Never Just Friends

Never Just Friends

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Summary

We all have that one. That one person in our lives that leaves a mark on us so deep, it can never be erased. That one that makes us think "What if?" or "If only we..." The one that got away. What would you do if you got the chance to make it right? ***Based on my own, personal history***

Summary

We all have that one. That one person in our lives that leaves a mark on us so deep, it can never be erased. That one that makes us think "What if?" or "If only we..."
The one that got away.
What would you do if you got the chance to make it right?
***Based on my own, personal history***

Chapter2 (v.1) - Same as it ever was

Author Chapter Note

With an invite to Stevie's birthday party, Lacey anticipates the inevitable.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 14, 2019

Reads: 190

Comments: 6

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 14, 2019

A A A

A A A

100 Inspirational and Motivational Quotes of All Time! (7)

 

Time passes more quickly when she has something to look forward to. She and Robyn have weekly coffee dates. Sometimes with Stevie. Sometimes just the two of them.

“Hey, we’re having Stevie’s birthday party next weekend. We’d love for you to come.”

Stevie has found a special, warm place in Lacey’s heart. He’s snuggly and funny and he gravitates toward her more and more each time she sees him. Could be because she’s fresh meat and she’s someone new to wrap around his finger. Or it could be because she plays trucks with him and they build towers out of napkins and creamers and sugar packets, then crash into them. He especially likes to over dramatize the crash noises.

“I don’t want to impose. I mean, don’t feel obliged to offer invitation just because-”

“Oh, shut-up. You’re coming. What else do you have to do? Besides I’m sure Tim’s Mom and Dad would love to see you. They said they always liked you.”

She hasn’t mentioned if Josh is going to be there. And Lacey sure as hell isn’t going to bring the topic up. She’s purposely made it a point not to bring him up during conversation, but Robyn’s few, well-placed comments has her wondering if her friend is trying to settle unfinished business. The time will come to see him face to face again. But, she isn’t sure if she’s ready for it yet. 

It's been 10 years. And he has haunted her all this time in the form of fleeting memories, unintended reminiscence and uncontrollable dreams. 

The dreams are the worst.

Sometimes they invade her sleep months apart. Close to a year before her brain conjures up his memory without her permission. Sometimes it's only weeks apart. But the dreams are always the same. They begin with the excitement of just seeing each other again. No awkwardness or dredging up the past. Just two friends reuniting. Then the intrigue comes; where his hand rests on hers with questionable intent or he lingers close enough to feel the warmth of his breath on her neck. After the intrigue comes the blatant attraction where she’ll notice the bulge at his crotch or he simply tells her his desire for her.

And then the dreams come to an end. Every. Damn. Time.

Even in her dreams, she's forbidden to have him. Not even a taste from his lips.

One would think that after over 10 years of being denied pleasure, even in her dreams, that she’d forget him. That her mind would simply chalk him up as one of those other people she used to know. But she can't fool herself. 

Not even being married to another man could keep him from the deepest parts of her mind.

"Just be at Tim's parents house at 1:00 next Sunday." Robyn directs, clearly not caring what excuse Lacey is trying to fabricate.
 
Lacey sighs, defeated. “What can I bring?”

*****************

Tim’s parents still live in the same house. She knows it well. She'd been there countless times and it looks the same as it did when she was in high school. Pulling out of the driveway was always a pain in the ass because it sits on a busy road, but there’s a bank with ample parking across the street that serves as alternative to backing out blindly into oncoming traffic. People seem to stop more often for someone crossing the street rather than coming out of a driveway.

Butterflies gather in her belly as she approaches the house with her pan of baked ziti and meatballs in one hand and Stevie’s gift, in a bag, hanging from the other. It’s strange coming to the front door. She had always entered the house though the side door, off the garage.

She takes a deep breath before knocking. Laughter, children yelling and barking filter from the door and windows. A balloon of some bulldozer cartoon floats from the mailbox. She raises her hand to knock but the door swings open before her fist connects with the wood.

“Hey, Lace. Come on in.” Tim greets with a smile. A Welsh Corgi waddles out onto the porch, inspecting the newcomer. “Spuds. In.” Tim orders with a snap of his fingers. The dog obeys with a butt wiggle and hops back over the threshold into the house.

He holds the door open wider to let her in as she laughs. “Spuds? Like Spuds Mackenzie?” She says, looking down at the dog.

Tim's eyes also follow the dog into the living room. “No. I just think he looks like a potato.”

That’s one of the things that she misses most about Tim. He always had such a matter-of-fact, almost childish reasoning for the way he looks at things. Sometimes it was corny, but other times, completely hysterical.

She has to agree with him. “That he does,” she holds up the pan of food. “Where can I put this?”

“Oh! Yeah, you can put it in the kitchen.” He points in the general vicinity. “You remember where it is.”

She nods and heads down the hall to the back of the house as Tim goes back in the living room. “Babe, Lace is here.”

People mill about on the back porch, mostly guys with a beer in their hand watching kids run around the backyard. A cake, with the same character that’s on the balloon, sits on the table in front of the bay window.

Food crowds the countertops. She finds a spot next to the salad for her pasta and turns to head back into the living room with the gift.

A broad body fills the doorway between the kitchen and dining room, leisurely leaning against the jamb, seemingly lying in wait for her.

Her heart seizes in slight panic, almost dropping the bag. Memories and emotions intertwine, flooding her thoughts like a sentimental dream. But, that familiar smile comforts her enough to push the shock away.

She simply smiles back with an endearing head tilt. “Josh.” she breathes as he approaches with outstretched arms.

She puts down the bag and steps in for the hug.

His arms wrap around her with a tight squeeze, pulling her to her tiptoes. Time has been kind to him. He looks the same as he did 10 years ago. Those warm, chocolatey eyes and dark, almost black hair were always striking against his fair complexion. And while Tim has gotten softer, Josh is harder. The muscles of his back flex against the palms of her hands as he lifts her and she has to hold back an indulgent sigh.

“It’s been too long, Lace.” he mutters in her ear just before releasing her.

She instantly misses the heat of his body the moment he steps away and her fingers rake through her hair, tossing it to one shoulder, unable to hold still. Her heart hasn’t fluttered like this since the last time she saw him. “Feels like forever.”

His eyes travel about her. “You look great.”

A hot flash races through her. Jesus, she’s never gotten over him. “Thanks,” she forces herself to look him in the eye. Dark and sparkling. His image has been etched in her memory for almost half her life, but it can never compare to being with him in person. “You haven’t aged in 10 years.”

“I’d like to think at least I’m not as dumb as I used to be.” he laughs.

She picks up Stevie’s gift. “That’s what made you so much fun though.”

He shrugs. “Guess I’m boring as shit now.”

“Join the club.” she snorts as they head towards living room.

The family welcomes her as if time never passed. Mr. and Mrs. Novak give her hugs and kisses. Robyn’s parents too. Even Josh and Tim’s aunts and uncles greet her with “Aren’t you the one who…?” and then proceeds to recall some kind of shenanigans she got caught up in with one or both of the brothers. Stories she had all but forgotten herself, but bring back so many great memories.

Robyn introduces her to new faces. New friends that came along after she disappeared from their lives. There’s also about 7 little ones running around with Stevie. Names are given and who their parents are, but she quickly loses track of who belongs to who.

It’s not until dinner is announced that parents pair up with their respective offspring and attempt to get them to eat something other than a chicken nugget.

She finds a seat next to Josh while they eat. It’s a natural reaction to be next to him. She fights the nagging awareness that she’s gravitating toward him because she has a crush on him.

Er… used to have a crush on him.

He doesn’t seem to mind though. He’ll bump her elbow as she brings her fork to her mouth, or steals a bite from her plate. Gets a total kick out of it, too. Typical Josh behavior.

But, when the eyes and smiles from the rest of the party begin floating their way, she gets a weird feeling in her stomach. Isn’t from the food. It’s nerves. She didn’t pay attention to other people when she was young. All she worried about was her little bubble and who was in it. A lot of the time, it contained Josh. Just like now. But, adulthood has opened her eyes more; whether she likes it or not. She can’t imagine what everyone else is thinking. A girl they haven’t seen in over 10 years, falling all over Josh within 30 minutes of seeing him again. Pathetic.

She makes a conscious effort to pull back from him. Scoot to the other side of her chair, furthest away from him. Keep his knee from tapping hers.

She almost wishes a woman would come forth and claim him. Wife, girlfriend. Something to keep her from feeling like she did when she was 18. She’s too old to be acting like this.

He has no ring, though. No pretty girlfriend to shoo Lacey away. And no inclination to show that he’s taken.

Completely bizarre considering he’s still just as handsome, sweet and down-to-earth as he’s ever been. Why hasn’t some lucky lady nabbed him up?

Everyone has a past no one talks about. Herself included. Nobody had asked her if she was married. If she had children. Maybe Robyn gave them all a heads up about her. ‘Don’t mention the struggling divorcee.’

Mortifying.

Maybe she should give herself a break from Josh. Don’t make it look so desperate.

She wipes her mouth with a napkin. “I’m going to go see if your mom needs help in the kitchen.” She takes her plate and slips away from her seat without looking back to him.

His mom is grateful for the help, but she may have made a mistake trading Josh’s company for hers. She has that same smile on her face Robyn did when she saw them eating at the table together. Lacey recalls when Josh and Tim’s parents had suggested they should date when they were younger. Even they assumed the two of them were hiding more than what they were letting on.

Truth is, nothing ever happened between them. They were both dating other people at the time his parents mentioned they would make a cute couple. And despite what his parents assumed, Lacey and Josh always reverted to their signature line: “That’s just how we are.”

Mrs. Novak babbles on about how fondly she remembers Lacey and how she wished the boys would have stayed in touch with her.

It’s been just as much Lacey’s fault as it has been theirs that they didn’t stay in touch. She let her stupid emotions and Robyn’s, while well-meaning, meddling get the best of her.

If she would have let it roll off her shoulders like she had for the 4 years prior, things would have turned out much different.

Don’t think about that, Lacey. Can’t change the past.

 


© Copyright 2019 Kitty Haze. All rights reserved.

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