The Boyfriend Deal(38)

By: Charity West

“I’ll be in the stands cheering you on.” I smiled. “I wouldn’t miss it for anything.”

“Your parents going too?”

“Dad has to work, but Mom said she’d take me. She knew you wouldn’t be able to focus on the game if you were worried about me, so she’s babysitting.”

“Red, no one needs to babysit you.”

“I know.” I sighed. “She wants to see you play as much as I do. I’m just sorry your parents won’t be here.”

“I talked to Dad this morning on my way to class. He said he might start looking for a job around this area. He didn’t make any promises, but at least he’s willing to look. And, if they decide to stay in Tennessee, we’ll just have to go visit. Or invite them here for the holidays. I don’t know, we’ll figure it out when the time comes.”

“Did I ever tell you thank you?” I asked.

“For what?”

“That night in my kitchen, when I was falling apart and feeling sorry for myself. What you said really got to me, and it’s because of you that I’m here and taking classes. I was ready to give up and throw in the towel, but then I realized, if you weren’t giving up on me then maybe I shouldn’t either.”

“Red, I…”

“No, let me finish. I had thought you were a crutch and that I was depending on you too much. I couldn’t see you for the blessing you were. It never occurred to me that you were cheering me on, just like I do at your games. When we made that stupid boyfriend deal, I never realized what I would get from it. You’re my best friend, Tyler, and the man I love. You gave me all of yourself, completely and without reservation, and I can never thank you enough for that.”

“Red, I’m the one who came out a winner. I only came up with that deal so you’d go out with me. You were everything I’d never thought to reach for, the unattainable good girl. I’m the one who’s thankful. You took a chance on me, the bad boy, the player, and you gave me the opportunity to show you that I could be more.”

“I love you,” I said softly.

Tyler rose from his chair and knelt beside me, wrapping a hand around the back of my neck.

“Love you more.”

I smiled as he kissed me silly. I’d never been more grateful to that ridiculous boyfriend deal. What I had once thought would be the worst mistake of my life had turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

The End

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