Second Chance Boyfriend

By: Monica Murphy

Chapter Four

I hate the idea of anyone else having you. – Drew CallahanDrewThey scream and shout my name the second I slip inside the private room at The District, the new restaurant where Logan’s party is being held. Every one of my teammates is already shitfaced and it’s only ten. I can see it in their blurry eyes, their red cheeks, their too-loud voices.

But hey, at least they’re happy to see me. I figured I’d become the enemy. The asshole who lost their chance at a bowl game. We’d been close, so close every one of us had started to taste that faint glimmer of victory.

Then I met a girl, we went home together and I let everything that happened there fuck my head all up. Stupid.

Logan approaches and gives me a shoulder-slapping hug. He reeks of alcohol and I push away from him, startled when Jace appears by my side, places a beer in my hand and tells me to drink up.

I dutifully do as I’m told, ready to lose myself for at least a few hours. The visit with my dad had turned tense the moment he insulted Fable. Crazy considering we weren’t together anymore, but I wasn’t going to stand by and let him say rude crap about her. Truthfully, she was above all of us and I refuse to let him drag her through the mud, even if it was only to me.

After that fiasco of a lunch, he dealt constantly with Adele calling him, texting him, calling him again. I didn’t need that reminder so I stayed away. Which meant we were apart for much of his visit, until he finally told me this morning he needed to go back home and attend to “business.”

Bullshit. Business was code for Adele. I didn’t call him on it, merely nodded and let him go. Promising him we’d get together again soon.

Yeah, right. I don’t see that happy reunion     happening anytime soon.

“You’ve been in hiding,” Logan says as he sits next to me, a drink clutched in his hand. His head lolls, as if he can’t quite keep it upright, and I shake my head, chuckling as I sip from my beer. Sierra Nevada, the beer of choice in this town, it’s about the only kind I can drink. The rest tastes like swill.

“I’ve been around,” I say with a shrug. “Lying low. Taking fewer classes this semester. I needed a break.”

“I get it, man. I get it. And hey, don’t let coach mess with your head. It wasn’t your fault, our spectacular losses at the end of the season.” Logan’s expression goes serious. As serious as it can go, considering how drunk he is. “We all sorta fucked up, you know?”

I take another, bigger swig of beer. I need it since the topic of conversation has veered into a serious direction. “You think so?” I wonder if he’s just feeding me a line.

“Definitely.” He nods eagerly, his head still bobbing. “I’m glad you’re here, man. You never go out with us. I feel like I’m special or something, you showing up for my birthday and shit. Not everyday a jackass like me turns twenty-one.”

We both laugh. “You’re right. You’re a total jackass.” Not really. Logan’s a decent guy. And besides, I couldn’t sit at home with my thoughts any longer. I was driving myself crazy.

Logan grins. “You need to hang out with us more. Wait until you see the waitresses who are ours for the night. They’re fucking hot. One of them everyone knows, some blonde groupie with an amazing ass. The other one is tall and dark. Looks like a damn model.”

An uneasy sensation slides through me at the description of the blonde but I push it aside. What are the odds? And there are plenty of blonde team groupies out there. “Cute, huh?” I feign interest.

“Cute doesn’t begin to describe either of them. They’re complete opposites and completely hot.” Logan tilts his head back so it bumps the chair back. “I need to get laid,” he says at the ceiling. “I haven’t had sex as a twenty-one-year-old yet. I think tonight calls for a celebration of the get-laid kind.”

“I’m surprised there’s no girls here.” My teammates are known for having crazy parties with half-naked girls in attendance. Half the reason why I would never go—half-naked females coming at me used to scare the shit out of me.

They still make me uncomfortable because they always, always want something I can’t give them. Like my attention, my time. Forget that shit. There’s only one half-naked female I would welcome with open arms if she came at me right now.

And she hates me.

“Oh, the girls are coming later.” Logan smiles and closes his eyes. “Actually, we’re going to go and see them. Promise me you’ll come with us.”

“Uh…” Sounds like a nightmare.

Logan cracks open his eyes. “Promise me. I’ll start shouting and making a scene if you don’t promise.”

“Fine, fine, I’ll go.” I have no idea what I just agreed to but it can’t be good, judging by the sight of the wide smile Logan’s wearing. Besides, he’ll probably shout and make a scene no matter what I say.

A tall dark-haired girl enters the private room, a smile curving her full red lips as she starts passing out the drinks from the heavy tray she carries. She comes to me after she empties her tray, her dark brown gaze connecting with mine. “Ah, a fresh face. I see you have a beer already, but do you need anything else? Something to eat, another drink?”

“Get him a shot,” Logan says, his voice already slurred. “Tequila. Patrón.”

She looks at me expectantly but she’s talking to Logan. “Only one shot, birthday boy?”

“Get us a round of eight.”

What the hell? “I’m not doing a bunch of shots with you. I don’t care if it’s your birthday or not.”

“Don’t be such a downer.” Logan waved a hand. “Eight shots of Patrón, pretty lady. Hey, what are you doing later? Wanna come with us when we take the party to our next stop?”

She laughs and shakes her head. “Sorry, I work until one. I appreciate the offer, though.” Her gaze meets mine once more. “Another beer maybe?”

“Sure.” I shrug. I’ll do one shot and the second beer and then I’m done. Being drunk means being out of control and I don’t like that.

Turning on her heel, she threads her way through the crowded room, earning more than a few appreciative glances and low whistles. The minute she’s gone, they all start talking about her. Her ass, her tits, her pretty face.

“She has a mouth made for cock sucking,” Jace says with all the authority in the world.

I nod in agreement, feeling like an ass for even doing that. Put a bunch of guys together, fill them with alcohol and we turn into complete assholes.

“Wait till you see the other one,” Logan pipes up. “Talk about a mouth made for cock sucking. And from what I hear, she’s done that and more with a few lucky bastards that are here tonight.”

Laughter rings throughout the room. Logan says it loud enough and I know. I know without a doubt they’re talking about Fable. She admitted it to me when we were together. How she messed around with a few of my teammates but never took it too far.

Had she lied? Just trying to save face so she wouldn’t look like a slut? I don’t think she’s a slut.

You thought she was a slut when you hired her to be your fake girlfriend. That’s the reason you chose her.

I shove the irritating-as-shit voice out of my head and finish off my beer. The alcohol is already working its magic, sliding through my veins, buzzing through my head. Miss Tall, Dark and Pretty shows back up relatively quick, handing a fresh beer over to me with a smile before she lined up the eight shots of Patrón in front of Logan with a little flourish.

He immediately takes a near overflowing shot glass and raises it toward me. “Come on, Callahan.”

I grab one, a few other guys grab one as well and we’re all clinking glasses, saluting Logan before we down them simultaneously. The tequila burns down my throat and I grimace, laugh when Logan shoves another shot glass into my hand, and I toss that one back too.

Within minutes I’m feeling no pain. Fuck my problems, I’m good. I’ve polished off three shots and two beers and nothing can hurt me. Nothing.

Until the girl I love more than anyone else in the world strides into the room looking like my every fantasy come to life.FableI knew it. Told myself again and again no way would Drew be here. And then I enter the private room where the party’s being held to relieve Jen so she can take a break and there he is.

Breathtakingly gorgeous, looking as shocked as I feel…and drunk.

I see it in his eyes, his expression, at the wobbly way he jumps to his feet as if he’s going to come for me. But then it’s as if he remembers himself, remembers where he’s at. He settles back into his chair, laughing at whatever the guy sitting next to him is saying, but his gaze never, ever leaves me.

I want to run to him. I want to run away from him. Holy shit, this is so not how I saw it going down when I finally came face-to-face with him again.

“You’re looking good, Fable.” One of the senior football players—I think his name is Tad? Ty?—eyes me, his mouth curved in a knowing smirk.

Knowing because yes, he’s a shameful moment from my past. Barely out of high school and so eager to please, I used to watch the team practice, sitting on the sidelines in the heat of the summer in my too-short shorts and my skimpy tank top. Tad, Ty, whatever his name is, asked me out, I accepted and ended up giving him a blowjob while in his car on our first and only date.

Not one of my proudest moments. But at the time, I cherished the attention he gave me. I was so needy, so foolish.

Of course, the jerk never called. Not that I would’ve gone out with him again. One awkward blowjob was more than enough between us, thank you very much.

“Thanks.” I smile, pretending I don’t know him. “Would you like to order something else?”

“Yeah.” He moves in close. He’s tall and broad, all muscle with dark hair buzzed short and a nasty gleam in his eyes. I step back and he grabs my arm, holding me close to him. Dipping his head, his mouth is next to my ear as he asks, “How about another blowjob later tonight?”

I pull out of his grip, anger blazing through me so strong my body’s shaking. “Fuck off,” I mutter and turn away from him, his gritty laughter following me as I push through the throng of well-muscled athletes that crowd the room.

All the while I’m trying my best to avoid Drew. I can feel his eyes on me. I know he sees me, is watching me, and I don’t want to approach him. What do I say? What would I do? I both want to throw myself into his arms and throw a right hook into his perfect square jaw.

He asks me to rescue him and then he ditches me. Tells me he loves me in a note and never replies to my calls or texts. He’s a jerk.

He’s an asshole.

I’m in love with a jerky asshole and damn, that’s painful to admit.

Gathering my bearings, I take orders, clear empty bottles and glasses and lollygag enough in the hopes that I won’t make it to the back left corner. I finally flee the stifling room minutes later, leaning against the wall for a few seconds, desperate to catch my breath.

I didn’t expect this yet I did. I thought I could handle seeing him and I can’t.

This situation I’m in is hopeless. I hate that he didn’t approach me and I’m so thankful he didn’t. I probably would’ve done something really stupid. Like beg him to tell me why.

That’s all that keeps running through my head as I stand at the bar minutes later, waiting for my orders to be filled. Why did he leave me? Why didn’t he ever call me back? Why didn’t he text me? That was the absolute least he could’ve done. Text me back a simple we’re done. I would’ve let him go. I would’ve been hurt, angry, sad, but I could’ve handled it.

Way better than how he actually did treat me. The asshole.

Why asshole? That might be a fun way to confront him. But knowing Drew, he’d run.

He’s real good at that. Running.

I take my full tray of drinks back into the party room, the anxious nerves running through me making my knees shake. They guys are even rowdier than when I left them only minutes before, giving me an endless bunch of grief, talking dirty, talking loud. They’re keeping a running tab, Logan’s parents arranged the party since they’re bazillionaires who live in Marin County and I bet they’re going to end up spending about two months of my wages tonight in a matter of hours.

Crazy.

“So, Fable.” It’s Ty again. I heard someone call him that, not Tad. Nice that he made such an impression I can’t even remember his name. “I promised Logan you would give him a special birthday present.”

I roll my eyes, offering a sweet smile to the birthday boy. I’m not about to insult him. His parents are spending the big bucks so he can celebrate like a drunken frat jock. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Ty.”

Logan laughs, his gaze never leaving me. He’s wobbling on his feet, his eyes are bloodshot and I know he’s good and drunk. No surprise, though, since he just turned twenty-one. This sort of drunken evening celebrating a twenty-first birthday is a ritual in these parts.

“I told him I’m sure I could arrange a blowjob just for him.” Ty smiles, though it never reaches his eyes. “From you.”

My smile fades, replaced by a scowl. I want to sock this asshole in his smug face but I restrain myself. I’ve worked here a week. I can’t screw this up. The tips, the money in general is too good. And this place is way classier than La Salle’s.

But still full of drunk jerks. I can’t escape them no matter how hard I try.

“Very funny,” I say, trying to keep it light. I turn away from them, ready to gather more discarded glasses and bottles, but Ty reaches out and grabs my arm. Again. Stopping me in my tracks.

I glare at him over my shoulder and tug. “Let go of me.”

“Say you’ll do it.” His voice is firm, his gaze like ice. “Say you’ll give Logan a blowjob. It’s his birthday. A hummer is the least you can give him.”

“No.” I try to escape his grip but it’s like a vise. “Get your hands off me.”

“Not until you swear you’ll give him a BJ. Come on. Not like you haven’t given it up practically to the entire team.” His voice is firm as he steps closer to me. “Say it, Fable. Say you’ll do it.”

My knee twitches. I want to slam in the balls with it. I can’t believe he’s talking to me like this. Looking at me like he wants to—ick, I don’t know. Tear me apart. What a pervert.

“Ty, let her go,” Logan says, his voice timid.

“Shut up.” Ty never looks away from me and he pulls me even closer, though my feet drag, making me stumble. I so don’t want to be close to this guy. He gives me the creeps. “Stop pretending you’re a good little girl, Fable. You know all about getting on your knees and sucking cock, am I right?”

His words offend the hell out of me and I part my lips, ready to read him the riot act when all of a sudden, all the hairs on my body are standing on end. I’m hyperaware someone is behind me. I can feel his warmth, his strength. Smell him. Clean and fresh and so deliciously….Drew.

“Let her go, Ty, before I break every fucking bone in your body.” His voice is low, menacing. I wouldn’t fuck with him if he sounded like that to me. Anger makes his deep voice vibrate and a shiver slithers down my spine. “Show the lady some respect.”

Ty releases me with a little shove. Shaking his head, he laughs, though he doesn’t sound amused. Pissed is more like it. “Like this whore is a lady. And since when the hell do you care about chicks, Callahan? I always wondered if you preferred dick.”

“Don’t be an asshole,” Logan starts and Ty glares at him.

I inhale on a sharp breath, my entire body tingling when Drew settles his hand low on my back so he can guide me out of his way.

And lunges straight toward Ty.

“Drew, no!” I shout as I leap back from the fray. One second everyone is having a good time, the next there’s a damn riot.

All the guys run toward Drew and Ty, who are struggling to get that first punch in. I grab hold of a belt loop on Drew’s jeans and tug, screaming at him to stop, and finally he glances up, his beautiful—and wild—blue eyes meeting mine.

“Stop,” I repeat, desperate to keep my voice calm. “Please. Before you get in trouble.”

He pushes Ty away from him and stands, wiping the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand. His gaze locks on me, anger radiating from him in tangible waves, and I swallow hard, trying my best to keep my composure.

But damn, Drew Callahan is hot when he’s mad.

“He called you a whore,” he mutters, the fury in his eyes igniting to full-on flame. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this angry.

“Lots of guys call me a whore,” I say, my cheeks heating with embarrassment. It’s true and I hate it, but I’ve made my own whorish bed and on occasion, I have to lie in it.

“I won’t fucking stand for it, Fable.” Hearing him say my name sends pleasure washing through me, leaving me weak-kneed. I’ve missed him so bad and to have him here, standing in front of me, despite the crappy circumstances, fills me with so much happiness tears threaten to spring.

I blink them back, feeling infinitely stupid.

“I don’t need a knight in shining armor.” Funny that’s the second reference tonight to noble knights. And I’m lying. I do need someone to come and rescue me. I still want it to be him.

Drew.

“Right. Of course you don’t. You’re stronger than the rest of us, right? Sure as hell stronger than me.” He turns away and leaves me without another word. I stare, gaping at his retreating back, wondering what the hell spurred that comment on. What did I do to deserve his anger? Isn’t he the one who ditched me?

I refuse to feel guilty. I refuse to chase after him and ask him why. Ask him if he’s okay. Ask him if he’s still talking to that horrendous bitch who fucked up his head so thoroughly.

Furious, I grab my empty tray and gather beer bottles, stacking them onto the tray until they’re rolling back and forth, clanking against one another. Jen finally enters the room, oblivious to the ruckus that just played out only minutes earlier, and I smile in relief when she approaches.

“Why is it so quiet in here?” she asks.

“A couple of them almost got into a fight.” I decided not to mention the fight was about me.

Jen rolls her eyes and starts to help me clear the tables. “Figures. Get a bunch of testosterone-laden men in close proximity and watch them beat their chests until they prove who’s the mightiest of them all.”

I don’t answer, continue to clean up and then stalk out of the room toward the bar, where I dump everything in the trash, the bottles again clanking together so loudly the sound satisfies me immensely. Irritation makes me want growl at anyone who so much as looks in my direction.

Shit. I’m dying for a smoke.

“What’s your problem?” T appears out of nowhere, startling me.

“Uh…” I don’t know what to say. Don’t want to bitch for fear of looking like I can’t handle my job. Don’t want to tell her what happened either since she might ask me why they were fighting and how I became involved.

So instead, I shrug. “Men suck.”

Well. That’s close enough to the truth.

Her expression changes to pure sympathy. “Yeah, they do. Listen. Go cool off for a few. You look ready to blow a gasket.”

“But I just took a break—”

“I’ll cover for you. You’ve got five minutes.” T smiles, pats my arm and heads for the private party room.

And I dart outside for that much needed smoke.

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