Aaron, Em’s lucky to have you watching his back. Maybe he’ll start actually appreciating it himself one of these days.”
The edge vanished from his tone. “Sorry for the abrupt awakening. Hey, I’ve got to get going. I’m going to track down Mitch and Chet to see if they know where he went.” Aaron sighed. “Call me if you get hold of him.” As he rattled off his cell number, she grabbed a pen and wrote it on her hand.
“Got it.” Teri hung up and found her phone. No messages. She hit Em’s speed dial and waited, tapping her foot.
Just before it went to voicemail, she heard his voice, still groggy from sleep. “Ma?”
“Emery Paul! Where are you? Never mind. You need to get to practice, right now. It’s after ten.”
“Shit!” There was a loud clunk as Em apparently dropped the phone, and Teri heard some rustling and the murmur of a feminine voice.
Oh, great .
“Emery. Em!” she called, and he came back on the line.
“What, Ma? I’ve gotta get dressed.” His voice was muffled as if he were holding it to his ear with his shoulder.
“Do you have a ride and everything you need?”
“Yeah, I have a ride. Oh, fuck, my bag—equipment. It’s still in my truck. I think I have some workout clothes in there…”
Teri was already grabbing her purse and keys. “I’ll meet you there.” She shook her head, sliding into her sport sandals. Whatever. “We have a lot to discuss, kiddo, so don’t even think about making any plans for tonight. Capiche? ” With that, she hung up.
She hustled out of the apartment, locked up behind her then went down the stairs, wondering where the hell Emery had parked so she could grab his gear.
Finally locating Emery’s pickup, she decided to just go ahead and take it instead of moving his stuff to her own car.
She hopped in and checked that, yes, his bags were behind the seat. She leaned over, unzipped the duffle bag and was relieved to spy some clothes and cleats. They might not be clean but whatever. Irritated by the abrupt and frustrating turn to what had started out as a nice day, she bounced into the seat and adjusted it forward until she could reach the pedals. She started the engine, and rolled her eyes. Not only was the oil light on, the fuel gauge rested just above empty. Typical.
Great. Hopefully I won’t run out of gas.
Before she pulled out, she dialed Aaron.
“Hey, it’s me. He’s on his way, and so am I since his stuff is all in his truck.”
Aaron blew out a breath. “Thanks, Teri.” Aaron sounded relieved but had a hint of disgust in his voice. “Good thing our group started with conditioning instead of field time today. He might actually get away with it, but this has got to stop.”
“I agree. Believe me, we’ll be having a ‘come to Jesus’ tonight.”
Aaron snorted dismissively. “Well, you already had one yesterday, which didn’t exactly do the trick. Not sure how effective more talking’s going to be.”
Teri prickled as the not-so-subtle dig at her parenting hit home. “Wow, thanks for throwing that back in my face. I’ll see you later. I have to drive now.”
His voice was cut off satisfyingly as she hung up on him.
* * * *
She was still steaming when she pulled up to the stadium just in time to see Emery unfolding himself from the passenger’s seat of a red Miata. Teri pulled in right behind him and was somewhat mollified to see a relieved and grateful expression on his face as he spotted her. She threw the truck into park, left it running and hopped out.
Emery hurriedly said goodbye to whoever was in the car and hustled over. He reached past her through the driver’s door grab his equipment bag and his duffle out of backseat area of the cab. “Thanks, Ma. I’m so sorry—”
“Don’t thank me—thank Aaron. He’s the one who got the search party going. Now get in there before you’re missed.” She swatted his butt, hard. He jumped but wisely didn’t say anything.
Jan Springer, Lauren Agony