Bring the Heat(4)

By: L. Wilder



Twenty-four hours later, I was put on the team’s disabled list and was told, not surprisingly, that I couldn’t return until my leg had fully recovered. Having no other choice, I returned home to start my rehabilitation. When I wasn’t working with my physical therapist, I was stuck at the house with my father.

“Tuck!” Colton shouted, pulling me from my daze.

Trying to shake it off, I gave him a quick nod. “Sorry, man. I got it.”

Grumbling under his breath, Colton left his position as catcher and stormed over to me at the pitcher’s mound. I knew from the expression on his face that he was pissed, and I couldn’t blame him. It was easy to see that I was distracted. His fists were clenched at his sides as he leaned towards me and barked, “What’s with you today?”

“Nothing.”

“You know, if you didn’t want to do this, then you should’ve just said—”

“I’m here. I want to help.”

“Then, get your head in the game and throw the ball,” Colton grumbled as he headed back to home plate.

“Just go do your thing. I’ve got this.”

Knowing I needed a distraction, my older brother, Colton, asked me to come help him out with his Little League team. He was a big shot lawyer who owned one of the largest firms in the area, and they sponsored a Little League team as one of their community service projects. Like me, Colton always loved playing ball, so he continuously volunteered to coach the team. When he asked me to help out for a couple of weeks, I considered telling him no. We didn’t always see eye to eye and tended to argue over stupid shit, but I decided to take a chance anyway. The walls were closing in on me, and anything was better than watching another episode of Wheel of Fortune with Dad.

I was actually feeling pretty good about my decision to help him out until my father dropped me off at the field, and I was hit with another damn curveball. The last thing I expected as I headed out onto the field was to meet a woman like Kaci. She was a firecracker, beautiful and full of bite, and from the moment I laid eyes on her, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. Her long, tan legs in those sexy cut-off shorts and her beautiful, dark brown eyes had me completely spellbound, making it impossible to think about anything except her. Damn. The last thing I needed was some chick screwing with my head, and it didn’t help one fucking bit that she was sitting in the bleachers just a few yards away. She was pretending to read some book she’d brought with her, but I knew her eyes were on me. I could feel them burning straight through me, and instead of focusing on the kid standing at the plate to bat, I found myself glancing over in her direction—again and again.

It was time to pull it together and stop thinking about the brunette or my brother was going to lose his shit. After taking a deep breath to clear my mind, I stepped forward and tossed the ball directly at the kid’s bat. He swung just in time and nailed it.

Surprised that he’d actually hit it, he just stood there staring at me. When I realized he wasn’t going to move, I finally motioned towards first base and yelled, “Run!”

He was quick on his feet, so Colton motioned him on to second as he shouted, “Attaboy! Keep going!”

Once he finally stopped and the ball was back in Colton’s hand, he tossed it back over to me. The next kid came up to bat, and when I noticed it was Kaden, I couldn’t help but glance back over at his sister. She stood at the fence and yelled, “Come on, Kaden! Bring him home! You can do it!”

I forced myself to turn my focus back to Kaden. Hoping he was ready, I threw it towards him; unfortunately, when he swung, he missed it by a mile. Kaden looked back at me with disappointment. “Remember what I told you. Bat above your shoulder. Feet square in the box. And keep your eye on the ball.”

I threw the second pitch and Kaden hit it, sending the ball sailing towards second base. The kids went scrambling after it as Kaden darted towards first base, and the kid on second made it all the way to home plate. Colton jumped two feet off the ground as he cheered, “That’s what I’m talking about!”

I looked over to Kaden and smiled. “You did good, kid.”

“Thanks, Coach.”

The rest of practice went without a hitch, and when Colton announced that it was time to go, the kids rushed to the dugout to grab their stuff. The place was a fucking wreck. Helmets, bats, and gloves were scattered everywhere. When the kids started to push and shove as they each tried to find their gear, Colton yelled, “Knock it off, boys! Those who have found their equipment—get out of the dugout.”

Noticing that Kaden wasn’t with the others, I looked around and found him standing at the fence, waiting for the others to get their things. I walked over to him and smiled. “You have fun today?”

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