Even the Score(6)By: Beth Ehemann
“You’re so dramatic.”
“And,” he continued without skipping a beat, “because of all my fake bathroom time, Kacie’s convinced there’s something wrong with me, so she made me an appointment with a gastroenterologist.”
By that point my shoulders were shaking from laughing, and I couldn’t respond.
“And the worst part . . . I’m actually going to the appointment!”
I pulled myself together just enough to talk for a second. “Wait. You’re going? Why?”
“Because I’m scared to death of my wife. If I tell her that I’m totally fine and I just sit in there and play poker on my phone for an hour, she’ll kill me. It’s just easier to go to the doctor.”
“Really?” I teased in between more laughing. “Who’s the pussy now?”
A little while later I was staring at my computer screen, straining my eyes to read the fine print of a small deal for a baby-faced eighteen-year-old football player when my office door flew open and Brody came bounding through it.
“What’s up, Shaw?” he greeted with a big grin on his face. He walked over and set a brown paper bag on my desk, and within seconds I knew exactly what was in it. The smell of greasy charbroiled burgers and grilled onions floated through the air and straight into my nostrils, making my stomach growl loudly.
“You’re amazing. I take back everything bad I ever said to you.” I stood up and opened the bag, closing my eyes and taking a big whiff as the smell got stronger.
Brody froze and raised his eyebrows. “Everything?”
I tossed a french fry into my mouth and shook my head quickly. “Never mind. I take back my offer to take back. I’ve meant every bad thing I’ve said to you and about you.”
“Ah.” He nodded. “There’s the Andy I know and love.”
We both sat down at the desk with our Styrofoam containers, and before he’d even opened his, I started shoveling food into my mouth faster than should have been humanly possible.
Brody watched in horror, his eyes darting back and forth from my food to my face. “What the hell are you doing? Have you not eaten in the last three months? My God.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled through a mouthful of cheeseburger. I grabbed a napkin from the bag and wiped my mouth. “I wasn’t kidding when I said I don’t have any extra time. I have to get back to work.”
He took a quick drink of his lemonade. “Why are you so busy? Lots of recruiting or what?”
I shrugged. “Definitely recruiting, but also since I signed a few bigger deals, athletes from all over the country started calling and inquiring about representation.”
He leaned back in his chair and puffed his chest out proudly. “Sorry I’m so damn amazing.”
I rolled my eyes. “It wasn’t just your contract, you arrogant bastard. It was a combination of yours, Viper’s, and a few others. Every time we inked one of those deals, the phone rang off the hook for a solid week.”
“That’s a good thing, though, right?” he asked cautiously.
“It is, but—” I paused and took a deep breath. From the moment I’d decided to go into sports management, this was exactly where I’d wanted to be: in the driver’s seat of a successful firm, making huge deals with the nation’s top athletes and the top college prospects . . . I just didn’t anticipate juggling all that while being a single father. “It’s been hard on the kids. I’m not home a lot.”
Brody’s face softened as he pressed his lips together and nodded his head slowly. “I get it. You still have Gloria, right?”
“Yes, thank God. We’d be lost without her. But it’s just not the same thing as having your dad around, ya know?”
He nodded again.
“It’s bad enough that their mother doesn’t care enough to be involved in their lives, but now I’m never there, either. Something’s gotta give.” I set my burger back in the container and pushed it away from me, no longer hungry.
“What if you hired more people here?” Brody asked nonchalantly as he leaned forward and picked at my fries.
I already had Ellie, the best damn assistant around, and Ethan, my contract lawyer who double- and triple-checked everything for me.
“Yeah, like a partner. Someone to do some of the recruiting and meet with the smaller-name athletes. That way you can concentrate on the stars, like myself, and spend a little more time at home with your kids.”
“Hm . . .” I thought about it for a second. “That’s not a totally horrible idea.”