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Brian sat tapping his foot impatiently as the phone rang. He hoped the person on the other end picked up, he really needed to talk. He was confused about some things and needed some advise.

As the voicemail recording started, Brian hung up and ran his hands through his hair. He thought about how long he should wait before trying the number again. He was just beginning to dial the phone number again when his phone started ringing from the exact person he was trying to call.

“Hello,” Brian sighed with relief as he answered the phone.

“Sorry Cuz, but the lil one needed a new diaper,” Kevin's voice sounded tired as it came over the phone. “I just reached my phone when it stopped ringing. What did you need?”

“If you are busy, I can call back,” Brian felt guilty. He didn't want to intrude on his cousin's life, he knew how busy it was lately even though he left the group.

“Brian, you sound like you need to talk, so talk I can make time for you. So talk,” Kevin commanded.

Brian couldn't help but smile at his words and his tone. “It's about Stephanie,” he could almost see his cousin grinning over the phone. Next to Nick, Kevin had been the one pushing him the most to start seeing women again. He, of course, had told Kevin all about her when he first started spending more time with her.

“How are things going with her?” Brian could hear the baby in the background speaking in his own baby language. He tried not to let his mind dwell on his last conversation about having kids with Sandra.

“That's what I wanted to talk about. We talked about timers the other day. She's determined to get one. She thinks it will help her avoid heartache in the future. She also experienced the sudden loss of a loved one. I tried to convince her that the timers won't save you from that kind of heartbreak but she wouldn't listen. I think it might be over with her.” Brian flipped on the television, muted it, and began to go through the channels looking for a sporting event of any kind.

“Have you told her your feelings about them?”

“I told her I didn't want to get one,” he answered finally finding a college basketball game.

“Have you asked her not to get one?” Kevin asked sounding as if it was the easiest thing. He didn't have to worry about dating, he found his love without a timer and now they had a child.

“So what, I'm just supposed to say 'Stephanie we've only really just met and the only move I've really made against you was a wet kiss when I bawled my eyes out about my dead wife but I really think we have something and maybe you shouldn't get a timer.'” Brian rolled his eyes, glad his cousin was over the phone and couldn't see him.

“Don't be a dick Brian,” Kevin reprimanded. “Of course you aren't going to say it like that. Maybe she feels something for you too. You haven't made it clear to her that you are in to her I gather from that little speech? You need to let her know you have feelings for her and ask her if she could maybe put off getting a timer to see how things go with the two of you.” Brian could now hear the chatter from the baby closer to the phone, Kevin must have picked him up.

“Just ask her not to?” Brian scoffed. He'd like to admit to himself that he'd though of that, but truthfully he didn't think he actually said those words to her.

“It can't hurt to ask you know. What's the worst that can happen? She says no and you are right back where you are now.”

Brian kept quiet, there really wasn't anything to reply to, he knew Kevin was right and ther was no point in arguing with the older man.

“Listen, I'd love to talk more, and if you feel you need to I will stay on the phone, but I need to get this lil guy down for bed. It's my night to give him a bath and put him to bed,” Kevin was now making noises back to his son, Brian could hear them. He didn't want to keep him on the phone any longer.

“Okay, you have a good night then Kevin.”

“Brian, just ask her okay?” And with that the two men said their 'good-nights' and got off the phone.

The next day Brian called Stephanie up and asked if she wanted to meet him for some miniature golf. He wasn't sure why he suggested golfing to have the conversation he wanted to have, maybe he was afraid that if he suggested somewhere more intimate she would be suspicious of what he wanted to talk about.

She was already twirling a club in one hand while holding another club in the other waiting for him as he walked into the park. She smiled and handed him the longer of the two and a dark blue ball. She pulled out a pink ball for herself and grabbed his hand, pulling him to the first hole of the course.

“I love miniature golf,” She said as she placed her ball on the green turf lining up her shot.

Brian stood back and watched grinning ear to ear, he too loved miniature golf, but rarely got to actually play.

“Oh nice try,” he called out as her ball skipped over the first hole and landed just off to the side. “I can see I will have my work cut out for me to win.”

He lined up his own shot and easily sunk it on the first ball. “Yes!” he cried out. He never got a hole in one, but he was not about to let Stephanie know that. “Easy peasy,” he laughed.

The two continued on for another couple of holes before Brian decided he needed to get what he wanted to ask her done with before he lost his nerve and they finished the course, parting ways.

“Stephanie, I wanted to talk to you more about what we discussed the other night,” he started seeing her shoulders slump slightly before she hit the ball down the course.

“I told you how I felt,” She went to move to where her ball sat but Brian grabbed her arm and pulled her back to the sidewalk and into his embrace. He pulled her closer and kissed her. This kiss had no tears, and it was firm. He wanted to know that he really did care for her.

“I like you too, Stephanie. I've felt for a while now that there could be more between us, that I'd like there to be more between us. Your talk about the timer crushed me, if you wanted a timer then maybe you didn't feel the same?” Brian's eyes held her gaze willing her to answer how he hoped she would.

“Brian,” she breathed out his name and leaned in to him, her forehead resting on his. “How I've longed to hear you say that.” She moved in and pressed her lips to his, he easily returned her kiss.

“Then why all the talk about a timer?” He couldn't help it, he had to know.

“I didn't know how you felt. I thought you were only hanging out with me as an ear to listen when you needed to talk about something you couldn't talk with one of the guys about. It broke my heart to be around you thinking I was only a surrogate, a cheap version of Sandra. I hoped you felt the way I did, but didn't want to chance it any more,” She shook her head.

“Sandra would never come here with me and play miniature golf. She wouldn't stay up all night and watch all of the Star Wars movies in order either,” He laughed remembering their marathon night. “I loved her, but you are definitely not a surrogate, you are not a cheap version of anyone, you are special and I want to get to know better.” He kissed her again, both of them laughing when they heard a kid nearby telling his mom about the people being gross and kissing.

“Don't get the timer,” he breathed out before releasing her. “It will be nothing like knowing for sure, but I can guarantee it will probably be more fun.” He smiled.

“I can't wait to find out if we are meant to be, without the timer.” Stephanie playfully punched him as she went back to her ball and easily hit it in. “Par!” she yelled out.

Chapter End Notes:

And that's all she wrote for Brian!