Songs for Cricket
Terri E. Laine
Copyright 2021 Terri E. Laine
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used factiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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Letitia Hasser @ RBA Designs
Scott Hoover created with photo
To my daughters and son—fight for your dreams
and never give up.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent
about things that matter.”
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For as long as I can remember, it’s always been August, Cooper, Shepard, and me. So it was fitting that we all ended up at the same university, in the same small, sleepy town.
Being the only girl in the group, I was always jockeying for position. I wasn’t surprised when August took off for the door. As de facto leader, he had to be the first person inside, thus able to pick from the choice of rooms in the massive townhouse that would be our home for the next four years.
Built leaner, I made a run for it and quickly reached the door first only to realize I hadn’t taken my key out. I was roughly shoved aside by my asshat brother. He’d rarely treated me like a fragile girl, which I appreciated.
“I’ve got this,” August announced, using his extended key to unlock the door.
I turned around to see my other brother, Cooper, hanging back as usual. He rarely fought, usually letting August and me have at it.
But it was Shepard whom my eyes landed on. He stood looking amused next to Cooper. All the boys were considered hot if you trusted the female population at our former high school. However, I didn’t share DNA with only one of them.
Shepard Connelly, aka August’s best friend, had grown taller and broader over this summer. Gorgeous was just one of the words used to describe the dark haired boy that had starred in many fantasies of mine. As if predestined, my focus drifted down to his lips just above his chiseled jawline. When that mouth of his sprouted a wicked grin, I caught myself and shifted my gaze up to find his summer blue eyes trained on me.
Then his smile twisted into a smirk, and I spun around to hide the growing bonfires in my cheeks. I did it just in time for August to push open the door and make a mad dash for the stairs off to the right.
Cool air blew out of the house colliding with the Oklahoma heat in the height of summer. But it was the inferno created by Shep’s gaze that needed taming. I took a step inside and shivered from the sudden change in temperature. I came up short when I saw a cute guy sitting in a wheelchair. He sat there on the side of the island in the kitchen about ten feet in front of me looking more comfortable in his skin than I felt.
Cooper stepped up beside me, and Shepard stopped at my back. Flames like a lit fuse heated my back like a caress over my skin. Shepard hadn’t touched me, but his presence was as familiar as my dreams of him. Oh, how I’d longed for him to close the gap between us and touch me like I’d heard he’d touched girls in our old high school, but it was time to give up that pipe dream.
“Hi, Finn. It’s nice to finally meet you in person,” I said to the wheelchair bound boy who shared a name similar to mine. “I’m Finley.”
On instinct, I moved in for a hug and then stopped myself, remembering that not everyone welcomed touch. That was a lesson I’d learned the hard way this past year when I’d met my older brother Ash for the first time. I switched gears to reach out a hand realizing too late, in this situation, it was yet another faux pas, considering Finn’s limitations. But I’d already committed to the action.
When he slowly lifted a hand to me, I stopped dead not sure who was more surprised. It turned out to be me because he turned his greeting into a polite wave.
“It’s nice to finally meet you as well,” he said with a disarming dimpled smile.
My feet came unglued, and I leaned forward to shake his hand. The strength in his grip surprised me. Not because of his disability but he’d been paralyzed from the neck down at the tender age of five due to a car accident. Doctors hadn’t been sure he’d walk again. And there he was waving at us then gripping my hand.
It shouldn’t have been shocking. His parents had more money than God and had sent him