He frowned. He had no clue what I was talking about.
This guy. Honestly. No deep thought?
“I’m about to head back where I’m sitting with Sasha and Melanie.”
At Sasha’s name, his eyes bulged and he lost a little blood in his face. He had a whole ‘oh shit’ look going on.
Yeah. That’s what I’d been referencing.
“And so what do I say? Because you know she’s my family and she’d be pissed off that I didn’t tell her how you just treated me.”
Chad swallowed and went back to scowling. “What do you mean how I treated you? I treated…”
“Dude. You didn’t.” This was from Hunter, and he was shaking his head. “Like, at all. You treated her like she was a criminal.”
I made sure to give Deek a pointed look, and as soon as I did, I regretted it.
He looked like me.
I told Cut a while back that I didn’t have feelings for Deek or Chad, and to an extent I didn’t. But staring back at someone who was an older and male version of me, I was seeing someone I could’ve had in my life.
And then the ‘ifs’ started, and I couldn’t stop them.
If he’d been different.
If my mom had been different.
If I’d not been screwed up.
If Natalie had been more kind and loving.
If. If. If.
I had to stop. No one wins in that situation. It happened how it happened.
I was swallowing tree bark, but yes. I had to accept that.
Nothing could be changed, so it didn’t matter.
Damn, it hurt to swallow that.
And Chad hadn’t answered me.
His mouth was tight, and his Adam’s apple kept going up and down, but then he let loose with a string of expletives.
“Hunter,” Deek barked, his own voice tight. Grim. “Go back to your seat.”
“I have to piss, Dad.” Hunter shot me a look before he swung around Chad and Deek, marching off in the direction of their seats, and his entire back was rigid.
“I’ve come to realize that things are different—”
“Deek,” Chad cut him off, then softened immediately. “Let me, you know. Let me handle this.”
I was refraining from commenting on that.
He took two steps away before I called after him, “Hey, Deek.”
He stopped, half-turning back.
He didn’t say anything.
I wasn’t surprised.
I did, though. “You do know that I’m not the bad guy in this story, right?”
He got the message.
It was kind of a shady thing to do, but he was my dad. Yes, there was no relationship. Yes, I was okay with it. Yes, at some point he had tried until for whatever reason, he decided to stop trying. Then, I remembered that he had paid for my college.
I yelled out, “Just kidding. Thanks for the college tuition.”
Chad didn’t comment on that, but he was hella frowning still. “Can you not say anything to Sasha about this?”
“Uh. No. Sasha would be pissed if I didn’t.”
He grimaced, saying under his breath, “Shit.”
Cut told me Chad was going to try.
This wasn’t him trying.
“Let me tell her.”
That seemed to take so much effort from him. He said it through gritted teeth.
“What did I ever do to you?”
His head popped up at my question.
“I’ve done nothing, nothing that I can think of. Did I push you out of your house? That wasn’t my call. You know that, right? I’ve not said anything bad about you to Cut or Sasha. I’ve said nothing negative about anyone, except for that dig I just said to Deek, but do you blame me?”
He edged backwards a step, looking like he was biting the inside of his mouth. He was looking every which way, but at me.
I caught sight of the clock on the wall. Half the third period was over.
Now I was the one who wanted to swear.
Nut-Brother still hadn’t answered, and I was losing patience. “Forget it. I apologize for whatever I did, and I won’t say anything to Sasha except that there was an exchange, and she needs to hear it from you first.”
After that, I was out.
Once I hit my chair, I pulled my phone out and checked our emails. There was an email with his number so I sent him a text back.
Me: Koala Sister here. It was nice seeing you. Missed you. The emails are great, but you know.
A minute later.
Koala Boy: Koala Brother here now. I missed you too. And I know.
That. Right there. That was everything worth Deek or Chad. Everything.
Thirty seconds to the end of the game, the sirens lit up.
The Bravado scored.
Hendrix dropped his towel on the bench beside me.
I didn’t look up. Everyone was pissed. Hendrix was pissed. I was pissed. Alex. Crow. Everyone. Coaching staff. Margo swept through the locker room with a scowl of her own. We lost games. That was part of the job, but it wasn’t a good part. Every game counted because we wanted the Cup this year. Bad.
Pulling on his pants, Hendrix dropped down, snagging a shirt on the way. He raised it up over his head, before yanking it down to cover him. “Talked to some of the guys. They’re up for heading to Bresko’s. Want to forget this game for the night.” He eyed me. “You in?”
Cheyenne was here, but checking my phone I saw that Chad, Deek, and Hunter were also here.
I frowned. “Uh… maybe.”
He smirked. “Got to run it by your woman first?”
I shot him a smirk back. “Spoken by someone who’d love to have a woman that he runs things by.”
Hendrix’s laugh was quick and slightly abrupt. He stood back up. “Right. Maybe, if the right one comes along.” He reached for his shoes, starting to pull them on, but frowned at me again. “That Not-Russian friend of your girl’s, maybe you should invite her tonight, too.”
I rubbed at my forehead, enjoying what I was about to say. “She owns Tits, you know.”
His eyebrows shot up. “The strip club?”
Another nod. I was right. I was enjoying this.
He whistled under his breath. “Now I’m really intrigued.”
“Heads up, though. She’s somewhat involved with Chad.”
“Your boy Chad?”
Hendrix got all serious. “Good to know, but Bresko’s though?”
“Maybe.” I was in the mood for some dark corner, sitting in a booth, holding Cheyenne and forgetting this game. I grabbed my bag up, giving Hendrix a nod. “Heading out. I’ll let you know about the club.”
“Sounds good. Bring her with you. I forgot to add that. That was a given.”
Going through the door, my bag over my shoulder, I took two steps before my phone starting ringing.
“Hey, man.” A bunch of people were coming down the hallway.