Chapter 10

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Josh was losing his goddamned mind.

He was sprawled on a chair beside Gretchen, the team around them, her friend Sharla completely immersed in Keith, and Gretchen had already murmured to him that likely Sharla was going to stagger into tomorrow's competition rounds a little tired. She'd been taking selfies of them, and sent one to someone, muttering "That'll show him", and then ignored her phone as it practically vibrated off the table. Gretchen's friend was feisty, that was for sure.

Gretchen had been running her fingers up and down his spine for the last ten minutes, and it was frying his brain, making him fidgety. All he could think about was picking her up and taking her into the back so he could have his way with her in one of the bathroom stalls like some sort of freshman punk.

But, he was also watching her, learning her, and it was fascinating. How she relaxed and just went with the flow of all the boys around her, laughing, joking, interested in their stories. Her caring nature shone through her in little ways like that. She would make an excellent team manager, as he related her character to his world. It was likely why she did what she did, as she could tease relationships out of people she'd just met, making them feel heard, understood, to get that deal solid.

It had worked on him. Well, that and her killer blue eyes and curves which he was aching to run his hands over. And had. And would again if they could get out of here soon.

The boys all clamoured for her attention, of course, teasing him, calling her Ma'am, asking about her life as a "professional drunk". She laughed and played off what he would have considered an insult. She understood these boys were young, and somewhat tactless when they'd had a few. Even some of the more shy boys, who knew less English, were enamoured by her and talked to her. Her patience as they stumbled for words was admirable.

If he'd been prideful or possessive man, he would have been jealous, but it simply felt good to have a plus one beside him who could keep up in his world, or at least was showing she could. It took a special woman who could understand the boys club that baseball could be. The schedules and travel were hard on relationships, and he had a brief, strange thought on how they would handle that.

Which was the other side to him losing his mind. In the space of twenty-four hours, she had gone from a distraction to something more. She likely thought of this as a weekend fling; he was not so sure he wanted it to be. That thought made him sit up and clear his throat, shaking off the heaviness.

"You're quiet this evening." José, another fielder, said as he leaned over. "You gettin' tired on us, old man?"

Josh raised his eyebrow and smirked, then carefully picked up a strand of Gretchen's blonde hair and flipped it through his fingers to deflect his introspection. He was here for a good time, not to navel gaze or play "what if" when there likely was nothing to "what if" over.

"Nope." he replied, causing José to laugh loudly and slap his shoulder.

Ok so maybe he was a bit possessive. Possessive and ready to leave. He wanted to be alone with her.

"Cheers lads, to a scheduled day off tomorrow!" Someone else said, and a bunch of whoops and hell yeah's echoed. He had forgotten, and Gretchen turned to him, meeting his eyes.

"What are your plans?" she asked quietly, leaning into him. Her perfume was subtle, her hair still smelled like the shampoo she used, and he closed his eyes as he leaned into her, arm going around her, the heat from her body sending zaps of restless energy pinging through him.

"None. I hadn't gotten that far yet. Likely unpack, paint my toenails, binge watch Gilmore Girls..." he said into her ear, joking.

She elbowed him playfully in the ribs and laughed, then as he opened his eyes again, she looked down at her hands, then at him. He'd seen that before, and it meant that she was thinking, hesitating, unsure of herself.

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