The Perfectly Imperfect Match (Suttonville Sentinels)(2)By: Kendra C. Highley
He could have fun after he made the majors. Hell, by then girls would be falling into his lap at every turn. A star pitcher for the majors would have his pick.
Dylan finished tidying up the dugout, checked the foul lines for any smudged chalk, and made sure the water coolers were clean. By the time he was done, Coach had walked into the locker room, eyebrow raised. “Dennings, you should be long gone by now. Is there a problem?”
“No, sir. I’m just double checking everything and making sure it’s perfect. We want these kids to stick with the sport and win you another championship, right?”
Coach grunted, but Dylan could tell he was pleased. “I appreciate it. Now go home and get some rest. Three hours a day with those kids will wear you out quicker than sprint drills.”
“I hear you, sir. See you Monday.”
Dylan went to the parking lot, feet dragging. It’s not that he didn’t want to go home—home was fine. He just felt like there was more to do here. There was always more to do. Still, protecting his arm had to be a priority, and pulling his shoulder dragging equipment around would suck. So much was riding on this clinic, though. Being able to teach and coach would prove he had what it took. So what if his fastball was ninety miles per hour?
He needed confidence.
Most pitchers had a diva complex—he’d heard that from everyone, including Tristan—but did they have soul-crushing doubt before games? Probably not. He liked to win, and he didn’t like quitting, but it was so hard to power through sometimes. Teaching the little guys, showing them how to throw, seemed like a great way to prove to himself that he knew what he was doing and to stop freaking out over every minute detail.
Hopefully it worked.
And if it didn’t? If it didn’t…he couldn’t think about that. Not yet. He couldn’t think about his parents, knowing they secretly hoped he’d go on to college. He wouldn’t think about blowing it in front of scouts next season.
His breath hitched and his pulse sped up. A bead of sweat ran down his temple. Dylan started his car—a Porsche crossover handed down from his mom—and turned on the A/C. Calm down, asshole. You’re fine.
But the little voice in his head kept telling him he wasn’t good enough…and he had no idea how to shut it off.
“Who made this?” The girl in the front of the shop sounded impressed. “Come look!”
“A corset? With…what are those? Clockwork bats?” The other girl sounded less impressed. “Seriously, those are bats.”
“I want it,” the first girl said. “It’s so…so…me.”
The second girl laughed. “Well, that’s kind of true.”
As their footsteps approached, Lucy looked up from the needlepoint version of Harley Quinn’s baseball bat she was doing for a customer who was really into cosplay. It was going onto a satin jacket and the work was super detailed.
The girls stood at the counter. They went to Suttonville…probably…but Lucy didn’t know them. The petite girl holding the purple corset with the bats had an almost matching purple streak in her hair.
“Oh,” Lucy said, appreciative. “That’s perfect for you.”
The tiny girl stood taller and her friend—a slim, blond cheerleader type—rolled her eyes. “Don’t encourage her.”
“Why not?” Lucy beamed at the tiny girl. “Something tells me you enjoy a little mayhem, yes?”
The tiny girl’s eyes widened. “Why yes, I do.”
Lucy nodded. “Thought so. Pair that corset with a black tutu and ripped tights, and you’ll slay Halloween.”
“I’ll take it.” The girl handed her a credit card.
“You didn’t ask how much.” Lucy frowned. The corset was a hundred and twenty-five dollars.
The tiny girl waved a hand. “No price is too much for a slayed Halloween. I’m having a party, and I want everything to be epic.” She pointed at her friend. “Epic, I say.”
I do like customers with money. Customers with sass and money are even better. “Your wish is my command. I always have unique pieces, in case you need something else. I’m Lucy. Just ask for me when you come in.”