Episode 12: "Green With Jealousy"
In Field Fly Sports Pub
"You know, Simon, I never really liked your cousin in college," Jake spoke honestly, pouring beer from the pitcher into his mug. "Of course, that was because he played for the university I hated the most and I never had the chance to meet him in person. But now, I know I don't like him." He pointed in the direction of Bryce, who had just walked into the pub with Kendra on his arm.
Simon turned around to see Bryce pulling a bar stool out for Kendra at an empty high table. He narrowed his eyes and returned his gaze to his beer mug. "I'll be damned if I let this happen again," he swore before chugging the entire contents of the mug.
Jake gave him an inquiring look. "Let what happen?" He asked curiously.
Simon grunted and shook his head. He licked beer foam from his upper lip. "This isn't the first time Bryce has stolen a woman from me," Simon confessed. "I keep telling myself that it isn't his fault, that the women are just unbearably attracted to him. I mean, look at him, Jake! What I would have given to be him in high school and college. But the whole time I just stood behind him, to catch the leftover scraps that dropped from his silver platter."
"That doesn't sound like you, Simon. I've always known you to be a real go-getter." Jake poured more beer into Simon's mug.
"Thanks," Simon acknowledged Jake's courtesy. "Bryce has this charisma, I guess. I've always been passed over for him. But there was one time...just one time...that I actually got the girl. Damn, Jake, you should have seen her. Sienna Marshall was her name, and she was everything in high school. She's still the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. If there's ever a girl to spend eternity with, it's her. And junior year of high school, she was my girlfriend.
"At first, I couldn't believe that she could fall for me. And to top it all off, Bryce got dumped by his girlfriend. For the first time in our lives, I had the upper hand on him when it came to women. But then again, Sienna was also friends with Bryce. In fact, they grew up together. I mean, how could I compete with history? Eventually, I found out I couldn't. New Year's Eve, our senior year, Bryce rang in the New Year with her kiss, at my party."
"That's harsh, man," Jake shook his head in disbelief. "You're blood kin, for Pete's sake. Your best bud or your relative, their girls are off limits. Hooking up with them is crossing the line."
"See that's the thing, I let him cross that line. Why you might ask? Because I let her go. Just minutes before midnight, she pulls me aside and tells me that we're finished and that she's in love with Bryce. That was the key. She wanted to be with him. I loved her so much that I wanted to let her have her heart's desires, even if I wasn't one of them. Damn near killed me, too."
"But still man, your cousin? He should have at least backed off."
"Not when he had my blessing."
"You gave him what?!"
"Yeah, I did. Jake, she meant that much to me. I'd sacrifice my heart for her. Think about it. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt so much love that you'd sacrifice everything-your heart, your feelings, your life-for her happiness and her love? I know it's pretty soft of me to admit, but at least I can say that I've felt that way." He turned his head toward Kendra's direction. "When you finally feel the way I felt, you'll know what I'm talking about." He stood from the table and finished the last of his beer before heading for Bryce and Kendra's table.
In Field Fly Sports Pub
"Bryce, hi...hey, Kendra, do you mind if I speak to my cousin alone, just for a little while?" Simon put on a his sweetest smile, beckoning toward Kendra. Kendra raised an eyebrow and opened her mouth to protest, but stopped short when she realized the possibility of coming across insensitive in front of Bryce. She nodded, vacated her seat, and joined Jake at his table. Simon slid onto the empty bar stool.
"What's on your mind, cuz?" Bryce asked before helping himself to some peanuts from the bowl on the table.
Simon's face turned sour. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" He barked at him angrily.
Bryce looked taken aback. "I'm eating peanuts, Simon. What are you doing?"
Simon rolled his eyes. "What the hell are you doing here with Kendra? You two waltz in here, arm in arm, for the whole world to see, looking all too chummy. What the hell is going on?"
"I'm doing a few designs for Kendra, that's all. I know you've got an interest in her, and you know good and well that I don't. Trust me, Simon, there is nothing romantic going on between us."
"Bullshit! That's what you said the last time, when you stole my girlfriend!"
Bryce shook his head. "You've got it all wrong, Simon. Look-"
"-NO! You look here. I'm sick and tired of you squashing any chance with a woman I want. It's what you've done our entire lives, Bryce. First Candace, then Amy, and let's not forget Sienna...it irked you to see me with a woman who didn't go for you first. I knew it was a mistake to bring you here. I felt that you'd ruin my life, again! And then try to play it like it wasn't your fault. Well, that's not going to happen this time, Bryce. I'm not going to let you take Kendra for yourself." A dark ferocity glowed in his eyes like none Bryce had ever seen before. "If I have to fight you, Bryce, I won't think twice about it." With one last glare, Simon's eyes dared Bryce to make his move. Bryce looked away. Finally, Simon shoved the stool back from the table and walked away.
Bryce let out a sigh of relief and shook his head in disbelief. He glanced over at Lana, who was sitting at Jake and Kendra's table. "Simon, how soon you forget that I already have an interest in someone else," he muttered, getting up to make his way for the Backstop bar.
In Field Fly Sports Pub
"So...I've asked Bryce to design the new guesthouse that I want to build on the manor. It was such great timing for him to move here, don't you think?" Kendra gushed, staring dreamily off into space. "I sure do."
Lana rolled her eyes and snuck a glance at Jake. The bitter expression on his face spoke volumes to her. She felt that Jake was trying his best to fight reality, but she knew the truth. Kendra didn't have any ordinary interest in Bryce McKeon. Unfortunately, this fact wouldn't please Jake very well. Lana would have been more than happy to repel Kendra from their table, but she knew that Kendra's presence at their table was something that would brighten the dismal week Jake was already having. "Oh, yes, great timing," Lana said in a sarcastic tone.
Jake shot Lana a threatening look. Then he turned his attention back to Kendra. "Well, what else have you and Bryce been discussing lately?"
"Oh, he was telling me more about his college days playing baseball," Kendra stirred her cocktail with a straw. "He actually inspired what might be a pretty big P.R. move for Blake Industries. I'm thinking of getting my father to join the local investment group that's interested in purchasing the Bay Area Tempests. I know, I'm not much of a baseball person...but after a couple of games up in the executive suite with someone who knows the game really well, I'm sure I can take a liking to the game. I haven't told Bryce yet, but he should be thrilled! I could get him season tickets, or he could just go with me...Jake, how many games are there usually in a season?"
"Seventy-two games for minor leaguers," Jake replied in a monotone voice. "That would be thirty-six games at home." He poured more beer into his mug, but Lana grabbed his mug away from him. "What the hell, Lana..."
"I think you've had enough for now, Jake," she said, handing the mug to the cocktail waitress who was passing by the table. She knew that more beer would awaken a drunk, angry Jake.
"Thirty-six home games, goodness, that's wonderful," Kendra murmured, still spaced out. Lana suppressed a giggle when she saw the devastated look on Jake's face. Kendra paid no attention. She blinked back into reality and caught a glimpse of Bryce at the bar. "Oh! Oh! I think I will go chat with him about it now!" Without parting words, Kendra bolted from the table and headed for the Backstop bar.
Lana watched as Jake rested his chin on his hands and gazed longingly after Kendra. As much as she cared for Jake, she hated Kendra Blake. While Lana might have been Jake's closest friend, she knew he held Kendra closest to his heart. Though Kendra's interest in Bryce was music to her ears, the epiphany was a double-edged sword. She found herself caught between rejoicing for Kendra and remorse for Jake, whose feelings for Kendra have yet to be revealed to the blonde vixen herself.
"Lana, please tell me what just happened," Jake said sorrowfully. "Please tell me that I imagined Kendra's constant adoring praise of Bryce. Please tell me that she isn't going to be buying the Tempests just to get close to Bryce. Please, say something."
Lana studied Jake's searching eyes, the vision of which grasping for any sign of hope in a romantic future with Kendra. But she couldn't lie to him. "I'm sorry, Jake, I can't tell you that you imagined anything."
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