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Tell Me A Story
Author: Kaylee Ryan







“Once upon a time,” I start, and the group, my best friend, Caleb, and some of my new teammates, erupt in laughter.

We’re sitting outside around the fire at Caleb’s house, which is my house now, too, since I’ve been traded to the Kansas City Ramblers. When you’re traded in the professional football league, there is no time to shop around for a house. Training camp started two days later. I had no choice but to get my ass to Kansas City. Thankfully, Caleb was all too willing to let me stay with him.

I was drafted to the Chicago Thunder right out of college. I was butthurt when they traded me, but that’s the thing about a career in professional sports. It’s business, not personal. The Thunder needed a quarterback and did what they had to do to make that happen. As I sit here with my best friend since freshman year of college and my new teammates, I can’t find it in me to be mad. I miss my old teammates, I miss my old team, but damn, it’s going to be nice playing on the same side of the field as my best friend again.

“Fuck off,” Caleb says, trying to hide his smile.

“No, don’t stop,” Jeff, the left tackle for my new team, says, holding his stomach.

“There were three of them,” I continue. “They were all over him, and his drunk ass tells them to drop their panties. I kid you not. All three did just that right there in the middle of the bar.” I grin when I see Caleb cover his face with his hands. He lived up to the hype of the football player, being, well, a player in college. Hell, we all did.

“Damn,” Dominic, one of the defensive linemen, speaks up. “Sounds like I went to the wrong college.”

“What about the time you hooked up with the cheerleader on the back of the bus?” Caleb tries to goad me, but we both know it won’t work.

“Good times,” I say, holding up my beer in salute, making him laugh. “There is no shame in my game,” I tell them. “I was single. Nothing wrong with a little action.”

“Not when it’s where we can all hear her,” Caleb accuses.

I shrug. “You know damn well that if she or any of the cheerleaders wanted to ride your cock, you’d have done the same thing.” A chorus of agreement pipes up around me, including from Caleb.

Sex is a beautiful thing, and there is no shame in having lots of it. Two rules. Both of you need to be single, and always wrap it before you tap it. I’m not really a relationship kind of guy. I’ve got women throwing themselves at me daily, and I’m gone a lot. I know some of the guys make it work and are happy even. However, there are just as many that end in divorce. I may not be one for relationships. However, if I ever do find the one, if I ever take the plunge and settle down, she’s going to be it for me. I’ll make damn sure she knows how much she means to me. I refuse to be a statistic of a pro athlete and end up divorced. That shit is fucked-up. I’ve seen it happen too many times. Besides, I was raised by a single mom. I know the toll it takes on not only the parents but the child.

“Do they think that’s what we want?” Alan, an offensive lineman, asks. “They have to know that letting us fuck them whenever wherever does not make them wife material.”

“You looking to wife up, Jones?” Caleb questions, calling him by his last name.

“Yeah, I mean, isn’t that how life works? You meet someone worth taking home, you marry them, have a house full of babies, and live happily ever after, and all that shit?”

“Jones here is the resident romantic of the Ramblers,” Caleb explains.

“Nothing wrong with a little romance,” Jeff chimes in. “That doesn’t mean you have to wife them.”

“Why put forth the effort if they’re not worth having around for the long haul?” Alan asks.

“Smart man.” Dominic points at him with his water bottle that looks like a mini version in his large hands. “And if they’re not wife material, we don’t have to put in the effort. There are too many warm and willing football groupies to have to even try.” I see him shrug through the light of the fire.

We’re jaded, like most pro athletes, from the scandals and the jersey chasers who try to latch on to us for fame, or as their meal ticket. I’m sure if there were women around to hear this conversation, they’d be appalled at our reasoning, but it’s our reality. The one that we live day in and day out. You know those rumors you hear about fans sneaking into celebrities’ and athletes’ homes lying naked in their beds? Yeah, that shit really happens. Never to me, but I did have a woman drop her trench coat as I approached my car in the lot one night after an away game. She was buck naked, standing there begging me to take her. I didn’t, in case you were wondering. I was exhausted from the game and the long-ass flight home. I just wanted a shower to rinse off the travel and my bed.

My own father was a loser, as was my best friend’s dad. He played in the league, a damn good player too, but he played just as hard off the field as he did on. It’s not just the women, but the parties too. There are some guys who live for that shit.

“None of you are married or attached?” I ask my new teammates. A variety of “nope, no, nah, and not me” greets my ears.

“What about you?”

“Unattached,” I tell them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to settling down, but it’s hard to find someone who’s worthy of taking home to your momma when you’re on the road or at practice six to seven months out of the year. I don’t indulge in the groupies as much as I did in college, or hell, even when I was first drafted. That shit gets old fast. I’m not a saint. I still have the casual hookup, but they know the score, and they’re good with it. They want to say that they slept with Brock Williams. I’m bragging rights for them.

Gotta love the life of a professional athlete.

Most of the guys in committed relationships met their girl in college and some in high school. They’ve been with them before they became a household name. I wasn’t that guy. That’s fine. I have five, maybe six years left to play. Football is hard as hell on your body. Maybe then, once I’m no longer in the limelight, I might find a nice girl and settle down.

“This has been real, fellas,” Hank, the center says, standing from his Adirondack chair. “I’m heading home.”

That starts a chain reaction as all the guys stand and say their goodbyes. “I’m glad you’re here, brother,” Caleb says, leaning his head back against his chair and staring up at the night sky. “Going to be a good season with us on the same team.” He holds his hand out for me to bump, and I don’t disappoint, making a fist and pressing it against his.

“Yeah,” I agree. “The guys all seem nice. I expected training camp to be a bitch, but everyone was pretty chill.”

“They are,” he agrees. He starts to say something else when his phone rings. “It’s Joey,” he says, referring to his little sister. “Hey, sis,” he answers.

I’ve met Josephine Henderson a handful of times while we were in college. She’s four or so years younger than us, so she was graduating from high school as we were leaving college. She’s a cute girl, if my memory serves me correctly.

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