Read Red Flags Online

Authors: C.C. Brown

Tags: #romance, #love relationships, #love romance, #adult and young adult, #sex and relationships fiction

Red Flags (4 page)

“You’re leaving?”

“Why yes Miss. Cara. It would be very…” he
struggled for the words, “un-Southern” of me to stay the night on
our first night.”

I giggled at the absurdity of him not staying
to sleep, when he stayed to do with we done earlier. His face
feigned innocence. “What’s so funny?”

“You are.”

“Why? Are you making fun of my manners?”

“At the moment? Yes. We just… hit a homerun,”
my softball analogies never seemed to fail me, “and you don’t want
to stay and bunt.”

He managed a chuckle, but insisted that he
would lack class if he were to stay, which made absolutely no sense
to me, but I let it go. He leaned in and kissed me, passionately,
then turned and walked out. I heard my roommates say good night to
him and then the closure of the door. I would have lied if I said I
wasn’t disappointed that he had left me here alone tonight, but I
took solace in my radio, and the fact that Slither was playing, and
drifted off to sleep.

 

<>

“Rise and shine sleepy head.” Chelsea was her
usual cheerful self, even at seven thirty in the morning. Mila
strolled down to the hallway into the bathroom, with a face that
issued a warning for all who dared to come near her. Chelsea
started rambling about the night before, and while I was excited, I
didn’t want to jinx things.

“So Cara, Jason is quite the character
huh?”

I played coy, but deep down; I knew exactly
what she was talking about.

“What do you mean?”

“Seriously Cara, the guy is like Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde. One minute he was cool as a cucumber, the next
minute, he was a damn ice pack.”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed that.”

“Whatever, I know you’re smitten, but you are
also full of shit. You know exactly what I’m talking about. He
seems like a nice guy, and he is definitely into you, but there is
a jealousy factor to him. Be careful with that Cara… oh, and don’t
let Big Bucks boss you around, his money means nothing.”

I love Chelsea, but sometimes I wished that
she would step back. I’m not sure why I had the hardest time
telling her that.

“Don’t worry Chels; I know what I am doing.
He’s a gentleman; he didn’t even stay the night last night.” I
snickered, knowing how ridiculous that must have sounded,
considering she gave us a round of applause last night.

“Cara, you are an idiot in love…. Or lust.
Which is it? She eyed me menacingly. “Do you forget that I got a
live audio feed of your sexual escapades last night? Gentleman my
ass."

I blushed after having Chelsea throw that
little fact back up into the air. It was so not like me to do what
I allowed myself to do last night. “Chels, I know, it seems stupid
that we could do what we did and then him not want to break manners
and stay the night. But, he is huge on his Southern manners, so I
just let it be.”

“Hmmmm... whatever, He is obviously head over
heels for you, in a weird, obsessive kind of way.”

I lowered my head, knowing that she was
absolutely right.

Chelsea continued, “Is he coming to the games
today?”

I was instantly excited again and nodded with
so much enthusiasm that my head could have fallen off of my
shoulders. Mila poked her head into my room. She looked much
better, and entered looking much more approachable.

“Pinks, did you put him on the guest list?
Guess it wouldn’t really matter though right, being worth millions
and all.”

I gave her a stern gaze. “I did not put him
on the list; it was too late last night. And hey, lay off on the
rich boy jokes, he is kind of uncomfortable with it.”

They both looked at me astonished, but
decided to say nothing. We got up, got dressed, had some breakfast
and made our way down to the fields.

It was our system to take turns driving so
that we didn’t have three cars at the same exact place. Today was
Chelsea’s turn to drive, and I was thankful because I always loved
riding in her car. She drove a sleek, metallic grey, Infinity G
Convertible, much better than my Honda Civic. It was a tight fit
with the three of us, and all of our gear, but riding with the top
down on a warm, spring, San Diego morning was an exhilarating
feeling. Chelsea had the latest pop tunes blasting on the radio,
and I got lost in my thoughts.

“Hello Pinks. Earth to Pinks.” Mila startled
me out of my daydream.

‘Yeah, sorry, what’s up?”

“Um, I was asking if your parents were coming
to the games today.”

Oh shit! I had been so wrapped up in Jason
Bradley that I forgot that my parents would be at the games today.
I knew better than to bring a guy home to my parents after one
night. Unfortunately, with Jason being there, my parents being
there, and Jason’s need to know everyone, he was going to want to
be introduced to them. My mom was going to love him -- I was sure,
but my dad was going to be suspicious, just like he was with every
guy I brought home. Then there was Ryan. He would be at the game,
and I clearly remembered the look Jason gave him when he eyed us
hugging in the picture. Ryan was every bit the protective big
brother, and if he felt any of Jason’s freakish, obsessive vibes,
he was going to have something to say. I was praying this all went
well.

“Yes, my parents and Ryan will be at the
game.”

“Wow Pinks, big step for you today.”

I grinned and tried to downplay the
situation, but inside my stomach was turning on itself, and I was
feeling queasy just thinking about it.

We arrived at the field and I immediately
spotted my parents. Mr. and Mrs. Pinkston were two very proud,
overzealous parents, who showed up everywhere ridiculously early. I
waved to them, grabbed my gear, and walked over in their
direction.

“Hi mom… hi dad.” I hugged both of my parents
and my dad took my gear from me.

“Hi gorgeous.” That was my mom’s nickname for
me, and I hated it because I obviously didn’t feel that I lived up
to such a title.

“Cars, are you throwing today?” My dad was
much too excited to ask that question, and it dawned on me, once
again, that I forgot that I was pitching that day.

A sudden blow was dealt to my already fragile
stomach and I felt even queasier about the day. Why did I invite
Jason to this game --so soon after really meeting each other? Not
only was he going to be at a venue where he would recognize my
parents, but I also had to pitch the damn game.

“Yes daddy, I am throwing today’s game.”

“Nervous?”

“Not really…” Damn, another lie. Of course I
was nervous. My new guy, who had a bit of an obsession problem was
coming and would certainly meet my overly protective parents. I
briefly contemplated mentioning Jason to them, but immediately
thought better of it, knowing full well that my dad would turn on
the interrogation machine in his head. I shook the thought out of
my head and strolled down to the field.

 

<>

We won the first game 5-2. I pitched the
entire game and felt quite accomplished. Central Utah had a pretty
good team. My parents sat in the stands just behind home plate, and
my dad charted my pitches just as he had done since I was 10 years
old. Ryan made it just as the game was starting, but by the end of
game one, there was still no sign of Jason. I was confused. On the
one hand, I was excited that he wasn’t there and I was able to
quell my fears where my parents were concerned, but then again, I
was looking forward to seeing Jason’s unbelievably good looking
face again.

I must have dozed for a while because Mila
and a couple of the girls from the team were waving their hands in
my face.

“EARTH TO PINKS!” Mila was in a full on shout
by this point.

“Sorry,” I smiled apologetically, “what’s
up?”

“The girls here were just wondering where
your Sexy Southerner is?”

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe he won’t make it.” I
shrugged, trying to downplay his noticeable absence.

My phone buzzed and Mila went into my bag and
grabbed it. There was a text message from Jason.

 

from Jason

*Sorry, something came up, I am on my way. <3*

 

Mila smiled as she handed me the phone. I
read the message, and it said Jason’s name on the top, but it
dawned on me that we never swapped numbers. How did I have his
number, and how did he have mine?

I type a quick response:

 

to Jason

*No problem. How did you get my number?*

 

My phone immediately buzzed again.

 

from Jason

*I swapped for us last night, while you were in the
shower. *

 

I wasn’t sure what to think about that, so I
didn’t respond to it. Mila and the other girls stared with a hungry
look in their eyes. They were longing for information and at the
moment, because they were looming like vultures on a dead animal, I
calmly put the phone back into my bag, and walked to the end where
Chelsea was sitting.

“Hey Cara. Good game doll.”

“Thanks Chels.”

“What’s wrong with you? You just threw an
awesome game?”

“I don’t know. I thought I would be happy
with Jason not coming, but it threw me for a curve when he wasn’t
here for the game.”

“Well, that’s because you’ve got it bad.”

“I do. He texted me and said he was on his
way --that something had come up." I deliberately left out the part
about Jason programming his number into my phone; Chelsea would
have some strong words about the importance of boundaries and
privacy. She wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but I had no desire to
sit and listen to her ramble on about a topic that I was already
fully aware of.

“Well there you go. He’s on his way, and
lucky for him, you’re throwing again. Let’s go warm you up.”

 

<>

Having Chelsea behind the plate was a relaxer
for me. She was confident, knowledgeable, and knew how to whip me
into shape. By game time, my stomach was back to being all
butterflies and flutters. Jason was in the stands, looking every
bit as delicious as I remembered him. He was in ripped blue jeans,
an orange Longhorns tank top that blended in rather nicely with his
tanned skin, denim Toms shoes, and hair that was a bit messy, yet
tantalizing.

Chelsea came out to the mound to give me our
usual pre-game pep talk. "I see that your Texan is here, but get it
out of your mind; we have another game to win."

I smiled an uncharacteristic Colgate smile,
and nodded my head. I turned to Mila at second base and gave her
thumbs up. She laughed and shot one right back at me.

The game was going well, and I had settled in
quite nicely, that is – until I noticed Jason getting up and
walking towards my family in the 7th inning. He stood in front of
my mom, and gave her a big bear hug, then moved over to shake my
dad's hand. Shortly after, he extended the same greeting to my
brother, Ryan. After meeting them all, he didn’t go back to his
seat. He sat next to my brother and they got lost in
conversation.

Mila saw what I saw and whispered in my ear,
"I guess he is getting acquainted with the Pinkstons." She was
aware that my dad could be bit overprotective, and would put any
and every guy through the ringer. I guess the look of absolute
horror on my face didn’t help. My parents, more specifically my
dad, were going to be upset that I didn’t mention him. In my
defense, I thought this situation out in my head, and somehow, this
was the more logical route to take.

The game ended with us winning 2-1. I dreaded
walking out to see my family, and Jason. Mila ran out to see her
parents; Dr. and Mrs. Nakamura, decked out in their SSDU gear. I
waved at them and put my head down as I made my way over to my
situation.

The walk to my family felt like I was walking
the Green Mile. I felt my stomach about to give out on me, and as I
got closer, Jason came and swept me up into his arms.

"Good game gorgeous." There was that name
again. His Southern drawl still sounded as lovely as it did the
night before.

I looked at him with pure lust, and felt
ashamed because my parents were only a few steps away. "Thanks. I
see you met my parents and my brother."

"Yes. Awesome family you have. Your dad is so
attentive to what you do, I like that."

I looked up to find my mom holding out her
arms to wrap me in a celebratory hug. She always looked great, but
coming to games, she matched from head to toe. She had her black
shorts on with a red SSDU Softball t-shirt on, a big black and red
bow in her ponytail, and nails that matched. "Cara, you were
phenomenal out there today. And why didn't we know about Jason, he
is quite the charmer." She winked at me while flashing the most
outlandish smile I had ever seen on her face. Be careful or he will
charm you right out of your pants Mom.

My dad stood over me, hugged me, and
whispered in my ear, "good game. We have some talking to do."

I immediately knew what he was referring to –
the gorgeous man standing right next to me.

Ryan was flirting with Mila. They had
something for each other, and that was part of the reason she
wouldn't commit to Grant. "Hey Cars, good job out there today."

I sarcastically jabbed at him, for being so
wrapped up in Mila. "Are you sure you watched me today, or did you
focus on number six playing second base?"

He punched my right shoulder and smiled, and
then Jason stepped into the conversation. "So, what's the plan? I
would love to take Cara to eat, and hopefully y'all can join."

My eyes opened wide. He wanted to go eat as a
family? And his Southern charm was coming out, who was going to say
no to that? Ryan nodded nonchalantly, and my parents agreed, but my
mom insisted that I go back to my apartment to shower.

Chelsea hugged her parents and signaled for
me to come so she could take me back up to the apartment. Jason
noticed her and signaled for her to go ahead. "Go ahead. I’ll take
her back up," he shouted so that she could hear him."

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