by Nicole Edwards
game. I’ve done that.
merely my skill on the ice. The team wanted me to be their captain. It’s an
honor, one I’ve done my best to fulfill. Although I can’t take all the credit,
I was there to lead when we won the Stanley Cup.
know I have let my fears get in the way. I’ve let down the team, even if they
don’t realize what I’ve done.
deserve it. I can deal with that. It won’t be easy, but I’ll persevere.
Austin Arrows series, but can be read independently.
chuckle, can’t help it. “Seriously. One or two? Can I possibly ask a dumber
bother waiting for a response. I know what the answer will be. Two. Always two.
Extra protein is never a bad thing.
plate, I grab my wineglass and head to the table. I’m starving because I missed
lunch today. That sometimes happens with my job. There are days that’ll go by
when I’m bored to tears, standing behind the bar, and others when I can hardly
stop long enough to take a breath. Sometimes I’ll snag some fried pickles if I
get a chance. Today was the lack-of-breath kind of day. Go, go, go. All day
my door. My bare feet squeak on the linoleum as I come to an abrupt halt. I
manage to do that fancy lift and tilt thing to keep my wine from sloshing over
small, two-seat table in my breakfast nook currently set up with, nope, not one
but two place settings. For the record, two is not a good number when the
single girl’s mom comes banging on the door.
their goal, because I am completely befuddled as I stand here debating what I
should do. To a normal person, it might be a no-brainer. Open the door, let the
’rents come on in.
pretend I’m not home. Which, with my luck, won’t work. The fact that all the
lights in my apartment are blazing and my baby blue Prius is parked directly in
front of my window doesn’t help my cause any. Since no one else in the world
drives a baby blue Prius, I can’t very well hide it.
lucky that they’d think that? It is a possibility. Maybe. Or, better yet, maybe
they’ll think I’m at the Penalty Box. I tend to work a lot.
spend all my free time at home—unless I’m at my best friend Ellie’s—it might be
an easier sell. They know me. I’m not the going-out type. Plus, they’ve
probably already stopped by the bar to see if I’m there. They know that I much
prefer a microwaved dinner at home, especially on a rare evening that I don’t
spend waiting tables and slinging beer because I choose to.
too much lately.
a cow any second now, I rush to the front door, unlock the deadbolt, and turn
the knob. Instantly, Marie Dexter barrels into me, pulling me into her arms,
crushing my face to her generous bosom.
makes me hug her back, despite the inconvenient timing of her arrival.
Dexter loves when Marie goes all motherly on me. Come to find out, when my
sister and I aren’t around, he gets to be the one Marie mothers. Not that he
minds. They’ve been married for thirty-six years, so he’s used to it, or so he
admire the floor-to-ceiling cream sheers hanging on the wide front window.
Always keeping me close, that woman.
than me, was an oops baby—which should’ve meant my mother didn’t coddle me
quite so much. That isn’t the case. Never has been. I’m not sure if it’s
because there’s such a huge age gap between me and Julie, but whatever the
reason, my mother likes to baby both of us equally. I’m thirty-four. You’d
think she would’ve toned it down by now. Nope. In fact, I think she might be
getting more motherly.
truthfully, I was the normal kid. The kind who wanted to do nothing more than
be outside. Yep, totally me. Right up until sixth grade, when we moved to
Austin, next door to the girl who would quickly become my best friend in the
world. Either there was something in the Texas water or someone injected me
with a doofus hormone, because upon moving here, I became stupid, which
translates to: boy crazy. I think my mother worried about me more then. That
lasted about two years. Three tops. When it became glaringly obvious that Tony
Something-or-other wasn’t going to fall madly in love with the short, frumpy
girl with glasses and braces, I decided to focus on my schoolwork and left the
flirting with boys up to my best friend, Ellie. She was much better at it than
and glasses. Sure, I’m still short, and my boobs never did really develop, but
that no longer bothers me. I’m me. That’s what matters.
unannounced all the freaking time. Of all nights, why did it have to be now?
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