Chapter 19

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"The best way to earn a woman's forgiveness is by giving her a nice home cooked meal. It doesn't have to taste good, but it's the thought that counts." - Riley Monroe

"So how are you feeling about the project?" Tammy asked as she plopped down on my bed early in the morning. Sitting criss-crossed, she pulled out a bag of candy and offered me some. Raven and Cassidy were out doing god knows what. I think Raven mentioned something about meeting James and Cassidy was working on the project, thus leaving me with Tammy. Not that I minded.

I stared at the bag incredulously. How did she manage to keep the bag hidden after all this time? Nevertheless, I reached in and took a Snickers bar.

"It's fine so far," I said while tearing the wrapper apart and taking a bite of the candy. Tammy stared at me as if she didn't believe me.

"Really. Everything is fine," I said meeting her stare. The look on her face immediately said, "Spill."

I let out a frustrated sigh. "Alright. Alright," I leaned back against my bed. "He is just so confusing! I can't seem to get anything out of him besides the general things like his favorite color or movie."

Tammy just nodded. "Have you tried talking to him? Like have an actual conversation?"

"That's what I've been trying to do, Tammy. But I don't want to push him into telling me something that he doesn't want."

I glanced at Tammy. "What should I do?"

Tammy just shrugged. "I feel your frustration. But it seems to me that you are being too cautious about all of this. Think out of the box, Riley."

With a soft tone I replied, "I'm trying. But how am I supposed to get to know someone who won't even let me scratch the surface?"

I looked around the room. How was I going to get to know him? I'm not just doing this for the project. Granted, that is one of the reasons, but I'm also genuinely interested. There is just something about him that draws me in.

"That's the thing, Riley," Tammy sighed. "People have secrets. They put up a wall to keep people out. Tell me, Riley. How would you react if someone tried to break down your walls?"

I thought about her reply for a moment. What would I do? Flashes of unhappy memories made its way into my mind, but I pushed them away with a shake of my head. "I would try to build my walls up even higher."

Tammy nodded with a look of satisfaction on her face. "Exactly. And it's up to the person who wants to help to find ways on how to get through those walls." Tammy took a moment to study me. "Don't give up on him, Riley. It might not look like anything, but from what we can see, Aaron seems to have a soft spot for you."

I opened my mouth to ask something, but she spoke before I could.

"Why? I'm not so sure, but just keep trying."

With an uneasy feeling, I nodded. The way she was talking sounded like she had a lot of experience with these kinds of things. Perhaps something happened in the past?

"What about you, Tammy?" I turned to her and asked in a curious voice. "What's your story?"

She just looked at me and shook her head sadly. "No story here. I just have a lot of experience talking to people about their problems, I guess."

I didn't believe her, but didn't press on the issue. She would tell someone when she's ready. I looked at her again. Tammy is usually so peppy and outgoing. She was a bit calmer than Cassidy, of course, but she was always so happy. But now I wonder if the smile that she always wore was a mask.

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