I can see old Terrance laid flat on a hospital bed if I say yes, but I shake my head and Drew relaxes.


“No. But he feels up my mom in front of me.”

Drew’s scowl returns. “I think I’d have gone f**king mental if I’d had to see some guy grope my mom.”

“It’s disgusting,” I say. “He does it to bother me. Because of him, she’s selling our house. Because old Terry doesn’t have the funds to pay his way.” I curse again. “There is nothing I can do. She won’t hear me, no matter what I say.”

I blink rapidly and try to calm myself, but I can’t stop talking. “I know I’m being a baby about this. It isn’t like I live there, or plan to anymore. But it’s like that final safety net is gone. And now I’ll never be able to go…” My words die, horror invading me.

But Drew looks me in the eye and finishes my sentence. “Go home again? Don’t hold back your words out of pity, Anna. I don’t need that.”

I want to shrivel into the grass. “I think there’s a difference between pity and sympathy, don’t you?”

He doesn’t break my gaze as he slowly nods. “Sometimes, without warning, I’ll catch the scents of my old home. I don’t know what it will be exactly, maybe a mix of old books and coffee, or laundry detergent and cool air.” His gaze turns inward. “But it smells just like home. And I’ll miss mine so f**king badly that I can’t breathe.”

“I wish you could go home again,” I say, wanting to cry.

Drew’s eyes lock onto me. “I do too. But I think we have to make our own homes.”

Looking at him, gilded by sunlight, his expression tight with weariness but earnest as he watches me, I think that I could love this man. I could love him forever. My breath grows short.

“When I do find my own home,” I say, “I’m never letting it go.”

His throat moves on a swallow. “Good plan.” He takes a step closer to me. “I’m sorry, Anna.”

I know he’s speaking of my mother, my loss of safe harbor. “Me too.” But I’m talking about him. Because Drew should never have lost his family. He shouldn’t have to wear a piece of his childhood home around his neck because that’s all he has left.

The tight, antsy feeling has returned. I shift on my feet, my gaze roving the field. Drew takes an audible breath and runs a hand along his sweat-damp hair. His eyes squint as the setting sun’s rays fall full on his face. “You want to try something?”

I raise a brow, and he laughs. “Such a dirty mind, Jones.”

“Why would you assume that?” I cross my arms in front of my chest. But I’m smiling too. Smiling is better. Safer. “Unless you have a dirty mind as well.”

“Of course I do.” He touches the tip of my nose with a finger, making me bat him off in annoyance. He only laughs. “Why do you think we’re so perfect together?”

My breath gets a little unsteady, and the light in his eyes dims a bit. But he simply picks up his football. “However, this time, I was just going to ask if you’d like to toss around the ball.”

“Throw a football?”

“Such a sour face,” Drew observes way too happily. “It isn’t going to blow up in your hand.”

“Says you. I suck at sports.”

He rolls his eyes. “No one is asking you to be good. Just throw it.” He tosses the ball high and catches it without looking. Show off. “Trust me, Jones. It’s an excellent stress reliever.”

Drew proceeds to show me how to hold the ball, placing my fingers on the laces, and my thumb positioned beneath the ball. “Hold it lightly with your fingertips. Finger control is very important.”

“Oh, believe me, bud, I’m a big proponent of finger control,” I say, just this side of saucy. Oh, but it’s a mistake to joke, because I’m remembering those long fingers of his pushing inside of me, curling just so to find that spot that drives me wild.

Sunlight gilds the tips of his long lashes as he blinks down at me. A flush crests his high-cut cheeks. “Stop trying to distract me, Jones. Your cheap seduction tactics won’t work on this hallowed field.” The roughness in his voice tells me otherwise, but I decide to be good.

“Can I throw now?” I fight down a grin. “Or do you have any more deluded fantasies running through your brain?”

“I have tons of fantasies. But you only get to hear them when we have a place to act them out. Now do as you’re told, Miss Jones.”

I submit and place myself in his capable hands as he rattles off instructions—step back this way, hold the ball up by your ear, wind up your arm like so, throw it here, step thusly. I’ll be surprised if I retain half of it.

“Remember,” he says, stepping back to give me space, “let the ball roll off of your fingers. Your power comes from your core and your legs. It’s all about momentum and confidence.”

“Right.” I’m going to mess this up royally.

Drew grins wide. “Yes, the first throw is going to suck.”

“Get out of my head,” I mutter.

He just laughs. “More like reading your expression. Now stop stalling.”

I go through the motions, feeling like an idiot. And the ball wobbles through the air to land with a dull thud some ten feet away. Awesome.

“Welp,” I dust off my hands. “That was fun.”

I turn to go, when he grabs my arm, still laughing. The moron. “Nice try, Anna. But I don’t think so.” He slaps the ball back in my hand. “Again.”

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