Make It Last, page 1part #1 of Friends & Lovers Series
Make it Last
Friends & Lovers Trilogy
Books by Bethany Lopez
Stories about Melissa - series
Ta Ta for Now.
Friends & Lovers Trilogy
Make it Last
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Cover Design by Stephanie Mooney
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Visit the author’s website: www.bethanylopez.blogspot.com
Thanks to Raine Thomas.
You have been an amazing source of knowledge and support. I am happy to call you my friend.
Briana looked up at him, tears forming in her eyes. Colin felt his resolve begin to crumble, but reminded himself why he’d come to this decision. He was about to leave for college and Bree was beginning her senior year of high school. It made sense to end it now, rather than try to have a long distance relationship. Colin thought about the pro and con list he’d made, and it made sense to break up now, and looking into Briana’s beautiful brown eyes he began to question his decision.
Colin shook his head to attempt to clear the doubt from his mind, he knew he had to try and make a clean break now.
“Look, Bree, I just can’t be tied down right now,” he explained, not quite meeting her eyes, he was sure that if he did, she’d see his uncertainty. “I’m leaving tomorrow. Going out together was cool while we were in high school, but we’re about to be on different paths. I’m going to need to focus on football and keeping my grades up.”
She turned her head and bit her lip, the way she did when she was trying to sort things out in her head. Finally she looked back at him, her face full of confusion.
“Is this because I wouldn’t have sex with you?” Tears streamed down her face then, and he felt like a complete ass. He should have known she would go there. He’d been trying to have sex with her for the past few months. They’d been dating for a long time, and he was a teenage guy after all. But he understood her reasons for wanting to wait. Especially now.
“Of course not. I just don’t think a long distance relationship will work. A clean break now would be best, you know?” he replied, looking at something just over her head.
“Colin, the least you could do is look at me when you’re being a total douche,” she said tightly.
He looked down at her and his face softened. How could he not love her? She always called him on his shit.
Colin trying to block the thoughts from his mind and stiffened his resolve. “Don’t make this harder than it needs to be, Bree.”
“Are you being serious right now?” she asked. “We’ve been dating for over a year. You said that you loved me. Now, all of a sudden, you want to break up? This is coming out of nowhere, Colin.”
Everything she was said true. They had planned to continue dating and seeing each other on breaks and holidays, but after thinking about it, making lists, and talking to his friends and family, Colin realized that it would be best for both of them to go their separate ways now. He just needed to make her believe that he believed that.
He let out a long sigh, as if shewas the one being unreasonable. “Bree, I’m about to be thousands of miles away. Don’t you want to be free to enjoy your senior year? I won’t be able to come back and go to dances and stuff with you, ya know.” He shrugged he shoulders in an effort to appear unaffected by his words.
“We always knew you’d be leaving. I don’t know why you’re acting like this is a new development. We’ve talked about having a long distance relationship. What’s changed?” Colin tried not to smile at her words. He should have known that she wouldn’t give up without a fight. His stomach turned. He felt nauseous at the thought of what he was going to say next.
“Fine, Bree, you’re right. I want to be free to see other people while I’m at college.” He tried to sound exasperated, and saw her face fall as he continued to speak. “I’m going to be playing football and looking at joining a fraternity. I don’t want to end up cheating or doing something stupid. It just makes more sense to end it now. It’ll be better in the long run, you’ll see.” He put his hand out as if to pat her shoulder, but she backed away.
“You don’t get to touch me anymore, Colin,” she stated, wiping her face with the back of her hand.
He hated the thought of hurting her and tried to think of something to say that would soften the blow. “Bree, don’t be upset. I’ll always love you. This is just the way it has to be.”
She sniffed and continued wiping her cheeks. She stood up as tall as her five-foot, four-inch frame allowed and looked him in the eyes. “You’ll regret this, Colin. One day you’ll come back looking for a second chance, but it’s never going to happen. I’m not going to forget this day.”
He felt a lump form in his throat at her words.
Wavering about his decision, he reached his hand out to touch her again, then stopped himself.
“You're right,” he said softly. “I wouldn't deserve a second chance.”
He looked at her one last time, memorizing her delicate features. Her long hair flowed around her shoulders, just the way he liked it. His thoughts were tinged with regret, but he knew that breaking it off now was the only way to make sure they didn’t end up hurting each other even more in the long run. Dropping his hand to his side, he walked away and left her behind.
Four Years Later…
Briana hated Wednesday nights. Twenty-five cent wings meant that not only was the Bar & Grill packed all evening, but that the fryers were absolutely disgusting. Although she loved good wings as much as the next person, it was her job to clean the fryers, so she dreaded her shift anytime she was scheduled for a Wednesday night.
She watched as Kara locked up behind the last customer, and then went behind the bar to turn up the music.
Other than the cleaning, Briana loved closing time. That’s when the employees got together to chit-chat about their customers, made plans for what they were going to do after shift, and finally had the chance to enjoy their night.
The night manager, Pam, was pretty cool. She stayed in the back, counting the money and making sure everything balanced out, and then put it in the envelope to make the drop at the bank on her way home.
As long as they didn’t leave until everything was spotless, she didn’t give them a hard time about hanging out.
Briana joined Kara and Pete, one of the bar backs, over by the bar once she set the fryer to drain.
“What a night,” Pete started, putting shots in front of Briana and Kara as they settled onto the stools.
“You can say that again,” Kara replied, a big grin on her face. “I made two hundred in tips tonight. Gotta love twenty-five cent wings.”
Kara worked the front of the house, not the back, so her view of Wednesday was a lot different than Briana’s. As a waitress, Kara got to turn on her charm and flirt with the customers, one of her favorite pastimes, thus reaping the rewards of a busy Wednesday night.
The view from the back of the house was a lot different. During shift, Briana cooked all of the orders, so she
Her job was nowhere near as glamorous or profitable as Kara’s, but she didn’t think she could ever be a waitress. Just the thought of making a mistake and having a customer yell at her or something was enough to keep her in the back.
She didn’t mind being a short-order cook though; she figured it was giving her experience that would only help her once she finally gained the courage and the funds to apply for culinary school.
She and Kara toasted each other’s amber colored glasses, then Pete’s, before downing the shot.
“Holy shit,” Briana exclaimed, as the whiskey burned its way down her throat.
“Oops. Sorry, Bree. I forgot you don’t like whiskey.” Pete chuckled, not looking a single bit sorry as he took out a bottle of the vodka she preferred, and poured them each another shot.
They took the shots and then separated to start cleaning. Briana and Kara were having a party of sorts at their apartment after work, so they wanted to finish up quicker than usual.
Once the stainless steel of the fryer gleamed and the floors were scrubbed down, Briana took one last look around the kitchen and deemed it spotless.
She went out to see if Kara, Pete, or any of the others needed her help getting their side work done.
Kara was just finishing up rolling her silverware and Pete was turning off the radio when she walked up.
“You guys ready?” Briana asked.
A chorus of “Hell, yeah’s” were shouted and they all headed out, calling goodnight to Pam.
She and Kara rode together back to their apartment over the flower shop. Their Texas town was small enough that getting to the other side meant they only had to drive for five minutes to get wherever they needed to go.
They parked and ran up the stairs, racing to see who would get to the shower first.
Briana won by half a foot and yelled, “Sorry, sucker,” as she began stripping off her clothes, eager to get rid of the greasy stench.
She showered as quickly as she could, while still scrubbing the smells of the kitchen out of her hair and off of her body.
When she was done, Kara was waiting for her turn, and handed Briana a towel as they switched spots.
Briana ran down the short hallway to her room, rubbing the towel over herself as she mentally went through her wardrobe.
She decided that cutoff shorts and a frilly tank would do quite nicely on this hot summer night, and dug through her dresser trying to find the pair she was looking for.
Once she was dressed, she brushed out her chestnut colored hair and pulled it up into a high ponytail. She put minimal makeup on, then threw on her flip flops and hurried out to the kitchen to check the status of their provisions.
It was BYOB, so most of the people would have their own drinks, but a random moocher always showed up and needed some alcohol.
They had a bottle of wine, a twelve pack of Bud Light, and a bottle each of cherry vodka and Sprite.
They were good to go.
She took out a couple bags of chips, put them in bowls, and placed them around the living room.
She threw the blankets, a random sock, and the magazines that were littering the floor into the big hope chest that served as their coffee table.
She was considering running the vacuum when Kara came out, dressed in a sweet sunshine yellow sundress, her blond hair tousled around her face.
“Thanks, Bree, the place looks great. Do you think we should vacuum?”
“I was just thinking the same thing. Then I remembered who was coming over, and realized we’ll probably have countless items spilled on the carpet before morning comes, so what’s the point?” Brian laughed.
“Very true,” Kara said. “Pre-game?”
“Absolutely,” Briana replied, following Kara back to the kitchen to make herself a drink.
She’d barely taken her first sip of cherry vodka and Sprite when the front door opened and a group of people piled in. It didn’t take long for the music to be turned up and the sound of laughter and chatter to fill the room.
Briana was talking to someone she had taken a college course with a few years ago, when she felt someone come up behind her and softly kiss her neck.
She turned and looked up at Kent over the rim of her glass.
“What’s going on, Hot Stuff?” he asked with his cocky grin.
At six feet, he towered over Briana, and his unruly blond hair and self-assured manner always drew her to him.
“Not much, Kent, just getting the party started.”
She and Kent enjoyed each other when neither of them was in a serious relationship. Briana hadn’t had one since Colin broke up with her in high school, so she was always ready to enjoy Kent.
Sometimes he tried to get too serious for her, and that was when she would tell him it was time to get him a girlfriend.
They weren’t an item, and they weren’t exclusive, but he was the only guy in this town with whom Briana knew she could enjoy an uncomplicated relationship.
“You here alone?” she asked him.
“Not anymore,” he replied, taking her hand and leading her into the kitchen, where he made himself a drink.
Once Kent had his Captain and Coke mixed, he leaned down to give Briana a quick kiss before they headed back into the living room.
“That’s a promise of things to come,” he whispered against her lips.
Briana mingled and got caught up on all the town gossip. She was going back to fill up her glass when she caught site of Kara going into her room with Pete.
“Well, that’s new,” she thought with a smile.
As she was filling her glass, the girl she had been talking to earlier when Kent interrupted, came into the kitchen.
She couldn’t for the life of her remember the girl’s name. Kendra or Kylie, maybe. She’d just think of her as Kendrie.
“Hey, Bree, I didn’t get a chance to tell you earlier because that gorgeous guy pulled you away, but I’d wondered if you’d heard the news.”
“What news?” she asked absently.
“About Colin.” Kendrie seemed unable to control the glee that came out with that statement.
Briana ran into this a lot. In high school, most of the girls were jealous of her because she was dating Colin. Once he left for school, dumping her in the process, those same girls pretended to feel sorry for her, but she could tell that they really loved the fact that he’d dumped her.
Since their town was small, she knew anytime Colin came home on break. Everyone was more than eager to tell her about it.
Judging by the girl’s tone, she figured Colin must be home for the summer. It didn’t matter. She had successfully avoided him so far. She could manage to do so for another summer.
“What about him?” she asked, making her voice sound as bored as possible.
“He’s moving back for good.” Briana’s stomach dropped to the floor. She only half listened as Kendrie rambled on.
“He hurt his knee during the last game of the season and can’t play football anymore. He graduated and everything, but his dream of going on to play professional ball is over, so he’s coming back here. They say he’s going to work with his dad or something. I think he got in last night.” Kendrie continued to prattle on, not realizing that Briana was no longer listening to her.
Briana topped off her drink and walked out of the kitchen, leaving the girl to stare after her, her words still hanging in the air.
She walked in the opposite direction of the crowd in the living room, down the hall and into her room. She didn’t bother to shut the door, but opened her window and crawled out onto the roof. She sat down and leaned back against the roof tiles, looking out over the lights of her town.
She drank from her glass as she thought about Colin.
How dare he come back here permanently? This was her town. Sure, he’d grown up here, but he’d always planned to get out and never look back. He wanted to
She’d taken comfort in that fact, and now he was coming back to stay.
Well, things had changed, and Colin had better watch his step where she was concerned. She had no plans to welcome him back with open arms.
Briana rolled out of bed at two in the afternoon, a headache giving her grief. She wandered out of her room and groaned at the sight that met her in the rest of the apartment.
Plastic cups and paper plates littered every surface, and just as she’d predicted, the carpet was a mess of spilled drink and food. Some moron had even used one of her favorite Aggie mugs as an ashtray. Gross.
She went into the kitchen and grimaced at the mess in there, but figured it was best to focus on one thing at a time. She grabbed a trash bag to get started in the living room.
She was about halfway done cleaning up when Kara came strolling in through the front door.
“Hey, Bree, you’re up. Thanks for getting started in here. I just ran out to get some provisions,” she stated, holding out a to-go coffee cup.
“Oh, thank God,” Briana exclaimed, grabbing the cup and drinking as if her life depended on it.
Kara chuckled. “I knew that would brighten up your day. Gosh, what a bunch of slobs, huh? I can’t believe this place looks so nasty. I’ll just put these muffins in the kitchen and help you out.”
“Wait… there are muffins? The kitchen is just as bad. You don’t want to put them in there. We’d better just eat them now.” Briana grabbed for the bag that Kara was keeping just out of reach.
Kara laughed again and took out a steaming banana nut muffin, Briana’s favorite.
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