Home > The Secrets You Keep (Blurred Lines)(8)

The Secrets You Keep (Blurred Lines)(8)
Author: Tracy Lorraine

“Hey,” Ella says happily when we find him sitting at the island in the kitchen with his computer and tablet set up in front of him. “Good day?”

Without sparing him a second glance, she marches toward the coffee machine and starts making herself a drink.

“I called the landlord about the electrics,” Micah tells us.

My movements falter.

“Did they go out again?” Ella glances over her shoulder at me. Clearly, I did a shit job of hiding my panic again.

“Yeah, couple of times. Annoying as fuck. Can’t see anything wrong, though.”

“Didn’t think you were an electrics nerd?” Ella jokes.

He rolls his eyes but ignores her. “There must be a bad connection somewhere or something. Anyway, he’s going to get someone to come out and check it out.”

“Great. Only been here a few weeks and we’ve broken the place already.”

“How were your classes today?” I ask Micah, desperately needing to think about something other than how high the chances are that we’re going to be plunged into darkness again tonight.

I think an early night is in the cards for me, so hopefully I can sleep through the blackout.

“Yeah, you know. Like we never stopped.”

“You got that right,” Ella agrees. “Although, you should have seen my new professor for creative writing. Holy hell, I think I might just need some extra one-on-one sessions for that this semester, if you know what I’m saying.”

“El, the entire street knows what you’re saying. You’re about as subtle as a rhino.”

She passes me over a coffee before pulling her laptop from her bag to join Micah.

“You gonna hang with us?” she asks when I linger like I don’t belong.

“Um…”

“Just sit down, Vi. You can’t tell me that you don’t have work to do.”

“Y-yeah,” I stutter, finally pulling a stool out and making a start on that god-awful assignment I was set earlier.

By the time the guys reappear, the three of us are working in silence, and the scent of the dinner that Ella is in charge of tonight permeates the air.

 

 

4

 

 

TRISTAN

 

 

“Yes. That’s more like it,” I bark at the guys before me running drills up and down the field.

My skin prickles with the attention of the head coach standing on the sidelines with his quarterback coach.

Most of their focus is on the players in front of us, but I know they’re watching me closely.

When I announced that I was retiring from the NFL after two successful seasons, I don’t think anyone really expected this to be my next move. But I already had my position here secured before I breathed a word of my career being over.

I thought it was a long shot, but Coach Butler was more than pleased when he answered the phone to find me at the other end all those months ago.

He was a fucking fantastic coach. I loved my time here as an MKU Panther, and the prospect of returning to help mold the players of the future stirred excitement within me that I hadn’t felt in a while.

The second the idea hit me, I knew it was where I was meant to be, and not just because she’s here.

No. It has nothing to do with Violet Brady.

Although, it did.

Since the day I promised Roman I’d take care of her, she’s always been in the back of my mind.

I told myself when I left for Tennessee that I’d finally be able to put an end to my entirely inappropriate crush on his little sister. But that was far from reality.

As much as I wanted to cut ties to force myself to do the right thing, I couldn’t. And nor could she.

I just hoped that she’d embark on college life and forget all about me.

She didn’t.

Now we’re in the same place again, and my obsession with the one girl I should stay far, far away from is only growing stronger once more.

Forcing myself to focus on the task at hand, I make a mental note of those who are struggling with this afternoon’s session, ready to report back to Coach as he requested.

He’s already got his first-string team for the season sorted. But that’s not to say one of our new recruits isn’t going to take the field by storm and fuck up all his plans. It certainly wouldn’t be the first or the last time something like that happened.

Coach forces them to keep going until their legs must be like jelly. He always was a hard ass, but secretly I used to love it. I know all the guys before me do too.

Although there’s a huge part of me that’s relieved not to be worked as hard as they are, there’s a part of me that craves it. Craves the exertion, the pain, the spasming muscles, the heaving chest, and the sweat.

A piercing whistle cuts through the air, and all the guys begin to slow before fighting to catch their breath.

“Carver is in charge,” he barks before striding in the direction of the other members of his coaching staff, who are putting more players through their paces.

Forcing my previous thoughts of a certain off-limits brunette to the back of my mind, I focus on my job bringing the training session to a close and finally allowing the guys to head back to the locker rooms to clean up.

Letting them all go ahead of me, I swipe my clipboard and stopwatch from the sideline where I abandoned it and take off behind them.

“How’s it feel being back here, then?” a familiar voice says from behind me, and when I look over, I find Luca Dunn, the Panthers’ starting quarterback, slowing to a stop beside me.

“It’s good, man. I feel at home here.”’

“Not missing the bright lights of the NFL?”

I glance over, seeing the stars in his eyes as he talks about the NFL. It’s no secret that both the Dunn twins are going to enter the draft next year, and if the rumors are true, then there could be a few teams with a fight on their hands to sign them. I have no idea where they’ve got their sights set, but I figure that I’ll get their plans out of them in the coming weeks.

“Nah, I’ve always been a small town guy at heart.”

“Well, it’s good to have you back, man. I think you’re gonna do well here.”

He claps me on the shoulder before jogging toward where everyone else is disappearing to hit the showers, as if he hasn’t just been put through a brutal three-hour session.

My knee aches at just the thought of putting myself through something like that—another reminder that I’ve done the right thing.

I couldn’t be sitting in my apartment in Tennessee, or on the bench as the Titans trained, just waiting for the day I could rejoin them.

Stalking past the locker rooms and the booming laughter that filters through the crack in the door, I stuff down any resentment their banter and team spirit drags up.

Finding the office that I share with the other GA who’s still out on the field, I fall down into my chair and rest my head back.

I’ve been at this four days, and I’m fucking exhausted.

I’ve barely stopped to take a breath since classes started on Monday morning. I can only imagine what life is going to be like when the first game of the season is upon us.

I didn’t come here and apply for this position for an easy ride, though.

As if someone out there knows I need a distraction, or at least something that’s going to stop me from passing out right here, my cell buzzes in my pocket.

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