The Not-Outcast

Page 16

The Killer part of her name was gone since the game was done.

“Hey, Mom.”

Her face softened, and she pulled me back in for another hug. “Oh, man. I have missed you.”

I glanced around, but no one else was with her. “Where are the others?”

“Your dad went to get the vehicle, and you know Dylan and Jamison. They said to text them when you showed and they’d meet us at the door.”

I did know my brothers. “They’re off flirting with girls?”

She grinned, patting me on the arm as I started for the arena’s door for the players and family. “You know it.” She was pulling her phone out when one of the attendants came over.

“Mr. Ryder, a driver is out front saying he’s your father.”

I nodded.

Alice snorted. “Can we tell them he’s not your father?”


She laughed. “What? It wouldn’t last, but it’d be fun to see what he would do.”

Her phone was buzzing and I noted, watching her as she read the messages, “He’d just park and then call you to have us walk out to him.”

“True. It’s not worth it.” She was punching buttons on her phone, frowning and biting her lip. “Your brothers. Do they really think we’re going to let them go to a nightclub with some girls they just met tonight?” A pause. A ding from her phone, and she laughed. “And I don’t care to see these girls’ Instagram accounts. The amount of skin these girls are showing does not help their case.” She was narrating as she typed, “No. You cannot go out with these girls. We’re here to see your brother. Period. Get back. Now.”

We were nearing the door. “You told them, Mom.”

“Damn right, I did.” She was still frowning, still talking to the phone.

Another ding.

She groaned, then hit a button and put the phone to her ear. A second later, she said in her ‘mom’ voice, “I do not care how nice these girls seem like. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the size of their breasts, but we came here to see your brother. Your brother who has just played a game and I’m sure is tired and under-hydrated and you are his brothers and you’re holding us up! Get here now.” A break. “The family doors. The same ones we’ve exited many times before because this is not the first time we’ve left with your brother after his away game.”

She’d raised her voice, and was garnering attention.

I was just enjoying it. Same Dylan and Jamison.

She rolled her eyes. “You’ve got two minutes or you can pay for your own Uber to the restaurant. Got it?” She didn’t wait for their response. She hung up and turned, a bright smile for me as she linked her arm around mine. “Your brothers are excited to see you. They love you very much.”

I barked out a laugh now, and lifted my arm to circle my mom’s shoulders. I pulled her in and leaned down, giving her a kiss on the forehead. “I love you, Mom. And I was a boy, too. I know what my brothers are loving more right now than me.”

Some of her annoyance eased and she relaxed. “They’re good boys.”

Dylan was a junior and Jamison was a sophomore.

Both were good-looking, and both played sports. Jamison followed me into hockey while Dylan kept with football and baseball, but both were athletic, popular, and they had their fair amount of girls hitting up their DMs.

The family SUV was parked by the curb, two parking attendants were standing by the driver’s door and as we neared, I wasn’t surprised to hear my dad talking about the game.

“Oh yeah! I know. And did you see that cheap shot at the end? I wanted to head to the ice myself.”

Both attendants were nodding, agreeing, and then Alice opened the front door.

“Cut! Yo!”

Dylan and Jamison were heading down the sidewalk, coming around the back end of the arena and both were walking fast. Their voices carried. The attendants looked through the SUV and I heard them starting to talk, but I stepped back to meet my brothers.

Alice reached over, taking my bag from me.

She was Supermom Extraordinaire, and she was putting it away for me as both my brothers got to me.

They looked good.

Each wrapped me up in their arms, giving me tight hugs.

Dylan. Jeez. I hadn’t seen in a while. “You’ve gotten even bigger.”

He smirked, raking a hand through his dark curls. “Yeah, well. Gotta keep up with our superstar brother.” He pounded me on the arm, then turned for the SUV.

Jamison wasn’t as cocky, but he was just as tall as Dylan.

I whistled, shaking my head at him. “Fuck. That’s gotta piss D off that you’re as tall.”

A cocky smirk showed now and he ducked his head down, shrugging one shoulder up. “He’s so scared I’ll go out for football next year.”

I laughed. “Right. He’ll be a senior.”

“His big year.”

Jamison took after our mom, his hair was blonder. Dylan had Dad’s dark hair, and I was the mix. But Dylan had our dad’s extrovert attitude while Jamison was shyer. Mom again, except at my hockey games, which had me wondering…

I followed Jamison inside and asked, “What’s Mom like at your games?”

Both groaned.

Dylan rolled his eyes.

Jamison pretended to hit his own forehead. “You think she’s bad at your games?”

Dylan looked at me. “She’s worse at our games.”

Alice turned around from the front seat. “I am not. I’m the same volume, but it’s not my fault the fans are quieter at your games. They shouldn’t be. High school sports need loud supporters.”

“You’re obnoxious sometimes, Mom.” From Jamison.

Dylan added, “You’re not Killer Mama Alice at our games. She’s Serial Killer Mama Alice at our games.”

Alice turned back around, as our dad had said goodbye to the attendants and he was starting to pull forward. “I just have to tell the world how much I love you boys.”

It was then when we were pausing in line, and David turned around. “Hey, Cut! I was getting out to hug my oldest when you all piled in like we were late for the NASCAR race.”

Dylan and Jamison both groaned at the same time, leaning their heads back. “Dad. Seriously. Stop with the NASCAR references. We’ve had enough.”

Jamison said to me, “Dad met a NASCAR driver on the golf course two weeks ago, and guess what’s his favorite sport now to watch? It’s not hockey anymore.”

“It’ll always be hockey. You don’t listen to your brothers. I’m just intrigued. That Case Triven seems like a nice guy.”

“Case Triven is a professional dirt bike rider. You met his brother, Ace Triven.”

“That’s right. Case is the more famous one, right?”

Dylan couldn’t stop rolling his eyes. “They’re both famous, Dad, and that’s why you started talking to them because of Cutler.”

“That’s right. It’s like you guys were both there.”

Dylan and Jamison said at the same time, both so over it, too, “We were.”


I chuckled, seeing my dad wink at me through the rearview mirror.

Dad. David.

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