Home > The Secrets You Keep (Blurred Lines)(9)

The Secrets You Keep (Blurred Lines)(9)
Author: Tracy Lorraine

Pulling it out, I can’t help but smile when I find Violet’s smiling face staring back at me.

I took the photo when she came to check on me earlier in the year. It’s a candid shot that I’m not even sure she knows I took. But she was reading something on her own cell, a wide smile on her lips at whatever it was. The sight of her happiness, while I was drowning in some of the worst days of my life, was everything, and before I knew what I was doing, I’d taken a photograph to keep me company when she was ultimately going to leave me alone once more.

My parents had come out to help me, so had my sister, but they all had their own lives to get on with, and I really didn’t want anyone fussing around me. Well, anyone apart from Violet it seemed, because I soon came to learn that I fucking loved having her looking after me.

Pip: How’s it going, big shot?



Tristan: It’s… going. I think I might have underestimated the amount of work.



Pip: We’re four days in, Tris.



Tristan: It’s just a change of pace.



Pip: From sitting on your ass, I’ll say.



“Brat,” I mutter as a shadow falls across the doorway.

Lowering my cell, I look up to find Coach studying me.

“All good, Carver?” he asks, his deep, rumbling voice bouncing off the walls around me.

“All good,” I agree. “I’ll have those stats over to you first thing in the morning.”

“I know,” he states confidently. “How’s your recovery coming? I told Richards to expect a visit from you, but apparently, you’re yet to head over,” he says, mentioning the Panthers’ head physio.

“Everything’s great. Getting stronger every day,” I assure him.

“Just as long as you don’t go running back to the NFL on us.”

“Would I?” I tease. “My blood runs purple, you know that.”

He nods, accepting my words.

“I’ll see Richards,” I promise. “This first week has just been…” I trail off, not wanting him to know that I’m struggling before I’ve even started.

“It’ll get better. You’ll fall into a routine before you know it. Just ask Winters,” he says, nodding to the empty desk at the other side of the room. “He was exactly where you were last year. I’m sure he’ll have some stellar advice.”

I smile, silently telling Coach that there’s a very good chance that won’t happen.

Winters, the other GA, well… let’s just say that so far, he doesn’t seem to be my kind of person.

I had hoped that we might get along, but it’s not happening. I think he sees me as a threat. I get it, I got the NFL and he didn’t. But that’s hardly my fucking fault. Something tells me he’s going to be holding it against me all year, though.

“I’ll let you crack on. You’ve got a late-night class, right?”

I just about manage to hold in my exhausted groan.

“Sure do. I’ll catch you in the morning, Coach.”

He nods before ducking back out of the room and heading down the hallway.

Gathering up my stuff, I throw my bag over my shoulder with the intention of grabbing something to eat on the way to my sports management class.

The second I round the corner, I almost run head first into Winters.

His cold, permanently angry eyes lock on mine.

“Sorry,” I mutter, sidestepping him and focusing on the exit.

Remembering that I ignored Violet’s last message, I drag my cell back out to find she’s messaged again.

Pip: You need to have some fun.



Tristan: Who says I’m not?



Pip: Your schedule. Or did you manage to find a slot for those chasers?



I shake my head at her comment as the reaction to those three desperate jersey chasers on Monday morning comes back to me.

Tristan: I’m still working on finding enough time for them all.



Pip: I bet you are.



I can’t help but laugh as I picture her lips pursing and her eyes darkening as her anger and jealousy get the better of her.

I shouldn’t have been so happy with the way she reacted to them, but I couldn’t help it.

Tristan: Doing anything fun tonight?



Pip: Nope. Just hanging out in my room, pretending that I’m working on an assignment.



Tristan: Pretending? What are you doing instead?



Pip: Talking to you, duh.



Pip: Actually, I just had a shower and thought I should check in.



My brows lift at her comment, and my thumbs begin tapping out a reply before my brain can compute that it’s a really fucking bad idea.

Tristan: Fantasizing about me while you’re showering. Not sure what to think about that, Pip.



Pip: Think whatever you want. I’m an immature undergrad, remember?



“Fuck,” I hiss to myself as I push out of the building and head toward my car.

I regretted those words the second they rolled off my tongue. I never said them to hurt Violet. They were meant to assure her that I didn’t want the desperate chasers. Clearly, that’s not how she heard them. In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting to see her eyes darken quite like they did. I can’t deny that it affected me, though.

She’s flirty. She always had been. Well, for the past few years, anyway. I just put it down to her getting older and growing in confidence. I’ve never allowed myself to think it could mean more than that.

But for just a beat after those words passed my lips, she’d looked like I’d just stolen her puppy.

Pulling my car door open, I throw my bag inside before falling into the driver’s seat as I think about what I can reply with that is going to keep this conversation on safe ground. It certainly can’t be what I really want to send. The thought of her messaging me right now wrapped in just a towel with water droplets clinging to her skin… well, it makes things stir within me that really shouldn’t.

Tristan: The sooner the chasers realize they’re barking up the wrong tree with me, the better.



Tristan: Did you have a good day?



Her reply isn’t as instant this time, and I have little choice but to start my car and make my way toward a parking lot at the other side of campus for my class.

I’ve barely been driving a minute when my phone buzzes, tempting me into being distracted by her once more.

“Fuck’s sake, Pip,” I mutter to myself, forcing my eyes to stay on the road.

Then, it becomes even harder when it goes off again.

Pressing my foot to the gas, I take the next corner a little faster than I should, and before long, the parking lot I’m aiming for appears before me. Seeing as it’s late as fuck for most students to be on campus, it’s practically empty.

The car lurches to a stop, a beat before I reach for my cell.

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