“Tough shit, Baylor. That’s what friends do.”
Drew’s jaw clenches. “There’s nothing wrong with me. Or am I expected to waltz around shooting daisies out my ass all the time?”
“I don’t care what you shoot out of your ass,” Gray says, “just as long as you aren’t accusing me of betraying my best friend.”
Drew flinches, his mouth pinching. But he doesn’t apologize. He walks away, his stride determined, awkward, and angry. “I’m going to bed,” he says, not looking back.
Gray stands. “I’ll go.”
“Don’t bother. Do whatever you want.” Drew pauses at the door to our room. He doesn’t turn but his fist curls on the doorframe. “Thanks for dinner.” The words are curt and clearly torn from him out of force of habit, and then he’s shutting the door behind him with a dull thud.
My shoulders sag. “I’m sorry, Gray.”
He shakes his head, his blue eyes still full of hurt and anger. “I expected it. Damn if he hasn’t been alluding to it for a while.”
“He doesn’t mean it, you know.” I’m not sure if he does or not. I do know that, were Drew his old self, he’d never have picked a fight with Gray.
Gray shakes his head. “He’s not jealous of us.” His voice is low, as if he doesn’t want Drew to hear. “He’s jealous of me, which just plain sucks.”
I frown, and he sighs.
“He’s injured, Anna. And I’m not. Simple as that.” Gray rolls his shoulders and heads for the door. “Get him to talk to that therapist. I don’t blame him for avoiding it,” his eyes crease with tired humor, “but he’s got one too many daisies stuck in his ass.”
ANNA DOESN’T COME to bed when Gray leaves. I’m not surprised. I f**ked up. Worse, I knew I was doing it every step of the way. It was as if the rational Drew was locked up tight within my mind while ass**le Drew took over.
Lying in bed, I stare up at the ceiling and curse myself for being an idiot. Again. It’s almost pitch black in here because Anna insists on closing both the blinds and the curtains. Apparently she likes to sleep in darkness so complete it’s like we’ve crawled up into a womb.
Which is fine by me at the moment. A sensory oblivion would be nice.
A slab of grey moonlight cuts across the bed as Anna opens the door. She must have killer night vision or be part vampire because she doesn’t turn on a light as she pads through the room and into the bathroom.
My heart pounds loud in my ears as I listen to the running water of the sink and wait for her to return. Coach’s suggestion swirls around in my head. Therapy? I’m only injured, not mental. Yeah, I tend to over-analyze things, but I didn’t exactly love going to counseling before.
“Tell me about your parents, Drew.”
“They’re dead, doc. What else is there to know?”
“How does that make you feel?”
Like I’m free falling from the darkness of space.
How do I feel now? Like I’m free falling from the darkness of space.
Somehow my fingers end up clutching the sheets. I force myself to let go, and calm the hell down. It’s just a fricking broken leg. It will heal. I’ll get back in form.
On the next breath I’m on the field, the scent of grass, chalk, and my own sweat filling my nose. I hear the defensive end’s footsteps, feel them reverberating through the ground as he comes upon me. My stomach clenches, acid rising in my mouth along with the soul-deep terror of knowing that this sack is going to be catastrophic. Then the lightning hot pain and the sound of my bone snapping like hard wood. Stomach turning pain.
That snap, that sick sound echoes in my ears even as I take another sharp breath. Then Anna is there, climbing into bed, the mattress barely dipping under her slight weight.
For the first time, I regret buying a king size bed. She might as well be in Siberia, hugging the edge of her side, while I’m laid out on my back like a slab of beef on mine.
Because I’ve been in the dark longer than she has, I can see the shadowy shape of her shoulders, hunched over and drawn away from me. Her curls spill across the pillow in a dark, rambling mass.
A lump fills my throat. “I’m sorry.”
My words hang loud and uncomfortable over us.
Bed sheets rustle as she turns, and then she’s next to me, her warm hand smoothing over my lower belly. I love the way she touches me, the way she finds the exact spots that are most sensitive. I slide my arm under her neck and draw her closer, comforted when she lays her head on my shoulder. The curve of her luscious ass fills my palm. I give it a light squeeze.
“I’ll apologize to Gray tomorrow.” Which won’t be easy, because we almost never fight, and I was a colossal dick.
Anna’s br**sts press against my side as she sighs. She’s wearing one of those thin nightshirts she favors, which does nothing to block the warmth of her body, and I struggle to ignore that as her fingertips trace a circle under my navel.
“We are, all of us, f**ked up in some way,” she says. “The only difference is a matter of how deep our crazy goes and how we handle our shit. Frankly, I think the crazy comes and goes in cycles.”
I make a sound, somewhere between a laugh and a snort. “It must be my time of the month, then.”
“Mmm…” Anna strokes me again. “I shouldn’t have invited Gray here without asking you. I’m sorry.”
I can’t hold back. In one move, I roll over onto her, and her thighs part instantly, cradling my h*ps as I brace my forearms on either side of her so I won’t crush her chest. Her eyes gleam in the dark, her hair a wild halo around her pale face.