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Bentley (Hawthorne Brothers Book One)(5)

By:M.L. Young

I wasn’t one to rush into a relationship or to need to instantly put a label on somebody when I dated them, but I wasn’t about to give everything up for free, either. Truthfully, I really did want a relationship, and Bentley was the first genuine guy to give me that attention and it seemed like he could handle that and be a good boyfriend to me. Maybe I was getting ahead of myself. Maybe I just needed to relax and take this one date at a time.

“How was it?” Nina asked when she got home from work.

“He asked her out again,” Maggie said, butting in.

“Two dates with Bentley Hawthorne? Damn, girl, give me your secrets,” Nina said.

“I was just myself. I guess he liked what he saw,” I said.

“I’m trying to get her to set us up with Cash and Liam, but it’s not working,” Maggie said.

“I call dibs on Cash,” Nina said.

“I think I have to work on getting Bentley before I can worry about getting you guys dates,” I said, laughing.

“Well, when you do get Bentley, don’t forget about us,” Nina said before walking into the kitchen.

“So when are you going out?” Maggie asked.

“Monday night,” I said.

“Not tomorrow?” Nina asked.

“He has dinner with his family on Sundays,” I replied.

“Yeah, I forgot that the Hawthorne boys really are into their family an awful lot. Their mom made and hosted a banquet meal for the volleyball team one year. That woman knows how to cook, that’s for sure. I’m surprised they aren’t over there every night for dinner,” Maggie said.

“What’s the communication like?” Nina asked as she came back with some food.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“How are you staying in touch? Snapchat? Texting? Facebook? Twitter? Are you following his Instagram?”

“We texted about the plans Monday, but nothing else,” I said.

“That’s it?” Maggie asked. “I thought you’d been texting him at least.”

“I don’t think he’s that type of guy,” I said.

“Well, you can’t just let him run wild,” Nina said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“What if he forgets about you? Two days without contact and then you’re just meeting somewhere for a date? A lot can happen in two days, you know,” Maggie said.

“He isn’t like that. Besides, I don’t want to look needy,” I said.

“Oh, honey, but you are,” Nina said.

“You’re totally needy, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Hell, I’m needy and I damn sure know that Nina is,” Maggie said.

“We all are. That’s probably why we never keep guys,” Nina said, laughing.

“I’m not going to blow up his phone. I don’t want to scare him off,” I said.

“Okay, then, how about you text him once tomorrow? Maybe confirm the plans or say you hope he has a good day or something simple like that. If he strikes something up and you can naturally lead into a conversation, then go for it. If not, and he’s not that into texting or whatever like you said, he’ll just say something that you’ll instantly know is just business,” Maggie said.

“I support this,” Nina replied.

“Fine, if it will shut you both up about it, I’ll text him tomorrow afternoon and see what’s going on,” I said, getting up off the couch.

“That’s our girl,” Nina said.

I walked upstairs to my room and shut the door before setting my phone on my nightstand and lying back on my bed. This was all so difficult. Why couldn’t dating be something simple and easy that didn’t involve fake texting to probe somebody and being sneaky and everything else that was wrong with their plan? I was perfectly content before they opened their fat mouths, and now I was questioning everything I thought I knew about dating and about Bentley.

I took a few deep breaths and closed my eyes as I could feel a blanket of coziness and exhaustion come over my body. As I began to fall asleep I replayed the date in my head, seeing every moment and hearing every sound and word, almost as if I could reach out across the table and touch him.

Everything was going to be fine and I wouldn’t scare him off. We’d go on our date, he’d kiss me, and I’d definitely hear from him again. I was confident in that.


“Did you shave?” Nina asked as I stood in the bathroom straightening my hair before our date.

“Yeah, I shaved my legs in the shower. That’s why it took so long,” I said.

“Not your legs. A little above that,” she said.

“Oh, are we that close now?” I asked.

“Hey, I know you haven’t gotten laid in a while and you don’t want to scare him off with crazy single-girl bush,” she said.

“I don’t think we’re going to be doing that tonight,” I said.

“If you don’t come home, I’ll assume you are,” she replied.

Sex on the first, I mean second, date? I mean, yeah, I wanted to get laid, but this was a little soon, wasn’t it? I know that’s strange for a single college girl to say, considering it seemed like all the rest of my kind were out there hopping on anything that moved, but I wasn’t them. I was different, and I always had been.

It’s not to say that I wasn’t sexually interested in Bentley, I was, but my mom told me not to ever give it up so easily. I guess she said that a guy wouldn’t chase after you as much or like you as much if you just gave it to him right away. I wasn’t sure if there was any truth to that, but I didn’t have much else to go on.

I finished off my hair, it as straight as a fence post, and sprayed on some perfume before turning off the bathroom light and going back into my room. I was going to meet Bentley at the restaurant, which was my suggestion. I guess I wanted to make sure I had an out if things got weird or went bad. Nothing worse than a bad date that ends with sitting in a car with the guy while he drives you home. I wasn’t that great in awkward situations, and I tried at great lengths to prevent myself from getting in them.

I was wearing one of Maggie’s dresses, a shorter one that went to my mid-thigh, as well as Nina’s black heels, which made me a bit wobbly, but not too drunk looking. They insisted I wear their clothes, saying it would increase my chances and that I had too good of a body not to show off a little. I guess they were right, but I did feel a little exposed. Maybe I was just being prude about the whole thing.

They both hugged me and sent me off while telling me not to come back tonight as I walked to the car. I rolled my eyes and got inside, and my car started up almost instantly when I turned the key. I really needed this new battery, that was for sure.

Traffic wasn’t too bad, though Monday night was known for a few parties. I saw many patrons walking on the sidewalks in groups as they laughed and looked like they were having a great time.

The restaurant, a more upscale one that was a bit out of place in a college town, had a fairly full parking lot. As I pulled in and found a spot I saw Bentley’s car sitting near mine. I got out and walked to the front door, where I saw him sitting inside.

“Hey,” I said, catching his attention.

“Anna, I’m so glad you could make it. You found the place okay?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’ve driven by here many times before. I’ve never been inside, though,” I said, looking around.

The ambiance was simple yet elegant, dimly lit by sconces on the wall and small flickering candles inside frosted cups on the tables. Everybody was on the dressy side, as waiters in more formal attire served them.

“Mr. Hawthorne, are you ready to be seated now?” the host asked from behind a podium.

“Yes, thank you,” Bentley said, putting his hand on the small of my back and guiding me towards the host.

I felt a small flutter of butterflies with his hand against me. It felt strong, a bit meaty, but still very faint and delicate, as if he knew his strength and power but refused to use it. We were taken to a two-person table, the crisp white tablecloth draping on all sides, before Bentley pulled out my chair and pushed it back in as I sat down. I didn’t know I was out with such a gentleman.

“Your waiter will be with you shortly,” the host said before walking away.

“I almost feel a little out of place,” I said softly.

“Do you not like it? We can leave,” he said, almost alarmed.

“No, no, it’s great! I just meant that I’ve never been to a place this nice before, and especially not on a date. It’s lovely,” I said, giving him a soft smile of reassurance.

“Well, I’m happy to treat you. You’re a great girl, and you deserve the best,” he said.

I felt my cheeks warming up as I looked down and opened the menu. The amount of dishes was plentiful, with some of them sounding so foreign I was sure I was in a café in Europe or something. I didn’t know many of the ingredients or dishes, but I found one thing I knew—steak.

“Hello and good evening. My name is Gregory, and I’ll be your waiter tonight. I see you’re already looking over the menu, but may I get you anything to drink?” Gregory asked.

“How do you feel about wine?” Bentley asked.

“I’m fine with that,” I replied.

“A bottle of white, please. Also two glasses of water would be great,” Bentley said.