I took the large thermos of lemonade outside to Jeremy. I’d already taken Daddy one. I knew Jeremy had to be thirsty for more than water too. He was hammering in a new post where the fence had gotten weak. I let out a loud whistle as I approached and he glanced up.
“Thank God. I was wondering what I had to do to get some of that. I coveted Wilson’s while he downed his.”
Grinning I handed it to him. He took a long swig then wiped his mouth with the back of his arm. “Damn girl you can make some lemonade.”
I sat down on the ten-gallon bucket of feed that was sitting beside him. “Thanks.”
Jeremy leaned against the fence and took another drink of his lemonade. “So, you talk to Cage yet?”
I nodded. “Yeah. That text wasn’t from him. His roommate sent it. Cage didn’t know about it until this morning. He wasn’t happy.”
Jeremy’s eyes went wide. “Oh, damn,” he let out a laugh. “I’d really hate to be that dude right now. “
I was worried about that. I’d had to force myself not to call and make sure Cage hadn’t beat his new roommate to a pulp. “I know. I think I calmed him down though. I tried real hard.”
Jeremy frowned and set the thermos down. “His life is gonna be different now that he’s at a big college. You know that right? I mean this roommate of his won’t be the first person to try and mess y’all up.”
I was beginning to get it. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I couldn’t go to him now. I had to be here with my daddy. “I trust Cage. That’s all that matters.”
“Good. You need to trust him. His a lucky bastard and he knows it,” Jeremy winked and stood up from his relaxed position on the post. “I gotta get back to work before your daddy catches me. I’ll talk to you later”
“Okay. I’m headed to Sea Breeze. Low called and asked me to come have lunch with her and Amanda. I need a little break from here. A moment not to worry about Daddy. Keep an eye on him okay?”
Jeremy saluted me. “Got it. Go have fun. I’ll hold down the fort.”
I loved that boy.
* * *
Two hours later I was walking into the Camilla Cafe in Sea Breeze. Low was already seated and waved me over to a table by the window. Amanda was there too along with a really gorgeous blonde that I knew was Jax Stone’s fiancée. Jax proposal had gone viral on the Internet two months ago. Sadie White was a celebrity in this small town. She’d snagged the world’s sexiest rock star and she’d done it living in Sea Breeze. She was also Amanda’s best friend. I had only been around her during Low and Marcus’s wedding. I wasn’t sure how a lunch with her would go. Did people stop and ask to get their picture taken with her? Or did they leave her alone?
"Hey, you! I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever. I’m so used to you and Cage being right down the road,” Low said standing up as I approached the table. She hugged me, which was normal for Low. She and Cage were as close as siblings and she treated me as if I were her family now too.
“I know. It’s not been an easy two weeks,” I said trying to smile. The last time I’d seen her life had been perfect. So much had changed.
Low’s smile faded and a concerned frown wrinkled her forehead. “How are you holding up? I spoke with Cage yesterday. He’s worried about you. About not being here for you. I had to convince him, again, that this was for the best. He can’t do anything here. He just wants to be here.”
I nodded and took a seat across from Low and beside Amanda. “Just keep telling him that and I will too,” I told Low then looked over at Amanda and Sadie. “Hey y’all.”
Amanda reached over and squeezed my hand. “Hey. I’ve been thinking about you. I’m glad you came today. I don’t want to bother you but if you need anything. I mean anything at all just call me okay,” she said. Amanda reminded you of the perfect blond Barbie doll. She was also incredibly sweet. How a playboy like Preston Drake had snagged her I wasn’t sure. She was so wholesome and good.
“Thank you,” I replied. I wanted to change the subject. Talking about Daddy wasn’t going to give me a break from my inner thoughts and it would only make everyone at the table solemn. I smiled over at Sadie. She even had a concerned look on her face. “Tell me about being engaged to a rock star. I need a distraction from my life.”
Sadie blushed and a smile touched her lips. God it was unfair that one female could be that gorgeous. No wonder she’d caught Jax Stone’s attention. She was stunning. According to Amanda, Marcus had once had a thing for Sadie too. They had both worked at Jax Stone’s summer house. Sadie caught the attention of the rock star and then she hooked him. He hadn’t been prepared for someone who wasn’t interested in his star persona and who didn’t listen to his music. He also hadn’t been prepared for her to be so sweet.
When their relationship hit the news Jax had left her here trying to give her a life free of his celebrity. But then she’d been hurt and he’d come back. From what Amanda said the rest was history. He hadn’t let her far from his side since.
“Well. . . it’s different. Before the engagement things were crazy. But now that the video was released and has gone wild online things are different for me. Used to it was only in big cities but people know me everywhere now. It’s weird… but I wouldn’t trade it. I can’t imagine my life without Jax so it’s okay. I’m adjusting.”
“You may be adjusting but Jax is still stressing. His texted and called her five times this morning to check on her. Isn’t he supposed to be doing a photo shoot for Rolling Stones this morning?”
Sadie chuckled. “Yes but when we aren’t together he checks on me often. He can’t help himself.”
I was glad Cage didn’t think he had to do that. I would be worried about his life being miserable if he did. But then he wasn’t a famous rock star and he didn’t have to worry about the paparazzi chasing me down or passionate fans.
“I keep telling him to leave her with me when he goes on tour in the fall but he refuses. He won’t go on tour without her. But then she isn’t arguing my side either. He took her out of Sea Breeze and I am dealing with the fact she isn’t coming back. She’s becoming a Cali girl now,” Amanda said with a sad smile on her face. I knew she missed her friend but she understood what it was like to be in love.
“Jason keeps saying he is moving into the summer house. He never does but he keeps threatening it. I can’t imagine him being happy in Sea Breeze. He’s lived in LA with his parents and Jax since he was ten,” Sadie said.
“I can’t imagine Jason living here,” Amanda trailed off. She knew Jason better than the rest of us. She had dated Jax Stone’s younger brother back when Preston crushed her world. Jason had been a good friend to her during that time. He had also sent Preston into a jealous tailspin.
“Okay Low, what’s the theme of the nursery? You have to know by now,” Amanda said directing the attention off Sadie. I could see the relieved look on Sadie’s face and I realized that Amanda had done it on purpose.
“Well, I’m thinking of going with a diesel print. Maybe pale blue and brown. That way it can go for a boy or girl.” Low said looking at each of us waiting on feedback.
“ I love diesel print but will it still be in style in six months?” Amanda asked.
“I think it’s a pattern that will be around for awhile,” Sadie replied.
“If you don’t do a diesel print you could do a coastal theme. If you find out it’s a boy you can put more of a nautical spin on it,” I suggested.
Low nodded slowly looking at me. “I like that. I could still use the diesel print too but do the sea blue and white instead.”
“Ooooh, I like that idea. I wasn’t a fan of the brown I think the blue with brown is going out of style fast. That and the grey and yellow have been used too much.” Amanda said.
The waitress stopped at our table and asked for our drink orders. When her eyes landed on Sadie they went wide. I could see she wasn’t sure how to handle the fact that she was waiting on Jax Stone’s fiancée. Sadie also looked very uncomfortable. Like she was trying to prepare herself for a fan moment.
“Yep, she is who you think she is, but she just wants to eat lunch and visit with friends. Okay?” Amanda said sweetly. The waitress seemed to get a hold of herself and she nodded quickly mumbled an apology and hurried off.
“You’re becoming a pro at handling this,” Sadie said smiling at Amanda.
“What I’m here for, girl,” she replied.
* * *
We spent the next two hours talking about baby names, places that Sadie and Jax could get married, Cage’s three text messages he sent me while I sat there, and Preston’s sudden appearance. He was looking for Amanda and just wanted a kiss, which only made my chest ache for Cage. Then we had all hugged and planned to do it again in two weeks when Sadie was back in town for her mother’s birthday
Ace and I weren’t really on a talking basis. Not after the other morning when I’d almost beat his ass. I was considering finding a new place to stay. I shouldn’t have tried this roommate thing. I’d let my new coach push me to do it. I was seeing now it was a bad idea.
I glanced down at my phone. Tonight was a team gathering called by the coach for all the remaining players that hadn’t gone back home for the summer. We were going to watch game footage of the teams we needed to prepare for this next year. The summer season was “optional” but I knew that if I wanted to keep this scholarship it wasn’t optional for me. I would be required to work the kid’s camp that started in a week too. We would have three weeks of the camps then the summer season would take effect. The idea of not getting to go see Eva on weekends was scaring me.
I had texted her earlier and she’d been with Low, Amanda and Sadie. That had made me breathe easier. I knew I could count on Low to take care of Eva. I would call her later and thank her. I also wanted to see what Eva had acted like. Where she was emotionally.
I really would be out late tonight. I dialed her number and waited to hear her voice.
“Hey.” Her voice sounded happy.
“Hey, baby, have fun today?”
She sounded out of breath. “Yeah. I enjoyed girl talk. Have you had a good day?”
“Missing you. I’m glad you had a good time with the girls though.”
She stopped what she was doing and took a deep breath. “Gah! I need to be in better shape,” she huffed. “I miss you too. Only two more days,” she said.
“What are you doing?” I asked as she continued breathing hard.
“Hauling feed bags. Daddy needed to go lay down. His head was hurting and he was really pale. I’m helping Jeremy so they don’t get behind and Daddy doesn’t think he has to work extra hard tomorrow.”
Hauling feed? What the fuck? “Eva. That feed weighs fifty pounds a bag. You don’t need to be hauling f**king feed! Where’s Jeremy? Put him on the phone.” I had to get home to her. I couldn’t leave her there without me. This crazy shit would happen.
“Jeremy is dealing with two cows that got out of the fence down in the south end of the pasture. He doesn’t know I’m doing this. He doesn’t even know daddy had to go lay down. So chill out. I got this. I’ve hauled feed bags before. It’s gonna rain soon and I don’t need hundreds of dollars of feed getting soaked.”
Fuck. Fuck. Damn. I hated this.
“It has to be ninety-five degrees today, Eva. You don’t need to be out in the heat doing that shit. Please go inside and wait on Jeremy.”
She laughed softly into the phone and my insides melted. Just hearing her laugh made me feel better. Even if I wanted her to stop moving bags that weighed too much in the damn heat. “I’m fine, Cage. I do not break that easily. Besides, I only have one bag left to get to the safety of the barn.”
I was calling Jeremy tonight. He and I needed to go over what was safe for Eva to do and what wasn’t. Better yet I’d get him alone this weekend and make it real clear. “Leave the last bag for him.”
“Did you call me just to fuss at me about working or did you have something else to talk about?” the teasing in her voice eased my temper. I missed her so damn much.
“I actually did call you early for a reason. I have a team thing tonight that the Coach called. It’s at his house. We’re discussing the summer season and going over game footage of teams we need to beat. I could be late. I wanted to hear your voice and let you know where I was and that I love you and I’m not blowing you off for a damn party.”
“I’ll miss talking to you before I go to sleep but I’m glad you’re getting to spend time with your teammates. Have fun tonight. Call me when you can tomorrow.”
“I love you, and I’m counting the hours until I can hold you again,” I said picturing her all sweaty in those cut off jeans and a tank top I knew she was wearing right now. She would even have on her work boots, which were sexy as hell.
“I love you too. Always.”