Epilogue - What's the best way to hide a raging hard-on in skin-tight shorts?

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Then. Now. Later?

"Hey!" I said, running up to Tanner and backhanding his arm, causing the ball he was holding to knock out of his hand. Maybe I went a little hard, but my heart couldn't take this any longer. I was desperate. I had to know if it was her. "Who is that girl with Morgan?"

The smug grin on his face and accompanying silence had me convinced that whoever it was, he knew they were coming and he deliberately didn't tell me, which also made me begin to believe that maybe, just maybe, it really was her. 

Jet was running towards us from the boundary where she and the rest of Tanner's family were standing. "Hey, Boss. Good luck. Break a leg and all that shit," he said through heavy breaths. He was only sixteen and should realistically be a lot fitter than he is. I blame his shit parents for letting him smoke from the ripe age of twelve until he came to work and live with me a year ago.

"Jet, if you want to continue living with me, tell me who that woman was you were talking to?" I asked desperately.

Jet looked back the way he came from at the boy talking with Mick and Kel, and the woman standing with Morgan. Her long, mess of chestnut and auburn curls were flowing in the wind as they poked out from underneath her beanie. I was a hundred metres or so away, but I could recognise those specific hints of brown and copper anywhere, even if I hadn't seen them in over a decade.

"Some woman and her nephew. He's so fucking funny man, seriously," he laughed. "Actually, she's pretty funny, too. She just laid into Tanner before, like, worse than I've ever seen Morgan do it, and she's pregnant and hormonal and shit." Oh, my, fucking, god. It is her. "She said you guys were all old friends," he said, completely oblivious to our history. She hadn't mentioned me then . . .

Tanner laughed. "Some of us were a little more than just friends, Jet."

"Holy shit. She is Rule Number 1! I thought she might be but I didn't want to say anything," he said. I closed my eyes to escape having to answer him, and put my hand over them for good measure, my heart about ready to explode. "Damn, Ruben. She is hot. How the hell did you let that go?"

"Hey, don't talk about her like that! Respect," I growled. Little shit.

"Sorry," said Jet, backpedalling. "But seriously, she's cute. You should ask her out." His smug grin now looked eerily similar to Tanner's smug grin. But I did resonate with the 'asking her out' message underlying their smugness.

"Did she say anything about me? Did she know I was going to be here?" I felt like I was a teenager again, wanting all the goss about the attractive new girl at school, and I didn't know how to stop it. "Is she seeing anyone?"

Jet cracked up laughing. "Well, she seemed shocked that you were here — now, I actually know for certain it was you who she was grilling Tann about — so, no. I don't think she knew you were going to be here. But she was swearing up a storm demanding to know why she wasn't told in advance that you would be here, and blushed redder than you look after you've played a full game." There was very little I loved more than being the one to make her blush.

Tanner, too, was laughing wildly. He clapped me on the back, and said, "What the kid said." Neither of you cocky pricks answered my other question. "And for the record, no; she isn't seeing anyone." I felt like my heart was going to break open my chest with how fast it was beating.

I couldn't believe it was her. That she was here. With Madden. After all this time.

The siren sounded and Jet ran off back towards Sadie, still laughing at me, and I suddenly realised I was envious of a sixteen-year-old kid. He got to go off and just be near her, and I was stuck out on this field for the next three bloody hours before I could go and find her. What if she left before the game finished and I didn't get to talk to her? What if she didn't want to talk to me? What if she didn't even recognise me? Fuck, I am freaking out.

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