There’s a camera crew on the field—a real one, not our student-run Internet show. They’ve positioned camera guys on either side of the banner being stretched out by a tower of cheerleaders. When the team trickles out, everyone in the student section—which has basically grown to be two-thirds of the stands—gets on their feet to scream. Abby is standing in front of me and she turns, catches me not doing my part, and points in that threatening way she has.
“Fine,” I mouth, cupping my hands around my lips and shouting, “Go Eagles!” as loud as I can. The sheer volume of my own voice, the togetherness of this moment, all of it—it infects me. My smile quits being pretend, and I get caught up in my role. I have a part to play, albeit probably not as important as everyone thinks, but for the next three hours, I will be a superfan. For the next three hours, nothing matters more than winning this game and destroying some school from South Bend.
The young men on the field shout in unison, growling with testosterone and pounding into each other, smacking helmets to helmets and gripping at facemasks to amp up their game faces. They explode through the banner, confetti covering the corner of the field as it’s fired from a few cannons held by some of our cheerleaders. Lucas is the first to break through, holding an American flag as he sprints straight down the center of the field, his co-captains running behind him with two Eagles flags.
My All-American boy.
He was so much younger the last time I saw him run like this. He was a leader that seemed too small to lead, but now—now he’s the guy with the V that cuts down his abs and whose arms completely fill out the sleeves of his jersey; whose neck doesn’t seem so pencil-thin anymore. His sweaty hair is swept to either side, and the black lines swiped under his eyes somehow make him seem like this superhero.
A hero who abandoned me when he got popular and when my life fell to shit, I remind myself.
The team captains are met by one of the coaches at the fifty-yard line. He takes their flags to fold them while the boys huddle up to pray. It’s such a blatant disregard for the separation of church and state, yet it seems nothing could be more important than this bonding happening in front of us all. More than the quiet power of the moment, though, is that Lucas is the one leading the prayer. Arms over shoulders, circles standing within circles, these boys who I’ve seen do the most unchristian-like things give respect to his words. I wish I could hear him or be close enough to read his lips. Some of the boys look up to the sky, a few of them holding their helmets high while their heads lower. Lucas’s eyes are closed, and there’s an innocence in his features, that much I can see from here. They all start clapping and an echoing “Amen” accompanies their formation of a tighter circle until the clapping becomes thunder and soon . . . fuel.
Lucas is the last to walk away from this private spot on the field. His head down, I recognize the familiar invisible weight on his shoulders. Even as kids, he always felt so damn responsible for everything and everyone. Especially for me. He rode his bike through rain to sneak me my favorite candy bar when my parents were fighting downstairs. And he insisted we fall asleep still on our phone call to each other if I felt scared or off. He sensed things when I didn’t share. He took burdens from me, whether I wanted him to or not, and shouldered them until he was sure my smile was real again.
I miss him. I miss him so fucking much.
I press my palms into my eyes while my friends aren’t looking, and manage to stop myself from feeling all of this somewhere so public. In less than a minute, the game takes over and distracts me from anything other than the anticipation and hope that brews in my belly every time Lucas throws the ball. He’s gotten better. I understand why his opportunity window is so big. There’s an easiness to the way he moves, and it’s more than instinct. He has plenty of that, though, after throwing the ball down our street to his dad every night—a million which ways and for hours on end. They haven’t thrown since freshman year, but that’s probably because Lucas has outgrown what his dad can give him.
Pre-Order books two and three in the series here!
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About the Author:
Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.
Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor
** ARC KINDLY PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
It’s been a wildly angsty ride that Ginger Scott has written and I have to say it : Lucas was a character that I hated in the beginning like a thousand suns until I realized that the author managed to keep me captivated by June and Lucas’ emotional journey.
Could I say that I wanted June to give him a run of his money? Oh hell yes.
The boy who was his best friend and everything turned to be an angry, cruel version, with nothing left in his eyes. I salute you, Ginger, he could definitely bring out the angst. I could tell he was definitely hiding why he left June out of his life and treating her like trash.
June, my sweet, tough heroine and also pretty funny. The girl who always loved Lucas, seeing her parents’ marriage falling apart. Hopefully she had her best friend Abby who could be her rock and partner in crime. These two girls made me smile so hard, their antics were fun and they stuck together no matter what.
I adored this character even if she had such rose-colored glasses when it came to Lucas, after all she has been through. It must have taken a while to fight back but when she did, she was a lion, and I just wanted to high five the girl.
I won’t spoil the storyline but secrets and drama are for sure part of their journey.
However it had a great world building and Lucas was a character that won me over and that was no small challenge to me.
June and Lucas really took my breath away, thunderous, pushing each other’s buttons, craving it as much as it was destroying the other slowly. Their words hold such power to make their bleed and also healing, the best part.
When they finally bared their souls, it was just magical. And my heart cracked just a little.
The author didn’t make things easy and I adored the magnificent connections between the characters not only between June and Lucas.
Writing about their aspirations, family pressure and how sometimes they got mixed into adult problems. Being teenagers but also growing up.
Talking about life, how joy it could bring you, but sometimes messy and hurtful, but when it brought you happiness, it was the best feeling ever.
I can’t wait to read more about this new series!
Bring book two, Ginger! I am more than ready!!!!!