Gotta fucking love the weather here in Phoenix. Blue skies, eighty degrees, and a few white, fluffy clouds that will sometimes give you respite with cooling shade as they roll across the sky.
Dax and I stroll along behind Brooke and Bishop, who honest to fucking God are so into each other I’m surprised their souls haven’t melded or something. Ever since he brought her back from New York just a week ago, they’ve been attached to each other every fucking day. They returned to Phoenix to enjoy a week with only two home games and plenty of time in between for whatever bit of making up they had to do.
Although I’m not quite sure they were ever broken up. Didn’t seem that way. Bishop had texted me that Brooke went to New York to get her head back on straight and that he was going to help it along.
So he went there, screwed it back on apparently, and now they’re back.
When they asked me today if I wanted to go to the harvest festival over in Scottsdale, I thought why the fuck not? It’s not like I had anything better to do with myself.
The festival is set up along the canal with various vendors selling crafts, spicy food, and pitchers of margaritas. There’s live music, salsa dancing, and a host of kids activities going on. After the sun sets and it goes from eighty degrees to an awesome sixty-five, the bars and restaurants with outdoor seating will be packed. The trees will be lit in blue or white lights, and it’s a popular place for couples to come and hang out.
Dax, Legend, and I have come down here a few times and hit a couple of really great bars.
Brooke and Bishop veer right and head toward a booth that’s got handmade copper wind chimes. Dax and I mosey over as well.
“These are so pretty,” Brooke says, her fingers lightly trailing down one. The sound it produces is really nice.
“I’ll buy you one,” Bishop says, pulling his wallet out.
“No,” she says with a laugh, putting her hand on his arm and pushing it back toward his pocket. “I don’t need you to buy every single thing I say is pretty. Just because I say it’s pretty doesn’t mean I want it.”
Bishop leans over and nuzzles her neck, whispers something in her ear. Her face blushes a pretty pink and she swats at him, casting a furtive glance around him at Dax and me to see if we just heard what he said.
We didn’t, but I can guess it was something really, really dirty.
“I’m going to get another margarita,” Dax says to me while throwing a thumb toward Brooke and Bishop. “The Cleavers over there making moon eyes over each other are starting to get on my nerves.”
“I’m hungry too,” I say in agreement as we look around for the nearest food and alcohol vendor. We spot a place down a ways and I call back to the lovebirds. “We’ll be down there drinking when you’re done.”
Bishop waves in acknowledgment and we take off.
“Glad those two worked things out,” Dax observes as we plod along. “But they probably want some alone time, don’t you think?”
“Yeah,” I say. “And I don’t want to look at that arts and craft shit. I came for the food and liquor.”
“Yeah,” Dax agrees enthusiastically. “Because we’re real men.”
“Except Bishop,” I say with a snort. “He’s turned into a pussy.”
“And Legend,” Dax adds, which makes me guffaw.
Legend declined coming with us today because he’s doing some work on his house he’d bought. He took the plunge into home ownership very seriously and he’s been spending all of his free time painting, staining, refinishing, and refurbishing shit around his new place.
Up ahead is a stage and it looks like a new band is getting ready to start. A smallish dance floor has been cordoned off in front of it where earlier we watched some salsa dancers. The music starts as we put our orders in for huevos rancheros with spicy chorizo that are served on paper plates and margaritas in tall plastic cups.
We step off to the side, snag a high table, and listen for a while as we eat. The band is playing good ol’ classic country music, which is so not my thing, and I don’t recognize a single song so far. Apparently, though, the music is enough to entice people out onto the dance floor, and soon enough couples are two-stepping around in a counterclockwise circle.
“What do you want to do tonight?” Dax asks. I feel for him a bit. Bishop is his best friend and roommate, but Dax has been hanging with me since Brooke entered the picture. Now he regularly spends time with Legend and me on our nights off.
“The Sneaky Saguaro?” I suggest. It’s become our go-to hangout.
“Sounds good,” he says, and then gives a mock shudder. “But I’m always afraid that crazy bitch will show up.”
He’s talking about Nanette, of course. She’s become quite the menace to our team recently, and I’m eternally grateful that I never hooked up with her. Dax hasn’t said much about the few times he fucked her, but I take that to mean she wasn’t that great. Usually forward women like that are a lot of talk and are pretty much boring as shit in bed.
Still, regardless if I fucked her or not, that bitch still named me in a bogus sexual harassment lawsuit, so she better not show up. No telling what I’d do to her.
“Hey, Erik,” Dax says looking at something over my shoulder. “Isn’t that Blue? The flight attendant?”
I whip around so fast I fucking knock my margarita off the table and it goes flying into some low bushes. My eyes scan the crowd for her golden yellow hair and sexy-as-fuck body.
Dax laughs and says, “God, you have it bad for her.”
I so do, although I haven’t admitted that out loud to anyone. The fact she won’t give me the time of day makes her infinitely hotter to me for some reason.
Pure and simple, she’s become a challenge to me, because I’ve yet to meet a woman I want who hasn’t at some point yielded. I figure she’s playing hard to get, and I very much enjoy the chase.
Finally I see her through the crowd. She’s walking slightly bent over, perhaps carrying something heavy with both arms. For the life of me I can’t figure out what, and then the sea of people parts and I see her clearly.
She’s bent slightly because she’s pushing a wheelchair. In it is a young man, and although I couldn’t begin to guess his age, he’s definitely an adult. Then I notice a few other people in wheelchairs, each with someone pushing them. None of the people in the chairs are children, though. There are also a few adults that are ambulating with assistive devices like walkers or hand crutches.
“Think she works for a group home or something?” Dax asks, indicating that he sees what I see.
“No clue,” I tell him. “Maybe she volunteers there or something. I figure she has to make pretty good bank working on the team plane.”
“You’re probably right,” he says.
My food is forgotten and I don’t even think about getting a refill on my margarita. I happily stand at my table and just watch Blue. She pushes the wheelchair to the edge of the dance floor and bends down to say something in the man’s ear. I note his arms are contracted inward but he twists his neck to look at her. He smiles at her brightly and his head sort of jerks up and down, which I take to mean he likes whatever she just told him. He then extends an arm toward the dance floor. It doesn’t fully stretch out, but he makes a jabbing motion that way.
Blue grins at him and nods.
She locks the brakes on the chair, walks around to the front, and squats to lift up the footrests before moving them to the side. Blue gently sets his feet to the concrete, then stands, bends at the waist, and lets the man wrap his arms around her neck. She in turn places her arms around his waist, and with a mighty effort, pulls him up from the chair. His legs can’t extend fully, so Blue takes on a good deal of his weight, but they just stand there, face to face, swaying.
The man wanted to dance and Blue gave it to him.
She leans her head back to look at the guy, and he grins back at her with bright eyes. Blue wiggles a bit faster, swaying them both a little quicker, and I can actually hear the man’s laugh across the music.
Fuck . . . it might be the goddamned sweetest thing I’ve ever seen before.
“Oh no,” Dax says low and in warning. “I know that look.”
I don’t bother to give him my attention, keeping my eyes pinned on Blue. But I do ask him, “What look?”
“Your gaze just became predatory,” he says with a laugh.
“What the fuck ever,” I growl at him, but then I’m walking toward Blue.
No rhyme or reason.
The woman can’t seem to stand me within five feet of her, and yet I have to go say hello.
You know . . . just to be polite.
Although the song continues to play, Blue is lowering the man back into the wheelchair before I reach her. My guess is that wasn’t about Blue’s physical stamina but the man’s. She smiles up at the guy as she squats back down to get his feet situated in the rests, and then as she starts to rise, her eyes catch me as I close in.
The smile she’d been bearing for the man in the wheelchair slides right off her face, and she looks at me with distrust as I come to a stop beside her. I glance down at the man, who looks up at me with a happy smile. I smile at him, and then turn back to Blue. “Hey . . . was over there with Dax, Bishop, and Brooke, saw you over here, and thought I’d say hello.”
“Hello,” she clips out, then pushes past me so she can reach the brakes. She releases them without even looking at me again.
I bend down, get in her line of vision. “So . . . what are you doing? Out on a group trip?”
“Yup,” she says as she straightens.
“Gonna introduce me to your friend?” I ask with a charming smile, cutting a glance to the man in the wheelchair who is still grinning back at me. I want to show her I’m a people person through and through and she can stop being mad at me for some stupid words—I don’t even really recall what I said that pissed her off in the first place.
“Sure,” she says with a sugary smile, but her tone puts me on edge. Bending to the side, she gets the man’s attention and says, “Billy, this is Erik.”
Billy looks up at me. He has vivid blue eyes sparkling with joy and vitality. He smiles bigger, and his head jerks a bit as he drawls out a word that looks terribly difficult for him to say. “Hi.”
Blue turns to me. Making a sweeping motion to Billy, she says, “Erik, this is my brother, Billy.”
There’s no hiding the stunned expression on my face. In a million years, it never crossed my mind he was a family member. I had not thought about her as anything other than a hot-as-fuck flight attendant who I would like to join the mile-high club with.
I recover quickly, though. I squat down by the armrest of his wheelchair. Since I know from observation he can’t quite extend his arm, I reach out to him and take his hand. I give him a shake that makes him laugh. “Nice to meet you, Billy,” I say.
Glancing up at Blue, I find her watching me like a hawk, completely distrustful of any word or move I might make.
Looking back to Billy, I tell him, “You were dancing pretty good there.”
He grins bigger, and his head rolls back and forth as if what I said really pleased him.
Squeezing Billy’s shoulder, I tell him, “Nice meeting you, buddy. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
Standing up, I give Blue a gentle smile and take a step back. With a nod, I tell her, “You two enjoy your day, okay? Nice to see you.”
Now she’s the one with the stunned expression. I see it on her face just moments before I turn and walk away.
I’m glad I have several steps to take before I make it back to Dax, though. My fucking heart is pounding like a jackhammer operated by a steroid-driven construction worker.
Christ . . . Blue has layers to her that I never imagined.
That’s not what’s got me wired, though.
I’m wired because I really want to fucking peel away those layers and learn more about her.
Normally I’m all about peeling off the clothes, but I want so much more than that with Blue.
And that’s a first for me.