Page 47 of The Keeper

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“And what did you do then?” Coach Brown asks me.

“I put him in a headlock until our captain and Lockhardt could get him off.”

“Okay, well, you need to dial back the cocky attitude, Lefleur. It’s not doing much for you in assimilating with this team. Work on that.”

“Duly noted, Coach.”

I take my lecture from coaching about being cocky, but otherwise, it’s Castellano who gets the load of the beating. They suspend him for two games, which doesn’t mean squat since he never plays anyway. But then they really level him by saying they won’t renew his contract at the end of the season.

Castellano faces the room and announces, “This is all a load of bullshit,” before storming off, the last thing out of his mouth is that he’s calling his agent.

Evan breaks the pointed silence. “His agent is terrible.”

“He’s terrible,” I reply.

“He’s just disappointed.”

“He should be. In himself. There’s a reason he doesn’t get to play and a reason the team brought me here. I can’t do shit about the fact that he’s not good enough. And I tried to be nice to him. I tried to tell him to work on his game so he could be ready.”

“Some people want to sit around and be angry about their lots in life.” Evan stands and says, “Got anything planned for your night off in the big city?”

“I’m going to a birthday party with a friend.”


There’s an awkward silence, then, and Evan looks at his phone, then his watch. “All right, mate, I’ve got to head out.”

“Yeah, okay. See you.”

* * *

It feltlike forever until it was time to go to Billie’s parents’ house; the day passing slowly after the drama-charged meeting with Castellano this morning. But I’ve decided I’m done giving that loser another thought as I get ready to go play the role of Billie’s fake boyfriend.

I choose a deep royal-blue suit with a sharp white shirt and a black tie. One thing I can say for Emily is she knows fashion and always picked out beautiful suits for me when I was in Montreal.

Billie’s family lives in one of those stereotypical Malibu houses—the ones high on the rocks, overlooking the sea with vast windows that glow vibrantly in the waning light. I make my way up an incline of a driveway to the door, where someone asks my name, checks it off a list, and beckons me inside.

I wander in through a vast entryway. The house has an open floor plan, with a sunken living room on one side and a vast kitchen and dining area on the other. It’s all ultra-modern and tasteful. Beautiful, though I have a hard time imagining Billie growing up here.

“Hey, you!” her familiar voice calls. I snap to attention and find her heading my way in a lacy, indigo-blue gown that shows off her luscious body.

My cock jumps. I’ve come to really appreciate Billie’s understated style, but tonight, she looks like a celebrity. She makes me feel slightly tongue-tied.

As she approaches, she leans in and kisses me on the mouth. I’m sure it’s for show but I welcome it wholeheartedly. I put my arm around her, at the small of her back, and return the affection.

She pulls away with a wicked gleam in her eyes. “What a welcome.”

I huff a laugh. “Youlookamazing.”

She blushes and reaches out to touch my face, where a black eye has indeed bloomed. “Nice shiner.”


“No, I think it’s badass,” she assures me. “Come on, let’s go meet the parents.”

She takes my arm, and we wander through a maze of people, some of whom recognize me and ask if I got the black eye during the game. I say yes because I don’t want to talk with strangers about our team drama.

We near a very regal-looking couple, and I can guess that they are Billie’s parents just from the family resemblance. Her father has dark, wavy hair and Billie’s eyes. Her mother’s hair is a lighter shade, but she has Billie’s prominent nose and lips.

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