The weather was perfect for a softball game, Robert reflected as he socked the ball against his glove. The bleachers were filled, mostly with women, and there were children of all ages running around on the far side of the chain-link barrier between the field and the spectators.
He felt the first real flick of nerves then, thinking about how many people were watching and expecting him to do well. He’d been a pretty good pitcher back in Chicago, but he’d been out of practice and had never really expected to be playing again.
He liked the Weakened Warriors and wanted to be a part of their group. He appreciated the easy companionship they provided, he liked the way they didn’t give a shit who he was, only that Kit liked him and that meant he was a guy worth knowing.
Most of all, he liked Kit. He was willing to admit that now, at least to himself. After a particularly nasty phone call with his ex-wife’s lawyer he’d been a real asshole to her and pretty much every one else in the emergency room and still, she came to his game. Still, she was willing to give him a chance he wasn’t even sure he deserved.
She was up there in the bleachers, sitting with her friend Rachel. He’d seen her walk up, in a pair of blue jeans that looked painted on. Heaven help him when that woman wore jeans. He wondered if she realized by now that it was a weakness of his. If she wore them on purpose, just to tantalize him.
The game started and he got enough into the rhythm of playing that for a few minutes he forgot about her. But every once in a while he’d catch a glimpse of her, up in the bleachers, or walking back and forth from the concession stands, and he’d lose all reasonable train of thought.
His team was taking a break in the dugout between innings when one of his teammates, Shane, caught him stealing a glance at Kit.
“Hell of a woman,” Shane remarked, jerking his head in her direction. “She’ll drain you dry but you’ll thank her for every minute.”
Robert wasn’t sure he liked hearing another man talking about Kit that way, but he brushed it off in the name of team cohesion.
“Hey Mark,” Shane said to another teammate who was approaching. “So what’s the bet of the week gonna be?”
Mark laughed and shook his head. “Oh, don’t tell Rob about that, he’ll think I’m a moron.”
“He already knows you’re a moron, might as well explain to him why.”
Mark’s belly shook when he laughed and his face was red from the exertion of playing softball, but the man had an endearing quality that Robert appreciated.
“See, it started last year when we were on a winning streak. I swore I’d do anything to keep it going, and the bets got crazier and crazier as time went on. We haven’t won in a while but they still bet me things and, well, I’ve never been one to say no to something stupid obviously.” He patted his belly and laughed again.