Anatomy of a Player(2)

By: Cindi Madsen

“You don’t deserve it,” Lyla said, pulling back to look me in the eye.

I didn’t. Deep down I knew I deserved someone who’d treat me right. I just didn’t know how to go about finding him. Clearly I needed to avoid football players, though. Strike that. The guy before Trevor was Matt, and he’d played baseball in high school. So make it all athletes in general, and since the guy before that had been a frat boy, I might as well scratch them off the possibilities list, too.

Beck stopped the ignored movie playing in the background and ran a hand through his short blond hair. He had a bit of a dude-in-tear-filled-headlights look on his face, making it clear he wasn’t sure if he should stay or flee from the crying girl drama.

I meant to let him off, but then I found myself asking, “Why can’t guys just be straight with us?” I flopped onto the cushy red chair Lyla and I had picked up at a yard sale a couple of weekends ago. “Why act like you’re really into a girl and say super sweet things, when you’re doing the same thing to two or three other girls at the same time?”

Beck shrugged. “I was always up front that I wasn’t in it for the long haul.”

Lyla sat next to him and patted his leg. “It’s true. He told me it could only be sex, no strings attached.” She gave him a stern look and then shoved his arm, which elicited a huge grin from him. Clearly the attachment part had formed and then some.

“So what changed?” I asked, wanting the magic formula. Wanting to know how to achieve that kind of adoration and commitment so I didn’t have to constantly walk around with this ache in my chest.

Beck ran his hand down Lyla’s arm and linked their fingers together. “She was already my friend. She saw me at my worst and helped me through it, even when I didn’t deserve it. And, well…look at her. She’s hot.”

Lyla flashed him a smile, he smiled back and raised their entwined hands to kiss the back of hers, and it was disgustingly cute and envy-worthy. My lovable roommate at least looked semi-apologetic about the PDA.

I wanted what they had, and I’d been stupid enough to think that Trevor and I were heading in that direction. We’d met while taking Session II summer classes, and while I wasn’t sure where we stood when I’d gone home for a few weeks between semesters, he’d texted several times, and as soon as I’d let him know I’d returned to Boston, he came over and told me how happy he was to have me back. Didn’t “back” imply he’d had me in the first place?

Silly me, I’d thought he’d meant it in a relationship way, and obviously he’d meant in a booty call way. Now I wondered how many of the times he’d claimed to be busy with football he’d been scoring with chicks instead of a ball.

Yep, definitely done with athletes. In fact, the next time some ripped, suspiciously charming guy delivers a line, I’m going to let him have it. Maybe then he’ll think twice about using his smooth lines to land unsuspecting girls.

Okay, that was probably a stretch, but at least he’d know that I wasn’t his next mark.

Beck glanced at his phone and then said, “Babe, we should probably get going. The guys are expecting me at the party.” He looked from Lyla to me. “Unless you need to stay?”

I could tell by the way he’d dragged out the words and wrapped his arm around Lyla’s waist that he didn’t want to go without her. I didn’t want to hold her back from a party—during the first part of last year it was all I could do to get her to go out. Now she had a better social life than I did. Although I knew she often tired of the party scene quickly, it was good for her to get out, and even better that Beck liked to show her off.

“Go,” I said, making a shooing motion. “I’ll be fine. Maybe we can have a girls’ night tomorrow, and then I can really bitch about guys without hurting Beck’s feelings.” I gave him a teasing smile, even though I was serious about the bitching part.

“Or…” Lyla wound a strand of her fiery red locks around her finger, and since she’d just been to the salon for a color touchup, it reminded me I needed to do the same for my blond highlights. “Remember how you forced me to get out last year, even after Beck and I had that rough spot, and it ended up being the best thing ever?”