Talkin' Trash
Page 7

 Lani Lynn Vale

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But Conleigh was an adult now.
There was no goddamn reason in hell I couldn’t pursue her if I wanted to.
“…saw a picture of her on the back of your bike. How many freakin’ times do I have to tell you to have safe sex?” my father continued to rant.
I had no idea what he was talking about.
My brain was too oxygen-deprived to process it, though, not to mention I was getting angry at my father for butting in—again.
“Listen, I’ll call you back when I get back home from my run,” I grumbled.
Now just wasn’t the time.
This was my time. The time where I did what I wanted while I thought about nothing but the goddamn audiobook I was listening to.
I’d made it another hour before I decided that I’d run far enough.
Tonight, I’d hit the gym, and I didn’t want to be too tired to do the leg work out that I planned to do, and if I pushed myself any harder on the run, I might very well get to that point.
Slowing down to a walk for the last mile, I breathed deeply and waited for my heart rate to go back to normal.
My phone pinged again in my ear, but I ignored it.
Messages and calls were a normal thing for me.
They were certainly normal when my publicist was trying to get me to agree to give interviews that I didn’t particularly want to give.
It was getting to the point where I was about to tell her not to call me for at least two weeks because she was aggravating me so badly.
Then again, everyone was fucking annoying me at that point.
Everyone but one woman who refused to answer my texts.
A woman who had a very good reason to.
A woman I’d screwed over—badly—once upon a time, but was determined to make something happen with somehow, someday.
If I could only get her to talk to me…
Surprisingly, miracles did happen, even for already lucky guys like me.
Because, when I got home from my run, Conleigh was standing on my front porch examining my bushes, and I forgot everything that I was supposed to do that morning.
Calling my father back was put on the back burner. Answering the twenty-five emails that my publicist had sent while on my run was pushed to tomorrow. Oh, and going to the clubhouse for a party? That was definitely put off as well.
“Uhhh.” I hesitated at the bottom of the drive, unsure what to say. “What’s up, Conleigh?”
I didn’t want her to leave because I said something stupid, so I settled for something that wouldn’t make her go for my throat.
She looked over at me. “Are you aware that our houses look exactly alike?”
I grinned as sweat dripped down the length of my face. “Yes. I noticed that when I came over to take you to lunch and you blew me off, remember?”
Conleigh flushed bright red. “So…about that.”
I started up the driveway and walked—stalked—toward her.
When I got to her, I stopped and crossed my arms over my bare chest, very aware that the move put the muscles of my arms on display.
She didn’t disappoint. She looked, and she liked what she saw.
Then again, our attraction to each other had never been one of our problems.
We wanted each other. Badly. But both of us were too afraid to admit it.
It was the other stuff that didn’t come as easy. Like the fact that she hated what I represented—a rich man who wasn’t easy to push around and who didn’t like that she was trying so fucking hard to do everything on her own when it would be easy for someone like me to help her.
The stubborn little shit.
“Can we go inside?” she asked, her eyes warily scanning around my neighborhood.
The area where I lived was a quiet neighborhood in Bear Bottom, Texas—about a forty-minute drive from where Conleigh lived in Kilgore.
She was looking around like someone was going to pop out of the bushes and take a picture of her, plastering her all over the papers.
“Conleigh,” I laughed. “Nobody is going to take your picture again.”
I say again, because it had happened before.
A few days after I was drafted number one by the first team that I played with, I’d gone to see Conleigh at her work.
I’d been excited, and I’d wanted to share that with her.
Unfortunately for me, I’d literally just became the hottest commodity to women everywhere because of my pretty face and muscular body—not to mention the promise of that big paycheck I’d be bringing in.
All it took was one single picture of the two of us together, with me hugging her tightly to my body, and she was labeled as a poor girl that I had befriended because she was on the outs with her parents.
From there, my diehard fans began doing their own research.
Females, ages eight to sixty-three, dragged poor Conleigh through the mud, and it was all because of that one innocent picture.
“About that…” She snatched the keys out of my hand before I could even head in the direction of the door. “We need to talk.”
My brows rose as I watched her use my keys to open the door and then followed her into my house. I winced when I saw how dirty it was.
I’d slacked since we’d lost last week, and I felt bad about it now.
I hadn’t wanted my housekeeper to come in and clean it because I didn’t want to talk to my good friend’s wife when I still couldn’t hide how damned disappointed I was that we’d lost.
She’d force me to talk, and honestly, I was not in the mood to talk to anyone.
Well, anyone except the girl looking around my house as if she was having a moment of déjà vu.
“It’s creepy, isn’t it?” I laughed as I threw the door closed. “Even the same paint colors.”
At least from what I could tell.
When I had been standing in front of her house as she’d opened her door, I could see inside, and I noted that her paint colors seemed to be the same neutral beige as my house, and the floor plan—at least what I could see of it—seemed to be the same as well.
“Wow.” She shook her head. “You even have black furniture like me, too.”
I had black furniture because it was the easiest thing to match. That, and black was one of my favorite colors.
Not that I didn’t want to talk to her about the floor plan, or how eerie it was that our houses were so similar, I wanted to know why she was there.
Between the way she was acting and her cryptic comments, I was beginning to get a bad feeling.
“So…” She hesitated. “I don’t know how to say this.”
My brows rose. “Say what?”
She looked down at her fingers and played with her fingernails for a short few seconds.
“Conleigh,” I growled, walking past her into the kitchen. Once I got there, I grabbed a bottle of water off the counter. “Just tell me.”
She followed me inside, and then took a seat at the bar where she folded her hands primly out in front of her.
I leaned my sweaty ass against the counter and watched as she gave me a slow perusal.
She stopped and stared a little longer than she should have at my dick, which caused it to twitch despite my near exhaustion.
She smiled, and her eyes finally met mine.
Those beautiful eyes had always captivated me, even when she was a sixteen-year-old hell-bent on convincing everyone that she was able to take care of herself.
“I don’t know how it happened, but at one point yesterday at work while I was trying to avoid the doctor that I went out on that date with…and, somehow, well…he now thinks that I’m pregnant with your baby,” she blurted.
I stared at her for a few long moments before I burst out laughing.
That explained all the calls this morning.
That also explained why I’d gotten over twenty emails in one hour from my publicist.
Damage control couldn’t be implemented if I wasn’t around to tell her what was going on.
What if Conleigh really was pregnant with my child, and I was happy about it? She couldn’t implement damage control if she didn’t know what damage she was controlling. She’d never issue a statement on my behalf saying that I didn’t love Conleigh and that she was a lying piece of shit—something she would never say regardless since she was much more professional about how she worded things than I was—if I hadn’t answered any of her emails to fill her in on the situation.