|Karim & Natasha|
Every conversation I had with Natasha came back to Malik, but what else could I expect? He was her man, after all.
I stared at the grass, hands to my knees, shoulders heaving. I thought working out with the guys would take my mind off what had happened earlier in the day, but it didn't.
Stupid had to be my middle name for getting stuck on a girl I'd met less than two weeks ago, which didn't make sense. Usually, it was the other way around.
My days of high school and community league football had provided me with steady access to a variety of girls who were willing to do anything to be with a footballer. Maybe I needed one of them to get Natasha out of my head.
With my breathing almost back to normal, I started my cooling down exercises, conscious of the girls in the stands. Some of them were connected to the guys with me on the field and others were there in hopes of getting with someone. Some things never changed and that was one of them.
Someone clapped me on the shoulder and called my name. When he stood before me, I recognized a neighbor and friend from high school. "Picket, good to see you," I said.
"I heard you were back," he said, pulling on a pair of gloves.
"Yeah, for the summer. What's up with you?"
"Still studying and playing on the weekends."
I pointed to the guys I'd been with, who were running a last lap around the field. "You're part of the league?"
"Yeah, man." He smiled again, showing teeth which reminding me why we'd never called him by his given name in school.
A bunch of guys greeted us and we got pulled into different conversations. After a few minutes, a whistle sounded and they started their training session. I watched them for a bit and then walked to the stands where I'd left my bag and water bottle.
At times like this, I felt left out. My friends had moved on with their lives and I just dropped in during the holidays. My connection with Malik kept me tied to his group of friends, but I'd always been more of a loner, so I didn't feel the need to have people around me every hour of the day.
The alarm on my watch vibrated and I knew it was time to get moving. Mom gave me a free run with the van as long as I stuck to her schedule. She was going out this evening and needed me to watch Kyle since Uncle Brian wouldn't be back until tomorrow.
I thought about contacting Natasha to apologize for getting into her business today, but didn't think it would make much impact or sense. She hadn't been willing to listen when I tried talking to her earlier, so it was hardly likely she'd want to hear from me now.
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