This story was requested by Evaesis. It's sort of a sequel to "The Friend," though it can stand alone. Kasey is her character. The Bad News Bears and their cannon are not my property, but the writing is. Enjoy!
"You don't know?"
"Look, if I actually admit to not knowing something, you better believe I don't know." Kelly rolled his eyes and waited for Kasey to leave.
"Got big plans or something?" Kasey ventured.
Kelly's frown got more foreboding. "Nah. It's just that my old man's gonna be in town this week. So I dunno."
"Really? His name's Mike, right?"
Kelly lit a cigarette. "So?"
"He seemed really cool when I met him. He was a great coach for the team, too."
"Hmm." Kelly couldn't argue with that. Looking out at the field, he observed the Bears' current coach, a stern, unapproachable man. Any day he expected Tanner to kick the coach in the shins, or for Engelberg light his pants on fire. Heck, Amanda could coach better. Maybe he should call her…
"Did you hear me?"
Kasey sighed. "I said when is he coming?"
"Hey, Leak!" the coach shouted. "Are you part o' this outfit, or what?"
Kelly took his cigarette out of his mouth to yell back, "I was gonna ask you that!"
"Get your butt on the field, or it's off the team!"
"Give me a minute to think it over!"
"C'mon, Kelly," the other Bears pleaded. "We need ya!"
Kelly sighed. "I gotta go," he said, not bothering to look at Kasey as he left the bench.
"OK, I'll see ya later," Kasey said. "Just think it over, ok?"
Kelly didn't look back but he waved over his shoulder at her to show he had heard.
The next time Kasey went to watch the Bears warm up, she found Mike Leak sitting on the bench. "Hi, Mister Leak. Kelly told me you were coming," she said with a smile.
"Oh, just call me Mike. You're Kasey, right?"
"Yeah. You remembered."
"Of course. Do you come watch the team often?"
"When I can. Dance keeps me pretty busy, though."
"Are you taking lessons?"
"Well, yes. Tap and jazz once a week, ballet twice a week. But since we have a big performance this weekend I've had two lessons plus two rehearsals the last two weeks… it's pretty intense."
"Really," Mike said, and he actually sounded impressed and interested, rather than bored. "What are you performing? Is it too late to get tickets?"
It was all Kasey could do to keep from gasping. And Kelly had acted like Mike's presence would keep him from going! "Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. I'm sure there are still tickets for sale—I'm hoping the team will come. We're doing Swan Lake at the town center." She paused. She hated to sound snobby, but she wanted to emphasize that this was very important to her, so she added quietly, "I have the lead part."
Mike's nod was definitely impressed this time. He looked almost like he was proud of her, even though they barely knew each other. "That's great. Are your folks going to be there?"
Kelly must not have told Mike that her mother was dead. Kasey wondered briefly if Kelly talked about her at all, but she pushed the thought aside. "My dad… he's at Santa Anita with the horses right now. He said he'd try to make it back on Saturday, but there's an important race in the afternoon that day, and if it goes well, he may want to stay at the track a while… I actually doubt he'll be back in time." She tried not to sound too forlorn.
"Ah, that's too bad. Did you tell Kelly about it?"
"Yeah… he wasn't sure if he could come or not…"
"I'll talk him into it," Mike said immediately, winking at her.
At first, Kasey felt worried—Kelly might resent their ganging up on him. But then she smiled. She trusted Mike to handle it well. After all, he was a responsible adult. "Thanks. So, what do you think of this coach?"
Mike took his time answering. Finally, he said, "I guess they'll break him in within a couple of weeks. That or he'll quit."
Kasey laughed. He knew the Bears well. "I just hope it happens before Kelly decides to quit."
"I don't think he will. He's got a temper, but he knows the guys need him. He came through for them the last time he had issues with the coach, right?"
Kasey glanced at Mike and saw that he was smiling facetiously. He knew very well, that he had been Kelly's last problem coach. She smiled back at him. "He's a good guy," she said.
"I'm glad you think so. Makes me kind of proud, even though I didn't raise him."
Kelly wasn't sure he liked the way Kasey and his father seemed to be hitting it off. Like they were plotting something. Dealing with Kasey was annoying enough… dealing with Mike was stressful enough. Dealing with both of them was going to be torture. He had to make sure he was only dealing with one or the other—not both.
When practice was over, he took the bull by the horns.
"Mike, is it ok if I meet you back at your hotel room? I thought I'd take Kasey home."
"Sure," Mike agreed.
As expected, Kasey had no objection. Any chance to get her arms around me, Kelly thought with bias.
It was almost impossible to talk on the motorcycle, so Kelly didn't try until they arrived at the gate of the Goodings' luxurious home and he cut the engine.
"So, what were you and Mike talking about? Looked like you were having a great ol' time."
"Yeah," Kasey said, climbing off the bike. "Your dad's really great. He really cares about you."
Kelly frowned. This wasn't where he wanted the conversation to go.
"I told him about my performance this weekend—"
"About that," Kelly cut in. "I don't think I can go."
"Well… why not? Mike seemed interested in going, and…"
"It's not that."
"So, what is it?"
She waited for him to answer, and Kelly knew she wouldn't move or speak until he did. It ticked him off. "I'm not into this ballet stuff, ok?" He knew it sounded lame.
…But then, so did ballet, in his opinion.
"I know it's not your thing, but… I'd like you to see what it looks like. You might enjoy it."
"Like you said, it's your thing, not mine."
"But you've never seen a performance of mine. It'd be nice if you'd be there to support me."
He hated that soft, patient voice she was using. Like she thought he was the spoiled brat here. "It's not like I'm your husband."
She actually gasped, and Kelly knew he'd gone a little too far.
"OK, what is it like?" she demanded.
"I'm not even your boyfriend and you act like I've got to be involved in everything you do…" he searched for better words to convey what he was feeling, but it seemed as if only harsh, abrupt things would come to the surface right now. "You're always tagging after me and now you want me to tag after you. I'm tired of it. I just want to be on my own sometimes."
Kasey looked close to tears now, but she held her voice steady. "So what was that in Houston? Apparently it takes more than making out with a girl to make you her boyfriend, so let's hear it. What are your requirements?"
Now she had gone too far. She was saying he was a cad. "It's not like that, ok. We were both confused and I felt bad for you and it was just one of those things…"
"So, it was a casual fling? You were just playing with me?"
She'd hit too many nerves in a row. Besides, was it so wrong to have a fling now and then? "What if I was?" he said hotly.
Next thing he knew, the world had gone white for a split second. Then his left cheek started to sting.
She hit me. Holy crap, she actually hit me…. And it actually hurt…
"How… how dare you say that?" She was shaking, and a tear finally spilled over. "Get out of here. If that's how you feel, then get out of here! If you come back, I'll have you run off!"
She was getting hysterical, and Kelly wanted nothing more than to leave, but he felt like just leaving would be like telling her she had won, so he retorted. "Fine, I'm going! I said my piece and I've got no reason to come back."
He kick-started the bike and sped away, not looking back.
More to follow. Hope you enjoyed chapter one. :)