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Hold on Tight

[One] To Pass The Time

August 2017

She looked at her best friend, a small frown on her face as he told her about another of his misadventures with a random girl at a bar. “I swear to God, Bray, stop telling me these stories.”

The blonde sitting across the café table just smirked at her. “Oh, come on, Hal! This is the closest you get to a love life and you know it.”

Haley rolled her eyes, silently wondering why she was friends with him. “Yes, because you are my role model for relationships, Mr. Stick-A-Dick-In-Anything.”

Brayden held up his hands. “Hey now, not anything. Just hot and easy women.”

Haley’s eyes widened in disbelief as he smiled wolfishly at her. “And everyone wonders why I have little faith in men. Did you really just say that to me?”

“What?!” He broke out into a laugh. “I’m young! This is what young people do!”

She rolled her eyes, trying to ignore the way her stomach clenched at his statement and the way her mind flashed back to the warm chocolate eyes of her past. “Yeah, Bray, I know. I also know what you’re going to say next, and I’m not into it.”

“Come on Hal!” He exclaimed, something he had been doing a lot when it came to the stubborn blonde. “It was one bad date, which, personally, I think was the problem in the first place. What you need to do it go to the bar, pick a hot guy, turn off that beautiful brain of yours, and just drop your fucking pants.”

“Drop my pants? In the middle of the bar. Okay, sure.”

“You know what I mean, Haley.” Brayden’s face turned serious. “I know you’re looking for the one. I know that you don’t want to do the casual thing anymore, that you’re months away from being twenty-six, and all you want is to start something with a guy who wants the end-game – the kids, the house, all of it. You see how happy Bek is with her new husband, how excited Noah is about Emma being pregnant and how sparkly that ring on her finger is, how little James is so adorable that even I want to steal him sometimes – but there is still time.”

Haley sighed and looked away from him, not quite able to stop her lip from trembling. She didn’t feel like she had time, and time was all that she ever thought about anymore. All the time it would take to be with someone before they were ready to become more serious. All the time wasted with every relationship that didn’t seem to work out. All the time that had gone by since she was a twenty-one year old heartbroken girl, running away from the only city she’d ever known.

She shook her head and gave her best friend a sad smiled. “I know. But I’m still not going to just drop my pants for any random guy.”

He laughed. “Of course not, cause you’ve never done that before.”

“Hey!” Haley pointed at him. “That was all your fault. You got me drunk, and then left me with an attractive man to bang some girl in the bathroom. You were supposed to watch me and make sure I didn’t do anything stupid, like, I don’t know, go home with a guy!”

Brayden took a sip of his coffee. “Not my fault you get horny when you drink.”

“No.” She agreed. “But we had a deal. The only person I was going to be able to kiss was you, because you’re safe, and you bailed.”

“Safe because you won’t actually have sex with me.”

Haley shrugged. “Your penis is gross – I don’t know where it’s been. That’s a fact I can’t ignore, no matter how drunk I am.”

Brayden glared at her, though she could see the corner of his mouth twitching, giving away his amusement. “First of all, it’s not gross. Second, I wouldn’t want to have sex with you anyways –“ He saw her lips turn into a smile. “I wouldn’t!”

She couldn’t help herself from breaking out into laugher, drawing attention from everyone in the café. “Okay, Bray, okay. Let’s stop this conversation before we take a trip down memory lane, and I remember all the disgusting reasons I shouldn’t be friends with you.”

Brayden grabbed her hand from across the table. “Look, I don’t know what happened in Boston, but I know what has happened since, and honestly? I don’t know why you haven’t found your one yet, Hal. I don’t, and I can say that it’s the men you choose, or the age we are, but the truth is, even I would settle down for you, and you have way better taste than the likes of me.”

Haley squeezed his hand, silently thanking him for something he probably didn’t know that he did. She has known Brayden for a long time, and though he usually reserved his serious, genuine for her, she didn’t see it very often, so the fact that he could see that she needed it – it caused the tight grip on her heart to loosen just a little.

Brayden, seeming to understand she know what to say next, asked her about her performance the next night, an acoustic set at Adair’s Saloon, a popular Dallas country bar that she had been singing at over the last six months. It wasn’t something she had ever thought she would do, but with the help of her friend Noah, who played the guitar with her and helped her write all of her songs, she finally found the one thing that helped her get out of herself. Her mind drifted back to Boston. It was something to pass the time.
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Here's chapter one! Let me know what you think of the changes!