Many have read the first chapter of HEATHER - but this tidbit comes from Chapter Two:
Heather pulled into her apartment complex shortly after eight, thankful to be home from Augusta. She had been up since five-thirty that morning and was beginning to feel the effects of a long day. As promised, her new vehicle had been very comfortable. Heather wondered again why she had endured her old junker for so many years.
The basketball camp had been a one-day affair. Clemson’s head coach had not anticipated any great prospects at today’s event, but no opportunity for potential talent was to be missed. As the rookie on the coaching staff, Heather knew why she had been selected to attend. Today had been a training exercise. She would have to prove her ability to spot future college basketball players. While she understood the logic behind Stacey’s decision, it frustrated her to receive the lowest assignments. She was at the bottom of the ladder once again.
Gathering her paperwork, Heather stumbled out of her car. She staggered into her apartment and dropped everything on the empty coffee table. While her duties as an assistant coach were still daunting, the condition of her apartment no longer appeared so overwhelming. Heather had found suitable locations for all of her possessions and no longer felt stressed by the disarray. She had other things to concentrate on at the moment.
Heather had spent the past two days familiarizing herself with Clemson in general and her new position in detail. She shared an office with the other assistant coach, Josiah Parker, which promised to be a challenge in of itself. Jo, as he preferred to be called, hailed from Alabama and had lost none of his Southern style and attitude. His coaching abilities were certainly not an issue, but his thick accent grated on her nerves. It was only a matter of time before his Southern drawl elicited a snide comment from Heather. She hoped to curtail her response, as it would only create more friction, but she doubted that possibility. The intensity of postgraduate work at Duke had done little to curb her short temper.
Heather changed into jeans and a tank top and collapsed on the couch. Wearily she opened her notebook and stared at her scribbles and comments from the day. Despite the lack of serious contenders, a center and forward with potential had caught her eye. Heather had taken lengthy notes on both players, determined to prove her analytical abilities. She would have to organize her ramblings and type out a concise report to present to Stacey on Monday. Heather definitely had her work cut out for her this weekend.
“I’ve still got homework!” she mumbled to herself.
With a sigh, Heather dropped her notes onto the table. She slumped against the back of the couch and propped her feet up on the edge of the coffee table. Running fingers through her curly hair, Heather stared blankly at the ceiling, lost in thought. Between the drive and the tournament, she was far too tired to work on her report tonight.
Dropping her chin to her chest, Heather’s eyes fell on her wallet. Lying at the edge of the coffee table with her keys, the small billfold appeared in danger of falling to the floor. Wearily she leaned forward and retrieved her wallet. While absently thumbing through the contents, Heather came upon Mark’s business card tucked between her license and a credit card. Tossing aside her wallet, she stared at the front of the card for a moment before turning to the address scrawled on the back.
The last thing she wanted to do right now was get back into her vehicle. She had spent many hours behind the wheel already today. However, her prospects for the evening’s activities were slim. A long grocery list still sat on her counter, a testament to the lack of food in her home, and her beverage choices were soda and milk that had expired yesterday. There had not been time to make any friends in the area. Heather did not even have basic cable. At this point, she might as well go to bed.
She thought about Mark, his wry expression during their lunch last Wednesday coming to mind first. His features were so similar to Matt’s, and yet uniquely his own. Whereas his brother’s eyes were always bright with mischief, enhanced by Matt’s ever-present smile, Mark’s were more calculating and serious. Shorter than his brother, Mark’s frame was more stout and full, although he had not let himself go completely since high school. He had never shared his younger sibling’s sunny disposition, either, nor had verbal kindness been Mark’s strong suit.
Despite his gruff nature, though, there had been no hint of malice or insolence in his behavior. Mark had given her a great deal on the Corolla, with almost no hassle, and gone beyond the call of duty by paying for lunch, not to mention allowing Heather to drive his convertible. His friendly and amicable nature revealed itself in his actions rather than word, something she was not accustomed to in a man. Usually if a guy sounded like a jerk, he acted the part, too.
“What the hell,” Heather said to herself, rising from the couch. If she didn’t enjoy herself tonight, she would simply cross Mark off her list of potential friends.