I’ve Gotta Ride Like the Wind to be Free Again – Tristan Confronts David, David Makes a Decision
Van got up early Monday morning and drove into D.C. The shoot wrapped up early and without incident, but Van and Seth decided to go out clubbing that night anyway. Van and Saige would crash at Seth’s place for the night and head home the next day after sleeping it off. Van picked up Saige at the airport and headed back to Seth’s so she could freshen up and dress for the night ahead. Seth was out for the rest of the day. After getting ready for the night, Van took Saige out to dinner and then headed to the club to meet up with Seth and Amber.
Tristan stopped by David’s apartment on the way to the Dojo. David opened the door and invited him inside, then proceeded to walk around the living room, picking up while Tristan talked. “There are a couple of things we need to talk about,” Tristan said. David nodded. “So, talk but don’t expect me to do much talkin’ back. I haven’t even had my coffee yet.” Tristan nodded. “Maybe you should.” David looked at him for a moment before shrugging and heading to the bathroom to drop the dirty clothes into the hamper. When he came out, he went into the kitchen and started a fresh pot of coffee while Tristan hung in the doorway and watched. When David had his coffee, Tristan decided there was no time like the present.
“Taryn’s not getting high with you anymore. It interferes with her training.” David nodded. “All right.” Tristan crossed his arms over his chest. “And I want you to stay the hell away from her.” David looked up from his coffee cup. “I’m not after your girlfriend, Tristan,” he replied tersely. Tristan nodded. “Yeah, normally I wouldn’t think so either. But you’re getting awfully close to her, awfully fast and I’m not real comfortable with it.” David shook his head. “Well, it’s gonna be kinda hard to stay away from her when we’re working together every day.” Tristan nodded. “I already thought about that. Just because you’re working with her, doesn’t mean you have to be all up her ass while you’re doing it. We’ve got a good thing going, David, and I don’t want it getting fucked up.”
David looked at his coffee for a second before looking up at Tristan. “Are we done? Cuz I’m thinkin’ I am. I’m not interested in hookin’ up with your fuckin’ girlfriend, so get off it.” Tristan held his look. “All right. Then the next time you have a problem with my relationship, try talking to me about it and not dragging my sister into it. What the hell’s wrong with you, anyway? Since when do you take the long road around something?” David gave Tristan a pointed look as he delivered his response. “Since people like to see shit that isn’t there.” Tristan nodded. “Fair enough. Or maybe you just don’t want them seeing something that is. I’m not the only one who’s wondering, David. Everyone saw you with her yesterday. And I think it’s great that you’re loosening up a little bit. I just want you to find someone else to do it with. Like.. I don’t know.. maybe Aubrey.”
David sat his cup down and leaned back against the counter. “You want me stayin’ outta your shit, stay the hell outta mine.” Tristan nodded. “All right. But like I said.. stay the hell away from Taryn or we’re gonna have problems. As for working with her, figure it out. You’re a smart guy. And I’m not going to stand by and watch you break her heart again.” Tristan left without saying much more. David watched him leave, shook his head and went back to bed.
David laid there staring at the ceiling well past the time he should’ve been arriving at the ranch. He’d tried going back to sleep, but failed miserably between the phone ringing and the conversations with Tristan and his aunt tumbling through his head. Eventually he lifted his ass and dug his wallet out of his back pocket, opened it and thumbed through the business cards, phone numbers he didn’t remember collecting from women he didn’t remember talking to and pictures of his family until he found the one he was looking for. In the back, behind everything else, looking like it had been through hell and back was the only picture he had of him and Taryn together. It’d been taken at the dance they’d gone to. He stared at it remembering that night. His stoner friends had given him hell for days for being whipped after that but it’d been worth it. He found himself looking at her image, doing the math between that night and the day he’d decided they were done. He wouldn’t be surprised if that was the night he’d knocked her up and he found himself wondering how Tristan would feel if he knew about that.
David shook his head and put the picture in his nightstand drawer before pulling out the picture much closer to the front. It was a picture taken almost ten years later of him and Aubrey at the Rock Bottom. He couldn’t remember who’d taken it now, but it’d probably been Sang. “Ten years older, but not much wiser,” he thought as he studied what the years had done to his face. His thoughts drifted to the kid he’d almost had. He or she would be almost nine now. Probably running around with green eyes, because he and Taryn both had them. He couldn’t imagine it much farther than that. But his aunt had been right about one thing. He *had* seen all those things with Taryn that he’d told her he hadn’t.
David turned his attention back to the picture, particularly the image of Aubrey and he thought about what Tristan said again. Then he thought about what Taryn had said. “Maybe this is something you need to go through to get to where you need to be for someone else.” He’d almost had the sense she’d been talking about herself. But then he thought about the way she and Tristan looked at each other and Tristan himself. Tristan might not be on his list of favorite people right now, but he couldn’t deny he was a good guy or that he made Taryn happy. He couldn’t deny that Tristan was good for Taryn. Tristan wouldn’t bail on her like David had. He wouldn’t break her heart.
David made a decision then, looking at the picture of himself with Aubrey. He’d been a shit when they’d been together and he wasn’t much better now, but he *was* better, even if it was only just a little bit. David put the picture back, moving it to the front of his wallet, and put his wallet back in his pocket. He wouldn’t worry about the phone. Taryn would probably figure he’d had too much to drink and not enough sleep the night before and let him sleep it off. Later, when she was at the dojo, he’d pick up Aubrey and take her to the ranch with him… Aubrey on a ranch should be amusing… and get that tractor fixed. He could probably do it and be out before Taryn got back. In the meantime, David had something else he had to take care of. He grabbed his cell phone and dialed Aubrey’s number, listening to it ring until she answered groggily.
“Hey, it’s me. Time’s up.”