Hotshot - Ahren Sanders Page 0,2

they sparkle. Like my little brother, I have the crucial need to protect her from the bullies and jackasses at their school.

“Tell me more about this girl giving you a hard time,” I ask gently.

“It’s stupid really. She’s a junior and thinks she’s hot shit. Apparently, she’s not over her ex-boyfriend. The day he asked me out, I was suddenly the focus of her nastiness. Even when I turned him down, she still found a way to label me a slut.”

There’s a bite in her words, reminding me how cruel and callous high school girls can be.

“I mean, really,” she continues. “I’m a cancer patient with a lot more on my mind than a stupid football game.”

“Hey!” Nick slaps his hand to his heart, acting hurt. “There is nothing stupid about football.”

“I may rethink my stance on the sport since my new BFF is a rising star.”

“That’s better.” He winks and reaches for the deck of cards. “Now, you can watch me beat this lug in poker.”

“No way! I asked him a question. It’s his turn to answer.”

I look at her, trying to remember her question.

“I asked you to tell me about yourself.”

“Not much to tell. Junior in college, pretty sure I’m going to law school. After that, who knows?”

“Snore-bore! Tell me something more interesting, like where you’ll take me on our first vacation together?”

I whip my head to her and then back to my brother, who is grinning like a loon.

“W-w-what?” I stutter.

“Where are you taking me? I hope it’s tropical. I love the beach.”

I suck in a breath, not sure how to respond. Is she serious?

Nick starts laughing and gives her a high five. “Well played,” he tells her.

“The look on your face is priceless!” She points to me.

“Don’t worry, Ren. She did the same thing to me. It’s her way of getting our minds off the cancer.”

I lean back and blow out a breath, then smile at her. “You’re a cool chick. Not many people can shock me.”

“Part of my charm. My parents are constantly rolling their eyes.”

“You do seem like a handful.”

“I’m blunt and spicy. It makes for more fun.”

“I bet,” I agree.

She chews on her lip and stares at me intently, her face now unreadable. Then she speaks. “I think I know what you should do after law school. Do you like sports?”

I shoot her my best ‘are you kidding’ look.

“You should do the fancy law school thing, but afterwards come out and be a sports agent with the legal knowledge. You can manage Nicky’s career when he goes pro after college. But you have to make sure he gets drafted somewhere awesome, preferably close to home. He can kick some of his teammates your way. We live in Miami, so there are tons of athletes here. You can build a business close to us.”

Her statement surprises me again. She knows of Nick’s dream to be a professional football player? He’s very quiet about his goal, especially since he’s missing his freshman season because of the fucking cancer. I look over to him, seeing he’s now biting on his thumbnail, watching me.

But her idea sends a jolt of excitement through me. She’s laid out exactly what I want to do.

“I think you may have carved my career path,” I tell her and place my hand on Nick’s knee. “Your girlfriend is pretty smart.”

“Eww! Stop with the girlfriend thing. He’s not my type.” She sighs. “I’m into older guys.”

This time when she wiggles her eyebrows, I get her teasing and laugh with them.

We spend the next two hours joking around and playing poker. When I run out of money, I have to give my hat to Lizbeth as payment. She seems satisfied until she starts to pale, and sweat breaks out on her forehead. Nick leans over and looks in her bag then cusses under his breath.

“She needs a Coke,” he tells me. “She loves Coke.”

I jump up, ready to do whatever it takes to make her feel better.

“Shaw,” she says weakly. I turn back and suck in a breath at her now exhausted appearance. “I want a nickname, too.”

Without a beat, it comes to me. “Bizzy. You’ll be Bizzy.”

She nods and closes her eyes. Nick gives a small smile. “I like Bizzy. She’ll be our Bizzy, forever.”

I walk to the cafeteria with a heavy heart. My brother has had two days with this precious girl and has already shared his deepest dreams. I’ve spent a little over two hours with her, and she has suggested