Over the years, Viola has complained about Mia’s control over me, and by taking a step back, I can see it all too clear. The bottom line is if Mia wants us to be together, she’s going to have to prove herself to me. That’s just how it’s going to be this go-around. And if not, I’m man enough to get over it and move on. It’ll take time, but if I have to, I will.
We pull up to the cabin, and I can hear the whooshing of the lake water against the shore. Once I’m out of the car, I follow behind Logan and Travis as Andy sucks in fresh air.
“Whiskey and cigars. You know the way to a man’s heart, King,” Logan says. Over the years, Travis and Logan have become close. They’re cut from the same cloth and have been my right and left-hand men when I needed a shoulder to lean on. Without hesitation, I’d die for them both.
Andy, one of Travis’ groomsmen, opens the fridge and pulls out the rock glasses and begins filling them with ice. Travis walks over and pours whiskey halfway and hands us each one.
“I’d like to make a toast,” I say before everyone takes their first sip.
“To Travis. You’ve always been a brother to me, and now it’ll be official. I couldn’t be happier for you, man.”
“Hell yeah,” Logan says, and we all crash our glasses together and drink.
“Finally, making it official,” Andy adds. “Happy for you, Travis.”
I can’t help but think about Mia. I don’t want her to ruin this, not now, not while I’m celebrating with my best friend. Over the years, she’s placed the spotlight on herself, and now she’s seeping into my thoughts. Tomorrow she won’t be my date at the wedding, and we haven’t spoken since the big blowout and she texted me letting me know my choices. I refuse to allow her to ruin it or my mood. I’m half tempted to text her, but instead, I lock my phone and place it back in my pocket. I have nothing to say to her anymore.
After another drink, all of us walk outside, down to the patio area. The fire pit is full of wood and Travis bends over and lights a piece of paper on fire and nestles it into the presoaked wood. Once it’s lit, we all bend over and use the flames to light our celebratory cigars. We shoot the shit as the California breeze surrounds us. The sun finally sets, and the crickets greet the stars as the wood crackles in the flames. Along the shoreline of the lake, I can hear the waves pressing against the sand.
Logan turns around with his cigar between his teeth, and a smile overtakes his face. Puffs of smoke leave his lips as he speaks. “So, what’s new?”
I know this question, he’s not pushy or anything, but when he asks it, he’s getting ready to dig deeper into my thoughts. I know I’ve been quiet tonight, but I have a lot on my mind.
Andy stands and stretches and looks out to the lake. “I’m going to the water. I’ll be back.”
Travis is unfazed, caught up in his own thoughts, and when I look over at him, he shrugs.
“What’s on your mind?” Travis asks, taking a sip of whiskey as the fire cracks loudly.
“Nothing,” I say.
Logan laughs. “Bullshit.”
“Are you both ganging up on me now?”
They laugh, and I crack a smile. “Anyone need another drink?”
Each of them says yes, even Andy yells out as he gets closer to the water.
I walk up the stairs leading to the house and close the sliding door behind me. It whips open, and Travis is staring at me with a shit-eating grin.
“Mia’s jealous of Courtney,” he tells me.
“Thanks, Captain Obvious,” I mumble as I pour whiskey to the top.
Travis chuckles. “And you give no fucks about it.”
I turn and look at him. “I don’t. I’m not going to choose one of my best friends because of it. It’s petty.”
He narrows his eyes at me. “Wait. Wait a damn second.” He’s staring at me. “Holy shit, you have a thing for Courtney.”
“Don’t start this matchmaker bullshit again, King. It’s not like that.”
“I’m willing to bet it is.” He smiles slyly.
As if she was cued, Courtney sends me a text.
C: Viola is already yawning. It’s barely ten. We’re probably going to head out of here soon. Well they will. I might stay behind and meet up with someone.
D: Ha! Who are you meeting?
C: This hot massage therapist that worked on me at the spa. His hands are strong enough to break bricks.
It takes me a minute to process the thoughts that are speeding through my head. Courtney’s made it very clear that she’s not looking for a relationship with anyone so what’s the point of her doing this? And why do I give a shit about it?