10 Years:Time for Love Book 5(5)

By: Bethany Lopez

Liam and I had been a team since our freshman year at USC, and were not only inseparable on the field, but were roommates and best friends as well. We met each other when we both attended a campus tour during our senior year of high school. We’d been lucky enough to room together that night, and had discovered that we were both interested in playing baseball for USC. He and I spent most of the weekend together, meeting the coaches and touring the school, as well as attending a party at Sigma Tau.

Gwen had been with me that weekend, checking out the campus. Gwen, Liam, and I had gone to the party with Gwen’s friend, Aliyah. That was the night everything changed between Gwen and me, and unfortunately, we hadn’t been able to get our relationship back on track.

Thinking about Gwen broke my concentration momentarily, and I looked up into the bleachers to see her sitting in her usual seat. Even though we were no longer the friends we used to be, Gwen kept the promise she’d made to me when we were kids, and never missed a home game.

I watched as she raised her camera to take pictures of the team, her blonde hair blowing wildly behind her, and felt the usual pang of loss. I missed being able to talk to her whenever I wanted. Nowadays, I was lucky if she made eye contact with me on campus. And I lived for the vacations and family stuff that allowed us to carpool home, even though she was never as engaged as I wanted her to be, I still tried.

“Craig, you alright, man?” Liam called out, breaking me from my thoughts.

I turned my attention back to him and gave a brisk nod, before bringing my focus back where it needed to be.

We were all on our game, and beat the other team by two runs. It was a sweet victory, since they were our rivals. It didn’t matter that it was just a scrimmage, we took competition seriously and we were planning to celebrate at the Sig Tau house that night. Of course, we would have been partying at the frat house either way, but it was much more fun to celebrate a victory, than to nurse a loss.

Liam and I shared a place a block over from the Sig Tau house, which made it easy to attend all of the necessary functions without actually living in the house and having to deal with the non-stop party. We both needed to maintain our grades in order to keep our scholarships, and were glad to have a quiet place to get away when we needed to study.

“Ready in twenty?” Liam asked as he made a beeline for the shower.

“Thirty?” I countered.

Liam nodded and shut the door. We rented the top floor of a two-story house and only had the one bathroom. Luckily, it was a two-bedroom, so we each had our own space. That was a pre-requisite when we were looking for a place to rent. We had our own entrance off the back of the house, and our floor included a small living room and galley-style kitchen. There wasn’t a lot of room, but it was perfect for the two of us.

I went to my room and pressed play on my old docked iPod. I kept my phone updated with the new music I downloaded, but I still loved the stuff I had on my iPod and kept it ready at all times. Most of the songs reminded me of growing up... and Gwen. We’d always shared a love of music, and often had music playing in the background, no matter what we were doing… Hanging out at the playground, hiking, or even watching baseball. The songs and playlists on that device always took me back to those happier times, and I often found myself listening to them after a game. Probably because I’d always see her in the stands, so she was fresh on my mind.

“Yours!” Liam shouted as he went from the bathroom in to his room and shut the door.

I threw my uniform into the hamper in the corner of my room, my mom’s contribution to my bachelor pad, and grabbed my iPod to take it into the bathroom with me so I could listen to it as I showered. I wasn’t quite ready to let go of Gwen yet for the night. Pretty soon I’d be at the party, and would find a hot and willing girl to help me forget, but for now, I was happy to be swept up in the memories.

I was all decked out in a sea green American Eagle shirt, which matched my eyes and drove the girls nuts, jeans, grey Sperrys, and a dose of the Gucci Guilty cologne that my brother, Cal, had given me for my birthday this year. I finished arranging my hair in a perfect, messy style and went out to meet Liam, who was dressed similarly.

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