Chapter Twenty-One

    Chapter Twenty-One

    Riley's Pov

    It's not that I didn't want to spend time one on one with Chase but I just needed Scott there as a buffer between us, he was good at that. I felt if it were just us two we would end up fighting the whole time and I didn't want to ruin this experience for him

    The last time we did this we were seventeen, still in high school and he helped me plan my wedding and Brylee was there every step of the way for Monica, she was sixteen and pregnant and frustrated but she never gave up on her.

    We were confused kids about to make a life changing decision and scared out of my mind, I ended up hiding in the fitting rooms terrified I made the wrong decision, terrified that I was about to be a father in high school.

    I was a junior when I proposed to Monica, I know people think it's stupid, that it wouldn't work that oh great babies having babies and thinking they're adults.

    My parents made me work for things though, with us in school with twins our parents helped a lot but we still had to pay rent and our bills, we had to pay for Lina and Mia, it wasn't easy.

    I was a seventeen year old alcoholic and Monica didn't just bail on me like she should have, we were both serious about making a marriage work and she was only sixteen when we got married and I love her more every day.

    I was scared but I had people there for me and I felt an intense amount of guilt for making this harder on her, I know she misses mom and dad, I know this is supposed to be the happiest time of her life and that it's not and I'm just adding to it; instead of helping I'm making her miserable.

    I wanted to put this behind us too but every time I looked at her I just, I felt guilty and she looked so much like mom it brought back those memories of being in the hospital.

    Five absolutely devastated teenagers sitting on the hospital floor, I still remember the smell of that night, the way the cool tile soaked into our skin, how it went Monica, me, Chase, Brylee, Rochelle as we leaned against the wall all holding hands.

    They were mine and Brylee's parents by blood but the other three loved them as much as we did, hell my parents helped raise Rochelle and Chase.

    I remember Chase and Rochelle blanketing Brylee when we found out dad was kill instantly and how I held onto my wife. I remembered Brylee's cries for him and I remember the way mom's face looked when they let us in to say goodbye.

    There was so much blood and she was so cold and pale, every time I think of the night I hurt Brylee I see that night and instead of a drunk driver who caused it, it was me. It was my fault

    Am I mad that my best friend fell in love with my sister? No, I'm really not. I knew he had a thing for her but I didn't realize he truly had feelings for her and I was drunk and I lost it, I never should have started drinking again.

    I hated that I was putting Monica through this again, she had done so much for me the first time and I didn't want her to have to do it again. AA **ing sucked, therapy **ing sucked but it was worth it to get to see my kids and hold my wife at night.

    She was more than clear that she would not do this again and she wouldn't put the twins in danger; that was the worst, knowing I was a danger to my own children who I loved. My girls meant the world to me.

    I arrived at the tux shop and Scott wasn't there yet which was dumb. I was late and Scott was on time for absolutely everything which contrasted with Rochelle's being late for absolutely everything.

    "Hey," Chase said to me and I hesitantly went over there and he rolled his eyes "I'm not going to attack you know, you have known me my whole life." he said and he was right.

    "How are you?" I asked him like we didn't spend our days at work trying to avoid each other.

    "I'm alright, girls are all on their way into the city and Scott's trying to play games by putting up together, probably watching to observe." Damn therapist.

    "You know me too well." Scott stepped up to us and I shook my head at him

    Scott and Chase were going to get everything done now, much like the girls were, well as much as you can with two of them pregnant, I know from experience that it makes for melt downs and they can't get any fittings done.

    Scott's lucky she's not pregnant with twins, dear god a sixteen year old Monica pregnant with twins was a **ing nightmare, I loved her to death but it was bad.

    "So who's who over here?" the guy asked and I groaned, I knew what this was like.

    He started with Scott and showed him fabrics to choose from and the look on Scott's face was priceless, I don't think he gave a damn but as soon as he picked one the guy then showed him different shades of black to pick from and Scott ended up pointing to a random one to get on with it and then they fitted us for the suits.

    Chase was used to this, Scott was not.

    I did help the guys avoid highly uncomfortable materials, my dad did this with me and it was twice as bad, I was **ing seventeen and just wanted to go to a department store and grab one but he insisted we needed to have one made and it would look better, he was right.

    This is where I came for all my suits I needed.

    The guys picked out vests and the most amusing part was me getting to sit back and watch them try to match colors of the girl's dresses, they had already threatened that the color must be right on or it would throw off the whole wedding.

    Chase had it way easier, sure Brylee was a perfectionist but she was a little less insane and hormonal.

    Not that I would say that, I don't know who would kill me first if I mentioned that Rochelle was a **ing nightmare right now, not that I didn't love her.

    We were trying on one shirt after another and the guys were trying to get a hold of the girls to ask which shade of white they wanted, how many **ing shades of white are there you ask?  A lot when you're having a damn tux made for your wedding.

    "This is stupid." Scott complained and I smiled

    "But it will be worth it." and it was at least for me and the guys reluctantly agreed and sat through the torture but this was just round one, once they got it made it needed to be truly fitted and I distinctly remember being stuck with a pin seven times, partly because I couldn't sit still.

    When we were done I know all the guys were in need of a drink and I felt bad about that but I think I was in a place where I could get through them drinking and me having water or something so we went out to get some steak, which Rochelle couldn't stand the smell of and Scott wasn't allowed to eat at home; poor guy.

    "So how have you been?" Chase asked and I shrugged

    "Shitty." I admitted, I insisted that the boys ordered a beer and they were reluctant but I ended up doing it for them, I know at seventeen I needed a drink after that **, it was **ing trying and frustrating and eventually your eyes stopped focusing on the shades of whatever color they were asking for a shade of and it all looked the same.

    "Do you want to talk about it?" Scott asked and I shook my head

    "I'm **ing tired of talking about it and it or the wedding being our only source of conversation, Chase and I have things to talk about soon but can we just try to work on getting back to normal?" I asked

    "How about we talk tonight after dinner?" Chase asked and I sighed but nodded, we needed to get this out and the longer we waited the more it was unnecessarily just dragged on, Brylee and I had gotten past it and that talk really helped and I knew her and Chase were moving on and the last thing needed was for Chase and I.

    I did miss him, he was my best friend all my life and it was hard not being able to call him when I needed to like before, he was the one who helped me in the ways Monica couldn't.

    Scott fake yawned and bailed as soon as we were done with dinner and I sat there looking at Chase.

    "So your place?" he asked and I shrugged

    "It's not like we live in separate buildings." He smiled and I paid the bill as he protested but this was a night for him and Scott, they were the ones getting married and the least I could so was pay for dinner.

    I met Chase back at the house and he came over a little hesitantly, there was a time when he would just come in, no hesitation but that stopped the minute I did that like usual and found him about to have sex with my sister, I will never be able to walk into their place again without knocking.

    I don't care if we work it out I'm not willing to risk my sanity and if I see that again I'm going to have no choice but to pour bleach In my eyes to try to un-see it.

    "So." I started and he sat down on the couch and I sat on one of the other ones.

    "Yeah." He said and we sat there in the most uncomfortable silence.

    "Mhm." I tried again and he sighed

    "I'm angry that you hurt her and I know you're pissed that I was sleeping with her behind your back, I'm sorry we hid it from you but I'm not sorry that I did it." he spit out and I cringed at the part about him sleeping with her. I know we were all adults but it was gross.

    "Have you had sex with her in the office?" I asked not really wanting to know

    "Yes." I cringed again

    "I'm never going to your office again man." I was really trying to be okay with this.

    "Good."  He said and I sent him an unamused look when he laughed

    "I really didn't mean to hurt her and I'm sorry, I've been sober since and it sucks." I told him and he nodded

    "I think she's taking it the best out of everyone." He told me and I had to agree, she just wanted it in the past and I could respect that.

    "I'm sorry I acted so badly, I'm happy for you Chase, I really am." I sincerely meant that.

    "I'm happy with her." I knew he was, he adored her and loved her and would do anything for her and that's all I could ask for in the man my sister was going to marry. I knew him, I knew his character and he wouldn't screw her over.

    "I know you are, just treat her right." I sighed, I couldn't control her life.

    "Always." Was his automatic response.

    "Am I that bad of a brother, I didn't mean to be controlling I just didn't want he to get hurt so I tried to keep her close, turns out the closer she is to me the worst off she is." I didn't see that coming, I tried to make it so she didn't get hurt but I was the only one hurting her.

    "You're not a bad brother but you are overbearing. She's twenty-four and can make her own decisions in her own life. You have to let her breathe and make her own mistakes, not that I'm one of them but you're not your dad you're her brother and you have to let her go a little bit." He told me and I looked down but I nodded

    "I just didn't want to lose her like we lost them." it wasn't an old wound, it was still pretty fresh.

    "You have to trust that I'll take care of her. You can't suffocate her because you're afraid." I knew that but it was hard to let go. She meant more to me than i could begin to describe.

    We learned everything together, to talk and crawl then walk. We learned our abc's and how to read, we went through life hand and hand and faced the world together. She was my rock in life and I was hers. It was a true bond that can't be broken and it was just hard to give that up.

    It was hard to take her hand and give it to anyone else.

    Which was exactly what I would have to do at her wedding, metaphorically we've walked down the road of life hand and hand and it was all about to end, I was walking her to the end of the line for us. I would stop at the end of that isle, physically take her hand and place it in Chase's and after that it's his hand she's holding for the rest of her life.

    It's like we'll always be on parallel trails after that, Her and Chase and then Monica and I, being able to see her and we'll reach for each other but never be able to touch again.

    I felt like I was losing a part of me and I didn't want to.

    "I know you will but." I shrugged and I cried a little which alarmed Chase. He couldn't understand, no one could ever understand it but twins. Not even just siblings because we learned everything at the exact same time but I guess it was time to let go. it didn't help that i was all **ed up from cutting out the alcohol.

    Brylee was always better with that, she was the first of us to crawl and then to walk because she always had greater places to be. I was always the one playing catch up and chasing her and this was no different.

    Brylee's accepted that we've reached our destination together and that it's time to let go and grow up and that it's okay but I just haven't quite made it that far.

    "It's okay Riley. She's marry me not dying." He told me and I nodded because that was true but it was just hard to let go of the only thing I had left of mom and dad.

    "I'll miss her." I said and he patted my back

    "She's always going to be right there, you're not going to stop seeing each other; you're not going to be on your own now that we're getting married. She's right in front of you, she always has been and always will be and it's just more people to love. You're having a new baby, Brylee and I will have kids, it's a family getting bigger and growing together not dividing."

    "You're right." I guess I just look at things one way and this was why I needed him, so that he could tell me this **. I've known him eighty percent of my life and he's known Brylee eighty percent of his, he knew us and how to get through to us and that's why he was my best friend.

    "I have a question to ask you." He said

    "Yeah?" I felt embarrassed for breaking down but he didn't care, he never cared when I was weak, he was just there.

    "Do you really give your blessing, I can't marry her if you really don't support it." he was serious, they would call of the wedding if I said no and I knew that.

    "Yes Chase, I really support it." I told him

    "Good, now that you said that, will you be my best man?" he asked and I smiled at him, the first genuine smiled I've felt like showing.

    "Of course and I would be honored." I told him and he tried to shake my hand but I pulled him in for a hug, I mean a manly embrace with lots of back patting and **.

    We finally talked ** through and he understood some things I wasn't saying and I did for him as well, he wasn't going to apologize for being with her and I didn't want him too. When we met up with Scott the next morning to drive into the city, you could instantly tell things were better with us.

    We stayed up and played some video games and ordered pizza, Chase insisted on soda instead of beer and we crashed on the couch. Things were going back to normal and it was about **ing time.
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