On Solid Ground: Sequel to in Too Deep

On Solid Ground: Sequel to in Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow

Book: On Solid Ground: Sequel to in Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michelle Kemper Brownlow
stronger than I’d ever been to get through this.
    I’d started to fall in love with Gracie even before Jessica left last semester. At first, I thought I was misinterpreting my protective nature for her as romantic feelings, but when I started to think about her, and not Jess, when I zoned out in class, I realized what was going on. But loving her while Noah shredded her piece-by-piece felt like walking across shards of glass. I would hold her while she cried and as she slept. I prayed she’d leave him so I could be the one to show her what real love was.
    But, during that time, I also promised her over and over that I would always be her friend first. I told her she never had to love me back, and I would take her however I could have her, as a friend or a lover. I assured her I would be satisfied either way, but now, I wasn’t sure.
    I needed to run. I returned upstairs for my shoes and took off. I’d started running upon leaving my first college calculus exam. I knew I’d failed it. I’d handed my backpack over to some kid who lived in my dorm and told him to put it at my door. And I took off in the same way I’d just left my apartment. I think, subconsciously, I was hoping to run away from the reality that my parents were footing the bill for my education, and instead of spending the night studying, I’d spent the night with Jessica for the first time. So, that day, I ran for two hours to sort out in my mind what I’d have to do to pull my grade up. After a conversation with the professor and some extra work, I’d brought my grade up to a B- and was satisfied.
    But trying to run away from my own heart was a totally different kind of running. My feet pounded into the pavement with angry strides. I needed to work through my anger and disappointment in Gracie’s assumption that I could turn off a switch and stop loving then run off into the sunset with someone else. I knew it was her self-esteem taking a nose dive that had brought her to that conclusion, but, at the same time, it pissed me off. I wanted her to have more faith in our relationship. I wanted her to be sure of where my heart was. But she wasn’t ready.
    I knew that her decision meant we wouldn’t be spending as much time together, and my constant concern for her would have to wane as I started to trust her to make wise choices. Thank God Noah was gone for the summer and I wouldn’t have to worry about him preying on her newfound independence. I hoped he decided not to head to campus like he’d mentioned to Gracie. Of course, now there was Calon.
Fuck.
    I didn’t know Calon from Adam, but I knew the rock star type. How in God’s name would I protect her from—
    As soon as I stepped off the curb, a loud screeching sound came out of nowhere. A sharp pain in my knee radiated up through my pelvis and into my back. A hollow thud resonated inside my skull and everything went black.
    ****

    “I think you should be okay. You have a minor concussion, and you’ll probably limp around on that knee for a while, so you need to take it easy. Are you taking any classes?”
    “Um, no.” I was still trying to process the fact that a car had hit me.
    “Work?”
    “Not yet. I start a job next week.”
    “Well, that’s good. A couple of days rest, a simple regimen of icing your knee, and ibuprofen should have you good as new.”
    “Thanks.”
    “Now watch where you’re going from now on. If the driver hadn’t been slowing down to turn into the parking lot, this could have been a lot worse. You actually ran into her. Had it been the other way around, you’d be in the ER.”
    “Got it, doc. Thanks again.”
    I limped out into the waiting room only to see my old roommate from the dorms smiling and shaking his head. Maverick was one of my first friends on campus. Freshman year, he, Sam, and I had met during an impromptu volleyball game in the quad. Thankfully, on this day, he had just parked in the lot I got hit in.
    “Dude, what are you, four?” He

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