Home Run (The Boys of Summer 2) - Page 31

“Who told you this? Bennett, Mackenzie? Or was it Branch? I’ve always liked his game.”

What does someone’s game have to do with where they eat breakfast? I leave his stupid comment alone and enter the diner. As luck would have it, Kidd and Davenport are here. They wave at me, which gets my dad’s attention.

“Introduce me,” he says, forgetting that he’s my father and not some fan. I reluctantly walk over with my dad following behind. I’m afraid to look back for fear that I’ll see his tongue dragging on the floor like an overzealous puppy.

“Travis Kidd, Ethan Davenport, this is my father, Roy Bailey.”

They shake hands while I stand by awkwardly. My dad starts in on their stats from last season while the guys sit there letting their breakfasts get cold. The guys listen to everything he has to say, being good sports. I don’t know if it’s that I don’t have the patience for this or I just don’t have the patience for my dad at all right now.

The waitress signals that she has a table for us, and I nod, acknowledging her.

“Come on, Dad.”

“It was great to meet you guys,” he says, shaking both their hands again. He follows me to the table, sliding into the booth. “You could’ve let me talk to them longer.”

“The restaurant is busy, and it was our turn to sit.”

“Your friends are going to think you’re rude.” He opens the menu and starts reading. I glance over at Kidd and Davenport. They seem happy and content, even after our loss. That is how I want to feel, except I don’t. My nerves are frayed, I’m on edge, and I’m about to snap at my father for being so inconsiderate to my teammates.

“What’s good?” he asks, breaking my train of thought.

“I don’t know. Ainsley says she likes the pancakes.” As soon as her name slips past my lips, I cringe. I study the menu, hoping that he didn’t notice.

“Who’s Ainsley?”

“She’s a friend.”

“Where did you meet her?”

“Media day at the zoo,” I say, flipping the menu to the next page. Anything I can do to keep from looking at him.

“Coffee?” The waitress appears in the knick of time. I turn my cup over and watch her pour the black liquid into my cup, watching as the steam rises. She pours some for my dad as well before heading to the next table.

“You met her at media day and talked about pancakes?”

Sure, why not? It’s an ordinary conversation to have with someone. I roll my neck, preparing for the argument that I’m sure is going to happen.

My silence speaks volumes, which only pisses him off.

“So you’re getting some on the side, huh?”

“She’s a friend, Dad. There isn’t anything wrong with having a friend.”

“You know women are a distraction, and clearly you’ve been spending too much time with her already. That was evident by your shitty batting performance yesterday. I’m hoping today is better.”

He sighs and takes a drink of his coffee. “Women have demands that you’re not going to be able to meet, expectations. They won’t understand your hours, the training you put your body through, and the mindset of being a professional athlete.”

I set my menu down and look at him. “Why not? Davenport is married. Said it’s the best decision he’s ever made, and he’s younger than I am. You know, I’m not a kid anymore. I made the decision to finish college so I have something to fall back on when baseball is over, and I spent a year in the minors getting ready.”

“Davenport didn’t.”

“You’re right, he didn’t. He also won the College World Series and fucked up big time as a rookie. I keep track of people just like you do.”

This seems to shut him up long enough for us to order. Breakfast is anything but pleasant; the tension in the air is thicker than the smell of bacon grease. I know my father means well, but it’s about time he lets me grow up and make my own decisions, my own mistakes.

Chapter 16

Tags: Heidi McLaughlin The Boys of Summer Romance
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