Hold On Tight
[Seven] I Get It
What was she thinking?
She couldn’t understand what had compelled her to agree to try to be friends with him. She didn’t want to be friends with him. She had enough friends.
What really angered her though, was that she had done fine without him FOR YEARS, yet within a second of seeing him again, she was back in front of that coffee shop, apologizing for hitting him with the door in her rush to class. She was back at his hockey games, feeling weak in the knees after a wink sent her way. She was back giggling uncontrollably after he pinned her to his bed, a smug smile causing her stupid heart to skip a beat.
It wasn’t until after she had walked away from him that she was back in that bar in March of 2013, watching as he wrapped his arm around another girl while he told her he was done with her, his teammates laughing behind him.
Haley wrapped her arms tighter around her knees, gripping them a little more fiercely as she sat on her couch staring at the back television screen. She could vaguely hear the sound of her phone going off, one ringtone after another, as her friends tried to contact her, probably thinking she would go off the deep end. She hadn’t told the anything after she walked away from Tyler. Just told them that she needed air, and that she was going to walk herself home. Brayden had followed her out a couple of seconds later, not letting her tell him no, and they walked the mile back to her apartment in a tense silence.
Haley had tried her hardest not to cry, not in front of Bray, and definitely not over him again, but the tears fell anyways. Brayden didn’t say anything as he listened to her sniffles, just walked closer to their shoulders were touching, a silent support. Something that had the tears coming down faster than before.
He didn’t force himself into her apartment, though she had expected it. Instead, he walked her to her door, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and just watched as she walked into her apartment and shut her door.
And she still didn’t answer the phone when he called, five times since she had last saw him – one time every hour.
How was she going to be friends with Tyler if she was reduced to this pathetic shell of herself who ignored the people she considered her family after just a couple of minutes with him? They didn’t deserve that – she didn’t deserve that.
She groaned from her position in her living room, moving to grab her phone from the coffee table in front of her. Clicking through her missed calls, she clicked on the one name she felt would tell her what they really thought, instead of what they felt she wanted to hear.
“Hey,” she whispered into the microphone. “Can you come over?”
“Of course, Haley.”
She didn’t have to wait long – one of her favorite things about living one floor below one of her best friends. The moment the knock sounded on the door, Haley had it open and was in the other persons arms before they knew what was really happening.
“Oh!” Emma squeaked, her arms automatically going around Haley’s slim shoulders. “Well, this is different from the glassy eyes girl who walked out on us with nothing more than a goodbye.”
Haley let out a soft laugh, moving away from the brunette to let her into the apartment. “I’m sorry, Em. I just-“
Emma waved her off. “Honey, you don’t need to apologize. I know that look all too well.” She moved to the kitchen to sit down at the island, a hand rubbing her pregnant belly, and patting the stool next to her. “Are you okay?”
Haley shrugged and sat down. “I don’t know, Em. It was the first time I’d seen him in a long time, and I just don’t know how to deal.”
Her face softened. “Boston?”
“Yeah. And you know, I had pictured that moment for years – the first time seeing him again, because, you know, Dallas isn’t that big, not when Bray tries to drag me to random bars and clubs almost every weekend. And that’s kind of his thing – he likes to drink and he likes to party, so I thought it would be in that situation-“ Haley threw her hands in the air. “Not my best friend inviting him to my show in an attempted hook up where I sung songs I had written about him.”
“What was your plan? If you had run into him while out clubbing.”
Haley smiled down at her lap sheepishly. “I was going to pretend Bray was my boyfriend and make out with him heavily.”
Emma laughed. “He would have loved that.”
“I know. Do you remember when Juliet kissed him under the mistletoe a couple Christmas’ ago?” Haley shook her head.
“Like I could forget! He still hasn’t stopped talking about it. Now he keeps, like, trying to set me up.” Emma pointed at her with a smile. “I don’t know what it is with your friends and making out with each other, but it’s weird.”
She barked out an unattractive laugh. “We don’t make out with one another! It’s just Bray’s deranged mind – at least he wants to kiss you. It means your accepted.”
Emma rolled her eyes as she awed. “Bek is lucky she got it all over with when she met him, because Eric would kick his ass.”
“No, Bray is lucky – there is no way he would last against Eric.”
They bother broke out in giggles for another minute before Emma grabbed Haley’s hand. Looking a little more serious, she cocked her head to the side.
“So it was Tyler Seguin in Boston.”
Haley nodded. “It was Tyler Seguin in Boston.”
“You know, when I first heard that you left your hometown because of a boy, I couldn’t see it. Not you. But knowing who the guy is makes it all the more understanding.” Emma threw her thumb over her shoulder, in the direction of the door. “You know you have everyone in my apartment right now talking about it. They can’t understand how they never figured it out, especially with your sudden aversion to the Stars after Bek, Juliet and James first met you.”
Haley groaned and leaned her head on the counter in front of her. “They’re all in your apartment right now?”
“Of course they are, Hal! You’ve never acted like that before and they would have pounced right away if I didn’t understand what you were feeling. I told Brayden that when we went after you, because I knew he was going to, to just, for once, shuy up and not talk until you did.”
“Thank you, Em. Really.”
Emma dismissed it. “Not a problem. You know I get it.”
“That’s why I asked for you – I – you and Noah.”
She nodded in understanding, not needing any more to know the low point Haley was talking about. “When he broke up with me after that first pregnancy scare.”
“Yeah! How were you able to be friends with him after that? Especially with only three months passing?”
The brunette shrugged. “It was hard, but I loved who he was as a person. He was my best friend when we were together, and I didn’t just lose him. I lost you guys too.” She raised a hand when Haley opened her mouth to speak. “And I know we all still talked, and I know how much crap you gave him through it all, but it still wasn’t the same. You’re his best friend, Hal, even more so than Brayden, and he’s always with you. I hated making you choose me over him when I called or wanted to hang out. It wasn’t fair, so I sucked it up, and when he apologized, I forgave him.”
“Weren’t you scared?”
“Of course I was scared. I’m still scared. When I actually got pregnant, I didn’t tell him for two weeks. I planned how I was going to raise a baby by myself. I have a hard time looking down at this ring on my finger and not feeling like the only reason why he proposed is because I’m having his baby.” Emma briefly looked down at her diamond ring before looking back up at Haley. “It’s hard to get over having your trust in someone tested.”
Haley bit on her lip as she stared off into space. Emma was able to be friends with Noah after he broke her heart, but look at what she had gotten out of it – a happily ever after. That wasn’t in the cards for her and Tyler, at least she didn’t think there was. There were years between them, and she couldn’t fall in love with who Tyler was before.
Emma stood up from the stool she was sitting on and moved to grab a water from the fridge. “Hal, I think you’re asking yourself the wrong questions. You are so hung up on what he did – which I still don’t know the story of, by the way – but you’re avoiding the one thing this is all about.”
Haley rolled her eyes. “And what’s that?”
She leaned against the counter, her elbows in front of her and the water bottle held loosely in her hands. “No man wanted to be just friends with an ex. You know that. At least not an ex where there was some kind of strong emotional connection. You need to decide whether or not you would be willing to forgive him – really forgive him enough to let the past go – and give him a second chance. If you can’t, its understandable, but you need to walk away and not give him false hope. If you can, then be friends with him. Get to know him without the shadow of who he was looming over the two of you. And when he makes his move, you go for it.”
Emma moved around the counter again, never being the one to be able to just sit still. She grabbed Haley’s arm and squeezed them gently. “Because you loved him, Hal. You loved him so much that no one can compare to that feeling he gave you. Except maybe Bray when your drunk.” She stopped to wink at her.
Haley laughed and wiped away the water that had built in her eyes.
“You haven’t been on more than three dates with someone since I’ve known you – since Noah has known you – with the exception of the unnamed asshole. And I know you only dated him for so long because we kept hounding you about it,” Emma continued, “but Hal, even through the pain you feel, you have a spark in your eye when you talk about Tyler. That kind of love doesn’t just go away.” She motioned down to her belly. “Hence the situation I’m in now.”
They both giggled.
“I’m not saying you just fall into a puddle at his feet. Make him work for it – make him woo you. You were in love with the old Tyler, but this new one is a stranger to you. Treat him like one.” Emma rolled her eyes, let out a huge breath, and collapsed back into the stool she started in. “And now, after my dramatic monologue, you’re going to make a decision. Here and now, without thinking about it – because you’ve done too much of that already – can you see yourself with him? Can you see him during our annual summer trips, hanging out with the guys during our girl dates, cuddling under a blanket while watching a movie?”
Haley stared at her, emotions flashing through her at a mile a minute, before she closed her eyes. Taking a couple of big breaths, breathing in through her nose then out through her mouth, she calmed down her racing heart, blocking out all the doubts and reluctance to try to picture the moments Emma brought up.
With what felt like a heavy heart, Haley looked at Emma and told her the answer.