Chapter Twelve: Baseball & Goodbyes

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"You're up to bat," David calls to you.

You're in your backyard with your family. All of your siblings came out to the farm today to hang out and meet Tom. You all decided to play a game, baseball being the favorite choice. Your brothers insisted to play boys against girls. They told you that you and Tom needed to have a little rivalry. The boys team consists of your three brothers, Tom, your dad, and Monica's and Sarah's husbands. Other than you, your team consists of your three sisters, both of your sisters-in-law, and Charlie's girlfriend. The teams are a few people short, but you manage

You stand up from your place on the grass and move toward the pillow that you're using as home plate. Your dad hands you the baseball bat. The bases are loaded. David throws the pitch and you hit as hard as you can. Running towards first base, you see Charlie in the outfield running for the ball. He doesn't get to it fast enough and it lands a few feet away from him.

"Keep going!" Monica yells from her place in the grass.

You do. You rush to second base, where Tom is standing guard. Charlie throws the ball to Tom. You quickly turn to run back to first, but you see the ball fly over your head. Again, you turn, rushing for your place on second base. You see Tom holding his glove open, waiting for the ball to be thrown back to him. You slide. Safe.

"Way to go Bills!" Katie yells. She's made it home during your little dance with the boys.

"You okay?" Tom asks, grabbing your hand and pulling you off the ground.

"I'm fine," you smile.

"Hey! No fraternizing with the enemy, Tom!" John yells from third base. You look at Tom and shrug.

You get two more runs before three people get out and your team moves onto the field. You take your place on the pitcher's mound and throw a few balls before David's up to bat.

"Strike one!"

"Strike two!"

David looks at you and concentrates on your throw, trying to figure out what kind of ball you're going to use for the last pitch. Curve ball. You throw. He swings.

"Strike three! You're out!"

"Crap!" David drops the bat.

"It's okay, Davie. We'll get 'em back," your dad assures him. He moves up to the plate, replacing his son.

Your dad is one of the best players you know. He taught you the game. You throw the pitch. He hits it into the outfield. It falls to the ground before anyone can catch it. By the time you have the ball, your dad is on second base, ready to run when the time comes. Tom takes the plate. This should be fun. You smirk. 

"Strike one!"

"You can do it Tom!"

"Strike two!"

You throw the final ball, expecting him to miss. Instead, you hear the sharp crack of the ball hitting the bat. It flies over your head. The outfielders scramble for it, but it goes too far. Home run.


"If you can't handle losing," David says, "don't play the game."

By the end of the game, the boys only beat you by one run.

"I'm not mad that you won. I'm mad that you insist on rubbing it in."

"What? We're not rubbing it in!"

"Oh yeah, because running around the field yelling isn't rubbing it in," you retort.

"It was our victory cry!"


David laughs and turns to talk to John and Charlie.

"Good game." You hear from behind you as you feel strong arms wrap around your middle.

You pull away and walk toward the house.

"Hey!" Tom calls after you. He grabs your waist once more and turns you around to look at him. "I said. Good. Game."

"And I said nothing," you try to pull away again. He's holding you too tight and you can't get out of his grasp.

"I'm not letting you go until you say it back to me," he smiles.

You try to act like you're mad at him, but his smile is too sweet for you to resist.

"I'll say it back to you on one condition."


"Kiss me."

"That can be arranged." He pulls the baseball cap off of your head and leans down, locking his lips  onto yours. He pulls away after a second.

"Good game," you sigh happily. You pull him back down, once again pressing your lips against his.

"Get a room!" John yells from behind you.

Tom laughs, breaking the seal of your lips. You grab your cap from him and whirl around, throwing it at your brother. He ducks out of the way, narrowly missing getting hit.

"I sort of wish we could," Tom mutters so only you can hear him.

"Tom!" You whisper. You've talked about this with him already. You told him that you wanted to wait until marriage, and he accepted that.

"I'm teasing. I respect your boundaries. You know I wouldn't cross that line, don't you?"

"Yes. I know."


You're sitting on the couch, your head on Tom's shoulder. His arm is around your waist and he pulls you a little closer.

"Don't be sad, Bea. I hate it when you're sad."

"I'm sorry. I just don't want you to leave."

It's one in the morning, and Tom's plane is leaving at eleven. That gives you seven hours before you need to leave for the airport.

"Darling, I won't be gone forever, and you can come see me anytime."

"I know, but I'm going to miss you."

"I'll miss you too, but we can call and video chat."

"It won't be the same."

"Bea. It'll be okay. Trust me on this."

"I do trust you."



You're standing in the airport, waiting for Tom to board his flight.

"Please don't cry. I'm sorry I'm leaving. Please, just, don't cry."

"I can't help it. I'm sorry." You brush a tear from your cheek.

He pulls you close and you bury your face in his shirt. He kisses the top of your head and holds you firmly against his body.

"They're calling my plane." He tries to pull away, but you hang on tighter. "Bea. I've got to go, darling."

Your arms go limp and he takes a small step back. He cups your face in his hand and kisses you gently.

"Goodbye, love," he whispers softly.

"Goodbye." A sob slips from your mouth. Tom kisses you once more before turning to board the plane.

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