Spinning Out(The Blackhawk Boy #1)(10)

By: Lexi Ryan

I enter the house, locking the door and enabling the alarm behind me. I’ll let Gwen know I’m back and then go to bed. I might be able to catch a couple of hours of sleep before Katie wakes for another bottle. If I’m really lucky, she might skip that feeding like she does sometimes.

Voices from the television murmur in the great room and I head in that direction, hoping to catch Gwen before she goes to bed.

It’s not Gwen but Arrow who’s on the leather couch. I stop before he sees me. He’s sitting with his legs spread, his elbows on his knees, the remote in his hand. ESPN is on the television, but he’s not looking at the screen. He’s hanging his head.

When I catch the name “Brogan” coming from the speakers, I look up and my heart breaks all over again. For myself. For everything I lost that night. But also for this powerful and talented man sitting helpless in front of me as he listens to the announcer.

“I’ve spoken with Woodison’s coach,” the announcer says. “He’s known Arrow since the young player’s elementary-school days. This kid was the kind you never had to worry about. He wasn’t one to party or drink or mouth off on the field. He was one of those rare finds—humble, hardworking, with a coachable attitude and the drive to be his best on and off the field. He knew what he wanted, and he was going to make it happen in all the right ways. But then his best friend, also a BHU player, was injured, and Woodison did a one-eighty.”

“It’s heartbreaking,” the co-host says. “And I wonder if it doesn’t speak to some weaknesses in our sport on the collegiate level. Do we talk enough about depression? What are we doing for players who have mental health concerns? Woodison was the last player you expected to see tangled up in hard drugs.”

“I agree, but whether we expected it or not, it happened. And now instead of preparing for training camp with an NFL team or for his senior year with BHU, he’s just been released from rehab and is going to spend the next six months on house arrest.”

“Any word from Woodison about his choices this last semester?”

He shakes his head. “He’s not talking to the press. Representatives from the school are saying he needs space to think about his actions and get some counseling.”

“Can we talk about what Woodison’s football season could have looked like if he hadn’t fallen down this rabbit hole? If he’d stayed straight and entered the draft?”

I don’t understand why Arrow’s torturing himself by listening, but I can’t handle another minute of their pseudo-empathy and exploitive speculation. I walk around to the front of the couch, grab the remote from Arrow’s hands, and turn off the television.

His head snaps up and his eyes narrow. “What do you think you’re doing?”

I swallow and shrug. “You don’t need to hear that.”

The corner of his mouth twitches with a smirk. “So, you’re not only playing nanny to my little sister, you’re playing nanny to me, too? Planning to tell me what I can watch on TV and when to go to bed?” He grabs the remote from my hand. “Thanks, but I’ll pass.”

“Arrow . . .” I search for the words as his grip tightens on the remote, his knuckles whitening, but the television remains silent and dark.

“I heard you were at the Pretty Kitty tonight.” He doesn’t look at me. He keeps those dark eyes focused on his hands. “My dad not paying you enough? You need another income stream?”

I lift my chin, my aching heart pounding, but I refuse to answer. It’s not my job to make Arrow like me again. It’s my job to take care of his home and his baby sister. “Can I get you anything before I go to bed?”

His head snaps back, and he glares at me. “You’re not my fucking servant, Mia. If you don’t want to piss me off while you’re working here, don’t try to wait on me.”

Nodding, I turn on my heel and head toward the stairs. I don’t know this man, this angry and hateful version of the boy who once held me while we watched the sunrise. I feel his gaze on me and desperately want to know if there’s any regret in it, but I don’t turn around.

It shouldn’t physically hurt to watch her walk away from me—God knows she’s done it enough—but it’s a punch in the solar plexus every time.

I grab my phone off the end table and power it back on. There’s a text from Chris, but this one’s just to me, not the group.

Chris: Keegan’s a fucking idiot. You okay?

I stare at the screen, trying to think of a casual response and coming up empty. I’m not okay. I’m so fucking tired, I just want to close my eyes and be done with this shit. But I don’t have the courage for sleep. There are too many demons lurking there. Too many questions and never any answers.

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