“That’s what I was going to say,” he says, sounding relieved.
“Right. Just a one-time thing,” I add with more bravado than I’d expected. But I have to protect myself.
“Exactly. Just getting it out of our systems. A quick hookup.”
“Definitely,” I add, agreeing far too quickly. Who cares if I wanted another few rounds? We were never going to be anything more.
Can’t have him thinking I was imagining a second date. I won’t be that guy.
“But we’re still friends?” His voice pitches up the slightest bit.
“Of course,” I say, meaning it and glad to reassure him.
“So I’ll see you around,” he says, then grabs the knob.
My chest feels hollow.
He turns around and laughs, a little chagrined. “Shoot. We forgot to take a pic today for Reese.”
That breaks the tension. I laugh, too, at our mistake. “Yeah we did.”
He scratches his jaw. Then runs a hand through his hair. “Want to get a beer tomorrow night after your game and snap a photo?”
That sounds like a second date. But it’s not. Still, I say yes.
ALL THE SECOND THINGS
Two things are on my mind the next day as I sit down for lunch with my agent, Maddox LeGrande. First, can I get a contract extension early?
Second, how many times did Tanner—
Nope. Must stop thinking about the second thing.
Especially during a business meeting with my new representation. My last agent barely returned a phone call. Felt like I was chasing him all the time, so Tanner referred me to his guy, and I switched a month ago.
Maddox and I grab a table at Greens & Grub in Murray Hill. He’s based in San Francisco, but he flew in last night after a few quick trips to Miami and then London, and he looks no worse for the world-beater travel. The man is dressed sharp in a crisp shirt and a purple tie. He never dresses down. He always looks the part.
“Thanks for making time to see me while I’m in town,” he says, downplaying how absolutely mission-critical he is to my life.
I laugh at his humility. “Dude. I will see you in town, out of town, anytime. You’re the man.”
He smiles. “I try.”
“So, favorite agent in the universe, think you can work your magic and get me a five-year deal before training camp?” I ask with a straight face.
Fake it till you make it and all.
To his credit, Maddox doesn’t laugh at my pie-in-the-sky wishes. The man is thoughtful and measured, and even though he’s no doubt used to me shooting from the hip in the few weeks we’ve worked together, he always takes me seriously. “I can try,” he says carefully. His tone says it’s unlikely, but he’ll fight for me anyway. “Is that your top goal, Luke?”
“I’m dying for the Leopards to get all kinds of serious with me.”
He slides me a menu. “Let’s order and talk about what’s doable.”
Sweet. I didn’t think he’d even consider my wild idea.
I scan the offerings, then snap the cardboard folder shut when I decide quickly. As Maddox reads the menu, I glance around the happening eatery with bright white walls and blond hardwood floors. The place is packed with trendy lunch crowds, but I’m barely noticing the other patrons. Once again, with every free second I have, I’m lingering on the second thing on my mind.
Yesterday with Tanner has been running on a loop in my head since I left his apartment. How good his lips felt on my dick. How incredible his hands felt all over my body.
I’m not ashamed to say I’ve jacked it a few times since I left his place.
On my couch last night while I watched an action flick. In bed this morning after I woke up. In the shower before lunch an hour ago.
Did Tanner do the same?
I picture him naked under a hot stream of water, letting one hand slide down his chest on a slow path toward that beautiful dick. Working that wrist. Who knew my good friend had such a fantastic cock?
“And what would you like, sir?”
Oh, hell. I took a leisurely boat to Horndog Island.
I snap my focus to the server in a burlap apron who’s at our table, asking for my order.
“The sweet potato and chicken quinoa, please,” I say, with more pep than a lunch order calls for. But I’m hoping it covers up the mental tour I was taking.
Maddox opts for a seared salmon and when the server walks away, my agent meets my gaze again. “So, the auction was fun?”
A spark of lust barrels down my spine. “Yeah, it was a blast.”
And then yesterday was too.
“Good. I’m glad to see you doing things like that. I know you want to raise your profile,” he says. “I saw some media outlets picked it up too.”
Is that good or bad? Sometimes Maddox is so calm, it’s hard to read him. And I don’t like to google myself. I did that for a while when I started last year. But the coverage and the criticism—all normal, Tanner reassured me—sent me spiraling. “What did they say?” I ask, trying to sound cool.