She was sitting in the bleachers outside of the practice field, and she was studying the surroundings avidly.
“I don’t mind,” Hancock grunted.
I didn’t care even if he did.
If I wanted to bring somebody to practice, I’d damn well bring somebody to practice.
Having her so close was a mild distraction, but overall, I liked that she was watching me.
I liked that she was there, and I liked that I hadn’t had to ride in by myself.
Driving was boring, and I had to do a whole fucking lot of it seeing as I lived over thirty minutes from the practice fields.
Having her with me while I could, was the right thing to do. At least for me.
She looked bored to tears, but I winked at her, causing her to perk up before I returned my gaze to the man in front of me.
“Step aside so I can hit, little man,” I told him.
“I’m not little,” Manny countered. “I’m just shorter than you, and only by three inches. Six-foot-three isn’t short. You’re just freakishly tall.”
I grunted in reply, “Yeah, whatever.”
The next twenty balls that were pitched to me went well. Six went out of the park, eight were singles. Two doubles. One triple. Three I missed.
Which was fairly normal since I had tried to stop two of them from getting past me.
I hated not connecting with the ball.
It’d been a compulsion since I was younger…since my father had beat the shit out of me if I so much as missed one.
Still, to this day, it fucking hurt striking out.
Sure, it usually bothered every ballplayer if they struck out, but when I did it, I got angry and pissed. And, if I was willing to admit it, I got scared.
Scared because at one point in time, the repercussions for striking out were bad.
For example, the one time my father had thrown me a terrible pitch at the age of eleven. I’d missed it, then had dropped my bat down to the ground to take my base after ball four.
However, my father called it a strike.
After which had come my immediate reply of ‘no, it wasn’t.’
That was the day I learned never, ever to talk back to my father.
That was the day that I had to have my jaw wired shut at the age of eleven.
That was the day that I never spoke another word to my father willingly.
That was the day that I let my mother see the anger in my eyes at her failure to protect me, because after all, she had been there, watching the entire thing through the kitchen window where she was making my father his dinner.
Dinner that I’d had to drink through a straw for the entire summer. I’d lost eighteen percent of my body weight and struggled to put it back on for the rest of my childhood.
“Yo,” Manny called. “You gonna hit again?”
I stepped back out of the batter’s box and slung the bat over my shoulder. “And if I was?”
Manny held up his hands in surrender. “Whoa there, Nelly. I’m not looking for a fight with you, Furious George. I’m just wondering if you were gonna hit again. I don’t care if you do or if you don’t.”
I grinned at Manny.
He was a hoot, and even though just a few inches shorter than me, he was the only one on the team besides Hancock who could nearly look me in the eyes.
“Sorry, man,” I apologized, sounding as tired as I felt. “Memories.”
Manny also knew what I meant when I said ‘memories.’
Manny and I had quite a bit in common, which he would also have in common with Wrigley when I introduced her to the team and stopped hoarding her all to myself.
Something I’d rectify today after practice.
I caught Wrigley around the waist and pulled her to me from behind, pressing my beard to her neck and rubbing it up and down.
She began to laugh as she turned, pressing her mouth against my face.
“You want to meet the boys?”
She closed her eyes and inhaled, breathing me in, causing my cock to harden.
Something she noticed almost immediately as she started to wiggle her ass.
“Yo, you ever gonna introduce us?”
I looked up to find Gentry and Manny, as well as Hancock a few paces behind them, standing there watching us.
I grinned and gestured to Gentry. “Gentry, Hancock, and Manny, this is my wife, Wrigley. Wrigley, from left to right you have Hancock, the catcher. Manny, the first baseman, and Gentry, the pitcher.”
Gentry held his hand out for Wrigley. “Nice to meet you, George’s wife that we didn’t know about.”
I gave Gentry a glare.
Gentry didn’t try to act like he was sorry.
“Uhh,” Wrigley said. “It was in the papers. How did you not know?”
Something in Gentry’s face changed, but it was there and gone so fast that I wasn’t sure anybody else even noticed. “That would be why I didn’t know. I stay away from the rags. They like to ruin lives.”