Home > Pucked Over (Pucked #3)(5)

Pucked Over (Pucked #3)(5)
Author: Helena Hunting

“I am fine. It’s fine. No big deal.” I wave my hand around in the air a little hysterically. “We fooled around. It’s nothing.”

She tilts her head. “Lily.”

“Really, Sunny. It’s cool. I should probably make sure Brett’s doing okay and not bugging the players.”

“Are you wearing lip gloss?”

“What? No. Let’s go.” I turn my head to the side and wipe my mouth with my sleeve as we follow Violet and Charlene to the bar.

This is different than the scene after real games. There are loads of kids running around because this is a family event. I’ve been to a few Toronto games with Sunny. The usual afterparties can be loud and overwhelming. There are always a million skanky girls trying to get next to the guys. It’s not like that tonight.

I follow Sunny to the bar and order the same thing she’s having. Because she’s Miller’s girlfriend, they want to run a tab for her, but she refuses, passing over a twenty. I know she won’t let me give her money, so I’ll buy her next drink to make it even.

I move with her, drink in hand, staying a little behind her so I can hide if necessary. She’s oblivious to my anxiety, stopping to chat and introducing me to everyone she knows, which is a lot of people. I stay quiet and sip my drink. It’s delicious. Minty and limey and the perfect amount of sweet.

I glance around the room, taking in all the well-dressed, attractive people. It’s easy to understand why women hang all over these guys. A lot of them are carrying seriously padded wallets. Some of them are hot. Miller reminds me of a Ken doll, but he’s attractive.

And then there’s Randy. I sigh-groan-cough just thinking about that full sleeve covering his solid, well-built arm, and that deep V of muscle, and those abs… I make an awful slurping sound, which startles me out of my thoughts.

“Ha! I must’ve been thirsty.” I hold up the empty glass, certain my face is on fire. “I’m gonna get another drink. So parched! Want a refill?”

“I’m good for now.” Sunny holds up her mostly full drink.

I leave her with her friends and head back to the bar. More people have come in, and the players arrive in a pack. I slide down to the end of the bar and put in an order for another mojito. I keep my head down, letting my hair fall in my face. It only comes to my chin, so there isn’t much to hide behind. Every so often I peek up, watching those huge, well-built boys greet everyone with friendly smiles. Tonight none of them seem to care whether they were on the winning or losing team.

“Hey! There you are!” Violet bumps her curvy hip against mine. She’s wearing the same shirt I am, the same shirt as most of the people at this event, except she fills it out way better than I do in the chest area. She throws her arm around my shoulder. She’s a little sweaty. “Let’s get shooters!”

“I don’t really—”

“How about slippery nipples and screaming orgasms?”

“I’m down for those!” says Charlene, scooting in beside her.

“Having fun yet?” Violet asks.

I nod. I’d have to yell to speak.

“So Buck tells me you and Randy had a thing. How was that? I’ve heard all kinds of things about that guy. I mean, more than what a great player he is, how he’s going to take over Alex’s position, and all the other shit people say.”

She waves her hand around and pokes me in the ear. She’s definitely drunk. I don’t think it impacts the things that come out of her mouth, though.

“Anyway, I’ve heard he lives up to his name, if ya know what I mean? Wink. Wink. Right?”

“I, uh…”

“There you are!” Alex comes up behind us and puts an arm around both our shoulders. He gives me a squeeze. “Hey, Little Lily! How’re you? It’s been too long!” I hate that nickname. It makes me feel twelve.

“I’m fine. Good. Nice game tonight. I’m sorry you lost to Miller.”

“S’okay. It’s all for a good cause.”

“I’ll make you forget you lost later, baby.” I don’t think Violet means to say this as loudly as she does.

Alex laughs. “Shh. We don’t need to tell everyone who’s going down later.”

“Me!” She raises her hand. “I’m going down later.”

He puts a finger to her lips, still laughing. “How much have you had to drink, Violet?”

“Just one.”

He looks at me, as if I know something he doesn’t. I shrug. Which is the exact moment the bartender sets two rows of shots in front of us. Alex snatches Violet’s before she can and downs them. I do mine to keep Violet from stealing them. I try to pay for my drinks, but Alex gives me a look. I don’t fight him. He’s far too aware of my family’s financial situation. It’s just my mom and me, and sometimes that’s tough. Every so often, I’ll find a few thousand dollars deposited in my savings account. I know it’s him. He never mentions it, and neither do I. It hurts my pride, but it helps when things get tight. Like last year when we needed a new car.

I remember I’ve got my little cousin with me, so I excuse myself, not that it’s necessary since Violet’s moved on to trying to grope Alex, and he’s busy keeping her hands from going places they shouldn’t in public.

I clutch my mojito, keeping to the edge of the room, as I search for Brett. I find him exactly where I don’t want him to be: with Randy and Miller and Michael—the boy Miller set up this fundraiser for—sitting at a table surrounded by heaping plates of food. They’re smiling and laughing and Miller has his arm on Michael’s shoulder. He’s got a personal connection to Michael’s situation; his own mother died when he was a kid from an inoperable tumor.

   
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