Pieces of Me (A Pieces Novel)

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Chapter 33 - Aldrich

I’ve finally figured out how I am going to give Danica, other than myself. But in order to do that, I need a little help from three very important people in her life. If they give me their help, or rather their consent, everything will be perfect.


Danica

I haven’t heard from Aldrich in days. Which is . . . fine? I can’t expect him to always be awake when I go to call him on Skype, or message his phone. The last thing he told me was that he would be working extra hard for the next week so that he can visit with a clear mind. I like that Aldrich wants nothing to get in the way of him coming to see me. But . . . I miss him. I need him. I need to talk to him to keep my mind at bay. Because, apparently, I have a wild imagination. And my imagination likes to play tricks on me. Creating worse case scenarios that end with me brokenhearted, or Aldrich dead. I know. I’m being dramatic.

I’m getting into the car with Danny. We are headed to a baseball game. And to meet his friend. Amethyst is at work, but is going to meet us later. I’m still a little out of sorts, not being able to talk with Aldrich. And it’s starting to show. I’m not sleeping well because I stay up super late and wake up super early.

“Not working,” Danny says as he pulls the car out of the apartment complex parking lot. “Danica, pumpkin . . . You’re withering away.”

“No, I’m not,” I protest softly.

“Yes, you are,” he reaches over and pinches my cheek. “You’re not eating and it’s starting to show. I am starting to see your cheekbones and your elbows are poking out. You mope and sulk in corners. I guess it is safe to say that you really are in love with the guy. He told you he was coming, and you know he’s working overtime to get here. Just sit tight a little longer. You’ll make it.”

I shrug and stare out the window. When we arrive at the ballpark, I can see the team players walking towards the dugout. I see Charlie there, talking to the players already in the dugout. There is a guy standing against the wall with his arms crossed, and baseball cap pulled far down on his forehead. Not that I can actually see his face from this distance anyway. He is tall and a little above average build. His white shirt and blue jeans are dusted with dirt, so I am guessing he was just sliding around the diamond.

“She’s here!” Danny announces as we approach Charlie. My brother turns and grins at me, pulling me into a bear hug the moment I am within reach. I hug him back, laughing softly as he tugs my ponytail.

“Sis,” Charlie says, turning me towards the team. “This is everyone. Everyone, this is my sister, Danica. Don’t get any ideas. Not only is she taken, but she’s off limits.”

I roll my eyes and shove my brother. I walk to the dugout and sit off to the side. Danny’s friend, I’m calling him Fresh Meat until I learn his name, remains hidden beneath his cap. And from the way his head is angled down, I am wondering if he has fallen asleep. Danny glances at me and then at Fresh Meat with a chuckle.

“Why don’t you go say hello to him?” Danny asks as he sits beside me.

“Aren’t you supposed to introduce me since I don’t know him?” I shoot back.

“Not when you might recognize me.”

I glance up and gasp, “What are you doing here!”

Fresh Meat pulls off the cap and grins at me. I jump up and throw my arms around his neck.

“I told you I was coming,” he replies, chuckling as he holds me close, surrounding me with his scent. I bury my head in Aldrich’s chest. Now I’m crying.


Aldrich

I hold Danica close to my chest as I pull us both down to sit on the bench. I murmur in her ear, chuckling softly. Her gentle sobs are proof to how much she has missed me. Danny and Charlie call the team to the field, leaving me to catch up with Danica. The plan worked better than I thought it would. The other night, right after Danica and I had ended out video-chat, I started searching flight schedules. I wanted a flight as soon as possible and my father helped me pay for it.

“Go after her,” he told me when I told him my plan. “Don’t let life here hold you back. If this girl is to you who your mother was to me, hold on to her. Don’t let her slip away.”

I was not lying to Danica when I told her I would be working a lot until I came here. I was working up until I left. My father gave me extra money, to ensure that I could have a good time while I am here. I spoke to Charlie first and then relayed what I was thinking to Danny. They helped me keep Danica in the dim parts of the plan until I arrived. It was Danny’s idea for me to appear at practice today. Danica’s reaction? Priceless.

“I missed you, moj slatki,” I whisper, kissing the top of Danica’s head as I pull her to sit in my lap.

“I missed you too,” she chokes, tugging my shirt, her face in my neck. “This is . . . s-seriously th-the best s-surprise.”

I lift her chin, making her meet my gaze. Her tear streaked, rosy cheeks make me chuckle.

“Happy tears, I presume?” I say, smiling softly as I use my knuckles to wipe them away. Danica only nods, so I go on. “My sweet, I couldn’t let another day go by and not be near you.”

Danica’s mouth quirks up and she leans forward, pressing her soft lips to my cheek. I tighten my embrace, wanting to bring her as close as possible. The sounds of baseballs hitting the ground, bats and mitts is in the background, which means the team, and coaches, are distracted with practice. Perfect opportunity. I cup Danica the back of Danica neck to bring her face close, and press my mouth to hers. The kiss is simple and sweet at first. But then, as need becomes too great, the kiss grows more intense. Danica sighs and her hands find their way to my neck. I move my hand from her neck and press the small of her back.

“You’re not really here to help out with the team, are you?” Danica mumbles, her fingers playing at the back of my hair.

“Mmm-mm,” I reply, shaking my head. “I have my car . . . want to go somewhere?”

Danica does not need any further prompting. She jumps out of my lap and pulls me by the arm in the direction of the parking lot.

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