Authors: Lauren Pacaccio
I put a sweatshirt on and pulled my hair into a pony tail by telling him to come on in.
"I just wanted to come up here and tell you that breakfast is ready. Well, it's been ready for a couple of hours, but I rewarmed yours and so I figured…" he trailed off.
"Thanks, dad," I said, walking up to hug him.
"I guess it's kind of also an apology for having Hunter here while you’re visiting. I honestly just forgot to tell you, but I figured it wouldn't be a bad thing considering you've been with that Braden for what? Two years now?"
"Three," I corrected him, smiling.
He whistled, "Three years? Well, damn. See, then. You shouldn't have any issue with Hunter being here."
I rolled my eyes, "dad, you really don't understand women, do you?"
He shrugged his shoulders, "Never have, never will. But like I said," he went back to the door to walk out, "your breakfast is on the table."
I nodded and followed him out. And dad was right, of course. Breakfast was on the table, but apparently, no one told Hunter that it was mine.
He was going to town on my plate.
"Oh, Hunt," my dad said, making Hunter jump a little.
"Yes, sir?" He said, eggs falling out of his mouth. I made a face.
"That was supposed to be for Paisley," he said, shaking his head. He went straight to the fridge and started making me a plate of breakfast. I smiled. At least I would get brand new breakfast instead of just reheated breakfast.
"Oh," Hunter said, eggs rolling around in his mouth, "that's totally my bad. I just woke up and assumed…."
"It's whatever," I said, shrugging it off and sitting down.
It was weird sitting here with Hunter. There was so much tension in the room. It was making me uncomfortable. Especially since we were both in our pajamas. Hunter always wore boxers that were a little too short for his long legs, so when he stood up to put the plate in the dishwasher, I almost saw everything. Hunter noticed. Hell, he probably did it on purpose.
He winked at me as he was walking out of the kitchen. Once I was done with my breakfast, I went into my room to get dressed for the day. My parents informed me that I had the day to myself. And oh, how true that was. No Braden. And no parents. Apparently, they had some stuff to do. Thanks, guys.
Hunter would be there. That was no comfort.
I started getting dressed. I figured I would just go for a walk by myself. And then, I would come back to the house and read a book by the fireplace like I did when I was younger.
I put on some old blue jeans, a comfortable long sleeve shirt and one of my favorite old sweatshirts from college. I slipped some boots on and walked into the hallway.
Hunter was just walking out of the guest room. He was in some jeans that I was sure I had seen him in four years ago. He was wearing some old t-shirt with a leather jacket over it. I had never seen that jacket before but he apparently loved it because in some places, you could see the leather faded by the sun and you could tell he wore it a lot. His scruffy brown hair was just hanging there like it always did. Like he didn't even try to fix it, but he probably spent a long time on it.
"Hey, Pay. Looking good," he said, winking at me once again. I made a noise of annoyance and rolled my eyes.
"Whatever, Hunter. And I thought I asked you to stop calling me Pay. I'm not 18 anymore. It's Paisley."
"K, Pay," he said, walking away from me. "K, Pay. Ha-ha. That rhymed." I rolled my eyes once again.
I followed him out, only because we were both going the same way.
"Where are you headed?" He asked, looking at me.
"Not sure yet. Why?" I asked, squinting at him.
"Well, I'm going for a ride and if you needed to get somewhere, I wouldn't mind bringing you somewhere. Like the old park, maybe?"
The old park was where many firsts happened. Not that first, but almost.
First time we met. First time we held hands. First time we kissed.
"Would you stop that?" I said, getting annoyed with his cocky behavior.
"Stop what, Pay?" He asked, trying to look innocent.
"Stop talking about 'us.' There is no more 'us,' Hunt. We ended a long time ago. There will never be an 'us.'"
He frowned. "Paisley, come on. I was just messing with you. I get it, okay? Right when you dumped me, you got on the Brandon train."
"Braden." I corrected.
"Whatever. Both are gay names. Anyways. You got with some guy that you've been with ever since, am I right?"
I shook my head. "You aren't actually. First of all, Braden is NOT gay. Second of all, we've only been dating for three years. This means, math genius that it took me a year to start dating again. Not that you deserve to hear that, but since I'm not a bitch who likes to torture you, I told you. And I didn't 'dump' you, Hunter. We were over before we even started. We just never saw it because we were so wrapped up in each other."
"Wrapped up in each other. That we were."
"I didn't mean it like that and you know it," I said, glaring at him.
"Take a pill, Pay. Like I said, I'm just screwing with you."
"Well, I would like you to stop it because Braden will be getting here any day now and I really don't think he'll appreciate hearing you make comments about things he didn't get to experience with me because it was after you."
He made a noise of annoyance, and rolled his eyes, "He's coming?"
"Well, of course, he's coming. Why wouldn't he?" I said, looking at him incredulously.
"Does he not have family of his own he could visit?" He asked, giving me a look.
"We're visiting his family on New Year's," I said, giving him a very matter-of-fact look. "That's what we did last year, and it worked out pretty well."
He rolled his eyes and started to look impatient. "Look, I don't wanna talk about this anymore. I have places I need to go. Do you need a ride or not?" He gestured to the garage. I didn't see a car in it, so I was wondering what exactly he was planning on riding in. The Invisible Bat Mobile?
"Um," I said, still looking for whatever car I was apparently not seeing, "I'd rather not ride in something that isn't there, so I think I'm just going to take a walk around the block. Thanks, though?"
Hunter started laughing, "What do you mean something that isn't…oh," he said, understanding what I meant, "You thought I meant a car?"
"No, I thought you meant a skateboard," I said, tossing my hands up in a "what the hell" gesture. "Yes, I meant a car. What else could I have meant?"
"Oh, Pay. You silly, silly, girl." He sauntered to the garage. I noticed that his butt looked super good in those old jeans. I shook my head, trying to shake the thoughts away. I hadn't thought something like that about him in years.
He walked back out with two helmets. Helmets.
"You have a motorcycle?" I said, giving him the same look I gave him when he told me that he had been busy traveling the world.
"Yes, I do have a motorcycle. What's the point of having a car when you are never in one place for too long? My bike is small enough that I can go anywhere with it and the tank is smaller so, less money when I have to fill up. And plus," he added, slyly grinning, "I look super sexy on it."
He went to hand me a helmet, "Um, no thanks," I said, backing up, "There is no way I am going to spend any part of my day being strapped to the back of a motorcycle, having to cling onto you so I don't fall off. Thanks, but no thanks."
He shrugged. "Suit yourself, Princess. Enjoy your walk and your book by the fire."
"Why do you automatically assume that's what I'm going to do with my day?" I asked, annoyed once again.
"Because, Pay, as much as you would love to deny it, I know you. I knew you for a long time. And I knew you even before we were dating. I remember when we would hang out for hours. You would read to me from whatever book you were reading that week. I was so happy then. I just never wanted those days to end," he cleared his throat, and looked as if he was coming back from thinking really hard. His face was serious and sad, but quickly changed to his cockily grin, "Oh, and, like I said, you haven't changed a bit."
After my walk, I curled up by the fireplace with my book of the week. I was deep into it, engrossed in the pages. I didn't even notice Hunter lounging on the couch until he sneezed. I about jumped out of my skin. "Sorry, Pay," he said, wiping his nose on his short sleeve, "I didn't mean to disturb you. I know how you like your books. And plus, I wanted to hear what happened next." He smiled at me in a sincere, not jerky way.
"What do you mean you wanted to 'hear' what happened next?"
"You were…reading out loud? Did you not realize that?" He said, with an amused expression on his face.
I blushed. "No, I didn't realize it."
"Well, please keep going. You know me, Pay. I can't get into the middle of a book and then stop reading without hearing the ending."
"Only if you stop calling me Pay," I said, turning back to my book. Before he could answer, I started reading.
A few chapters later, I realized that Hunter was right next to me. "What exactly are you doing?" I asked, looking at him like he was crazy.
"I got a little cold and you're hogging the fire so," he said, while practically picking me up and depositing me a few feet away so that I wasn't at the opening of the fireplace, "Move over."
I swatted at his hands but was also slightly impressed by the fact that it seemed like it took little to no effort for him to move me a few feet.
"Continue reading," he said. Not really asking, but ordering.
I dog-eared a page. "Um," I said, looking at him like he had four eyes, "no."
"Pay," I gave him a look, "Sorry. Paisley. What happened? We were sitting here for like two hours. I think we can finish the book."
"I don't want to. And plus, my eyes hurt." I rubbed my eyes for effect and went to get up.
Hunter grabbed my hand. Feelings rushed through me. "Stop that," I said, swatting him away.
"Paisley," he said, standing up with me this time, "can you just stop for a second? Stop swatting me away and being such a bitch and just sit here for a second?"
I frowned, "Why should I? I have someone, Hunter. I have no business hanging out with my ex-boyfriend, much less snuggling close to a fire and with him."
"When is Baxter coming here?"
I rolled my eyes, "Okay, you're not even trying anymore. It's Braden."
"Gay," he said, rolling his eyes. I decided not to respond to that.
"He'll be here in two days. Why?"
"I was just wondering," he said, and he started towards the door. "Alright," he said, turning around to face me quickly, "Tomorrow. You and I are going to spend the day together. We haven't seen each other in 4 years. I promise not to be too inappropriate. And since you're obviously completely over me, you shouldn't have an issue with spending the day with an old friend."
Before I could answer, he walked out of the room.
I heard him call from the hallway, "Oh, and make sure you dress warmly. It may not feel that cold out there, but riding the bike in the wind kinda sucks without a jacket."
Surprisingly, Braden had no problem with my spending the day with Hunter. I wasn't exactly surprised, per say - I knew Braden was very secure. He wasn't really the jealous type. The next morning, there was a knock at my door just as I had done the clasp on my bra. It started to open before I could say anything.
"Alright, Pay," Hunter said, coming in, "We should get a move on if we - whoa," he stopped short. I was only in my underwear. I stood there, frozen. I didn't know what to do. I decided to go with my very first instinct.