Begin Again

Page 18

"Are you happy?" I blurted out. When Demi's head whipped around I knew I shouldn't have said anything.
"Why would you ask me that?"
I put my plate down and turned in my seat to face her. "Because I want to know. I still care about you, Demetria." My voice came out harder than I intended.
"Why, Brody? So you can gloat about how amazing your life is without me? So you can remind me one more time that you're happy with Sienna? Because if you're trying to hurt me it won't work." She stood up and stormed inside. I rubbed my face and shook my head. "What the fuck am I trying to do?" I asked no one. The quiet of the night greeted me and I decided it was probably better for me to leave. I picked up our plates and made my way back inside. I found Demi in the kitchen, leaning against the counter with her back to me.
"I didn't mean to upset you," I said. I placed our dishes in the sink and turned to face her.
She snorted, spinning around. "I guess you never meant to leave either."
"Demetria, I – "
"No," she cut me off, "I don't want to hear your excuse."
"Then let me apologize." It was a plea, a desperate one. I needed her to hear me out and let me try and fix what I'd broken.
"You're a year too late." Her voice cracked and in her eyes I got a small glimpse of what I had done to her. It was enough to make me want to take it all back. But I couldn't, and now I had to consider the possibility that the little girl I'd fallen in love with all those years ago no longer loved me. It was a possibility I wasn't prepared for and never would be.
"We have to talk about this," I said, trying one last time.
Demi shook her head, her eyes red and puffy. "You've had countless chances to talk to me and I grew tired of waiting."
"What does that mean?"
She walked closer and I took a moment to really look at her. She was thinner and she had bags under her eyes. She looked tired. She looked broken. "It means I picked up the pieces you left behind and moved on with my life. I stopped waiting for you, Brody."
My breath faltered as if someone had knocked the wind out of my lungs.
"You're with Jeff, aren't you?"
"You lost the right to ask me that."
"Answer the question, Demetria."
"No, okay? I'm not with Jeff, but I wish I was because he's an amazing man." She sniffed and I clenched my fists to stop myself from grabbing her and comforting her.
"So what's the problem? If he's so perfect then why aren't you with him?" I half-yelled.
"Oh my God," Demi cried. She wiped her face and took a breath. "I'm not with him because my heart is taken! How can I love him when my heart will always be yours?"
We stood there staring at each other, and I tried speaking but Demi beat me to it. "There, you got what you came for right? Now I think you should leave. Please."
I swallowed hard. I had to respect her wishes. I wasn't prepared to do any more damage than I already had and judging by the look on Demi's face, it was too late. I'd fucked up again.
"Okay," I whispered. I took a risk and leaned in to kiss Demi's forehead. She didn't move or push me away. I murmured, "I'm sorry," against her forehead and saw myself out. When I climbed into my truck and hit the steering wheel until my hands hurt like hell, I realized that Demi thought I loved Sienna. She was very, very wrong.
"Can I get you a drink?" Jeff asked, yelling above the loud music. We were at Nicky's Bar for a combined bachelor and bachelorette party for Huntley and Grayson. We'd spent countless nights partying it up here during college and it reminded me of a simpler time. The interior décor and the long bar that lined two of the walls hadn't changed at all . It still smelled like beer and stale peanuts and I found I didn't mind it so much. It was proof that not everything had to change.
I wasn't really in the mood to be out but what kind of Maid of Honor bails on her best friends bachelorette party? She could tell something was wrong but I'd been dodging her questions since we arrived and at some point decided to suck it up. I'd had a sleepless night the night before and I'd replayed my conversation with Brody in my head all night, which was the reason for my less than enthusiastic mood.
"Can I have a Southern Comfort and lime, please?"
Jeff's eyebrows shot up and he looked surprised. "You sure?"
Irritation flared and I bit back the compulsion to ask him if he was my mother. "I'm sure," I replied, trying not to sound like a brat. He turned around and I watched him disappear into the thick crowd as he headed towards the bar. It wasn't his fault I wasn't good company. I looked around at all the college kids drinking and having fun like they had no cares in the world and when my gaze fell on the doors, the reason for my crap-tastic disposition walked in. Brody's sandy blonde hair looked stylishly tousled and his dark jeans clutched every part of his upper thighs, showing off the impressive package between his legs. He wore a navy blue button down shirt that he'd rolled up to expose his chorded forearms. If it weren't for the blonde woman next to him that had just about surgically attached herself to his side, I would've salivated at the sight of him.
My traitorous heart skipped a beat, despite our heated conversation last night. My eyes fell to the blonde next to him and in the dim lighting of the bar, I was sure I saw her smirk at me. She was very much a cliché with her salon dyed hair, obvious fake tits and bottle-tanned legs that went on for miles. The thought of Brody being with her baffled me, but then again, I was starting to understand that he was no longer the man I knew him to be.
He headed towards our table just as Jeff got back with our drinks and I wasted no time in grabbing the whiskey tumbler from his hands and downing my drink. The mixture of the lime and bourbon flowed down my throat and warmed my body, making the tension in my muscles ease.
"Whoa," Jeff admonished, "easy there tiger."
I smiled. "I was thirsty."
Huntley and Grayson rejoined our table and an awkward silence descended on the table. I could feel the tension between Brody and Jeff but for once in my life I didn't want to worry about it. I wanted to let go of it all. I wanted to dance. I ignored Brody and Sienna and looked at Huntley. "Wanna dance?"
She looked between Brody and I and then nodded, following behind me. We made our way into the middle of the dance floor and Florida Georgia Line's song 'Cruise' started playing through the speakers. The crowd shouted in excitement and soon everyone started singing along. I forgot about everything on my mind and focused on how good the beat of the music made me feel.
"I'm going to find Grayson," Huntley said into my ear. The song changed to something more upbeat and I decided it was time to hit the bar. I followed Huntley back to our table and flagged down a waitress. She brought me another Southern Comfort and lime, only this time I sipped it like a normal human being. Sienna whispered something Brody's ear, and he frowned before following her to the dance floor. She turned her head and looked at me over her shoulder, an obscene sneer on her face. Bitch. I barely knew the woman but the look on her face was enough for me to keep my distance. I knew she was toying with me. I was just too stubborn to ignore the bait.

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