Getting Schooled (Getting Some #1)(4)

And this is my family. All the time. If they seem crazy . . . that’s because they are.

My mom helps Angela herd the kids from the table towards their shoes. As Frankie passes me, I crouch down next to her and whisper, “Hey, sweetheart. You keep working on that kick, okay? When you’re a little older, Uncle Garrett’ll hook you up.”

She gives me a full crooked-fence-toothed smile that warms my chest. Then kisses my cheek before heading out the front door.


The coolest thing I’ve ever bought is my house on the north side of the lake. Two stories, all brick, fully refurbished kitchen. There’s a nice-sized, fenced-in backyard with a fire pit next to the path that leads down the steps to my private dock. I’ve got a bass boat and like to take her out a couple times a week. My neighbors Alfred and Selma live on one side, retired army captain Paul Cahill on the other, but with the spruces and pines that border the property, I don’t see them unless I want to. It’s private and quiet.

I toss my keys on the front hall table and head into the living room to find my best friend curled up, asleep on the couch. He’s soft, snow white—like a baby seal—and weighs about twenty-five pounds. He’s a great listener, he gets fired up at the TV when a ref makes a bad call, and his favorite pastime is licking his own balls.

I found him, small and dirty, in the ShopRite parking lot my senior year of high school. Or maybe . . . he found me.

“Snoopy,” I whisper, pressing my nose into his downy fur.

His dark eyes spring open, lifting his head sharply, like my old man when he catches himself falling asleep in the recliner.

I stroke his back and scratch his ears. “What’s up, bud?”

Snoopy stretches, then steps up on the arm of the couch to wash my face with his tongue. His tail wags in a steady, adoring rhythm. Can’t beat this kind of devotion.

In people years, he’s seventeen, so not as spry as he used to be. He’s also partially blind and diabetic. I give him insulin shots twice a day.

Snoopy’s my boy. And there’s nothing in the world I wouldn’t do for him.

After a shower, I put the Steelers game on, and as I pick up my phone to order Chinese, the front door opens and Tara Benedict walks into the living room.

“Worst day ever.” She groans. “If I have to listen to one more woman tell me the size of her new Gucci boots must be off, I’ll rip my hair out. The boots are fine, bitch—your chubby Fred Flintstone feet are nowhere close to a size six!”

Tara’s an online customer service rep for Nordstrom’s. She was a year below me in high school—we started hooking up a couple months ago when she moved back to town after her divorce.

I raise my eyebrows. “Sounds rough.”

Snoopy hops on the couch, stretching his neck, preening for Tara’s attention. He’s such a needy bastard.

“Sorry I didn’t text before I came over. Are you busy?”

Tara was cute back in the day, but now, at thirty-three, she’s gorgeous—an avid tennis player with long dark hair and sweet curves.

“Nope. I was just going to order Chinese. Hungry?”

She unzips her black skirt and lets it slide to the floor—leaving her thigh-high stockings and shiny black heels on. “Later. First I need to fuck away some of this frustration.”

Tara’s a great girl.

I drop the Chinese menu like it’s on fire.

“You’ve come to the right place.”

She strips her way up to the bedroom, leaving a trail of clothing behind like an awesome porn version of Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs. I start to follow, but pause in the hallway—because Snoopy’s the best . . . but he’s also a voyeur.

His eyes are round and attentive as I point at him.

“Stay here, dude. And don’t listen—I told you—it’s fucking weird.”


Two hours later, a much less frustrated Tara and I sit at the kitchen counter, eating great Chinese food out of takeout containers.

Tara dabs her lips with her napkin. “The County Fair is coming up.”

The County Fair—beer, great barbeque, decent live music, and rides worth risking your life for.

“Joshua’s really excited—every time we pass a sign, he asks me how many more days until he can go.” She picks up a piece of steamed chicken and holds it down to Snoopy’s drooling mouth. “So . . . I was wondering, what you thought about you, me, and Joshua going together?” She looks up at me meaningfully. “The three of us.”

I narrow my eyes, confused. “That’s . . .”

“I know that’s not what we said when we started seeing each other . . . we agreed to nothing serious. But . . . I like you, Garrett. I think we could be good together.” She shrugs. “I’m a relationship kind of girl—and even though my marriage crashed and burned, I’m ready to start over. To try again.”

I like Tara—but even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t bullshit her. A man gets to a point in his life when he realizes that honesty—even if it’s not what someone wants to hear—is just simpler.

“I like you too. But I also like my life the way it is. A lot.” I gesture towards the next room. “I bought a Ping-Pong table last week, for the dining room. I like that I didn’t have to discuss it with anyone—that I didn’t have to consider anybody else’s feelings. I like that the only emotional worry I have is wondering how the hell I’m going to get around North Essex High School’s defense this season.”

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