Home > Stealing Sawyer (The Perfect Game #3)(2)

Stealing Sawyer (The Perfect Game #3)(2)
Author: Samantha Christy

My shaking hand reaches out to take the phone. “Jason, look, I’m sorry, I—”

“Sawyer, shut up and listen. I’m giving you one more shot against everyone else’s wishes. One last chance to clean up your act and prove yourself worthy of the Nighthawks’ brand. But you should know I’m the only one in your corner. And I happen to agree with you that Rick should have made it clearer about our intentions if you kept going down the path you were on. But kid, you’ve got one last shot here. No more chances. No screw ups. Do what you have to do to make it right. Find a nice girl and settle down. Swear off women if you have to. Because your job depends on it. And there is a lot of pressure on me. I won’t be able to save you again.”

“I swear to God, Jason, you won’t regret this.”

“I hope not. Now if I were you, I’d put down the phone and get out of Rick’s office. He’s bound to throw a few things around the room.”

I laugh half-heartedly. “Yes, sir. Thank you.”

I hand the phone back to Rick.

“Don’t get too comfortable,” he says, walking over to open the door for me. He hands me the file folder with the Kansas City contract in it. “You might want to keep this. I have a feeling you’ll be needing it.”

I take it from him. “I’m not going anywhere, Rick. You’ll see.”

He raises his brows at me. “I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I think I’d be betting on a sure thing if I put money on your position opening up in, what, two to three weeks?”

“No way. Not this time.”

“I guess we’ll see, won’t we?”

He shuts the door behind me. Or should I say he slams the door behind me. And Jason was right. I’m pretty sure I hear what sounds like a baseball hitting a file cabinet as I walk back down the hallway to the clubhouse.

Most of the guys are gone when I get back. I spot Brady, Caden, and a few others sitting around a table. They all look up at me with questions in their eyes. I bypass them and walk over to the clubhouse door. I stick my head through and ask one of the security team to find a certain blonde girl and tell her I won’t be coming.

Then I go sit in front of my locker and hang my head. How am I going to do this? How do I change the person I’ve always been? I’m the guy who never dates the same girl twice. ‘One and done’ – that’s my motto. No way can I go from that, to what, swearing off women? Settling down? I will never settle down. I’ll never find a nice girl. I can’t. I know I can’t, not without someone getting hurt.

I feel the eyes of my teammates burning a hole into the back of my head, so I turn around and hold up the folder. “They want to trade me. Kansas City of all places.”

Chairs fall over as my pissed-off friends stand up and run over to me.

“You’re getting traded?” Caden asks.

“Apparently so, if I can’t get my ass in gear and stop tarnishing the Hawks’ reputation, that is.”

“Wait, so you’re not getting traded?” Brady asks.

I shake my head. “Not yet. But I will be. How in the hell am I supposed to do what they want?”

“What do they want?” Caden asks.

“What do you think?” Spencer says. “They want him to keep his dick in his pants.”

“How hard can that be?” Conner asks. “I mean, come on, Mills, this is your career we’re talking about. At least fake it for a while, until they get off your back.”

“Fake it?”

“Yeah, you know, pretend you’re done with women. Become the guy who doesn’t date. Become besties with your right hand until things die down. After a while, they won’t care if you slip up from time to time.”

“Nobody will believe Sawyer Mills has sworn off women,” Brady says.

They all laugh.

“So, find one woman and date her until they get off your back,” Caden says.

“Not an option,” I say.

“You’ll figure it out,” Brady says. “Just let us know how we can help.”

I nod. “Thanks.”

“Want to go celebrate the win?” Spencer asks.

I shake my head. “You guys go ahead. I still need to shower. I think I’m going to lie low.”

“Probably a good call,” Caden says. He grabs my shoulder. “It was a good game, man. The first of many you’ll have this season.”

I nod again, looking down at my ripped pants. “See you guys. Have fun.”

They leave the clubhouse and I find myself sitting alone. I look around. It’s filthy in here. Dirty clothes, muddy cleats, wet towels. It smells hideous. It smells like home. This is my home. And I will do anything to make sure I can stay here.

After I clean up and get dressed, I pick up the folder Rick gave me and toss it into the trash. But before I reach the door, I go back and retrieve it. I think I’ll keep it. I’ll keep it as a reminder of what will happen if I don’t straighten up.

By the time I emerge from the tunnel, the afternoon storm has passed. The streets are flooded. The air is clean. Night is falling. I decide to walk home. It’s only a few miles. It will give me time to think. I sling my duffle bag onto my shoulder and grip the folder tightly in my hand – vowing never to sign the papers inside.

Chapter Two

Aspen

Today could not get any worse. I mean, literally, the only thing that could make it worse is if I get run over by a bus.

My dreams for the future – squashed with a single, solitary phone call.

And on the same day that I got my acceptance letter.

I stare down at the piece of mail that should have me celebrating. The piece of mail everyone in my position dreams about.

Then I think about my brother. That alone makes for a shitty day. And the news about my apartment, that was just the icing on the cake from hell.

I can’t go home. I don’t want to talk to anyone. Not even my best friend. My best friend who is following his dream. My best friend who doesn’t have an idiot for a brother.

I read the letter once more before putting it back in the envelope. I rack my brain to see if I can find any way to make this happen. But there is no way. The money is gone, and he needs my help. I can’t turn my back on him. No matter what he’s done, he’s my brother. My only remaining family member.

I’ll have to go back home. Get a job, or three. I can always give piano lessons to rich snotty-nosed kids for some extra money. What a fine way to use my education. I close my eyes and try to forget about the last few hours of my life.

Then I pull myself together and start to cross the street when a horn blares at me, scaring me back onto the curb just as a bus goes by, its massive wheels splashing water from the gutter, soaking me from head to toe.

“Great! Just fucking great!” I scream at the bus.

I turn around to see people staring. “What?” I scream at them.

They stare at me like I’m crazy as they walk around me.

I look down at my sodden clothes and laugh. It’s a maniacal laugh and I think maybe those people are right. I am crazy.

I spot a bar and decide it’s exactly what I need right now. I walk over and grab the door handle when I hear, “Miss, you dropped this.”

I turn around to see a guy handing me the soaking-wet letter I had dropped on the sidewalk. I look at it and laugh. “A lot of good that’ll do me.”

“It’s not yours?” he asks. “I thought I saw you drop it when you almost got pasted by that bus.”

“It’s mine. But I don’t want it. It represents something I can never have.”

He holds up the folder he’s carrying. “I hear you. The papers in this folder represent something I can’t have either. Or more accurately, something I don’t want.”

“Maybe we should burn them,” I say.

He shakes his head. “Nah. I’d like to keep mine. That way I have a reminder of what I’m working for.”

I cock my head to the side and study him. Then I take the wet letter from him and decide maybe I should keep it just for posterity.

“Bad day?” he asks, nodding to my clothes.

“You could say that.”

“Bet mine was worse,” he says.

“I doubt it.”

He holds the door open for me. “Want to have a drink and compare our shitty days?”

“I’d rather not relive mine if it’s all the same to you.”

He laughs. “Fair enough. But the offer for the drink still stands.”

I eye him up and down. He’s very attractive in a rugged, athletic kind of way. His dark hair is wavy and haphazard. His smile is crooked and devious. He looks dangerous in the best of ways. And maybe dangerous is what I need right now. I’ve played it safe for so long. I’ve been conservative. The good girl. The driven girl. The girl who has no time for danger.

I stuff the envelope in my bag. “A drink is exactly what I need right now.”

“Good,” he says, walking us over to a table in the darkest corner of the bar. “But you should know up front that I’m not sleeping with you.”

I slip into the booth and grab some napkins from the dispenser to wipe the dirty street water from my arms. Then I stare him down. “Is that the standard line you use to get girls into bed?”

He laughs and shakes his head. “No. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever said those words before in my life.”

The waitress comes over and takes my order as the guy grabs a non-descript baseball cap out of his bag and pulls it down low on his head. “I’ll have a wheat beer, whatever’s on tap,” he says.

“Coming right up,” the waitress says as she walks away.

I eye his hat and then I look around the dark pub. “Too bright for you in here?”

“Just protecting myself from getting splashed from stray buses.”

I laugh, looking down at my clothes.

He motions to the bag he put down next to him. “I may have a dry shirt in there if you want it. I can’t promise it won’t smell like guy though.”

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