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Call me Nick.
I couldn’t forget the words he spoke when we were hot and heavy last night. We moved to my bed, and actually managed to fall asleep curled into each other. It had been me who woke up first and as dawn lightened the room I was wide awake and staring up at the ceiling.
Call me Nick.
Not Taz. Or some other name I made up in my head for a one-night stand. Nope. He wanted me to call him Nick, and somehow that was agonizingly personal.
And that wasn’t my only worry. There was also the fact that I’d just slept with a member of the team I was supposed to be analyzing. It may not sound like a bad thing on the surface, but what if I am running numbers and I unintentionally skew the data because of any feelings I may have? What if it turned out my hypothesis about results showed that Taz or Goog were actually better off being traded, and I changed something to enable them to stay.
Would I do that?
Not intentionally, obviously. I’m a professional, but it could happen. One percentage point the other way and I could be guiding the team down the wrong path. Then where was my integrity?
In bed, naked with the team’s star player.
I rolled out of bed carefully, pulling on my jersey boxers, and padding to the bathroom to empty my bladder and brush my teeth. I checked in on Taz once more but he was still asleep, although he’d splayed out over into my space. He looked good naked in my bed. Sexy. It was hard to stop staring when I had so many conflicting worries and needs in my head.
This apartment was rented, no more than a kitchen, a sitting room with views of the next apartment building, a bedroom, and the compact bathroom. It was better than my rental in Boston though, and even came with a tiny kitchen table and two chairs. I considered going for a run. Or a coffee. Or for bagels. Then I realized what I was doing.
Trying to leave my own apartment. Feeling I should be doing the walk of shame when I really didn’t need to.
So I slept with a player. The worst that could happen was that the team found out, and I was asked to leave. Not good for my growing business or my spotless reputation, but I was good at what I did and other teams would want me.
Boston missed me, and I still covered work I was missing there in spare moments. I would always have Boston. Right?
What if they find out I sleep with random players?
I brewed coffee and watched the digital clock as it moved toward six am and then pulled out the most recent data that Boston had given to me. Lost in figures, I didn’t hear Taz come in, or realize he was standing behind me until he spoke.
“Brady Rowe needs more support on his wing,” he observed, and I jumped out of my seat in fright, grabbing the paperwork and slamming my laptop shut all at the same time. Spinning to face him I stumbled and only him catching my arm stopped me from faceplanting on the floor.
We stared at each other wordlessly, and then he reached out and gently pushed my glasses back up my nose.
“You’re not supposed to see this,” I blurted, and held the paperwork close. “It’s confidential information.”
He smiled then, a quirk at the corner of his lips, and I knew he wasn’t taking me seriously. “I don’t understand the numbers. All I know is that the Boston logo is on the papers and that in my opinion Rowe needs more help on his wing. That’s all.”
I heard what he said, that he hadn’t seen numbers, and hell, it wasn’t like the Rush were in the same league with Boston, but… what if Taz shared information with the Railers direct? Or maybe to one of the Cougars, who passed it on to the Colts, who were the development team for the Dragons, who played Boston, and holy shit I needed to stop my brain from spinning so hard.
“You can’t…” was all I managed, then turned from him and shoved all the papers into the briefcase before making sure it was locked. I made a show of securing the information, giving myself time to gather my composure, and finally turned back to face him.
“Better?” he asked, his head tilted a little.
“What do you mean?”
He narrowed his eyes like he was thinking really hard and then he cradled my face. “I can see the panic in your eyes.”
“I’m not panicking,” I denied, quickly.
“You are. I mean you were. You were thinking that you ended up in bed with one of the team, and that if anyone found out it could get messy, and that too many people already know, and that maybe you should end it here.”
He’d summed up everything so perfectly that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Then it hit me what he’d said.
“Wait, exactly how many people do know?”
“Goog, just Goog.”
“He knows about last night? What did you do? Text him?” I couldn’t help the anger that spilled over.
Taz chuckled, damn him, and then he pulled me closer, and I could smell the mint on his breath and feel the warmth of his body. “He knows I wanted you, and he knows I left the bar last night, and Goog isn’t stupid.”
“We need to tell him to keep it quiet, shit, he can’t say anything to anyone, you have to—”
He kissed me then, cutting my worries off at the pass, but at first all I wanted to do was breathe and talk, and I struggled, until abruptly I didn’t want to move at all, and I joined in with the kiss. He wasn’t holding me still, or making me kiss him, I just wanted it more badly than I needed to run.
Last night had been the best fast-sex I’d ever had, and I wanted a repeat.
We separated and I chased for more kisses until he had his back against the wall and I was leaning into him, as hard as he was, and twisting my fingers into his hair, holding him close.
I want more. I want him. For today yes, but for tomorrow as well, and then… we’d see how it went. When we broke to breathe I only had one thing to say.
“This has to be a secret for now.”
I saw a reluctant acceptance in him, which made my head hurt, but then he was kissing me again and the time for talking was done.
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