A/N: Honestly this is a drive by posting. I've been ridiculously busy lately, but that should settle down soon. This is more of a filler chapter, and then things should start picking up very quickly. I will edit later. R&R!
He didn't like to count the days. It had been four whole days with no contact at all from Joss. Nat hadn't known how to respond to her. Rape wasn't something that he was prepared for. Joss just seemed so put together. He knew that it sounded dumb, but when he thought of rape victims he thought about those women from Law and Order: SVU. They were all broken down and destroyed. That wasn't anything like Joss though. She was so damn confident, and so damn brilliant, and so damn amazing.
"Yo coach, heads up!" Julien tossed him the basketball. It hit Nat square in the chest and he let out a huff of air. He looked over at the team that had been running drills for the first 30 minutes of practice. "Is it scrimmage time yet? I'm done with these fundamentals."
"Practice makes perfect Jules. I want to see you at the free throw line. Grant, can you cover the cross court drills. Just a few more minutes and then we will go over the play book." Nat walked over to Jules and got ready to set him up on the line. His job was the only thing keeping his mind off of Joss. He would have thought his friends would be doing that job, but they were actually the ones that liked to beat that dead horse. He hadn't told his friends why he couldn't be with Joss just that it wasn't going to happen. That of course only lead to more speculation on their part and more frustration on his. His frustration only grew everyday when she didn't respond to his texts or calls. Nat had decided that if she didn't respond to him by the end of the week, he would show up on her doorstep.
"Do you know your percentage?" Nat asked as he grabbed the ball from Julien before he was about to take another shot.
"I'll tell you Coach, 0!" Tanner, the player running cross courts yelled as he passed.
"Did I ask you, Tanner?" Nat yelled, agitated by every little thing that happened.
"It is 0." Julien looked dejected with his head hung low.
"No season average?" Nat didn't even wait for Julien to lift his head. "42%. It isn't even your fault. It's my fault. I should have been able to develop you into a complete center. You have all of the other stats, but that one is low."
"What is up with you lately Coach? You've been grumpier, and you yell a lot more. Plus you always seem to get down on yourself. Is it the fam again?"
"Hey, I'm the adult here. My problems aren't your problems. Let's just get through this practice." Nat patted his back and gave back the basketball. Practice went the same as it went every day. They had a big game coming up against the number one team in the district and Nat wanted them to be prepared as possible. After two hours they packed up and the boys and Nat went to his office to grab his own bag and lock up. He checked his phone and saw that he had a missed message from Taylor. Since all of the guys were still changing he had time to listen to the message.
"Nathaniel, I just have no clue what has gotten into you two. Joss has been moping around the whole time that we have been hanging out. She just went to the bathroom so I have time to make this call. What happened between the two of you? Know what don't answer that. I'll be at her house all night, maybe you could stop by? And by maybe I mean you better get your ass over here after you leave work. I will-" Nat took his face away from his cell phone and realized that the message went on for another minuet and a half. Long winded didn't even begin to cut it. He checked the time and decided to call her back. The phone picked up after the third ring.
"Nathaniel?" Joss's voice was quiet, but the sound was music to his ears. "What are you doing calling Taylor's phone?"
"Joss? What are you doing answering Taylor's phone?" There were so many other things that he had wanted to say to her, but that was the first thing that came to mind. "I missed you. Did you get my messages? I've felt like you're avoiding me."
There was silence on the other end.
"Listen Joss, if you don't want to go on a date with me I understand… What you revealed to me doesn't change anything." Nat checked to make sure that none of the guys were around. "I still want for us to try all of this out."
"Nat, I'm so sorry." He could hear her trying to hold back sobs. Even when she was weak she was strong, it was something Nat loved about her. "I just have never felt like this before about anyone. I want to try it out too, but I don't want to ruin your perfect life." There it was, Nat thought to himself. She didn't want to not date him because she had been raped, it was because she was worried about him.
"Jossie-boo, you don't understand. I want you. Without you my life is far from perfect. You and Brooks. I just-" He looked up to see a few of the players making kissy faces through the window. "Know what, I'm going to have to call you back."
"Or better yet you can just come by maybe… I heard the message Tay left for you." Joss swallowed hard, and Nat could feel the hesitancy. "I also asked Taylor if she could stay with Brooks for the night. So, if you wanted to go on that date then?" She started giggling, something she always did when she was nervous.
"I'll pick you up at 6:30? Dress comfortably." Nat couldn't help the goofy grin on his face.
"You already have this planned out?" Her giggle turned into a full blown laugh and Nat realized how much he had missed talking to her.
"I've had this planned for over a month. Just let me lock up and go home to get ready. I can't wait to see you." Nat hung up the phone with more joy than he had felt in the last few days.