Player: A Secret Baby Sports Romance(2)By: Aubrey Irons
And it’s there in that car, roaring into downtown LA with the anger billowing up inside of me, that I know unequivocally that I am not my mother. I am not going to just push this aside, or tuck it away, or shrug and let it slide. I’m not going to “let it go” because “men will be men” and somehow fucking his secretary is Vince’s Goddamn birthright or something for being born rich and a guy.
That’s where my mother and I are different.
I don’t even know where I’m going until I pull up in front of the entrance to the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard.
I smile at the valet as I breeze luggage-less into the lobby of the thousand-dollar a night hotel. I mean, I’ve got Vince’s credit card in my clutch, and I’m sure as hell not going back to our place tonight, not after-
I feel ill as I suddenly wonder if he’s ever fucked her there. The idea of them screwing in our bed has my skin crawling as I smile thinly at the concierge and sign for the penthouse suite Vince will be paying for tonight.
All I want to do is shut myself away - forever if need be - and drown whoever this version of me is that I never wanted to be in booze.
I crack a thin, cold smile - there’s one way my mother and I are the same, at least.
The door shuts behind the bellhop, leaving me alone with the screaming in my head, the fury still pounding through my veins, and the minibar, of course. I grab two nips of gin from it, dumping them sans-ice into one of the crystal tumblers from the table and stalking across the room to drape myself across the bed with a groan.
“I told you you’d thank me for all of it someday, Natalie.”
Yeah, remind me to send a damn card.
The alcohol burns like sweet relief down my throat as I polish off the glass, feeling the warming glow of it spread through my body. I sit up in the bed, running my fingers through my long sable hair and swaying slightly as the double hit of gin rushes through me.
“You’re frigid, honey.”
The blonde’s words send fire blazing through me as they come trickling back into my thoughts.
I picture Vince’s stupid little shrug, as if agreeing with her little remark. Frigid, huh? Well fuck him.
Because I can be downright steamy.
I slug back the rest of the gin before stepping in front of the mirror against the wall of the bedroom.
I look good.
It’s not like gala dinners with Vince’s stuffy office pals and his scummy wannabe-mafia buddies are exactly my thing, but crap like that has been the epitome of my social life these days. Dress up, look pretty, smile, and state no opinions. Hang off Vince’s arm, agree with what he says, and laugh at his terrible jokes even when no one else does.
I might be bored to death at things like that, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look great for them. Hell, at least I’ve got that going for me after years of ballroom lessons and etiquette classes.
I bite my lip as I look at myself in the mirror, smoothing down the sleek little black cocktail dress. It’s demure and elegant - sexy without being slutty. “Flirty, not trampy,” my mother would say. The need to do something - to feel a rush of some kind, or to feel alive or sexy for the first time in forever grips at me. And I’m not stupid or petty or vindictive enough to go out and try to “find someone” just to “get back” at Vince or anything like that.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not about to head down to the hotel bar and get rip-roaring drunk.
Damn, now that’s an ass you could sink your teeth into.
I let my eyes wander over the tight, curvy back-end of the redhead on the other side of the restaurant from the bar, laughing mechanically as she playfully slaps the arm of one of the two Hollywood-type suits standing next to her. She looks vaguely familiar, but of course if there’s one thing I’ve learned since moving to LA, it’s that every girl looks vaguely familiar.
Your sexy waitress, the girl at the gym with the great tits, the cute chick that makes eyes at you as she steams milk for your latte, your neighbor. Whoever the girl, you’ve probably seen thirty others that look exactly like her in commercials, or on some movie poster, or hell, porn for that matter.
Welcome to fucking LA.
Ten-to-one, of course, they’re also all batshit crazy as I’ve come to learn. Especially when you’re young, famous, and most importantly fantastically newly rich.
Of course, all those factors combined also make a perfect fucking storm of getting laid, and it’s with that in mind that I’m ignoring the ridiculous air-kisses and “ciao’s” coming from the redhead’s mouth and thinking of other things I’d like to see coming in that mouth.
I smirk as I sip on the whiskey in my glass, letting my eyes drop to that ass that looks like you could bounce a feather off of it. She looks up this time, noticing me.
She smiles seductively.
Oh yeah, she knows who I am.
“Austin, are you fucking listening to me?”
I groan as I tear my attention away from the redhead, my Jessica-Rabbit fantasies evaporating like smoke as I frown at my chubby, balding manager.
“Yes, Derek, I’m listening.”
He frowns at me. “You sure? I mean, hey, I bet the ginger over there could totally negotiate you a fucking forty-million dollar first-round contract too, buddy.”
I roll my eyes and grin. “Okay, okay, you have my attention.”
“Should I dress up pretty for our next meeting?” Derek says dryly. “You know I’m sure I could find that dress in my size.”
Derek smirks. “May I proceed?”
“Yeah, but back it up. I honestly wasn’t listening.”
Derek sighs and reaches up to stroke his goatee. “Put bluntly, you need to get your shit together, Taylor.”
He scowls at me over the rim of his diet soda, his best “serious manager” face on. It’s a tough look to pull off because Derek is one of those baby-faced guys that has a hard time looking over the age of fifteen, despite the paunch and the thinning hair. It’s also a tough look to pull off when you’re drinking a fucking diet soda with four lemon slices in it.
But of course, it doesn’t stop him from bitching me out like I’m the kid here.
“I’m not fucking around here, man, this is thin-ice territory.”
I roll my eyes at him as I slug back the rest of my whiskey and motion to the bartender for a refill.
“Little early to go nuts, isn’t it?”
I turn and give Derek a look. “Says the man who wanted to have this meeting in a bar.”
“For the low profile, genius,” Derek grumbles, gesturing with his chin at the near-empty hotel bar around us. “Not so you could get loaded.”
“Well,” I grin and thank the bartender before I raise my fresh glass to Derek. “To best laid plans.” He scowls as I take a slug. “Cheers, buddy.”
“You know all of this is about more than getting wasted and getting laid, right?”
I chuckle. “Yes, Derek, I’m aware there’s some football playing involved.”
“Jesus Christ, Austin.” He pulls his glasses away from his face and rubs the bridge of his nose - something he tends to do when I make him play the babysitter role like this.
And I know he’s right, to a degree. I’m aware that at some point I need to shape up, at least a little bit. But the season hasn’t even started yet, and until then, I fully plan on reveling in my new place as a fucking God amongst men.
Or more specifically, amongst women.
Being the star of college ball was one thing. Being the hottest thing to come through Texas football got me laid more than most entire fraternities on Spring Break. But when you’re the biggest thing to hit the goddamn NFL since Super Bowl halftime shows, life gets interesting real fast. Banging college hotties was junior league shit. Sleeping my way through sororities and coeds was practice.
Forty-million dollar contracts and twenty-four hour ESPN coverage is the big leagues. That’s lingerie models and pop stars, crazy shit college coeds have never even fucking heard of. Because let’s be real, when you’re the most talked about quarterback in cable news history, and the number one NFL draft pick at twenty-three years old in this football-obsessed country?
Yeah, you’re basically the second coming of Christ.
Derek hooks his glasses back on his face and shakes his head at me again. “I need you to think long-term, Austin. Think past your next lay once in a while, okay?”
I nod earnestly. “Derek, c’mon. You know I do.”
He raises a brow.
“I’m always thinking past the next lay, to the one after that.”
Derek’s mouth tightens as I chuckle, before he mumbles something and starts to get up.
“Okay! Okay!” I laugh as I grab his arm. “Derek, stay, I’m sorry. I’m listening now.”
He glares at me.
“Scout’s honor, I’m listening.”
He sighs. “I’m talking endorsements, asshole. I’m talking sports drinks, and shoes, and your handsome mug behind the wheel of a Lexus up on a billboard.” He steeples his fingers as he looks at me. “I’m talking money that makes your contract look like pocket change. Sound good?”
Okay, I’m listening.