Lily + Lucas | The Forest

I very rarely, if ever, write any kind of a story with multiple view points. Personally, I don’t like reading them – it can be confusing, cluttered, and a part of me always gets too attached to one particular character and I lose interest in the other/s. Most of the time, the first reason I’ll put a book back on the shelf, is if it bounces from character to character each chapter. It’s just never been my thing. I know a lot of people truly enjoy it – especially romance readers because they can get in the hero AND the heroine’s thoughts & connect deeper with their emotions. In that aspect, I get it – sometimes it would be nice to know how the male character is feeling when told from the female’s POV. I also can see why historical or crime nonfiction and fiction both benefit from multiple POVs because you get access to more relevant information that way. It has its uses when the story asks of it.

I just tend to stay very, very far away from it.

HOWEVER – in the spirit of this whole “diving deeper” thing, I’m going to push myself to write one now. I haven’t written a 3rd person, multiple POV since any of my college writing classes so I’m rusty but it’ll be good for me, right? Right. 🙂

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Part One | Lucas

 

“Nah, she’s into some cop. Probably got a six pack and kisses babies on his walk to work. Wait, walk? Who am I kidding? He probably drives a Benz worth more than my house,” Matt said, downing the finger of whiskey in front of him. His tie was loose, falling into the middle of his chest and his eyes dotted red with a buzz. Lucas watched as girls past by eyeing him up and down before moving on when they registered his facial expression; exceptionally, good looks overridden by a sour scowl clinging to Matt’s cheekbones. “I took her to that art show she wanted to go to so bad. Some Chinese lantern fest celebrating true love surviving war time. At the end of the night, I went in for a kiss, and she patted my chest. Patted my chest, Luke. God, even I know the ‘he’s my friend’ code handshake: pat him on the chest like some geriatric dude in suspenders asking her to play BINGO next Tuesday night. I mean, what the hell am I? Some little bit-”

“Mattie, that’s enough man. Shit,” Lucas laughed, closing his laptop. Genuine laughter rolled off his lips, deep bass chuckles shaking his chest. His own shirt was opened at the first few buttons and sleeves rolled up at the elbows from the heat in the bar. “You are taking this girl way too seriously. Who are you and what have you done with my brother? Seriously, you need to be ready for tomorrow and get this chick off your brain. It’s a big day.”

Rolling his eyes, Matt tapped the tablet in front of him with his knuckles. The waitress switched out a drink and he took a deep drag before meeting Lucas’s eyes.

“I got this handled,” he said, “no worries. We’ll be fine tomorrow. I know this pitch like the back of my hand. You, on the other hand, need to lighten up. Maybe if you had woman problems, or a woman at all, we might have more to talk about than my failures.”

Lucas reclined, nodding and watching the crowd drift in and out off the back patio. The cool breeze ripened with the smell of oncoming rain, filtering the smoky air in the bar every time the door opened.  

“We definitely need something to talk about besides your failures,” Lucas smiled, falling into the pattern of their typical banter. “Heard anything from Hale yet?”

“Ha! That shit for brains isn’t gonna show,” Matt snapped, tipping back his glass. “We’re on our own, kid. Might as well face it – this isn’t gonna be a three brother owned business because Hale isn’t every gonna step up. Two will work fine. I got the brains, you got the charm.”

Something felt off, the lack of the youngest brother’s presence making Lucas nervous even at Matt’s show of dominance.

“This isn’t like him, Mattie,” Lucas murmured. “Yeah, he was tense but he wouldn’t ditch on this. He’s busted his ass for this, too.”

For over a year, the brothers had focused solely on building up the brewery their father had left to them after his passing. The family owned and operated business was barely surviving, the building practically falling down around the employees when the boys received ownership. Low pay, low product- it had been a rough start. Trying to work full time jobs and still keep the brewery running proved challenging to all three but after six months things had started to look up. They weren’t making bank but they were in the black. Lucas quit his job teaching and took over full time, dedicating every second into making sure his father’s dream didn’t crumble beneath them. Soon after, Matt announced he was closing his law practice and quickly became the business man everyone said he was meant to be.

A year later, they were pitching for a second location. Things had taken off once Hale moved back home from college. Lucas refused to push him into helping but was surprised when Hale displayed creative genius in branding and advertising without being asked. The artist in him surfaced and brimmed to life at the brewery.

“I know,” Matt stated. “He’s probably off with one of his Indie girlfriends, painting some ‘masterpiece’ that requires him to be naked and stoned and chanting Aerosmith. Chill, Luke, he’s fine I’m sure. I’m gonna get out of here. I’ll see you first thing in the morning.”

Patting Lucas gently on the back, Matt tossed a few bucks on the table before leaving. Following suit, Lucas shrugged his jacket over his shoulders and told himself his brother was probably right about their youngest sibling.

“Night, Lucas,” several called, waving goodnight as he stepped out into the mist.

 

Part Two | Lily

 

            Waving goodbye to her girlfriends, Lily took the corner alone with her umbrella. A little rain was not going to stop her from enjoying the couple block walk to her apartment. She hadn’t had a second to herself all day; bridesmaid duties had taken over her life. Dresses, flowers, jewelry, bachelorette party, on and on. As happy as she was for her friend, she was ready for some ibuprofen and her bed.

            The night air was sticky, clinging to her coat and her boots as she passed a local bar. The rain proved to be barely anything more than soft caresses but just enough to suggest more was on the way. Interestingly enough, the prospect didn’t tire her. Tomorrow was her first day off in over a year; what better way to spend it than with a good book and a cup of coffee while it rained?  

            “Lily?”

            Glancing up from the sidewalk, Lily paused at the sound of someone saying her name. The voice had been close; the ring of the drawl familiar to her. Her eyes passed over a couple walking side by side; not speaking, just enjoying the walk home, she assumed, and felt the prod of jealousy. Beside them was a man opening a cab door, disappearing from view and a newspaper stand on the corner.

            “Oh, wow, it is you,” the same voice stated, closer now. Spinning, Lily bumped nose first into the chest of a tall figure, already reaching out to keep her from stumbling. “Hey, sorry, I didn’t mean to slam into you.”

            The richness of his voice soothed her before she even glanced up at his face, knowing already who she’d bumped into.

            “Lucas,” she smiled warmly, “you can’t just creep up on a girl in the middle of the night like that.”

            She hoped the teasing tone in her voice was apparent while a part of her fought not to acknowledge how fast her pulse jumped when she saw him full on. He’d changed in the past year; she’d never seen him with facial hair, the dotting of a five o’clock shadow highlighting his strong jaw. Even his clothes – gone were the stiff khakis and polos he’d been forced to wear while teaching replaced with jeans and a broke-in oversize jacket emphasizing his shoulders. His glasses were no longer perched on his nose, for the first time allowing her to take in the way the streetlight dyed his eyes even more brilliantly blue.

            “I didn’t want to full out scream your name from across the street. I figured you’d take off running to the closest police officer,” Lucas teased back, reaching out to lay his arm across her shoulders. “Let me walk you home?”

            “You know the way,” she whispered, leaning into his side. His stride was significantly larger than hers but she liked the way he fought to take smaller steps. Sharing the umbrella didn’t bother her, the easy weight of their rhythm falling back into place almost as if they had seen each other every day for a year. “How’s The Forest?”

            At the mention of the brewery, Lily felt Lucas’s side go rigid.

            “Oh,” she murmured. “That good, huh?”

            “Stop being so good at reading me,” he smiled, relaxing back into himself. “Just stressed. We’re pushing for a second location; we’re going to talk to the big wigs tomorrow morning.”

            Reaching out, Lily placed her hand inside the pocket of Lucas’s jacket, tugging him closer.

            “You’re the smartest guy I know. If anyone can pull this off, it’s you,” she stated. Heat flamed her cheeks, making her instantly grateful for the shadowed walk. Stop throwing yourself at the guy, she chastised herself inwardly, good God.  

            Lucas stopped abruptly, pushing himself away far enough to look down at her.

            “You know, you’re flirting with me like the past year hasn’t kind of broken down this friendship,” he said, holding eye contact. “I’m sorry I haven’t been around much, Lily.”

            The word ‘friendship’ stung slightly, stiffening Lily’s back while she fought not to snap at him. That couldn’t truly be what he thought they’d had while they’d been teaching together. She’d forgotten how honest he tended to be, how straightforward he was without realizing he was being harsh. 

Copyright © 2016 Pearl Bayou

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