10 Years:Time for Love Book 5(2)

By: Bethany Lopez

“The guys and I are meeting some girls there, but it won’t take long, I promise. Then we’ll head out to the cages, okay, bro?” Cal ruffled my hair, and I jerked away like I usually did, even though I secretly loved it when he did that.

Cal was sixteen and the coolest brother a guy could have. He never treated me like I was annoying, like some of my friends’ brothers did, and he usually let me tag along when he was hanging out with Scott and TJ, his best friends.

So, even though I really wanted to hit some balls, I didn’t mind hanging out with Cal and his friends for a little while.

We pulled up to the park in Cal’s beat-up old Ford. He’d got it real cheap, because it didn’t run, but my brother and TJ could fix anything. They’d gotten the truck up and running in no time. I always loved it when Cal drove me around in it. A couple of times he’d even dropped me off and picked me up at school. The kids in my class thought I was the shit.

Cal sauntered over to the merry go round, where three girls were standing with Scott and TJ. There was a pretty blonde, a redhead that made me feel things I only felt when I stole Cal’s Playboy magazines, and a brown-haired girl with a sweet smile aimed right at my brother.

I watched as he took her hand in his and brought it to his lips.

Yeah, my brother had all the moves.

“Hey, Craig, come over here,” Cal said, waving his hand toward the group.

I did my best to mimic Cal’s saunter. I’d been practicing in my room, but it never seemed quite right.

“Shelly, this in my brother Craig. Bud, this is my girlfriend, Shelly.”

I watched as Shelly’s eyes went wide when Cal called her his “girlfriend,” then she turned her smile on me. It was a real one… not like this other girl who had tried to talk to Cal at the last football game we went to. Her smile had been totally fake, and I knew she was trying to act like she liked me to impress Cal. He’d known too, and I’d never seen her again. I could tell Shelly wasn’t pretending, so I gave her a smile, took her hand in mine, and kissed it the way Cal just had.

She giggled, causing TJ to turn to Scott and say, “Whoa, man. Craig’s already got more game than you.” Scott punched him in the arm, causing TJ to chuckle.

“Nice to meet you, Craig,” Shelly said, and I noticed her eyes were a really pretty green, and her hair looked silky and soft. “These are my friends, Sasha and Gaby.”

I nodded to the redhead, who she said was Sasha, and tried not to stare too long. She nodded back. Then I turned to the blonde, Gaby, and returned the smile that she gave me.

“Hi, Craig,” Gaby said. “How old are you, about ten?”

I was surprised she guessed right. I was tall for my age, and people always thought I was eleven or twelve. I nodded, and her smile grew wider.

“Awesome,” she said, and I wondered why. I found out when she said, “My sister, Gwen, is ten too. I brought her along and she’s pretty bored. Would you mind talking to her? I’m sure she’d feel more comfortable with you around.”

I looked around Gaby to the swings where she was pointing. There was a girl with long blonde hair, pumping her legs as fast as she could as she swung high up in the air.

“Sure,” I said, happy to help. I didn’t have a problem being friends with girls like some of the guys from school did. Sure, I liked them, and thought a few were pretty, but I was more concerned with baseball than girls.

I walked toward the swings watching Gwen’s hair fly out, then fall back, as she swung back and forth. She really had a lot of hair.

When I got close enough I yelled, “Hey!”

She looked at me, not smiling, but not mean either, then she stopped pumping her legs so she’d slow down.

“Hey,” she said softly. I liked the sound of her voice.

“I’m Craig. Your sister told me to come over and meet you. My brother, Cal, is going out with that girl, Shelly.”

“I’ve seen you at school,” she admitted shyly.

Her swing came to a stop, so I walked over and sat on the swing next to her.

“You have?” I asked, not recognizing her from school. “Do we have any classes together?”

Gwen shook her head, her hair flying around her face. Now that I was closer, I could see she had little freckles running across her nose. “We have the same lunch. I’ve seen you playing baseball during recess.”

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