Emerge, Book One(The Evolve Series)(3)

By: S.E. Hall

“I’ll see ya at home,” he says as he walks to his truck.

I make quick business of showering and gathering my stuff, offer a half-hearted “good game” nod to the few teammates still lingering among the lockers, and begin the walk of shame to my truck.

The field lights give the parking lot just enough light for an eerie glow and I see him immediately. I knew he’d be somewhere close by; he always is. Sometimes still surrounded by the wolf pack by the time I’m ready, sometimes right outside the door…but always close by. To this day, I don’t take it for granted and it never ceases to amaze me how I feel a unique sense of appreciation every single time.

Tonight he’s by himself and has chosen to lean against the hood of my truck. With his arms folded across his chest and one ankle crossed over the other, there really isn’t a more comforting sight than my Evan. At just over six feet tall with a lean but solidly muscular build, shaggy brown hair that needs no product to look fixed, crystal blue eyes, and cocky smile, Evan Allen need only breathe to cause a stirring in any girl fortunate enough to cross his path. Throw in his football star status, navy blue letter jacket, and slightly shy demeanor and you’ve got every high school girl’s fantasy.

“Hey,” is all I say as I approach him, slinging my bag into the back of my truck.

Yes, I drive a truck, and play softball…not every high school guy’s fantasy. Not that I care.

“Hey yourself, bootyful,” he says with a smirk, obviously quite proud of the newest addition to his ever-growing list of nicknames for me.

I secretly love it and am never disappointed in what he comes up with, silly boy.

Looking around, I don’t see his jacked-up beast of a truck, which is very hard to miss, so I ask him if he needs a ride. He nods and puts out his hand for my keys…as if!

“My truck, I’m driving,” I tell him, even though it should go without saying.

“Not a chance, woman. You’re the worst driver I know, especially when you’re mad, and I’d just as soon get home alive. Hand ‘em over.”

“I’m not mad,” I huff, “I’m disappointed in myself…as usual.” I mumble the last part.

“Don’t talk about my girl that way, and don’t make me manhandle you for those keys.” He lunges for me, which I narrowly escape.

Smiling now, despite my mood, I concede and hand him the keys. I simply can’t resist the charms that are so completely Evan; those flirty blue eyes, framed by dark, thick lashes, and his crooked little grin as he spouts off those pet names would test any girl’s resolve. Not to mention, and I never will, but I really am a bad driver. Then again, Evan taught me how to drive, and I take satisfaction in knowing I can use that against him if he gets too cocky about my surrender of the keys.

Driving is one thing, but there’s no way I’m conceding control of the radio; he knows music is my escape. I know he’s going to try and talk about my epic fail, so hopefully he’ll take the hint that it’s the last thing I want to do.

I turn my gaze out my window, thinking about the game, about my dad’s disappointment, but also about nothing at all, when his willpower finally gives out.

“Wanna talk about it?” he asks sweetly.

I turn to him, roll my eyes and return my fascination with anything outside my window. The drive to our neighborhood includes a beautiful expanse of land, still untouched by society, nothing but wide open field and dark sky filled with stars. I try to pick out the brightest one, the wishing star, but Evan’s husky voice diverts me.

“It’s not worth beating yourself up about. It was one at-bat, not the end of the world. And yes, he still loves you.”

I hate it when he knows exactly what I’m thinking…or do I?

“Easy for you to say. Every time you walk on the field, you make the whole damn town proud, let alone your dad. And every at-bat I screw up, well, that’s exactly what it is; one more screw up. I’ll probably have to work through college, just to pay them to let me get splinters in my ass.” I say it with a little more bark than he deserves, and I feel somewhat guilty, but sometimes I don’t think he understands.

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