If you don’t want trouble, don’t go looking for it.
Another evening at Everett Heights. BBQ with friends, eat, talk, hang out, let loose, catch up, just have fun. The others usually scheduled these around Blake’s schedule, to make sure they would take place whenever he was in town again.
As soon as Blake had arrived he had spotted them, Hailey and Mark.
Blake’s mood went below basement level instantly.
Still that Mark, still going strong.
So he had forgiven her and they were still a couple.
Blake didn’t get a chance to catch Hailey alone, Mark was seemingly joined to her hip these days, and Blake wasn’t in the mood to deal with him yet again, so he went to grab a beer when he suddenly heard Mark’s voice behind him
“That’s what was missing. The Cameron alcoholic hard at work. Already lubing up for your prowl to find yet another gullible girl to take you home for pity sex once you are wasted enough or is that a special trick reserved just to get into my girlfriend’s pants?” Mark’s voice oozed barely suppressed anger and jealousy, instead of the usual calmness.
“Just gave her what you evidently couldn’t!” Blake went straight for the big insult, intentionally confrontational.
“Really? You half-baked boy band member want to compare virility with me? You amuse me. Maybe try stand up comedian for a career, that may actually finally work out for you, seeing how you are nothing but a walking, talking joke.” Mark seemed to be looking for a fight, probably injured pride and jealousy getting the best of him.
“Why don’t you go get fucked, you asshole?!” Blake had enough of the abuse and boiled over.
“No worries, I will. Plenty of times! Can’t wait to feel Hailey’s soft skin all over, before I show her – again and again – what it SHOULD feel like to get laid by a real man, instead of a weaselly perpetual teen boy who will only ever fail at anything he attempts.” Mark visibly took great pleasure in torturing Blake.
‘I’m going to kill you!” Blake tried to grab Mark, but Ally stepped in the middle.
“Whoa, whoa whoa …. let’s hold off with the flirting here, ok boys.” Ally grabbed Blake, holding him back.
“Ally, stay out of this.” Blake growled, his narrowed eyes attached to his opponent.
“Nope. Staying out of shit isn’t really my brand. And you must be Mark. We haven’t officially met, although I heard a lot about you. I am Alysha Gray, or Ally, and his cousin.” she pointed at Blake.
“Pleasure. At least that puppet will have a ride to the hospital with you here.” Mark told her without showing any sign of emotion.
“Nah, don’t think so. Today is not beating-up-on-Blake day, check your calendar.” Ally told him plainly.
“Is everyone in your family an annoying, arrogant motormouth?” Mark wanted to know.
“Our family creed. We were going to go with introverted, grumpy recluse, but that was already taken by you, bubba.” Ally held Mark’s stare.
“Ally, he and I were in the middle of something.” Blake interrupted.
“And I ended it. And now YOU are coming with me.” Ally informed him.
“Yes, run along with your nanny.” Mark instigated, and Blake went for it.
“I want to kill him!” he barked angrily, trying to break free from Ally, which proved surprisingly difficult.
“… but you’re not gonna. And I will let that slide for you, Mark, since you are new and don’t know me yet. A word of advice, I wouldn’t fuck with me, if I were you, Mark, and not with Blake either. I have been watching you both, I saw that you started this, and I am ending it now. So no more of your homegrown drama tonight, okay?! Especially not with me around. Enjoy the rest of your night but keep AWAY from Blake.” Ally said firmly.
“I’ll keep that in mind. Now take that muppet back to the white trash headquarters with you.” Mark said.
“What did you say? And does my ass look white to you? You wanna insult me, you’re gonna have to sprinkle in some racism for good measure, you piss pot! And did your bitch ass just insult my family or was I dreaming that?” Ally’s eyes were now sparkling dangerously.
“You heard me! In case you didn’t, I’ll be more direct: Take your retarded cousin back home to his daddy for a diaper change and to take his meds. God knows he needs help.” Mark explained, his eyes narrowed.
“I ain’t taking nuttin nowhere if you tell me to, Broke-ass Mountain! You got the wrong girl here for bossing around! Highly allergic to that, you hillbilly horse whisperer!” the volume and pitch of Ally’s response increased, signaling anger. Anybody who knew her, would have known better than to keep poking now. Mark didn’t. So he did.
“Oh, reduced to just insults now when the arguments run out? Does he have anything to add? Or is that over his mental capacity, huh?” he mocked.
“Dafuq is that supposed to mean, bruh?!” Ally almost vibrated for anger now.
“It means that everybody knows about his mother. The one who off’ed herself before she could go all the way off the rocker. And clearly he’s got the crazy gene locked and loaded, ready to blossom any given minute. The only reason he even graduated high school was because someone took pity and certified him some learning disability. Ha, learning disability, my foot! That kid is nuttier than squirrel turds and dumber than a box of rocks!” Mark’s tone was unsympathetic.
Blake inhaled sharply, but stood stunned, mouth agape.
“Oh no you didn’t!” Ally said and just swung.
The next everybody saw was Mark hitting the floor, Ally standing over him shaking her fist.
“That’s my girl!” Nick gloated grinning, while Ezzy shot him an annoyed look across their dining room table, where she had just finished cooling and bandaging their daughter’s swollen hand.
“Really Ally. You’re a beautiful, smart young lady who should not engage in fist fights with grown men. I don’t even know what to say about that. Definitely not in any parenting handbooks.” Ezzy addressed her daughter, worried, shocked, and in awe.
“She didn’t fight him. She laid that sucker out cold! One punch and – BAM, that bitch was taking a nap! Most bad-ass sister EVER!” Chris, Ally’s younger brother, piped up, causing Ally and him to engage in some sort of celebratory dance.
“Thank you Chris. Young man, homework, NOW!” Ezzy instructed her son, who shrugged and left, after some more brief celebratory exchange with his older sister.
“Atta girl!” Nick smirked triumphantly.
“Nick, do not encourage that! Our daughter is a brilliant, young attorney, she shouldn’t behave like some street thug! Do something productive, will you?” Ezzy gave him a look, pointing to Blake, who was just a pile of misery next to them.
“On it, babe.” he smirked and winked at Ezzy.
Turning to his nephew he said purposedly upbeat
“Hey buddy, how you doing?”
“I am okay, I guess.” Blake mumbled unenthused.
“Yeah, I am sure. Living it up these days. My younger cousin, a girl, just knocked out my arch nemesis, some big, buff dude, with one punch, while I have been losing every single fight against him for months. But not until he managed to get another sharp-shot in on me, about my mom. I had almost forgotten about that mess. And I did nothing. Just stood there. Ally did something and none of this was even her fight. I really am good for nothing.” Blake was in a deep depression.
“Look, you have gotten torpedoed from several sides there. Ally has nerves of steel and is not afraid of anything, I would know, I raised my girl that way. Nothing to get bitter about. Sorry about him bringing up your mom. That was uncalled for and if I ever cross paths with him, he’ll get five across the eye from uncle Nick too. I am not one to meddle much in the next generations’ business, but gotta say, I really have to wonder about Hailey’s taste in men.”
“Thanks.” Blake frowned.
“Oh come on, you know what I meant. But if the shoe fits … and you were a self-admitted asshole for a good part of your relationship, and nobody really knows how much of that time you were actually officially together and not chasing each other or playing hard to get. I used to have to ask my kids to see if it was safe to invite Hailey to events or if you two were at it again. She really seems to prefer assholes.”
“Yeah, I feel MUCH better now, thanks lots uncle Nick.”
“What can I say? I am a lawyer. We make a lot of money doing the opposite of making people feel better. If you want to get coddled your aunt Ezzy or your cousin Chiara would be the right address. Ally, Chris and I are not the kid glove type. But why can you not just avoid Hailey’s new dude altogether, instead of pushing his buttons all the time. Shouldn’t be so hard. Start dating, I mean, you are pretty easy on the eye and there is a market for that look you’re sporting for sure. That way you’d be too busy to worry about what – or whom – the ex is doing.”
“Wow, uncle Nick. Motivational speech is not your thing. And for the record, I didn’t push anyone’s buttons. Not this time. He came on to me all groomed for battle.”
“Without reason? Hard to believe.”
“He’s telling the truth, dad. I saw it. Blake was flying under the radar and that Lumberjack came onto him, unprovoked. Which is why I interfered.”
Blake bit his lip.
He knew Mark’s meltdown hadn’t been all that unprovoked, though nobody but Mark, him and Hailey knew about that faux pas, nor would they, if Blake could help it.
Ever since Mark had found out about the slip-up, he had become worse than a guard dog about keeping Hailey and Blake apart and Hailey had cut off all contact with Blake, undoubtedly by Mark’s request. Or better: a condition.
He also certainly was not at all as calm and composed as he used to be. Quite the contrary. It was like he was just waiting for Blake to give him a reason, and when he didn’t, Mark evidently had decided to cause one.
Mark was strong and quietly confident, quite the force to be reckoned with and Blake knew sooner or later something had to happen. And tonight it did. Just different than anyone would have imagined.
Worst of all had been being dragged off to their home by Ally and her siblings, while Blake had to watch Hailey tend to Mark as he was slowly coming to again after Ally’s TKO, seeing her caress him and not even sparing one single look at Blake.
Damn that Mark for forgiving her.
If only he would have been so upset about her cheating on him that he broke up with her.
Then Hailey would have been free again.
Blake was shooting eye daggers at Mark from the sidelines, who was demonstratively making out with Hailey in the water right before Blake’s eyes.
Walking away was futile, Mark made it a point to somehow show up with her wherever Blake went at every single group event. Guess that was what being cheated on right underneath one’s nose did to a guy.
Everybody else around them acted like nothing was wrong, all of them were having fun, while Blake was eaten alive by his jealousy.
At some point Hailey went inside, probably to use the restrooms, he followed, waited outside the door to the women’s bathrooms and when she came out of the building, he pulled her behind some bushes.
Naturally she complained vehemently.
“I just wanted to talk to you. Without that guy’s lips sucking on some part of you or another.” Blake pulled a disgusted face.
“Blake, he is my boyfriend. That is what happens between a couple. Why don’t you try to meet a nice girl? They must be running down your door.”
“I already found a girl.” Blake’s face and tone left no doubt whom he was referring to.
“Blake! For heaven’s sake. When we agreed to remain friends, this is not what I had in mind. You are not even trying.”
“Oh, I am trying …”
“Trying to be friends. Stop it. Stop being so possessive. How many more times do I have to tell you it’s over between us?!”
“It’s not over. You are making a point. I get it. And I will wait, like I promised you. You’ll see.”
“Unbelievable. Now you are turning into a stalker, too? Fantastic. Lucky me.”
“Get rid of him. He is not right for you.”
“We are done talking, Blake.”
“Fine by me!” Blake said and tried to kiss her.
She fought him off.
“Hailey, you know this is right. You know I am right about us. You are just stubborn, Hailey.”
“You are like …. possessed! Get a frigging hold of yourself, Blake! And I have to get back to Mark, I really do not want to have to explain this to him.”
“I’d be happy to explain it to him!” Blake raised one fist.
“Stop it! You and Mark together are worse than two fighting roosters!”
Hailey hurried away.
Blake stared at his fingernails.
“It’s stunning here at night.” the pretty girl next to him broke the uncomfortable silence.
“Yeah …” Blake agreed in a very non-commital tone.
“Kinda romantic.” she added.
“Do you want to get out of here?” she offered.
“Can you say something other than that?” the girl sounded desperate.
“Yeah. Sorry, I mean, yes. Sure. I can take you home.” Blake offered.
“Oh yes, please!” the girl, Kiersten, jumped up with obvious relief. What had been intended to be a first date had felt more like a visit to the dentist from the get go.
Blake thought he was dropping her off, walked her to the door like a gentleman, but she pulled him inside with her and when he just stood there she initiated a kiss. He went along with the making out, but was obviously not really into it, while letting her pull him into some room with her. Blake just didn’t want a scene, so he chose the path of least resistence.
When they stopped he realized they were in her bedroom, where she now handed him a condom, which he stared at, then tossed it on her nightstand as if it were toxic.
“What’s that for?” Blake exclaimed.
“What do you think? You are so adorable.” she gave him that look.
That one, certain, meaningful look most men would give their right arm for, especially with a pretty girl like Kiersten and on the very first date.
Blake jumped up, she followed suit and started fondling around the buttons of his shirt, he stepped out of reach and it was instantly even more awkward than the entire date already had been.
“Sorry, I am just … uh .. not feeling all that great. I think I better go now.” Blake turned and left.
On the drive home he regretted going on this date against better knowledge. Everyone kept telling him to go on dates, he knew he wasn’t feeling it.
That night had been less comfortable than a simultaneous root canal and rectal exam.
“Yeah, we are not gonna do that again anytime soon.” Blake promised himself.
No matter whom he would go out with, if they weren’t Hailey Loughlin, they’d be the wrong girl …
-to be continued-