Saving Maverick

By: Debra Elise

“Mav, you need to see this. Some asshole taped you going off on our ex-owner, the league, and the commissioner. It’s all over YouTube and I just saw one of the network channels use it as a tease for the lead story on the evening news.”

“What are you talking about, Luke? When? I haven’t been anywhere except here at the hotel for the past two days.”

He dragged his sorry ass back across the room and sat in a lounge chair and put his feet up. Luke was looking pretty fuzzy, so he closed his eyes and prayed. When was he going to get a break so he could heal in peace?

“Yeah, well it wasn’t filmed since we’ve been in town. Remember when we hit O’Shays Pub right after it was announced the team was sold and the new owner would be moving us to Idaho?”

“Wait a minute, wasn’t that the night that crazy girl and her friends followed us from the restaurant and she kept trying to get me to, uh . . . kiss her?”

“Yup, a kiss and then some. I think she said she wanted to have your baby.” Luke scratched his chin and zoned out for a second. “Too bad we left after that. Her friend was hot.”

“Luke, focus. Get your head out of your pants and get back to the reason you nearly tore down my door.” He had a gut feeling this conversation was not going to end well.

“Hey, look who’s calling the kettle black, Mr. Bad Boy of Baseball.” Luke held out his smartphone to Maverick. “Press play, bro.”

“Call me that again and you’ll be eating this phone.” Mav hated the nickname the press had stuck on him his first year in the show. He took his friend’s phone and sat forward, bracing his elbows on his knees. A lump the size of a cement truck materialized in his gut.

He so fucking did not need any more drama in his life.

He watched his image appear in the smoky shadows of his favorite pub in Boston. The one he and most of the single players hung out in after home games. He watched himself rant on the league for letting the new owner move the team to “Hicksville.” He cringed as he listened to his stupid-ass self complain there were probably “only two traffic lights and not even an Applebee’s.”

Between his f-bombs and hand gestures, it wasn’t hard for anyone to know what he thought about what he considered the “doom” of the team. It also wasn’t hard to guess what the woman on his lap wanted from him.

Damn, damn, damn.

The video ended and Mav tossed the phone back to Luke. “How many hits did you say the video got?”

“I didn’t, but it’s going on four hundred and fifty thousand.” Luke plopped his large frame down in the chair across from him and looked as sick as Mav felt. “It’s also on the local news, and the tabloid shows are tearing apart every word you said. They’re throwing out crazy theories and talking about your ‘purported’ drinking problem.”

What the hell? He wasn’t a drunk, dammit. Well, not yet officially—maybe. Even he knew he was walking a fine line with his current love affair with premium whiskey. He leaned forward and hung his head in his hands. God, he needed something for the drum solo playing in his head.

“Hey, do me a solid and grab a water bottle out of the mini-fridge, would yah?”

Damn. Maverick never considered someone would tape him in O’Shays. That was a safe haven for the team where the patrons left them alone and treated them like one of the gang.

“So, don’t you think you need to call your agent and see what you should do?” Luke tossed him the water bottle.

“I would, if I hadn’t fired his ass last week.” Mav took a swig of the water and wished he hadn’t. It rolled around in his stomach. What his body really craved was the only sure thing that would cut through the fog of the morning after: coffee—strong and sweet.

“What is with you? You need someone to handle this crap. You can’t do it all on your own, plus work on rehabbing your arm.”

“Yeah, well, he was skimming, Luke, and all because I trusted him to handle my accounting too. So no, I don’t need some slick ‘yes man’ pretending he cares about my career so he can get his hands on my endorsement money.”

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