On the drive to our parents home, I had time to look back on the last few weeks and wonder how I got to this point in my life. I don’t blame anyone but myself for where I am or what happened. I’m responsible for my own mistakes.
This mistake is a doozy. I knew at the time it was the wrong thing to do. But I was in a slump and I needed help. I thought the people around me had my back. I thought I could trust them. I thought this was behind me. No you can never run from your past, just stay ahead for a while, eventually it catches up.
My life has been filled with plenty of highs. I’m a star athlete, I’ve been lucky enough to have a family that loves and understands me. They supported my decision to play ball and stood by me through every step of my career. I was an ace student, I studied and worked as hard on my classes as I did on my game. I graduated college top of my class. And my star soared.
We were taught to have a back up plan for sports. Dillon and I were major league bound and knew our careers could end in an instant with one bad play. I have a back up plan, I just never intended on having to use it. Last night, I knew it was more than likely my future.
All because I made two very huge mistakes in my life. The worst being that I got involved with Carla Dickerson. Actress, model, temptress and the current pain in my backside. She wasn’t always a horrible person. When I first met her in college, she was beautiful, smart and poor as dirt. I didn’t care, but she did.
Carla worked hard on changing her life. And I’ll give it to her, she changed, just not all for the better. Her looks carried her into modeling where her ego grew and her temperament was less tolerant of others. She learned to act, small roles here and there until her big break. At the foreign film festival she was deemed a star and that star rose.
I celebrated with her, her success and mine, although I doubt she even knows what position I play. From my spot on third base, I could look into the stands and spot my family cheering me on, and I could see Carla, making time with the big wigs in the suite. I knew she was never going to be the woman for me.
But we made an arrangement to support each other for those special events that we needed a date. More for her than me, I didn’t have a problem going to an awards ceremony, a red carpet, a night out without a date. I never went home alone. But then if I had some lovely lady on my arm walking out, I wasn’t going home.
Several times in the last few months I’ve grown tired of Carla’s games and attitude toward me, my friends and family. She looks down on too many people I care for. And I tried to call things off. Obviously, I didn’t try very hard. If I had I wouldn’t be in this predicament.
And then that night every athlete dreads came to pass. I got hurt. Not just an easy injury of a pulled muscle or concussion, no. I tore my meniscus in my knee and needed surgery. I was out for the season, possibly my career. And that single moment has changed my life in more ways than I expected.
Reaching over next to me, I lace my fingers with the best thing that’s come out of this injury. Kayleigh, my beautiful mystery woman who has made me see everything in a different light. She rocked my world the instant she spilled coffee on me.
Because of Kayleigh I saw who I was and didn’t like where I was heading. Because of the way she slowly, carefully opened up about the turmoil of her past, I’m learning patience and understanding. Because of this attraction to her that I can’t, and won’t deny, I’m closing the door on my past and finally facing my mistakes. A mistake that could end my career.
I insisted that she take this road trip with us. I didn’t want to risk her being alone and Carla going after her. She would hurt Kayleigh if I gave her the chance. I’m certain of that. I won’t subject Kayleigh to her wrath. So Kayleigh is by my side and nervous about meeting my parents.
“I should have stayed home. Nate, this is a family matter. I don’t think I should be here. Parents don’t like me.” I know why she feels this way. Bouncing from one foster home to another didn't give her the love and family bonds she needed growing up. She’s been alone too long.
“I need you with me. Don’t worry, my parents will love you.” I assure her, squeezing her hand and bringing her closer to my side.
Dillon looks in the rearview mirror at me and questions my motives too. My brother knows I’ve only brought one woman home to meet the family and that didn’t go so well. Not that this time will bomb. Nothing could have been worse than when I introduced Carla to my parents.
“How do you know that? I’ve been rejected by more parents than you’ve probably met.” Kayleigh doesn’t have the confidence in herself that I have in her. That’s something we have to work on.
“They’ll accept you because you're mine.” I know it’s more than that, but she isn’t ready for the rest.
We’ve known each other for mere weeks, but I feel closer to Kayleigh than I have to any other woman, besides my mom and Molly, my sister. We’ve talked into the long hours of the night or wee hours of morning. She’s opened up about her life and let me see who she is. The best part was she did this without knowing just who I am.
I never saw my fame or fortune as a hindrance because I always got exactly what I wanted. But not being recognized, being treated as just another guy, I knew Kayleigh was genuine in everything she told me. There were no games, no pretense, no excuse to escape. I don’t want to escape. I want her.
She’s not as certain on the matter. All I know is that everything is about to change and I need her by my side.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I’ve been staring at the back of her head for over an hour now. I poked her, tangled my fingers in her hair ‘on accident’, and sent her several text messages. Molly refuses to answer me or turn around. The woman is stubborn as a mule.
I’ve spent the last several years denying to myself and anyone else that my feelings toward Molly are anything more than friendly, sisterly. I’ve avoided being alone with her, I’ve left when I felt those urges to touch her creep into play. God knows, I’ve had more than my share of cold showers.
And somehow I still messed up. I let her fall asleep on me when we were on the last road trip. I held her all night, snuggled close in my arms and that armor I’ve built to protect myself from her cracked.
In college, it was easier to escape. I always had girls around me, plenty to choose from, many to keep Molly at bay. It worked most of the time. But there were moments where those other girls were replacements for the one I wanted most. Times where I would close my eyes and pretend the one in my arms was her. It never lasted and it never felt right.
I lost my footing in the last week. I did the one thing I swore to myself, to her brother that I wouldn’t do. I kissed Molly. One electrifying, hot as hell kiss that scorched through my body. Now I can’t look at her and not want to feel that again.
I’m a glutton for punishment.
Molly was the tag-along, little sister that the three of us tolerated because we had to. She wanted to be a part of everything we did. So she learned what boys like, the games we play, and watched us a little too well.
We taught her all about baseball, she was our batgirl for games, our personal cheerleader when we hit home runs, our pep coach when we lost. She was always just there, until one day I turned around and Molly wasn’t in pigtails. The braces were gone and suddenly she had curves. That day I noticed her.
She’s always had a short temper. She has that in common with Nate. The only person she seems to lose it with, is me. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. But I got her attention. I really got it with that kiss. Now I can’t think of anything else.
“Reese! Stop sex dreaming and listen!” Dillon scolds me, getting through my thoughts, and making me jump in my seat.
“What? I wasn’t, I didn’t go there! I just…” Well shit, I got caught. At least they don’t know it over Molly. Nate would kick my ass.
“Food, moron! We’re stopping for lunch.” Dillon looks over his shoulder at me. Mischief in his bright blue eyes as they connect with mine and dart to the little brunette next to him. He knows. He’s caught me too many times watching Molly or getting close to her to not see.
I’m not worried about Dillon. He’s the more relaxed brother. Nothing really bothers him, everyone likes Dillon, he’s just a friendly, easy going guy. I’ve been warned to not hurt Molly by him, but that’s just self preservation on his part. He’s encouraged me to take a chance but I’ve always refused.
Guess I’ve taken his advice now. There’s no going back. I got a taste of her, I can’t go back to before. She’s all I’ve been thinking about lately. I think it’s time to step up to the plate and hope I’m not pitched a Curveball.