He was always apart of their group for the past three years, being around for their outings for drinks, bonfires, or small house gatherings. Celeste knew it was simply lust at first sight with the police officer with his tall frame, large hands, short black hair, and his blue eyes that she found herself getting lost in at times during their conversations. He had always been attractive, but taken as well. She always shrugged it off; of course he was always taken and probably never single for long with his handsome looks. Celeste knew she was in trouble when the simple attraction began to evolve the more they spoke and got to know each other.
At first, he was eye candy with the occasional sex dream. Almost a year ago, it became more. She learned about his family and how overprotective he was over his two younger sisters that were around her age. He enjoyed his sports, sitting at home and relaxing, but also didn't mind staying in and having a few drinks with his friends. He had a sense of humor and that smile-that smile was enough to always get her staring at him longer than she should. He was sweet, picking her up after she drunk dialed the wrong person to pick her up and he did it without question. Now, she found herself enjoying and seeking his company. She was saddened when they were apart and she couldn't wait to see him again during a group outing.
Shyness. That's what held her back from admitting her feelings to him. Rejection following and then fear, not wanting to make their budding friendship turn into an awkward situation.
Celeste made her way to the bar where he was sitting, smiling at him as she leaned her elbow on the counter next to him.
His blue eyes met her hazel.
"So," Celeste stared, flipped her naturally curly hair over her shoulder that she managed to tame for the night.
"So," he murmured with a smile of his own.
"Are you single?"
His brows rose momentarily as his smile widened. "Are you asking for yourself?"
Her smile faltered and her cheeks warmed, "What? No! No…a friend."
Celeste blinked once, surprised. "What? You already know?"
His expression became a bit bored. "She's obvious."
She slowly shrugged her shoulders, "I guess…I've been told I'm pretty oblivious."
"I've noticed," he agreed.
A small smile came back. "Whatever, Grant! Answer my question!"
"Ah, right. Yes."
"Like you are dating and might become taken or you're single, single?"
"I'm single," he responded with a smile in his tone.
"So…would you go for Shannon?"
His smile was gone and he shrugged as he took a sip of his drink.
"What does that mean?"
Grant shrugged once more, "I never gave her much thought."
"Why not? I've heard that men find her pretty attractive and she doesn't have a hard time of getting men..."
"She can be a little obnoxious," he replied evenly.
Celeste swatted his muscled arm, "Grant!"
"You asked! She tries really hard for my attention."
Celeste threw her arms up, "Uh, because she likes you! Duh."
"But if I don't play along, isn't that a big enough hint that I'd rather just keep her as an acquaintance?"
"…I guess," she responded with a confused look as she gave that some thought.
"Are you single?"
Her hazel eyes shot back up to him at the random question. She rolled her eyes next, her head rolling back momentarily as she sighed loudly. "Ugh, why? Please, don't tell me that Dylan still likes me. I've already turned him down three times and now it's just creepy if he still wants to try…"
"No?" She exhaled loudly, her shoulders slouching. "Good. Who wants to know?"
"Just a question," he replied with a knowing smile, earning a glare from the shorter girl. "So, are you suggesting that I go out on a date with your friend?"
"It'd be a nice thing to do," she said with a small smile as she glanced away, "because she really likes you and you both are single and ready to mingle? Just one date to give her a chance and see if you like her as more than a friend." She placed her palms together in a pleading motion, "Just for me? What will it hurt?"
"What do I get out of it?"
"Um, a possible future girlfriend?"
"That I find a little annoying as it is?"
"Grant, you're being a butt!" He only smiled. "One date and I won't bug you ever again about her if it turns out shitty. She's been whining that you won't give her any attention, blah blah blah, so I thought I'd…give things a little push."
"That's nice of you."
"I know," she murmured, taking a long sip of her mixed drink.
"I suppose since you asked nicely, I can fit her into my schedule next week or something."
She set her empty glass down as she forced a smile.
Celeste sat quietly on her couch in her apartment, watching as Shannon hurried her way into the living room with several dresses of her own to try on. She modeled each and every tight dress that outlined her tempting curves that Celeste wasn't necessarily blessed with herself, earning a thumbs up for each dress.
Shannon rolled her eyes as she pulled her blonde hair back into a ponytail. "Okay, you have to tell me which one looks the best for my date. I can't thank you enough for saying something to him, but I would've been embarrassed if he would've said no."
Celeste nodded slowly as she continued to eat her chocolate candy. She figured she could leave out the words 'annoying' and 'obnoxious'. "No problem at all," she murmured, half hating herself for even confronting the man. She liked him, too! What kind of friend was she setting up her friend with a man she had feelings for as well? Celeste mentally slammed her head against the wall before giving a small smile. "You look good in all of them, so any of them will work."
"I love the black dress. It's yours! I forgot I borrowed it."
Celeste looked at the little black dress draped across a chair, squinting. She wondered why it looked a bit too small for the blonde. She was not going to let Shannon charm Grant with her dress! "No way! The red dress, for sure. That one looks way better than a simple black one."
Shannon squealed, "I'm so excited! He's taking me to that new restaurant that's been getting all those rave reviews and who knows what we're doing afterwards, though I wouldn't mind a nightcap with handcuffs."
"Gross," Celeste grumbled. She didn't need to hear that, let alone get a mental picture with a stab of jealousy that something like that could take place. She knew that Grant was a good guy and seemed to have his head on straight, but she didn't know what kind of man he was when it came to dating women. Did he have sex on the first date? One night stands and kick them to the curb like he might do with Shannon? Sure, he found Shannon annoying, but she knew the man would be lying if he didn't agree that Shannon was a gorgeous blonde. Even Celeste knew that much.
"Whatever. You know you'll want to know the details if anything goes down," she said slyly with a smile.
"Not necessarily," she responded truthfully. She suddenly regretted helping her friend get the date. What if things turned out really well and they hit it off? Could she really sit and watch them become a couple while she stood in the background, silently being jealous inside?
"You've always wanted to know the details!"
"Yeah, but I consider him a friend and to know that stuff about him kinda weirds me out. Just…have fun and try not to jump his bones before you get to the restaurant."
Grant paused in taking a sip from his beer when the petite tan woman marched over to stand in front of him, her hands on her hips. He grinned, their friends circled around the backyard bonfire several feet away, minus Shannon.
"You haven't called her back," Celeste accused.
"Celeste, I did what you asked of me. One date, remember?"
"We didn't click!"
"Did you try?"
He rolled his blue eyes, "Yes, Celeste, but I'm sorry I'm not a hormonal teenager that finds her breasts hanging out on the table attractive and the fact that she only gossiped about useless stuff the whole time didn't help. She didn't ask me about myself at all, but she did try to use tongue at the end of the night."
Her mouth fell open briefly before she cleared her throat. "I guess she's a girl that goes after what she wants…"
"If you want to put it that way nicely, sure," he replied, walking over to his lawn chair and having her follow to sit down next to him.
"…Well, she was a little hurt that you haven't said anything."
"I can let her know that we can just be friends. I've been busy at work. I've been stuck doing nights," he groaned, "but I finally managed a night away to relax." Celeste felt her cheeks warm at the mentioning of his job as a police officer, recalling seeing him in his uniform several times and it only added to how handsome he was. She was sure that women always tried to flirt their way out of tickets. "I don't really want to put much more effort into something I'm not interested in."
Celeste nodded slowly. "Honesty is the best policy."
"You think so?"
"I guess. I dunno."
"Can I be honest?"
She smiled, her hazel eyes meeting his blue. "Yes, but if it's about Shannon, at least attempt to be a little nice. I can even be messenger and say that you're not feeling the whole…taking the next step thing with her."
He finished off the beer in his cup, keeping eye contact with the petite woman. "We should go on a date," he suggested, putting his cup down on the grass. Celeste stared, losing her smile before giving him a confused look. Where was this coming from? Her, over Shannon? Shannon, the busty blonde that could catch a man's attention with the flip of her perfect blonde hair over her, a short woman that people often mistook her for a eighteen-year-old girl? She opened her mouth to reply, but nothing came and she shut her mouth and continued staring at the man sitting next to her. He had to be kidding, she thought. He teased her often and even though she considered this tease cruel, he had to be kidding! He never gave any hints of liking her. She was oblivious most of the time, though. What would she know?
"So?" He finally asked after several minutes of staring at each other, which he could tell was making her uncomfortable. He grinned to himself, able to read her whenever she became flustered.
"So, what? You're kidding, right? That's not even remotely funny."
"I'm not laughing."
"That's stupid—I tried setting you up with my friend."
"But I don't want your friend, which I've stated clearly more than once. I've been interested in you since the beginning," he admitted, his grin slowly leaving his face. "I've left enough hints for you, Celeste, and when you approached me about Shannon, I was a little irritated, but you were adamant about giving her a chance so I thought I'd entertain it to get you off of my back once you saw that I didn't give a shit."
She continued to stare. This was a dream, right? Was this a plan to hurt her? "Hints? Really?"
"Maybe you were more wasted than I thought, but I just figured that you chose to ignore it, so I backed off for awhile. When you called me to come pick you up because you didn't think you were okay to drive, you said I was 'sooo good-looking,' but you assumed I would never go for you because you're not my type and you had no chance with me. I kissed your forehead and told you to try me when you're sober."
Her face was on fire and suddenly, she wanted to run and avoid the situation all together. She waited for him to laugh, to quit pretending, but it never came. She shook her head, "My friend likes you."
"But you like me?"
"I—this isn't about me."
"But it is."
"But it's not!"
"But it is. I'm making it about you."
This man was infuriating! "She's my friend and she's crazy about you—"
"Crazy about someone she barely speaks to? She wants to have sex with me, Celeste. That's all there is for her. Otherwise, she would've gotten to know me. I've gotten to know you. You're the one I want to go on a date with. I want you to give me a shot."
She cleared her throat, surprised at how rough his voice was getting. He was becoming annoyed, an emotion she didn't see much of. She placed her cup on the grass as she got up, shaking her head from the overload of information and the shock of it all. The man she had fantasized about was now confessing his deep, dark secret of having feelings for her? It sounded ridiculous. She didn't excuse herself as she walked away, their friends occupying themselves with loud, drunken laughter and too busy to pay attention to what they were hissing at each other. Grant rolled his eyes and followed, grabbing her arm gently as they entered the house together through the patio window. She pulled away, sighing loudly as she ran a hand through her straightened hair.
"Give me some sort of response," he told her. "Tell me you don't feel the same about me, because I think you're fairly easy to read."
"And if I do? This wasn't the plan, Grant. My friend begged me to approach you about her feelings—"
"And it backfired, so accept it."
"That's rude! As her friend, I—"
"I can't make myself have feelings for her, Celeste. It is what it is and my plan wasn't to put you in this position, but I'm honest and this is what women want, right? No games? I want it to be clear that Shannon is no competition and before you try to set me up with anyone else, I want you to know that I want to try us out." His blue eyes were stern as he stared down at her, his jaw clenched. He wanted to get through to her and have her forget about her friend—put herself first and worry about her own feelings. He didn't want to come between the two, but he didn't want to lose out on a chance of being with her either. It was bad timing, he had to admit, but it was bad enough that she didn't pick up on his flirtatious habits and threw her friend at him. "I'm sorry," he told her calmly, glancing away from her as their friends laughter echoed outside.
Her thoughts were spinning and she was experiencing several emotions at once, but this was it! This was her chance to live out what she's been wanting for some time and no one was around to tell her that she was being a bad friend. She didn't say anything as he closed the distance between them, Grant dipping his head as she pressed against him in a kiss. Her fingers wrapped themselves in his soft shirt, her senses exploding as he responded to her kiss with just as much excitement, easing her backside against the counter as she tilted her head. He pressed into her, his hand brushing the underside of her breast as he drew his hand up to her cheek as they pulled apart for air to look at each other.
He gave her his sexy grin and her stomach twisted deliciously. She was done for.
Grant yawned loudly as he closed the refrigerator, venturing out of the small kitchen as he glanced at the time. After his long night, he still wanted to continue sleeping in. His hair was messed, his sweatpants hanging lowly off of his hips. He stopped as he heard the doorknob turn, confused and staring at the blonde that came walking in through the door.
She stopped in her steps, stunned at seeing the half dressed man in her friends apartment. He wasn't sure what to say as they stood silently, the only noise heard being a door down the hall opening.
Celeste made her way down the hall, rubbing her eye as she saw Grant standing quietly. She opened her mouth to question what he was doing, stopping as Shannon showed herself, anger displayed across her face. She eyed the shorter girl who was wearing nothing but a long shirt, throwing her hands up in the air.
"Shannon, I can explain—"
"No need. I have eyes," she spat. "Care to tell me how long you've been doing this behind my back?"
"Relax," Grant stepped in, frowning.
Celeste held up her hands, "It's—I've been trying to find a way to tell you these past three months, but…I mean, I was going to since you've gotten a new boyfriend and everything, so I figured you wouldn't care—"
"You think this is alright?"
Celeste stared at her, surprised with her tone. Sure, she should've told her as soon as they started to go out on dates before becoming exclusive, but she continued chickening out. She was surely going to tell her when Shannon began a relationship a few weeks after her failed date with Grant, but couldn't find the right time to mention it. Grant threatened to say something himself since he wanted everyone to know they were together, but backed down once Celeste begged and reassured she'd tell Shannon herself.
Celeste tugged on the bottom of her shirt, wanting to go grab a pair of pants, but decided it wasn't the best idea to excuse herself from the situation. "Shannon, we can talk about this—"
"Were you fucking around with him before our date?"
Her shoulders slouched at the profanities snapped at her, hurt that her friend would speak to her in such a way. She understood the anger, but figured she would want to listen to what she had to say. "What? No! Of course not! I wouldn't do that to you!"
Shannon shook her head with a short laugh, readjusting her purse under her arm. "I came over to pick you up for breakfast with the girls, but I see that you forgot. Don't bother showing up." With that, she left with a slam of the door. They both stared at the door in silence before Grant cleared his throat to get his girlfriends attention.
"I'm sorry," he murmured.
"…Don't be. I'm an idiot. One, for not locking the door last night and two, not saying something when I should've a long time ago…"
"You had a point, though. She got with her boyfriend pretty quick after that date of ours, so why is she bitching?"
Celeste shrugged her shoulders sadly, still surprised by Shannon's harsh words. Grant closed the distance between them, kissing her forehead. "I wouldn't worry about it too much. She needs time to cool off. I don't know how girls think, but I think she may have overreacted a little bit. At the same time, I'm sorry that I became an issue between the two of you. I was…worried about that."
"We'll work it out," she reassured. "I'll fix things," she murmured, suddenly self-conscious about her appearance. "My hair must be a mess," she grumbled. "I look like a lion," she commented, patting down her curly, frizzy hair.
"A cute lion," he complimented.
Her hazel eyes narrowed, "You agree that I look like a lion, then?"
He gave her a large grin before swooping in for a quick kiss. "My lion."
She blushed instantly, muttering that he was stupid, a habit she had whenever he embarrassed her with affection. He turned her around, directing her to the bedroom in hopes that she would agree to more sleep. He fell face first into the queen-sized bed, Celeste climbing in slowly under the sheets.
"Do you think I should wait to call her?"
"Yes," came his muffled response before he turned his head, his blue eyes sleepy. "Like I said, give her time to cool off. C'mere." Celeste allowed him to pull her into him once he was on his side, her body relaxing at his warmth. She was tired and she would worry about Shannon later in the day. Her lids slid shut as he murmured 'I love you' to her. A smile slipped out before she curled in closer to him.
With Shannon, she was certain that all they had to do was sit, talk everything out, and everything would be fine.
But everything didn't turn out fine. Celeste tried talking to Shannon, but Shannon wouldn't accept her apology. Celeste attempted to figure it out. Wasn't Shannon head over heels in love with her current boyfriend? Why was she so concerned about what Celeste was doing? A few of their mutual friends shrugged it off and told Celeste to do the same, agreeing that Shannon had no real reason other than jealously to be so hurtful. Their friends supported the relationship between Grant and Celeste, making things much more less awkward. Shannon deciding against coming around during gatherings also helped and many of their friends saw her reactions as being childish.
Celeste told herself that she'd give her friend some time to come around, but forgot about mending things when she heard the things Shannon would say about her. Shannon called her a whore, slut, anything nasty she could think of. She told others that Celeste was more than welcome to have her sloppy seconds and that Celeste was a pro at playing the innocent card.
Celeste did her part in trying to fix things for a little over a month and she was done. Grant offered to speak to the blonde, but decided against it as well when he heard the rumors Shannon was spreading around.
Celeste sighed as she grabbed the bottle of wine in her kitchen, Grant grabbing their dinner plates and following her out into the living room. On the coffee table were the three movies they decided on watching along with two empty wine glasses. He gave her thigh a squeeze as she got comfortable, thanking her for making them dinner. She smiled at him as her cheeks warmed.
She was no good at playing matchmaker, but things turned out pretty great with her plan backfiring.
Whew. A lengthy one-shot…sorry. It's been sitting on my computer for awhile and I finally had the time to get around to it! Sorry for any mistakes found while reading!
As always, reviews are appreciated!