And far too short. She actually heard herself give a little mewl of protest when he pulled back and let her slide down his body to stand on her own two feet.
“We’re still down by ten runs,” he said.
She nodded, but she’d never felt less like a loser in her entire life.
In the end, they lost by five, which Pru actually considered a total win. In the very last inning, she’d dove for a ground ball and slid along the ground for a good ten feet, bouncing her chin a few times while she was at it, but hey, she got the ball.
She also got some road rash.
She hadn’t felt it at the time, but by the end of the game when they’d all packed up and were going their separate ways, Pru’s aches and pains made themselves known. She slowly shouldered her bag and turned, coming face to face with both Jake and Finn.
Jake—with Thor in his lap—gave her a chin nod. Since their venue was a middle school field only two blocks from his building, they usually walked back together.
Finn didn’t give her a chin nod. He just stood there, watching her in that way he had that made her . . . want things, things she wasn’t supposed to want from him.
Clearly she needed to work on that.
Jake grimaced. “You’re a mess. Let’s go, I’ll patch you up at the office.”
“I’m fine.” A big fat lie, of course. Her road rashes were stinging like a sonofabitch. “I’m just going to head home.”
Jake slid a look at Finn before letting his gaze come back to her. “You sure that’s a good idea?”
Of course it wasn’t a good idea. But she wasn’t exactly known for her good ideas now was she? “Yep,” she said, popping the P sound.
“You shouldn’t go alone, you might need help.”
“I’ve got her,” Finn said.
The two men looked at each other for a long beat. Pru might have tried to mediate the landmine-filled silence between them but her brain was locked on Finn’s words.
I’ve got her . . .
She had long fantasies where that was true . . . She reached to take Thor but Jake shook his head.
“He’s coming home with me tonight for dinner. I’ve got steak.”
“Steak?” Pru repeated, realizing she was starving. “But after our games, you usually make hotdogs.”
Jake shrugged. “It’s steak tonight. I’ve got enough for you to join, if it’s okay with Thor.”
Thor tipped his head back like a coyote and gave one sharp “yip!”
Pru spent a few seconds weighing a steak dinner cooked for her versus watching Finn in those sexy butt-hugging, relaxed-fit Levi’s of his for a little bit longer. It was a tough decision, but in the end, she took the jeans. “No, thanks.”
Jake just gave her a knowing head shake and rolled off.
“Did you just almost trade me in for a steak dinner?” Finn asked.
Pretending she hadn’t heard that question, she started walking, but he stopped her.
“Yeah,” she said. “We lose all the time.”
“I meant because you used your face as a slip-n-slide on that last play.” Earlier, when she’d convinced him to come play, he’d gone inside his house for a duffle bag, from which he’d pulled out his mitt earlier. Now he pulled out a towel and gingerly dabbed it against her chin.
“Ow!” she said.
“But you’re fine, right?” he asked dryly.
She removed the towel from her chin, saw some blood and with a sigh put the towel back to her face.
Finn took her bag from her shoulder and transferred it to his, where it hung with his own. “I’ll get an Uber.”
“I don’t need a ride.” She started walking, and after a beat he kept pace with her. She worked on distracting herself. The temperature was a perfect seventy-five-ish. The sun had dipped low, leaving a golden glow tipped with orange flame in the west, the rest of the sky awash in mingled shades of blue.
“So what was that about?” Finn asked after a few minutes of silence.
“Nothing. Like I said, sometimes we lose, that’s all.” Or, you know, always.
“I mean the look Jake gave you.”
“Nothing,” she repeated.
“Didn’t seem like nothing.”
“He’s got a condition,” she said, huffing up the hill. Damn. Why had she said no to getting an Uber again? “You’ve got to ignore most of his looks.”
“Uh huh,” Finn said. “What kind of condition?”