Status: Complete.

I Want You to Live

Chapter 6

Peyton sat at a small table along the crowded wall of Saddle Ridge. The atmosphere of the bar was upbeat, and the song fast paced. Any other time she might've danced along with everyone else, but not tonight. She didn't know why she had even let Sylvia talk her into coming. This was the last place she wanted to be.

It had been three days since Rusty had left and she couldn't stop thinking about him. She constantly replayed their last conversation in her head. The words that he had spoke and the look on his face haunted her. She had originally told herself that she regretted meeting him, but that was a lie. She regretted letting it end the way it did. She regretted letting it end at all.

"Here you go, my lady." Sylvia set down two beers in front of Peyton before dancing over to her seat with her drinks. With her raven colored hair, perfect complexion, and long, lean body, her best friend looked more like a model than hair stylist. "I love this song!"

Peyton ignored her and slung back the beer closest to her. Maybe if she drank enough then she would forget about Rusty and what a complete idiot she was. She knew drinking was never a solution, but tonight anything had to be better than wallowing in her self-pity. It was worse that it had been self-inflicted.

"You okay, chica?" Sylvia asked, eyebrow raised in suspicion. Peyton nodded before finishing her first beer and then downing one of Sylvia's shots of tequila. "Yea, that's a definite no. You don't even like tequila!"

Before Peyton could answer, a couple of men sauntered up to their table. She narrowed her eyes, giving them her best glare. They were unfazed, one even having the nerve to wink at her! She opened her mouth to let them have it, but Sylvia calmly placed a hand on her arm.

"Listen, boys, as flattered as we are that you worked up the courage to come over, we're not interested," Sylvia dismissed before they even had the chance to use a lame pick up line. "This is a girls night only."

Peyton snatched her second beer and turned it up, inwardly laughing at the looks on their faces. They acted as if no one had ever turned them down before. Her smirk slowly slid from her face, though, as her eyes scanned the room. She knew he wasn't due back for a couple of days, but she still couldn't help but look for him among the crowd. Sighing, she dropped her head and began picking the label off her bottle. She shouldn't have come.

"What's his name?" Sylvia's voice broke through her depressing thoughts.

"Who?" she questioned, feigning ignorance. Her friend sent her a look over the rim of her fruity drink. Peyton sighed again. "Rusty."

"Mm, Rusty," she purred, wiggling her eyebrows. "That's a nice, masculine name."

"How'd you know?" Peyton asked, ignoring her friend's joke.

"You went from moping, to shooting death glares, to moping again in about thirty seconds. Only a man can drive a woman that insane."

Peyton had to laugh at her friend's reasoning. The sad part was, it was absolutely dead on. Her emotions had been all over the place since meeting Rusty. Even with him no longer in her life, they still were. Unconsciously, she touched her lips, thinking back to their kiss.

"Okay, spill!" Sylvia ordered, leaning over the table, expectantly. Peyton stared back and Sylvia finally groaned in exasperation. "Girl, I tell you everything about every guy I date. Even the dirty deats, so you best be opening that mouth of yours and letting loose."

"In my defense, half the stuff you tell me, I would be better off not knowing," she pointed out. Her best friend narrowed her eyes. The last she wanted to do was discuss Rusty. She was trying to forget him and telling her best friend all about how sexy and wonderful he was definitely wasn't going to help. "Okay, fine. What do you want to know?"

"What does Mr. Rusty do? And where did you meet him?" she inquired, eagerly. She started stirring her drink with her straw without ever taking her eyes off Peyton.

"It's Sergeant Rusty, and we met here, actually," Peyton replied, sweeping her arm out.

Sylvia's face turned into a frown and she dropped her straw back into her drink. "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" she cried, leaning back in her chair with her arms up. "He's in the Army? And you met him in a bar?!"

The people at the tables around them started staring at Sylvia's raised voice. Peyton slid down in her seat and let her hair fall across her face, hiding her burning cheeks. "Could you not talk so loud?" she hissed.

"Sorry, I was just surprised," Sylvia apologized, lowering her voice again. "I just didn't peg you for a military bar rat type."

It was Peyton's turn to raise a brow. "Military bar rat?"

"You know what I mean. They're not exactly boyfriend material," she reasoned. "And after Brady-"

"Brodie," Peyton corrected.

Sylvia rolled her eyes. "After douchebag, I figured you would want someone a little more, stable? By the way, I told you he was no good. You deserve better."

Peyton averted her gaze. She understood what her friend was fumbling to say. Meeting a man in a bar didn't exactly scream commitment, and someone in the military could leave at a moment's notice. Hell, she had already seen that, first-hand. It was unfair, though, to stereotype them like that.

"Rusty is better, or was," Peyton spoke softly.

"Was?" Sylvia asked.

Peyton spilled the whole story, starting from first spying him across the room. She hadn't exactly told him the truth on their date. She had noticed him early on in the evening and couldn't take her eyes off of him the rest of the night. She could still remember how it felt when he had finally noticed her. The way her heart had started pounding and palms started sweating. The same way he made her feel every time she was around him.

"You seriously told this guy you wasn't interested? You're an idiot!" her friend exclaimed after she finally finished her story. The statement completely caught her off guard. "He's perfect!"


"No, seriously! He is like every girl's dream man! Where can I get one?"

Peyton laughed. "Actually, he does have this pretty cute-"

"I was kidding," she cut her off. "About wanting one. Been there, done that. It isn't for me."

Peyton remembered her three month fling with Mark. He had been stationed at Fort Lewis, too. Sylvia was going through a phase about men in uniforms. She had dated a cop, a firefighter, a professional baseball player, and then Mark in about a six month span. Mark had lasted the longest out of the four men, but in the end he had been transferred elsewhere. As much as they had seemed to like each other, neither were ready for that kind of commitment, so they had a mutual split. Sylvia still talked to him on occasion. Peyton had actually liked him. Go figure.

"I'm still rooting for Mark, you know."

"He has a new girlfriend now. He says she might be the one," Sylvia rolled her eyes, making quotation marks in the air. "Besides, he wasn't that cute. And he kind of sucked in bed."

"Shut up! He was very handsome and all you ever talked about was how sore you were from sleeping with him."

"Whatever, I don't remember that," she waved her hand in the air, dismissing the topic. "Besides, this is about you and your soldier. And how you're in L-O-V-E with him."

Peyton opened her mouth to argue the fact, but quickly shut it back. It would do no good. Her friend knew her too well. The two had grown up together, riding horses and practically living at each other's houses in the summers. They had practically been inseparable.

"That's the thing, though. I don't want to fall for anyone else," Peyton groaned, burying her face in her hands.

"Well, honey, I think it's a little late for that." Sylvia's voice softened as she laid a comforting hand on her arm. "All joking aside, he sounds like a really great guy. He's respectful and chivalrous, two things that are practically impossible to find anymore. And he seems really into you."

Peyton looked up into Sylvia's bright green eyes. "So, what now?"

"Now, we make a plan to fix things," she answered, leaning across the table. Her eyes twinkled with mischief. "All you need is some duct tape, whipped cream, and a pair of crotchless panties."

Peyton's jaw dropped in horror. She didn't even know they made crotchless underwear!

"Oh, don't look so innocent," her best friend playfully scolded. "I was joking, anyways. Just talk to him when he gets back. Be yourself. He's already mad about you."

"I hope you're right," Peyton answered, feeling unsure of the plan. It couldn't hurt to try, though. She had nothing else to lose.

"So, this friend of Rusty's?" Sylvia inquired after a brief pause, pretending to only be making conversation.

"Yea, what about him?" Peyton asked, shrugging her shoulders. She bit her lip, struggling to keep her grin hidden.

Sylvia narrowed her eyes and flipped her hair, averting her gaze with a pout. "Nothing."

"He's single and definitely not looking for a commitment," Peyton offered, letting her friend off the hook. She knew she had piqued her friend's interest. "He has the best accent, too."

Sylvia looked towards Peyton out of the corner of her eye, not wanting to seem too eager. "Is he hot?"

"Smoking," Peyton teased, "and he's tall."

Sylvia grew silent, seeming to mull it over, but Peyton knew she had her hooked. Tall, handsome, and just looking for a fun time? Ty was exactly what her best friend was looking for.

"I guess I might be interested," she feigned indifference. "Kris is getting kind of clingy, anyways. This morning he fixed me breakfast and put my coffee in a to-go cup!"

Peyton placed a hand over her mouth, widening her eyes in mock horror. "No!"

"Shut up." Sylvia pointed a manicured finger at her. "You know that's against my rules."

"So is spending the night with them, but apparently you broke that rule," she pointed out, raising a brow.

"I was tired," Sylvia whined, "it was a one time thing, I swear! Especially after this morning." She shuddered, as if waking up to a man and having breakfast was the most repulsive thing she'd ever done.

"Wait, I thought you used to stay with Mark all the time," Peyton teased with a smirk.

"Can it!" she ordered, eyes narrowed. "I don't know why you're so obsessed with him all the sudden. I think your new soldier is on the brain."

"Okay, okay," Peyton conceded, holding her hands up in surrender, "I won't bring him up anymore." Sylvia gave her a pointed look. "And, I'll introduce you to Ty. He's your kind of man, I promise."

Sylvia smirked in triumph, pleased with herself. The pair grew quiet as Sylvia pulled out her phone to text someone, most likely Kris. As independent as she tried to act, Sylvia was the type of woman that always had to have a man. She would stay with one until she grew bored or he started seeking a more solidified status, then she bolted out the door and on to the next one. Peyton wished she would find someone wonderful and finally settle down.

Thoughts of settling down brought her brain full circle and she was back to thinking about Rusty. She sighed, wondering what he was doing right at that moment. Was he thinking of her, too? Was he missing her as much as she missed him? She fingered her lips, thinking back to their kiss. She prayed there would be plenty more to come.
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Sorry it's so short and I haven't been updating much. I've been really busy. I promise I will update more often!