No real competition here. One guy was even wearing a Budweiser shirt and looked like he’d had a few too many the night before. Some runners wore matching shirts with Team Stacy in hand-written letters on the back and a big heart on the front with the words Gone but Not Forgotten. I gulped. I could relate to that one. Maybe I should write Team Mom and Dad on my shirt. I blew out a shaky breath and turned away.
Sammy and the twins had no competition either. There were plenty of high school girls stretching nearby. It looked like the whole Northport track team had come out to run the Lighthouse Point Moonlight Run. Probably under threat from their coach to shake off their second-place win at team state finals and get into the cross-country season mindset. Coaches rarely stopped pushing for perfection, and athletes rarely stopped reaching for it.
Having known the girls for the short time that I had, I suspected they’d take first, second, and third in their age group. During state finals they took first place in the four-by-four relay and their splits were within seconds of one another.
“What do you think, Brandon?” Kat sidled up next to me. “Gonna try to beat me today?”
“My worst time would beat your best time.” I snickered and rolled my eyes.
“Is that a challenge?” She raised her eyebrows at me.
“There’s no comparison. I’m a guy.”
“Yeah, but we’re in shape,” Krystal pointed out.
“Have you seen his abs?” Sammy asked. “He has core you could only dream about.” Was she blushing? Cute. I’d play along.
“Sammy and I run together every day.” I rested my elbow on her shoulder. “She should know better than you do.”
“Wait, when have you seen his abs?” Kat asked.
“Yeah, when have you seen my abs?” I cocked my head to the side.
Sammy shifted out from under my arm and mumbled. “You sometimes take your shirt off on really hot days.”
“Are you spying on me?” I teased.
“No, not really.” It was too late for her to backtrack on that one.
I leaned close and cupped my hand over my mouth, pretending to hide my stage whisper. “You won’t tell your mom, will you?”
“Her mom’s probably spying on you, too,” Krystal said.
“I know I would be,” Kat added.
“Okay, this conversation is getting a little uncomfortable,” Sammy said. “I’m going to do some warmups.” She trotted off at a slow jog.
Nice legs. I couldn’t help it. I usually ran beside her, so I didn’t often get to see her from behind in those little running shorts. I needed to get my mind out of the gutter. I bowed my head regally to the twins.
“Ladies, my training partner is getting away from me. I’ll wait after I cross the finish line to congratulate you in your first and second place win in the girls’ division.”
“Ha! We’ll wait for you,” Kat called after me.
“Good luck with that.” I turned my head over my shoulder to answer them as I ran ahead to catch up to Sammy. I fell into step with her and bumped her shoulder. “You like my abs, huh?”
“Shut up, Brandon. Don’t get cocky on us now.”
“You gonna try to beat the twins?” I changed the subject.
She guffawed. “As if.”
“You’re not even going to try?”
“Why bother? They’ll just push harder to keep me behind them.”
“Chicken,” I said, adding a few balking clucks.
“I’m not a chicken.” She reached over and punched me on the shoulder.
Just then the announcer came on the megaphone to announce that it was time to get around to the starting line. It was a good thing, too. I’d have bruises if I ran next to Sammy any more today. That wouldn’t be a problem since the lineup was according to best personal record. I turned around from my position at the front and smirked at Sammy. Game on.
Running To You
Read the next chapter in my work-in-progress!