All characters involved in sexual situations are 18 and over.
The days quickly passed by turning into weeks once I quit drinking. I found myself very involved with basketball and the girls. It was quite often I would spend extra time at the gym with whoever wanted to stay after. I was mostly Taylor, Tessa, Nikki, and Tracy. We would work on conditioning and drilling on most nights. They were just little things that would help them get better. They loved it that I was there to help them. Taylor was the most thrilled of them all. She couldn’t be happier that I was spending more time with her.
On some nights we would just take it easy and sit there talking about life and whatever came up. It gave me a chance to get to know Nikki and Tracy better and really understand who they were. It also gave them a chance to know me and to see who I really was. I enjoyed those nights more than the down to business nights for the most part.
They were doing very well this season. They were doing better than I thought they would to be honest. We went into the winter break without losing a game. Tonight it was just Taylor and I working on a few things in the gym. We were working with an eight pound weighted ball to help her drive to the hoop better and really push the ball to the hoop. We also used it to help her on her footwork.
After we finished I took her home and let her get cleaned up before I came back over and picked her up again. I took her out to dinner to spend a little more time with her. It was nothing special and not something we hadn’t done since I had quit drinking. After we finished I took her back home and dropped her off. I headed home and rested in bed while reading a magazine and listened to a game playing on TV in the background.
“Come on Teagan,” I sighed. “It’s just a bump in the road. We have plenty of time to keep trying.”
“I know,” she sighed. “I was just hopeful this time.”
“You don’t want to be waddling around on the sidelines anyway,” I joked. “February would have put you pretty close to popping.”
“I would have managed,” she laughed. “I wouldn’t miss my sisters playing for anything.”
I glanced over at her sitting there with a soft smile on her face. She was a little down when the test came back as a negative. Knowing her she wouldn’t let it keep her down for long.
“I hear there is something in the water in Italy,” I offered.
She giggled a little more before she looked back at me. “I’m pretty sure the water isn’t what is going to get me pregnant.”
“No?” I teased. “You’re going to have to show me how that works then when we get home.”
I looked back at the road ahead of me and saw a set of headlights closing in on us and fast, very fast. Behind that was a line of blue lights following it. I quickly tried to analyzed the situation and react on the fly. I hit the brakes and tried to swerve out of the way but there just wasn’t enough time. The car was traveling too fast and it was just too late. We hit head on as my car flipped several times before coming to a rest in a ditch.
The banging and crunching of metal sprang me awake from my nightmare. I lay there in a cold sweat as I panted hard trying to get my heart rate under control. I sat up in bed and shook as I stared down at the bedside clock. It read 202 in the morning. The bedside lamp was still on and my magazine lay in the bed next to me.
“Fuck,” I cussed as my hand flew out and smashed into the lamp sending it flying across the room. It hit the floor and broke as the room went dark.
I pushed myself from the bed and headed down the stairs to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I didn’t dare go back to sleep anymore. I knew what was going to happen if I did. I would get to relive the rest of the events that happened on that horrible August night.
I sat at the table and sipped on my water. I sighed and tried to calm myself down but it wasn’t any use now. I was pissed off as I slammed my fists on the table before I started to pace around the house again. I passed by our wedding photo and stopped to look at it. I turned and leaned against the wall before slowly sliding down it and resting right below it. I was getting over it but nights like tonight reopened those wounds and brought everything right back to the forefront. I wanted a drink now but I knew the alcohol would only numb the pain and send me back down the wrong path again.
I sat there all balled up on the floor leaning against the wall. My eyes closed and flashed back to that night again. I remembered being stunned and in a fog as I came too. My door was wide open so I unclipped and stumbled out and fell to the ground. I started to crawl around to the other side of the car but was stopped by the cops that had stopped when it all happened. I was told to lay still and wait for the ambulance to come.
My mind went to the asshole that had turned my life upside down. He was drunk and flying down the road at about 90 miles an hour trying to out run the cops when he slammed into us. We were in the wrong place Görükle Escort at the wrong time. I was the only one who walked away from either car that night.
I blamed myself for what had happened. Maybe if I hadn’t taken my eyes off the road I could have seen it coming sooner and avoided it. Maybe if I had hit the brakes harder and turned the other way things might have been different. In the end I knew there was nothing I could have done differently but still I felt guilty that I had survived.
I wish I would have told her how much I loved her. I know that she knew, but I wish I could have told her one more time. I wish I would have told her how much she really meant to me. How much I really did treasure her and how much I needed her. Instead, it ended with me lying on the ground in a muddy ditch and her stuck in a mangled car.
That was my biggest regret. Not being there with her. I should have crawled and gotten to her. I should have been there and held her before she was gone. I should have told her then how much I loved her and how much she meant to me. I was riddled with guilt because I didn’t. It made me feel like I gave up on her.
I slammed the wall again with my fists and cursed as the picture came loose and smacked me on the top of my head. It flipped around and landed in my lap. I picked it up and looked at her smiling face from the happiest day of our life together. Tears ran down my face as I wished so badly she was here right now. My life wouldn’t be spiraling out of control if she was. There would be order and purpose in my life and most likely a baby on the way. I hurt so bad right now sitting there looking at her.
“I miss you baby,” I sighed to it crying.
I wiped my eyes and looked at the picture again. I missed her. I missed her touch, her soft smell, her gentle voice, her quiet confidence in me. I missed everything about her. How could life be so cruel? Why did life have to take from me again? I would have given anything to keep her safe, even my own life just to let her live. Why did it have to be this way? For once in my life I was truly happy and truly content with everything. It just didn’t make any sense to me.
I could never find the answer to that question. Why? I had asked it at least a thousand times now and never found the answer. All I ever got out of that question was more pain and anger from it. Even if I found an answer that very question, why, it wouldn’t be what I wanted to hear. I wanted her here, in my arms, holding me, loving me like she had always done. We were supposed to kick the crap out of life together. Why?
I could almost taste the whiskey now as I wiped my eyes again and looked at her once more. Not going to do it I thought firmly. I pushed myself from the floor and stood. I turned and placed the picture back on the wall before leaning against it again. I wiped my eyes again before pushing myself away from the wall and walking to the exercise room to grab my gym bag. No way was I going to start drinking again now. I had made it this far.
I walked to the garage and got into the car. I backed out and headed to the school gym. I started shooting. For hours it was just me on the hardwood floor shooting over and over. It wasn’t until about 730 when the door opened and Taylor and Tessa walked inside. Taylor took one look at me and knew I had been here for hours.
“You look like hell,” she said as she gave me a hug. My sweaty body rubbed off on her.
“Thanks,” I smiled.
“No really, you look like shit and you smell just as bad,” she scolded me. “How long have you been here for?”
“I don’t know,” I lied. “A couple of hour’s maybe.”
“Jake, don’t lie to me,” she sighed. “I’m not stupid.”
“Since about three this morning.”
“You’re going to make yourself sick,” she said concerned.
“I couldn’t sleep.”
“I’m sorry,” she said hugging me again. She knew about the nightmare.
“Are you going to be ok?”
I shrugged. “Someday.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked.
“Now isn’t the time sweetie,” I said.
“We can talk about it,” she offered.
“Let’s talk after,” I said. “Let’s get warmed up and ready to go.”
I handed her the ball and walked off to get a drink as more players started to filter into the gym. We both leaned on each other since that day and we were both getting better. She was bouncing back faster than I was and I expected that with her being so young. Still we both had our days and this was one of my bad days.
We started working. I played some today and guarded Taylor to make her work. She could easily out work the rest of the girls so she needed a challenge. I made it through half of the practice before I knew I was spent and I had to step out and just coach.
Rodney wanted to get in there and run with them. It still annoyed me that he was here. He didn’t have a clue how to coach them. It’s one thing to play and another to coach. Hell, he couldn’t play either come to think of it. I watched him try to guard Taylor and laughed to myself Görükle Escort Bayan as she called Tessa up and screened him. He bumped into Tessa and tripped over his own feet. Taylor went easily around him and hit a jumper.
The rest of the team didn’t really care for him either. He came in there and tried to throw his two cents in like he knew everything. I had spoken to the team on the side and told them this wasn’t my idea and that they just had to deal with it until he got bored and maybe he would leave.
He brought the ball down the floor as Taylor stayed low and stalked him. I call it stalking because she followed his every move and waited for him to bring the ball out in front of him. Once he did she pounced on it and quickly stole it from him. He reached out and caught her hip as she slipped on by him. She twirled around and kept her footing as she drove down the floor and made a layup.
He scowled as he took the ball in and brought it up the floor again. Taylor stalked him again and waited. He picked up his dribble to look for a pass. The girls moved halfheartedly to try and get open as Taylor slapped the ball free and took off again. He grabbed her again and knocked her off her feet.
“That’s enough of that,” I called after I blew the whistle. “If you’re going to play then keep your hands off of them. I don’t need any of them getting hurt over something stupid in practice.”
“I’m just out here having a little fun,” he said.
“Throwing them on the ground isn’t fun for them,” I barked. “Play if you want but don’t freaking foul them. It’s just practice. Let them play.”
“You get out there with them and put your hands on them too.”
“Yes, as part of the game,” I called back. “I don’t foul them. If I’m beat I let it go. There isn’t a reason to foul them. They do enough of that to each other already.”
“Alright girls,” I called over him. “Let’s move onto something else. Let’s run Texas slowly and work to get an open look. Nikki, take Mr. Whiteman’s spot.”
I watched as they worked my third option for an offensive set. I had to calm myself down as Rodney paced around and tried to cool off from the little running that he had done.
“I’m just trying to help,” Rodney said to me as I watched.
“I understand that,” I hissed. “But you can’t be so rough with them. They’re just high school girls out there practicing. You’re a full grown man. Challenge them but be easy on them.”
“You play hard with them,” he said.
“Yes, but I don’t throw them on the ground when they get me. I just let it go and try harder the next time. I don’t want any of them hurt during practice. Especially Taylor. She’s got a lot riding on this season and needs to be healthy. Colleges aren’t going to look at her if she misses half the season with an injury.”
“I’ll try not to be so rough with them,” he relented.
“No, you won’t play so rough with them,” I said firmly. “You are out there to challenge them and help them grow as a team. You’re not ever going to take a shot in a game so there isn’t a need to be so aggressive with them. This is for them to get better, not for you to pad some imaginary stats you’re keeping in your head.”
“Show me how to do it then,” he huffed.
I groaned as I tossed my whistle to the floor. This had been one big pain in the ass all season long. I really wished I could tell him what I thought and send him on his way but I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want any more friction with George.
“Cali,” I called. “Take a break. Nikki, switch off of Taylor for a minute.”
Cali looked concerned as she paced off the floor. “Hey,” I said softly. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I have to show hot shot over there how to play.”
Taylor smiled as I guarded her again. “What are we running coach?”
“What the hell are you smiling about?” I said returning her smile. “Run Texas.”
“I’m going to burn you,” she giggled.
“So you think?” I fired right back.
She jabbed left then tried to go right. I knew her moves and followed her and kept her around the three point line. She passed the ball off and cut through as I followed her. Tessa gave me an extra bump as I tried to chase Taylor down. I spun away as Taylor got the ball and gave me a good fake. I half bit on it but stayed mostly on my feet. She pushed past me as I tried to get my body going in the right direction. She had a jumper that I could have slapped but I let her have the shot. It went in.
I took the ball up the floor and paced the three point line before passing it off and working my way through the lane. Taylor was right on my tail as I got to my spot and couldn’t get the ball. I rotated with the play and cut through the middle again. I came back out at the top and waited. The pass was a little off the mark as I went to grab it. Taylor broke on it and tipped it loose. I fought for it but couldn’t come up with it as she grabbed it. It was her and Nikki going one on one at the other end of the floor. Taylor broke Nikki as she fouled her.
“Alright Bursa Escort Bayan Cali,” I called. “Get back in there.”
“See, it’s simple,” I said to Rodney. “Let them play but challenge them. I could have dove for the ball, fought harder through the screen, blocked Taylor in the corner, but I didn’t. Just let them play.”
“Let me try again,” he said.
“Jake,” Rob called. He tapped his watch.
“Free throw time,” I called. “Rodney is going to run with you guys too. You better not finish last.”
They finished up as I dismissed them.
“Where do you want to go so we can talk?” she asked.
“How about we go out for breakfast?”
“I’d like that,” she smiled.
“Do you want to join us?” I asked Tessa.
“No thanks,” she said. “Can I have the keys so I can go home?”
Taylor gave Tessa the keys as we all walked towards the parking lot. She went her own way and got into the car to head home. Taylor and I got into my car and headed down the street to the diner for breakfast.
“Did you have the dream again?” Taylor asked as I sipped my coffee.
“Yeah,” I sighed. “I didn’t go back to sleep so I didn’t have to finish it. That’s why I was at the gym.”
“I’m sorry Jake,” she offered.
“I know honey,” I said. “Normally I wake up when we are in the car before the accident happens. Last night it went a little further before I woke up. It really upset me.”
“Did you call anybody?” she asked referring to Jenny.
“It was too late to call her. I went to the gym instead.”
“You can always call me,” she offered.
“I know I can but I cleared my mind at the gym. I’m better now, just tired.”
I picked up my coffee and took a sip.
“So,” she said slyly. “I got a letter in the mail from Duke yesterday.”
“That’s great,” I said smiling. I didn’t press Duke or any school on her for that matter. That was something she wanted on her own.
“I hear it’s a pretty cool school,” she continued.
“One of the best,” I said. “I loved it there.”
“Is it worth my time to take a trip down there and check it out?”
“That’s up to you but I would go.”
“Do you want to go with me?” she questioned cutely.
I sighed. I was torn, going down to Duke would be like going back to my old high school. All the emotions would flood back and with everything that had just happened I wasn’t sure if I wanted that at this point.
“Let me think about it,” I replied.
“Ok,” she smiled.
We both picked at our food before she brought up the next question. “What are you planning to do for Christmas this year?”
“I’m going to go home,” I sighed.
“Why? We all want you here.”
“It’s been a while Taylor, I need to get home and see everyone. Truth be told…” I trailed off.
“Truth be told what?” she questioned.
I sighed again. “Don’t say anything to anyone ok? I think I’m going to finish out the school year and watch you graduate, then I’m going to move back home.”
“No, you can’t do that,” she said quickly.
“Taylor, I’m sorry. I can’t stay here anymore. I’ve got nothing here that’s keeping me.”
“I’m still here.”
“I know that and I’m keeping my word to your sister but once the summer comes you will be gone off to college and I won’t have anything keeping me here. What am I going to do with myself?”
“Sure,” Taylor said picking at her eggs.
“What do you mean sure?” I asked.
“I just don’t want to see you go that’s all.”
“Once you go off to college you won’t see me anymore anyway.”
“I’ll be home for the holidays and during the summer.”
“What am I going to do for the rest of the year?” I questioned. “I don’t have a reason to stay anymore.”
“So you’re just going to run away and try to forget about my sister.” she said suddenly.
Taylor was still such a kid sometimes. I let her words sink in and waited until the sting wore off before I answered. The man I used to be would have fired right back at her and said something I wouldn’t have been able to take back. Teagan had taught me so much, half of which I didn’t realize until after she was gone.
“Taylor, honey,” I said softly. “I’m not trying to forget her. She was my everything and I can’t forget her. Once you leave I won’t have anything here to keep me from going crazy. I can’t stay here and keep living like this.”
“You will have basketball and my dad,” she reached.
“Come on honey, we both know basketball is only a couple of months. I love your dad but what am I going to do? What happens when I find somebody else? I won’t be able to hang out with him, that will be just weird.”
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” she said angrily. “Take me home please.”
She pushed herself hard from the table and walked out the door.
“Fuck,” I said to myself as I set some cash on the table and walked out the door.
“Please don’t be mad Taylor,” I begged in the car.
She wouldn’t speak to me. I let it be and drove home in a silent car until I pulled up at Thom’s house.
“Jake,” she started. “You’re like the big brother I never had. I just want to know that you will always be there for me and with you leaving I feel like you won’t be there anymore. It’s just upsetting to lose my sister and then find out I’m losing my brother too.”