Status: Sorry I haven't been posting again.... I'm hoping in the next 2 weeks to have time to get one out!

Take My Hand, Just Hold On

Chapter 43 - Something to Talk About

Vivian, Carla, and I had been sitting by the pool chatting for maybe half an hour before a few guys came up and offered us shots out of a sort of test tube thing.

“What’s in it?” I ask.

“It’s peppermint schnapps and Drambuie,” a man with dark hair answers, “It’s called a ‘cough drop’. Tastes terrible, to be honest.”

I laugh and take one from his hands, look to the other girls and give them a “Cheers,” before we all take a shot. I cough a little after I swallow, “You know what, you’re right. That was absolutely terrible.”

The dark haired man chuckles, “Yeah, but I warned you, so you can’t hold it against me, yeah?”

I nod, “Yes, this is true.”

“Mind if I sit?” he asks, pointing to the ground beside my chair.

“Oh! Er, no, go ahead. I’m Brenna, by the way.”

“Howard,” he responds.

“That’s kind of an older name, eh?”

He smiles, “My mum insisted on naming me after my Grandfather – my dad’s dad, no less.”

“Well, it’s a good name. You don’t go by Howie or anything?”

He shakes his head, “Never liked it much as a kid, and now all I can think of when I hear Howie is Howie Mandel.”

***Rob’s POV***

I watch as Howard walks up to Brenna and offer her a drink of some sort and force myself to look away and back to Brian who just finished saying something I completely missed.

“Uh, sorry mate, missed that?” I apologize.

“A bit distracted there, Robbie?” Brian taunts me, glancing over at Brenna.

I sigh and give a bit of a shrug, “I just can’t get her out of my head.”

“Well, you’re living with her, mate. Could be part of the problem.”

I shake my head no, “I wish it were that.”

“So, what’s the problem, then? Why don’t you just ask her out?”

I sigh, “It’s honestly just really complicated right now. It basically boils down to the fact that she probably can’t handle a relationship right now, and even if she could, I really don’t think I’m the man for the job.”

“Oh, Jesus Christ, just ask her out and see what she says, I’m betting it’ll be a whole different answer than what you’re expecting. I mean, I’ve seen the way she is around you, and it’s completely different than how she is around other people. Plus, she’s already dated you; I can’t imagine that much has changed since then.”

“A lot has changed,” I respond, looking back to Brenna and seeing Howard now sitting beside her. She glances up and our eyes meet. She smiles and waves to me, and all I can do is give a half-hearted smile back to her.

“You know you’re the only one that can make her smile like that?” Brian says, forcing me to look away from her.

“Sorry?” I question

“I’m serious,” he states. “I mean, I think it was different back when you were dating her, so maybe something has changed her quite a bit. But I’m just so certain you’re the only person who can make her truly smile.”

I tried to laugh his words off, but I knew there was a partial truth in there. I doubt that any of it has to do with her having any sort of romantic feelings for me, but I’m sure that I’m the only one – at least in LA – who she actually trusts.

“Brian, honestly, there’s no way she’d date me. Not now, anyway.”

“Why are you so certain? What happened to her?”

I glance over to Brenna again and see her taking another shot. I smile inwardly, happy that she was having a good time – though perhaps a little embittered she was having it without me. Looking back to Brian, I tell him, “It’s not my place to tell you, or anyone.”

“God, you need to drink tonight,” Brian says, putting an arm around my shoulders.

I give a grunt of laughter in response, kind of wishing I could after this conversation.


Maybe ten minutes later I hear, “Hey Rob!”

Turning around, I see Howard walking up to me. “Howard, how’s it going?” I ask.

“Pretty good, man. Yourself?”

“Not so bad, thanks.”

I watch as his hands go in the pockets of his shorts and he rocks back and forth on his feet before he says, “Listen, Rob, I don’t know what your situation with Brenna is, but she mentioned she came with you. I’ve been talking to her for some time now though, and was hoping to maybe ask her to dinner or something. She said you were just friends, but I really don’t want to step into anything here, so thought I’d come make sure it was cool with you before I did ask her…” Howard trails off.

I look to Brian, who shrugs, “Uhm, well thanks for checking, Howard. I mean, really we’re just friends, so, uh, I guess you can go for it?”

“Are you sure?” He questions. “I mean, if you had any plans of asking her out, I really don’t want to go there.”

“No, no plans from me,” I say, kind of bewildered at such a gentlemanly act. If Brenna were to date anyone, this guy might be the best choice.

“Alright then, thanks Rob. I’ll see you later, probably?” he says.

“Yeah, maybe,” I respond, as he walks off the deck and back to the group of people Brenna was with.

Two seconds later I get a smack on my head. Reeling around, Brian says, “What the bloody hell are you thinking? You need to get your shit together and not let her go that easy, Rob. Seriously, Howard just gave you a choice and you took the wrong one. I will stand here all night and hit you upside the head until you ask her out.”

“Why do you care so much? You’re right, Howard gave me a choice. He’s a really good guy, and I don’t know if Brenna will say yes,” I tell him – hoping she would say no – “But if she does, then that’ll be good. He’s the kind of guy she deserves.”

I get another smack on the head, “Come off it, Rob. I care because I know you care. I haven’t seen you this into a girl for a long time.”

“Aw, fuck it,” I say, walking toward the group Brenna was with.

“’Atta boy,” I hear Brian saying behind me.

I could feel myself losing my nerve as I got closer and closer. I was about to turn back when I saw Howard talking to Brenna, and my heart sank. That feeling is what made me go further and walk up to them.

Brenna smiles at me as I come into view, “Robert! Hello!”

I smile back as she slurred my name a little, wondering how much she had gotten up to drinking – we’d only been here about an hour. “Hey, love. Er, Howard, mind if I have a word?”

He must know what I’ve come to ask, because he drops his head in a nod and we weave our way out, “You’ll come back and visit for a bit, eh Rob?” I hear Brenna call out after us. I turn around and give her a nod, smiling at her calling me Rob.

“I’m guessing you’ve changed your mind a little, yeah?” Howard asks as we make it out of the group of people.

“I honestly have no hold on her, we really are just friends,” I start to say.

Howard interrupts, “But that’s not all you want? I mean, I can’t blame you. I couldn’t be just friends with a girl like her.”

“I really want to say that you can ask her out if you want, and if she goes out with you, that’s fine. I mean, I won’t try to get in the way or anything… But, yes, I do like her. I’m completely infatuated with her, despite my trying not to be.”

“Why try not to be, though?”

“It’s just… A bad time for her. I mean, I can’t really say, but it’s been tough, and the last thing she needs is her friend trying to get with her. Then again, maybe it’s what she wants. I don’t know, Howard.”

“Sounds confusing, buddy. But, hey, I meant what I was saying back there; I really don’t want to get in the middle of anything, and by the way she acted when you walked up, I don’t think I really had a chance in the first place.”

He and I parted it there, and I went wandering back to Brian, who was still standing on the porch. “Well, he’s not going to ask her out.”

“You know what this means, right?” he asks.

Unsure where he was going I respond, “No…”

“You’ve actually got to for it, now.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Song: Something to Talk About - Bonnie Raitt. I love Bonnie Raitt, mostly that's the reason I chose the song :P But, seriously, Robert is totally wanting to give them something to talk about! Go listen to Bonnie Raitt if you haven't. She's brilliant ;)

Notes: Oh man, I am such a terrible person. I say this every time, and I know it to be true :P I thought I'd start off the new year with another chapter and see if it's going to be a sign of good things to come! I'll try to be better. I might be a little less busy at school this semester (though I also have a job and volunteering that I'm doing now, so... maybe not less busy in total).