Pitch Please(3)By: Lani Lynn Vale
Sway (7:23 PM): Please tell me I didn’t look as stupid as I felt.
Ember (7:23 PM): You look beautiful, stop whining.
I rolled my eyes.
Ember and I met at college where we were both studying to become athletic trainers. We met on the first day, and we instantly became friends.
We sort of grew apart for a while because we were going in different directions career wise—and, until recently, it had been a long time since we last spoke.
We picked right back up, as if we hadn’t spent the last eight years apart. I was enjoying having her back in my life again.
Between her and Rainie, I was seriously loving life for the first time in years.
“Hey, anyone seen my fucking bubble gum?” a player yelled. “It was right here, and now it’s gone. Oh, dammit, I’m missing two pieces. I only have five!”
I looked around for the lost candy, and idly wondered what the big deal was. If he had five, then that surely was enough to get him through the game, right?
Oh, how wrong I was.
“Hey,” the player that I was having a very hard time ignoring interrupted my inner musings.
I turned, this time surprised that I couldn’t see his eyes anymore.
He had on wraparound sunglasses that were tinted an intense shade of blue, and I liked them. A lot.
“Y-yes?” I stuttered.
“Can you go to the concession stand and get Manny a couple of Double Bubbles?” he asked.
I blinked, surprised that he would ask me.
“No,” I immediately disagreed. “I’m the trainer. I can’t just leave. What if someone gets hurt?”
His eyes stared at me steadily. “Because if he doesn’t have all of his gum, he might be hurt. You don’t want to be the cause of that, do you?”
I stared at him as if he’d grown seven heads that were all leaking snot.
I gave him a disbelieving look.
“I’m not leaving, but I’ll ask my friend to get it for me. She’s in the seats above the dugout,” I explained when he gave me a dubious look. “You might be in luck.”
He looked at me approvingly.
“I like your ingenuity,” he grinned. “Is Bobby not coming back as head AT?”
I shook my head. “Bob had a heart attack about a month ago,” I frowned. “He’s okay, but he’s had to slow down quite a bit. He might be back in an advisory capacity once he’s fully healed; but, until then, I’m your man.”
He chuckled, and I felt that dark, deep rumble in my soul.
“I like you, Half-Pint,” he grinned. “I…”
I stiffened at the use of Half-Pint.
I was not a half pint.
I was a full pint. Maybe even a quart.
And I liked it.
Well, I didn’t like it as much as I owned it.
I was curvy, and I knew it. I worked my ass off, ate the right shit, and I was still heavy.
It wasn’t ever going to be different, and I accepted that, but the man didn’t have to point it out to me or make fun of me by using demeaning nicknames.
But before I could snap at him, a coach yelled from the front of the dugout.
“Parts! You’re up!”
Parts got up, leaving me with nothing else to do but text Rainie and ask her for two pieces of Double fucking Bubble.
Sway (7:30): Will you go buy me two pieces of Double Bubble? One of the players needs it.
“Did anyone find my gum yet?” Manny, number 11, called out. “Seriously, guys. One of you motherfuckers better not have eaten it.”
Nobody answered, and I chose to ignore him as well.
My eyes staying on Hancock “Parts” Peters. Number 49.
He did his whole ritual.
Once he was there, he dropped the bat onto the plate, put his gloves on, and started his routine as he pulled his pants up above his calves, continuing on to adjust his hat and tap the plate with his bat.
Did he pull them down each time he was done hitting?
The thought made me smile as I watched the pitches start flying.
The first two were balls. The second two Hancock fouled.
The next one went straight at Hancock’s head, and he dropped to the ground to avoid being hit.
Hancock got up, dusted himself off, and glared at the little fucker who’d nearly hit him.
And I do mean glare.