Home > When I Need You (Need You #4)(8)

When I Need You (Need You #4)(8)
Author: Lorelei James

Heather hadn’t decided whether these new ambassadors would have to learn all our dance routines and cheers, and she wanted feedback from the half dozen of us who’d been cheering the longest. Since the Vikings big bosses were also in the same offices, I’d had to change out of my usual athletic clothing into a business suit and heels. I rarely wore makeup to my day job, so I’d had to put on my game-day face and hairstyle.

My smart-ass students whistled at me as I tried to duck out of the gym undetected.

On the way to the offices I downed a protein shake and an apple. I never counted on a free lunch.

The meeting wasn’t very productive. All six of the cheerleaders were opposed to bringing an additional fifty women into our practices. The corporate bosses wanted it to appear as if the ambassadors had just wandered off the field and were real cheerleaders. Even Heather had bristled at that. But she’d been prepared for it—she handed the CFO’s assistant the revised costs for the ambassador program. Daisy and I exchanged a look, doubtful they were willing to fork out more money. But football coaches didn’t work for free; why would they expect cheerleading coaches to work additional hours without additional pay?

The meeting ended shortly after that.

Daisy and I lingered in the main entrance. Unlike me, Daisy didn’t have to change into business clothes for this meeting since she worked in the actuarial department of Wells Fargo Bank and lived in a suit and heels.

I said, “Well, that was a cluster.”

“I suspected it might be.”

“I overheard Rebecca say the ambassadors have to deliver food. I’ve done my time serving nachos and buffalo wings to half-drunk sports fans, thank you very much.”

“I never served food. Cocktails for a while.” Daisy lowered her voice. “Until I figured out stripping paid a helluva lot more.”

I laughed. Daisy’s stripper days were far behind her, but they had paid for her MBA—not something she freely shared.

“You mentioned something weird happening last night,” she said.

Before I answered, loud male voices echoed to us. A voice I recognized. My face broke into a huge smile. I hadn’t seen Dante in three weeks; he’d been off on official team business. My smile faded when I saw who accompanied him.

Jensen Lund.

Daisy said, “Dante’s moving up if he’s working with The Rocket.”

I kept my cool even when Dante picked me up in a bear hug and spun me around.

“Heya, gorgeous! I was just thinking about you. I’d planned on popping in to the U of M training center and seeing what’s what.”

“Same old grind. We’re down to two weeks before the seniors’ graduation, so anyone in particular in that class you want to wish well, you’d better get in there next week.”

“I’ll do that.” Dante’s gaze winged between me and Daisy. He grinned at her. “Daisy, baby, when you gonna wise up and go out with me?”

“Never.” She patted his smooth face. “But it is precious how you just keep trying.”

“I will catch you in a weak moment.” He remembered he wasn’t alone. “Ladies, you know Jensen Lund.”

I’d yet to meet Jensen’s gaze—although I’d felt his boring into me, as he tried to figure out why I was here.

“Jensen, I’m sure you recognize two of the Vikings’ finest cheerleaders.”

That was when I looked at Mr. Oblivious.

His jaw tightened and he gritted out, “You’re joking, right?”

Dante seemed confused. “Why would I joke about that?”

I locked my gaze on Jensen’s as I spoke to Dante. “Because then The Rocket would have to admit that he doesn’t pay attention to anything as trivial as cheerleaders when he takes the field, isn’t that right?” I broke eye contact and looked at Dante. “He’s run past me . . . a dozen times each season. We’ve attended the same corporate events every year since he was drafted. Oh and here’s another irony . . . I also cheered for him at the U of M. So imagine how awkward it was for me last night when he introduced himself as if we’d never met.”

Silence.

Daisy stepped between us and addressed Dante. “I’d suggest in addition to scheduling physical therapy you make an appointment to get The Rocket’s eyes examined.” She took my elbow and led me away.

She didn’t release me even when we reached the parking lot. “Daisy—”

“Not a word until we’re inside my car.”

Great.

Daisy’s “car” was an enormous Lincoln Navigator. I fought the tight fit of my pencil skirt as I clambered into the passenger seat.

“Buckle up. We’re getting out of here so Dante doesn’t get the bright idea of running interference between you two.”

“It’s not like Lund plans to chase me down.”

She peeled out and pulled into a Caribou Coffee drive-thru. We were quiet until we had our drinks—iced coffee with a splash of cream and a shot of sugar-free caramel syrup—and she’d parked. Immediately she faced me. “Please tell me meeting Jensen Lund was the weird thing that happened to you.”

“Of course it was.”

“Spill the deets.”

I told her all of it.

“Wait. I thought Axl Hammerquist lived across the hall from Martin.”

“He did.” I sucked down a big sip of coffee. “But I guess Axl moved out last year when he married Jensen Lund’s sister.”

“I remember reading about that wedding. It was like the social event of last summer.”

For me, reading the paper took a backseat to reading books to Calder. “If you say so. At first I thought Martin hadn’t mentioned it because of my aversion to football players. But now, I suspect he didn’t say anything because Lund doesn’t really live there. It’s probably his place for hookups instead of at his bajillion-dollar mansion.”

“Maybe. But his ego’s really so huge he doesn’t notice the people who’ve been on the sidelines his college and pro career?”

“Apparently.”

Daisy tapped her icy-pink fingernails on the side of her drink cup. “So what are you going to do?”

“About what? If I happen to run into him in the hallway I’ll be polite. I don’t want Martin to have to deal with ‘why is your sister such a bitch?’ questions just because it stung my ego that Jensen Lund doesn’t know me.”

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