Deleted Scene from Forth and Goal
Chapter 26—Big Play (in Tyler’s POV)
Tyler walked into Mitch’s family room. Remote in hand, Ryan was sprawled on the couch. Tyler grinned and dropped next to him, propping his feet on the coffee table. He fixated on the college game on TV.
“Hey, you came.” Ryan offered a feeble smile. The kid kept his eyes on the sports channel.
“You asked.” Tyler bristled a little. Of course, he had. He might be an asshole, but even he drew the line at brushing off a sick kid.
“Is Mitch gone?” Ryan craned his neck to see into the kitchen.
“He went out for some beer. Said he’d be right back.”
“Good.” Ryan struggled to sit up, coughed, and took a drink of water. It trickled down his chin. He wiped it with the sleeve his sweatshirt. “I need to talk to you. Alone.”
“Shoot.” Tyler helped himself to the bowl of chips on the coffee table.
“I need a favor.”
Tyler hesitated, popped several chips in his mouth, and chewed slowly. Nice guys did favors, and he wasn’t a nice guy. If he did one good deed, people would be all over his ass expecting more favors. He believed in Number One. Numero Uno. Everyone else in his life fit because they served a purpose.
“So, can you do me a favor?” Ryan’s scrawny arm reached for the water glass.
Tyler tried not to stare. A skeleton had more meat on its bones. He shrugged. “I suppose.” The words slipped out, and he couldn’t get them back.
Ryan’s eyes bored into his, steady, direct, and way too old for a kid of his age. “I need you to find my mother.”
“Your mother?” Tyler choked and wished he had a beer. Even better a couple straight shots. He crammed more chips in his mouth.
“Yeah. Please, Ty. I need to know where she is. I want to see her before—before—well, you know.” Ryan’s gaze unsettled him with its intense desperation.
“Why didn’t you ask Derek?” Ty didn’t want to do this. Not one bit. He didn’t get involved in other people’s problems, except on a superficial level and when it benefited him. With Ryan, he’d already sunk beyond superficial. He didn’t plan on sinking any deeper.
“Because I want the truth. Derek’s too nice. He’d never tell me the truth if it was bad news.”
“And I would?” Sorrow sliced through Tyler, as cold and sharp as his father’s hunting knife. He shook it off. He should consider Ryan’s assessment a compliment. Except it wasn’t.
“Yeah. You’re a tough guy. A badass. You say what you think and to hell with everyone else. I don’t want anyone worrying about my feelings. I need to know.”
“You think you’ll get that from me.” Tyler forced the words past a constricted throat.
“Yeah, I will because you won’t be concerned about hurting me. You’ll just do the job. You take care of yourself, nobody else matters.”
“Yeah. Yeah, that’s me. I’m a selfish bastard.”
Ryan punched his arm. “Then you’ll do it?”
“Yeah, sure.” Tyler stared at the images on the TV without seeing them, while he tried to drag in a breath around the boulder crushing his chest.
Jami will be giving away a paperback copy of Fourth and Goal