Yeah. I doubted that was going to happen.
“That’s too bad,” Coach Winston said. “I’ve talked with Owen a few times about meals for the team. He seems like a good man.”
I nodded. “He is.”
Reese gave me a small smile. “You mind giving us a minute?”
“Actually, I want to talk to both of you.” He turned to Reese first. “She’s been sleeping in your cabin?”
Reese explained about my cabin, about the fish smell, and about how my other option would be a janitor’s closet. When he finished, the room was silent.
Reese nodded. “Are you really shocked after just hearing what he said?”
“This guy.” Winston shook his head. “Fuck.” He looked at me. “What about your friend? The motivational speaker guy? Where does he stay?”
“He’ll stay in an extra room, but it’s on the guys floor. Keith would never let me stay in a room with players on the same floor. He assumes I’d try to have sex with every single one of them.”
His eyes got even bigger, his eyebrows even higher. “Are you joking?”
“I wish. He has a history of suggesting things like that.”
He rubbed a hand over his jaw, stepping back. “This guy should not be the head of this camp. If I had known he was like this, we never would’ve come here.” His eyes rested on Reese. “If the tabloids find out about her? About her staying in your cabin?”
“None of the staff will say anything,” I said. “The few who know are good friends. Plus, we’ve all signed an NDA. That basically says we can’t say anything about anything that happened here during the time you guys were here. We can’t even say you guys were here in the first place.”
Reese’s coach continued rubbing his jaw. “Do the guys know?”
Reese nodded. “A few. They won’t say anything.”
A warning flashed in his coach’s gaze. “If an incident happens? If we have to let someone go from the team? You know things can get dirty.”
Reese grimaced, but he didn’t respond.
“Goddamn.” His coach shook his head again, gesturing to me. “She has to stay somewhere else.”
“Where? You know what that guy is like. He’ll put her in the janitor’s closet.” Reese cocked his head to the side. “Your place? You’re rooming with the other coaches.”
“We have an extra bed. You can stay with us. Leave her your cabin—”
I shook my head. “No. No way. I’m not putting a camper out of his own cabin. Juan already moved out because of me. I will figure it out. I promise.”
“Where?” Reese demanded, both of them almost glaring at me.
“I’ll—I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out. Even if I have to drive to town for a hotel, I’ll do that. Or I can have Grant put a bed in Owen’s office. That’s easy. I’ll do that.”
Both of them were cursing.
“Owen offered me the guest bedroom in their house. It’s three nights. I can stay there. It’s no problem.”
No way in hell was I putting Owen out. If they had invited me as a guest, if I was here as a visitor, not staff, if Keith wasn’t such a dick and I knew he was banking on Owen and Hadley always offering up their guest bedroom—if any of those situations had been the case, I would’ve stayed there, but that wasn’t how things were. But I was no longer Reese’s problem. I knew that much too.
I would figure it out, even if I had to sleep in my car. It was camp. Maybe it was time I finally camped out? Problem solved. I could embrace my inner frozen tundra because end of October nights could get hella cold, but it wasn’t their problem to fix.
“I promise,” I said, a completely fake smile on my face.
They seemed to buy it, both nodding.
And Reese said I couldn’t lie.
“You are really bad at lying.”
Reese found me later that night, and he spoke up as I was bent over the back seat of my car. I screamed, whirling around before clamping a hand over my own mouth. I nearly dry heaved.
“You are a man,” I hiss-whispered, speaking around my hand. Still in danger of dry-heaving here. “You’re not supposed to sneak up on a woman, in a parking lot, at night. Never ever.”
Everyone had gone to bed. I’d waited a full hour in Owen’s office before making my move for my car. I could’ve carried a mattress to his office. They were lightweight enough, but there was something sketchy about sleeping in someone else’s office and using the main bathroom everyone used—staff, campers, the random visitor, the mail guys, delivery service. Plus, I wasn’t lying when I said the basement was haunted. I thought the kitchen was haunted too. There were weird noises when no one was supposed to be around. Spooky shit.
No way. I’d take my car.
Reese rolled his eyes. “You’re not supposed to lie to me, and I knew you were lying. You’re horrible at it.” He motioned to his eye. “You do this little twitch up here. Do you not know that? Has no one told you that?”
I glared at him. “I’ve spent the better part of the last eight years with someone whose brain was slowly going. If Damian knew, he didn’t remember to tell me.”
The slight smirk vanished.
Reese straightened up. “Sorry. That was an asshole comment.”
I waved it off. “It’s fine.” And I was back inside my car. I’d been in the process of spreading out a sleeping bag I’d grabbed from the lost-and-found. They were always laundered before going in there.
Reese moved around the car. The door across from me opened, and he grabbed the sleeping bag. “No way. You’re not sleeping in your goddamn car.”
“Stop cursing.” I yanked it out of his hands. “And I am!”
“Why? Fuck the rules. Just sleep in my cabin. I’ll stay in your cabin. I’m a man. I can handle it.”
I snorted. “I had to go in there earlier, and I could barely manage to grab the bag you packed. I almost vomited. You try to sleep in there and your coach will be really pissed, because you’ll be in the hospital. Trust me. Stay in your cabin. I can handle this. I might be sleeping in my car soon anyway, so I should start getting used to it.”
I hadn’t meant to say that.
He went still. “What are you talking about?”
“Nothing. I meant for the next three nights.” Was it three, or two? I did the math. Two. Everyone was leaving on the third day, or now the second day.
“You’re lying. Again.” He reached inside, his arm span putting mine to shame. He grabbed my bag, my phone, and my keys. Shutting his door, he came around, hip-checked me out of the way, and shut my door. “Let’s go.” He locked my doors.
When I didn’t start moving, he began guiding me forward. With his legs. His hips.
He was muscled. It was surprising for how lean he was, but he was six-three and all muscle.
“How many miles do you ball players run in a game?”
We were moving past the cars.
He stepped to my side, my bag slung over his shoulder. “Is that one of your questions?”
“No. I’m actually curious.”
He shrugged. “Maybe two miles? It’s give or take per game.”
Two miles per game? “How many games do you play per season?”
He grinned down at me. “We play eighty-two games per season. You want more stats?”
“Always.” Did he not know me?
“Forty-one at home, forty-one away. We have five games this preseason. Our last two are at home.”
We were walking behind the main lodge. There was no light to show us the way, but I knew it by heart. I didn’t have a flashlight and normally, I’d have the random island invaders in my head, or a deer running at night, or a skunk even, but it wasn’t happening now. Because of Reese.
He calmed me, and he was trusting me in return. We were halfway down the path, in complete darkness, before I realized the magnitude of what we were doing. I’d never walked a path in the middle of the night, with no moon shining through the trees, no flashlight, and not been freaked out.
I bit my lip. I wasn’t about to jinx myself now.
“What’ll your coach say?”
“I’ll deal with him.”
I started to look back, but yeah. No light. Total darkness. I could only see black where he was, so I veered close to him until our arms brushed. “Are you going to get in trouble?”
He sighed. “Why are you pushing this?”
The answer was immediate. “Because I don’t want to be a burden.”
He was quiet a second. “Why would you think you’re being a burden?”
I bit my lip again, mashing them together. I tasted blood.
His voice was low. “Who made you feel like a burden?”
I remained silent.
I had to grin at that. “That’s the first time you’ve said my name.”
“Yeah. It’s nice.”
He let out a strangled sound. “I feel like a dumbass. Jesus. I was calling you a gnat. I’m sorry.”
I shrugged, but remembered he couldn’t see. “We were going with the theme. Remember, I was your stalker in the beginning.”