Sunday, August 7, 2016

Chapter 40 (8/7/16)

No one likes a good cliffhanger, huh?  I don't blame you!  I haven't yet decided if this post is another bonus or just Monday's post coming early for all you cliffhanger-haters.  We'll see how much writing/editing I get done today while I'm parked on the couch watching the Olympics!

“I’m glad you came!” Grace said excitedly as we got out of the car.  “I thought maybe you’d decide not to.”  I almost laughed, thinking about how I had been about to tell Ryan to take me home before she saw us.
“Here I am,” I said, forcing a smile.  “Ryan, you remember Grace right?”
“Of course,” he said, flashing a disarming grin. 
“This is her husband Justin,” I continued, motioning towards him.  They shook hands and exchanged greetings and then we all started walking towards Sam and Nate’s house.  The party, which had originally been discussed as a surprise party, was no longer a surprise.  That’s okay though, because I think surprise parties are stupid. 
When we walked into the backyard, where the party was happening, the first person I saw (of course) was Kevin.  He was sitting with Charlie and Andrew, laughing with a beer in his hand.  He looked up when we walked back and narrowed his eyes briefly before looking back to Charlie.  Charlie looked up, looked at me and Ryan, and then leaned over to Kevin and said something to him.  Kevin laughed and just shook his head before glancing up at me again.
I stiffened slightly and once again regretted my decision to come.  Grace saw everything I had seen and said quietly, “Ignore him, he’s been insecure as hell as lately.  He’s just trying to get you riled up.” Justin, looking uncomfortable, excused himself to find some alcohol.  I decided that was a great plan and dragged Ryan over to the coolers that I knew held beer. 
I dug out a Summer Shandy and offered it to Ryan.  After poking around to see what else was in the cooler, he took the beer from me, opened it, and handed it back to me.  Then he grabbed one for himself.  “Thanks,” I said, surprised. 
Sam spotted us and came over to say hi.  I introduced her to Ryan and we chatted while I drank my beer.  It didn’t last long.  I reminded myself to slow down so I didn’t end up a shitshow before it even got dark.  Or at all. 
“I have to go to the bathroom, will you be alright for a few minutes?” I asked Ryan. 
“I can talk to anyone,” he said with a shrug.  “I’ll be fine!”  I excused myself and headed inside, making my way to the bathroom.  Someone was already in the one on the main level and I no longer felt comfortable just going upstairs so I waited.  By the time I got back outside, Ryan wasn’t where I had left him.  I looked around and spotted him…sitting next to Kevin and across from Charlie, engaged in very animated conversation with them. 
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I muttered to myself. 
“Kevin came and got him, he didn’t go looking for Kevin, if you’re worried about that,” Grace said, appearing next to me suddenly. 
“I don’t really see any reason for either of them to want to talk to each other,” I replied anxiously. 
Grace smiled sympathetically and motioned me over to where she was sitting with Rayne and Emma.  I was distracted by Ryan chatting cheerfully with Kevin and Charlie and couldn’t focus on the conversation, and I was relieved when I saw him get up and head my way.
He came and sat down next to me, put his arm around me, and moved his mouth very close to my ear.  I cocked my head towards him, waiting, keeping one eye on the conversation around me.  No one was paying attention to us. 
He rested his other hand on my bare thigh, placing it in a spot high enough to get someone I wasn’t sleeping with slapped. “Just so you know,” he said softly, his breath tickling my ear, “Your ex-husband asked how long we’d been dating.  I told him a little over two months.  So if anyone else asks, you should probably say the same thing.”  When he was finished talking, he pulled me just a little closer and traced my earlobe lightly with the tip of his tongue.
            “What are you doing?” I hissed, pulling back just enough to get my ear out of reach of his mouth.  This was not the time or place for his tongue to be touching any part of my body, and we certainly had not discussed telling people were actually dating.
            “Pissing off your ex,” he replied smoothly, his middle finger lightly stroking my inner thigh.  His voice was just barely loud enough for me to hear, but I looked around to make sure no one else did.
            “I don’t need any help doing that,” I grumbled.  And on top of that, between his tongue on my ear, the closeness of his body, and his finger stroking the sensitive skin of my leg, I now wanted to yank him into the nearest empty bathroom or closet and fuck him.   It was killing me that he had the balls to do this with another person sitting two feet away from me.  Except no one could see or hear anything, and to anyone watching it probably just looked like a quiet, intimate conversation.
            “Alright,” he said, shrugging and sliding his hand just slightly higher before removing it from my thigh.  “Don’t need to piss off the ex.  Got it.  Sorry about my presumption.”  He winked at me (and looked good doing it, as always) and then moved his face a socially appropriate distance away from mine.  He kept his arm around me, though, and I decided I was okay with that.  I looked up and caught Kevin watching us.  Unsure of what else to do, I gave him a small, tentative smile; a simple demonstration of good social skills.  He glared at me and turned away.
            “So it’s okay for him to sleep with half the fucking city while we’re married, but god fucking forbid I bring a man to a social function months after we get divorced,” I muttered. 
            I felt Ryan shift closer again, and then his mouth was back at my ear.  “Are you sure you don’t want some help pissing him off?”        
            I shook my head.  “I just want to pretend he’s not here,” I replied. 
            “Jenna!  I’m glad you made it!” 
My head snapped up, and I smiled at Nate.  “Happy birthday, Nate!” I answered.  I motioned to Ryan.  “This is Ryan.  Ryan, this is my friend Nate.”
“Hello, Ryan,” Nate said cheerfully.  We stood so Ryan could shake Nate’s hand, and ended up wandering over to the coolers to get another drink.  More alcohol might make this more bearable, right?  “So are you guys…?” he trailed off, looking back and forth between us.
“Nice to meet you, Nate,” Ryan said smoothly.  “And yeah, we are.”
Nate gave me a weird look, then turned his eyes back to Ryan.  “I hate to say it, but you’ve been a very well-kept secret.”
I scrambled for a response to that, and finally said, “Yeah, I didn’t really know how to bring it up, since you guys are also Kevin’s friends, and I didn’t want anything to be weird.”
“Definitely less weird to just show up with him,” Nate replied, his voice full of good-natured sarcasm.  “No, I get it though.  It’s been kind of weird for all of us, I think.”  I breathed a silent sigh of relief and made a mental note to thank Ryan for keeping his mouth shut for once and letting me answer that one.
Ryan pulled open a cooler and pulled out two more bottles of Summer Shandy.  He opened one and handed it to me.  “Thanks,” I said, taking it gratefully.  Nate reached in and grabbed one as well, and we wandered back in the direction we’d come from.  The entire time, Ryan kept his hand low on my back, resting casually just above my ass.
Nate led us over to a spot that had been claimed by a few other people from our little group.  I introduced the ones that hadn’t yet met Ryan, and we stood in the yard, chatting.  I noticed Ryan looking at me, and I turned to him.  “What?” I asked.
“You have something in your hair,” he responded.  “Turn your head.”  I turned back so I was facing forward again, and his fingers slid through my hair, plucking something from near my ear.  Then he smoothed the hair down, brushing the tips of his fingers lightly across the side of my neck.  His fingers against my skin sent heat radiating through me, and I gritted my teeth.  He held up a piece of fuzz and stated, “Probably from the dandelion field next door.”  He motioned to the neighbor’s yard, which had enough dandelions in various stages of life for the entire neighborhood.  I blew at the piece of fuzz and it drifted from Ryan’s finger into the air.
“Oh, good, I’m starving!” Justin declared.  I turned and saw that food was being brought out, and I had to agree.  After we had our plates, we sat down at one of the picnic tables in the backyard.  As we ate, Ryan occasionally rubbed his leg against mine.  While reaching around me to grab something from the other side of me, his arm brushed my breasts.  When I glared at him, he looked at me innocently, but I knew what he was doing. 
“You’re a horrible tease,” I hissed between clenched teeth when the rest of our tablemates were distracted by other conversation.
“Can’t keep my hands off you,” he replied with a shrug.  “It’s that ‘new relationship’ excitement, what can I say?” 
“I am going to kill you,” I growled.  He just smiled in response.  He was enjoying pretending to be my boyfriend just a little too much. 
His “incidental” contact had me too riled up to focus on much of anything, but when I emerged from the bathroom a little later to find him waiting in the hallway, I shook my head.  “I’m not having sex with you here,” I informed him.  “It’s completely inappropriate.” 
“Okay,” he said with a shrug.  “I just have to go to the bathroom.”  I looked at him suspiciously, but he moved past me without touching me.  “Unless…” 
“No,” I said again. 
“Okay,” he repeated breezily.  I moved out of the bathroom doorway and he shut the door behind him. 
When I got back outside, I saw Kevin was now talking to the small group Ryan and I had been comfortably chatting with.  I briefly considered finding someone else to say hi to, but then I realized that I didn’t want to let him determine who I could and couldn’t talk to.  I walked straight up to the group and Nate and Justin parted to allow me access, since Kevin had moved into the spot that Ryan and I had vacated.  I was nervous about what Ryan would do when he came back, but he respected my wishes and did nothing but lay his hand on my lower back, in the same spot it had been for most of the day so far.  Unconsciously, I shifted slightly closer to him, and I felt his fingers flex against my back, pressing gently into my flesh before relaxing again.
I had avoided conversation with Kevin for almost the entire time we’d been there, but he cornered me while I was grabbing a beer by myself a little while later.  “Really, Jenna?” he asked through gritted teeth. 
“What?” I asked irritably. 
“I can’t believe you’d come parade your adorable new relationship here around all my friends,” he hissed, glaring at me.
“All your friends?” I sputtered.  “In case you forgot, most of them are my friends too.  And I’m not here to parade anything around.  I’m here because it’s my friend’s birthday, and I brought Ryan because it’s awfully nice to have a little support at a social event where my ex husband and his lackey are going to be spending the entire time giving me dirty looks and whispering about how I’m too much of a fucking alcoholic to have babies.”  I spat the last part out bitterly and Kevin looked surprised.  “What, did you think no one would tell me?  That’s your problem, Kevin.  You’re so confident in all your lies that you don’t ever prepare for when they come back to bite you.  Why don’t you fuck off and go talk some more shit about me with Charlie?”
“Jenna,” Kevin started, but I cut him off.
“No,” I snapped.  “Don’t ‘Jenna’ me.  I’m tired of you manipulating my life.  I’m not letting you dictate what social events I can go to.  I’m not letting you dictate who I can be friends with.  You want to keep Charlie?  You can have him!  You two deserve each other.  But I’m not giving up my friendships with everyone else just because you cheated on me and destroyed our marriage.  And if you don’t want to see me ‘parading around’ with Ryan, maybe you should stay home next time.”
I turned to stalk off, but he caught my upper arm tightly in his hand and yanked me back towards him.  “You want pity friendships?” he sneered.  “That’s how desperate you’ve gotten?  You’re only here because they all feel sorry for you.  Poor, pathetic Jenna.  You should see how they look at you when you’re not paying attention--like an abused puppy.”
“Get your fucking hands off of me,” I growled.  “You have absolutely no right to touch me, much less grab me and keep me here against my will.”  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed someone approaching.  Kevin must have too, because he let go right away and took a step back.
“Hey Jen, is everything okay?” Ryan asked calmly.  He didn’t even look at Kevin, he was just studying in my face in the dim glow of the light on the deck. 
“I’m fine,” I said.  “I think I’m ready to go, though.”
“You don’t have to go,” Kevin said, rolling his eyes.  “If you’re going to be a petulant brat, I’ll go.”
“Wow, you’re so noble,” I said sarcastically, turning to walk over towards Ryan so we could leave. 
“I think you should probably tread carefully,” Ryan said quietly, directing his words and his gaze at Kevin.  “I’m not really very pleased with the way you grabbed her.”  Ryan was incredibly calm, and he looked almost bored as he informed Kevin of this.
“Are you here to fight me?” Kevin asked, quickly losing control of the situation.  “Because she’s not worth it.”
Ryan laughed.  “No, I’m definitely not looking for a fight.  I’m just looking for you to keep your hands off Jenna.  And she's definitely worth it, it's you that's not.”  He turned his back to Kevin and said to me, “Did you want to stay or go?”
“I’m ready,” I said.  “Just let me say goodbye to Grace and Emma and Nate.” 
Ryan turned back to Kevin and said,  “Nice to meet you, Kevin.  Have a great rest of your night.”
Kevin muttered something under his breath as we walked away.  I didn't hear him, and I didn't want to know.  I found the people I wanted to say goodbye to, and then we got in the car.  I said nothing as Ryan pulled onto the street and started towards my house.


  1. Kevin is SUCH a child. I am also pleased that he is not so over Jenna as he pretends to be - not that I want them back together. He was so cruel and selfish to her, it's good to see him get some of that back,especially when the emotions are all of his own creation. Jenna behaved very well, here. I LOOOOOVE Ryan, too. Still, he started a dangerous game here, taking the "boyfriend" stuff so far. I would like to think they are both catching felings, but he claimed to not be in a recent post and Jenna is also dating another guy. I would hate to see Jenn's life get messy again, just when she was finally getting back on her emotional feet. I predict things are going to change soon fer her, though...

    1. ^ That was basically all the thing I was going to say! :) I'm thankful Ryan was able to keep his cool and be smooth, it makes Kevin look even worse.

  2. Ryan... I swoon.

    Love them denying their feelings. It'll only make it sweeter if and when they finally give into them.

    Also, fuck Kevin. What a dirtbag.

    1. Yes to all of this, especially fuck kevin. This blog gets me mad in the best way!

  3. Team Ryan though I have a feeling he'll be the one to catch feelings..... Kevin is such an ass

  4. Why is this blog so good

  5. Kevin is so passive aggressive it's ridiculous!! Loved this post...

  6. I love the writing and the story, I like Ryan and Jesse, but something about Jenna bugs me. I don't know what it is. I can't put my finger on it. mum

  7. I freaking love this blog.

    I am really beginning to like Ryan. Too much. lol It just doesn't feel like the timing is right for him and Jenna and it bums me out!!!!!!!!!! So I'm trying to not get too invested.

    Annnnnd then there's Kevin, being Kevin. What a surprise. Ugh, hate him!