Home > Stealing Sawyer (The Perfect Game #3)(11)

Stealing Sawyer (The Perfect Game #3)(11)
Author: Samantha Christy

“Can we go to the beach?” Danny asks.

“Not today,” I tell him. “It’s too cold. Maybe next time.” I notice he’s wearing one of the Hawks jerseys I’ve given him, and it makes me wonder if he only wears it when I visit.

Danny loves going to Walnut Beach. I hate it. It holds bad memories for me from my high school days. But to him, it’s a place of peace. He doesn’t even know why he loves it. He shouldn’t love it. But he does. And he asks me to take him there every time I come. And most times, I do. Because I’d do anything for him.

Growing up in New Haven, the beach was a big hang out for high school students. And when they built the boardwalk that extended from Walnut Beach over to Silver Sands State Park – well, that just became the place we went to go drinking.

The beach is lined with rocks. Big ones, little ones. There is even a place where people build rock stacks, and it has become one of Danny’s favorite activities to try and build the tallest one.

“Do you want to stay for dinner?” Lucy asks.

I try to assess the genuineness of her question. Lucy and I have a tentative relationship at best. We’re nice to each other for Danny’s sake, but all things being equal, she’d probably prefer I not come around. Too many bad memories.

Fat chance of me not coming around, however. I’m going to be here for him as long as he needs me.

“I don’t know, Lucy. I don’t want to impose.”

“Pancakes!” Danny squeals, clapping his hands.

She laughs and ruffles his hair. “He’s right. It’s pancake night. Believe me, it’s not an imposition.”

“Well then, I guess I’ll stay. Thanks.”

She leads us back into the house and Danny goes straight for the closet. He comes back carrying an armload of games. I run over to help him before they all fall out of his hands. He loves to play games. I let him pick the first one, knowing we’ll be at this for a while.

“Candy Land!”

He gets the game out and starts setting it up.

“Lucy, are you joining us?” I ask.

She shakes her head. “You two go ahead. Spend your time together. I’ve got a mountain of laundry to do.”

I nod. It’s the answer I expected. She always has an excuse for not joining us. I wish it wouldn’t make her sad when I’m here. Because it obviously makes Danny very happy.

Two hours and ten games of Candy Land later, Lucy calls us in for dinner.

“Thank God,” I say to her. “If I had to play one more game of Candy Land, I think I’d shoot myself.”

She laughs. “It’s his favorite.”

“I should teach him some new games. UNO maybe.”

She looks over at Danny. “I’m not sure he’d be able to play it. It’s kind of advanced for him, don’t you think?”

I shake my head. “Nah, he can learn it. There’s no harm in trying, right?”

She shrugs.

“Danny, sometime soon, I’m going to teach you a new game.”

He shovels a forkful of pancakes into his mouth and tries to answer me.

“Danny, don’t talk with your mouth full, okay, buddy?”

“I wish you’d call him Daniel,” Lucy says.

“Why would I do that?”

“Because it’s his name. Danny just seems so childish.”

“Oh, like Lucy is such an adult name?”

She rolls her eyes at me. “Just shut up and eat.”

“Just shut up and eat,” Danny mimics her.

“Don’t say shut up, Daniel,” she says. “I’m sorry, Mommy shouldn’t have said it.”

We eat in silence for a few minutes. I stare at Danny. He’s so sweet and innocent. Syrup dribbles down his chin and I reach over and catch it with my napkin.

“We watched your game yesterday,” Lucy says. “Looks like it was a good one.”

I nod. I added two more stolen bases to my record. “It was. I wish you’d bring Danny to one of the games in person.”

She shakes her head, looking horrified. “Oh, no. I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

“I know you don’t like to drive that far. But maybe one day?”

She shrugs. “We’ll see. Daniel doesn’t like long car rides.”

That’s a no. But I don’t fight it too hard. Introducing Danny to the world is not something I’m excited about doing. It will cause too many questions that I don’t want to answer. Questions about a past that I’ve tried to put behind me. Questions about a past I can’t seem to get away from.

After dinner, I watch a show with Danny. It’s getting late and he has trouble keeping his eyes open.

“Time for bed, big guy,” Lucy says.

“Can you read me the next part?” he asks, looking over at me with hope in his eyes.

“We’re reading Harry Potter,” Lucy tells me. “I don’t think he understands a lot of it, but the parts he does, he gets really excited about.”

“Maybe he should watch the movie,” I say.

“I don’t know. It might scare him.”

“Nah. He’s tough. Think about it. Maybe I can bring the DVD over sometime. He and I could have a boys’ night.”

Danny grabs my hand and pulls me back to his room.

“Make sure he brushes his teeth,” Lucy calls out after us.

I help him into his pajamas and watch him brush his teeth. Then he hands me the book and scoots over in his twin bed to allow room for me. I laugh, knowing I won’t be able to fit next to him. But I try. And I read him the next chapter, half of me spilling off the bed the entire time.

Chapter Eight

Aspen

Bass and I walk down the street and find the address Sawyer scribbled on the piece of paper for me last week. I stare at the steps leading up to his townhouse. It’s in a row of townhouses on a very affluent street in a very nice part of town.

Bass elbows me. “You get to live here in a few months. Lucky you.”

“Lucky?” I turn to him. “In case you forgot, we think he’s an ass. An ass who doesn’t know how to keep a woman around for more than one date. If you think that makes me lucky—”

“You’re right. Sorry, I just forgot for a minute.” He looks around at the other townhouses that are illuminated by the many streetlights. “Do you think any other famous people live around here? Shit, Penny, you could be neighbors with Robert De Niro or Justin Timberlake.”

I roll my eyes and ascend the steps. At the top, I see he’s still daydreaming. “If you can get your head out of the clouds for two seconds, we have some business to take care of.”

He joins me on the top step. “You really are looking at this as a business deal, aren’t you? But, come on, Penny, you have to admit what you’re about to do is pretty freaking cool. You’ll meet all kinds of people. Celebrities. Sports stars. You’ll fly first class and stay in the best places. You’ll get to eat at those fancy restaurants we’ve always walked by making fun of all the stuffy people who eat there. Now you’ll be one of those people. And just think, you might make some connections that could help you out in your career long after Sawyer Mills is a thing of the past.”

I shrug. He’s right. I am looking at this as a business deal. If I think of it any other way, I’m bound to be disappointed. Because even though I’m trying to keep my mind from going there, I can’t get over the memory of that kiss. I can’t stop thinking about how well we got along that night. And for the life of me, I can’t stop fantasizing about having him in my bed. Detailed fantasies. Ones in which I can hear him groan and call out my name.

I’d never hear the end of it if Bass knew just how many times I’ve used my vibrator in the past week while thinking of the man on the other side of this door. The man who is so untouchable he has to have a contract to get a girlfriend. Or, fake girlfriend. A guy who is so socially inept that he can’t fathom settling down.

So, yes, this is a business deal. And for all intents and purposes, I’m a hired actor.

“Ready?” he asks.

“Yeah.”

He knocks on the door. While we’re waiting for Sawyer to answer, I peek through the sidelight. It’s opaque, but I can see shadows moving about. He has company.

“Did he say Sarah was going to be here tonight?”

“I don’t think so.”

The door opens and Sawyer sees me. He completely ignores Bass while his eyes take me in from head to toe. It’s hard for me to stand here and not look affected by his heated perusal. And he should be perusing – after all, I broke out my best figure-hugging jeans for this. I’m wearing heels for Pete’s sake – something I rarely do, but I figured if I’m to be the girlfriend of a baseball star, I’ll need to look the part.

“Aspen, you’re looking good,” he says. “Come in.” He finally looks at Bass. “Sebastian, nice to see you again.”

Bass holds out his hand in greeting. “Please call me Bass. Sebastian makes me sound like a stuffy old man.”

I look around, surprised to see four strangers standing around Sawyer’s kitchen. I turn to him. “I thought we were going to talk about this,” I whisper. “I’m not sure I’m ready to jump right in.”

“Oh, my God, Penny,” Bass says into my ear. “That’s Caden Kessler and Brady Taylor.”

“Who?”

“Come on,” Sawyer says, inviting us into the kitchen. “I’d like you to meet my friends. Aspen Andrews, meet Brady Taylor and his wife, Rylee. And this is Caden Kessler and his wife, Murphy. Guys, this is Aspen and her friend, Bass Briggs.”

I don’t miss how Bass is impressed that Sawyer remembered his last name. I say hello and shake their hands. Bass is standing in stunned silence as his eyes bounce between the three other men in the room. “Bass,” I whisper loudly, hoping he’ll snap out of it and quit embarrassing us.

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