Home > The Field Party #1 - Until Friday Night(3)

The Field Party #1 - Until Friday Night(3)
Author: Abbi Glines

“Let’s talk football,” Ryker Lee announced as he walked into our circle and sat down on the tailgate beside Brady and Ivy.

“I’d rather talk about the fact that you shaved your hair,” Brady replied with a grin.

Last year Ryker had been determined to grow out his hair and get dreads. I’d been surprised to see he’d cut his hair short the first day of practice. He’d gone with his family to visit his grandmother in Georgia, so we hadn’t seen him the last few weeks of summer.

“I got tired of it. I’ll have dreads when I play pro. Right now I don’t need that shit,” he replied, and ran his hand over his head. Looked like he was gonna say something else, but then he stood up and just started staring out over the field and grinning like an idiot. “Actually, screw football. I’d rather talk about who that is.”

I followed his gaze to see a face I didn’t recognize. She was standing just on the outskirts of the party near the rows of trees. Long dark brown hair hung in soft waves over her shoulders and the prettiest green eyes I’d ever seen looked in our direction. I let my gaze move down to her mouth to see perfect unpainted pink lips.

Then there was her body. Holy hell, she made a sundress look good.

“Don’t go there,” Brady warned. I wanted to look at him, to read on his face why he was laying claim to the new girl when he had one tucked between his legs. But I couldn’t stop looking at her. She seemed lost. And I was ready to go find her.

“Why, bro? She’s hot as hell, and she looks like she needs me,” Ryker replied.

“She’s my cousin, dipshit,” Brady snapped.

His cousin? Since when did he have a cousin?

I tore my gaze off the girl to finally look at Brady. “When did you get a cousin?”

He rolled his eyes. “You’ve met her. Like, years ago at one of my family Christmas things in Tennessee. She’s living with us now. Just don’t, okay? She’s not . . . She’s got some issues. She can’t handle you,” he said, then turned to look at Ryker and added, “or you.”

“I can help with issues! I’m fucking great at that,” Ryker replied, a big grin on his face.

I wasn’t going to say the same thing. I had my own issues and I needed an escape, not more shit to deal with. Besides, her issues couldn’t be as bad as mine. No one’s could.

Brady went on. “She doesn’t talk. She can’t. I only brought her tonight because my momma made me. I told her she could stay with me, but she refused to. She’s not all there, I don’t think.”

I glanced back at her, but she was gone. So, Brady had a beautiful but crazy, mute cousin. Weird.

“Shame. This year we get one new girl worth looking at and she’s your cousin and a mute,” Gunner said before drinking down the rest of his beer.

Brady didn’t like that comment, didn’t like it at all. I could see it on his face.

Gunner was right, though. We’d had the same girls in this town since elementary school. They were boring, superficial, and I’d slept with all the good-looking ones. No one was a distraction. They were all just annoying as hell.

Gunner stood up. “Going to get another beer,” he announced then walked off. Gunner was our security around here. If we got caught drinking, his daddy would have enough pull with the police to get us off the hook. I actually wondered if they already knew about it and that was why they never drove out this way.

My phone started ringing again, and my stomach automatically clenched. I quickly got it out of my pocket and saw my momma’s name on the screen. Shit.

Without any explanation to the guys, I just set my beer down and walked off before answering.

“Momma? Everything okay?”

“Oh yes. Just wanted you to know I left you some fried chicken in the oven to keep it warm. Also, if you could stop by the Walmart and grab some milk on your way home, that would be good.”

I let out the breath I’d been holding. Dad was okay. “Sure, yeah, Momma. I’ll get the milk.”

“You gonna be out late?” she asked, and I noticed her voice was tense. There was something she wasn’t telling me. Dad must be sick or hurting.

“I, no, uh, I’ll be home soon,” I assured her.

She let out a relieved sigh. “Good. Well, you drive careful. Wear your seat belt. I love you.”

“Love you too, Momma.”

I ended the call just as I got to where I’d parked my truck. I’d already been walking out, prepared to leave even before she’d asked if I’d be home late. It was all getting worse. Dad was hardly able to get out of bed anymore. Motherfucking doctors couldn’t do anything for him.

My chest tightened, and it became hard to breathe. This had been happening more and more lately. It was like all my fears grabbed ahold of my throat and squeezed until I couldn’t inhale.

Anger began to pump through my veins. This wasn’t goddamn fair! My dad was a good man. He didn’t deserve this. God was up there just letting this shit happen. And my sweet momma, she needed my dad. She didn’t deserve this either.

“Fuck!” I roared as I slammed both hands down on the hood of my truck. This was destroying all of us, and I couldn’t tell anyone. Dealing with sympathy from people who had no idea how this felt would be more shit I didn’t need.

A movement from the left caught my attention, and I jerked my head to see who had witnessed my breakdown.

The sundress was the first thing I recognized. Her curvy body filled it out just perfectly.

That girl was so lucky she couldn’t talk. She didn’t have to pretend for anyone. She didn’t have to say the right thing or act a certain way.

She tilted her head to the side as if she were studying me, deciding if I were dangerous or if I needed help. All that gorgeous hair and those full lips could certainly help. Help me forget for a moment. Forget this hell my life had become.

I shoved off of my truck and walked over to her. I almost expected her to run. She didn’t.

I inhaled sharply. The tightness in my throat had eased some. “You like what you see?” I taunted her, hoping she’d run from me. She didn’t deserve this; using her to ease my pain wasn’t right. And I was angry and couldn’t control my emotions anymore. They stayed so raw all the time. Just like everyone else in my path, she was someone I was pushing away for her own safety.

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