Home > The Secrets You Keep (Blurred Lines)(3)

The Secrets You Keep (Blurred Lines)(3)
Author: Tracy Lorraine

“Thank you,” I breathe, more grateful for them than I could ever put into words.

Happy that I’m okay, the three of them disappear, and after checking that I’m not going to freak out again, Ella heads through to her room as well.

I wash my hair and scrub every inch of my body while my thoughts linger on the Panthers’ new graduate assistant football coach.

Tristan Carver has been…

Hell, he’s been my rock over the past five years.

He used to be my brother’s best friend. The boy who would spend every single waking hour possible at our house hanging out with Roman and, in turn, driving me insane.

They were three years older than me and thought they were so freaking cool.

I mean, I guess it was easy to tell themselves that when they were easily the two most talented players on our high school football team. They had girls hanging on their every word almost from as early as I can remember.

I literally thought he was the single most irritating person on the planet, behind my brother of course, until I was about thirteen.

Something happened then, because suddenly, his presence had a very different effect on me.

He was no longer an annoying and disgusting boy, and I no longer wanted to get as far away from him whenever he came to hang out with Roman as physically possible. I wanted to do anything I could to monopolize his time, to get his attention.

It’s just a shame he didn’t see me the same way. I’ve always been Roman’s little sister. And I’m pretty sure I always will be.

I blow out a sigh as I turn the water off and reach for the towel.

But then, he became everything to me. Literally.

I have no idea how I would have survived everything if it weren’t for him.

I wasn’t his responsibility. I was just his best friend’s little sister.

But he took his role seriously, and he’s held me up and attempted to put me back together more times than I can count over the past few years.

Even while he was away playing during the past eighteen months, he was always at the other end of the phone when I needed him.

I pad through to my bedroom after cleaning my face and teeth and drop onto the edge of my bed still wrapped in my towel.

Unable to stop myself, I reach for my cell and find our conversation from yesterday.

Violet: Are you all ready for tomorrow?

 

 

2

 

 

TRISTAN

 

 

I slouch back in my chair, my eyes burning from spending the entire day with my head in textbooks.

I knew becoming a student again after two years out was going to be hard work. And I’m not stupid—doing a graduate degree while also being an assistant coach for the Panthers was never going to be a walk in the park—but shit, classes haven’t even started yet and I can’t help feeling like I’m already behind.

An exhausted groan falls from my lips a beat before my cell buzzes against my desk.

Other than my bed, it’s the only bit of furniture I have in my apartment. It seemed way more necessary than a couch, seeing as the only things I’m going to be doing while here are working or sleeping.

Reaching for where I left it face down in the hope I wouldn’t get distracted by my notifications, I stare at the message, a smile twitching at my lips.

That is, until I catch sight of my background.

I should have changed it already. But I can’t.

I might have made the decision to walk away from the dream I’d had since I could barely walk, but it still pains me to know I have.

I had everything. Every little boy’s ultimate goal.

Yet, here I am. A student at MKU once more, starting over.

I stretch my leg out. It still aches, and I fully expect it to for quite a while yet. There’s nothing to say that I won’t make a full recovery and that I could have stepped back out on the field and continued my career. But something just felt wrong about sitting around, waiting for the chance.

Home was calling, and so was a certain curvy brunette that really shouldn’t factor into any of my decision making.

But even knowing that, she’s always there, up in my head like she’s always been.

I tell myself for the millionth time that it’s because I made my best friend a promise. And at the beginning, that was true.

But all these years on… I’m finding it harder and harder to tell myself that lie.

Swiping the screen, I open the message. Just like always, I feel like a virgin schoolboy, not a twenty-four-year-old ex-NFL player when I stare at the little thumbnail of her profile picture.

My smile finally breaks free when I read her words, and I immediately begin tapping out a reply, wincing with a barefaced lie.

Tristan: Yep, I’m more than ready. MKU doesn’t know what’s about to hit them.

 

 

The little dots start bouncing instantly, and those dumbass butterflies in my belly only party harder.

Pip: Good to know that your ego is as large as ever. We still on for lunch?

 

 

I can’t help but laugh at her comment.

Tristan: Would I cancel on my best girl? I’m only going to manage about thirty minutes though, that going to be enough?

 

 

A rush of adrenaline shoots through my veins at my innuendo. When I was away, our messages were a bit of fun to break up the monotony of traveling and all the less-than-desirable things that come with life on the road during a heavy season.

I should have reined them in when I made the decision to return to her life permanently and not just be this friend on the other end of the phone.

But then again, I probably shouldn’t have done a lot of things I have. And a little innocent flirting with a girl I can’t have doesn’t seem all that dangerous in the grand scheme of things.

Pip: I’m not sure… I do prefer having a nice, long, slow… lunch…

 

 

“Jesus,” I mutter, reaching down to rearrange myself when things start to get a little tight.

Yeah, so it’s been a while, despite my reputation and the shit the journos like to spread about me. So long, in fact, I’m getting fucking hard over a text and a thumbnail picture.

Classy, Tris. Real fucking classy.

Tristan: Oh yeah? I had you down as more of a quickie kinda girl.

 

 

I regret it the second I hit send.

“Fuck. You fucking moron.”

But not one to be deterred by my terrible game, she immediately starts typing again.

Pip: I don’t know who you’ve been talking to, but I can confirm that those stories aren’t true… well… not all of them. Perhaps you shouldn’t listen to anything the team has to say…

 

 

The thought of any of the guys I’ve been training with over the summer touching Violet sends a surge of possessiveness through me that’s so strong I find myself on my feet, pacing my bedroom.

Tristan: Have you been a busy girl, Pip?

 

 

“Fuck. Fuck.” I don’t want to know.

Pip: Just enjoying college. You remember what it was like, right, old man?

 

 

Tristan: Watch your mouth, kid.

 

 

Pip: Why? Are you going to punish me?

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