Authors: Aurora Rose Reynolds
“Is that a question or are you meeting someone?”
“Well, I um…ran into Asher at the nursing home when I was visiting his grandmother and he asked me to meet him.”
“You’re meeting Asher at the bar?" he asks with a look on his face that doesn’t bode well for me.
“Yeah, it's just a beer, Dad,” I say, using Asher's words.
"I don't know how I feel about this. I know you’re not a kid but Asher is not the kind of guy I expected you to date. Don't get me wrong, he's a good man.” He shakes his head. “Just promise me you’ll be careful. I don’t want to see you hurt.”
“Promise, Dad,” I say quietly. The last thing I need is to get my heart trampled on again. Been there, done that. And Asher’s boots look like they would do a lot more damage than my ex’s. “Besides, Dad, he knows I'm new in town and feels bad for me or something.”
“Or something,” he says under his breath and I ignore him.
Dinner was awesome and Dad quickly dropped the uncomfortable conversation about Asher. Thank God. So now I am standing in front of my closet, trying to pick out what to wear. What do you wear to a bar to have a beer with a hot guy that you don’t want to like?
I haven’t ever really dated random guys. The one serious relationship I had in college went bad after my mom slept with him. I caught them together at his apartment after he sent me a text saying that he was going home after class because he wasn’t feeling well. Me, the loving fiancé that I was, showed up out of the blue to check on him. When I let myself in, the place felt strange. I wanted to turn around and run out but I stayed, walked to his bedroom and when I got there, all I heard was him moaning. It sounded like he was in a lot of pain so I opened the door to find my mom on top of him. I couldn’t even speak. I shut the door silently behind me and sent him a text telling him that I stopped by to check on him but saw for myself that he was feeling much better. He called a million times after that and sent flowers, cards, texts, but I didn’t care. I ignored all of it. I cut him out of my life, mailed him back everything that I had of his—including the ring he had given me—along with a note telling him to stop calling or I would press charges for stalking. After that, I never heard from him again.
“What do you think, Beast? Red sweater dress or T-shirt and jeans,” I ask, holding the items up for Beast to look at. He doesn’t even lift his head. His big body is lying across my bed with his head on his paws.
“You’re right. The dress is too much.” I take off my boots, dress, and leggings. I put on my tight, straight leg, dark blue jeans with holes all over them.
With my jeans on, I decide to go casual and pull out my converse sneakers that are gold with glitter. I put on a long sleeve, scoop neck, white T-shirt and a black, zip front hoodie.
“Now, hair up or down?” I ask Beast, who still hasn’t moved.
“Okay, I agree. I'm just going to leave it down,” I tell him, putting on some lip gloss. I look at the clock and I'm running late. Once out the door and in my car, my nerves start to get the better of me.
“Calm down, calm down, calm down,” I chant out loud to myself. It’s not helping so I turn on music and start singing along. Okay, not singing, I’m rapping. I love listening to rap music. Yes, some of the stuff they say is a little, um, questionable, but it makes me happy.
So, with music thumping and me rapping, I pull up in front of Stumble In. There are a lot of cars parked out front. It seems this is the place to be on a Thursday night. I check my face in the rearview mirror and add more lip gloss. I get out and start walking towards the building. My hands start to sweat and I feel slightly sick.
Once I open the door, all thoughts leave my head. Asher is sitting at a table with three other guys who all look similar to him. The thing that gives me pause is the girl standing next to him. She is so close that her giant boobs are squishing out of her white tank top. I can also see that she’s wearing a red bra. I mean, really. Who does that? I want to puke or run away but all I can do is stare at him. Then, she bends her head to the side with her blonde hair hiding what she’s whispering into his ear.
“Hi.” I jump at the sound and turn my head. “You must be new. I'm Nick.” The guy standing next to me says and I take a step towards him so I'm not blocking the door. He’s very cute in that boy next door kind of way. He’s all dirty blond hair and blue eyes. He’s wearing a button-up shirt that’s perfectly pressed and khakis. He’s also the only guy that I’ve met here that wasn’t wearing jeans.
“Um, yeah. Hi, I'm November,” I say, putting my hand out. That’s when I'm pulled by my waist. I scream because I'm startled then I look up. Asher is standing behind me, holding me against him.
“Not happening, baby,” he whispers in my ear. I can’t help the shiver that slides down my spine.
“What?” I ask, completely confused.
“Later, Nick,” Asher growls and I realize what he’s doing.
Heck no! I walked in and he has a girl practically sitting on his lap but I can’t even introduce myself to Nick. I pull myself away, or try to because his arm just gets tighter. Screw it. I stick out my hand in Nick’s direction. “Hi, Nick. I'm November. It was nice to meet you but I just realized that I forgot to wash my hair and need to go home and do that. So, maybe I’ll see you around?” I tell him.
“Ugh, yeah sure,” he says, looking between me and Asher while running his hand down the back of his neck. With that, I pull myself out of Asher’s grasp and walk out the door that I walked through less than three minutes ago.
“Hey, what the fuck? Slowdown.”
I spin around, almost running into him. I’m so pissed that I can feel my blood heating. “Look here, buddy,” I yell while poking his chest. “I don’t know what your problem is but you just embarrassed me. God!” I shout. “Why the hell did I even come?”
“He was going to hit on you and that’s not happening, especially not right in front of my face.”
“Really, you big jerk. I'm shocked that you noticed because you had big boobed Barbie basically sitting on your lap when I walked in.” I poke him in the chest again. “And, for your information, all Nick was going to do was shake my hand.”
“Big boobed Barbie?” He laughs and I want to kick him. “Are you jealous?” he asks, smirking.
“I'm not jealous. I'm embarrassed and pissed off.” Even though I was jealous, there is no way I would tell him that. It seems to me that he probably already had trouble walking into buildings with the size of his big fat head.
“Okay, I’ll try not to embarrass you anymore. Now, will you please come inside with me?” he asks, giving me puppy dog eyes. “My brothers are here but they have to leave in a couple hours and we want to get a few games of pool in before that.”
I really must have lost a lot of brain cells when I was attacked because all I can say is, “Fine.” I start walking back toward the bar with him when he puts his arm around me. “God, I must be crazy,” I say under my breath.
“Just so you know, you look beautiful tonight,” he says in my ear. “But if any motherfucker touches you, I will not be happy.”
“Can you please try not to be a jerk and piss me off for the next hour?” I ask, looking up at him.
“I’ll try,” he says, bringing me closer to his body. I try to pull away but he just holds me even tighter. So, I do what any woman does when she doesn’t get her way. I cross my arms over my chest to let him know that I'm in no way cooperating. I hear him chuckle. I look up and glare at him but all it does is make him smile bigger. Getting inside, we walk up to the table he was sitting at earlier. The girl is gone but the other three guys are still sitting there. And they are all gorgeous.
“November, these are my brothers. Trevor, Nico and Cash. Guys, this is November, Big Mike’s daughter.” All the guys are sitting so I can’t tell how tall they are but they look big and gorgeous.
Trevor has dark brown hair that is cut short like Asher’s. He has brown eyes with the longest lashes I have ever seen, his jaw is square with a couple days’ worth of stubble on it and he has an amazing smile but no dimple.
Nico has dark blond hair that needs to be cut. He looks like the baby of all of them with darker blue eyes than Asher’s and his face is more round than square. He has his left eye brow pierced and gauges in his ears. If I had to use one word to describe him, it would be ’trouble’ but the good kind that you sneak out of your bedroom window in the middle of the night to go look for.
Cash looks the most like Asher with light blue eyes, dark brown hair and a square jaw but his smile is sweet and he was blessed with two dimples rather than one. I feel like I just hit the hot guy mother lode. If my best friend, Tia, was here, she would be freaking out.
“Shut the fuck up,” Nico says, making me come out of my hot guy daze.
“I didn’t know that Big Mike had a daughter, let alone a daughter who looks like you. What did he do, hide you away all this time?” Cash asks and I laugh.
“Um, no,” I say, feeling heat hit my cheeks. “I’ve been living in New York with my mom.”
“Why did you move here?” Nico asks.
“I just didn’t feel safe staying in the city any more so I moved down here. I was already planning to move to Tennessee in a few months but with what happened, I just came earlier.” I could feel Asher’s arm around my waist tighten so much that I could make out each of his fingers.
“Just a wrong place wrong time thing,” I say, not wanting to talk about it.
“Well, I'm glad you’re okay,” Nico says. ”Yeah,” they all agreed.
“Yo, bro, you may want to loosen your grip before your hand fuses with her waist,” Cash says, laughing. The whole situation starts to feel uncomfortable and I need to put some space between me and Asher.
“Well, I came here to have a beer and play a game of pool so that’s what I’m gonna do,” I say and try to walk away towards the bar but quickly feel an arm go around my chest.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Asher whispers in my ear. I can feel the warmth from his breath against my skin and I had to fight myself from leaning into him.
“To get a beer?” I tell him.
“What kind of beer do you want? I’ll get it for you while you sit with my brothers.”
“Are you always this bossy?” I ask, trying to tug free.
“Nope, just with you, baby.” He chuckles.
“Oh, joy,” I say, sarcastically. I can feel his body shake with laughter.
“So what do you want to drink?” he asks.
“Corona with lime,” I tell him, debating on whether to take off the minute his back is turned. He must see my intention because he pulls out a stool, picks me up, and sits me on it.
“Sit here. I’ll be right back.” He looks at his brothers. “Watch her,” he says and they all look at him like he’s gone crazy. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who thinks so.
“So how did you meet our brother?” Trevor asks, looking across the bar at Asher who has turned around and is watching me.
“I started working for my dad and—”
“What?” they all cut me off. “Shit, when do you go on? I'm so gonna be there,” Nico says with a really goofy smile on his face. Then I realize what I just said.
“What?” I shriek. “No, I mean I work for him doing the books,” I say, laughing and shaking my head. “Sorry, no. I'm not a stripper.”
“Damn, that’s a shame,” Cash says, smiling and I laugh harder.
“What’s a shame?” Asher asks while walking up to the table with two Coronas, handing me one.
“That November is not a stripper,” Cash says and they all laugh. I can feel my face getting red.
I look at Asher and see his jaw tighten. “Anyways,” I say, cutting in, “your brother thought I
a stripper. He made big deal about me going to my car without an escort.” Thinking back on it, the whole thing is pretty funny. “He even thought I was sleeping with my dad because I called him ‘Daddy.’ I mean, ewwww,” I say, scrunching up my nose. “The look on his face was priceless when my dad came over and introduced me as his daughter.” Everyone started laughing, even Asher. “So I work for my dad doing the books for the club. It should take me about a month to get organized and then I won’t even need to be there.”
“That’s cool,” Trevor says and they all nod their heads in agreement.
“Do you want to play pool?” Nico asks, looking over at the now empty pool table.
“Sure.” I shrug and get off the stool. I take off my hoodie and wrap it around my purse. Trevor grabs it and puts it in the booth then I start walking towards the pool tables with the boys following behind me. I can feel Asher’s hand on my lower back, guiding me through the bar. We’re a few steps from the table when big boobed Barbie steps in front of our group. I step around her and leave them to deal with her.
“Where are you going?” I hear her whine. Why women do that, I will never know. Do they not know that it’s annoying?
“We’re gonna play pool,” I hear Asher tell her. “What? Wait,” she says. I turn around and see her grabbing on to his arm. “I’ve been waiting all night for you to get here and you’re going to ditch me?”
“You can’t ditch someone you’re not with,” Cash mumbles from beside me.
I turn around and start setting up the table. I have no interest in watching her throw herself at him. “Okay, guys. Who’s gonna break?” I look up but they all look confused. “Are we gonna play or what?” I ask, looking at each of them.
“I’ll break,” Nico says, walking to pick a stick from the wall.
Standing near the table, I feel heat at my back. “You keep walking away from me,” Asher says and I almost laugh because he sounds upset.
“Oh, I'm sorry. I didn’t realize that I was supposed to stand there while you got rid of big boobed Barbie.”
“You could have taken me with you when you went.”
“I’ll try to remember that next time,” I say, shaking my head.
Nico, standing next to us, starts laughing. “Wow. The first one who is immune. I smell a recipe for disaster brewing,” he says. Asher smiles down at me like he’s happy about something.
“Whatever.” I give him my most sarcastic smile. Playing pool with the guys is fun. Me and Asher are laughing and having a good time. The guys are telling me funny stories about people in town and Asher introduces me to some people who know my dad.