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Stealing His Heart( Nehalem Pack 25)(21)

By:AJ Jarrett

This was the one night Kam didn't have practice. The coaches were having  a meeting tonight to go over the roster and building the lineup for  their next game. PJ wouldn't be home until late, so he agreed.

After his last class, Kam dropped his bag off at his room and headed  toward the junior high. It was like going down memory lane for him. Kam  remembered playing at the same school. Even back then he had so much  love for the game. He couldn't imagine doing anything else with his  life.

Kam parked his Jeep in the high school parking lot. Kam got out of his  car and walked down to the baseball field. The varsity team was  practicing. When Kam got closer to the field, he noticed his old coach,  Clevenger.

"How's it going, Coach?" Kam smiled at the surprised look on his coach's face.

"If it ain't Kamden Kline-Kemp." Clevenger shook Kam's hand. "I heard you were coming back to play at Hemsworth."

"Yeah." Kam crossed his arms over his chest and looked out onto the  field, watching the players run through some drills. "Missed it here."

"Understandable, but don't feel like coming to play here as a step  down." Clevenger pointed out. "Henson's a great coach, and from what the  word is around town you boys will go all the way this year."

"We are pretty good." Kam teased.

"Oh boy." Clevenger let out a hearty laugh. "Still a wise ass. It's good some things never change. What brings you out today?"

"My friend's cousin plays on the eighth-grade team." Kam pulled out his  phone to look at the time. "They have a game today. I'm just really  early."

"You don't say." Clevenger patted Kam on the back and started walking,  pulling Kam along with him. "Let me introduce you to the team. How do  you feel about helping out for a little bit while you're waiting?"

"I'd love to." Kam smiled and followed the coach onto the field.

For the next hour and half he helped run the practice. Clevenger and the  other coaching staff gave him free reign to go over technique with the  players. The shortstop and third basemen of the team had real talent,  but they weren't cocky little shits. They listened to Kam as if he were a  god, soaking in all he had to say. Kam had to admit it was a lot of fun  teaching these young guys. He'd never thought about coaching before,  but now he saw its appeal.

"You know, Kam," Clevenger said as they walked back toward the locker  rooms, "if becoming some famous ballplayer doesn't work out, you could  always become a coach."

"You think?"

"Hell yeah, I think." Clevenger nodded in the players' direction. "I saw  the way they listened to you, and you have such passion for the sport.  You're a great teacher, son. Not a lot of people have what it takes to  deal with kids and teach them and you my friend have it." Clevenger  shook Kam's hand one more time. "Don't be a stranger, Kam."

"I won't, Coach." Kam smiled as he walked toward the other field. He saw  Carson waving his arms up and down and Kam hustled over to take a seat.

After spending the last couple of hours with the high school baseball  team, it hit Kam that maybe playing professional baseball wasn't the  only thing he thought he'd be good at. Sure he loved to play, but  helping those kids, passing along the knowledge he'd acquired felt  really good. It was almost better than the feeling he got when he hit a  home run in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded last year.  That had been an amazing feeling, but seeing the look on those kids  faces as they listened, then took Kam's advice gave him such a sense of  accomplishment.

It was only a few hours, but it was enough time to make Kam question  what path he wanted to take in life. Did he want to graduate college and  if he was lucky enough to be drafted to a professional team did he  really want to travel from city to city without his mate? Kam would  never ask PJ to quit coaching for him. Coaching was PJ's dream, and Kam  was starting to think playing professional baseball was no longer his.

Chapter Fifteen

"Listen up," PJ shouted over the noise of the crowd for his players to  hear him. "Arkansas is a good school, and they've got a great team, but  that doesn't mean they are better than us." PJ let his gaze travel from  face-to-face, stopping when he finally reached Kam's. "If we play hard,  we can win this."                       


The players gave their agreement, then headed back into the dugout. PJ slowly made his way over toward Kam.

"You ready to play today?"

"I am, Coach." Kam smiled. "But I'm more ready to win and go home so I  can crawl back into bed." Kam waggled his eyebrows. "Someone owes me a  happy fun time."

"Is that right?" PJ cocked an eyebrow at his mate.

"Completely." Kam nodded, a stern look on his face. "Someone had two, I  repeat, two orgasms this morning when I only had one." Kam shook his  head and tsked. "So not cool."

"Henson," Coach Johnson called out to him.

"Depending on how well you play today we'll see about evening out that  score, Kline-Kemp." PJ smacked his hand down on Kam's helmet and walked  toward Johnson.

The game started and was going great. The Razorbacks were a tough team,  but PJ in all honesty couldn't say they were better than his Grizzlies.  Both teams had speed, but the Grizzles had better bats. Already the left  fielder had hit a homerun that still hadn't landed. They were up  two – one at the top of the sixth. Kam was in at shortstop, playing his  heart out. It was only fall ball, and these games really didn't mean  anything, but his mate took it so seriously. Kam wanted every win as if  it were a breath he needed. The batter hit a pop-up, and the catcher  easily made the catch for the third out. The Grizzles all hustled into  the dugout to prepare for their turn at bat.

PJ was sending out hand signals to his first-base coach when he heard  the ruckus behind him. The boys got rowdy at times so he didn't pay much  attention to it until he heard Kam yelling for him to get help.

"Coach! Oh my god! Somebody help me."

* * * *

"Nice play out there, Kam." Killian handed Kam a bottle of water.

"Thanks, man." Kam took the water. Kam grinned like a fool. He'd made a  diving catch to get the second out of the sixth inning. The batter hit  the ball right back at the pitcher, and luckily enough the guy was able  to get down, and Kam got there just in time to snag it before it went  into the outfield, which would have put the tying run on first.

"Dude!" Spencer held up his hand for Kam to smack. "You fucking ate dirt  for that ball." Spencer started talking excitedly about the catch Kam  made and Killian excused himself. "I was for sure it was going to make  it to the outfield."

"Me, too." Kam remembered running toward the ball then lunging for it.  Like everyone else he was a little surprised he'd caught it. It was one  of those things that was more luck than skill.

"Hang on a minute, Kam. I'm dying of thirst. It's fucking hot out here."

Spencer turned around to get some water, but Kam grabbed Spencer's  shoulder and handed his water over. "Here, take this." Kam pulled his  batting gloves from his back pocket.

Spencer drank half the bottle in one huge gulp. He burped, then finished  the rest. They stood there talking and watching as the game started  back up. The Grizzles first baseman hit a ground ball and got on base.  Kam was cheering along with the rest of his teammates when he felt a  heavy hand on his shoulder. He turned to see Spencer, his face pale and  sweaty and his pupils blown.

"Spence, what's wrong?"

Kam reached out just in time to grab Spencer before he fell to the ground. "Spencer, talk to me!" Kam shouted in a panic.

His friend went stiff. Then he started to convulse.

"Help me! Someone help!"

PJ rushed over and helped lay Spencer on the ground. Kam held his  friend's hand, unwilling to let go. Paramedics came, and Kam could do  nothing as he watched them carry Spencer away. He was still in a state  of shock that he hadn't even realized that PJ had pulled him close and  was holding him.

"What happened, Kam?" PJ asked softly.

"I don't know." Kam took a step back to look up at his mate. "One minute  we were standing around talking and the next he was falling down  then … then … " Kam clamped his mouth shut. His emotions were getting the  better of him, and he was about to lose it right there in the dugout.

PJ sat Kam down on the bench and went out to talk to the umpires and the  coaches from the other team. They all agreed to call the game. They had  made it passed the fifth inning, so it could be considered a full game  according to the rulebook. The Arkansas coaches were very understanding.

Kam didn't even bother to change out of his uniform before he rushed out  of the stadium and to his car. His dads were at the game and were not  far behind him when he entered the hospital. PJ was held up because he  had to speak to the university's administration about what had taken  place.