Against better judgement

Kara-Lynne lives in New York City as a writer for People Magazine. Fresh out of college, writing for People has never been the job of her dreams. She's hardly given thought-provoking assignments and when Kara's given the task to publish a story on popular, pretty-boy and charming 'love expert' Ryan Barre, she expects it to be a simple assignment. However, she realises very quickly that things are far from simple with Ryan.

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12. Passengers

Kara woke up to the ringing alarm she'd set on her phone. Once she rolled out of bed, she put the pillows in their proper place and pulled up the covers but couldn't be bothered to tuck them under the mattress like they were when she first arrived. Her body willed for her to resume her nap (which was well-deserved after the kick-ass workout session she had at the hotel gym) but she'd promised Ryan and Will that they could come pick her up around 8. This meant she had half an hour to get ready. She spent the remaining 10 minutes lying on top of the covers, watching BBC and almost falling back asleep until her phone 'ding'ed. 

They'd be here in 5 minutes. 

The American put on her coat and a pair of well-worn Nikes then took one last look and patted herself down to check that she had her essential belongings with her, including the hotel room key card.

When she got to the lobby, she was greeted by two familiar handsome men with grins on their faces. Their joy was contagious as she found herself smiling too and was welcomed with warm hugs and a kiss on each cheek. 

"You look fantastic," Ryan complimented, not letting go of her hand as he took a step back to admire Kara's functional and simple but elegant fashion style. She usually wore what she found comfortable, very rarely indulging in the latest fashion trend.

Kara curtsied. "Likewise." He looked fitter than he did the last time she saw him. His hair was longer, a few locks touched his eyes and he combed them back into submission. "And Will, that's a nice sweater." She always found knitted sweaters, on most body types, were very pleasing to look at. 

Ryan walked beside her with Will a few steps back as they walked towards the car that was waiting at the porch. "Got all your business matters settled then?"

"Yeah. Just a weekend in London then back to New York." She swung her backpack to the front of her body as they approached the vehicle. "I call shotgun!" she announced, much to the amused laughter of the British men. 

"And 'shotgun' you shall have," the hotel valet agreed, grinning at the American's excitement as he opened the door for her. 

"Thank you," Kara said delightfully, slightly embarrassed. 

"Enjoy your night, miss," he playfully winked as her driver and the other passenger got in the car. Ryan shouted a 'cheers,mate!' from the driver's seat before pulling away from the hotel, the cool night air blowing through Kara's hair. 

She reached over to turn the volume up on the radio when 24K started playing. Since they were going to a pub, she thought it was best if she got in the party mood beforehand. Pretty soon, driver and passengers were fist-pumping and singing along, with Ryan at an exaggerated falsetto that had Kara cringing and crying of laughter. 

After a few more songs and the sharing of Kara's experience of how she sucker-punched a handsy guy who called her a 'bitch' after she politely asked him leave her alone in a club back in New York, the trio eventually arrived at their destination.

"I think I'm under-dressed," Kara muttered, noticing the attires of the people standing in line.

"You're fine," Ryan dismissed, gently placing his hand on the small of her back to lead her to the door. 

She hesitated, looking behind her shoulder at the slightly annoyed faces of people who'd probably been waiting a while. "We should wait in line, shouldn't we?"

Will chuckled. "The owner of this pub's our mate. We helped him out and now he has a fiance." 

She nodded her head, snorting. She smiled at the bouncer as the large man waved them in, a polite gesture which was hardly returned. Once they were in, the ebb and flow of the pounding music and claustrophobic crowd was almost too much to handle for the American who rarely visited clubs back in her homeland. Luckily, the boys had reserved a table beforehand and they were promptly directed to it. She plopped down on the seat and pushed her hair that'd stuck to her damp face. Before she could catch her breath, a stranger approached their table.

Ryan & Will met him with a warm embrace while Kara took his hand and gave a firm shake. 

"I'm chuffed that you all made it," he gushed after introducing himself as John. Middle-aged, decent-looking, friendly. He waved over a pretty waitress who took their orders and had a puzzled look on her face when Kara told her she'd like a club soda after John said their first round of drinks were on the house.

After their seats had warmed up, John excused himself to do club owner things, leaving the three of them alone. They started people-watching, discussing indications that an individual was genuinely interested in their partner or were finding people who would pay attention to them. Somehow, the discussion progressed to if passion or dedication was more important in a relationship.

"So if you were on a spaceship with someone you couldn't stand and you two were the last two people alive," Ryan took a sip of his drink, "do you think that it'd work out?"

Kara raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips while Will started his answer. "I think that out of necessity and the basic need for human interaction and affection, they would try and it could work for a while. Loneliness is like a death sentence. But," he held out a finger briefly,"' because their relationship was based out of survival, it wouldn't really work. Rather, it would have to work."

After a moment of silence, Ryan scrunched up his nose. "What are you on about?"

They laughed, possibly a side effect of their rising blood alcohol. Meanwhile, Kara formulated her answer. "I think it'd be like any real-life relationship. Take Chris Pratt and Anna Faris' marriage."

"You interviewed him once, didn't you?" Ryan interjected. Kara nodded, knowing Ryan was a huge fan. 

"He was great. Really friendly and funny. And I thought his marriage with Anna was pretty solid. At least that was what they were portraying. But their separation shows that sometimes no matter how hard you want it to work, it just doesn't. However, I think that sometimes relationships don't work out because the involved parties know that there is another option. Basically, it's not an either or." Kara emphasised her point with her hands. "Passion and dedication aren't mutually exclusive. They should come in a pair for any relationship to work. But to maintain it, I think dedication is more important because it takes a lot of investment to sustain a relationship with that particular person."

While the other two absorbed her reply, she started going over it in her head, feeling slightly frustrated because she knew she could have been clearer. 

Ryan's expression changed from one of deep concentration to a blank slate before he sighed, "before we start discussing if a soulmate actually exists, we should probably dance." He reached over to take another handful of the snacks that they'd been nibbling at before he stood up, patted his pants and showed off his dancing skills with a playful glint in his eyes.

Will rolled his eyes, chuckling. "You two go ahead. I'll take care of our drinks."

"Fine," Kara agreed, standing up and brushing the crumbs off her leggings. "Just promise me you won't embarrass me with whatever you were doing earlier," she pleaded.

"Deal," Ryan offered a hand that Kara accepted.

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