I walk to other side and down the dark corridor. I push the door open to the ladies’ room and walk in. I lock the door behind me and use the bathroom. When I’m done I wash my hands and then freshen up. What Trent said upset me a little’ but I don’t want to think about it right now. I’m trying to have a good time. But when I walk out of the bathroom Jade is waiting outside.
“Bathroom is all yours,” I say and keep walking.
“Besides coming home for your mama. Is there any other reason you came back?”
I turn around. “Excuse me?”
“I know why you’re back, and Bobby told me what happened to you guys, but I can’t help but wonder.”
“Listen, if Bobby told you what happened that’s his business, but that doesn’t mean you can speak about it with me,” I say getting pissed off. I turn to walk away again.
“I love him,” she says. I stop walking but don’t turn around right away. “I just need to know if there’s anything standing in my way.”
I turn around and walk back to her. “Look if he says he loves you then you have nothing to worry about,” I say, and even though I’m speaking to Jade I feel as if I’m speaking to myself also. “My coming home has shaken him up is all. He wasn’t prepared for my return and with my return came a lot of unanswered questions. He’s now just able to put the pieces together. All I want is for us to eventually move forward. Just give him some time and be supportive. He could use it right about now. But you have nothing to worry about. I’m not here to get in the way of you and him. If he is with you, then that means he wants to be with you.” I walk away this time not waiting for a response.
I don’t know what I feel about Bobby or Jake anymore. Everything is very confusing. Right now, I’m just trying to right my wrongs, so we can all start to move forward. But I’m not about to try and get in the way of anyone’s relationship. I learned my lesson the hard way a long time ago.
Back at the table, I sit back down next to Trent. The band is playing some good music, and everyone is two-stepping out on the dance floor. It’s been so long since I’ve two-stepped and I really want to, but Trent doesn’t know how and he’s not going to try. I see Jade walk back out and go to Bobby. She wraps her arms around him and kisses him. One you can tell he wasn’t expecting and it puts a smile on his face. I look back around, and I see Jake. He’s dancing with some girl but watching me. I think maybe it’s just better if Trent and I leave now. I’m about to ask Trent to take me home when Jake walks over to our table.
“Jake,” I say not sure what’s about to happen.
Jake looks straight at Trent. “Do you mind if I take your girl for a spin? I know she likes to twostep,” he says to Trent. He’s being respectful, but I can tell by his tone he doesn’t care either way if Trent minds or not.
Trent looks at me and then back at Jake. I can tell he’s not happy but doesn’t want to look like a jealous boyfriend. “Sure. Go ahead.” He shrugs like it’s no big deal. If he’s going to be like that.
“Let’s go, sweetness.” He smiles a knowing smile and reaches out his hand to me.
I keep my shock reined in long enough to get onto the dance floor. “Jake, that was not funny,” I say putting my hand in his and letting him pull me close as he wraps his other hand around my waist. I should feel nothing at his touch, but I do.
“I thought it was.” He smirks
“Are you jealous?” I ask.
“Of him. I don’t think so. What’s his deal anyway? He’s too uptight for you.”
“Stop. You don’t even know him. I will go sit back down if you don’t behave,” I threaten.
“Oh, come on, I know how much you love to dance. You don’t really want to be sitting this out,” he says, spinning me out and bringing me back in and then we fall right into the two-step with everyone else. I can’t help but laugh. Jake is still a good dancer, and we always danced well together. The band is playing Ain’t Going Down ‘Til The Sun Comes Up. Oddly enough it feels comfortable dancing with Jake. Not as awkward as I thought it would be.
Jake takes a step forward and then crosses over quickly, but instead of me following him like I should I fumble a little when he steps on my foot. “You alright, sweetness?” Jake asks laughing a little.
This song is fast, and it’s been a while. “I guess I’m a little rusty. It’s been a long time. Two-stepping isn’t all that popular in L.A.” I shrug. I don’t want to admit that the way I feel in his arms is throwing me off a little. It feels good. A little too good. “And stop calling me sweetness.”
“Okay. Let’s just dance,” he says. And we do. We two step around the dance floor and then he spins me out and brings me back, so my back is to his front. He does this sway and dip motion with me and then turns me back around to face him. Then he takes two steps forward and I go back two letting him lead. Then this time when he spins me out Bobby grabs me and spins me into him and Jake takes Jade. I laugh remembering all these moves and I feel happy to be having fun. But it quickly dies when I realize I’m dancing with Bobby. I look back and see Jade staring. She doesn’t look happy even though I told her I’m not here to steal Bobby. He moves me front and then back again a couple of times, and I follow his lead as we spin hastily around the dance floor.
“Can’t say I thought I’d ever be dancing with either of you again,” I tell him.
“Me either,” he says spinning me around.
“Hell, I’m surprised you dance now.”
“Yeah, someone made me realize a long time ago it wasn’t so horrible,” he says with a small smile and my stomach dips at the sight.
“Jade doesn’t look very happy.” I can’t help but feel her death glare as we move around the dance floor.
“She’ll get over it.”
“Well, she’s worried I might steal you away.”
“Is she now?”
“I guess she doesn’t know how much you hate me,” I say looking him in the eyes for the first time.
“As usual I try, but it seems I can’t ever get a hold on that hate thing for you,” he says his eyes boring into mine. I swallow hard and don’t say anything for a beat stuck in his stare, but I come to.
“Yeah, well, don’t worry. I told her I’m not here to get in her way,” I tell him but before he can say anything he spins me out, and I’m back in Jake’s arms, and when I look back he’s just staring at me.
The song finally ends, and another comes on. This time the girl in the band is singing and I recognize the tune right away. It’s Dixie Chicks Cowboy Take Me Away. She sounds great. This is probably where I should stop and thank Jake for the dance and walk away. But I don’t. He doesn’t make any motion to let me go either. We slow our pace, and he brings me to him, and we sway to the rhythm of the song around the dance floor with everyone else. The irony of this song isn’t lost on me.
“Shouldn’t you be hating me right now?” I asked wondering why he’s being so nice.
“I did hate you for a long time, but now I realize I hate what you did. I don’t hate you. There is a lot of anger and sometimes rage. It’s been coming and going in waves. Since you told me about the baby and everything else, the rage is a little less. I’m also drunk right now. So, there’s that.” I don’t know what to say, so I just nod in understanding.
“I’m surprised you’re not getting mobbed by women giving you their bras to sign,” I say changing the subject.
“This is home. Everyone knows me and it’s where I come to get away from all the mobs. This is peace for me.”
Dancing with Jake takes me back to the summer before I left. Jake and I danced a lot that summer. I was never happier than when I was in his or Bobby’s arms or both they’re arms. It’s different now though; I don’t know what I feel for these two men. With Bobby, I can’t tell if what I’m feeling is something that lingers from high school and I need to move on or if there is something there. And with Jake, I can still feel him whenever he’s near me. We always had a connection. In the club that night I had this energy. A nervous energy I couldn’t understand where it was coming from. Until I saw him and then I knew. I felt him even though I didn’t know it. It was the same when I saw him all the other times after that. I don’t think that’s something that will ever dissipate completely. But that doesn’t mean anything. Right?
When you’ve been away for so long and the last two people you loved had imprinted on your life in a way no one else can. I don’t think you ever fully stop caring for that person. You just find new ways to grow and move on from it. Our high school romance was no ordinary one. Hell, it was crazy and extreme. But right now, being in Jake’s arms I’m feeling more than I probably should.
I look up and see Trent standing by the railing watching Jake and me. I smile at him, but he doesn’t return the gesture. He’s not happy, and I feel guilty now. I don’t know how long he’s been standing there watching. I should’ve noticed, but I didn’t. I forgot he was even here. I was so wrapped up in the dance with Jake and Bobby. I need to keep my distance from these men.
Feeling uncomfortable I tell Jake, “Thanks for the dance, but I need to get back to Trent. We should probably be going.”
“I missed dancing with you,” he says, and I can see the heat in his eyes. I don’t get his mood swings either he’s ripping me apart or being sweet. Although, right now I think he has an angle, and that’s to piss off Trent. It’s working.
“Jake don’t. You’re drunk, and tomorrow you’ll be back to hating me,” I say, and he’s still holding me like we’re still dancing.
“That’s probably true, but it’s not right now.”
“I’m here with my boyfriend,” I say so only he can see me speak the words. I don’t want Trent to see. “You’re being inappropriate.”
“When did I ever care about being appropriate?” Completely ignoring what I said, and I can’t disagree.
I don’t get to answer. “Ava, are you done? I’m ready to go,” Trent says glaring at Jake.
I quickly pull away from Jake and look at Trent. Once again Jake distracted me, and Trent was right there. “Yes, I’m ready to go. Let me say goodbye to my friends.”
“I’ll be waiting over by the door.” His tone less than happy.
Jake extends his hand to Trent. “Have a good night, man,” he says, but Trent doesn’t shake his hand. Jake brings his hand back down. “Thanks for letting me dance with your girl,” Jake smirks not at all intimidated by the look my boyfriend is giving him right now.
“Yeah, you bet.” He turns to me. “Hurry up, Ava.” And he walks away.
I roll my eyes at Jake because he did that on purpose. I say goodbye to everyone and as I’m walking back out Jake snags me by the arm and pulls me against him.
“He’s not the one for you, sweetness,” he says into my ear, and my eyes widen in surprise. I walk away without responding. I don’t understand any of the emotions I’m feeling right now.
C.C. Ann is a new author with her debut of Dare To Love Two. She was born in the concrete jungle of Manhattan, New York, where she grew up and still lives today. As a teenager she found her love of books and became an avid reader. She also began to keep a journal where she found that writing was a great outlet for her feelings, thoughts, and dreams. One day, a story popped into her head; she put pen to paper and never stopped writing. Before she knew it, C.C. had her first novel. Now she can’t wait to grow the list by writing more books.
You can always find C.C. with her Kindle in her hand and earbuds in her ear. She listens to country music to make her soul smile and drown out the sounds of the city. She’s lived in the city her whole life and there is nothing she hates more than the city subway. C.C. always says she may have been born and raised in the big city, but she has the soul of country girl.
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