Status: co-write!

In the Company

Almost Altercations and Baby Steps

“He said WHAT??” I gasped, dropping my freaking cold spoon on my bare leg as Rose relayed her run-in with David and Patrick at Donner’s. I quickly pulled it off, the sensation similar to that of sticking your tongue to something metal in winter… which Rose had tricked me into doing the first day that I’d been here in New York and it snowed. In my defense we don’t really get snow in Oklahoma.

“I know…”

She seemed conflicted, and I resisted the urge to groan. She was so dead set against letting anything happen. I knew what she felt like, how difficult it was to try and think through all of this, and I knew I felt a million and one times better now that everything was out in the open between Bray and I.

I stuck my spoon back in my carton of ice cream before clearing my throat. “I know you don’t want to hear this Rose, but chica, you’ll feel a million times better if the two of you just talk it out. You don’t have to make a move on him, but just get it off your chest.”

She turned her dark eyes to me, and they were as close to being on fire as was humanely possible. I tensed, expecting a flurry of Spanish and English coming at me, but instead her voice seemed almost calm.

“Look… Ry I know you mean well, I just don’t think…”

“I know, I know! I’m sorry! I just hate seeing you like this!” I burst, and then started filling my mouth with ice cream before I put my foot in my mouth and said something that made her angry.

Instead of spazzing at me like I expected her whole demeanor changed as if she were about to burst into tears.

“I just don’t know what to do… when David showed up at Donner’s and tried to talk to me and wouldn’t take no for an answer… I don’t know what to do about that either…” she sniffled. I felt my heart break for her, and shoved the ice cream off the mound of blankets on the couch and onto the coffee table so I could pull her into a hug, inconspicuously texting Tyler to get his behind over as quickly as possible. I was going to need backup on this one, and her adopted big brother was my best bet. They’d become really close since going up to Canada, and they talked all of the time, about everything.

“I know Rose, I know,” I murmured, feeling her start to break down. She’d been so incredibly strong through all of this, I had no idea how she’d done it.

A loud knock on the door startled both of us, and Rose pulled herself together and opened it, only to be enveloped in a hug from Tyler and breaking down in honest. She needed to get all of this out instead of bottling it up, and as horrible as I felt I knew that with Tyler here she’d actually start to work through it, even though I hated to see her in tears.

“I’ve got this,” he mouthed to me, picking her up and carrying her back to the couch, eyeing the two tubs of ice cream. I put them away, feeling my face heat up, before jumping and almost screaming when I realized there was a fourth person in the apartment.

“Jesus Bray, you have to stop doing that,” I gasped, and he shrugged, taking one tub from me, putting its lid on and placing it in the freezer.

“You need to start paying more attention,” he retorted, making me huff as I puttered around the kitchen, wishing it wasn’t a total mess right now.

“Wanna go for a walk?” he whispered, his eyes flickering to our two friends before refocusing on my face. I nodded, and after checking that I had my cell, wallet and keys, followed him out of the apartment.

We walked around aimlessly for almost a half an hour, before something caught my eye, and had me near panicking. There seemed to be nowhere to hide, and I knew if we were spotted and approached I would absolutely lose my marbles. I pulled Brayden around the corner of a café, effectively hiding us behind the wall, and then looked up to see the confusion on his features.

“What the…?”

“It’s him,” I hissed, and poked my head out. We probably looked like we were out of a cartoon – poking our heads around the corner of the building, Bray’s just above mine as we tried to get a look at him. David looked the same as he always did – a little too well put together. And the blonde walking beside him was no different. The very same bottle-blonde Barbie from the club the night that Rose dumped her champagne all over him; too fake with her too-white teeth and overdone smile, all over David as they walked. Just seeing the two of them had me seeing red, tensing up, and ready to fight. A moment ago I’d been determined to avoid an altercation, but that was soon changing.

“That no good, son-of-a-bitch! I am gonna—”

“Hold it!” Bray pulled me back around the corner, his grip on the back of my shirt firm. “Rose won’t be happy with that Ry and you know it. And I swear to God if he did so much as raised a hand back…”

He shook his head and shivered, unknowingly making me melt that even the idea of something happening to me did this to him. I pecked his lips quickly; making his cheeks turn bright red even as he started to relax.

“You’re too cute Bray… even though I’m not happy you’re right. I’d love nothing more than to punch his face in, and give him a good groin shot to boot,” I grumped as I took a few swings at nothing but air, making him laugh as he wrapped an arm around me and steered me in the opposite direction.

“So… do we tell Rose we saw him?” Bray asked as we sat down on a park bench, his arm around my shoulders as we people-watched.

“No… she’s too upset that she saw him and he had the nerve to try and talk to her. Thank God Patrick was there… which… how did he manage that?” the idea had just occurred to me.

“No clue… I mean, we try to eat healthy as much as we can, and that place is kind of between where we’re staying and where you guys live… I know Claude and Taylor have been there a few times. Might have just been coincidence. Or if he saw her go in he probably followed,” he chuckled, and I couldn’t help but join in as I snuggled a little closer into him, feeling under dressed in my tank top and jean shorts.

“That’s more than likely what happened,” I giggled, and Bray let out a full, unrestricted laugh then.

“He’s so head over heels, he’s like a lost puppy half the time,” he shook his head.

“Somebody else I know wasn’t much different,” I teased, and his cheeks heated up before I pressed my lips to them. “But even with all your moodiness you’re pretty cute.”

“And you’re just too beautiful for words,” he seemed surprised once the words had came out, and blushed a little. Needless to say my face was a darker red than my hair as I buried my face against his chest, at a total loss for words. Brayden noticed, a quiet smile on his face as we sat there in companionable quiet, his thumb softly stroking my shoulder.

It wasn’t until it started to get a little late that Brayden decided we shouldn’t just be sitting out, even though we were in a good part of the city. We began walking, and after a few minutes realized that Brayden wasn’t taking me back to my apartment, and was instead heading toward the guys’ hotel.

We went up to the room he shared with Maxime, and I felt my face heating up even though there was no reason to be embarrassed or acting the way I was. He gestured toward the room, which was comfortably lived in – little bits of clutter here and there, but nothing messy. The sitting room was separated by a half wall from their bedrooms, where I’d gone straight to the other two times I’d been here, both to deal with a hung over/drunken Brayden. I’d only been here for work, I’d never been in here to just hang out.

“Make yourself at home, sorry it’s kind of messy,” he apologized. I shook my head, and sat down on the small couch. Brayden grabbed the TV remote and joined me, again putting an arm around my shoulders as we settled in to watch a movie.

After the third movie I was yawning, sitting on Bray’s lap and cuddled into him as I struggled to keep my eyes open. Bray had gone from leaving his arm around me to rubbing my back, not helping my sleep situation at all.

“Want me to take you home?” he whispered. I shook my head, knowing that while Rose would probably be asleep, our unfinished argument/conversation was still there. Here with Brayden, I could forget about it all for a while.

“That’s okay,” he assured me, and the next thing I knew he was turning off the television. After explaining that the movie had in fact ended, he set me down gently on his mattress, and then offered me a T-shirt and a pair of gym shorts.

“Here, I’ve gotta go to the bathroom, and you can change for bed,” he told me, pushing my hair back from my face.

“Thanks Bray,” I yawned back, and once I heard the door click managed to get my heavy limbs to cooperate as I slid into his huge clothing. I curled up then, and waited for Brayden to return.

He did, and picked me up again before pulling the covers back and setting me down on the sheets. Everything was getting hazy, and I knew I was slipping into sleep. He tucked them in around me, and as he went to move toward the couch I found myself holding onto him.

“You can stay,” it was like hearing someone else speak, although I recognized my voice. Internally I tried to rationalize, because Brayden wouldn’t fit on that couch anyway, not that I just didn’t want to be by myself and wanted him beside me. It took a few moments, but Brayden slipped his T-shirt off and sheepishly shed his jeans before crawling in beside me and wrapping his arms around me, letting me snuggle into his side and promptly fall asleep.
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Hi guys,

Sorry I've been so terrible with updating - although it's kind of needless to say things have taken a downswing in my life and as per my usual, I'm struggling to cope and handle it all. Please, next time I take way too long somebody yell at me!

Anywho, boring dreary things aside, I really hope y'all liked the chapter, and let us know what you think!