Wednesday Briefs: Second Shot – The Senior Year – 26
Dean raised his arms, reaching for the sky. His shirt rode up, allowing the warm breeze to tickle the fine blonde hairs just above his waistband. Keeping them raised, he extended the stretch, hoping to loosen his back muscles. The tumble he took at practice still left him sore.
He’d stayed up half the night writing, then deleting texts to Hanna, trying to find a good way to raise the issue. Finally he copped out and asked her to meet him after practice.
“Nice abs, Dean. Showing off for the entire campus to see?”
The first time he’d heard Hanna speak to him, Dean felt his stomach flip. Today it did it again, but for a different reason.
“Nah, just trying to work out a kink.” Dean lowered his arms and smoothed his shirt. “Me and Corey got tangled up and he landed on my back with his pointy elbows.”
“Oh?” She raised an eyebrow playfully and flashed him the smile that first attracted Dean to her. “How do I get ‘tangled up’ with you?”
Her light brown hair fluttered softly in the breeze and she reached up to brush back a strand that fell over her face. The blatant attempt to get them vertical was not lost on him as he felt his groin respond impulsively. Everything that drew him to her was on full display from her athletic figure to her pretty face.
Fighting the impulse to tell her to come back to his place, he put his hands in his pockets and adjusted himself. Hanna didn’t miss the maneuver.
“You know what I want, Dean. Let’s go back to your house.” She reached for his arm, but he stepped back before she could grab it.
“Um…we can’t right now.” He watched her face flash from shock to anger and then to something he couldn’t pin down.
“Why not? I thought you had your own room?” She moved closer and ran her hand down his arm. “Don’t you want to….?”
For the first time since they’d met, her confidence seemed shaken. Hanna had spoken to him first, suggested they go on a date, and hinted he should take her home after dinner. Today she took that suggestion a bit further.
“Why…why don’t we go for a walk.” He motioned toward the broad expanse of grass near the front entrance then started walking without waiting for an answer. In a few steps Hanna had caught up, and he could see her confusion had returned.
“Dean, what’s wrong? You’re acting totally weird. I thought you asked me out today so we could do something.”
“I did…do. I…” He shook his head and looked down. “Can we just go somewhere and talk?”
He suppressed the urge to say something sarcastic and shrugged. “Yeah. I need to talk about something that happened last night.”
“Last night?” She stopped walking and looked serious. “What about la…did you drop me off and then go see LeAnn?”
Dean blinked. How did Hanna know he’d been torn between her and LeAnn? “No, I went home and went to bed, just like I said.”
“So what’s there to talk about? I thought we had a good time?” She held up her hands then reached for his again. “We did, didn’t we?”
“Yeah, we did…I mean I did.” He took a deep breath and added. “Until Blake and Ethan showed up.”
“Right.” She nodded. “Seeing them holding hands like that must have been upsetting.”
“Um…no, that’s all good.” Dean had been avoiding eye contact, but now he met her gaze. “My brother and his boyfriend do that all the time.”
“Oh….” The look of surprise quickly turned to confusion. “Well it’s not like you live with him.”
“I do.” Darryl’s advice seemed spot on. “I live with Jason and Peter.
“And…you don’t see the problem?”
“No.” Hanna shook her head. “What did I say?”
“You said it must suck having a gay teammate.”
“Yeah, but living with your brother isn’t the same as being in the locker room with him.”
Did she really not know? “He’s the team captain.”
“Oh.” She stared at him, chewing on her bottom lip. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry? That Jason’s gay?” Dean looked around and fortunately no one was nearby. “Are you serious?”
“No!” Hanna shook her head, her eyes wide. “I mean, I’m sorry about what I said last night. I really didn’t mean anything by that comment. I just thought… you know, that jocks…well they don’t like gay guys in the locker room.”
Dean heard Darryl’s warning about Jordan as he searched Hanna’s face for some sign of deception. He barely knew her, so she could be lying to him. On the other hand, just because Jordan was a lying sack of shit didn’t mean Hanna was too.
“Not everyone is like that.” He tried not to keep his voice calm.
“I know and I shouldn’t have said that. I’ve got nothing against gay people.”
He heard a hint of sincerity in her voice, but he couldn’t shake the part that told him to remember what Darryl had said. “It’s all good.”
“Hey.” Hanna took his hand in hers. Flashing her 100-watt smile, she said. “Let’s go get some ice cream. My treat. Then we can start this conversation over.”
Dean laughed but didn’t pull his hand away. Just the touch sent a jolt through his body. “You think you get a Mulligan for this?”
She stopped rubbing the top of his hand with her thumb. “Mulligan?”
“It’s an unofficial rule in golf that let’s you re-take a shot when the first one sucked.” Her blank expression told him enough. “Never mind, it was lame.”
“Um, okay.” Hanna shrugged and starting moving her fingers over his hand again. “So you wanna get some ice cream?”
He heard himself say, “yes” even as he told himself to turn her down. As they started to walk, he decided there was no harm in just getting ice cream.