Rush (Gods #2)(2)

By: Samantha Towle


I return his smile.

“I’m Patrick,” he tells me.

“It’s nice to meet you,” I reply.

He hands me back my ID badge. “If you need anything, like an umbrella”—he grins—“I’m your man.”

“Thank you,” I tell him and mean it. His kindness is appreciated. “Is my dad here yet?” I ask him.

“No,” Patrick replies. “He usually gets here around nine.”

I glance at the clock behind him on the wall. Eight thirty.

I’ve got half an hour to clean up and dry off before my dad arrives.

I want to look presentable.

Not that getting caught in the rain was my fault. But Dad has been bugging me about moving back home. He only lives a ten-minute drive from here, so I would get a lift in every day with him. And me getting caught in the rain like this will only give strength to his argument that I move back home.

I know he wants me away from the temptation of alcohol and all the bars in the city.

But I like living in New York, being so close to the art galleries and culture, and I love my apartment. It’s tiny, but it’s mine.

And, if I’m going to stay sober, I have to get used to being around alcohol.

My sponsor, Luke, says hiding from alcohol can actually have a detrimental effect. I think he’s right. I need to get used to the fact that it’s around but that it’s something I don’t do anymore.

Not that I’m actively going into bars anymore or browsing the liquor aisle in the supermarket, but I make sure to remind myself that it’s there, and it’s a part of life. Just not a part of mine anymore.

“Well, I’d better get inside and dry off,” I tell him, stepping back.

The rain has eased a little. It would now that I’m here.

Stupid weather.

“Have a good first day,” he tells me.

I thank him again and then speed-walk toward the building entrance.

Opening the door, I walk inside, dripping water all over the tiled floor.

There’s no one at the reception desk. Damn it. I have no clue where anything is. This is the first time I’ve ever been here. My dad might work here, but I’ve never had a reason to come here before today.

I was hoping there would be someone—preferably female—who might be able to point me in the direction of, at the very least, a hand dryer.

I glance around for a sign of a restroom, but nothing. So, I start walking, going straight ahead through the lobby.

My heels click on the tiled floor, echoing loudly. I have the urge to take off my wet shoes, but I really don’t want to walk around barefoot.

I walk past the staircase and down the hallway. I see a sign that shows the restrooms are on the left.

Bingo.

Although I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do because there’s no way a hand dryer is going to dry my clothes, but it’s better than nothing.

I locate the restroom, which is empty, and—shit! Effing crap! No hand dryer. Only paper towels.

As I turn, I catch sight of myself in the mirror.

Christ almighty.

I look a mess. My makeup has practically washed off. Thank God for waterproof mascara because it’s the only thing on my face that’s stayed intact.

My brown hair is a wet, stringy mess.

My white shirt is clinging to my body, and you can totally see my lace bra through it.

My cheeks flame with embarrassment as I realize that Patrick could see my bra through my shirt.

I can’t start my first day, meeting the guys on the team, looking like this.

I need clothes. Even if it’s just a different shirt. I can live in damp jeans and panties if I have to but not a wet shirt, showing off my chest.

They must have team shirts here. Anything is better than my soaking wet top that I’m currently wearing. I look like I’m entering in the world’s first solo wet shirt competition, and I really don’t want to embarrass myself—or my dad—any more than I have already.

And, wearing a team shirt, at least I’ll look committed to the team.

I almost laugh out loud at that thought.

I don’t like football. At all.

Since I’m the coach’s daughter, people assume I love the sport. But it’s because of football that I had to move around a lot while growing up. That my dad wasn’t around much. That my mom—

I cut off that thought.

It wasn’t my dad’s fault. My mom was sick. And the choices she’d made were hers and hers alone.

But it was his fault that he wasn’t there for you when you needed him most, the voice in the back of my mind whispers.

No, I’m not going there today.

Today is going to be a good day despite the fact that it’s started off crappily.

I’m going to fix up my hair, and then I’m going to find a shirt to wear.