Saving Drew(3)

By: Lara Van Hulzen


He had zero idea what had possessed him to ask her to dance, but he had. And after holding her up close, cute would definitely not be his first word to describe the woman. An all-out siren hidden under a buttoned-up floral dress was more like it.

Drew shook his head. That last thing he needed right now was a distraction like Baylee. His mind was messed up enough.

Baylee. Hmph. Not a typical girl name. And yet he liked how it rolled off is tongue when he said it. It fit her too. Along with the underlying southern twang in her voice, it worked. Where was she from? Texas, maybe.

“Hey, big brother.”

Kate’s voice pulled him from his thoughts.

“Hey, sis.” He didn’t move away from the wall. Just smiled. Well, as much of a smile as he could give at this point.

Kate stood next to him, her concern for him evident in the furrowed brow.

“Don’t give me that look.”

“I’m not giving you anything. Yet.”

He managed a full smile at that. Feisty little sister she was, never afraid to give him grief.

“Shouldn’t you be in there dancing and enjoying your wedding reception?”

“I’m worried about you.”

“Don’t.”

“Why?”

“’Cause I’m fine.”

“Phh. Right.” She leaned up against the wall as well and leaned her head on his shoulder.

His good shoulder. The one that didn’t ache. The one that wasn’t potentially costing him his entire livelihood. His dream. Damn it, his pity party was back. He sounded pathetic, even in his own head. But so what? His life was swirling down the toilet. He was entitled to a little self-pity, right?

“Stop that,” Kate said.

“Stop what?”

“All that garbage you’re letting go through your head. You’ll play again, Drew. You will.”

He shook his head. Such an optimist, his sister. Sure, his physical therapy was going well since surgery, but would he every pitch like he did before his injury? And Drew wasn’t sure he was ready for the answer just yet. His trainer said he was doing well. Improving. But what did that really mean? It wasn’t a definite answer. Nothing he could base his future on. Not to mention his pitches were wild and his velocity wasn’t up to par. Things his trainer said would come with time but spring training was right around the corner. Time wasn’t a luxury he possessed at this point.

“I said stop it.”

He turned and pulled Kate into his arms. She snuggled against him like she had when they were kids. After she’d fallen off her bike, or when she watched a sad movie that made her cry.

“I mean it, K. Don’t worry about me. You need to focus on being happy with Jack.”

She looked up at him. “I am happy with Jack.”

“Good, because if he makes you sad, I’ll have to kick his butt.”

A playful slap landed on his chest as she stepped back.

“Come on. Let’s go back inside.”

He took her hand and led her back to the reception. His life might be going down the drain, but hers was taking a turn for the better. There wasn’t much he could be happy about in his life right now, but he’d be damned if he ruined Kate’s wedding day with his grumbling. Yep. It was time to put on his game face and look happy for his sister. He’d wallow in his own worry later.

*

Baylee watched as Drew and Kate came back through the main door hand in hand. They were a close family. Not something seen as much anymore it seemed. It was nice.

She’d found her spot behind the cupcake table again after dancing with Drew. Still a tad confused at his abrupt departure and lack of conversation, her heart skipped a beat when he turned her way and smiled.

Gracious. The man was beautiful when frowning. When he smiled he was downright mind-blowing. She blinked and smiled back, cursing the warmth in her cheeks she was certain turned them crimson.

He led Kate to the dance floor and spun her around. She laughed and kissed his cheek as he pulled her to him. Being around his sister had cheered him up. That was good.

Baylee could only imagine what the man was going through. She only had a few details from Kate, but as a major league baseball pitcher, having a shoulder injury was not a good thing, and that was putting it mildly. Nothing had felt wrong with his shoulders when they danced, that was for certain.