Common Goal (Game Changers #4)- Rachel Reid Page 0,1
in the end.
Long after the game had ended, and after Coach Murdock had talked to the team—which included praising Tommy for his efforts—Eric was sitting in his stall wearing half of his navy Ted Baker suit. The shirt collar was unbuttoned, and his tie hung loose and open around his bent neck. He absently rotated his wedding ring, which he couldn’t quite bring himself to stop wearing.
Eric didn’t need to raise his head to know that Scott Hunter had sat himself next to him. “Hi.”
“You doing okay? I mean, besides the game tonight. Anything bothering you?”
Nope. Being freshly divorced and staring down the barrel of my forty-first birthday is awesome. “No. Just an off game.”
Scott clapped him on the shoulder. “You’ll be back on top in the next game.”
Eric nodded. He would make sure of it.
“You’re coming tomorrow night, right?” Scott asked.
As much as Eric did not feel like going to an engagement party for Scott and his fiancé, Kip, he forced a smile and said, “Definitely. Of course. Can’t wait.”
Scott beamed at him. Scott had been doing a lot of smiling in the past couple of years since he’d fallen in love with Kip Grady. It had been a lonely, closeted life for Scott before he’d decided to risk it all for a chance at happiness with the man he’d met in a smoothie shop. Eric was one of the first people that Scott had come out to, and Eric didn’t take that lightly. He was thrilled for Scott, even if the institution of marriage hadn’t been Eric’s favorite thing lately.
“Good,” Scott said, still smiling. “Let’s put this game behind us, all right? And we’ll all have fun tomorrow night.”
Eric gave him a wry smile. “Even me?”
Scott laughed. “Even you, Benny. I’ll make sure of it.”
* * *
Kyle Swift glanced across the table for the millionth time that morning. He couldn’t help it. These study dates with Kip were always completely unproductive for him. He spent far more time studying Kip’s face than his own notes.
Kip was engrossed in something on his laptop, his hazel eyes darting back and forth as he read. He had dark stubble on his cheeks and jaw today, which Kyle liked, even though it made Kip’s dimples less noticeable. And, oof. Kyle had spent too much of the past couple of years contemplating those dimples.
Kip’s face turned up, and Kyle quickly dropped his gaze to his own laptop screen.
Kyle wasn’t sure why he tortured himself like this. Just because he and Kip were both working on their MA degrees in history didn’t mean they needed to have these ridiculous study dates. They weren’t even going to the same university. Kyle would spend most of their first hour together stealing glances at Kip, and then Kip would get bored and start asking Kyle questions that had nothing to do with their academic pursuits. It was the conversations that always did Kyle in. The easy way they talked to each other and laughed together, because they had so many things in common. Because Kip was funny and warm and a total sweetheart. Because he was absolutely perfect for Kyle in all the ways the men Kyle usually dated weren’t.
Too bad Kip was engaged.
Kyle glanced up and was attacked by one of Kip’s cute, dimply smiles.
“Hey, there you are. I’m going to get a refill.” Kip waved his empty coffee mug in the air. “You want one?”
“Actually,” Kyle said slowly, “I need to get going.”
“Oh.” Kip frowned.
“But I’ll see you at the party tonight.”
Kip’s smile returned. “I can’t believe I’m engaged!”
“I don’t know what you see in that guy,” Kyle said dryly.
Kip sighed dramatically. “I know. But a man reaches a certain age, sometimes he has to settle, y’know?”
“Twenty-eight. Is that the age you mean?”
“I don’t want to be a spinster.”
“It’s kind of you to marry that gorgeous millionaire athlete.”
“I know,” Kip said solemnly. “I’m very brave.”
They both laughed, and Kyle did his best to ignore the ache in his heart.
“Maybe you’ll meet your future husband tonight,” Kip suggested playfully.
“Uh-huh. I’ll see you later.” Kyle shoved his laptop into his backpack and slung the bag over his shoulder.
“Your dream man might be there! Keep an open mind.”
My dream man will definitely be there. That’s kind of the problem. Which, of course, Kyle did not say. Instead he said, “I’ll wear something nice just in case.”
“You always look nice.”
Kyle’s heart clenched. “Don’t make Scott jealous.”
Kip snorted like that was the most absurd idea in the world. Kyle supposed