Status: co-write!

In the Company

Bright Lights And A Few Drinks

I’d all but forced Rose into a nice outfit; she was in no mood for the little birthday party I’d thrown for her. In the short period of time we’d got to know our new clients they’d actually kind of wormed their way into Rose and I’s life. Outside of work on more than one occasion we’d receive texts or calls from Claude, Tyler, Taylor or Max, trying to coax us to go out to a club or a movie or if they could crash our apartment for a while to hang out. None of them were from New York, so they claimed that they didn’t know what all the city had to offer. We knew damn well that wasn’t the case.

“I’m just really not in the mood right now,” she sighed, sitting dejectedly at the end of my bed as she waited for me to finish getting ready. While she wasn’t enthusiastic or excited about it, I kind of was. I liked hanging around with the hockey boys, as much as I hated to admit it, and they all acted normal around us. With the exception of Kane, and occasionally Taylor – that boy flirted like nobody’s business – it was easy to believe that the other guys were all just normal people that we’d met somewhere and had become friends with.

“I know Rose, but you know what? If David’s enough of an ass to do this to you – pardon my French –” I managed to get a grin out of her, mission accomplished. “He isn’t worth it chica. You’re an incredible, smart, gorgeous girl, and you can do better. Hell, you could snag yourself an NHL player if you wanted.”

She rolled her eyes as I attempted to wink, failing miserably. “Shut up Ry; would you drop this whole Patrick thing already?”

“Who said I meant him? Taylor flirts constantly, and Max is even worse! You thought of Patrick all by yourself,” I objected, and finally she cracked a smile and laughed, giving me a playful shove.

“Jesus… whatever,”

“If you’re not having fun then we can leave, all right?” I insisted, and she nodded. I slipped into my shoes and ushered her out the door and into a cab – Claude having insisted on paying for it. He always told us he had more money than he knew what to do with. Anytime we were at the office and ordered food or anything to that effect all of the guys rushed to fling out a credit card and pay for it. While it got a little annoying we really didn’t have any opportunity to say no.

We pulled up outside of Le Bar Bat, a place that Patrick had suggested to me. Of course he knew all about where to go in the city.

“New place?” she asked. I merely shrugged as I got out of the taxi cab.

“No, just nowhere I’ve been to before. The guys suggested it,” I figured mentioning that the place was solely Patrick’s suggestion wasn’t a good idea as we got out, flashed our ID to the bouncer and walked in ahead of the line of people.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Max was immediately all over us, an arm around each of us as he lead us over toward a booth, sectioned off from the others.

“Gracias Max,” Rose’s smile had relaxed some more, and our blue-eyed French companion seemed to notice. He couldn’t stand to let anybody be in a down mood while he was around.

“So, mes filles, what would you like to start with?” he asked as soon as we were close. Claude, Taylor and Tyler got up once they saw us, and made their way to us while Max left to get drinks.

“Happy Birthday! The big 2-3 eh?” Claude teased, elbowing Rose slightly. She let out a laugh, and I was about to get in on the teasing before the realization that at the end of the summer I would be twenty four, and I knew my best friend wouldn’t forget to mention that little fact.

“Yeah, you bet,” she nodded, and he quickly ushered her into the booth to sit down. I noticed then that Brayden and Patrick were over by the bar, Patrick talking up some blonde while Brayden sat quietly by himself. I still hadn’t figured him out – he just didn’t fit the usual bill. Anytime they were out, he never needed any reminder to not wear offensive clothing, or to dress appropriately for the occasion. We never had to say anything about him watching his language; he hardly ever spoke out in public, so why he needed our help still dumbfounded me.

Suddenly Patrick’s casual scan of the room had his head whipping around, and those baby blue eyes widened as he took in my best friend, who was chatting up Taylor, Tyler and Claude. The way he seemed to become immediately uncomfortable told me everything, and suddenly he had no interest in the ridiculous scrawny girl trying to hang off of him. So, in Rose’s best interests, because after the whole David thing she needed a distraction, and because Patrick didn’t need any other media attention from a girl like that, and because Brayden looked like a rabbit trapped by a fox, I decided to go over and diffuse the situation, excusing myself from the booth.

“Hey guys! I was wondering where you’d got to,” I walked over, bright smile pasted on my face. Patrick’s face showed relief, Brayden’s turned red and he immediately averted his eyes to the floor. The girl, however, scowled and tightened her grip on Patrick’s arm. She was one of those girls you could just tell from a mile away was trouble, and the way she seemed so threatened by me just added to that; she was the last thing these boys needed, especially when Rose and I were here with them. That’s right honey, I thought, keeping the smirk from my face at her expression, your gold-digging ass isn’t getting a hockey player tonight. Not on my watch.

“Hey Ry,” Patrick seemed to immediately catch on, and moved to give me a tight, friendly hug. Brayden stayed planted where he was, even when I casually slung an arm around his shoulder and pulled him to my side.

“Birthday girl just got here – you guys can’t miss the first round of shots!” I insisted, and after a rushed apology Patrick was high-tailing it for the booth, and after a little urging Brayden stood up. He was tall, probably right around six feet, but in my heels I was basically the same height.

“You okay?” I asked, spooking him as I spoke right into his ear. He nodded, not convincing me one bit. I didn’t know what it was, but something about him made me want to figure him out.

“You don’t seem okay,” I insisted, and he sighed before shrugging, putting a hand at the small of my back to guide me in the direction of the booth as the dancing crowd around us moved and changed our path a little.

“I’m fine,” he swore, and I let it drop then as we joined the table.

“Shots!” Max declared, shoving one into mine and Brayden’s hands, before we all clinked glasses and tossed the alcohol back. Rose made a face and shook her head, trying to get rid of the taste while Claude teased her.

Brayden gestured for me to sit down, and while I squished in next to Rose he took the seat next to me, completely blocking me off from the rest of the club. That was fine by me; our little group was all that I needed, and it seemed to be exactly what Rose needed.

By the time we had a few drinks in, Patrick’s eyes were glued to Rose every second. I’d pointed it out to Claude, who had laughed and nodded, before shrugging. He had no ideas for any way to solve the problem, and Brayden was again nearly silent; Max and Taylor were off chasing tail more than likely.

“Ry! Want to dance?” Rose asked, and I shook my head.

“No, uh, Brayden and I are having a conversation… Patrick! You’ll dance with her right? It’s her birthday after all,” I blurted, and while Rose made a tiny face she was intoxicated enough that her annoyance was nothing compared to what it would have been sober. She needed to have a good time, and Patrick was definitely drunk enough to dance. He nodded and scooted out of the booth, and after nearly crawling over Tyler Rose followed suit, taking his outstretched hand. They needed to talk about something, and while now obviously wasn’t the time, maybe it would help ease some of their awkwardness and help them talk.

“Are you trying to hook her up with him?” Tyler asked. I shook my head, laughing before taking a swig of my beer.

“No, but with all of the drama and shit she’s putting up with she needs to have fun. It’s just dancing, and Patrick’s more than willing to bend over backwards to make her happy,” I shrugged, and Claude chuckled.

“You think like a guy,” he explained, and the corner of Brayden’s mouth twitched, the closest I’d seen to a smile out of him all night.

“If the shoe fits,” I allowed, getting earnest laughs from the three hockey players sitting around me.
♠ ♠ ♠
Hi guys!

I thought I'd celebrate the return of the NHL with a chapter! I know Bex is busy with studying and midterms (Thank God I don't have to worry about that for a couple more weeks!) so it might be a little while before the next update!

Anywho... I hope you guys like this chapter! Please let us know what you think! :D