We start toward another game booth, but then I see a familiar face out of the corner of my eye. My smile immediately disappears, and I grab Logan’s arm. Kyler is standing at one of the booths where they’re selling grills, and I don’t think he’s seen us yet.
“Mom, what’s wrong?”
I point toward a booth that’s across the park. “Let’s go that way.”
He shakes his head. “But I want to stop at these first before the parade starts.”
The last thing I want is to get stopped by Kyler. I just have to hope and pray he doesn’t notice me. Turning my back toward him, I go with Logan to the ring toss game booth. Logan uses my ticket so he can play twice. And, of course, he takes his time. I don’t want to look behind me, so I keep my eyes focused on the game. That is until I hear his voice.
“Hi, Maeve. I was hoping I’d see you here.”
Logan turns to him and then looks up at me, wondering why I haven’t responded. Blowing out a silent sigh, I face Kyler. My eyes go instantly to his leg, but I can’t see his knee because of his jeans.
“Hi there. How’s your knee?” I don’t want to look at his hypnotic blue eyes, but I can’t stare at his leg the entire time. Yesterday was easy because I had to help him. Today, I have no excuse.
Kyler shrugs. “It hurts to walk. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.”
His crutches are nowhere in sight. “What happened to your crutches?”
Kyler chuckles and looks away. “Trust me. I walk better without them.”
Logan taps my arm. “Oliver and Jacob are by the hot dog stand. Can I go over there?” Oliver and Jacob are Jeremy’s twin boys. That means Jeremy and Kaylee are somewhere at the festival. I could use their help right now.
My heart races, and I want to latch onto Logan’s arm to keep him by my side, but when his friends see him, they wave him over. “Fine,” I give in. “You can go.”
“Wait,” Kyler calls out. He pulls out an unlimited festival pass and hands it to Logan. “I bought this, but I don’t have any use for it. You can play as many games as you want.”
Logan gasps and beams up at him. “Thanks!”
Kyler looks down at his Ravens hat. “You a football fan?”
“The biggest,” Logan replies. “I’m quarterback for the peewee team.”
“So was I,” Kyler says. “I was also a quarterback for my high school as well.”
The last thing I want is Logan getting advice from Kyler, the number one douchebag from my high school. “Your friends are waiting for you, sweetheart,” I tell him.
Logan nods and smiles again at Kyler. “Bye.”
Once Logan’s gone, my number one goal is to get away from Kyler. “It was nice seeing you again, Kyler. Hope you enjoy the parade.” I start to walk off, but then Kyler hisses and hunches over, grabbing at his knee. As much as I despise him, the paramedic in me can’t just leave him like that. I grab his wrist and wrap his arm around my shoulders to help give him support. “Here, let me help you.”
I reach around his waist with his arm around my shoulders and slowly move him over to an empty picnic table. He sits down and stretches out his leg, grunting in pain. “Thanks for helping me. Guess I shouldn’t have left my crutches in the car.”
It figures he’d leave them. “Do you want me to grab them for you?” I offer.
He shakes his head. “No, thanks. I’ll be fine.”
“Have you iced it the way I told you to?”
His lips pull back in that familiar smile of his. “I did. It helped me a lot.” The sound of horns echoes down the street, signaling the parade has begun. Great. It’s too late to disappear across the street to head down to my car. “How have you been?” he asks.
I keep my eyes on the parade floats. “Fine.”
“Some of the ladies at the bank said you moved back to town after your divorce. I’m sorry to hear that.”
I scoff but bite back the snarky comment I was going to make. I’m pretty sure he could care less about my divorce. “Are you sure you don’t want me to get your crutches?” I ask, hoping to change the subject. “I can help you to your car so you can leave.”
Kyler throws his head back and laughs. “Are you trying to get rid of me?” He stares at me, but I don’t respond. Out of the corner of my eye, I watch him slowly stand. My stomach clenches with guilt, and I feel somewhat bad for being a bitch, even though I shouldn’t. I should be the bigger person and not hold grudges, but sometimes, it’s easier said than done. “I hope you have a good day, Maeve. Maybe I’ll see you again tomorrow.”
He hobbles off, and I can’t help but watch him. My mom walks down the path into the park right by him, and she stops to talk to him, smiling and carrying on as if she was his best friend. Mouth gaping, I watch them laugh together. What the hell is going on there? When she sees me, she waves and hurries over.
I point at Kyler. “What were you doing talking to Kyler Groff?”
She holds a hand over her heart. “He’s just the sweetest thing. I have an appointment with him at the bank to change over my money to a different retirement account.”
“And that requires you to be friends?” I ask incredulously. “Him and his friends were dicks in high school. I can’t stand him.”
Her face falls. “People change, Maeve. The boy’s been through a lot.”
I scoff. “He still seems like the arrogant ass I’ve always known him to be.”
She pats my hand. “Oh, no, honey. He’s not. Do you not know what happened to him after high school?”
“I made it a point not to know,” I answer. “I didn’t care.”
Her gaze saddens. “For starters, he got hurt when he went off to college. It ruined his football career.”
“Am I supposed to feel sorry for him?”
She shakes her head. “That’s just the beginning. I won’t go into detail, but I want you to know he hasn’t had an easy life.”
Neither have I, but you don’t see me asking for pity. I have sympathy for those who deserve it. Kyler Groff is not one of them.