Authors: Mercy Amare
Finally, I reach out and knock lightly on the door.
I can do this.
It’s just Ty Newman. We’ve dated before. And up until a month ago, we were having sex. Certainly, I can ask him to hang out. It won’t even be a big deal.
The door swings open, and Ty is standing on the other side in just a pair of jeans. They’re sitting very low on his hips and he’s not wearing a shirt. I force myself not to look down. Even though I really want to, because Ty is really hot.
When I look at his face, I see that he’s frowning.
“You look beautiful,” he says. “I like this dress. I’m sure Micah will too.”
“I’m not... uhh... Micah’s band had a last minute gig, so we’re not going out,” I tell him.
“You aren’t going to hear his band play?”
I shake my head.
“Why not?” he asks.
“I don’t want to,” I answer.
“Well, what do you want to do?”
There are a lot of things I want to do. Though, I’m not saying
“You really should put on a shirt,” I say.
Now Ty is smiling. He’s smiling like he knows exactly what I’m thinking, and maybe he does. He knows me better than anybody else. I’m normally good at hiding my feelings, but lately I feel like I’m an open book. I hate letting other people in. I don’t want anybody to know what I’m thinking or feeling, but at the same time, it’s almost a relief not to hide anymore.
“Why are you at my door?” Ty asks, still smiling.
“I thought we could hang out,” I answer.
“Hang out?” he asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Like, outside our apartment,” I correct. Because, seriously, I can’t be inside the apartment with Ty right now. Especially not since Andrea left and Gabe is gone. Being alone with him is dangerous.
“So, I’m your backup plan?” he asks.
“Umm...” my voice trails off. It does seem like he’s my backup plan. “Well, you’re not really the backup plan. Micah wanted me to go see his band, but I decided I’d rather hang out with you. If you want to, that is.”
I bite my lip as I wait for his answer.
This is so nerve racking.
It shouldn’t be. I live in America—women work just as hard as men. I can ask a guy out.
“Are you asking me out on a date?” Ty asks.
I swear my heart jumps into overdrive.
Ugh, I have always hated the word date.
I shrug, like it’s not a huge deal. “I guess I am.”
“Does this mean you’re done avoiding me?” he asks.
“I wasn’t aware that I was avoiding you,” I say, knowing that it’s a lie. I have avoided Ty lately, because I have been trying to sort out my feelings for him. And while I don’t feel like they’re sorted, I’m tired of staying away from him.
Feelings are too complicated.
Or maybe I complicated them.
“You’re doing that thing again,” Ty says. “Where you pretend nothing is wrong, even though there is something clearly wrong.”
“Fine. I’m done avoiding you,” I say. “I am not sure what my feelings are, but I miss you. And I think we should go out and do something fun, just the two of us. If I am going to figure out what my feelings are, we should definitely not be anywhere near a bed.”
Ty grins. “Like the first time we dated?”
I laugh. “Yeah, I guess so. Except this time, maybe we won’t go a whole three months without sex, because that seems like a long time.”
“Does that mean you plan on dating me for three months?” he asks.
I feel panicked at his words.
Why can’t we talk about the future? Three months. That’s not long. Ty has been in my life for well over a year, and I don’t think he’s going anywhere in the next three months. But I can’t bring myself to say
“If this is going to work out, you can’t mention the future. Ever. I just want to focus on the right now,” I say.
“I think that is a fair thing for you to ask me, especially considering all that you went through last year because of me—and what my dad did,” Ty says. “I can do that.”
“What your dad did has nothing to do with you,” I say.
“But he is my dad, and he’s the one who did all that to you,” he says. “And I was the worst first boyfriend in the history of first boyfriends. I’m sure that I am part of the reason why you have problems committing to a guy long term. I did cheat on you.”
“You did,” I say. “But you’re not the same guy you were back then. When I met you, you were cocky, arrogant, and a man whore. Now, you’re sweet without having an ulterior motive and you’re kind and faithful. You’re one of the best people I know, and I can trust you. I do trust you. But I can’t overlook the fact that you
cheat on me. Just try to be patient with me, that’s all I can ask.”
“I can be patient. If you remember, I did wait over a year to have sex with you,” Ty says.
“Was I worth the wait?” I ask.
He laughs. “Now who is being cocky?”
I stick my tongue out at him.
“Yes, you were very much worth the wait,” he says.
I’m worth it.
Since tonight is spontaneous, neither one of us really planned anything.
I’m all dressed up. My hair and makeup are both perfect, and I have on a short cocktail dress. Ty dressed casual, but nice. So it feels weird to go to a casual restaurant and a movie, but I’m still excited. I’ve focused on avoiding Ty for so long that I forgot how much I missed him.
The thing that I love about Ty is that he always makes me forget everything else. He makes me laugh and have a good time. And I feel
. I forget that Brian Asher is out there watching me. Maybe that’s because I know that Ty can protect me.
“What do you want—seafood, Indian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese—”
I cut him off. “You must really want Asian food.”
“I’m in the mood for whatever. Pizza, Italian, American, Mexican, and whatever other kind of food you can think of.”
“Do you remember what we ate on our very first date?” I ask him.
“Sushi,” he answers. “That was a pretty epic first date.”
“Agree,” I say. “Let’s do Indian food tonight.”
“Sounds good,” Ty says.
We only drive about half a mile from campus before arriving at an Indian restaurant. It’s a ‘hole in the wall’ kind of place, but in my experience those usually end up being the best. Besides, tonight isn’t about good food. It’s about hanging out with Ty. Like, actually
, and not having sex.
When Ty parks his car, I reach for the door handle, but Ty grabs my hand to stop me.
“No. I’m going to open your door,” he says.
“I’m quite capable of opening my own door.”
“I know,” he says. “It’s just... everything I own right now is because of your dad. Basically, I’m taking you on a date with your dad’s money, which I will pay back when I turn twenty one. But chivalry is free, and it’s the one thing I can do for you to show you how much I care about you. That is why I’m opening your door.”
Ty gets out of the car and I’m sitting there completely speechless.
I always knew Ty was romantic. He was the first time I dated him. I guess dating Gabe for so long, I’m not used to a chivalrous guy. Not that Gabriel is rude, but he’s definitely not the romantic type. He’s never bought me flowers, taken me out on a proper date or opened my door. Ty is pretty much spoiling me and any guy I date will have a lot to measure up to. Though, maybe that’s the point. If a guy truly wants to be with me, he
have to work for it. I’m worth it. Every female is.
Ty opens my door, and holds out his hand. I grab it and he helps me out of the car.
And I feel like a princess.
This is how a guy is supposed to treat a girl.
He doesn’t let go of my hand as we walk towards the door.
“Next time we go out, I am going to plan ahead,” Ty says. “I want to sweep you off your feet.”
“You already are,” I say.
“I’m serious,” he says. “I want to plan an epic date, and that takes longer than a few minutes.”
“Well, I guess you will just have to ask me out in advance next time.”
“Do you want to go out next Friday?” he asks.
I grin at him. “Hey, let’s get through this date before you ask me out again. This date might completely suck, then you won’t want to go out with me again.”
“That is highly unlikely, considering I’ve known you over a year. I’ve dated you before. I know everything about you—the good and the bad.”
I laugh. “The bad?”
“You’re a commitment phobe with a crazy family,” Ty says.
“Hey, my family isn’t crazy,” I say.
“No, I guess compared to my family, yours is pretty normal.”
“My family is your family,” I tell him.
“I like that,” he says. “I definitely needed a family do-over.”
Yeah, he does. Poor Ty. I feel bad about all the things that’ve happened to him—watching his mom murdered right in front of him, having a shitty excuse for a dad, and then having his dad nearly kill him. It’s a lot to take in.
We walk inside and the waitress leads us to a table in the corner. We order our food, and talk while we sit and wait.
Surprisingly, I don’t feel panicked.
Maybe Ty is right. Maybe I
focus on the right now instead of always worrying about the future. And right now, I definitely like having Ty in my life as more than just a friend. Not my boyfriend, but more than a friend.
Sunday, November 7
Somebody was being naughty.
I went out with Ty and the night didn’t end with me in his bed.
I also had a really, really good time. We ate dinner, went to see a movie, and then stayed up way too late talking in the living room. Then, at the end of the night, we both went to our separate bedrooms.
It should feel weird going home to the same place after a date, but it doesn’t. Ty has lived with my family for a while, and it just feels right to live here with him.
When I wake up the next morning, Gabe is sitting in the living room watching the sports channel. I decide right then that I need some alone time. I go out to grab some coffee. There is a nice coffee shop about two blocks away from the apartment, so I skip my car and just walk there.
It’s such a beautiful day. The high is 67 degrees and the wind is blowing. I zip up my hoodie, and think that if I was back in St. Louis, it would probably be in the 30’s or 40’s right now.
As I am walking, a piece of paper blows up at my feet. I am about to step over it when I see that the paper has a picture of me on it. I bend down and pick it up.
It’s a picture of Andrea and me at the party on Friday night. I am licking the salt off her when I was doing the body shot. The memory is pretty hazy, but it obviously happened.
I flip the picture around and see that there is writing on the back.
Somebody was being naughty. I wonder what daddy would think if he saw this.
I look around to see if I can spot Brian, but there is nobody in sight. There are a few cars driving by, but other than that I am alone. I shove the piece of paper into the pocket of my hoodie and walk at a faster pace, but I refuse to let the note get to me. Not here. If Brian is watching, I want him to see that I’m stronger than I was a year ago. And I am stronger, but I don’t know how much more I can take of this. I’m ready to break.
A few seconds later, I walk into the coffee shop and order a latte. Once it’s ready, I grab my cup and sit in a chair in the corner. I pull out my phone and call Toby. Brian isn’t in here, so there is no way that he can hear my conversation. I need a moment to freak out and then pull myself back together before I walk home.
Toby answers on the second ring.
“Why you call so early on a weekend morning?” he asks when he answers the phone.
“Boohoo, it’s almost 9,” I say, not bothering to keep the sarcasm out of my voice. “Besides, I need my big brother right now.”
“What’s wrong?” he asks.
“Stupid Brian,” I say. “First, I guess I should tell you, I went to a party on Friday night. It was a frat house, and I may have gotten a little bit drunk.”
I swear I can hear him grinning through the phone. “Wow. You, drunk. I can already tell this is going to be an interesting story.”
I roll my eyes. “So Andrea and I were partying together and somehow I ended up doing a body shot off her. I don’t remember much except there was a huge group of guys standing around us. And we almost kissed, but thankfully Ty stopped me.”
“Why did he stop you?” Toby asks.
“Because it would’ve been a stupid decision to kiss her,” I answer. “I definitely would have regretted it.”
“Wish I had been there to see it,” he says.
“Ugh,” I groan. “Can I please finish my story?”
“Yes, sorry. Continue.”
“A few minutes ago, when I was walking to grab some coffee, a piece of paper blew up at my feet. It was a picture of me, licking Andrea—.”
Toby cuts me off. “I want this picture.”
I ignore his snide comment. “On the back it says, ‘
Somebody was being naughty. I wonder what daddy would think if he saw this
.’ And I’m kind of freaking out.”
“Where are you at?”
“The coffee shop,” I answer.
“Who is with you?” he asks.
“You can’t just go somewhere by yourself. It’s not safe,” Toby says, scolding me.
“Toby, I am eighteen years old and I am in college,” I say. “I can’t just depend on other people to go places with me. I need independence. I can’t let Brian take my freedom away from me.”
“At least call Ty or Gabe and have them come get you. Please,” he says.
I want to say no, but I know Toby is just looking out for me.
“Fine, I will,” I say.
“Good,” he says. “Anything else going on?”
“Not really,” I answer. “I went on a date with Ty last night. And he asked me out again next weekend.”
“Ty Newman?” Toby asks.
“Do you know anybody else named Ty?”
“No, I just thought you were done with him,” he says. “I can’t really keep up anymore.”
“If I was there, I would throw something at you right now. It’s not like I go through a lot of guys. I’ve had three boyfriends in my life. I’d say that’s pretty good considering I’m eighteen years old.”