Pucked Page 87

“Let’s hope I can convince her I’m good for her, too.”

“You’ve got the art of persuasion on your side.”

“Thanks, Dad. I’m going to need it.”

I have to come up with something better than flowers or candy to fix this. I have to show her unequivocally that I need her far more than any endorsement.

I stew for several hours, trying to come up with a creative way to get Violet to hear me out. If she won’t answer my phone calls, there’s one option that worked in the past. Hunting her down is the best chance I have.

I change out of my sweats into dress pants and a button-down shirt. I should look presentable. I can’t do anything about my nose. The white bandage and splint cover the worst of the swelling and bruising.

The playoff beard has to stay, even if it makes me look less presentable. It’s a tradition I won’t mess with. The only way I’ll get back on the team’s good side is by playing well. Game four of the series is tomorrow night, and we’re up two-one. Shaving my beard could jinx the game. I concede by cleaning it up around the edges so I only look partly shitty.

I figure stopping at her house is my best first shot. Flowers aren’t going to be enough this time. I need something better. I stop by the coffee shop we went to on our first date. They have one of those caramel crunch cakes, but slices are missing. A piece isn’t enough; it has to be the whole thing. I still get her one of those green seaweed-looking drinks she likes, though.

An ice cream store down the street is still open. Girls like ice cream when boyfriends mess up, based on my experience with Sunny, and Violet likes cake, so it seems like a logical choice.

I wipe my sweaty palms on my pants after I park in Violet’s driveway behind her beat up SUV. A few media assholes tag along behind me, as seems to be the way of things these days. They stay on the sidewalk, keeping a respectable distance while they shout questions.

Sidney intercepts me before I get more than five feet from my car. We’re the same height, but right now, I feel small.

“Hello, Mr. Butterson. How are you this evening?” I check to make sure he doesn’t have a baseball bat hidden behind his back.

I’ve hurt Violet, which means he’s suffering in some way because of what I’ve done. It makes sense he’d be protective of Violet under these circumstances. I know what it’s like living with a scorned woman. If Sunny or my mother was miserable, everyone else in the house had to be, too.

“Alex.” He steps in front of the gate, blocking the way to the pool house.

“I was wondering if Violet’s home.”

“Yeah, she’s home. She’s busy packing.”

“Packing?” I scan the pool house.

“She’s moving. She wants her own place.” He says it as if it’s my fault. Maybe it is.

“Is she staying in the city?”

“If Violet wants you to know where she’s moving, I’m sure she’ll get in touch.”

He’s not going to make this easy. “Do you think I could speak with her?”

“Violet made it pretty clear she doesn’t want to see you right now. In fact, she’s said she never wants to see you again. Can’t really say as I blame her, either.” His lip twitches, his disdain for me obvious.

I have a sinking feeling once Violet makes up her mind about something, she doesn’t usually go back on it.

“I understand. Could you give these to her then?” I hold out the takeout cup and the box. “This needs to go in the freezer; it’s an ice cream cake.”

Sidney takes them from me with a frown and waits for me to get in my car. He’s still standing in the middle of the driveway as I pull away, barely avoiding running over the paps who never seem to let up. That definitely didn’t go as planned.

The next night I have a game, so there’s no time to follow up with Violet. I don’t hear anything the next day, or the one after that. I resort to emailing her. It bounces back. The message should be clear by now, but I’m not ready to give up, so I stop by her work. I make it past security only to find Violet is in a meeting.

Charlene comes down the hall, her smile far from friendly. She slips her arm through mine and walks me down the hall to the elevator.

“I want a chance to explain.”

“Explain what, exactly, Alex?” She props a fist on her hip. “That you invited her to move in with you one night and the next you’re pulling this just friends bullshit on national TV? It’s been almost a week, and now you have the audacity to show up here as if she’s going to want to talk to you? What kind of head games are you playing?”

I should have acted sooner. “My agent wanted me to keep things on the down low. There’s an endorsement campaign—”

“That’s supposed to make it better?” She punches the elevator button, eyeing me with contempt. “You need to leave Violet alone. She’s had enough of the media sniffing around without you showing up to make it worse for her. Next time I see you here, I’m going to puncture your testicles with my stilettos.”


She flips me the bird. As she clips down the hall, I check out her shoes. I don’t want them anywhere near my balls.

I go back and try to see Violet again a few days later, despite the threat. The media is up my ass, following me to the doors, hounding me with questions I refuse to answer—because I have none. Those weenie dudes who work with her are as bad as Charlene, and I can’t get within fifty feet of Violet. I even try stopping by her house again, media constantly in tow. Her SUV isn’t in the driveway, and no one answers the door.

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