Stopped Short – A Baseball Romance – Preface and Chapter 1

Stopped Short

By Kevin Ethan

PREFACE

Fuck, I’m hungover.

I walk into the coffee joint around the corner from my apartment and head for the counter.  Head down and sunglasses still on. I’m third in line. It gives me a chance to look around. Quickly. I’m already pushing it by waiting in line.  If this takes much longer there’s gonna be a fucking stampede.

Not that I mind.

I love the attention. But, in my head I’m still just a foul-mouthed kid that was lucky to stay out of juvie long enough to get seen by some scouts, play some triple a and then make it to the big leagues.

Looking around I see a couple of ladies are in the same state as me.  Hungover and definitely trying to recover.  Finally, I’m next in line.  At the next table over from the party girls is another girl.  No – a woman.  A hotwoman.

Don’t get me wrong – I live in Seattle and I’m more liberal than any guy you’ll meet. But, I’m a guy.  And those perfect tits were on display.  She was dressed for work like she would negotiate you out of house and home and then fuck you on the conference table.

Shit.  I’m dressed for the gym.  The last thing I need is my dick tenting my shorts all over Twitter. That’s when I finally raise my eyes to hers.  I see the look of concentration on her work.  Those green eyes.

What the hell is she doing here?

“Hi there! What can I get going for you?”

I was distracted by the barista and had to turn away.  I looked quickly towards her.  I was about to give my order when her face turned shocked.

Shit.

“Number 27?! Oh, my god it’s…”

CHAPTER ONE

Sophie

I need another coffee.

I’ve been sitting at this coffee shop next to the hotel I’m currently staying in.  Staying?  Right. I’m living there.  I movedto Seattle a few weeks ago and I’m still looking for a place to live.  I’m still looking for a job. I left everything in Chicago.

My job.

My home.

My heart.

Yea, right.  My broken fucking heart.  Who needs that?  Or the man and best friend that broke it.  At the time I was devastated.  I went to this dive bar where no one knew me.  I sat on that stool long enough that a fifty-something woman felt the need to pipe in.  Thank fuck she did.

“Alright – what the hell could possibly be wrong with a girl like you?”

A bitchy introduction, I thought, but I took the bait.  I did what any self-respecting, drunk, twenty-seven-year-old would do.  I told her everything.  Five minutes in she gave me my first pat on the back.  10 minutes in she bought me another shot.

She heard what I had to say. It took me a good half-hour before I finally remembered that I had manners.

“Sery.. uh, sorry.  Who are you?”

“I’m Vicky.  Everyone here calls me Banshee, though.”

“Banshee?”

She went on to tell me that “the bar I hadn’t stopped to look at before I planted my ass on that stool” was owned by one of Chicago’s motorcycle clubs.  Theclub she told me.  Her husband was the leader and she was his ol’ lady.  She said she’d kill for him and I believed her.  She also said they fought a lot and she had a good “screech” on her.  So, she’s known as Banshee.

We talked.  And talked.  Leather clad men and women came up to say hi and pay their respects to the woman.  They asked her about her son out West.  They asked if he was still playing ball.  She reminded me of the house mom we had in my sorority house at Duke.  She knew my name.  Each person that came up, though, left knowing me as Breaker.

When it was just the two of us, I finally had to ask, “Breaker?”

“Yea, girl. You’re a heartbreaker if there ever was one.”

“You mean heartbroken?”

“No, girl. You’re doing just fine. The way I see it – you just got lucky.”

I was indignant.  Was she listening at all?

“You’re lookin’ at all this the wrong way.  I’ll forgive you this time ‘cause you’re young.  But, hear me now.  That ball playing, pencil dick and your back-stabbing, slutty friend – I’d beat her ass for ya, by the way – saved you a world of hurt by being so dishonorable.”

I’d learned that honor was a huge deal among Chicago’s bikers.

“Stick your brain on this – what if this happened ten years from now?  Twenty? You’d be in so deep you’d have a hard time diggin’ out.  Right now, you’re a young, educated, hot little thing with the world in front of you. And nothing holding you back.”

“I am not hot.”

When I look in the mirror my mind always sees what’s wrong.  I’m too short.  My chin is too sharp.  I have too many curves.  My boobs are too big.  (Yea, I said it.  And the bras are really expensive.)

“Okay, maybe you’re not so smart.  The only reason one of these young bucks hasn’t bent you over that pool table over there is cause you’re sittin’ here with me,” she said, gesturing to the pool table in the corner.

I looked over and sure enough, a bunch of guys pretending to play pool quickly looked a lotmore interested in the floor.

Yes! Score 1 for the self-esteem!

“Now,” Banshee cleared her throat. “What’s the plan?  Not that I mind your business – you have a hell of a tab goin’…”

She actually smiled, and I realized that Banshee was one hot ol’ lady, too.

“…but, what happens next – when you walk out that door?”

And that was the question that led me here. To this table in Seattle.

I gave notice at my job. I stayed with a differentfriend for a couple of weeks.  I got my things from our apartment and sold all of it.  I kept enough clothes for a the time being and made sure to keep some nice stuff for interviews.

I am about to stand up to get my next cup. But, when I look there’s a group huddled around a guy at the counter. They have him cornered, really. Dejectedly, I resign myself to go without another cup of sweet, caffeinated nectar and start putting my resume and portfolio in my bag. I head for the door.

“Hey! Wait!” I hear from this deep voice with a bit of gravel.  It sounds familiar, but I don’t know anyone here, so I keep walking.

A block away a couple of young girls on winter break talk excitedly as they pass me, looking at their phones.

“You’re sure?!”

“Yea! It’s on his fan page. Arden Rothschildis at the coffee shop just up here!”

I forgot he plays for the Mariners now.

I guess I do know someone here.

 

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this and would like to read more – please leave a like or a comment to let me know!

Also, don’t forget to follow my blog for the next chapter!

– Kevin Ethan

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