Rush (Gods #2)(8)

By: Samantha Towle

Mom was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was seven.

Her problems started after I was born, and I wonder if I was the catalyst for everything that went wrong for her. I know she’d had a bad childhood, which was where most of her problems stemmed from. But it seems that it got worse for her after I was born. I sometimes think that she blamed me for her depression…her illness, and that was why she let me be the one to find her in the closet on that day.

I was angry with her for a long time. Angry with my dad for not being there. I guess I still am.

But he was there when I screwed up. It was him who cleaned up my mess. Hired the lawyer. Put me in rehab. Gave me this job.

I owe him for that.

And I don’t want to fight with my dad over the past. He’s the only family I have left.

He might not be perfect, but who is? Well, aside from Ares “Mr. Perfect” Kincaid.

“Did Mary show you around?” Dad asks, cutting into my thoughts.

Dad introduced me to all the players and assistant coaches, which didn’t go as bad as I had expected. Well, except for Ares, who acted like we hadn’t met, which I guess was good because I would’ve had to explain to my dad how we’d met, and I definitely didn’t want to do that. So, I guess, in a way, he was only doing what I had asked—keeping our encounter from my dad.

It was just the way he was looking at me when Dad was introducing me to him…clear disgust in his eyes. A hardness to his voice that my dad didn’t seem to notice.

But I did, and it made me feel like shit.

Dad disappeared once I met everyone, and I was palmed off to Mary, his PA. She is well into her sixties but doesn’t look a day over fifty. She’s one of those really classy, glamorous women, who I aspire to look like when I’m her age. She was really nice to me, too. Never once brought up my problems. She spent most of the time telling me all about her new granddaughter, Rosie.

“Yeah, she did,” I answer him. “She gave me a tour of the building and pitches and gave me a rundown of my duties.”

“Did she give you your work cell and iPad?”

“Yes. They’re in my bag.”

“Good. Well, the players all have your work cell number now—I had Mary send it to them—but only take calls during work hours. Don’t let them take advantage, okay?”

“I won’t.”

There’s a beat of silence. The awkwardness that’s always existed between us, which has only worsened since the crash. I wonder if it’ll ever go, if we’ll ever just have an easy, flowing relationship.

“Right, well, I’ll let you get to it,” he says.

“Okay, Dad. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

We hang up, and I push up to my feet.

I search through my cupboards, trying to decide on what to eat, and I end up with a bowl of Cap’n Crunch, like usual.

I take my cell, bag, and cereal bowl into the living room with me. I put my bag down on the floor. I sit down on the sofa, legs tucked underneath me, cereal down resting on them, and put my cell down beside me. I glance at it.

The cell that only rings with my daily call from my dad and my sponsor, Luke.

The friends I used to have, I had to leave behind. They like to party, and I don’t do that anymore. My old colleagues from the gallery, who were friends, too, haven’t made contact since the crash, and I have a feeling they don’t want to hang out with me.

So, I’m friendless.

I’m lonely. It’s pathetic but true. I’ve gone from a life of constantly having somewhere to be—a gallery event with hors d’oeuvres and champagne or dinner with friends and endless glasses of wine or parties with my cheating scumbag ex-boyfriend—to now staying in every night with Netflix for company. Well, except for the one night a week when I go to my AA meeting where I spend an hour listening to people who are just like me.

I was hoping maybe I might be able to make friends at my new job, but so far, the two people I have gotten along with are the middle-aged security guard and my dad’s sixty-year-old PA.

Leaning down, I reach into my bag and pull out the iPad that Mary gave me. I eat some cereal while it loads.

It’s already been set up, and there’s a link to the Giants website. I click on it, and when it loads, I go to the photos tab.

I click through a few of the pictures, seeing my dad on the goal line and some of the players I met today in action on the field.

I click on the video tab and scroll down until I come across an interview titled “Giants Insider: Quarterback Ares Kincaid.”

I spoon more cereal into my mouth and press play.

It’s only two minutes long, and it’s basically him being charming as he talks football.