Pucked Page 81

“What kind of bullshit is Waters feeding you?”

Buck’s face starts to get red as unnecessary anger sets in. He reminds me of The Hulk, which reminds me of my underwear, which reminds me of Alex’s mother walking into his room while his hand was in the flap. Stupid, humiliating unlocked door.

“It’s not important. Besides, this isn’t about Alex and me. It’s about you and Sunny, and you telling your boys you banged her so you can be the man. It’s immature. You’re making her look bad. Is that what you want?”

He hangs his head in shame. “No. Definitely not.”

“Then stop being an asshole. Now get out of my pool house. I have a date, and I don’t want you here when Alex picks me up.”

He points the cucumber at me. “I still don’t like that you’re dating him.”

“And I still don’t care.” I open the door and shoo him out.

Maybe Sunny can do the impossible and tame Buck. If he screws this up, it’s going to make things hella awkward for Alex and me.

Alex and I spend as much time together as we can over the weeks following his return, although constant practice, away games, and preparation for playoffs keep him busy. We don’t go out apart from picking up the occasional takeout; Alex is trying to keeps things low key after the fight and the locker room sex.

During his interviews to dispel the rumors, Alex is as evasive as ever, neither confirming nor denying anything. It reminds me of the Hat Trick interview. I understand the reasons for his non-answers and the omission, but it makes me nervous. While the pictures of him and I leaving the stadium after the locker sex are unclear, there are plenty more from later in the evening with us together.

When our relationship is brought up in one interview, he dodges the question altogether, as if it wasn’t even asked. I’ve gone from being no one important to the topic of speculation in the gossip rags. The attention is foreign. I don’t want to be seen as Alex’s puck bunny. Beyond that, I worry about how I’ll be perceived at work by my colleagues.

I can’t decide whether I’m being paranoid or if my fears have legitimate basis. He’s so considerate when we’re together; it’s hard to know how much is a result of my own insecurities.

Our weeks blend together, and the April thaw brings wet weather followed by the promise of May sunshine and warmth. Tonight is a rare evening without obligations, so we’re making use of his back porch. Not having sex. Yet.

I discovered his black onyx Scrabble board and challenged him to a word-off.

“Let’s talk about the rules,” he says as he sets up the board and shakes the bag of tiles.

“They’re right here.” I hold up the booklet that contains the rules as well as the list of two letter words I’ve memorized. Those come in handy at the end of the game.

“I have a few new ones.”

“New rules?”

Alex crosses his legs, getting comfortable. “Mmm. I’d like to up the stakes a little.”

“Is that so?” I’m just as good at Scrabble as I am at air hockey. The key to Scrabble isn’t creative words, it’s in the points.

“All words need to be a minimum of four letters, with no less than ten points, and they need to be dirty.”

“Or what happens?”

He grins. “Or you take off an article of clothing.”

“Strip Scrabble?” I crack my knuckles. “You’re so on.”

“Says the accountant to the English major. Get ready to get beat.”

“Pfft.” I take a dainty sip of my wine. It’s so good. Alex has an entire wine cellar. He has a particular fondness for Niagara Rieslings, and now I do, too. They’re sweet and crisp, and I could guzzle a bottle no problem. I want to win this Strip Scrabble competition, so I won’t. “Your snuffie is going to be hanging out long before my beaver.”

“We’ll see about that.”

We pick tiles to see who goes first. I get lucky with my selection and start the board with “clit.”

The challenge of dirty words with four letters isn’t so much the issue; it’s that so many of them contain the letter C.

We go back and forth, me consistently making smutty four letter words, such as slut, poon, and anal. Alex comes up with a questionable Q word he wants to use on the triple letter title. I let him get away with it since I’m kicking his ass so badly.

Alex currently has seven vowels, so he’s having trouble forming a smutty word. I think he’s stalling so I’ll drink more wine and become incapable of making good words. He drops an A between the letter V in beave and the G in gonad to make the word vag.

“That’s only three letters. Take something off.” I lick my lips in anticipation.

We’re only halfway through the game, and he’s already lost his socks, watch, and pants. The next logical item is his shirt.

Of course, Alex decides he’s going to lose his boxers instead. He stands, with his eyes on me, and shimmies them down his thighs. They slide to the floor, and he kicks them off to the side with the rest of his discarded clothing.

I prop my chin on my fist and sigh. “Strip Scrabble is my favorite.”

“I thought my cock was your favorite.”

“That, too.”

Alex has a semi. It’s probably because I’m in my bra. I took off the shirt first as a distraction, so he’s getting me back. Every time I look at the board, I get an eyeful of Alex’s growing MC.

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