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“You like him?” Alex’s voice rises with his eyebrows. “He’s a dirtbag!”

Part of me wants to defend Buck; he’s a nice guy under all the whoriness. But if Sunny was my sister, I would castrate Buck before he could get his dick into her. Sadly, with the way Sunny gazes at Buck and Buck smiles back at her, it appears this may have already happened. Alex could be too late to save his sister. I should offer to take her to the walk-in clinic later today.

Sunny props her fist on her hip. “Look who’s calling the kettle a pot!”

She and Buck may be on a level playing field intellectually with the way she completely butchered that saying.

Apparently Daisy gets what Sunny is trying to say. She defends Alex’s nonexistent virtue. “Don’t you say things like that about your brother!”

Either she’s truly in complete denial or she’s too blinded by her maternal love to see the truth. Alex may not be a player, but he can be a dirty, dirty boy.

I look around the room; the various expressions are hilarious. Sunny is enraged, Daisy looks like she might cry, Buck is staring at Sunny’s chest—so he has no idea what’s happening—and Robbie has pulled the fruit tray closer. He’s shoveling food into his mouth and peeking up on occasion to check if anyone notices. I like him.

Sunny props a fist on her hip. “I saw the paper this morning. Did you?”

“What paper?” Alex asks.

“The tabloids. There’s a whole article on what happened in the locker room yesterday.”

“Wait, what?” Buck is suddenly alert. As are Alex and I.

“It’s not like I’d actually believe any of the stuff in there. Even if it’s mostly made up, it sure doesn’t make any of you look good.”

“What kind of tabloids do you read?” Buck is wearing his constipated expression.

It’s clear he’s afraid Sunny has read about his sexual exploits in the tabloids. He’s too involved with figuring out what Sunny might know about him; he forgets about the argument brewing with Alex and settles into hushed conversation with her.

Alex and I look at each other, clearly wanting to know the same thing—what did Sunny see in the tabloids and how much should I worry.

I have no idea what’s happening between Buck and Sunny, but I have to admit, even though the two of them seem as deep as a puddle, they get along well. Buck is actually being polite.

Brunch is awkward, in part due to our inability to get the information we need. Robbie leads the conversation. He’s incredibly articulate for a man under the influence of pot. Alex mentions taking me to the Guelph campus later, and Robbie goes off on a tangent about the Women in Lit classes he took during his undergrad.

He pats Daisy’s hand. “That’s where I met my Daisy. She was the smartest, most beautiful woman in the room, so of course I had to ask her out.”

“That’s not true. I failed the course, and you asked me out because none of the other women in the class were interested in you,” Daisy replies.

“And you were the most beautiful woman in the room.” He kisses her cheek without getting a mouthful of hard hair. It’s amazing.

“How about the two of you? How did you meet?” Daisy directs the question at me.

“We met after a Hawks game.”


“I went with my family to see Buck play.”

She smiles the same calculating smile she wore when Alex and I first arrived. “That’s so nice. Sunny comes to games if she can, but she’s in school right now and her studies are important to her. What about you? What is it you do?”

“I’m an accountant.”

“Really? But you’re so young.” Daisy folds her hands under her chin. The evil glint in her eyes makes me nervous.

“I graduated with my bachelor's in accounting and finance last spring, so I’ve been working at my firm for less than a year.”

“What kind of accounting do you do?”

“Vi manages my bank accounts.” Bucks spears a sausage patty and crams it into his mouth.

“So you manage sports figures’ accounts?”

“Mostly. I’m a junior accountant, so I only manage smaller accounts, apart from Buck’s.”

She tilts her helmet head to the side, her inquisitiveness intimidating. “You must be very familiar with what these boys make during their career.”

“Mom.” I can hear the tension in Alex’s voice.

“What? I’m just interested in getting to know Violet. It’s been a long time since you’ve brought a girl home to meet us.” Daisy gives him an angelic smile and then turns her attention back to me. “It sounds like a very interesting job. It must be a lot of responsibility.”

I nod enthusiastically. “Oh, it is. I love working with numbers and figures.”

Daisy doesn’t ask any more questions about my job. Her blatant dislike makes me so nervous I can barely eat. I force food down so as not to offend her further. Alex doesn’t say much apart from directing the occasional barb at Sunny and Buck. Neither pick up on them; they're likely too busy playing footsies under the table.

After brunch, Alex takes our bags upstairs and gives me a tour of the rest of the house.

“I’m really sorry about this,” he says once we’re away from his family. “I only planned for a meal. I thought if we did brunch we could get out of dinner.”

“Your family wants time with you. It’s understandable.” I still wish we were staying at a hotel where I don’t have to worry about behaving myself after dark.

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