Chapter Six

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"In my heart there was a kind of fighting that would not let me sleep."


I was not ready to pitch up against George Ranch. 

My curve ball was atrocious; every time ending up in the dirt. The speed of my fastball was sub par at a whopping seventy-nine miles per hour. Even my hitting was off - I fouled more balls than actually making correct contact for a hit. 

"Are you up for twenty more?" I asked far, kicking the dirt at my feet. My voice resembled my gloom, so I had to speak up. "Can you keep throwing more at me? And I need faster pitches. George Ranch won't be taking it easy on me."

The sun beat down on my face, sweat cascading down my forehead. We had been at it for nearly four hours, and if I looked sweaty, far was drenched. 

"Clayton, you have practice tomorrow." He stepped off the mound and wrangled his hand out of the glove. "That was enough for today."

No. We couldn't be finished. I still had so much to improve on. Plus I needed a valid excuse to not go out with Courtney for the second time in the past couple days. Last Sunday we were supposed to go out, but I ended up backing out of that because of the Lucy Walker drama. Then I rescheduled to Tuesday, and now that the day was there, I wanted nothing else but to stay on the baseball field and keep my head in the game. 

"I'll stay then. Get out the pitching machine - yeah, the machine." I rubbed the back of my neck then dried my hands on my dirt stained pants. "I'll be back around four."

I thought far was going to make me go home by the look on his face, but suddenly his expression twisted into bemusement.

"Does this have something to do with Lucy going to the game on Friday?" He asked, the humor in his eyes unmissable.

I smacked my lips then rolled my eyes. I was not about to get into that when I needed to practice and perfect my technique. "Uansett far. Vi snakkes senere (Whatever, father. I will talk to you later)."

"No, no. You are not getting rid of me that easily." Instead of heading to the parking lot he started towards the home plate and me. My eyes continued to remain on the diamond shaped base mat. "You are never nervous for a game. Especially against George Ranch. We always beat them." He had a point. I hated when he had points. "So what's different now?" He pretended to ponder, but he and I both knew the new adding factor. "Oh, yeah, it is Lucy Walker."

"What are you trying to say? I am nervous to play in front of Lucy or something? Because that is far from the case!" He looked to barely believe me. "I've seen her in the bleachers for past games. So technically nothing is different from those past times." 

Which was completely true. I had seen Lucy in the bleachers multiple times this season. She and her friends would always sit in the front corner closest to the dug out when they watched. Plus it wasn't as if I noticed her first. Zeke was the one to point out Lucy's best friend - Jacklyn Kate was her name, I believed - and commented on how she was hot. In turn I took in the people surrounding J.K., and boom, there was Lucy, clapping and cheering for the run. From then on I only noticed a pattern. 

It wasn't as if I were picking her out from random seats every game. 

He puckered his lips, the twinkle still in his eye. "Tell me, son, how you are barely even able to find your mother and I in the crowd, yet you can find Lucy?"

Why couldn't he drop the subject of Lucy? My nerves had nothing to do with her. It was all about me and my tiring arm. It was all about me and my swing. It was all about me, and only me. 

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