Their Protector: An MC Outlaw Halloween Romance, page 91
And it was to chase your daughter around the cafeteria when she didn’t want to talk to me , I almost add.
I had been so distraught that Chelsea wasn’t returning my texts or calls, or coming to meet me at our spot, that I’d skipped class to catch her off guard at the cafeteria, where I knew she always ate with Taylor on Mondays before her philosophy class.
A lot of good my persistence did me. Apparently she thinks I’m a stalker, creep, and player. And now I’m in further trouble for trying to prove her wrong.
“But, anyway, I worked hard to learn the concepts and I did learn them,” I continue. “You can ask Christian. He helped me learn the method. I’m sure I aced the test, based on how he taught me a way to solve the problems that I had never known before. He said the professor taught it on the one day I was absent. And that way was simpler than I’d ever imagined.”
“Hmmm,” says Coach Thompson, rubbing the stubble on his chin. He’s usually always clean-shaven, so it must have be bothering him. In fact, he looks rough— like he’s gone one too many nights without sleep. “Maybe that’s because it was too simple.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Oh, Reynolds,” he says, with a long sigh and then a tsk-tsk-tsk of his tongue against the roof of his mouth, as if I’m a kindergartner he’s scolding. “Did you ever hear the saying, ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is?”
“Yes,” I tell him. “Of course…”
“And did you ever stop to think that certain people might be jealous of you? That they might want to destroy your success?”
“Are you saying that Christian…?”
“…is purposefully trying to sabotage you?” Coach asks.
I look at him, bug-eyed. He shrugs.
“I can’t say for sure,” he continues. “But I just think it’s mighty convenient that he supposedly taught you an easy way to ace a test that you apparently failed very badly.”
“But, why would he be jealous of me? He plays a different position, so it’s not like he’s missed out on opportunities by my presence, unlike some of the other quarterbacks. And I’ve been helping the team win games, which would just boost his prestige, I would think…”
“Reynolds, for someone who comes off as a tough badass, deep down you’re actually way too nice.”
I just look at him and blink, not sure what exactly he means or what to say back.
“You give everyone the benefit of the doubt,” he says. “There doesn’t have to be a specific reason someone is jealous of you. Maybe they just don’t like people who do better in life than they do. Maybe it doesn’t matter if the star player helps their team win— they still want to take that star player down, just for being a star.”
I nod. It makes sense, when he puts it that way.
“Sure, Christian wasn’t the quarterback, but he was the star player on the team before your arrival,” Coach Thompson continues. “I don’t want to disparage any of my players, but suffice it to say we both know the former quarterback sucked. So Christian was really the only one to shine, before you showed up.”
I have nothing to say. I’m dumbfounded. Coach Thompson is making some good points that I can’t argue against.
“And maybe it’s not even related to football,” Coach continues. “There could be something— or someone— else that Christian is jealous about.”
I meet his gaze, and he’s looking at me with an expression that says he knows more than he’s letting on.
“I wasn’t born yesterday,” he says. “And I have put a lot of trust in you, in more ways than one. I feel like you’re letting me down left and right, never mind whether Christian is behind it or not. You have to be smarter than this.”
I just gulp, and I don’t say anything to confirm or deny what I think he’s hinting at— that he knows that Chelsea and I were dating, and now we’re not. I wish I could explain, and even ask him what he thinks happened, to try to gain some insight into what’s going on in Chelsea’s head.
But I don’t want to confirm it if it’s just a suspicion he has. Maybe it’s a test, which could get me, or, worse— Chelsea— into trouble if I admit that it’s true.
And besides, that’s not even the most pressing matter at hand. I need to figure out what’s happening in Algebra and if there’s any way to save my ass.
I’m so overwhelmed at the possibility that Christian would do this to me that I can’t think too clearly about how to fix the problem of my failing grades. I don’t want to think that my only friend would shit on me like this, on top of everything else that’s gone wrong. The only thing going right is football, and that might be in jeopardy.
“So what exactly does this letter mean, Coach?”
“Well, I’m not quite sure. It’s just one exam, and even though it was a doozy of a failure, it’s not the end of the semester yet, so I think you might still have time to turn this around.”
“I understand, and I know I can do that,” I tell him.
“I’ve been looking around for a good tutor,” Coach says. “And I think that if I tell the dean you’re putting extra time and effort into this class, and that if you can really learn the right method— and not whatever crap Christian Lewis intentionally or unintentionally taught you— then we might have some hope.”
“Okay good. Thank you, Coach.”
“I’m going to try to talk to your professor and see if you can retake the test. If not, even if you can manage to get a good grade on your next test, so that it would pull up your final grade, then I think you might still be okay to keep playing.”
“Okay Coach, I can do that.”
“I hope so. Because you know what’s on the line here.”
He stares at me. I sure do know.
Our championship games and any postseason games, if we make it that far, don’t happen until the beginning of next semester. So if I get benched for bad grades or kicked off the team for bad conduct and therefore, breach of my contract, there’s no way I can play in the games that matter the most.
And if that happens then there’s no way I can get back to Huningdale, where now I want to be more than ever. I don’t have any friends here— only enemies pretending to be friends. I don’t have Chelsea. And if I don’t have football, I don’t have anything.
I also get the sense that Coach Thompson isn’t just talking about football. Although I heard Chelsea very clearly say to leave her alone, her father’s hints reveal that something further might still be able to exist between us. And I don’t want to screw that up, either.
Looks like it’s Operation Relearn Algebra for me. Whether or not anything can work out with Chelsea, I’d better do the best I can for Coach Thompson. And for my last chance to keep playing football. If I have any chances left.
Chapter 41 – Wesley
I’m sitting on the patio of the campus cafeteria a few days later, waiting to meet my new algebra teacher that Coach Thompson lined up for me. I was sure it’d be some nerdy dude with horn-rimmed glasses and a stutter.
But this tutor has a female voice. And when I turn around to face the voice who called my name, I’m greeted with something altogether different than the tutor I’d imagined.
She’s model-pretty: tall, slim, and with a smoking hot body. But she’s dressed a little inappropriately for a tutoring session, in a low cut tank top that reveals her stunning cleavage, and tight fitting short shorts that show off her ass.
I can’t help but think it’s nothing compared to Chelsea’s ass. She has a naturally curvy ass, with an hourglass body to boot.
While this girl is definitely very attractive, and I wouldn’t have hesitated to hit on her pre-Chelsea, it’s like Chelsea messed up my brain. Now I can’t even look at another girl without comparing her to Chelsea.
“Yes?” I ask again, incredulous that this could really be the tutor assigned to me. Perhaps she’s here for some
“I’m your algebra tutor,” she says to me, putting her hands on the table and leaning over, giving me a further glimpse of her ample cleavage. “I heard you were in need of some motivation in the… math department.”
“Uhhh, yeah, I guess,” I tell her, knowing that I sound like a damn idiot.
I’m sure she’s used to guys falling all over themselves for her, but my amazement comes at the fact that she’s been assigned as my tutor. Right when I’m still crushing on a girl who doesn’t even fucking want me.
Life can be so unfair.
“No one told me you looked like this ,” she says bluntly, staring me up and down.
My thoughts exactly .
Normally I’d be jumping all over the fact that she looks ready to jump all over me . But I need to stay on the straight and narrow, for the sake of my football contract.
Besides, I just don’t feel like pursuing anything with her. She’s definitely not giving me any kind of a chase.
And she’s definitely not Chelsea .
When I’m honest with myself, I know that the old me would have taken the risk and returned her flirtations at the very least. But the new me only wants to risk going out of bounds with one person, and that person doesn’t tutor math. Unfortunately.
“Well, let’s get down to work,” my new tutor says, and sits down on the same side of the picnic table bench that I’m on.
I look around. Everyone is staring at us.
The last thing I need is for this to get back to Chelsea. If I have any chance left with her, this obvious scene would totally blow it.
“Shouldn’t we, like, go to the library or something?” I ask her.
“Or maybe my house?” She looks at me through thick, long lashes she’s batting at me.
She even puts her hand on my thigh.
“Just kidding,” she says, and lays her head on my shoulder as she opens my algebra textbook with her other hand. “I think better when I’m outside. And I need more breaths of fresh air after finding out that my new student is a total stud .”
I try to scootch over a bit, but her not-Chelsea ass quickly follows.
“Okay, I know you’re a bright guy who can catch on to these concepts,” she tells me, as she points to a problem in the book. “And I know I’m just the girl who can offer you extra motivation to do so…”
She reaches her hand close to my dick, as if she’s about to grab it, and I practically slide off the end of the fucking bench.
“Look, umm…” I realize I didn’t even ask her name. “Miss.”
It sounds so formal, but I don’t know what else the fuck to call her, and perhaps formal is good in this situation.
“You’re right, I’m a bright guy,” I tell her. “And I don’t really need a math tutor. I just need to not let my supposed friend teach me the wrong way to solve these problems.”
“You need me for your football scholarship…” she sings out, in a gloating tone.
I stop in my tracks, realizing she’s right. What will Coach Thompson do when he hears that I ditched my very first tutoring session, which is part of the plan to save my ass?
He definitely won’t think I’m taking the plan very seriously.
“What?” she asks, sensing my weakness. “Do you have a girlfriend or something?”
“Or something,” I answer her, as I walk away. “Something like that, yes.”
I’ll just have to take my chances with Coach Thompson. I hope he’ll understand, even though I have no idea what to tell him. She was too hot to be my algebra tutor? She sexually harassed me?
I’ll figure it out. I just couldn’t stand that woman’s touch.
This is not the Wesley Reynolds I used to be.
What’s happened to me?
Chelsea Thompson has ruined me.
Chapter 42 – Chelsea
My growling stomach forces me to skip class— which I almost never do— and head to grab some food instead.
At least extreme hunger is the excuse I tell myself as I walk up the sidewalk leading to the cafeteria.
I haven’t eaten much ever since my last encounter with Wesley, and I’m finally hungry for once.
But maybe I happen to be hungry right now because I know that it’s Wesley’s lunch break. Maybe part of me wonders if he and I are really over.
Or maybe, I realize with horror, as I stop in my tracks, I’m just a glutton for punishment.
Because there, yards away, with his back to me, is Wesley, and he’s with yet another woman.
I can only see the back of her, and her profile as she leans over to whisper in his ear, but she is super beautiful. Even more so than the last one. And she’s obviously really into him, with her hand on his thigh and her head resting on his shoulder.
As she makes a move— in public, in broad daylight— for his package, I turn around and walk in the direction I was just coming from, as fast as I can.
I thought that a blow job under an abandoned amusement park ride was risqué, but this woman is obviously way more forward than I am.
I guess I was just one girl in a long string of girls who like to do forbidden things with the star football player.
I can’t take one more time of running into Wesley with random women. He might claim the last one wasn’t a date, but he can’t get out of this one. She was all over him. And she was gorgeous.
And why would he need to get out of it? I remind myself, hearing his voice in my head, from the last time we had talked.
If you could call fighting “talking.”
You two are over. You told him to leave you alone .
But we had never really started to begin with. Not officially.
It’s time I realize that not only were we over, we never had a real beginning. That’s probably my fault as much as his, but there’s no going back and fixing it.
Wesley was right— I have no right to try to stake a claim to him. We were just sneaking around having fun behind my dad’s back. Nothing more.
I’m so upset that I had gone and let myself have hope yet again. I can’t talk to Taylor because she’s in class. And she’s probably sick of hearing about my trials and tribulations with Wesley Reynolds, anyway.
I stop when I get to the duck pond. I’ve come here partly because I have nowhere else to go— my appetite is gone again and I’m not about to walk past Wesley and his Flavor of the Week to enter the cafeteria— and partly because it feels peaceful. Water always calms me down.
I sit under a tree, watching the ducks and the other students who are feeding them and tell myself to let it go. After my mom died Dad made me go to a shrink, who wasn’t very helpful.
But the one helpful thing she told me was that sadness and worries and all other negative feelings are just thoughts like any other thought. She told me that whenever I was stuck in grief, I should imagine myself sitting by a river and putting each thought on a leaf and watching it float by.
I try to do that now, with the bread crumbs.
My anger is a bread crumb being eaten by this duck. That duck is chewing on my sadness, while her baby duck is eating my regret.
Soon, instead of feeling relieved that I was able to let go of my negative emotions, I just feel bad that the poor ducks have them in their stomachs. They’ll probably get indigestion.
Chapter 43 – Chelsea
My phone rings, waking me up. I look around, startled.
I’m still at the duck pond. I must have fallen asleep.
I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights lately— even my mom’s teddy bear hasn’t helped resolve that issue— and I guess I was so exhausted that I just drifted off. I must have been here a long time.
That suspicion is confirmed when I see that it’s Taylor calling me. She went to two classes in a row, all while I was accidentally spying on Wesley and then sitting under a tree like Buddha. Unlike him, I obviously suck at meditating, so much so that I fell asleep.
“Hello?” I ask, tr
“Chelsea, where are you?” Taylor screeches through the phone. “Practice started half an hour ago and everyone is waiting on you to teach us the new routine that you came up with for the next stage of the conference championships. And I’ve been texting you ever since I got out of my last class, because I really need to tell you something.”
“I… I was sleeping,” I confess.
She acts like I said I was robbing a 7-Eleven.
“Yes. Sometimes I need to do that.”
“Are you okay? You sound upset.”
“I am upset, Taylor.”
But I’m sick of talking to her about Wesley. Just as much as I’m sure she’s sick of hearing about him.
“I guess upset isn’t the right word,” I tell her, more to get out of having to tell her about Wesley than because I really believe it. “I’m just exhausted.”
It’s true. I’m exhausted. And upset.
“Well, what happened?” she prods.
“Can’t we talk about it later?”
“Chelsea Madison Thompson,” she chides, sounding like a mother.
Not my mother— she was never the stereotypical nagging type. She was always understanding and supportive. But just like a mother.
“Tell me what happened,” Taylor says again.
“Look, I know I’ve been having a lot of drama lately but I swear this wasn’t my fault,” I tell her. “I wasn’t trying to find an excuse to see him...”
At least not consciously , I add to myself.
“To see Wesley?” Taylor’s tone changes, as if now it’s her turn to hide something.
“Right. I just ran into him. Like last time at Moon Howl Grill. And he was with yet another girl, just like he was then.”
I pause because I’m embarrassed to even be telling this story. But then I plunge ahead.
“Except this one looked even happier to be in his presence. I swear it’s like someone out there wants to rub it in my face that he sees all these other girls now. And it upset me. And I got tired. So I walked to the duck pond kind of accidentally. And then I went to sleep. Fell asleep, actually. Under a tree. Accidentally. That’s all.”