“Stay with me.”
Jordan spun to face him.
Fletcher sucked in a breath. He was putting it all on the line.
Jordan Benoit was his best friend. She had been since they were six.
But she was more than that now.
He couldn’t lose her.
Two years ago, she’d moved to Nashville with her boyfriend Jason. Fletcher had wanted to ask her to stay then, but he hadn’t. She and Jason had been together for nine years at that point. He was going to Nashville to pursue a music career and Jordan was his cheerleader and his biggest fan. Of course she was going along.
Besides, Jordan knew that Fletcher wanted more. If she’d wanted Fletcher, she knew she could have him.
A year before that, in Galveston, things had changed between them. Fletcher had kissed her.
He shouldn’t have, of course, but being stuck together, just the two of them, in a roadside motel in the middle of a tropical storm, he hadn’t been able to hold back.
And she’d kissed him back. At first anyway.
But eventually, she pushed him away and told him that she couldn’t do it, because of Jason.
So when she told him she was moving to Nashville with Jason six months later, Fletcher bit his tongue.
Not this time.
“Don’t go with Jason. Stay here. With me.”
She stared at him. They were standing outside behind his grandmother’s bar. Inside was the wedding reception for three of his cousins who had just gotten married to the loves of their lives.
He didn’t know if it was the general love-is-in-the-air feel surrounding the weddings or the fact that this girl—who, at one time, he’d truly believed he could never lose—had actually, essentially, left him twice already, but hearing her say that she was joining Jason on his debut world tour as an opening act for country music star Brett Eldredge had made Fletcher’s gut tighten and he knew he had no hope of keeping the request inside.
“I can’t stay here. What are you talking about? I have to go with him.”
“No, you don’t. You know you have a choice. This tour isn’t about you. You’re really willing to quit your job, quit teaching—the thing you love more than anything—to follow him around? You’re the girl who would rather curl up in her pajamas at eight o’clock on a Saturday night and watch movies with sub sandwiches than go out even to a local bar where you know everyone. What are you going to do on red carpets and at after-parties and hanging out backstage at country music concerts? That isn’t who you are.”
“But if it’s Jason, then it has to be me.”
Fletcher stepped forward. He’d known this girl her entire life. He knew things about her that she probably didn’t even know. She was fierce, brave, funny, loyal, and loving.
It was that those last couple things that were screwing him here.
She’d been with Jason for so long, she felt obligated.
Even though Jason’s life was going in a totally different direction than she’d planned, even though there was nothing about what Jason wanted that matched up with her dreams, she felt that she had to go now.
She was a small-town girl from Louisiana. Her family meant the world to her. She was passionate about teaching.
None of that matched up with what Jason was asking.
“If he cared about you, he wouldn’t ask you to do this,” Fletcher said.
She pressed her lips together and her frown looked a lot more scared than angry. “You’re wrong. He shouldn’t have to give up his dreams just because I don’t want to live in a big city.”
“Isn’t a relationship supposed to be about both people?” Fletcher pressed. “What about you? Why do you have to give your dreams up for his?”
“I love him.”
You just don’t know any different. But Fletcher kept those words inside.
Jordan and Jason had met when they were fifteen. Jason had been her first… everything. He’d asked her to the Valentine’s Day dance when they were freshmen in high school. And here they were eleven years later, and she was still with him. No one else had even had a chance.
Fletcher hadn’t had a chance.
Hell, it had taken eight years for him to realize he even wanted a chance.
Well, maybe she needed to be reminded that she had options. Really fucking good options.
Fletcher reached for her, wrapping one arm around her waist, and the other hand cupping the back of her head. He tipped her head back and leaned in to kiss her.
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