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Once Upon A Half-Time 1(4)

By´╝ÜSosie Frost



“Fuck fairies. Told them I wanted a princess,” he said. “Always looking for a princess.”

“You’re lucky they don’t have you wearing a tutu.”

“Tell me I wouldn’t make a good-looking ballerina.”

I couldn’t tell what was head-injury and what was genuine Lachlan Reed, but if the line was blurring, he was going to be okay. But he still needed someone to stay with him.

I couldn’t find his phone in his bag. I groaned.

“Lachlan, is your phone in your pocket?”

Lachlan nodded with a grin. “Permission to search. Careful you don’t rub the lamp.”

“You know what? Maybe this injury is fatal. I should just put you down.”

“End this misery, Red. Can’t go on without you.”

“You’ve made it this far.”

“Missed you.”

Was he concussed…or was he being honest?

I wished my tummy hadn’t flipped when he spoke. But there was no way he recognized me, not when he probably couldn’t remember his own name.

Right?

I yanked his phone out of his pocket. “No wonder you aren’t waking up. Your blood isn’t in your damn head.”

“…Cause of the erection?”

“Yes, Lachlan.”

“Makes sense.”

“Does it?” I gestured to it, bulging his pants. “You’re hurt. How can you possibly be horny?”

“Can’t help myself.”

His hands tickled up my legs. I hopped off of him before his touch summoned those damn goosebumps again. I thumbed through his phone, finding the one contact I recognized.

“I’m calling Piper Hawthorne,” I said.

Lachlan flailed, nearly knocking the phone from my hand. “Not Piper.”

“She’s your agent.”

“She’ll eat me. Not supposed to get in trouble.”

“That’s impossible for you.”

“Not Piper.” His laugh snickered with a perverted glee. “Call my wife.”

“You aren’t married.”

“Once upon a time, Red…”

“There’s no such thing as fairy tales. Just concussions.”

“Not true. Ever been in love?”

“No.” I found an entry I recognized. My finger hovered over the contact.

“You’ll love me one day,” he said.

Been there, done that, long time.

I pressed delete on the one contact that didn’t belong in his phone—mine.

“I always pack a parachute in case I fall for the wrong guy,” I said.

“What if I’m the right guy?”

“And what if you’re bleeding out your ears?”

“A hard-on is better than a tourniquet.”

“Here’s hoping the Rivets’ trainers have better medical instincts than you.”

Lachlan didn’t have many teammates in his phone yet, but I recognized one name. I texted Jack Carson and hoped that Play-Maker was early to the stadium. Asking Jack for help wouldn’t make Lachlan’s hazing any easier, but I trusted the quarterback to take care of his tight-end.

In the parking lot. Tripped. Hit head.

I tucked the phone in Lachlan’s hand. “Okay, Jack’s coming to help.”

“Who?”

“Please be joking.”

“Okay?”

I eased Lachlan up and sat him on the curb. It seemed to help clear his head.

“Remember,” I said. “I was never here.”

“Never where?”

“Exactly.”

“What?”

“I’ll explain…well, I probably won’t,” I said. “I’m sorry I can’t stay, but if I don’t get out of here…”

They’d know I was the thief. I’d get fired.

And there’d be absolutely no way I could protect the players from the trouble Peter had caused.

“You’re leaving?” Lachlan asked. “No kiss goodbye?”

“That first one was a freebie.”

“You didn’t say goodbye last time either.”

I froze. Did he remember? Was he lucid?

His eyes widened, but he hadn’t said my name. Hadn’t mentioned Vegas. Then again, even Lachlan Reed must have realized how big of a mistake that weekend was. Anything that redefined the word debauchery was best forgotten barring any sort of public indecency charges.

I flinched as someone called his name from the entrance of the practice facility.

“Stay here.” I stood. “They’re gonna help you.”

Lachlan couldn’t have followed if he wanted. He held his head in his hands and hissed. Pain was probably a good sign. So was his swearing.

Time to bolt.

I rushed across the sidewalk and gathered my camera bag—praying I hadn’t smashed the lens on a camera worth more than my car and apartment. I dove behind a half-wall and crouched next to an unfortunately placed evergreen shrub. I gave a peek just to make sure Lachlan wasn’t alone.

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