Wildcat: Chapter 15

SCARLETT

I THINK I HAD A TINY ORGASM

SCARLETT

The next morning, I ride with Dad to the arena. I have a small suitcase packed for the weekend. The team has an early practice, so I’m working half the day, and then we leave this afternoon for three exhibition games in three different cities.

The beginning of the season is always hectic. I hate that that knowledge makes me question if Leo really would have texted eventually. I know from Rhyse and from my dad just how consuming pre-season activities are with media, practices, and events. Plus, being here the past week, I’ve had a glimpse into Leo’s schedule.

I still maintain he could have texted, but I get it in a way I didn’t before.

In the break room, my coffee is waiting for me, like it’s been all week, and my stupid heart flutters in my chest. I can’t believe I have to spend the entire weekend traveling with the team. I can’t let anything else happen with Leo, but that’s easier said than done when he’s around.

Dad stops by my office after practice. “Busy?”

“No. I think I have everything ready. Anna took care of most of the travel arrangements before she left.”

“Good.” He motions with his head. “Come with me.”

In the back parking lot, an area has been roped off and people stand in a long line that leads to tables where the players are signing autographs. A local radio station is here playing music, and Wenzel, the Wildcat mascot, is doing cartwheels and high-fiving kids in line. Some of the ice girls are here too in their bright green sequined shorts.

“What is this?” I ask as Dad holds the door open for me.

“One of the pre-game events the Foundation does for members of the Wildcat Leaderboard Club.”

I arch a brow.

“The top tier season ticket holders. Throughout the season, there are a number of events they get exclusive access to, including seeing us off before our first game of the season.”

“Are you nervous?”

He nods as Blythe power walks up to us.

“Hey, Coach,” she says, “the DJ wants to do a quick interview with you.”

“I’m ready,” he says.

“Hi, Scarlett.” Blythe moves that excited and serious stare to me.

“Hey.” I wave.

“We need extra hands at the player table to snap photos and keep the line going. Any chance you can help?” She looks to me hopefully.

“Yeah, I can help.” My stomach dips as I spot Leo at one end of the table. He smiles at the kid in front of him and then stands and kneels for a photo.

“Have fun,” Dad says and shoots me that proud-father smile. That smile is the reason I’m giving up a weekend and traveling with the team. I should have said no, especially after what happened last night in Leo’s car. What is it about that car? But I love that my dad wants to share this with me.

“Great,” Blythe says. She walks me toward the players. I try to head to the opposite end of the table as Leo, but she points right at him. “Leo stands for every photo, so why don’t you help him and see if you can move things along a little faster. We have to wrap it up and get them on the plane in a few hours.”

“Got it.”

“Thank you. You’re a lifesaver.”

He looks up as I draw near. Twin girls with mini-matching Lohan jerseys stand in front of his table, looking at him like he is the dreamiest guy they’ve ever seen. Yeah, I know that look because I gave it to him once. Fine, more than once. And just last night. Groan. How am I going to be around him all weekend and not blush crimson red every time we’re in the same space?

“Can we have a picture with you?” one of them asks. Brown eyes widen with hope.

Leo answers enthusiastically, “Of course.”

The dad of the twins gives Leo an appreciative smile as he holds up his phone. Leo squats down, and the girls crowd in on either side of him.

“Would you like me to take one with all of you?” I ask the dad.

“That’d be great.” He hands over his phone and stands behind his daughters and Leo.

I stare at Leo through the phone. He’s dressed casually in a black jacket with his number embroidered on the right side of his chest in green and the Wildcat logo on the left. It dips low enough to reveal the black T-shirt underneath and molds over his shoulders and biceps, showing off his pro-athlete physique.

One I’ve seen and felt.

His hat is pulled down, not quite as low as he wore it the night at the bar, but enough that it’s putting a shadow over his face.

My cheeks flush as I realize this nice family is still waiting for me as I ogle Leo. I take three and then hand the phone back.

Leo immediately sits back down at the table for the next person in line. It’s a single guy who thrusts a jersey in front of him, and Leo chats him up while he signs.

I ask the guy if he wants me to take a picture, but he shakes his head and holds out the phone as he leans over the table to snap a selfie with Leo. We have a tiny break in the line. The next group is a large one, and they’re still with Ash, one table away.

Leo’s smile dims in the absence of fans, and he adjusts his hat. We ended things last night a bit awkwardly, with me telling him it couldn’t happen again, then letting him drive me home but making him drop me off a house down in case my dad was up. I might have kissed him again before I got out of the car, too.

What a mess.

He’s looking anywhere but at me when he asks, “How was your date last night?”

I don’t know if he’s really asking or trying to remind me that he fingered me in his car right after said date. Instead of answering, I step closer and quietly say, “You should turn your hat around.”

“What?” His brows pinch together, and he pins his hazel eyes on me.

“Turn your hat backward. That way in the photos, they’ll be able to see your face.”

He nods slowly, grips the bill of his hat, and twists it backward. I didn’t realize what I was asking for. Holy hell. Leo in a hat is sexy; Leo without a hat is even sexier, but Leo in a backward hat… I think I had a tiny orgasm.

The big group of girls finishes with Ash and starts our way. I step out of their path, which, thanks to the number of people now crowded in front of him, pushes me behind the table.

They each take a selfie with him, then several group photos. Leo takes it all in with a smile, even when one girl begs him to sign her stomach. I’m glad when they move along.

And so it continues. He’s humble and polite and either a really good actor or genuinely excited to interact with fans.

He spends almost ten minutes with an old man who won’t stop talking, and even as I intervene, giving Leo an out and trying to move things along for the people patiently waiting their turn, Leo refuses to walk away until the man pats him on the back and wishes him a good season.

We’re playing catch up for the next half-hour. The end of the line is in view, and I shift on my feet, wishing I’d worn different shoes today. Leo, who doesn’t miss anything, glances at me, and a smile pulls at his lips. He signs a foam finger, takes a photo, and then pauses on his way to his chair.

“Sit,” he says and motions to his seat.

“I’m fine.”

“We have a few minutes. That’s Ash’s girlfriend and her friends.” He pulls the chair out. “Sit.”

My pride would really like for me to insist on standing, but my toes are pleading for mercy.

I sit, take off my heels, and let out a groan. “Thank you.”

“Welcome.” He fidgets with a Sharpie.

If I’m going to be on a four-day road trip with him, I need to clear the air and make sure it won’t be awkward. Or less awkward, anyway.

No matter how much I want to dislike him or be angry at him for not telling me who he was that first night, or for kissing me and then leaving and then coming back and kissing me again, one thing is clear – Leo is a nice guy. It would be so much easier to forget about him if he wasn’t.

I decide to give him a peace offering. “He had food stuck in his teeth for an hour.”

“What?” Leo cocks his head to the side to look at me.

“My date last night. I couldn’t decide if I should tell him or not. Normally, I would, but first date, you know? I debated for too long, and I got really uncomfortable and nervous. I couldn’t even look at him. For thirty minutes, I probably didn’t hear anything he said.”

Leo laughs. It starts light and grows into a hearty, rich sound that breaks the uneasiness between us.

“That isn’t even the worst part,” I say.

He crosses his arms over his chest and waits for the rest.

“We sat at the bar after dinner, chatting and drinking. At one point, he leaned in like he was going to kiss me, and that’s when I finally decided to tell him. I held up my hand like this and cringed.” I reenact it, making a cross with my fingers like I’m warding off a dark spirit. “He recoiled back, and before I could explain, he’d paid our bill and called us an Uber.”

Leo is full-out laughing now, head thrown back.

“I don’t think I’ll be hearing from him again.” Not that I really want to. We didn’t really seem to connect, food-in-teeth disaster aside.

Movement beside us catches my eye. The line is moving again, so I stand and step into my shoes. Leo moves closer and takes my hand as I wobble.

His touch sends goosebumps racing up my arm. After I’m steady with my feet squeezed back into my heels, neither of us moves. It feels like there are a lot of unsaid things hanging between us, but neither of us speaks as I hold tight to his hand.

“Leo!” Someone calls to him, and I pull away and let out a long breath.

For the rest of the line, I keep my distance and take a dozen more photos of Leo with fans.

When the final person is through, Blythe thanks the guys, and Assistant Coach Peters lets them know they need to be at the plane in two hours.

“Busy day,” I say as we head back into the building.

“Yeah.”

The awkwardness has crept back in, and I don’t know what to say.

“Your car should be here by lunch.”

“Oh right. Thank you. I assume I can call and make a payment?”

He makes a non-committal hum. Not his problem. He’s done enough. I can figure out how to pay for it. I really hope it doesn’t wipe out my savings.

“Okay, well, guess I’ll see you later.” I swivel around to head toward my office.

“I’m glad,” he says from behind me.

I glance over my shoulder. Leo sidesteps down the hallway, eyes on me.

“What?”

His nice-guy smile morphs into something far cockier. “I know it makes me an ass, but I’m really glad your date was a disaster.”


Our first stop is Vegas. I sit next to my dad at the front of the plane and sleep most of the way there. It’s dark by the time we get to the hotel. The guys are in meetings or resting for their game tomorrow, which means I’m alone in my room and all too aware that Leo is somewhere not far away.

I call Jade to entertain me and to fill her in on my new weekend plans.

“Go out and have fun. You’re in Vegas.” She’s working at the bar and somehow waits on customers while also holding the phone out to FaceTime.

“By myself? I don’t think so.”

“Maybe ask Leo.” Her smirk is obnoxious, and I flip her off.

Mike comes into view next to Jade.

“Distracting my employee even when you aren’t here. Impressive.” He gives me a playful wink.

“Sorry, Mike. It was an emergency.”

“She’s in Vegas with a bunch of hockey players and bored. Can you imagine?”

“You’re a hockey fan?” Mike asks.

“Kind of,” I answer.

“Her dad is the coach of the Wildcats,” Jade fills him in. “She’s traveling with them this weekend.”

“No way.” Mike looks from me to Jade for confirmation.

“Yep.”

“You know, we’ve had a few players come into the bar in the past.”

“You don’t say?” My tone is all sarcasm, but apparently Mike didn’t recognize Leo Lohan either because he proceeds to tell me about the time Declan Sato stopped in, and another time some guy I’ve never heard of bought the entire bar drinks.

“No one else?” Jade asks. “Like Leo Lohan maybe?”

Mike crosses his arms. “No, don’t think Lohan has ever been here, but he’s a great player.”

Jade and I exchange a secret smile, but Mike gets called by a customer wanting another drink and walks off before we can tell him that Leo Lohan has, in fact, been there.

“Well, at least I’m not the only one that didn’t recognize him,” I say.

“How was the date last night?”

“Fine.”

“Sam said Chad was home by eleven.” She places a hand on her hip.

“He wasn’t really my type.”

“Your age, cute, nice, not a jock. He’s exactly the kind of guy you said you were looking for.” The smug smile on her face makes me narrow my gaze at her.

“Yes, yes. I know what I said.”

“It wouldn’t have anything to do with a charming hockey player who brings you coffee every day, would it?”

I stare down at the strip lit up below me. “I hate you.”

She laughs, a big, belly laugh that makes me smile despite myself.

Eventually, I climb into bed and flip through the channels on the TV. My eyes are finally starting to droop when my phone pings on the nightstand.

I grab it and freeze at the name on the screen. Leo Lohan.

I smile, then pull my mouth into a thin line. No, I’m not getting excited that the man figured out how to work his phone.

That lasts until I click on the text and read his words. Trying out this texting thing. Am I doing it right?

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