Home > Scoring Chance(4)

Scoring Chance(4)
Author: Teagan Hunter

I wish I were more outgoing. Wish I weren’t so damn awkward. Wish I had the guts to do something brave, like writing the romance novel like I promised I would and finally publishing it.

But I’m none of those things, because the idea of becoming or doing them makes me want to vomit.

I’m just Scout: donut maker, nerd, and wannabe writer.

And I’m okay with that.

“You can’t hide from him forever, you know,” Stevie tells me.

“Yes, I can.”

She chuckles lightly, brushing brown hair that almost exactly matches mine behind her ear. “You made my nine-year-old daughter work the register for thirty minutes when he was here the other day. I’m pretty sure there are child labor laws against that or something.”

“It’s not my fault he wouldn’t go away.”

“Scout…”

“Steve,” I say, knowing she hates it when I call her that, but I hate that she’s calling me out on my childish behavior. I guess stooping to juvenile insults isn’t helping my case, but still.

“You have to talk to him sometime.”

She really has no clue how humiliating it was, though. I’d never felt like such an outsider before. It took everything I had not to drop off the donuts and leave because it was so damn clear to me that even though I considered some of those people my friends, I didn’t belong there.

I’m not their friend. I’m their donut maker, and they are customers. That’s it.

“You need to talk to him, and I’m not bailing you out this time.” She pushes up to her feet, then begins untying the apron that’s slung around her waist.

“What?! Where are you going?”

“I told you…” she says, sliding the apron onto the hook near the exit. “Macie has a dentist appointment.”

“No! Cancel it! Reschedule! I don’t care—just don’t leave me.”

She pulls her crossbody purse over her head, then looks at me like she can’t believe I just said that. Hell, I can’t believe I just said it. It’s stupid. I’m being stupid.

“Just talk to him,” she says again, then she steps out of the back of the truck like the traitor she is.

Here I was thinking she was here to do good, but this? It’s evil. She’s evil.

“Stevie!” I whisper-shout at her back despite knowing damn well she’s not going to turn around and help me. Stevie loves tough love. I’m surprised she’s let me get away with this little game of mine as long as she has.

I watch her walk away from my crouched position and don’t miss her sending a wave to someone standing at the front of the truck.

Does that mean…

“Are you hiding from me?”

Oh crap.

“Because you know…” he continues, tapping the countertop a few times, “I’m tall. I can see over this thing, and I can definitely see you.”

Dammit.

“You can’t avoid me forever.”

Can too.

“Even Stevie said you can’t.”

With a heavy sigh, I rise, and yep, he’s there all right, in all his perfect hockey-player hotness. He’s grinning at me, and it’s annoying because somehow even his teeth are perfect.

“Ah, there she is,” he says.

His voice is laced with sugary sweetness, but I’m not buying it. I’ve been fooled by men with pretty faces before.

“What do you want.” It doesn’t come out as a question because all the niceties I had are gone when it comes to Miller.

He grimaces, his bravado slipping away before my eyes. He rocks back on his heels as one hand goes to his pocket and the other comes up to his neck. He cups it, squeezing like he’s trying to relieve tension. It almost makes me feel bad.

Almost.

“I, uh…” He clears his throat. “Well, I’d like to apologize.”

I lift a brow. “For?”

“Smith’s party.”

I cross my arms over my chest. “What about Smith’s party?”

He swallows thickly. “Fornotrecognizingyou.”

It comes out rushed as one word, like he’s embarrassed. Which I’m glad for because, given the number of times he has been to my truck, he should be embarrassed.

He blows out a breath like he’s relieved to get the words off his chest. I’m glad one of us is relieved by this, but it’s not me. I’m still humiliated by what happened.

“It was very dickish of me.”

“Dickish is a good way to put it. Personally, I would have said you were being an asshole, but dickish is fine too.”

A smirk plays at the corner of his lips, and I’m annoyed by how cute I think it is, especially when I’m supposed to be mad at him. “I’ve never seen you outside of here,” he says by way of explanation. “It was… Well, you didn’t look like you.”

“I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be offended by that.”

“Not!” he practically yells. “Not. I mean it in a good way.”

My brows pull together because… “Are you saying I look bad when I’m here?”

“Yes.” He nods, but somewhere along the way, his movements switch from up and down to left and right as his eyes widen to about twice their average size. “No, no, no! That’s not what I’m saying. You look great, now and then—just different.”

“Different?” My lips twitch, perhaps because I’m enjoying watching him trip over himself just a little too much right now.

He sighs, scrubbing a hand over his face before looking up at me with tired eyes. “Look, I’m an idiot sometimes, okay? I do and say stupid things. That’s the only excuse I really have as to why I didn’t recognize you. That and I’m pretty sure my grandmother had glaucoma, and that shit is hereditary. I think…I don’t know. I saw a meme one time that said that, so maybe my eyes are going bad. I swear I’ll make an appointment with the team doctor ASAP, just to be sure. I…” He takes another heavy breath. “I’m just sorry, all right? I’m so, so sorry.”

He stares up at me with those whiskey-colored eyes that are silently begging me to believe him.

The sad part is that it’s working. I can see this is eating him up.

He has tried to talk to me several times. Maybe he means it, and maybe he meant nothing by it. In all fairness, I did look really different that night.

Perhaps I’m stupid or weak, or maybe that silly crush of mine might not totally be gone, but…

“Okay,” I say, letting him off the hook. “I forgive you.”

He exhales sharply, pressing his hand against his chest. “Oh, thank fuck. Because I really want you to forgive me. I love coming here, and I’m pretty sure I can’t live without your donuts.”

“That so, huh?”

“Hell yes. I’m addicted to the—”

“Chocolate Nutty Butter. I know.”

He looks surprised. “You do?”

“Yes, because unlike you, I remember people.”

His jaw drops for a moment, shock rippling through him. Then he chuckles, but I can hear the hurt in it. I feel just a tiny bit bad, but dammit, he hurt my feelings too.

“I deserved that.”

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