My dick goes flaccid as I fold up the shirt and put it back in the closet. And then I take a shower, washing all thoughts of my past, and any future, down the drain.
Rylee opens the door to the PT room. “I’m ready for you.”
I study her face as I walk by. I don’t want this to be awkward. She smiles at me letting me know we’re good.
I see Alex in the room working on another player. He stops what he’s doing and looks up at me. He’s been jealous of me from day one. Rylee and I have gotten along well from that very first appointment. That’s nothing new. I’ve even had the same experience with other PTs who are men. Well, not exactly the same experience. But sometimes you get stuck with someone who you can barely hold a conversation with because you just don’t click.
“Did you have a nice weekend, Rylee?” I ask with a raised brow just to mess with Alex.
“I did. It was fun.”
“I’m glad to hear it. What did you do?”
She widens her eyes as if to scold me.
She thinks about my question for a beat. “Saw some wild animals.” Then she shrugs nonchalantly. “Even fed one of them.”
I can’t control my outburst of laughter because I know damn well we weren’t allowed to feed anything at the Big Cat Rescue.
Alex walks by, eyeing what he thinks is his competition as Rylee sets me up to work with the bands attached to the wall. When he takes his patient into the other room, Rylee says, “Stop it.”
“Oh, come on. You know what you’re doing.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, Ry, that guy wants you.”
“Doesn’t matter. It’s against the rules.”
I raise a brow at her.
She rolls her eyes. “It was a one-time thing, Brady,” she whispers. “It’s not going to happen again.”
“You had fun feeding the animals, didn’t you? Especially the barracuda.”
She looks around the room to make sure nobody has walked back in. “It was a lot of fun, but you and I both know it shouldn’t have happened. We each have things we need to accomplish – important things – to keep our careers on track.”
She directs me to try the stronger band since this one has gotten too easy for me.
“All work and no play will make Rylee a sad girl,” I tell her when she settles back in at her laptop.
“I can play later. After I’ve accomplished my goals.”
I blow out an acquiescing breath. “Fine. No more feeding the beast. So what would you suggest we do on Friday instead?”
She looks up from her laptop. “No way. No more Friday nights.”
I smile. “You don’t trust yourself with me, do you?”
“It’s not that,” she says. Then she shakes her head. “Well, maybe it’s a little that. I just think we should keep things professional, that’s all.”
“I think I’m going to have to change your mind.”
“You can try. But ask anyone, I’m pretty stubborn.”
“Nobody likes a challenge more than I do,” I say with a wink.
“Not happening, Taylor. In fact, the only way I would hang out with you again is if we had a chaperone.”
I laugh. Yeah, she wants me baaaaaad. “We’ll see, Kennedy.”
“Did you get to see your teammates yet?” she asks, changing the subject.
“They flew in last night. I had drinks with Caden and Sawyer. Hey, you should go to the game tonight.”
“Have you not listened to anything I just said, Brady? I’m not going out with you.”
“Not with me. I’ll be sitting in the dugout.”
“Oh, right. Sorry.”
“Surely you have someone you can enjoy the game with.”
Her face lights up. “Actually, I do.”
Suddenly, I’m sorry I said anything about it. I was thinking she could go with a friend. A girl friend. But that look on her face has something gnawing at my gut.
I shut up about it for the rest of my session. When I know we’re winding down for the day, I tell her what’s been on my mind since last night. “I want to start throwing.”
“Brady.” She looks at me like my mom used to when I’d ask for a second slice of cake.
“Come on, Ry. I know my hand sucks. But I need to start throwing.”
“It’s barely been four weeks since your surgery.”
“Exactly,” I say. “You need to push me, Rylee. You need to push me harder than you push anyone else. I can take it.”
She takes a minute and looks at some data on her laptop. “I’ll tell you what,” she says, hooking me up to the TENS. “You impress me this week and then we’ll see about it next Monday.”
“I thought I already impressed you on Friday.”
“Don’t get cocky,” she says.
“I did that with you on Friday, too.”
I love her laugh.
“You’re incorrigible,” she says.
Alex finishes with his client and sits at a nearby desk. “So, the team’s in town,” he says to me.
“Yeah. Thank God. I’ve been bored as shit.”
“I’ll bet,” he says, eyeing me skeptically. He thinks I’m a douchebag. I’ve heard him make more than a few comments to Rylee about my extra-curricular activities when he didn’t think I could hear him. Or maybe he did. I get it though, he’s trying to protect her. Or fuck her.
Then he turns to Ry. “Maybe we should go. You know, show some support. How about it?”
Holy shit. The asshole is asking her out right in front of me.
Rylee looks more than a little uncomfortable. “Thanks, Alex. It’s a good idea, but I already have plans.”
“Plans with Stryker?”
I tense up. Rylee tenses up. It’s as awkward a moment as we’ve had together.
“No, uh, can we not talk about that?” Rylee says, shooting Alex a punishing stare. “I like to keep my personal life out of the therapy room.”
“Of course,” Alex says, having the decency to look like he feels bad for being so unprofessional. “I’m sorry.” He picks up his laptop and takes it into one of the offices.
Rylee looks anywhere but at me. I’m not sure if I should be pissed or impressed. I mean, who says guys are the only ones who can play around? Maybe Murphy was right. Maybe I’ve met my match. I just wonder how many more Strykers are out there. And does she take all of them to see the fish and the big cats and the streetcars?
And really - his name couldn’t be Bob or Jim? Fucking Stryker. He’s got a baseball name. Maybe he’s a player. Maybe he’s on the single-A team. Maybe she dates players after all. Maybe Rylee Kennedy has a boyfriend. Shit.
“I assume you want a massage today?” she asks, seeming to be in a better mood now that Alex has left the room.
Stupidest. Question. Ever.
“Haven’t turned one down yet, have I?”
“Climb on up,” she says, motioning to the training table behind me.
I lie on my back, watching her open the jar to get the greasy stuff that makes her hands glide effortlessly over my neck and shoulders. The anticipation is almost painful. I’m getting hard before she even touches me.
She starts working on my neck, but then stops abruptly. Five seconds later, she tosses a hand towel onto my tented sweatpants. “Maybe you should think about wearing jeans next time.”
I chuckle, arranging the towel over my growing erection. I extend my neck and look up at her. “I can’t help it, Ry. I know what your hands feel like on me. I know what they feel like on every part of me.”
She uses her fingers to force my head back into position so that I’m not looking at her. Then she proceeds to give me a massage unlike any other. She may claim she doesn’t want to see me again, but her hands tell me a much different story than her words.
~ ~ ~
Being back in the dugout is bittersweet. All the guys are trying their best to make me feel welcome. But it’s still uncomfortable as shit knowing I’m not going out on that field. Knowing I have to stay in the dugout – useless and damaged.
I look down at my arm and run my right hand along a line from my elbow to my thumb. Sometimes it burns or tingles when I do it, but I don’t mind, at least I’m feeling something there. I know it’s only been a month, but I expected to get the feeling back in my fingers. I thought maybe the doctors were wrong, or that once my elbow started to heal, my nerve would heal right along with it. I’m trying to stay positive. I keep telling myself these things take time. And I’m reminded around noon every Monday through Friday that I am making progress even though it may not seem like it.
Still, I see the way the guys look at me. They all know it’s more than just a simple bone break. They know I won’t be back for the playoffs, something I might have managed if I were dealing with simply a fracture.
I pull the stress ball out of my pocket. It goes with me everywhere. When I’m not squeezing it, I’m stretching rubber bands between my fingers, or I’m using the hand grip.
I watch Caden give the signs to Cole, the pitcher he’s been paired with the most in my absence, and it feels like I’m the other-fucking-woman. They work perfectly together, just like we used to. And when Caden calls time to approach the mound, they even laugh. Just like we used to.
After the inning, Caden removes his gear and sits next to me. “Cole’s good. One of the best,” he says to me privately. “But he’s not you.” He pats me on the back and then gets up to find his batting helmet.
I stand up and go to the railing, resting my elbows on it as I peer into the stands. I miss this so badly it hurts. I miss the fans. I miss the field. I miss the camaraderie we have as a team. I miss the good times with my best friends.
But despite all that, I find myself looking around at the crowd, wondering if Rylee is out there. And for the first time, I realize that when I leave here in a month, there is something else I might miss, too.
***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com