CHAPTER SIX

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Raven has been glued to my side more than normal for the last three weeks, and I'm about to tear my hair out. Better yet, maybe I'll rip his hair out instead; what little of it he has anyway. Maybe that'll show that bog oaf. Who am I kidding? I couldn't hurt him even if I really wanted to. That's why he's my personal security detail.

I sigh as I go over today's roster. I'm going to pull Kota from first base to give him a rest. He's started the last fifteen games, and needs a break for the day. The rest of the starting roster will stay the same. I get the batting order ready.

Nathan Griffin - 13 - Catcher

Marc Weiland - 8 - Second Base

North Taylor - 22 - Third Base

Silas Korba - 31 - Pitcher

Luke Taylor - 5 - Center Field

Brandon Henshaw - 14 - Right Field

Victor Morgan - 2 - Left Field

Whit Merrifield - 9 - First Base

Gabriel Coleman - 27 - Shortstop


I email the lineup to the front office so they can get it to the appropriate people for the game tonight. I double check and make sure Silas gets batting practice as well as pitching. Since we're playing a National League team in their own stadium, he will need the extra practice. American League pitchers don't bat. I sit back and sigh. I lean back against the chair back and stretch my back and neck out.

"Everything okay, Little One?" Raven asks from his seat in the corner of my office. I don't get a chance to answer because just as he asks, there's a knock at the door. Raven is instantly on alert and stands to his feet, a hard look on his face, and a hand goes to the ever present gun lodged in a shoulder strap. I roll my eyes at his actions, and stand as he moves to open the door.

The door swings open and Gabriel is standing on the opposite side. He's wearing work-out shorts and a tank top, his collar bones standing out prominently. He glances warily at raven before moving into the room.

"Did you need something Coleman?" I try not to stare at him, but it's hard. He just so handsome. I've tried not to notice any of the guys, but there are a few on the team that have caught my eye, Gabriel being one of them.

"Coach Green asked me to come get you." he answers, pointing behind him. "Something about some kind of fucking problem. He was in a rush, and I didn't really get all the details." He turns, and I move to follow him, but Raven reaches out a hand to stop me. I give him a pointed look and he drops his hand back to his side.

"Stay here, Raven." My irritation coming through my words. "You've practically been up my butt for too long."

"I have not been up your butt!" he practically yells, a horrified look on his face.

"She doesn't mean literally, Raven. It just means you've been too close to her." Gabriel clarifies. I let out a small laugh as the horrified expression leaves his face.

"I have to stay with her. Guard her." he insists, giving Gabriel a look that I can't decipher.

"She'll be fine with me and Sean." Gabriel insists, sending Raven a look back. What the heck is going on with these two. Before I can dwell too much on their little interaction for too long, Raven gives a short nod and sits back down in his chair.

I turn and follow Gabriel through the locker room and then the tunnels. He leads me right to Sean, who is squatting next to a sitting figure. When I get closer I see that it's Whit, our backup first baseman. He's favoring his elbow, while Sean holds a cold pack to it.

"What happened?" I ask as I approach them. I squat down next to Sean.

"I was in the batting cages, and the machine went haywire and started lobbing pitches everywhere except the strike zone. One of them got me on the elbow before I had a chance to get out."

"It's pretty bad, Coach." Sean says. He also serves as a part time team medic. "It was lobbing hundred mile an hour pitches. We need to get technicians out here to take a look at it. We don't need any more unfortunate incidents."

Unfortunate incidents, my behind. I know exactly who is behind this. I haven't seen much from Volto in the last few weeks. I should have known he wouldn't give up, and that something like this would happen. I let out a frustrated sigh and turn to Sean.

"Okay, Green, get him to the hospital to have it looked at. I'll get someone else to cover coaching first base for tonight's game." His green eyes look at me questioningly, the mop of blonde curls falling onto his forehead, which he swipes away in annoyance. "I need a medic with him, and we can't send our full time guys. I need them here."

"I understand." He moves to help Whit to his feet. "What are you going to do about the first base position? You were giving him the night to relax."

"He's just going to have to play tonight. I know he's been practicing and warming up, so he should be good. I'll make other decisions when we find out what's going on with Whit." I tell him as I stand. They leave to go to the hospital and I make my way over to Kota. I approach where a group of them are doing relays. I signal to Kota that i need a moment with him. He jogs over to me and stops.

"What's up, Coach?" he asks, huffing out a few breaths.

"I'm going to need you to play tonight. Whit got hurt pretty bad."

"I hope he's okay. I completely understand. What happened?" he asks, concern etched on his too handsome face.

"He was in the batting cages and the machine went crazy. He got hit on the elbow with a hundred mile and hour ball." He winces, and empathy replaces the concern.

"I got your back, Coach." he says. He touches my shoulder, then walks away, back to his group. My skin is on fire where he touched me.

I make my way back to my temporary office. I keep thinking of ways that I can find out who Volto is and stop him. I come to a decision as I walk through the office door and see Raven in his chair, watching what sounds like Spongebob on his phone. He shuts it off as soon as he notices me. I close and lock the door behind me.

"Raven. I need to talk to you about something, and you have to promise not to say anything to anyone else about it. I mean it. Not another soul." He nods his head once.

"Of course, Little One. I will keep your secret." I take a deep breath and steel myself. I've never told another person what I'm about to tell him, but he's my bodyguard and I have to let him know something is going on so he can do his job properly.

"I have a stalker."

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