Right To My Wrong

By: Lani Lynn Vale

I stood on my tip toes to see his two brothers following close behind him.

Cormac was the ‘baseball’ player.

He was about a month away from starting his final season of baseball at ULM.

The University of Louisiana of Monroe was lucky to have him, from what I’d heard.

He was older than all the other players, at twenty five, having not started attending college until he was twenty one.

Cormac was six foot of lean muscle and sinew with black hair and a quick smile.

Their other brother, Garrison, was the same age as Cormac.

Although that’s about where the similarities ended.

Garrison wasn’t what I would call ‘cute.’

He was too mean looking to be called cute.

He had a perpetual scowl on his face that rarely could be seen through his bushy beard.

He was in shape, though.

Very good shape.

He’d have to be to keep up with the other two.

He was currently a high school science teacher and baseball coach for Shreveport High School, and probably the most feared man in the school.

I would’ve shit myself had I been sent to the office to have to deal with him.

But he really was loved.

He was a sweet man, from what little I’d spoken to him at Halligans and Handcuffs and here.

But my heart belonged to the man that came up to the counter to talk to me instead of grabbing his drinks.

“How ya been?” He asked.

I smiled at what I now counted as one of my best friends in the world.

“My car doesn’t like the rain. I think I need new tires or something. They wouldn’t grip the pavement for nothing,” I said, shaking my head and reaching behind the counter for a package of sunflower seeds I kept back there especially for him.

Dane didn’t like selling sunflower seeds.

I didn’t know why, and I didn’t ask.

But I bought them at the Sam’s store and brought them up here every day for him.

He smiled and shoved the package into his front pocket.

My eyes followed the movement, mouthwatering as I watched the front of his elastic shorts dip down, exposing the taut side of his stomach before disappearing once again as his hand came out of his pocket.

“Wanna play a game of baseball with us this evening?” He asked.

He asked me every time.

And every time I told him no.

Not because I wasn’t good at baseball, but because I was. Well, softball, anyway.

It brought back memories that hurt.

Memories of Lily and me when we were happy.

Before anything Bender related ever happened to us.

“What will you give me if I play?” I asked, surprising not just myself, but him as well.

“A ride?” He answered helpfully.

I laughed. “Why do you do all these baseball games, anyway?”

“Because it’s easier to see where Cormac is and keep him ready for anything,” he explained.

I wanted to roll my eyes.

“What you guys do isn’t what I would call a game. It’s a bunch of guys drinking beer, while the women watch from the sidelines cheering their men on,” I challenged.

He grinned, and his eyes glowed with happiness.

If times were different…if life was different…Sterling and I might have been able to pursue what I could feel between us.

But times weren’t different, and my life wasn’t all shits and giggles like Sterling needed.

I had demons.

I had so many demons that it was a wonder I functioned at all.

And Sterling deserved a woman that would stand by his side, make him proud to have his arm around her.

And I wasn’t that woman.

So I made a promise to myself, while staring at that smile. A promise that I wouldn’t drag Sterling down with me.

He wouldn’t get caught up in me and everything that floated around me like a hurricane ready to destroy anyone that entered my proximity.

“Regardless of what it is, I want you to come. I know you used to play. And we could use some new blood,” he said. “I’ll pick you up at six.”

I blinked as I watched him throw a twenty on the counter as all three men walked out only moments later, bickering about someone having the ‘hots’ for a woman that was way too straight laced to ever date him.

I had a feeling they were speaking about me, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Sterling didn’t deserve to have to deal with my crap.

Not even a little bit.

“Now that you’ve had your fun, how about you get your shit together and go clean the bathroom,” Dane ordered.

I smiled at Dane.

He was a great boss.

He knew I had a secret crush on Sterling.

Knew it and loved to tease me about it.

“What’s wrong with Allison doing it like she usually does?” I asked, walking around the counter to grab the mop bucket out of the storage closet.

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