Status: co-write!

In the Company

Text Messages and Rolling Tears

“Hey, what did the doc say? On the mend? – Brayden’ I jumped when my cell went off, startling me awake from my nap on the couch. The apartment was empty, and eerily quiet, even though it helped ease the constant ache I seemed to have in my head. I sighed, biting on my lip slightly as I debated answering him. I felt awful about leaving so many texts unanswered, but I knew I needed to get my head on straight.

‘Yeah, gave me some antibiotics and I should be good as new in no time.’ I responded, and received a smiley face as an answer. I’d called Deena and told her about my illness, and she’d assured me it was no problem if I was off for a few days. So here I sat, ass on the couch dozing on and off the whole morning. Well, it was one o’clock in the afternoon now, but basically morning.

“Hey, how you feeling?” the door opened and Rose’s familiar voice came in, just moments before I could see her. She must’ve been at the office, because she was dressed in a nice blouse and skirt, her feet bare, which told me she’d worn heels.

“A little better I guess; I slept all morning,” I answered, and tried not to smirk when Patrick came in and sat beside Rose. I was about to make a smart ass comment however, before Claude, Max, and Brayden all filed in behind him and made themselves comfortable. Brayden hovered at the other end of the couch I was sitting on, looking to me as if asking permission to sit there. I quickly moved my feet, and gave him a small smile, and when he returned it sat down. The interaction didn’t go unnoticed by Claude or Max, who both raised eyebrows and gave me questioning looks. Instead I ignored it and decided to raise the more obvious question of where Taylor and Tyler where.

“Just hanging out – Taylor’s parents are coming into town and Tyler decided to wait and play video games with him until they get here,” Rose answered for me. I nodded and settled back into my nest of blankets on the couch, stiffening when there was a hand on my foot. Instead of kicking – as Rose could tell you was my usual response to anything touching my feet – I actually looked, and saw Brayden half-covered by blankets. It was his hand on my foot, and I tried not to blush as I felt his thumb softly move across the skin on top of my foot.

This needed to stop. I had enough trouble thinking straight around him lately that he didn’t need to be doing shit like this to make it worse. I didn’t need a boyfriend, that I was determined about, and especially not one who would be leaving me behind and going to a city filled with beautiful women more than eager to snatch him up for themselves. I didn’t even know the kid well enough for all of this, who’s to say he’s exactly what he appears to be? That he won’t pull a 180 like Nathan did?

So instead I managed to pull my feet back, offering a weak smile to Brayden who tried not to show any emotions on his face for our friends, but he struggled. It felt like a punch to the gut watching him try to keep his composure just as at ease as he’d been before, but I knew I had to pull away from him somehow. Keep things friendly at the most, and professional at the least.

I dozed on and off through the rest of the time that most of the guys were over, and when I woke up around 5:30 found the apartment basically empty, save for Brayden. He looked sheepish, and ran a hand nervously through his hair.

“They all went to pickup some takeout… Rose ordered for you,” he explained. Wordlessly I nodded, settling back into my blankets, and wishing she didn’t keep trying to throw the two of us together quite like this.

“Hey, um, you… you said we could talk sometime? When everybody wasn’t around?” he asked, and I nodded, deciding to sit up properly like an adult and try to behave normally. I didn’t want to hurt Brayden’s feelings or alienate a perfectly good friendship, but I knew keeping things like this would be difficult for me.

“Yeah, of course,” I immediately thought back to his and Max being out at the bar, and felt my temper flare at the thought of that Julie or Julia or whatever-the-hell her name was that kept yanking the poor kid’s chain.

“Look, I… I’m sorry if I did something,” he blurted, and I felt my brow furrow in confusion.

“What? Brayden what are you talking about?” I asked, and he let out a sigh.

“Even… even that. You only called me Brayden for the first few days… did I do something wrong?”

“No, Bray you haven’t done anything wrong, whatever gave you that idea?” I asked, turning to face him properly.

“Because you act different around me now, after that… uh the movie night. And… and I want to apologize or do whatever so things can be the way they were,” he explained, slowly and carefully articulating all of his words.

“Bray… I’m sorry, it’s not that you’ve done anything, honest. It’s just… we work together, you know? And you’re off to Philadelphia as soon as you’re done here… I just, I just think it would be better if we keep things like this, like friends, rather than… than the movie night thing,” I stuttered through my own explanation, not sounding nearly as put together as Brayden did. I couldn’t even manage to keep eye contact with him while I spoke, which made me feel even worse about the whole thing.

“I… Ry…”

“Please Bray, you have to understand where I’m coming from with this,” I bit my lip, making sure there were no tears about to spill loose when I looked to him. His expression mirrored the way I felt, even if he was doing everything in his power to hide it. I could see the way his fists were clenched, the tension in his shoulders and brow, the way his lip quivered ever so slightly every few seconds before he took a deep breath to steady himself.

“No, Ry I don’t… It’s not even that far from Philly here… and we play the Rangers and Islanders a lot… I just—”

“Please Bray,” the way his expression and posture crumpled told me he heard the desperation in my voice, even though I managed to hide the fact I was nearly in tears.

“It’s okay. I get it. Sorry Ryleigh,” I almost flinched at the use of my full name, but closed my eyes and reminded myself I had brought it upon myself.


“It’s okay Ryleigh. If you don’t feel the same way there’s not exactly anything I can do about it,” he told me, and stood up to leave.

“Bray where are you going?” I asked, and he paused by the door, refusing to meet my gaze.

“Back to the hotel,” was his quiet response before he slipped out. Unfortunately I knew him well enough to know that’s not where he was going at all.

The door clicked shut and I let out one sob, before bundling up my blankets and retreating to my bedroom, shutting and locking the door before curling up in a pile on my bed, the Flyers jersey mocking me from its spot in the closet, Brayden’s last name clear in sight, as if telling me he should still be here. Instead all I could do was try to stifle another sob as I let tears roll down my cheeks.

It was for the best. I just had to try and remind myself of that.
♠ ♠ ♠
Hi guys

Sorry this is taking so long - while we have some pre-wrote chapters up I'm still having a bit of a hard time to get here to post. I apologize for taking so long but I hope that you enjoy the chapter! I know the next one that Bex has will be incredible!!