“So it’s serious, buttercup?”
Lacey’s heart kicked up in speed as she nodded. “Yeah, Daddy, it is.”
“Do you think that’s a good idea? I mean, they are saying he will be a number-one pick for the draft, meaning he has a one-way ticket out of Chicago.”
“I know, but we feel we’ll be fine. You never know, I might go with him. I could transfer schools.”
Grady’s brows shot up and, unfortunately, so did her father’s as he asked, “Transfer schools? Leave Chicago?”
Swallowing loudly, Lacey looked down as she said, “I mean, I don’t know. It’s all up in the air, but I know that I care for him deeply. I want him to be involved in our family dinners, and I want you to get to know him. He’s an amazing person.”
“I know who he is. I’ve trained him for the last two years. While yes, he is a great guy, I don’t think he is the guy for you. I didn’t say anything when you two got together because I figured it would end when he left, but you saying you want to go with him is out of the question.”
Her father didn’t yell at her, it was more of a very stern voice, but it scared her as much as if he had, though she wasn’t going to be treated like a child.
“Daddy, I am eighteen years old, about to turn nineteen. If I want to go, I will.”
“No, you won’t. I won’t pay a penny of your education.”
“That’s fine; that’s why there are loans. You are getting your blood pressure up for nothing though. I don’t know what will happen. All I wanted to know was if my boyfriend could come to dinner.”
He looked at Lacey with eyes that told her the answer before he spoke it. But still her heart dropped when he said, “The answer is no.”
Slowly, she nodded before standing up. “If my boyfriend can’t come to dinner, then I won’t be here either.”
“Sit down, Lacey. That is ludicrous,” he said, setting her with a look.
Shaking her head, Lacey’s eyes filled with tears as she said, “What’s ludicrous is that Grady can have his girlfriend to dinner, but I can’t have my boyfriend. I am tired of the double standards around here, and things better change before I change them for us.”
With that, she turned and headed for the front door. Her dad called her back, but she ignored him as she put on her jacket and hat. Fighting back the tears, she glanced up at the portrait of her mother and said, “Bye, Mom.”
Slamming the front door to her house, she stomped to her car and drove off. She pulled her phone out her pocket and dialed Karson. He answered on the second ring.
“Hey babe, you done with dinner?”
“Yeah, can I come see you?”
“Yeah, of course. I was hoping you would.”
She worked her lip and then asked, “Are you alone?”
She could hear the smile in his voice as he said, “Well, yeah, Grady was with you. I don’t know if he is coming back here. He might go to Rachel’s.”
“Oh yeah,” she said, feeling dumb. She decided that she would text Rachel to take Grady back to their dorm because she wanted to be alone with Karson. “Okay, I’m coming over.”
“Sounds good, babe. See you soon. Be careful.”
“I will,” she promised as she hung up and headed toward his frat house. It was on the other side of campus. She hated the drive, but soon she was there, parking beside his car. Hopping out, she bundled up in her jacket as she headed up the stairs to the door. Opening it, she was greeted by some of his teammates. She smiled and waved as she headed up to Karson’s room. His was on the third floor, the last room on the right. Being the captain and co-captain, Karson and Grady got the best room. It was basically a suite. It was so big, and Lacey was jealous every time she came over, since her and Rachel’s room was the size of their closet.
Knocking on the door, she pushed it open when Karson said come in. In only a pair of shorts, he met her at the door, kissing her softly on the lips. As they parted, Lacey found herself breathless as she took in each ab and muscle in his chest. Her boyfriend was gorgeous with clothes on, but it was easy to say she liked him better without.
“Missing a shirt, I see?”
He laughed as he shrugged, taking her jacket and throwing it on Grady’s bed. “I just got out of the shower and didn’t feel like finding one.”
“Oh,” she muttered as he wrapped his arms around her, enveloping her in his scent and warmth. “Mmmm,” she whispered, cuddling closer and holding on to him. She needed this. Needed to feel him like this, especially after what had just happened with her dad.
“How did it go at your interview?”
He shrugged. “Good, I might end up going to Tampa. They like me a lot, and it would be fun to visit Florida, right?”
She grinned up at him. “Yeah, it would be. I love the beach.”
He smiled back before saying, “I do, too. Never know though, we’ll see.”
“I’m excited for you,” she said. He kissed her softly on her jaw before nibbling down her neck.
“I missed you,” he whispered into her neck. “Did you have fun at your dad’s?”
“Not really, but I don’t want to talk about it.”
“You sure?” he asked, placing a kiss below her ear before pulling back to look into her eyes.
She nodded, running her hands up his back and then down. “I missed you.”