Author's Note: Loving the feedback guys, keep 'em coming!
'Look man, I'm really sorry it didn't work out with Jenny.' Danny spoke up. They were sitting behind a table of a local restaurant, and Ben couldn't help but stare out of the window in silence.
Danny wasn't comfortable with his little brother being so gloomy. Even though he had no ambitions, Ben always seemed alive and energetic and for some reason, that gave him some hope that it would work out after all. 'It's gonna be okay.' Ben told his brother, a sad smile tugging at his lips. 'I'm just a little bummed because I thought that this was it.'
Danny nodded slowly, and the two brothers looked up as Riley joined them. She took a moment to contemplate where to sit, and when Danny gave her a small nod, she playfully nudged Ben to scoot over so she could plant herself on the seat next to him. 'Come on! You know what they say: it's got to be 5 o'clock somewhere!' She lifted up her beer and they all clanked it together before taking a sip.
'You know guys,' Ben said, the alcohol settling in his stomach. 'I appreciate that you guys are doing this for me. Thanks.' He smiled broadly and shifted to his left, letting his shoulder bump against Riley's. She was about to take a sip, so when he crashed against her, she nearly choked on her beer. 'Hey!' she shouted out, needing a minute to recover herself.
Ben didn't respond to her protest, but instead, shrugged and offer Danny an innocent look. From his side, Danny could only force a smile. He's seen the look on Riley's face before. She's playful and teasing, it's the same look she had when they first started dating. Her laughs were loud and Ben finally managed to chuckle. Danny tried to pay attention, or at least focus on his drink, but their laughs started to fade and his mind travelled back to the day Riley and him 'got together'.
'We're going to take this slow, right? We don't know for sure if this is going to work out.' Riley breathed, using a firm grip on his shoulders in order to keep him at a safe distance.
Danny nodded quickly, wanting nothing but to kiss her in that moment, to hold her and maybe convince himself that she was going to be with him forever. But what lead them to this was really only her hurt over Ben, and he told himself that he shouldn't do it. But he was light-headed due to the alcohol running through his veins, and his brain just couldn't get a hold of his sanity. 'All I know is that I'm crazy about you, Riley.'
Riley removed one of her hands from his shoulder to place it on the side of his cheek, forcing him to look into her eyes. There was uncertainty in his eyes, and it matched how she was feeling. There was nothing in this world that told her this was the right thing to do. 'I know.'
She thought about walking away, so that they could forget all about this. But then she thought about Ben. About how he wanted to talk to her about something 'drastic', to quote him. Something inside of her stirred. Her heart jumped and felt like beating out of her chest. What a fool was she to think it as about her.
'I want to propose to Jenny.' Ben had told her, and Riley recalled how she felt like he had just reached inside of her to yank out her heart and rip it to shreds. Ben was just so damn oblivious. Or maybe he wasn't, and he just didn't care about her at all. Whatever it was, it was painful.
So when Ben had left that night to find Jenny, Riley had slipped into a corner of a room, tears running over her cheeks. She didn't know why she was this upset, there was no one else that could get her in such a weak position such as this.
'Riley? Are you in here?' Danny's voice was soft and gentle, as opposed to his appearance. He truly was the exact opposite of what people thought he was. He was kind and loving, and when he found her that night, he told her something that she never expected to hear from him. He told her about how he felt, about how he thought she needed to be treated. He told her that Ben was never the bad guy in all of this. He was just at a point in his life where he needed to figure out where he stood and Riley could dance like a monkey in front of his very eyes, and he still wouldn't see her.
Danny had told her that he wanted to treat her right, if she could offer him the chance. He placed one of her hands into his and helped her stand up so she could meet his promising eyes and the little dimple in his cheeks as he smiled at her. 'Do you want to give me the chance?' It was a simple question with so much to offer.
And now, they found themselves standing at a crossroads. Danny left it all up to Riley. She knew that if she chose to be with him, he would do anything to make her happy. But would being with him make her happy? He was perfectly capable of helping her pick up her slivers of her heart and glue them all back together. He was a true friend to her and loyal to the end.
'I guess we could give it a shot.'
Her words weren't exactly the ones Danny was hoping for. They were not what he had heard in all those cheesy rom-coms his mother used to watch, but they were the best he could do at the moment, so he just grinned, trying to flush away this wave of insecurity that came with her words. He opened his arms and she leaned into his touch, the two of them hugging with wandering minds. He hoped that one day, she would fall for him the way he fell for her. And she hoped the same thing.
Author's Note: Not enough Ben/Riley, I know! But now I've got the Danny/Riley covered, I'm gonna try and see if I can get Danny out of the story a little bit. If I feel like it, I'll introduce his love interest in the next chapter, or else it'll be after that.