My attention drifts to a bubblegum pink Fiat headed my way. The lot is fairly empty, which makes me wonder if the person driving has spotted me in particular. If it’s a fan, I swear to God or to whoever’s listening that I’m leaving. I can’t deal with that now. Not even a little.
When the car parks next to mine, my fists curl within the pockets of my jacket. Shit.
A second later, Gray awkwardly unfolds his long bulk from the tiny car, and I. Lose. It.
I laugh so hard, I double over, my hand braced on the side of my cast.
“Yeah, yeah, laugh it up,” Gray grouses as he slams the pink door.
Wiping my eyes, I try to stop, but can’t.
“Man…” Gray sighs, but I can see his lips twitching. “Asshole.”
I clear my throat, sputtering, but managing to choke down my snorts. “What the absolute f**k?”
Gray’s scowl grows. “I needed a car, didn’t I?”
That sobers me. God, I’ve been a jerk. I love this guy. He is my brother in all ways but blood. And I’ve treated him like shit.
“We can switch,” I offer with thick awkwardness. I don’t deserve to be driving Gray’s truck anyway.
He snorts. “Like you’d be able to squeeze into that f**king box with your cast. Besides, it’s a stick shift.”
“Uh… why are you driving that particular car?”
Gray leans against his truck. “Got it from an agent.”
“An agent?” I bobble as I whip around to fully face him. “What? Why?” Neither of us has interacted with them on the level of asking for things. We’ll make our choice free of any obligations.
He doesn’t look at me as he answers, but squints into the pale winter sunlight. “It’s like this. I needed a car, so I asked my top three agent picks for a loaner.” He shrugs. “Have to whittle down my choices anyway, so why not see how they’d react, you know?”
Stiffly I nod.
“So I get an offer for a Merc. A sweet ass AMG SLS coupe.”
I whistle. Now that is a car I’d love to drive.
Gray’s knowing look says the same. “Next guy says he’ll send over ‘his own, personal’ Ferrari California, and a girl to keep me company.”
“Two ladies for the price of one. That’s…ah…generous.” I still can’t believe some chicks go along with that shit.
“Yeah.” Gray crosses his legs at the ankles and then gives a dark laugh. “So the next guy, Mackenzie,” he adds for clarification, “tells me, ‘look, kid, I’ll go to the mattresses for you come draft day, keep the press off your ass, and bail your sorry butt out of jail if you’re ever stupid enough to get thrown into one, but I don’t like the taste of dick, so don’t expect me to suck yours.’”
I blink for a second, and then grin wide. Gray does too.
“So,” Gray finishes, “Mackenzie says I can drive his daughter’s Fiat for few weeks because she’s studying abroad. And there you go.” He extends a hand toward the pink nightmare. “One hideous bubblegum clown car at your service. Oh, and if I wreck it, I bought it.” Gray rolls his eyes. “It’d be so worth it to drive the thing off a cliff, but there aren’t any around.”
“The guys must be giving you hell.” I try not to smile as I say this.
Gray’s brows draw tight. “They’re calling me Glamour Gray.”
“Ahh…” I glance at the car, which is far from glamorous, “is that supposed to be ironic?” Whatever their inspiration is, I know it will be evil.
His cheeks go ruddy. “No. Marshall, that f**kstain, said that his kid sister plays with these tiny dolls called Glamour Gals, and that they drive a car like mine. Hence…” He rolls his hand in the air in an irritated fashion.
I won’t laugh… I crack up.
“You’re a f**kstain too,” Gray mutters.
Reluctantly, Gray grins, but it doesn’t reach his eyes.
“Seriously, though,” I say, “good on you for not selling out.”
“You should consider Mackenzie too. I know he’s interested.”
My laugh dies on a breath. Mackenzie had been my top choice, mainly because he seemed a straightforward guy, and Gray’s story certainly nails that down. But I can’t stop the uncertainty within me from rearing its ugly head. I force myself to nod. “Yeah.” I clear my throat. “Yeah, he sounds like a good fit.”
We go quiet, the faint sounds of activity from within the stadium filling the space between us.
“About last night. I’m sorry.” I can’t look at him. Not yet. A hot pressure builds behind my nose and lids. “I was a dick.”
From the corner of my eye, I see Gray turn his head my way. “Yeah, well, you’re a pretty good dick as far as dicks go… Fuck.” He grimaces. “That did not sound right.”
We both laugh, strained. And then I face him. “I mean it, Gray.”
He colors, his mouth going into a straight line. “I know.”
“I never thought you’d make a play for Anna. Never.”
Absently, he nods. “I know, man. And I know you’re freaking. I’d be doing the same.”
“I…” Words get stuck in my throat, and the prickling pressure grows. “You’re… Hell.” I grab onto him, likely shocking the shit out of him, and haul him close. My hug is hard. “I love you, all right?”
He hugs me back, just as hard, a fist pounding into my shoulder. And then we both shove each other away with a laugh.