She’s all I could ever want…
I have a reputation around school. Cold. Untouchable. Unfeeling. Only one girl could ever make me want to change and that’s Amanda Winters. Too bad I broke her heart and drove her away.
So to get through the rest of my days in high school, I tell myself I need to focus on more important things. Like taking our football team to championships. Get accepted to the college of my choice. And finish my senior year without wanting to run away from my problems.
But your problems chase after you no matter where you go. And it’s a lot harder when you fight them alone. The longer I go without Amanda, the more I miss her. Her smile. Her laughter. The things she said. How she looked at me like I was the only person who mattered. The way she made me feel…
Why can’t I have everything, including the girl? I’m determined to make things right. And make Amanda mine…
It’s pure torture, having her so close, knowing I can’t talk to her, touch her, kiss her. Whisper in her ear all the dirty things I want to do to her.
I can’t do any of that.
None of it.
I’m the bastard who broke her heart. I’m the jerk who can’t commit. I told myself to stay away from her. Though she still tortures me even in my thoughts. I close my eyes and I see her. Her scent seems to fill the air when she’s not around. My mind plays tricks on me, and I can’t make it stop.
So I watch her when I can. When no one’s paying attention. When she’s not paying attention, which is a rare occurrence. I’m pretty sure she’s as aware of me as I’m aware of her.
Friday night football games are the worst. Like right now, I’m standing on the sidelines, watching our defensive line with a critical eye, dying of thirst. I need a drink, and the only one who’s working the hydration station is Amanda. Kyla, the other girl who works the hydration station with Amanda, isn’t here tonight.
Just Amanda. All by herself. Hustling her cute little ass in those tight jeans the entire game, running around making sure we’re all hydrated. Except for me.
“Fuck it,” I mutter as I toss my helmet onto the ground and stalk toward the hydration station. Amanda is talking to one of the JV players, being too nice as usual while the kid blatantly stares at her tits. She complains they’re too small, but I think they’re perfect. She’s perfect.
The asshole staring at her chest? He’s too close.
I want to smash his face in. I don’t even know the kid’s name, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t like how he’s looking at Mandy. My Mandy.
You can’t make that claim anymore—you rejected her. Remember?
The nagging voice inside my head irritates me so much, I actually growl. Out loud.
The JV player spots me first and his eyes go wide, no doubt because of the mean look on my face. And maybe he heard me growl too. Who knows? Who cares? I glare at him and he leaves without a word while Amanda is still talking, and she makes this cute, exasperated noise, shaking her head.
“How rude,” she says, turning toward me with a faint smile. That smile fades in an instant when she sees it’s me.
That hurts. More than I ever want to admit.
“I need water,” I practically grunt, sounding like a primitive caveman. But what else can I say to her? I need you? I want you?
Yeah, that won’t fly.
She raises an eyebrow and grabs a water bottle, thrusting it toward me. “You haven’t said one word to me in two weeks, and the first thing you choose to say is, ‘I need water’? You didn’t even say please.”
My knees are weak. Seriously. I’m six-foot-two of solid muscle. People tend to run when they see me coming, especially when I’m in a crap mood like now, and I’m scared shitless of this girl. “Please?” I add, my voice soft, my heart racing, my entire body on edge from her nearness.
“That’s better.” Amanda steps closer, so close I can smell her. My legs shake. Maybe it’s because I’m dehydrated. Maybe it’s because I’m in love with a girl I can’t have.
I take the water bottle from her and my fingers graze hers. That brief connection sends a jolt through me that makes every fine hair on my body stand on end.
“Thanks,” I say before I start to drink. I drain practically half the bottle before I stop because she’s laying into me.
“You shouldn’t drink so fast. You’ll make your muscles cramp up,” she chastises, though her voice is gentle. Her gaze is too. Everything about her is soft and beautiful and right. She’s wearing a navy blue polo shirt and jeans that show off those endless legs and I’m tempted to fall to my knees and beg for mercy. Would she take me back?
Or is she already over me?
But I don’t fall to my knees. And begging’s not my style. Instead, I return the water bottle to her and start to walk away, eager to make my escape when she says my name. Not my last name either.
Pausing, I glance over my shoulder to find she’s watching me, her dark eyes extra big, her mouth curved downward. She looks sad. Hopeless. I know what that feels like. I’m right there with her. “What?”
“I—I miss you.” She hesitates.
My heart starts beating extra fast. I can’t believe she just said that. I want her to say more. So much more.
“Do you miss me, too?”
Those last words are a faint whisper. Like it took everything out of her to admit that.
I say nothing. I can’t. I messed up. I let her in and it cost me. More than she’ll ever know.
More than she’ll ever understand.
I give the slightest shake of my head and leave her standing there. I can feel her eyes on my back as I walk away, and I know she’s mad. How does that old saying go? If looks could kill? Well, I’d be a dead man for sure. She’s probably plotting my future murder.
“Hey, jackass. Ready to play?” Ryan appears out of nowhere, shoving my helmet into my stomach extra hard, making me cough.
“Asshole,” I mumble as I take my helmet from him.
“I’d be a lot nicer if you got your head out of your ass and focused on the game,” Ryan tells me. “Don’t let that girl mess with your mind, man. We need this win.”
“She’s not messing with my mind,” I say, though I’m lying. She’s totally messing with my mind. I can’t think about anything else. Just Amanda.