the subject back onto her.
“Yeah.. Well, actually, more of just a general beautician or cosmetologist because I don’t only do hair, I do it all. I do nails, massages, hair and makeup.. Pretty much anythin’ else you can think of that involves gettin’ pretty, I ‘spose,” she said with a soft smile and I nodded. After she finished her sentence, I couldn’t really focus on anything else but her. I loved the way she battered her eyelashes when you could tell she was thinking, or the cute expressions she made when she was sheepish and the way she held her lips tightly together to keep herself from smiling so much. I think my favorite thing about her, though, was the way she smiled when she laughed.
“And just what are you lookin’ at?” She asked with a wide smile and a teasing tone and I smirked briefly.
“You really are the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a long time,” I complimented again and her cheeks immediately turned red.
“Didn’t I tell you to stop that?” She jokingly disciplined and I chuckled at how embarrassed she was, taking her hand within my own and pulling the top of her fingers to my lips to kiss them delicately.
“Can’t help it. Can’t be mad at me for being honest,” I answered and I could tell that she was appreciative of my words, though she seemed like the type that doesn’t really know how to handle a compliment. She doesn’t say ‘thank you’ as if she can accept it, her cheeks turn a brilliant red as if every time she hears it, she can’t believe it, and it’s hard for her to even look me in the eye after I say it.. But, I’m up for telling her how beautiful she is a lot more, so maybe eventually she’ll start believing it.
So far, tonight has been pretty entertaining and I really enjoyed Riley’s company. Honestly, I knew I’d enjoy spending time with her from what AnneMarie’s told me about her, but I didn’t expect it all to go so well. I thought that we were going to hang out, have a few drinks, then call it a night, but even though we’ve been sitting here for an hour longer than I thought we would’ve, I didn’t want to say goodbye yet. I even already wanted another date with her.
Since I loved how she smiled when she laughed so much, sometimes trying to hide her mouth with her hand, I tried to make her laugh as much as I could. One of the main things women look for in a man is a good sense of humor, right? It seemed to be going pretty well for me.
To me, the cutest thing that a girl can do is try to hide her smile when she laughs. It’s the most glorious thing you could ever witness, making a beautiful girl smile. It makes you want to pull her hand away just so you can see a glimpse of it before it leaves her face.
“Are you tired at all? I don’t want to be keeping you from anything,” I expressed with some hope that she still wanted to stay.
“To tell you the truth, not really.. I wouldn’t mind another drink or two.. But, if you want to leave, then that’s fine! I-I don’t wanna keep you, either-”
“I don’t have anywhere more important to be than here,” I replied happily and her cheeks were a slight pink.
“I’m havin’ a really nice time, Luca. Thank you for bein’ so kind,” she said with such a genuine sweetness that I felt as if I was getting a cavity.
I got up from the stool and stood next to her, holding out my hand as my Pop had done for my Dad in order to get him to go see Niko get engaged and she looked to me curiously. I wanted to dance with her and touch more of her than just her hand.
“Well? Come on. You’ve been looking at everyone dancing all night, so let’s go,” I encouraged and she laughed nervously as she shook her head.
“Oh! N-No, no, it was just something to look at! I really can’t dance at all,” she expressed in embarrassment and I chuckled.
“Then just follow my lead. It won’t be hard, I promise,” I tried to inspire her, but she was still hesitant.
“Is this you bein’ spontaneous?” She asked with a suspicious smile and I smirked.
“This is me wanting to dance with a beautiful woman that I’m having a great time with,” I said with a simple shrug, still holding out my hand and finally, after a few long seconds of her thinking about it and batting those long eyelashes of hers, she slipped her hand into mine and I helped her down off of her stool and guided her to the floor.. I knew taking pointers from my parents would eventually help me down the road.
“Don’t laugh at me, please,” she said with a rather low voice so no one else could hear her and I smiled.
“Why would I laugh at you?” I asked as I showed her where to put her hands.
“Because, I don’t know how to actually dance. All I know is the Do-Si-Do and Square dancin’ and what not.. Not any of this fancy stuff,” she added.
“You’ve never been to prom or anything like that?”
“Well, yeah, I just didn’t go with anyone special. I went with a few girlfriends, but we all kinda just stayed off the floor if it was a slow song,” she admitted and she avoided eye contact for a moment.
“Nothing wrong with that. But, I have to admit, it’s hard for me to believe at least ten guys didn’t jump at the chance to have you as their date.. You sure you’re not lying to me?” I replied with a grin and she looked back up to me with an appreciative smile.
“No fibbin’ here,” she confirmed.
“I didn’t go with anyone special, either. My friends and I left practically right after we got there because it was lame and I got my older brother to buy us some alcohol. We just went to the dock, brought a boombox and drank all night. When prom got out, too, everyone had the after party at the dock, so everyone was on the beach getting wasted in their tuxedos and dresses. Pretty wild night,” I explained and her expression then went excited.
“Oh! AnneMarie’s told me a lot about the dock when her and Niko have gone there for parties.. Tell me more about it,” she implied excitedly.
“Well, it’s nothing special, just an old dock, but it’s a place where boats had to stop coming to because the water level had gone down so much over the years, rendering the dock useless, so it’s abandoned and is a really popular place for high schoolers and college kids to hang out at now and party without too much trouble from the cops. If you’ve lived in Sunlit Tides within the past one hundred years, you learn quickly that the dock is the place to be and a good place young people to hang out, so the cops never really liked to ruin our fun because they know what it represents and have experienced it themselves when they were younger, too. Only when it gets a little too loud and routy do the cops come and warn you to be quiet, but that’s about it.. I actually have a funny story about the dock with Niko, too,” I brought up and she smiled.
“I’d love to hear it.”
“Well, I loved going there with Niko when we were young and drinking together. It was always hilarious watching him be a good citizen and go after my empty bottles that I would chuck into the ocean when I was finished drinking them.. I’d always make sure to throw them really far, too, so he had to go into the water at least up to his waist,” I began and Riley giggled.
I continued, “This one time when I was sixteen and he was fourteen, we were sitting on the dock and I went to throw the empty bottle of scotch we ‘borrowed’ from our parents into the ocean, but Niko went to stop me and it ended pretty bad. I lost my balance on keeping myself on the dock and Niko was holding onto my arm to stop me from throwing the bottle, but I ended up falling off of the edge of the dock down about twenty feet and Niko was brought down with me. Luckily, even though I was drunk, I fell in a way where I let him land on top of me to lessen his fall and I broke my arm in the process. Being drunk helped it hurt less, too.. Niko walked away with only the wind knocked out of him, but I walked away with a broken arm and probably a concussion.”
“Oh my gosh, you poor thing!” She expressed with worry and it made me smile.
“That night was a mess. We walked home because I refused to let Niko call our parents to come get us, I wanted to try to sober up a little before I faced them. Niko cried the whole walk home because he felt so bad for what had happened, he was scared of what our parents would say and getting punished for it, and also because he’s an emotional drunk, so once those tears started, he couldn’t stop them. When we got home, I did all the talking and we managed to get away with it for a few hours, but after we got back from the hospital from me needing a cast, Niko’s conscious got the better of him and he told our parents the truth..”
“Aww, he told on you?”
“Yeah, I got into a lot of trouble after that.. It’s still funny to me looking back on it, though,” I finished.
“I wanna go there sometime and see what all the hype is about. AnneMarie has been there so many times with Niko and she always had stories to tell me,” she brought up again and I couldn’t help but feel like she wanted me to take her.
“I’m sure you’d have a lot of fun there. Next time I know of a party, I’d love to take you. Or, even if you just want to go there with me? ..Either way, could be fun,” I offered with a sly grin and she smiled wide.
“You mean, like, some kind of beach date?” She asked and I nodded, “You just want to see me in a bathin’ suit, don’t you?” She teased and I chuckled.
“That would be an amazing plus, sure, but.. I do actually enjoy hanging out with you. I’ve had a lot of fun tonight,” I replied genuinely and I could tell she was flattered by my words.
“Me, too,” she agreed and I couldn’t express how comfortable I had gotten around her as the night went on. It was actually really refreshing.. I forgot what it was like to actually spend time with someone you enjoyed to be around instead of making small talk until either of you were brave enough to instigate fooling around, which actually didn’t usually take very long, in some experiences. But, this was different and I was actually enjoying myself without thinking too much of what she looks like naked. I’d say that’s quite the accomplishment.
..However, now that I noticed I hadn’t been thinking about it, suddenly it was all that I could think about. Dammit, I was doing so good, too.
She was so beautiful. With every minute that passed, she was getting better and better at this, which made me think that she actually did know how to dance.. Either that, or she was just a quick learner.. There were a few times where I had spun her around or dipped her back and she was all for it, arching her back perfectly as I supported her and the moment she’d shut her eyes to lean back, my view draped down her jaw to her collar bones, then down to her prominent cleavage that I found hard not to stare at every chance that I could without her noticing. There was even a few times where I felt myself getting excited just by the curves of her body that peaked through her clothing, as well as what I could feel, myself, but it was as if a war was going on in my head every time I looked, too..
..Stop staring at her chest.
Stop thinking about sliding your fingers up her skirt..
..I constantly had to remind myself to be respectful, but her body was too incredible not to think about.
Around eleven thirty, after a few drinks and getting her to be comfortable with dancing a little more, I paid the bill with the help of the guy I had stolen from earlier and escorted Riley to my car.
“You took a taxi, right? I can just give you a ride home instead of you waiting here,” I offered.
“Oh, no.. That’s not necessary. My place is twenty minutes in a direction you ain’t goin’, I don’t want to inconvenience you at all,” she turned down the ride, but I didn’t want to take no for an answer.
“I really don’t mind. Plus, I kind of want to hang out with you for as long as I can until you want to tell me goodnight,” I replied and her cheeks went a soft pink.
“Can you drive?”
“Yeah, I only had a few beers and my last one was about an hour ago. I feel fine,” I assured her and the second that she nodded, I went around to the passengers side door and opened it for her, watching every curve of hers that she had as she sat in the seat and I gently closed the door behind her.
As she gave me directions to her place, I pointed out a few spots along the way that were nice hangouts, decent cafes, a place that had the best Mexican food around, and even a few bars that were somewhat like the tiki lounge if she ever wanted a drink. Even though I lived about half an hour away from her, I still knew a lot about the areas around where I lived and a lot more than she did since she had just moved here, and she seemed to enjoy everything that I showed her along the way. We made jokes, subtle flirtations, casual conversations, the works.. I had a lot better time tonight than I thought I would and I was actually a little thankful to Niko and AnneMarie for making me do this.
When I pulled into the driveway she pointed out, I looked at the odd looking home of hers that resembled that of a small abandoned warehouse and I chuckled softly as I got out of the car with her.
“What’s funny?” She asked with a smile and I tried to not make it seem as if I was making fun of it at all.
“Nothing, I was just.. I don’t know.. How do you fix up an abandoned warehouse? You’re not bringing here to kill me, are you?” I joked and she giggled.
“Of course not! And if you’re goin’ to judge it just by its cover, then you best believe I’m not invitin’ you in,” she teased and I chuckled again.
“No, no, it’s not that.. I just kind of expected you to live in a condo or an apartment or something since there’s so many around here in this area.. You don’t usually get this lucky with stuff like this. They’re real treasures, actually. I like the whole industrial look about them,” I explained myself and she smiled.
“It was labeled as a loft when I saw it online and it was super cheap, which is exactly what I needed since I spent all my savin’s on openin’ my salon.. My momma paid for some of the remodeling on this place, but I’ve completely redone it inside and put my own touch into it. It feels like a nice home now,” she answered and I kept my smile as I followed her.
“I’m glad it makes you happy,” I added and she tried to hide her blushing face as I escorted her to her front door.
I noticed the workbench just outside of her door as well as another station next to it with a large block, “You sculpt?” I asked.
“I dabble. I haven’t even had time to use it yet since I’ve been busy getting my salon all set up. You ever tried it?” She wondered and I laughed at myself.
“No way. I’m not artistic, I could never make anything even if my life depended on it.. I could probably make that block into a slightly smaller block and that’s it,” I explained and she laughed.
“Well, maybe I can give you a few pointers sometime and you’ll be able to make something besides a slightly smaller block,” she joked back and I nodded.
“I’d like that,” I replied and she gave me a pleased smile as she stepped up to her door.
A few feet from her door, Riley stopped and turned to face me, her eyelashes bouncing again as she thought to herself and I could tell she was trying to decide whether or not to invite me in. I really, really wanted her to, but, if it’s taken her this long already to ask me, then I knew she wasn’t comfortable with it..
“Do you mind if I, you know.. Get your number?” I asked and she looked up to me with bright, joyful eyes.
“Yes! Yes, o’course.. I’d feel so stupid if we forgot about doin’ that,” she expressed with a nervous laugh and I smiled as I took out my phone, adding her to my contacts and I texted her, as well, so she had my number, too.
“All right, I got it,” she confirmed and I tucked my phone back into my pocket and stood there for a moment, wondering what the hell you’re supposed to do at a time like this when I hadn’t gone on an actual date in years and I wasn’t sure if you should kiss them on the first or third date.. Or, no.. Is the first date kissing and the third date sex? ..Honestly, at this point, I had no clue what to do.
I’m thinking way, way too much about this.
“Well, I, uh.. I had fun, actually.. I’m glad I got to meet you, Riley,” I expressed as my departure and she nodded.
“I had fun, too, Luca. Thank you for teachin’ me how to dance a little.. That was a first for me and it meant a lot, so.. Thank you,” she expressed with a sweet smile.
“No problem.. I’m glad I’m a good teacher,” I answered, a short silence falling over us and I could start to feel my heart beat picking up the pace.
“Well.. Goodnight,” she said quietly as she looked at me, but I couldn’t tell what she wanted me to do.
“Y-Yeah.. Night,” I answered, watching her turn around and go to her door and I sighed as I turned around as well and slowly walked to my car.
I was a little disappointed that she had said goodnight to me and I wished she had made it more clear whether she wanted me to kiss her or not.. It seemed like she did, but then again, by how she stepped away from me after saying goodnight told me she didn’t. If I couldn’t come in, then I suppose a kiss could hold me over, but leaving with nothing at all? ..I wasn’t used to it and I didn’t like it.
Fuck it, I’m going back. At this point, I don’t really care anymore if she doesn’t want a kiss.. I’m gunna get one anyways.
I turned around after only taking a few steps and I caught her before she went inside, pulling her away from her door and she let out a surprised hum when my lips suddenly met hers. I could tell she didn’t know what to do with her hands, not pushing me away, though they weren’t really inviting me in just yet, either. Although, after a second or two of testing the waters and never feeling her pushing me away, I went the slightest bit further and kissed her a few for times in a massaging manner, something she was welcoming more and more as it went on and I finally knew she was liking it when her hand came up to the back of my head to slide her fingers through my hair.
I was glad to have finally gotten my kiss, but all that I could think about now was going even further and I knew she didn’t want to, I could tell by how hesitant she was by a simple kiss, but I just couldn’t help myself. I deepened the kiss by adding my tongue and I slowly pushed her back up against the brick, then pressed the front of myself against her and she was such a great kisser that I found it hard to stop or even take a small break. I slowly slid my hands over her sides and down to her hips, gripping them tightly as I then pressed my pelvis against hers, a risky move, and one that didn’t seem to pay off as I then felt her slowly end the kiss and pull back.
“I-I’m.. I’m goin’ to have to stop you there,” she said softly through a light pant that escaped her lips and disappointment quickly replaced everything else I had felt just a second ago.
“I’m sorry, I just got a little ahead of myself, I guess.. I must’ve read things differently,” I answered.
“No, it’s all right, I’m just not one to move very quickly and if I don’t stop ya now, I think we’d regret it,” she explained and I nodded in agreement, even though I felt completely different about the situation. She might regret it, but I wouldn’t.
“Yeah, you’re right,” I replied reluctantly, “I’ll, uhm.. I’ll talk to you soon then?” I wondered and she smiled as she nodded.
“Yeah. Real soon, I hope,” she answered and I smirked.
“Goodnight, Riley.. For real, this time,” I somewhat joked and she giggled softly.
“Yeah.. Goodnight,” she answered, slowly pulling my hands away from her hips and I watched as she stepped away from me and finally went inside of her home.
The second that her door shut behind her, I let out a defeated sigh, sticking my hands in my front pockets and slowly pulling myself away from her home and walking back to my car. This was a first, not being invited inside of a girls place so we can mess around, and as much as I enjoyed Riley’s company, I admit that I was pretty surprised when she turned me down since I thought I had done a good job with impressing her tonight, but.. I guess I didn’t impress her enough as I thought I had. Did she even really want me to kiss her? I thought she enjoyed it, but now I can’t stop thinking, what if she was just letting me kiss her and waiting for it to be over so she could finally go inside? She welcomed it later, but at first, she seemed hesitant about it.. Was I too forward? Too aggressive? I probably just ruined my chances with her completely and it’s all thanks to my stupid overconfidence.. I should’ve known better.
I don’t know what I was thinking agreeing to this date. I ended up making myself look like an ass, anyways.