Finding chase, p.15
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       Finding Chase, p.15

           Lacey Weatherford
 
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  Chapter Twenty-One

  “And the Sun Devils can’t seem to make it work against the Huskies today. They’re definitely missing Walker’s passing game. Brubaker was brought up to play quarterback and is absolutely unable to connect with any of his receivers, coming at two for ten now,” the television broadcaster stated.

  “That’s right, Hudson. Even the line seems to be faltering today, unable to get it together. It’s almost like they’ve lost their confidence. What a day for Chase Walker to be sick with a case of food poisoning. It doesn’t look good for ASU,” the color commentator added.

  I pointed the remote and clicked it off, slouching farther down against my couch. I couldn’t stand to watch anymore.

  “It serves them right,” Brittney grumbled as she snuggled against me.

  “What do you mean?” I asked.

  “Someone on the team is setting you up. I don’t know if they’re after your position, or they want you gone, but they deserve to lose if that’s the way they’re gonna be.”

  “I’m pretty good friends with most of the guys on the team, Britt. They’re good people. They don’t deserve to lose.”

  She sighed. “I’m sorry. I know. I’m just kinda bitter. Your coach should’ve believed you.”

  “I think he does. He has set rules to follow, though. If he doesn’t do things by the book, it’ll look like a cover up on our part and could end badly. He’s doing the right thing.”

  “Well, it still sucks.” She wrapped her arm around my waist and hugged me tighter.

  “I agree. Maybe you should do something to help me take my mind off it.” I grinned, winking when she looked up.

  “For a guy who’s missing a big game, you don’t seem very broken hearted.”

  “How can I be when it means I get to spend a whole extra day in your arms?” I kissed the top of her head. “I’ve missed you.”

  She smiled. “I’ve missed you too. Things have been crazy lately.”

  “They have been, but it’ll be worth it.”

  “Hey, did you see the stack of mail I brought up for you? There was a big envelope from the school. Are you expecting something?”

  “No, I don’t think so. Where’d you put it?”

  “It’s here on the counter.” She stood and walked around the corner briefly before reappearing, several items in her hands.

  I took them from her, sorting the bills to the side before looking at the large manila envelope. I tore it open and peered inside.

  “What is it?” she asked.

  I shrugged. “It looks like more letters.” I leaned forward and dumped the contents onto the coffee table. They were all addressed to the athletic department under my name. A piece of paper fell on the top, and I picked it up.

  Fan mail for Chase Walker, it read. I started laughing.

  “What does it say?” Brittney asked leaning over.

  “Apparently, it’s fan mail the school’s received for me.”

  She giggled. “You have fans?”

  I grinned. “Or haters.”

  “No way. No one could hate my Chase. I want to look at them with you.”

  “Okay.” This was such a surreal feeling. I never imagined receiving anything like this. I grabbed one off the top of the pile and opened it, wondering what I’d find.

  “Read it aloud,” Britt said.

  “Dear Chase. You don’t know me, but I’m a sophomore at ASU. I come to watch all your home games, and I think you’re the best quarterback we’ve ever had. I saw you take your helmet off on the jumbotron last time, while you were standing on the sidelines, and HOLY COW! You are HAWT!”

  Brittney groaned and slumped back into the seat. “Great, fan letters from girls. I don’t think I want to hear anymore.”

  I couldn’t help chuckling as I continued. “I’d really love to meet you sometime. Here’s my number, and you can find me on Facebook too. Hope to hear from you sometime soon!”

  I glanced down to the bottom of the page where her number was written with a little smiley face on it.

  “So are you gonna call this girl or what?”

  I smiled, leaning to place a kiss against her mouth. “You should know better than to ask me that. My heart belongs to you.”

  That seemed to appease her because she grabbed another letter and handed it to me. “Your fans await. I swear these better not all be from girls.”

  This one was too, though she didn’t try to give me her number. She told me how much she enjoyed watching me play, and it was a bonus that looking at me was fun as well. She closed by wishing me luck for the rest of the season. Brittney was rolling her eyes by the time I was through, but she handed me another.

  We read one by one, sorting them into different piles. There was the “I want to date you” pile, which ironically wasn’t all girls but a couple guys as well. That shocked me—I’d never had a dude hit on me before, and I didn’t have the slightest clue how to handle it. There were amazingly sweet letters from younger kids. Some of them were from a class project a teacher organized, thanking me for being a good player and representing the state. Others were from local people who were fans of the game, wishing me good luck. All in all, there were thirty-five letters.

  “This has been an interesting experience,” I said as I relaxed against the couch.

  Britt nestled against me again. “I know! You have fans! I still don’t know if I like it.”

  “Well, you don’t have to worry about the girls . . . or the guys for that matter. I would like to answer the kids, though.” I sighed, feeling frustrated.

  “What’s the matter?”

  “Nothing, really. I was thinking about this bogus drug charge. If it were leaked, it could do a lot to damage my reputation. It’s not something I’ve ever worried about, but I guess I never realized how much younger kids look up to me. I never thought I’d be someone who was an example. It makes everything seem so much heavier. If I end up in the papers, suspended for possible drug use, those kids would feel let down. I don’t want to disappoint people.”

  “You haven’t disappointed anyone. You didn’t do anything wrong.” She stroked my cheek in a soothing manner.

  “I know that, and you know that, but even when my name is cleared there will always be suspicion of did he or didn’t he? I really don’t want this to get leaked.”

  “Who would do that? I’m sure the team wants you to have a good reputation.”

  “Someone doesn’t. That person set me up.”

  “Any ideas who it might be?”

  “Yep.” I was hesitant to say. I knew she wouldn’t like it. “I think it’s Matt.”

  She was quiet, lowering her hand from my face to my stomach. “Why?”

  “It’s no secret we’ve never gotten along. He’s hated me since the first time I laid eyes on you and flirted with you. He was best friends with Nikki’s ex. I was also in an argument with one of his buddies on the team who tried to throw a punch at me and was kicked off as a result. Now we’re dating after he found us together the morning you broke up with him. He knows he’ll get kicked off the team if he tries to fight, so I think he’s trying to come at me from a different angle or goad me into hitting him, so I’ll get axed too. I’m not saying I’m great friends with every single guy on the team, but I think we all get along pretty passably. He’s the only one I think who’d have it in for me.”

  “Why haven’t you told me about this stuff before?” she asked, and I could tell she was upset about it by the way she pressed her lips together.

  I shrugged. “It didn’t seem important I guess.”

  “If someone’s causing you problems, then it’s important. You think he’s the one who vandalized your truck up too, don’t you.”

  “Either him or Jared, the guy who got kicked off. It could be the two of them together even. There was a lot of damage done.”

  She sat up and ran her fingers through her gorgeous hair in a frustrated gesture. “Is there anyone else who’s mad at you I should know about?”


  I shook my head. “I don’t think so. Maybe Jennifer.”

  “Jennifer?”

  “Yeah. She wasn’t too thrilled with me when I told her I was only making out with her because she reminded me of my dead girlfriend.”

  “Wow. No wonder she won’t ever give me the time of day anymore. I tried to talk to her when I decided to date you, and she gave me the brush off. That was a little harsh don’t you think?”

  “I wasn’t trying to be mean—she wouldn’t listen, though. She kept trying to tell me all the reasons why we could work. I got tired of beating around the bush, so I laid it out straight for her. She got pretty angry with me after that—as you saw.”

  “Hmmm. Well, I still can’t see her taking a bat to your truck.”

  “Me neither. I’m telling you—it’s Matt. He’s the only one of the three with access to the locker room. I really wish he’d have picked a different college team to walk onto. I thought for sure he’d go to school with Jeremy, since they were tight.”

  “He wanted to be where I was.”

  “Well, if he wanted to be by you so badly, he shouldn’t have been chasing around with some ho.”

  She slapped me on the arm. “Don’t call girls hos!”

  I flinched away with a grin. “If the shoe fits . . . ,” I said letting the sentence trail off.

  “Keep it up, Walker, and I’m out the door.”

  “Oh, I can definitely keep it up,” I said grabbing her and tossing her back on the couch, pinning her there. “Besides, do you really want to leave when we both have our places to ourselves for the first time in forever?” I lightly kissed her lips and she smiled.

  “You’re so bad.”

  “I’ve tried to warn you. But you keep telling me how good I am.” I chuckled at the double meaning, and she sighed.

  “You are good too.” She pulled my face back to hers, and I melted into her embrace. I loved being in her arms—loved the way she made me feel. I thought this kind of relationship was lost to me forever. True, it was different from what I had with Nikki but wonderful still the same, perfect in its own right. It surprised me. I’d thought my life was finished when I’d lost Nikki. I didn’t think I’d ever connect with anyone like this again. Brittney felt good—she felt right—maybe it was because we were friends first, but there was something . . . something different which made this feel unique. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I was looking forward to figuring it out.

  My tongue dipped into her mouth, meeting hers, and I reveled in the taste. Everything about her flooded my senses; her light flowery scent—the way her skin felt like silk as I ran my fingers over it—the way she moved against me, causing me to feel so heated it was as if fire ran through my veins. I had to keep opening my eyes, because I couldn’t get enough of the passionate expression on her face, and I loved knowing I was the one putting it there.

  I kissed her hard, devouring her lips, pulling away as I teased at the bottom one with my teeth before moving to her neck, placing delicious nips all the way to her collarbone. Sweet little sounds escaped her as I trailed my way back up with the tip of my tongue, lightly latching onto her earlobe, and I felt her nails claw into me.

  “You like this?” I asked, and I blew my heated breath against her.

  “Yes,” she huffed. “Please don’t stop.”

  I grinned. “I never had any intention of doing that, but you need to relax. You keep tensing your muscles.”

  She laughed, quickly pecking my lips. “It’s a natural reaction. It tickles, plus I have a knot it my shoulder from carrying trays at work.”

  “Well, we can’t have that now, can we?” I got up and extended my hand. “Come here.”

  She slipped hers into mine, and I pulled her into my room, guiding her to the bed. “Lay down on your stomach,” I instructed, and she gave me a strange look before she did as I asked.

  “What are you doing?” she questioned, turning her head, so she could see me.

  I climbed onto the bed, straddling her, and leaned forward next to her ear. “Just relax, close your eyes and trust me,” I whispered. As soon as she did, I gathered her long blonde hair and twisted it beside her head. Her breath caught when I slipped my fingers under her tank top and bra strap, exposing her bare shoulder as I pulled them off to the side.

  Her skin was golden and smooth, and I couldn’t help myself, I had to place a kiss there before I started to massage. She gave a small groan of pleasure, and liquid heat shot straight to my center. This girl had no clue how much she turned me on.

  “Oh my gosh, Chase! You have no idea how good this feels.”

  I muttered some unintelligible reply, my mind immediately concocting a different scenario for which she could use those words. I let it play for a moment before slipping her clothing off the other shoulder and repeating the same actions there.

  More sweet noises left her, and all I could think was how good her skin felt in my hands. I worked back and forth between the two spots before pushing her shirt down farther, so I could reach her shoulder blades. I felt her relaxing more and more, the longer I rubbed, which was funny to me, because I was only winding tighter and tighter.

  I skimmed along the small of her back, lifting the hem of her shirt and pushing it up toward the middle. She flinched a bit as I lightly traced over her skin, and suddenly I couldn’t take it any longer. I readjusted my position, replacing my fingers with my lips, and I heard her sharp intake of breath.

  “You’re killing me, Britt,” I said so softly I wasn’t sure if she could hear me. “I can’t stop tasting you.” My tongue dipped into one of the dimples of her back, just above her shorts, before continuing my path upward across her spine.

  Her breathing increased as my warm breath brushed the back of her neck, and I didn’t fail to notice the goose bumps that flared over her skin. I continued to feather my lips across her, lightly trailing my fingers up her side.

  “Chase,” she said in a slow exhale. “Let me roll over.”

  I chuckled seductively. “What if I don’t wanna?” I could see part of her smile.

  “I want to massage you now—you know, return the favor.”

  Oh, hell yes! I thought with glee. “Sounds fun,” I said aloud, slipping to the side and laying on my back as if I was in total control, which was fine until she straddled me.

  I couldn’t help my obvious groan.

  She grinned in conquering delight as she made a show of cracking her knuckles loudly. “Where should I start?”

  “Here,” I replied reaching my hands up and dragging her lips back to mine.

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  It was amazing how a few key smells could bring one’s childhood rushing back from the dark recesses of the mind. I strolled hand in hand with Brittney as we walked down the midway behind Brett and Tana who were doing the same. We weaved through the throngs of people who were gawking at the spectacle before us, trying to decide how they’d throw their money away tonight.

  I hadn’t been to the State Fair in years, but everything was still situated the same way. Delicious smells floated in the air, the scents of deep fried food, buttered popcorn, and cotton candy—both sweet and greasy concoctions which were in no way healthy, but made my taste buds water just the same. Bright lights of every color flashed and spun as Carnies hocked their games and wares, or tried to get us to try their rides.

  “What do you wanna do first?” I asked Brittney. Her face lit up like a kid in a candy shop as she watched several people scream in terror on a towering free fall ride.

  “That makes me sick just watching it!” she exclaimed before covering her mouth and placing a hand against her stomach. “We should do it!”

  I chuckled. “I can’t believe you’ve never been to the fair before. My parents used to take me almost every year when I was younger.”

  “We lived too far away to make a special trip, and school was always going on.” She pointed down a path which branched off the main one. “Look at those giant
pillow pets! Oh my gosh! That would be so cool on my bed! I want you to win me one of those!” Her eyes continued to dart around. “Ooooh! Look how tall the Ferris Wheel is! Please, can we ride on it? I bet we can see the whole city from the top!

  A pungent, musky odor briefly breezed past us, and we wrinkled our noses.

  “Are there animals here too?” Brittney asked.

  I nodded. “Lot’s of people bring their livestock to show and sell. And there’s a petting zoo too.”

  “A petting zoo! Let’s go pet animals!” She clapped her hands together in delight.

  “What do you need animals for?” Brett asked, rolling his eyes at her rabid excitement. “You’ve got one right beside you. Pet him. I’m sure he’d enjoy it.”

  I chuckled. “I’m not gonna lie—I’d greatly enjoy it.” I grinned at Brittney as I hooked my arm around her neck and dragged her in close for a kiss, remembering the last time she’d had her hands on me.

  She smiled against my mouth. “You’re such a dork.”

  “Maybe, but it doesn’t matter, because you love me anyway.”

  “I do. No doubt about it.” She kissed me again.

  “Enough already,” Brett moaned. “We can’t take anymore public displays of affection.”

  “When you and Tana stop, then we will stop too,” Brittney countered, poking her tongue at him.

  “The heck we will!” I protested. “I don’t ever plan on stopping.”

  “You’re such a guy, Chase.” Tana laughed, glancing back at me. “Always thinking with . . . well, you know.”

  “Nothing wrong with that. It’s how I’m engineered to think.”

  Brittney snickered and grabbed my hand, dragging me toward the Ferris Wheel. “Come on, Mr. Engineer. I think it’s time for a ride.”

  I snorted as I glanced over her form. “Mmm. So do I.” I winked, and she continued to giggle.

  “Stop it.”

  “I can’t.”

  “Why not?”

  I shrugged. “I just can’t.”

  “Can’t or won’t?”

  I pondered this for a few seconds as she continued to pull me down the walkway. “Maybe some of both.”

 
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