Double The Ache(5)

By: Alexa Riley


“It’s safe,” he pushes. “You could come stay with me if you’d prefer. I’d love to have you at home, but I thought you might want your own place.”

“It’s perfect.” I love my dad and I’m so happy to be here, but I do want my own space. It’s time to start to spread my wings a little.

“I know you like you cook.” He nods to the left and I rush over to the kitchen. I don’t only love to cook, but I love to eat.

“Dad!” I shout, and my excitement bubbles over. I hardly got to use the kitchen at home. My mother hated messes, even though I cleaned up after myself. She also hated having any calorie-heavy food in the house. I only ever got to cook when she went away for weekends or I knew she’d be gone for the night. Sometimes I could sneak down to my dad’s place to cook. He always let me do what I wanted in the kitchen.

I run my hand along the white granite countertop and look at all the stainless steel appliances.

“You haven't seen anything yet,” he says as he walks over to a pantry.

He pulls the doors open and reveals a small room lined with shelves. I step in and see the place is packed with food. It’s so perfectly done, with labels and containers, I almost don’t want to touch anything.

“Did a designer organize this food?” I joke, but the look my dad’s face makes me think I hit the nail on the head. “I’ll never be able to eat all this.”

“You’ll just have to invite your old man over for a lot of dinners.” He wraps an arm around me, pulling me in close, and kisses the top of my head.

“I like that idea,” I agree. “You hungry now?”

“I wish I could stay for dinner, but I have a meeting.” I can hear the apology in his tone.

“I live here now. We’ll have lots of dinners. Besides, I need to unpack my stuff and settle in,” I try to reassure him. We walk out of the pantry and I go to the fridge that is stocked to the brim. I stifle a laugh and grab two bottles of water. I slide one across the counter to him and he grabs it.

“The boxes you sent are in the master bedroom. If you don’t feel like unpacking, then I can send someone to do it tomorrow.”

“Dad, I can unpack myself.” I shake my head in fond exasperation.

“I know you can.” He takes a sip from his water. “Like I said, most of the team lives in the building.” His eyes dart over towards the front door. “I’m starting to regret the unit I picked for you.”

I raise my eyebrows, unsure what he means by that.

“There are only two units on this floor,” he adds.

“Okay.”

“I thought my choice was good, but now after the incident on the plane…” He shakes his head.

“Does one of the other players live in the other one?”

“Yeah. Two.” He sighs. “Thought it would be a good fit for you. I thought…” He trails off.

My heart pounds. I already know who he’s talking about. If two players are living together, it has to be them.

“Dad, if you’re talking about Dean and Wes I’m sure it’s fine. Aren’t they, you know…?”

He shrugs, not answering, then he glances at his watch. “I gotta go.” He walks over and gives me a hug and a peck on the forehead. “Rest up. Work starts the day after tomorrow.”

“Can’t wait.” I walk him to the door and let him out. I look across the hall at the other door and wonder if they’re inside. Shaking my head, I close my door and lock it. When we exited the plane I heard some of the players talking about going out tonight. Something about a hosting event. I’ve heard of celebrities doing that before at popular clubs. I wonder if Dean and Wes are going. I also wonder if the rumor about them being gay is true.

The offhand comments they made to me makes me think they aren’t. Maybe they’re just discreet with their women or something. I explore my condo a little more and almost die when I see the master bathroom. I’ll be taking a swim in that tub later for sure.

I look at all the boxes stacked up and open a couple to make sure everything is here. I pull out the things I know I’ll need for the next few days. After making my way back into the living room I fish my laptop out of my bag before flipping the switch to start up the fireplace. I fall onto the sofa, sinking into it, and grab a comfy blanket.