A/N: Thank yous to Team Spiderward for all you do. xx
Song inspiration for this chapter: “Wine, Beer, Whiskey,” Little Big Town
(Playlist for this story can be found on my YouTube channel, if you search for “ghostreader24”)
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. The NHL owns anything that sounds familiar. I’m here having fun.
/ /\ (oo) /\ \
Bent over on her hands and knees, Bella’s steadiness becomes more questionable with every thrust of my cock between her parted legs.
“More,” she insists, reaching out and grasping onto the intricate driftwood headboard of our king-sized bed to brace herself. “Deeper.”
Sweat trickles down my forehead and over my cheek from exertion, but my view from behind her is mesmerizing—worth every bit of this early morning wake-up call. With our hips flush, I remain buried inside of her while my hand explores the deep, seductive arch of her back.
“You’re so fucking beautiful,” I share, appreciating every enticing curve of her body.
“Come on,” Bella urges with a smirk and a wiggle of her hips. “Don’t stop.”
When I notice her legs trembling with desperation for me to continue, there’s no keeping the growing smile from my lips.
“Doc, when I get to savor every moment with you like this, you know I’m in no rush, but you better hold on tight because I won’t be stopping until you’re coming again. This time all over my dick,” I promise, and return my tight grip to her hips, preventing her collapse.
Turning her head to look at me over her shoulder, Bella’s mischievous grin is full of challenge. “Fuck me. I can take whatever you’ve got.”
Heaven help me. I love when she’s overflowing with this sexy confidence. We drank more than I anticipated since arriving at our hotel and through the team dinner. When she started with the dirty whispers, I couldn’t get us out of there and back to our villa fast enough. I think I’m still buzzing from all the alcohol last night, and she is probably feeling it too, with the way she’s watching me now. Never one to back down from any challenge, I nudge the stance of her knees wider, then pull my hips from hers before slowly sinking back inside, repeating my movements over and over at an antagonizing pace.
“Edward,” she warns before I force another addictive moan to slip from her lips. “Faster.”
Watching the space between us where my cock glides easily through her arousal, I fight off the desire to close my eyes, losing myself in the ecstasy of her. “Fuck, Doc. This is incredible.”
With every determined thrust, my pace increases, jarring her body forward while she fights the losing battle of holding herself in place.
“Yes!” Bella pants, readjusting her grip. “Edward . . . I think . . . someone is pounding—”
“That’s me,” I quip.
“—on our door.”
Continuing the steady drive of my hips, I listen for a moment. Without any sounds coming from anyone other than our bodies moving together, I’m adamant to send her over the edge once more.
“So good.” She moans. “Harder.”
Thump, thump, thump.
I heard that.
Bella turns her head toward a voice we both recognize coming from outside our door. “It sounds like . . .”
“I’m not answering the door,” I vow.
The control I’m struggling to maintain over my own body feels as if it’s slipping away rapidly, and there’s no way I’m stopping anything for him. When her legs finally give out, Bella surrenders her hold, falling flat onto the bed, but I never falter as I cover her with my body.
She gasps. “I’m close.”
Thump, thump, thump.
“Spiiiiiiiiider! Wake up!”
He’s going to fuck this up for me.
“Does it feel like I’m awake, Doc?”
“Fuck him for thinking I’m not awake.”
“Right. There.” Her breath catches. “But . . . we were asleep . . . until your dick woke me up.”
And with the building feelings coursing through me, I can’t fault my dick for a second.
Thump, thump, thump.
“Mmmm. What time is it?” Bella raises her head, looking around for a clock that doesn’t exist.
“Time for you to come. I can’t hold off much longer, Doc.”
“Edward. We can’t leave him outside,” she argues. “What if he’s hurt? He needs you or he wouldn’t be here.”
“He’s not hurt.” I know him and his usual antics, but I can’t believe we’re even discussing pausing this. “Are you seriously asking me to stop? Cap can wait. I need you.”
“Just go answer the door. Find out what he needs.”
As much as it pains me to do so, I slow my movements. “Doc.”
My cock and I aren’t happy, but this is a losing battle. The sooner I deal with James, the sooner I can get back to Bella screaming my name.
“No toys while I’m gone,” I warn playfully, catch my breath, then kiss her temple.
After slipping from her body, Bella groans at the loss, then smirks, reaching for the vibrator next to us I was using on her earlier.
“No promises,” she taunts without an ounce of remorse.
“Do I need to take the batteries with me?” I ask.
“As if that would make a difference,” she says. After a quick twist, the low hum of soft vibrations fills the room. Through lust-filled eyes, she rolls over onto her back, giving me an unencumbered view of her sexy curves, and a lazy smile graces her perfect lips before she shares her own warning. “You better hurry or you’re going to miss out.”
I’m not missing this.
“I’ll be right back,” I promise, leaving a kiss on her bent knee.
After reluctantly climbing off the bed, I hurry toward the door of our villa and look through the peephole to confirm James is still standing there. Bella is right. He’s a persistent fucker.
While he has seen me naked too many times to count, I realize I should probably cover myself when my dick is still focused on Bella’s naked body and grab the nearest item. Once I unlock and open the door, I nod for him to step inside.
“Stop yelling and get in here. You’re going to wake everyone up.”
“Hey, Spider. Oh shit. Is that my sombrero?” His brow furrows in confusion. “How did it get here?”
“No, it’s Vladdy’s. He gave it to Doc at dinner,” I explain.
James drank all day before we flew and heavier since our arrival. So, I’m not surprised he missed Bella and Vladdy’s conversation about becoming doubles partners for playing tennis. They’re Team Sombrero or some shit. And I’m attempting not to be jealous at all, which is a somewhat losing battle when I want her on only my team all the time.
“Damn, I don’t remember that.” He sways slightly before pointing at me. “You left early.”
“After sitting in the sun all afternoon, Doc didn’t need any more margaritas from the bar,” I defend our earlier than planned departure with what I know is a fairly weak excuse. “We left when dinner was over.”
James waves toward my covered dick and snorts. “Vladdy isn’t going to want his sombrero back after it’s been hanging on your—”
“Cap, do you know what time it is?” My eyes pass over his rumpled appearance with the buttons of his shirt clearly in the wrong holes, the dangling untied drawstrings of his shorts, and bare feet. “Where are your shoes? Never mind. What do you need? What’s wrong?”
“Oh, Eduardo—” Bella’s low moan is loud enough to gain his attention.
James’s expression brightens instantly, walking into the living room area toward the direction of our bedroom door. “Eduardo? Damn, am I interrupting? Someone is in there with Doc?”
“No. No one.” I follow him. “But Doc and I are . . . busy.”
“It sounds like Doc is. Eduardo?”
“She named her favorite vibrator after me.”
“No shit? Damn. That’s fucking awesome. Get it, Doc!” He shouts at the slightly ajar door, then returns his attention to me.
“Why are you here?” I prompt again.
James reaches for the bottle of tequila sitting on a nearby table Bella and I opened when we arrived. Once he removes the cork stopper and takes a healthy swig, James shrugs, and points at me.
“Obviously, I missed you. You know . . . we don’t spend enough time together. I don’t think you realize how much I love you. We’re brothers, you know? You’re better than my own brother.” James holds out his arms. “He’s not here and you are. Fuck him anyway and his whole goddamn Stanley Cup winning bullshit team. Fuck all of them. I can’t wait to beat their asses.”
He’s rambling, and my patience is running low with Bella clearly up to no good not far away.
Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, James flops onto the couch, sinks into the pillows, and finally reveals the reason for his unexpected visit. “I need a . . . place to crash. I can stay here, right?”
Not a visit. Fuck. There goes our privacy.
I release a heavy sigh. “What’s wrong with your casita?”
“Yeah. About that.” He puts his feet on the coffee table and crosses them. “My room is . . . occupied. I kind of snuck out.”
“Oh, hell.” I shake my head. “It’s our first night here.”
“I know. I know. But I can’t go back there. Too much naked pussy. I think I’m giving up pussy. It only leads to trouble. Fuck.” He takes a longer pull from the bottle and waves his hand toward the balcony. “Who am I kidding? I can’t give up pussy. I’m addicted. But, fuck it, I’ll buy new clothes and shit. Or maybe I can borrow yours?”
“That seems a little extreme, but the real question is, what have you done?” I wonder, then immediately backtrack, holding up a hand in surrender. “You know what? I don’t need to know right now. Save it. Doc is waiting . . .”
At a louder moan from Bella, James grins, but the sound goes straight to my dick, causing it to harden once again and filling me with an urgency to return to her.
My eyes shift from the door back to James. “Fuck. Or not.”
“Damn.” James laughs. “This is like stepping into a porno. She’s this sexy, naughty dentist. Have you two ever fucked on one of her exam chairs? I bet that’s some crazy shit. She’s all—too small white lab coat with sexy red underwear. Or black and see-through. Both would be spectacular. Then, you’re ripping that shit open with buttons flying and bouncing off everything. Her tits are just everywhere, and she’s throwing her head back while riding your dick. Tell me you haven’t thought about that.”
He has no idea. It’s a recurring fantasy, but Bella has yet to take me up on my offer with that scenario. I’m a little concerned that he’s picturing it, and it’s probably because of those books he reads all the time.
“Okay. I’ll give you that one. I have thought about it, but let’s keep our focus on you. We’ll deal with whatever has happened later.” I point in the direction of another closed door. “Take the other bedroom, sleep it off, and . . . keep anything you hear to yourself.”
James smiles. “You got it. You’re the greatest. Thanks, man. I knew I could count on you. I promise I’ll make it up to you.”
“Don’t worry about that. Put the stopper back in the bottle. You need to pace yourself or it’s going to be a long week. I gotta go.”
/ /\ (oo) /\ \
“Mmmm,” I hum, brushing my fingers through her silky hair.
Bella has rendered me motionless as my eyes crack open, blinking slowly while they adjust to the sunshine filling our bedroom. When her loving gaze meets mine, she is bursting with pride at the demise of my morning wood. Vibrating with undeniable happiness, she giggles softly before kissing a winding path along my body, giving some of my tattoos more attention than others. Helpless to do anything other than submit to Bella’s tantalizing tongue and soft mouth, I close my eyes, basking in the euphoric feelings. I encourage her exploration through light touches while loving words fill my every thought.
“I wish we could start every day like this,” I whisper with an easy sigh. “Well, maybe not exactly like this, but you know what I mean, just . . . together, like physically.” I don’t say in the same home, but I want to add it.
After abandoning her teasing one of my nipples, Bella shifts her position until her face hovers above mine. With a beaming smile spreading across her flushed face, she kisses me, and I can taste myself on her lips before she admits, “Me too.” There’s something about her admission that feels different this time. Maybe she’s considering the possibilities of living together or her position is changing finally, but I’m not going to push. We’ve made incredible recent strides. If I’ve learned anything about her, it’s that she needs time to process and come to her own conclusions that it would be the best next step for us.
“Are you up for a shower?” Bella asks, brushing her lips along the stubble of my jaw.
I tilt my head to give her greater access. She requested I let my beard grow this week, and the feel of her body rubbing against mine is a compelling argument, but I’m not sure I can do that when it means something different for me. Beards are for teams who make the playoffs, and we’re not there yet, but a shower I can do.
“As if that’s ever a question. I’ll be up for more shortly.” Gliding my hands along her smooth curves, I close my eyes, picturing a wet and naked Bella, which brings new life to my spent cock.
Pausing her trail of kisses down my neck, she smiles against my skin. “There’s nothing short about that goalie stick of yours.”
Fuck. I love her.
“Come on.” I move my hands around to cup her ass and give both cheeks a solid squeeze. “Let’s get you cleaned up before I get you dirty again with that sort of talk. We can’t take too long or we’ll have Vladdy pounding on our door next wondering where we are.”
Grinning at her laughter and squeals as I carry her into the bathroom, we steam up the room in more ways than I planned. After our shower, I slide on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, then sit on the end of the bed waiting for Bella to finish getting ready. When she walks past me toward the nearby mirror, my eyes linger on the red bikini she is wearing. I haven’t seen it before, but it looks as if it could be smaller than yesterday’s. Or maybe that’s my wishful brain imagining it.
“You’re wearing a bikini for our tennis match?” I wonder.
“Underneath my clothes—yes. We’ll probably go to the beach at some point, and I want to be ready. Are you going to have trouble with my flip-flops too?”
“No, but Vladdy probably will.”
“I can always go barefoot while we play. Trust me, it won’t change my ability or the outcome.” She winks.
As she slides on a pair of white cut-off shorts, then a blue tank top, I watch her closely. Even though it hasn’t been that long since our arrival, there’s already something different about her—a contented ease. Maybe it’s the relaxing effect from being on vacation, leaving her problems back in Dallas. Or maybe I didn’t realize how much stress she has been shouldering with the whole Sam situation.
When my stomach growls loudly at the food smells wafting their way into our bedroom from beyond our door, there’s no containing her giggles, which reminds me I need to share that we have an unexpected guest.
“Hungry?” she asks.
“Always, and I should warn you that’s probably James cooking.”
“I suspected as much. Was he okay when you spoke with him earlier?”
“I guess, but we could have a roommate for. . . I don’t know how long.”
She smiles and shrugs. “That’s fine. I suppose we need to be careful not to break our bed since now we’re without your back up plan, if he’s staying.”
“You know we can’t always be contained to a bed. We need to think outside of the box—or bed in this case.” I chuckle, reach out, and lace our fingers together. “But thank you for being so understanding about him. You’re amazing.”
“And don’t you forget it.” Bella wiggles her eyebrows.
“Trust me. I won’t.”
She tugs on my hand. “Let’s go find out what he’s cooking. I’m starving.”
“James cooks two things regularly. So, I’m positive it’s his favorite hangover meal, which is them together—steak and eggs.”
“The fact that you know this leaves me brimming with questions.”
“Drunken Cap can be messy,” I reveal, but know I’ve had my own moments in the past. The best I can do is be the friend he needs. “I’m sure we’re in for quite a treat this morning.”
After exiting the bedroom, we walk toward the balcony area to find a freshly showered James closing the grill, but I recognize the clothes he’s wearing as the ones he arrived in not long ago.
“There they are! Good morning! You’re just in time. How do you like your steak, Doc?” He waves toward the steaks resting on three plates, but his eyes dance devilishly between us. “Tube-shaped?”
“Cap!” I exclaim with his blatant reference to my dick and suspect he’s still a little drunk.
“Kidding. I’m kidding. I hope medium is okay.” James reaches for another pan from the side burner of the grill. “I can put yours back on the heat, if you need it cooked longer.”
Bella chuckles. “I typically don’t eat steak for breakfast. I’m kind of a coffee and chocolate person, but thanks, medium is fine. This looks great.”
Once James dumps scrambled eggs from a frying pan onto each of the plates, we settle into spots around the outdoor teak dining table under our covered balcony, shading us from the morning sun.
“Thanks for cooking, Cap.” I reach for the pitcher on the table to fill Bella’s and my glasses with juice.
“Not a problem,” he says, setting the pan back on the side burner, then joins us.
After our first few bites, Bella breaks the comfortable silence between us. “This is delicious, and the view this morning is incredible. I could get used to this beach life.”
James grins. “You worked up quite the appetite after my arrival or should I say you and Eduardo did.”
At his mention, Bella chokes on a forkful of eggs, holds her chest, and coughs repeatedly.
“I mean, Bow Chicka Wow Wow,” James sing-songs a round of abbreviated porn music.
Bella reaches for her juice before shooting me a warning look. “Edward.”
“That’s what happens when you’re loud,” I tease, then shrug. “And for starting without me.”
She clears her throat. “It wasn’t so much starting as continuing what you started.”
“I believe we both know exactly who started what.” I glance toward James who doesn’t miss a word of our morning banter, but I shift our conversation back to him. “So, are we going to talk about what brought you to our door this morning?”
“Uh . . . everything is a little fuzzy,” James claims after finishing a bite.
“Why don’t I believe that? Tell me the part that isn’t fuzzy. I’m sure it’s cause for concern.”
He looks between us, hesitating to share his answer in front of Bella until I encourage him with a nod.
“If you know about Eduardo, then I’m positive she can handle hearing about whatever you’ve done. What do you remember?”
Of course he does.
“Oh, man. Do you remember who?”
“Do we know who?”
“Cap,” I warn, because if we know whoever it is, then this can’t be a good situation.
“I know, I know.” He sighs.
Bella shakes her head. “You weren’t ever really interested in Leah, were you?”
“I’m sorry, Doc.” He focuses on his plate, pushing his eggs around. “I tried with Leah. She wasn’t interested in me—”
She holds up her fork and points it at him. “Not true. Leah was.”
“It was a two-way street. Leah ended up spending the night with Vladdy, anyway. So, it didn’t matter. She made her choice.”
Bella returns her focus to cutting another piece from her steak. “Well, when we were at your game on the last night she was in Dallas, I didn’t pay for a Sokolov jersey. Leah selected a Hunter one.”
James leans back in his chair. “Awww, fuck. I didn’t know that.”
“But don’t worry, because Leah will never wear it again after she dumped it in the lost and found at the arena,” she shares.
“I can pay for it. I didn’t mean to hurt or upset either of you. Maybe I should try calling or texting her again.”
“We know reaching out isn’t going to make a difference. You burned that bridge, and we’re getting off track. Let’s get back to last night. What happened?” I ask.
James releases a deep sigh. “So, a bunch of people came over to our place, and we had a sort of welcome party.”
“Sort of? You’re leaving out the important details.” I already suspect where this is going. “Tell me who was in your room that shouldn’t have been.”
Bella’s shoulders sag at that news. “Oh, James.”
“Where was Ben?” I wonder. “I told you we need to make sure we include him with everything. You know better than to screw around with someone else’s girlfriend. She’s off limits.”
“I don’t know where he was. He bailed on joining us after dinner. Angela said they had a fight or something. She was there drinking with Jess and Fin. We were all playing games and shit.”
“They broke up?”
“I have no idea.” He hangs his head briefly. “I remember going into my room with a blonde. I don’t recall her name, but I think she was one of the bartenders working at the main pool bar yesterday. I guess Angela followed us in there. One thing led to another . . .”
“You guess? Jesus, Cap. What are you doing?” I ask. “Their relationship status doesn’t matter.”
“I know. It’s not good, especially when we’re golfing together later today.”
Bella gasps. “Oh my goodness.”
“Well, the only thing working for you is that they were off to a rocky start. So, maybe it’s for the best. Ben doesn’t need whatever game she’s playing with you.” I pause, taking another bite.
“I don’t want to play any games with her,” James states adamantly. “Or upset Ben.”
“Then you should have kept your dick to yourself, but you didn’t, and now here we are. Let’s hope the blonde is single, and we don’t have an angry boyfriend or husband showing up here to beat your ass.”
“She said she was single. I think. Maybe . . . did I ask?” He ponders as his brow furrows, attempting to recall significant details from last night. “I remember asking someone, but I can’t remember if it was her or not. She wouldn’t have been there if she wasn’t single, right?”
“You’re not reassuring at all.” There’s a knock on our villa door, and I push away from the table to answer it. “You’ll be lucky if that isn’t him.”
“We don’t even know if that guy exists, and how would he find me here, anyway?”
“Really? You’re unbelievable sometimes.”
“Did you see the team chat?” James asks.
“No. I haven’t even looked at my phone. I’ve been a little busy.”
“I got a message from Coach and posted in the chat that we have a teambuilding activity before everyone goes out on their own today.” He waves toward the door. “So, that’s probably some of the guys.”
“A little?” Bella smirks before taking another sip from her glass, then mumbles, “Try a lot.”
I focus back on James. “You need to talk with Ben. Don’t ignore it and let this become a bigger thing than it is. Even if he isn’t into her or they’re on the verge of ending it, you crossed a line.”
“Okay. I’ll talk to him. I promise,” he says.
After I walk through the living room area and look through the peephole, I’m not surprised to see Ben on the other side and open the door. “Hey, man.”
“Hey, Spider. Is Cap here? He posted in the chat that he is staying with you.”
“Yeah, come in. He’s eating breakfast.” I nod toward the kitchen area. “Do you want something to eat? A juice or something?”
“I don’t know. My stomach is messed up after yesterday. Maybe juice,” he says, leaning against the kitchen island.
Opening the refrigerator door, I scan the selections. “I have a bunch of combination juices. This one has celery. It would be good for—”
“Oh, I’ll take that. Thanks.” Ben nods.
“Where’s . . . uh, Angela?” I wonder, even though I suspect she stayed in James’s room.
Ben shrugs and uncaps the bottle. “I have no idea. She never came back last night or showed up this morning. Maybe she has plans with Jess. I probably shouldn’t say it, but I kind of don’t care, you know?”
So, that doesn’t technically sound like they broke up, which will complicate James’s situation.
“Yeah, I get it.” At least I hope I do. When there’s another knock on our door, I wave him toward where James and Bella are sitting. “Go ahead. I’ll be right there.”
Once I open the door, I find Marcus and Demir on the other side.
“Hey, Spider. Cap said we’re meeting here for golf, but then there was a message about a team meeting of some sort?” Marcus asks.
“Hey, Volts. Yeah. Come in. He’s here, but we’re still finishing breakfast. Where’s Deedee today?” I close the door behind them.
“She went to a yoga class with Jess.”
“Hey, Fin.” When I notice the distressed look on his face, I ask, “What’s wrong?”
“Hey, Spider. I’ve got trouble.” Demir looks at Marcus who nods for him to continue. “Jess found the ring. She claims by accident.”
“Oh, shit. Why didn’t you put it in your room safe?” I wonder.
Marcus chuckles. “That’s what I said.”
“What did you say when she found it?”
“I was shocked and told her the first thing I could think of—that I was holding it for Johnny,” Demir shares.
While Jonsu is one of his best friends, this could lead to a whole host of problems.
Demir nods. “When Jess realized that meant the ring was for Chelsea, she went off about what an ugly ring it was and that it was too soon for him to be proposing to her. Then she just stopped talking, slamming drawers while getting ready this morning. I don’t know what to do now. Is she saying that it’s too soon for me to propose to her? Or should I buy another ring here? I’ve got to fix this. I can’t have her not talking to me the whole trip.”
“It’s not an ugly ring,” Marcus defends, having offered input in its ultimate selection. “I’m positive if she hadn’t found it, Jess would have a different opinion. It’s just an unfortunate situation.”
“Okay. Do either of you need anything? Juice? Water?” They both shake their heads, and I wave them toward the table on the balcony to join the others. “Let’s go sit down. I promise, Fin, we’ll figure it out.”
After we exchange morning greetings, I return to my breakfast while Demir shares his predicament with Bella, but James offers his advice first.
“If Jess is a few glasses of champagne in before you propose, do you think she would remember the details of the ring? Did she really look at it that closely?” James asks.
I raise my eyebrows. “I’m not sure you should be giving advice to anyone, especially when alcohol is involved.”
He shrugs. “I’m just saying that could help.”
I look at Demir. “And I’m saying you don’t want a drunken acceptance.”
“Or she could recognize the ring and say no thinking it’s recycled, as in—Johnny bought it for Chelsea and she turned him down,” Ben suggests, shaking his head. “You can’t use that ring.”
“Yeah.” Demir nods, considering the advice, then turns to Bella. “Doc, what do you think?”
“Well, first of all, congratulations. I’m happy for you and excited for Jess.” She smiles. “I understand your concerns, but I have to wonder if there is a special custom or Finnish tradition that you’re overlooking or would normally do when getting engaged?”
Demir’s face brightens at the thought. “Yeah, in Finland, it is different—the opposite of American traditions. We would both have gold engagement bands, then a special ring for only the bride on the wedding day.”
Bella’s smile widens. “That’s really sweet. Why don’t you do that instead? It would be unique to give her a piece of your culture and a proposal like no other.”
“But she’s American.”
“And you’re not,” Bella points out. “This engagement is about both of you. Maybe this is the best way to remind her of that. Are you planning a trip to Finland together?”
“Yeah. Once the season is over, I’m taking her this summer to meet my family.”
“Then I vote for purchasing two gold bands here and proposing using those.”
“Jess won’t be upset that it isn’t a diamond ring?”
Bella shakes her head. “Not if you explain your tradition—then it will give you a chance to select a ring with her advice for your wedding day. The jewelry store where you purchased it will probably accept a return toward the purchase of another ring. Plus, being a hockey player, I would imagine that wearing an engagement ring could be a challenge for you.”
Demir nods his head slightly. “I would wear it any chance I could. I want everyone to know we’re committed to each other.”
“Then I believe you have your answer.”
At the realization, Demir’s mood lifts and a slow smile spreads across his face. “You’re right. I do.”
“See, I told you we would figure it out.” I wrap an arm around Bella and pull her closer.
“Well, Doc did. Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” Bella grins.
“We can find something after golfing today,” Marcus promises Demir, then shifts his attention to James. “What’s the team meeting about?”
“It’s something Coach arranged in one of the meeting rooms. His message said it’s optional, but you know it isn’t,” James explains.
Looking down at our empty plates, I realize our departure is inevitable. I’m not looking forward to being away from Bella for any length of time, but I’m more surprised she ate her entire steak as she finishes the last of her eggs.
There’s no keeping the smile from my face and wink. “You were hungry.”
“It was so good. Thanks again for cooking James.”
He grins. “You’re welcome, Doc.”
After another sip of his juice, Ben asks, “Are we ready to go? What time are we supposed to be there?”
“We’re probably late.” James stands from his spot. “Let’s get going.”
Bella waves toward our dishes. “Don’t worry, I’ll clean up everything here, then chill at the beach.”
“You don’t have to worry about those.” I shake my head, combine our empty dishes, and stack the silverware and glasses on my plate. “Housekeeping will be here to clean and straighten everything later. I think they are scheduled to check on us twice a day, but I’ll add our stuff to the dishwasher as we leave.”
“Okay. That works too. Come find me when you’re ready for tennis. I’ll be the one with the margarita in hand.” She wiggles her eyebrows.
“Brunch. It’s like a Mexican mimosa. So I think it’s allowed. I loved that cucumber jalapeno one I had last night. It’s like your green juice or a healthy cucumber water with a kick.”
“Have whatever you want.” I chuckle at her reasoning, then kiss her waiting puckered lips. “I’ll find you when we’re done. You know I can’t stay away.”
Her grin widens. “I’m counting on it.”