After the game, p.23
After the Game, p.23Part #3 of The Field Party series by Abbi Glines
She sighed. “Well, you two have been missed. Especially by the boy in my house. He’s not the same.”
“I miss him too,” I told her.
“He explained what happened. I agree with you. That’s not a life for a child. But only a parent can understand that.”
If only Brady could get it. “I just hope one day he understands.”
“It doesn’t have to be either/or, though. You can build your life here and he can go there. If it’s meant to be, the two of you will find a way. Acting as if being apart is impossible will only hurt the two of you.”
Bryony was snuggled up in Coralee’s arms. The sight made me teary-eyed. “How would it work? We would see each other one weekend a month? Talk on the phone? Those relationships don’t seem possible.”
Coralee leaned back on the sofa to get more comfortable. “They don’t work if the couple isn’t meant to be. But if you love someone you can wait forever. Each moment you’re together is special. You live for those times. College isn’t forever.”
I had no argument for that. If she was right, then we had a chance. The idea of life without Brady was too painful to focus on. I had been pushing it from my mind all week.
“He isn’t going to forgive me,” I told her.
She gave me a small smile. “Sweetie, he forgave you before you left the drive. But he’s hurt. He thinks he wasn’t enough for you. I told him this too, and he said he’d agree to anything to be with you. But he said you weren’t wanting to do that. I knew he was wrong. That’s why I’m here.”
He wanted to try. That was enough for me. This week was enough for me to know I would do whatever I could to make this work.
And One Day I’ll Say Yes
I walked out to my truck after school with the same heaviness I had carried all damn week. It wasn’t getting easier. I was growing more miserable by the day.
I’d started to open my truck door when I saw a small blue envelope tucked in my windshield wipers. Pausing, I reached over and plucked it out of the wipers’ grasp. Tossing my book bag in the car, I climbed inside and opened the envelope.
I miss you. Can we talk?
She hadn’t texted me. She’d come up here and left me a simple handwritten note. What did that mean? Did I still have a chance to save us? To keep her?
I picked up my phone and started to dial her number, then stopped. I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to hear her voice yet. Especially if she was telling me she was leaving or some terrible shit like that.
So I texted her. “Yes, we can talk. Where?”
The text came back within seconds. “The field.”
That was as secluded as we could get.
“Headed there now.”
I started the truck and turned it toward the road. Seeing her again was all I’d thought I needed every day this week. Now that I was about to, I was scared shitless. If she was going to tell me again how we couldn’t work, I wasn’t sure my heart could take it.
The drive to the field was short with me speeding. My anxiety and fear were coiling inside me and I was a mess by the time I pulled up beside her red Mustang.
She wasn’t in it, so I climbed out and headed for the center of the field.
I saw her brown hair blowing in the breeze as she stood among the wildflowers that grew in the field this time of year. She reminded me of a painting someone would hang on their wall. Everything about her beautiful. Inside and out. For a brief moment she had been mine. Or I had been hers.
She turned and her eyes locked with mine.
There were a million things I wanted to say, but they all fell away as I stood there looking at her. The girl who had changed my world. Been my strength when I hadn’t had any and shown me that life was about the good and bad times.
“I can’t live in Tuscaloosa. But I don’t want that to be the end of us. I can wait for you. I’ll follow my plan, but I’ll stay here and in Nashville until you finish college. You chase your dream and I’ll build mine. We don’t have to choose, Brady. We can each have what is best for us and each other, too.”
She sounded like she had talked to my mom.
“I was wrong to think you should pack up your life and move to Tuscaloosa with Bryony. She needs Lawton and the people in it. She’s secure here. I was being selfish. I can love you just as much in Tuscaloosa as I do here. Distance isn’t going to change that.”
Her eyes filled with tears, and she took a step toward me. This was what I wanted. Her close to me. “I do love you. I hate that you think I don’t.”
I sighed and pulled her the rest of the way to me. “I didn’t mean it. I was upset and scared.”
She curled into me and laid her head on my chest. “I can come to your games and during your off-season you can come here on some weekends. We can make it work. It doesn’t matter where you are. I will always love you.”
I pressed a kiss to her temple and closed my eyes. I would love her until the day I died. I didn’t question that. She was my piece in this world. The piece that completed me.
“One day I’ll ask you to marry me,” I told her.
“And one day I’ll say yes,” she replied.
For now, that was enough.
A big thank you to my editor, Jennifer Ung. She worked with me and my crazy schedule due to being pregnant while working on this book. With her help I believe we made it the best it could be. I’m very proud of how it turned out. Also I want to mention Mara Anastas, Jodie Hockensmith, Carolyn Swerdloff, and the rest of the Simon Pulse team, for all their hard work in getting my books out there.
My agent, Jane Dystel. She’s there for me when I’m having a hard time working on a story, when I need to vent, and even if I just need a recommendation on a good place to eat in New York City. I’m thankful to have her on my side.
When I started writing I never imagined having a group of readers come together for the sole purpose of supporting me. Abbi’s Army, led by Danielle Lagasse and Vicci Kaighan, humbles me and gives me a place of refuge. When I need my spirits lifted, these ladies are there. I love every one of you.
Last but certainly not least: my family. Without their support I wouldn’t be here. My kids who understand my deadlines and help around the house. My parents, who have supported me all along. Even when I decided to write steamier stuff. My friends, who don’t hate me because I can’t because my writing is taking over. They are my ultimate support group, and I love them dearly.
Britt Sullivan for listening to me rant, helping me work through storylines, and understanding how moody I can be when writing a book. He’s not only a wonderful father but a man that I am thankful to have by my side.
My readers. I never expected to have so many of you. Thank you for reading my books. For loving them and telling others about them. Without you I wouldn’t be here. It’s that simple.
After the Game by Abbi Glines / Romance & Love / Young Adult have rating 5.2 out of 5 / Based on47 votes