I was dreaming. No, my eyes were playing tricks on me. No, someone was really trying to fuck with me, weren’t they? It couldn’t be him. I hadn’t talked to him in months. How did he know I was here?
“Come on, Bauer, it’s Daddy!” Mason called over my shoulder to Bauer, who was still growling with a few aggressive sounding barks mixed in.
I stepped back from the door to turn and look into the living room at Bauer. The hair on his back was standing up and he was baring his teeth, not appearing to remember Mason. Apparently having Sidney right next to him was giving him the balls to act tough. Oh, God. Sidney. I felt my stomach clench as I watched Sidney pull himself out from under Bauer and stand up.
My emotions were in overdrive. I wasn’t sure what made me feel worse. Was it the fact that Mason was here in front of me? Maybe it was Bauer not recognizing his “daddy.” Maybe it was having Sidney in my house without Mason knowing I even knew Sid. Or maybe, just maybe it was because I was worried about what Sidney was thinking seeing Mason.
“What are you doing here?” I managed to choke out as I turned back to Mason. He wasn’t looking at me. Instead he was glaring over at Sidney who looked highly uncomfortable. Bauer continued growling and I snapped. “Bauer, shut up!” I yelled. Bauer was immediately quiet, leaving the three of us to stand in an uncomfortable silence. I almost wished for him to start barking again.
“Am I interrupting something?” Mason asked, bitterly.
“Uh, no. Sidney and I were just watching a movie. Do you two know each other?” I was being awkward, but I was still having trouble processing what exactly was going on right now.
“We haven’t met,” Sidney answered, speaking up for the first time. Neither made a move to greet the other. Instead, they stood there glaring at each other.
“We’re just friends,” I blurted out, trying to ease the tension. I regretted it immediately. Both of them turned their glares on me. I watched as Sidney’s body tensed up and some emotion I’d never seen before flashed through his eyes. Was it hurt? It couldn’t be.
“Friends?” Mason asked skeptically.
“I dumped coffee on him one day. We’ve been friends since,” I explained. Mason’s glare softened. “Mason, what are you doing here?”
“I’ve missed you and I had something I needed to say.” He reached a hand into his coat pocket and I watched him pull a small black box out. My heart stopped and my eyes went wide. That couldn’t be what I thought it was. Apparently Sidney had the same thought.
“I should go and let you two talk.” He didn’t give either of us a chance to respond. Instead he brushed past us with another glance at the box in Mason’s hand before walking out of my house.
“How did you know I was here?” I asked, doing everything in my power to not only avoid looking at the box, but to change the topic away from it.
“Andrea told me.” I cringed inwardly at my stupidity. You should never tell the wife of your ex-boyfriend’s teammate where you’re living if you don’t want him to know. Damn Andrea Kesler. “Misty, I miss you.”
I looked up into his eyes at those words and I could feel everything rushing back. I felt every emotion I’d ever felt with him. Tears welled up in my eyes at those words. Those were words I’d so desperately been hoping to hear him say to me months ago. Now that he was here saying them, did I still want them said?
“I don’t know what you want from me.” I felt myself slipping. I felt the inner strength I’d been working on all summer crumbling away. Despite what I was fighting to keep from doing I looked down at the box and I felt my hope rise.
“I was stupid back in February when I let you go. I’ve been miserable since you left. I should have fought for you. It took me all this time to realize how selfish I was being in our relationship and I’m going to change that.”
The words sounded so good and so full of a promise I’d longed for. I felt the tears begin to fall down my face. I battled internally to not let myself fall back into my old self. I didn’t want to slip back into being dependent on someone else. I’d fought so hard this summer to be a strong person, but now I couldn’t seem to remember why. All I could see in my head was what my left ring finger might look like with the ring that was possibly in that box.
Mason lifted a hand and cupped my face with it. He used his thumb to brush away the tears that had fallen. It was a useless gesture, because more fell in their place. Even so, it felt more intimate than I wanted it to. He lowered his face and pressed his forehead against mine. I felt my heart flutter and my breath caught in my throat.
He hesitated for just a moment before I felt his lips. I nearly collapsed at the touch. Then I kissed him back. I kept waiting for something in my brain to tell me this was not a good idea, but that never came. Instead I was flooded with good memories and every feeling I'd ever had when it came to Mason. Eventually I pulled away, needing to hear what he had to say and find out if what I thought was in that box really was.
“Mason, I just…..I don’t…..you told me back then that-" He cut me off.
“I know what I said and I regretted it every day that you were gone. I love you, Misty. I need you in my life. I’ve been lost without you. I may not have been ready then, but I’m ready now. I’m ready to be the man you want and need. I know this isn’t exactly romantic, but you know that’s not my style. This is me and it's the best I can do. Misty, will you marry me?”
My breath caught in my throat as images of my wedding day flashed through my head. I’d been dreaming of that day since I was old enough to know what a wedding was. I saw myself in my dream wedding dress. I saw the flowers, the bridesmaid dresses on the girls I’d long ago chosen, and the background scenery. I saw the look on Mason’s face as I’d come around the corner to walk down the aisle.
I watched as he flipped open the little black box that contained the ring. I looked down in anticipation of what it would look like. I watched it sparkle and shine in the lighting as I put a hand to my mouth. It was beautiful. More tears fell down my face as I looked down at it in shock. Any girl would kill for that ring and it was for me.
Sidney felt sick as he watched Mason pull out a small black box from his pocket. He knew what was in that box. He’d have to be an idiot not to know what was in that box. He waited for Misty to tell Mason that he should put it away. He waited for her to tell Mason it was too late and to leave. Misty didn’t say a word.
Surprise, disappointment, and hurt ran through him as she just stood there looking at the box in Mason’s hand. He saw the look in her eyes and recognized it. She wanted what was in that box. He could see it plain as day. And just like that any chance for the two of them was crushed. It wasn’t like he had high hopes for them, but he’d always felt there was a small chance that maybe someday.....but now it was gone.
“I should go and let you two talk,” he barely managed to choke out.
Neither of them argued with him. Neither told him he didn’t have to go. Obviously they wanted their privacy and he’d give it to them. It wasn’t like he wanted to be there to witness the actual proposal to the girl he was in love with. That's right, seeing this happen made him realize it. He was in love with Misty. He walked straight out of the house and to his car. He felt numb the entire car ride back to his house.
How could she let him stay and propose? After everything she’d told him this summer about her relationship past, how could she still want him? Hadn’t she said she was only using Mason to get away from Zeke? Or was she lying to him, and maybe herself in the process? He figured maybe she didn’t know what she wanted. Or maybe she was just so hurt by Mason letting her go that she’d tell herself anything to get over it. And now Mason was standing there in her house with a ring and was about to propose.
Somewhere deep inside of himself he knew she was going to say yes. When she’d first told him that Mason had said he didn’t want to marry her he’d seen the pain in her eyes. This must have been a dream come true for her. He’d chased her down to tell her how much he missed her and that he was ready to commit.
Sidney flopped down on the couch and laid his head on the back of the couch, staring up at the ceiling. He wished he’d stopped being a fucking pussy and had told Misty he liked her at some point. Then again, maybe he was glad he hadn’t. What would have happened if they’d started dating and Mason had shown up. Who would she have chosen?
Sidney let out a yell in frustration and anger. He didn’t want to think about Misty and Mason anymore. He needed a distraction. He needed to forget. He wanted to numb everything out of his brain. He grabbed his phone and made a call.
“What’s up Siddo?” Caden answered after a couple of rings.
“I need you guys to come over now. Bring alcohol. Anything,” Sidney told him.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” he asked, concern in his voice.
“Misty just got engaged to her ex.”
“Fuck. We’ll be right over.” The phone went dead and Sidney dropped it beside him on the couch.
He didn’t move from that spot on the couch as he waited. He didn’t have the strength or energy to move right now. He wouldn’t be able to move until his closest friends were here and he was good and drunk. Something inside of him told him this wasn’t a good idea. He shouldn’t be drinking tonight. He didn’t care.
He heard a car pull into the driveway a little while later. He remained sitting the way he was. He watched the reflection of the headlights on his wall turn off as the sound of the running engine died. He heard footsteps climb the stairs to his front door and listened as the doorknob turned and the door opened.
“I hope whatever alcohol you brought was strong. I need it,” he muttered without glancing over at the door.
“I don’t have any alcohol.”