“Listen, don’t worry. Just because he jumped back into the sea, that doesn’t mean another fish won’t swim by,” Brittany said. “Keep swimming.”
Aynslee smiled as Sadie said, “Plus, you never know, maybe you’ll run into each other again. Third time’s the charm, you know.”
“I don’t know, like Brittany said, he ran out on me twice. I’m not sure I want to give him a third try.” She was a liar.
Sadie nodded before saying, “This is true, but I don’t believe you for one second. If you ever saw him again, I wouldn’t put it past you to attack him, and in the good way!”
Aynslee laughed out loud as Brittany said, “Hell, yeah, you should take him and squeeze him and then kiss the shit out of him! I bet you he wouldn’t go anywhere after that!”
“Yeah, right. He’s, like, six five, two hundred and something pounds—there is no way I could take him out and make him mine without hurting myself!” she said through her laughter, even though the last thing she wanted to do was laugh.
Aynslee felt more like crying. She put on a good front, but it was bothering her. She wanted Jordan to realize that, if he gave her a chance, they could be happy. She had hopes of him being the guy for her. Call her crazy, but she was completely smitten, and she was more than ready to move forward with him. The only thing she needed was for him to be on board too, and there was no telling if that was ever going to happen. He was untouchable, and Aynslee didn’t know what to do, because giving up just didn’t feel right.
But what else could she do?
After Brittany finished her nails, she hugged Aynslee tightly. “If it’s meant to be, then it will happen.”
Aynslee smiled and nodded. She got her wallet out and had just paid when Sadie came out of the bathroom for the thousandth time. The poor girl was sick as a dog. Apparently the baby didn’t like anything she ate. Aynslee felt horrible for her. She looked terrible.
Holding her stomach, Sadie glanced over at Aynslee. “I am not running today.”
Aynslee laughed; she’d figured that. “I didn’t think so, not when you couldn’t even sit long enough to finish your nails.”
“Yeah, I’m going home; I’m sorry. Maybe tomorrow?”
“Sure thing, babe—same time, same place. Bye!”
The friends exited the salon, and Aynslee waved at Sadie, wishing her well, then jogged to her car to put her things away and to grab her iPod. After strapping the player to her arm, she ran across the street to Centennial Park. For the last four months, Sadie and Aynslee had been running midmorning every weekend, which was Aynslee’s favorite time to run. She hated when people watched her, so she tried to go when no one else would be there.
Even though she missed having Sadie beside her, she was enjoying the quietness of the park. After stretching, Aynslee pushed PLAY on her iPod and began to jog down the path.
Centennial Park was one of the best things about Nashville. It was beautiful, with lush trees and acres of green grass. A large pond full of geese brought a certain magical quality to the park. It was her oasis, and she loved her time here. As she dug in deep, taking quicker strides, her mind wandered, as always, to a certain goalie.
What was she going to do?
Letting out a long sigh between her gasps for breath, she pushed hard, rounding her favorite pond as she bobbed her head to Swedish House Mafia. She usually made three trips around the pond, but as she was coming around for a second time, she stopped dead in her tracks. Leaning against the rail, drinking from his water bottle, was Jordan. She was so surprised, it was a miracle she didn’t stumble forward as her eyes drank him in. He was sweating, a lot, his purple T-shirt dripping as he took in deep breaths. God, he was hot. There was something about a man drenched in sweat that made her think of naughty sex. And Jordan drenched in sweat—there was seriously nothing hotter.
Aynslee’s heart leaped when he glanced over at her. She knew she wasn’t looking her best, but she didn’t give a damn. She had been thinking of this man for a week, and for some reason they had been brought together again.
This time she wasn’t going to allow him to run away.
“This is getting weird,” he laughed, as his eyes ran up and down her body.
Aynslee smiled as she closed the distance between them. When she stopped in front of him, he said, “So you weren’t at practice; that means you’re not a stalker, right?”
He’d noticed she wasn’t there!
“Nope, not a stalker.”
“I know, I was just teasing you,” he said, in a raspy way that made it hard for her to even think. She stared down as she took in a deep breath. She needed some answers—now.
“Why did you rush out on me at Starbucks?” she asked, lifting her eyes to his face.
He focused on the distance while Aynslee waited for his answer. Looking back down at her, he said, “I’m sorry I did that. I have a lot on my mind, and sometimes I get nervous when I don’t know what to say or do, and … yeah, sorry. Like I said, I’m not the person I was before my injury; a lot of things have changed. My life is a complete mess right now.”
She nodded as she kept her gaze locked on his. Her heart was pounding, and she was convinced that Jordan could hear it. Aynslee knew there was really only one thing to do. She took a step and closed the space between them. She came only to mid chest on Jordan, and for once she cursed her shortness. Looking up, she crooked her finger at him, motioning for him to come closer. Thankfully, he didn’t keep her waiting or even hesitate—he simply bent down until his face was only inches from hers.