“Oh, look! Little schoolgirl trying to look older by wearing your shirt as a dress,” Mavi says. “How cute.”
“At least I don't go around kissing other women's girlfriends,” Piper replies.
“No, but you stole him from me.”
“No I didn't.”
“Don't you remember what happened at his brother's wedding?”
“You broke things off with him.”
“Yeah, because it was clear he was more interested in you than he was me.”
“And you think kissing him now is gonna magically win him back?”
“Maybe,” Mavi says. She smirks. “But it's definitely made you mad. So that's a win.”
“Oh, you little-”
“Piper,” I warn her.
“Awww, don't ruin the fun, babe,” Mavi says. “I wanna see what she does.”
"He's not your babe.”
“Oh, little girl, he was mine a long time before you came along.”
Mavi steps closer to me, clearly planning on getting all handsy to drive Pipes mad. I step back, but bump into the front door. Mavi steps closer & I swallow the lump in my throat. She places her hands on my bare chest, & I quickly put my hands up, away from her.
Mavi looks over her shoulder at Piper, & I see her face shift as she smirks. She looks at me again.
“Don't do it, Mavi,” I tell her.
“Do what?” She replies. “You know you want me. I can feel you're breathing faster. The way you would whenever I teased you right before we made love.”
“Maybe that's because you’ve got me pinned against my front door in front of my girlfriend.”
“Or maybe I’m right & you want me as much as I want you,” she says, before leaning in closer. “How hot would it be if you & I made love while the little schoolgirl watches?”
“Not gonna happen.”
“You say that now,” She says. “But once I start, you’ll love it. Just like you always have.”
She keeps her eyes locked with mine, her hands slowly sliding down my chest, her right fingers slipping beneath the top of my sweat pants…
Watching her slowly slide her hands down him is enough to make me snap. I run over, yanking her by her shirt backwards. I let go, watching her fall backwards.
I ignore him, filled with anger & the need to make her pay. We fight- hitting, kicking, & pulling each other’s hair- & scream insults as we roll around on the floor. I dig my fingernails into her forearms, dragging them down like nails on a chalkboard. She screams out & then slaps my face repeatedly- alternating hands just to make it hurt more.
Eventually Tyler manages to pull us apart, his arms wrapping around me so my arms are pinned to my sides.
"Let me go, Ty!"
“What the hell is going on out here?” Mark asks as he enters the room.
Mavi gets up.
“Hi Mark,” she says, acting innocent. “Piper here attacked me. I want to press charges!”
Mark frowns at her. He then looks at Tyler & me. I’m still struggling to free myself.
“Tyler?” Mark asks.
“Mavi started it,” Tyler replies, with a grunt from the effort of keeping me in his arms. “She's trying to get me back, so she intentionally did things to set Pipes off. Will you stop it, Pipes?”
“Not until that skank gets what she deserves.”
“Okay, it is way too early for this,” Mark says. “Mavi, you need to leave.”
“WHAT?!” Mavi & I both say.
“This is over,” Mark says. “And this is our house, so you need to leave right now, Mavi.”
She crosses her arms. “Not until that little immature brat apologises.”
Mark rolls his eyes. He steps over, grabs Mavi’s arm & escorts her over to the front door. I struggle to get free, desperate to give her one more slap, but Tyler holds me tighter. Mark guides her out the front door. She turns back & opens her mouth to complain, but Mark shuts the door hard enough it slams a little.
Mark turns around to face us & Tyler finally lets go of me.
“Do I need to know the full story?” Mark asks.
“Just that if I see her again, I’m going to rip her hair out.”
“Pipes, you need to calm down.”
“No!” I snap. “I walk out & she's there kissing you. And then the smug bitch thinks it’s okay to try & force you into having sex while I’m standing right there!”
Mark sighs, rubbing his hand over his face. “You two need to sort this out,” He says. “But not right now. Leave it for a few hours. Let Piper calm down. And let the rest of us sleep.”
“Sounds good,” I reply. I head for the bedrooms.
“Where are you going?” Tyler asks.
“To get dressed so I can go home.”
I stop in the doorway to the bedrooms, & look back at him. “I need time alone.”
“Mumma!” Felicity says.
I open my eyes, finding Felicity sitting there. And behind her, Jay. Felicity crawls to me, & I pull her up onto my stomach.
“Hey, baby girl.”
I smile as Jay shifts closer.
“She was crying,” he says. “So I thought she could come see you.”
“Awww,” I say, rubbing her back soothingly.
“Dadda!” Felicity says, reaching for Jay.
“Felicity, baby, that's Jay.”
I look at Jay, apologetically. “Sorry.”
He shrugs. “I don't mind it.”
“Do you really expect your almost two year old to be able to say Jay?”
I look at her. “Felicity. Can you say ‘Jay’?”
She looks blankly at me.
“Come on, baby. Say it. Say ‘Jay’.”
She looks at him. “Dadda!”
I sigh. Jay tickles Felicity's tummy.
“It's fine, Erin,” he says. “I honestly don't mind.”
“But I do! She should learn your real name.”
“Well, until she can. She can call me Dadda.”
I shake my head.
“Just embrace it,” he says, leaning in & kisses me.
“You won't let me stop it, will you?”
“Nope,” he replies as he lies down on his back beside me.
Felicity crawls onto his chest, Jay welcoming her with a smile as he holds her for support. He's always been so good with her. So maybe her calling him ‘Dadda’ isn't such a bad thing… Maybe one day he really will be her dad…
I open my front door, finding Erin standing there. She smiles as she lifts up a giant tub of my favourite ice cream.
“Thought you could do with this,” she says. “And a chat?”
I tilt my head. “You know.”
She gives me a sympathetic smile. “Thought you could do with someone to vent to.”
“How about someone who isn't related to him?”
“You need someone who knows you both really well,” she says.
I sigh, open the door wider & walk off. She comes in & shuts the door. I cross to the kitchen to get spoons & she settles at the dining table.
“Okay, rule one to comfort eating,” She says as I go to get bowls. “Ice cream always tastes better eaten straight from the tub. No bowls.”
I cross to her as she opens the tub, handing her a spoon as I sit down.
“You first,” she replies, sliding the tub closer to me.
I dig my spoon in, getting a big scoop. I eat it as she gets a smaller scoop.
“So… What's your advice?”
“Firstly… From what Tyler told me, she deserved what she got.”
I raise my eyebrow at her. “Wasn't expecting you to take my side.”
“No, I’m just saying I would have done the same if I was in your shoes.”
“You seem too nice to get into a cat fight.”
She smiles. “I can be tough when I need to be,” She replies. “Take Eddie & his Uncle for instance.”
I nod. “Yeah, I forgot about that.”
“You know he loves you, yeah?”
“He’s at home, going out of his mind trying to figure out how to fix things with you,” she says. “He's done nothing wrong.”
“It was all her, Pipes,” she says. “You know when he said he was with you, she pushed him to dump you for her. And when he said no, she kissed him. He was trying to get her off him when you walked in. He was trying so hard to defend his relationship with you.”
“He didn't try hard enough,” I reply as I get more ice cream.
“Don't let her get between you two,” she says. “That's what she wants. She wants to cause problems for you. Make you fight & break up. But he's madly in love with you, & no matter what Mavi says or does, he wants you.”
“What if that's not enough?”
“Then Mavi wins,” she replies. “Even if she doesn't end up with him, she still wins because she broke you two up. I know you love him too. I also know you're that you're hurting, but so is he. Don't punish him when he's done nothing wrong. He did the best he could to stop Mavi. Don't give up on him or your relationship.”
I’m half asleep on the sunbed in our backyard. All I want to do is go next door & beg Piper to forgive me. But I need to leave her be.
“To get a tan, you need the sun to be out,” Piper says.
I open my eyes. She's standing beside my sunbed.
“Hey,” I say, sitting up a bit.
“Can I sit?”
I nod & cross my legs so she can sit down. She purses her lips into a thin line.
“I’m sorry,” She says. “For getting angry at you before. It’s just… seeing her get all over you like that. It got under my skin &…” She sighs. “I lashed out at you because I was furious at her. And that was wrong. I’ve had time to think, as well as some time chatting with Erin, & I see that I let her get the better of me. You were trying to stop her, & I did the childish thing & played straight into her hands.”
“You did what you thought was right,” I reply. “Yes, it wasn’t the best choice, but… you see that now.”
She smiles a little. “I’m still sorry.”
I lean forward. “And I’m saying that I forgive you,” I reply, pulling her in & claiming her lips with mine.
I cup her face with both hands as we kiss, leaning back & pulling her with me. I uncross my legs & she straddles me, hands on my chest. She grinds her hips against mine & groan into her mouth. Her hands tug at my pants…
“We can’t,” I say. “What about my family?”
“Erin’s taken everyone out of the house,” She replies. “So we’re all alone.”
I raise my eyebrow. “And you wanna…? Here?”
“Shut up,” She replies as she leans in & kisses me.
We make love on that sunbed, over & over & over again.
I poke my head through the front door, finding Tyler standing in the kitchen. Alone. I push the door further open & walk in.
“Hey, where’s everyone else?” He asks as I shut the door.
“Waiting at Harold’s for me to let them know it’s safe to come home,” I reply, walking over to the bench. I rest my arms on it. “So… Did it go well between you two?”
“We worked things out.”
I smirk. “Not going to pry, but… You might wanna take a shower before the others get home,” I reply. “Paige has some insanely accurate sixth sense at the moment. And I can tell she’ll be…”
He raises an eyebrow. “Point taken.”
He heads for the bathroom, stopping at the doorway through & looks back.
“Thanks,” he says.
“You helped me with her yesterday,” I reply. “Just returning the favour.”
He smiles, before walking out. I give him a five minute head start before texting Mark to say that they can all come home.
I pull up at the garage the next morning, sighing as I see Mavi standing by the roller door. I turn off the engine, pull out the keys & then get out.
“So how did the little schoolgirl take the news that you two are done?” She asks as I cross to her.
“I’ll let you know,” I reply. “When pigs fly.”
“Awww, is she giving you the cold shoulder?” She asks as I open the roller door. She follows me inside as she continues. “Why don’t we jump in that car over there & I’ll make you forget all about that naïve girl.”
I turn around to face her. “You need to stop, Mavi!” I say. “I’m not interested in getting back together with you, okay? I love Piper. I want to be with Piper. I am with Piper. You & I… we ended months ago. On good terms. Please don’t ruin that now.”
“I’m just trying to reconnect with you.”
I sigh. “I get that, Mavi. But…” I sigh again. “I’ve missed you. But not the way you miss me. I missed talking to you about things, missed having you around. But I don’t love you anymore.”
She looks so shocked. Heartbroken. And a part of me feels sorry for her. But I also feel relieved that she finally understands.
“I’m sorry,” I say.
“Don’t be,” She says, putting on a brave smile. “I’m the idiot that thought I could just show up unannounced & you’d welcome me back into your life & heart.”
I nod. “Kissing me wasn’t the smartest move either.”
She closes her eyes. “Yeah, I did some ridiculously stupid things yesterday. I made an idiot of myself because I still love you & I underestimated what you have with Piper.”
“Come here,” I say, pulling her into a hug.
She sighs as she rests her head on my chest. “I’m going to miss you.”
“Keep in contact,” I reply. “Just because we’re over romantically, doesn’t mean I don’t care about you still.”
She pulls back. “I’d love that,” She replies. “But I won’t. At least not for a while. I need some time to heal. To get over you.”
I purse my lips together into a thin line & nod. “I understand.”
“I hope that you have a happy future.”
“Please tell Piper that I’m sorry.”
I nod. “I will.”
She reaches up & kisses my cheek, slowly withdrawing. “Goodbye, Tyler.”
I watch her walk out. I sigh & then get started on my work.
“Hey,” Piper says, smiling at me as she crosses the courtyard to me just as I exit Harold’s with a coffee.
She’s wearing her school uniform, her schoolbag hanging off one shoulder. She reaches up & kisses me.
“Hey,” I reply, placing my free hand on her hip.
“I was gonna meet you at the garage, but it was closed. I guessed you were on a coffee run, so I came here.”
“Well, you found me,” I reply, smiling.
She grabs my shirt & pulls me down, giving me a hot kiss.
“What was that for?” I ask, lips brushing hers.
“I’ve been wanting to kiss you all day.”
I smile. “Missed me, huh?”
“Like crazy,” She replies. “Walk back to the garage with you?”
I nod. I take her hand in mine & we walk off. She talks about her day, I tease her occasionally, & things are good. And I wonder if I should ruin the happiness by mentioning Mavi coming to see me.
“What’s wrong?” She asks.
“You’re frowning. The way you do when you’re thinking hard over something.”
I look up, finding that we’re outside the garage. I usher her up & inside the side door.
“Just stand there & listen to everything I have to say before you react, okay?”
“Tyler, you’re freaking me out right now.”
I sigh. “Mavi came & saw me here this morning.”
“Just listen,” I reply. “She was still pushing me, trying to win me back. But I talked to her. I told her that I am over her. That I don’t love her anymore…” I swallow the lump in my throat. “I’m in love with you. And that’s all that I want.”
“Why would you talk to her? After what she’s done to us?”
“To clear the air!” I reply. “To make it clear to her that I’m not interested in her.”
She just looks at me. I step closer, but she steps back.
She shakes her head. “I can’t.”
“I can’t do this right now,” She says, fighting back tears.
I step closer, wanting to wrap my arms around her & take away the pain. But she steps away, ducking past me & hurries over to the side door. She slips out without looking back. I rub my hands over my face & sigh.
How did this go so wrong?