“They won’t let you go.” Drew nods, his demeanor practically oozing confidence. “I have a feeling.”
The crazy thing is, I was drafted to play for Drew’s football team. I’m a part of the San Francisco 49ers. A second string wide receiver who will most likely warm a bench most of the season but hot shit, I’m a Niner. They were my favorite team growing up. Owen’s too. It was his dream, to play on the same team with his brother-in-law, to keep it in the family.
Instead he’s going to Denver where he gets to freeze his balls off and play against his brother-in-law.
Oh and possibly me. Well, if I ever get off the damn bench, that is.
“Whatever you say, bro. You said you were taking me out to celebrate tonight, right?” I ask Drew because I know he’ll say yes, and then I’ll most likely back out and return to my lonely apartment where I’ll sulk like a baby for the rest of the night.
Which is stupid, but I can’t help it. Most of the time I bluster through life without a care in the world, not paying attention to my mood and who it might affect. I just do what I want and fuck the consequences. Owen lived like that too. Every once in a while one of us grew a conscience—thanks to my mom or Fable—but otherwise, we fought against the norm.
We always believed the norm was boring, damn it. Being good, following the rules? Screw that. We wanted to have fun.
Fun can cost you, though. Our friend Des is back in our hometown selling drugs to college students and not inclined to change his career path. We couldn’t save him, no matter how badly we wanted to. We had our own lives to take care of. We couldn’t be Des’s babysitter forever.
“Ah, that must be the girl Fable hired,” Drew says, pulling me from my thoughts.
I face the same direction Drew is looking, which is toward the large back patio. Their house is massive yet it somehow feels like how a real home should. I like hanging out here. They always make me feel welcome. “How is Fable?”
“Stressed the hell out. She has a lot on her plate. That’s why she’s hiring someone to help her,” Drew explains, his gaze never leaving his wife.
There’s another one who’s madly in love with his woman. I know that they had it rough when they first got together, but their love for each other is so all-consuming, it’s almost uncomfortable to witness sometimes. And I say that because I’m a dude who’s definitely not in touch with my inner most feelings, if you catch my drift.
My gaze skims over the tiny but mighty Fable Maguire Callahan and lands on the girl standing next to her. She’s taller than Fable, but that doesn’t mean much because pretty much everyone looks tall when they’re next to Fable. The girl seems young, her long, golden blonde hair pulled into a low ponytail, and she’s wearing a simple black dress that skims over pretty curves. She’s completely overdressed compared to Fable, who’s in jeans and a pale pink T-shirt, her bright blonde hair piled on top of her head in a messy bun.
The girl glances in our direction, her gaze snagging on us, or most likely on Drew. He seems to draw that sort of attention no matter where he goes, and I’m perfectly content to remain in the background. Owen was always the bigger star in our friendship too, and I’m fine with it. Attention was never my thing.
It never has been.
“Drew!” Fable calls, waving him over. “Come meet Sydney.”
He starts to head over there and when he sends me a look over his shoulder, I reluctantly follow him. I really don’t need to be involved in this scenario, but I just can’t tell him that, can I? It would be rude. And I’m never rude to Drew and Fable.
“Sydney, this is my husband, Drew. Drew, this is Sydney Walker. She’s going to be our new nanny,” Fable says, sounding pleased. She looks over at her husband with a little wince. “I hope you don’t mind that I went ahead and hired her.”
“Of course I don’t mind. I trust your judgment.” Drew turns to greet Sydney. “Good to meet you,” he says as he gives Sydney a firm handshake. She’s staring up at him, her lips slightly parted, her eyes wide. Full on awestruck, which is typical. He’s a superstar. That’s how most people look at Drew when they first meet him.
“Hi,” she squeaks, her cheeks going pink as she releases Drew’s hand. Her gaze slips to mine, and then flitters away. But that one quick glance was like a sucker punch to my gut.
The nanny is beautiful.
I take a deep breath, shoving my hands in my jeans’ pockets so I won’t do something stupid—like try to grab her. She has pretty blue eyes and a full mouth that’s made for kissing. Her curves are even lusher than I first realized. She has full hips and a tiny waist and shapely legs. But I can’t worry about pretty nannies right now. I have to concentrate on work.
It still blows my mind that I might play for the NFL. That football is my job. I’m a lucky son-of-a-bitch.
“Sydney, this is Wade Knox. He’s an old family friend,” Fable says, knocking me from my thoughts. I blink and look down to find Sydney smiling up at me, interest clearly showing in her gaze. Hmm. “Wade, this is Sydney.”
“Hey Sydney.” I shake her hand, electricity pulsing between us the moment our palms touch. She jerks her hand away from mine as if I burned her. Guess she felt it too.
“Nice to meet you,” she murmurs as she takes a step back. Like she needs the distance.
Even more interesting.
We make small talk for a few minutes before Fable takes Sydney back to the house, and the moment the door shuts behind them, Drew’s talking.
“The nanny’s cute,” he observes, his voice way too nonchalant.
“She looked at you like she thought you were cute, too.”
I roll my eyes. He never says stuff like this, so what’s his deal? “Cute? What are you doing? Trying to play matchmaker?” I send him a pointed look. “Give me a break. I don’t need the distraction.”
He shrugs. “Nothing like the love of a good woman to keep a man on the straight and narrow especially doing what we do.”
I am nowhere close to doing what he does, but I’m honored he’s lumped us together. That’s what I’ve always appreciated about Drew. He has never thought he was better than anyone else, and the guy always had reason to. He’s rich, he’s good looking, he’s a talented quarterback, his wife is gorgeous, his kids are cute. He is living the fucking perfect life.