Their Protector: An MC Outlaw Halloween Romance, page 89
“Okay,” she says, holding up her hands. “I’ll try to remember that. I just can’t help but give you my opinion and try to help.”
“I know,” I tell her. “And usually I appreciate that. I really do. Right now, though, I just need a hug.”
“Now that I can definitely do,” she says, as she keeps holding me tight.
Chapter 32 – Wesley
“And, he tosses the flying disc into the air for perfect victory,” Stan shouts, as a Frisbee whizzes just over my head.
Stan is a soccer player, and he’s in a science class with Christian and me.
“But his teammate fails to catch it, and they lose,” Stan finishes, as the Frisbee falls flat on the ground by my feet.
“Sorry, Dude,” I tell him, leaning over to pick up the Frisbee.
“Your head is not in this game at all,” he says. “Good thing you’re not playing in a football game right now.”
It’s only a silly Frisbee game, but I feel bad for letting him— and my team— down. We’ll lose bragging rights for sure.
But I can’t snap out of it. Even though Chelsea had seemed distant the other day and I hadn’t seen her since then, part of me was really hoping that she would show up.
I imagined her joining us on the field, running around in cute short shorts and a tight sporty t-shirt, working up a sweat and helping us win an amazingly important game of Frisbee.
But she’s nowhere to be seen.
“I’m going to call it a night,” I tell Stan, nodding to the other guys on the field.
“No Buddy’s afterwards?” he asks.
“Not for me,” I tell him. “Not tonight.”
The plan was for us to grab a beer at our favorite local watering hole after the game. But I’m too distracted, and I just want to be left alone.
I’m still anxiously looking up at any girl who walks by, thinking that maybe Chelsea did make it after all. But none of them are her, of course.
I’m losing my mind and I’d better get out of here before any of the guys can figure out what’s really up with me and start busting my balls about being hung up on some girl.
I’m not hung up on her, I tell myself.
Or at least, I won’t be any more.
It’s clear I should go back to my old ways. Being a player worked out better for me than getting too caught up with the idea of Chelsea. Even if she did want to date me seriously, her father would never approve of me. And it’s clear that she doesn’t want to date me seriously. Or even, apparently, at all.
I’ve never been stood up before— sure, I know she only said she’d try to make it, but she didn’t even let me know she couldn’t come— so this is a first. Letting my guard down for a girl was also a first. I’m going to be sure that that part never happens again.
Chapter 33 – Chelsea
I arrive late to the Ultimate Frisbee game, but I’m happy to see that the guys are still playing, even though things seem to be winding down. I’d spent the last few hours coming up with a new routine for our competition on Sunday.
In fact, I’d spent all of my free time from the last time I’d seen Wesley— and had to rush out after getting the text about Mandy— until now planning a new routine, with Taylor’s help. I’d made the team come later than usual for practice today, so that they could start learning it as soon as we’d finished it.
But it’s a disaster and we’re going to have to spend all day tomorrow ironing out a ton of kinks. I should be re-doing certain parts of the routine instead of coming to watch a Frisbee game that by the looks of it is already over. But I feel bad for running out on Wesley the other day and I want to show him he’s important to me and explain what happened.
I scan the field but there’s no sign of Wesley. Christian, either.
“Hey there,” says one of the players, obviously checking me out.
I decide, desperately, to snag this opportunity.
“Have you seen Wesley?” I ask him.
He scratches his head.
“The name sounds familiar, but I can’t place the face…”
“He’s a friend of Christian Lewis’,” I add. “They were both supposed to be here at this game.”
“Oh, Christian, sure,” the guy says. “And I know who you’re talking about now. Wesley. The new guy. Football player.”
He looks me up and down again.
“It figures you’d be here looking for him .”
I don’t know if he means that as an offense against Wesley or as an expression of jealousy and I don’t want to bother finding out.
“So have you seen either of them?” I press.
“They were both here earlier,” he admits, giving up his pursuit. “You might want to check Buddy’s. The plan is to go there after we’re done here, and some of the guys have already gotten a head start. Because technically this game’s already over. We’re just shootin’ the shit.”
“Okay, thanks,” I tell him.
At least he confirmed two things I wanted to know. Wesley was in fact here, and the place they’re grabbing drinks afterwards is Buddy’s.
It’s not somewhere I usually go— a college sports bar frequented mostly by frat boys— but it’s only a short distance away and I want to apologize for and explain my absence to Wesley.
I hope he’ll understand. I don’t want to mess things up further between us.
Chapter 34 – Chelsea
But when I walk into Buddy’s, Wesley isn’t here. Christian is, though.
“Hey Chelsea,” he says, not looking very happy to see me.
He’s with a couple of guys I don’t recognize. They must be soccer players. They were in the middle of hitting on the bartender when I arrived and I’m sure I’m cramping their style.
“Sorry, I was just looking for Wesley,” I tell him. “Is he here?”
“No, he didn’t come,” Christian says. “He decided to head home early.”
I look at him dubiously.
“You told him I was going to be late to the game, right?” I demand.
“Yes, of course,” he says.
I have a science class with Christian and I’d told him earlier today to let Wesley know I planned to be at the Frisbee game but that I’d be late, and if I wasn’t able to make it, I’d meet them for drinks afterwards.
When I’d asked Christian where they were going for drinks, he’d said Caddyshacks, another sports bar by the city’s biggest golf course. They must have changed plans. Which makes sense, since Buddy’s is much closer to campus than Caddyshack’s. So I’m glad the guy at the Frisbee game had filled me in.
“And Wesley just… left the game early and went home?” I clarify.
Christian shrugs, and gives me a look that says, Can you please leave me alone now?
I’m not sure why he’s so annoyed with me.
Unless Wesley is, too.
“It’s okay,” I tell him. “I’ll call him and explain what happened.”
“I wouldn’t,” Christian says, with a firm shake of his head.
“Well, he’s tired,” Christian says. “He’s been working really hard lately, and he needs his rest.”
So that explains why Wesley went home early. But I wonder why he didn’t call me to let me know.
The way that Christian says he “needs his rest” sounds like a cop out to me. A way to say he’s not interested in seeing you .
With nothing else to say, I just nod at him and head for the door.
“Thanks Christian, I appreciate the help.”
He quickly rejoins his friends at the bar.
And I’m left wondering what the hell happened to what I thought I had going on with Wesley Reynolds.
Chapter 35 – Chelsea
“So what the hell happened with what I thought I had with Wesley?” I ask Taylor.
I’d done my best to put Wesley out of my head and concentrate on our competition all weekend. Somehow the routine came together and my marvelous squad executed it perfectly.
Because we took first place at the State competition, we get to move on to Nationals. Now that the weekend is over, it’s time for me to figure out what’s going on with Wesley and me.
“I don’t know,” Taylor answers, as she takes a bite of gelato ice cream. We’d walked to a place off campus, to enjoy the remainder of the sunny day and to feel carefree for once. “But why didn’t you just ask him ?”
I shrug, and blush.
“I know that seems like the obvious thing to have done,” I tell her. “And I did consider calling him even though Christian had told me not to. But I didn’t want to be that girl, you know?”
“You mean one who speaks her mind?” Taylor laughs.
“Very funny. I just didn’t want to annoy him.”
“I understand,” Taylor concedes. “And the weird thing is, why didn’t he call you ? He knew you had said you would be at the Frisbee game or at the bar afterwards, and then he just went home, without even telling you that the plans for where to meet had changed, or that he’d decided not to go for drinks anyway.”
“Yeah. I mean, clearly he didn’t want to talk to me. And it gets worse…”
Taylor looks at me with anticipation, but I immediately regret having brought it up. I feel too stupid to even confess to Taylor how bad things are between Wesley and me.
He must have never really liked me at all. I should have listened to her from the beginning, and not had sex with him.
“What?” she asks, a look of concern in her eyes.
I eat my gelato, wishing we could both forget all about it.
“Come on, Chelsea. Tell me. You know I’m here for you.”
“You were right,” I burst out, trying my best not to cry. “He’s just a player. He just wanted to fuck me and forget me.”
“Woah,” she says, getting up and putting her arm around me. “That’s not true. I know there’s a real connection between you guys. I saw it, at the cabin.”
“Well, maybe there was, but there isn’t anymore. It’s over.”
“How do you know?” she asks.
“Because I texted him earlier today and asked him to meet me at our spot at the pool. And he didn’t. He wasn’t there.”
“Well maybe he…”
I can almost hear Taylor’s brain ticking as fast as mine had been, trying to come up with some plausible reason he would stand me up, and not even answer my text.
“He didn’t have football practice,” I tell her, before she can suggest that. “I know from my dad that the football team had off today too. They have half a week off from games and practices, to rest up and get ready for the second half of the season.”
“Well, I guess it isn’t looking good,” Taylor says. “But maybe there’s some explanation…”
But just then, I see something that seals the deal.
I grab Taylor’s arm and nod in the direction of the bar and grill across the street, where Wesley is pulling out a chair for someone, as they sit down to eat on the patio. And that someone is a girl I’ve never seen before.
She’s beautiful. Tall, fit, curvy in all the right places. And Wesley is gazing at her as if he adores her.
“I guess that solves that mystery,” Taylor says, but then her joking tone turns serious. “But I’m sorry, Chelsea. Really, I am.”
I stand up to leave, choking back tears, but also feeling furious.
“Let’s just go,” I tell her. “You can finish your gelato on the way home, right?”
I start walking in the opposition direction of the bar and grill, before Wesley can see me.
“Sure,” she says, hurrying after me and holding onto her plastic bowl of gelato. I dump mine into the trash can, suddenly having lost my appetite.
I know that if I stay here, I’ll either cry and look like an idiot out of sadness, or I’ll go over there and confront Wesley out of anger. Both options would create a big scene, and I just want to go home.
Back to my life before Wesley Reynolds.
Before I thought I had finally found love.
Chapter 36 – Chelsea
“How was your day off from practice?” asks my dad, when I get home.
He’s freshly shaven and had been humming a little song to himself while he applied gel to his hair. He must be seeing Taylor’s mom tonight. It’s funny that he still acts like a teenager whenever he’s going on a date.
I try to look convincing as I fake smile and say, “It was great, Dad.”
In truth, I wish that there had been practice today so that I wouldn’t have had to run into Wesley. But at least I know the truth now. I know exactly what kind of guy he is.
I head right to my room because I can’t stand being around happy people when I’m in a bad mood. And I don’t want my dad to ask me any more questions or become suspicious of why I’m so upset.
Even though I hate Wesley Reynolds, I’m not out to ruin his football career. I just hope he has bad karma, and one day realizes what a catch I am and how he shouldn’t have just thrown me away like this.
I try to do some English homework but my mind isn’t in the right place to write a short story right now. So then I plod through some math. While it’s easier to think logically than creatively in my mental state, I really can’t concentrate on much at all.
Finally, I decide to go to bed. I get under the covers and hug the teddy bear I’ve had since I was a little girl. I know it’s ridiculous, but my mom gave it to me and it makes me feel closer to her to hold onto it when I’m having a particularly shitty day.
Tonight I squeeze it extra tight and say, “Well, Mom, I sure wish you were here to help me out of this mess I got myself into.”
Suddenly, my phone lights up with a text. Thinking that it’s Taylor trying to console me one more time before bed, I turn over and look at my phone.
It’s from Wesley, and he’s responding to my earlier text about meeting him at our spot at the pool since neither of us had practice today. What a pathetic, needy text, that I never should have sent.
Sorry I couldn’t make it today , his text says. Something came up. Didn’t have my phone and just saw your text. Let’s meet tomorrow maybe?
I sigh in disgust and forward it to Taylor with my own commentary:
How did I fall for such an arrogant player?
Something came up, all right. He’s probably still with that other girl right now, but trying to keep me on the back burner by texting me. What did I expect? I was so dumb to think it’d be different with me.
Taylor shoots back a quick: What a jackass. I’m sorry, hon. Let’s go out this weekend and forget about him.
I smile at her continued attempts to cheer me up. At least I have Taylor.
But as I sink back down into my pillow, I finally let myself cry. I hold onto the bear from my mom, which is no substitute for her, but it’s all I’ve got.
I think about Taylor’s “motherly role” in my life, which is the next best thing, but a very far second in terms of actually having my own mother to talk to the first time I fall in love, the first time I have sex, the first time I get my heart broken.
All of which I did with awful Wesley Reynolds, of all people.
I resolve to toughen up, and never let him know how much he got to me.
And to never give any other guy the chance to hurt me again.
Chapter 37 – Chelsea
I stare at the options offered by the campus cafeteria, but everything looks like dog doo. It’s been a week since I saw Wesley with the other girl, but I still haven’t gotten my appetite back.
I’m pondering whether the baked potato or chicken salad would be more palatable for the few bites I
“Hey there,” he says, with a confident grin on his face.
I can’t believe the nerve of this guy.
I turn around and walk away from him, glad that I’m not actually hungry and don’t need the food I was about to order.
I still can’t believe I fell for such an arrogant player. And that he’s still not giving up.
I hadn’t answered his text. I hadn’t shown up at our spot at the pool. And I hadn’t so much as glanced in his direction during practices.
You’d think he’d take the hint. But I guess I’d just made him want to chase me that much harder, in pursuit of yet another cheap thrill. That’s how guys like him work, I’m sure.
“Chelsea?” he says, in a concerned tone of voice, as he follows after me. “Are you alright? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong,” I say, keeping my tone completely calm. “I just don’t want to talk to you.”
I can’t afford to break down in front of everyone. I look around, wondering who will see my embarrassing display of tears if this asshole makes me cry again.
“I know this isn’t our approved spot,” he says, looking around and lowering his voice to a hushed whisper as he continues walking after me.
He follows me through the doors leading from the cafeteria to the student lounge.
“But I don’t care. I need to talk to you and see why you’ve been ignoring me. And I don’t give a fuck who sees us.”
“Well I do,” I shoot back, trying not to reveal my anger.
Why is he so intent on making such a big deal out of the fact that we can’t be seen together, now that we’re over anyway? He must just like to rub it in my face that his latest conquest was the coach’s forbidden daughter.
But I don’t care anymore. I don’t want to feel embarrassed, or upset, or anything at all in front of other people and especially not in front of him.