This story was generously brought to you by E-F-M who made a huge donation to the Support Stacie Auction. In return she wanted me to write an extra chapter to one of my favorite stories Dead on a Football Field. She wanted me to write about when Sookie went to England to be a coach for Eric`s team, West Bromwich Albion.
WBA/ West Brom/ West Bromwich Albion = Best team in England (maybe not so in the statistics, but definitely to us supporters). They have their home ground in Birmingham.
Hawthorns = Home ground for West Bromwich Albion.
Wolverhampton = team everyone who loves WBA, hates. Their supporters are called Wolves.
WAG = Wives and girlfriends. Usually used on girls with huge sunglasses and too much make up watching their famous husbands and boyfriends play football.
I want to thank Rascalthemutant for reading this story and correcting the mistakes – and for buying me a t-shirt from her local soccer team.
I was smiling, but also biting my nails, on the plane to Birmingham and my new job as assistant coach for West Bromwich Albion . Smiling because I was going to see Northman again and giving every manicurist a nervous breakdown for the exact same reason.
Our last words had been shouted at each other and I wasn`t sure how he would react to seeing me – and having me as his coach again.
They were going to announce the new assistant coach today. The players would meet him first and then there would be a press conference where we were all supposed to smile and be pleased with the great choice of coach.
I wasn`t happy. Far from it. This was Sookie`s position and I hated anyone getting it in her place.
I wasn`t even sure why she had turned it down, why she had said no. But it fucking felt like she had turned me down in the process. I hated that. I hated the new coach. I hated everyone. But most of all, I hated Sookie.
And I loved her. That was the pity of it all and what made me the grumpiest player ever to have played at Hawthorns.
This was the reason why I deliberately came ten minutes late for the meeting with the new assistant coach. I wanted to show the prick that he meant nothing to me, whoever he was. I wanted to show everyone that Eric Northman was one hell of a player – and in one hell of a mood.
I was walking down the corridor to the room where the meeting was being held when I heard a familiar voice. A very familiar voice. My heart stood still for a moment or two.
I wanted to run in there and kiss her, but I also wanted to shout at her. So I did the only thing I could think of. I put the best scowl on my face and entered the room.
I looked Sookie straight in the eyes and dared her to comment on my entering the room late. Sookie was never one to step down from a challenge, of course.
“Northman! So good of you to honor us with your presence,” she said with irony dripping off every word.
Some of my team mates laughed out loud. That made me wonder if any of them knew of Sookie`s and my past.
“I suppose I could say the same to you, Sookie,” I countered while noticing Sookie getting a little pale.
Victor Madden, our coach, got up from his seat, probably to reprimand me, when Sookie spoke again.
“You may start out with 50 pushups, Northman,” she said in her determined voice.
“Now?” I shook my head, not really believing what I was hearing. She wanted to embarrass me in front of the whole team?
“It`s either now or as an extra treat at the press conference.”
I groaned. I should have known by now that I could never win over Sookie.
And I should have known that we would never have a Heathcliff-Cathy moment where we would run into each other`s arms and declare each other our undying love. That made me groan even louder.
Swearing to get my revenge, I kneeled down on the floor, went into position and made 50 pushups like it was nothing. Yeah, I`ve been working out even when you weren`t around to breathe down my neck. At least I could spit that in her face.
She started talking while I was doing my pushups. I wasn`t sure if it was to make it less embarrassing for me or to make sure I knew I wasn`t the center of her attention. With the mood I had been in lately, I decided it was the latter. I was apparently just a little bump in the road for her.
But when I sat down, trying to look unaffected by the pushups as well as the embarrassment of it all, a little voice of hope started to flare. Why had she come to this club if it hadn`t been for me? Surely there were other clubs who would love to have her talent? Did this mean that we were back together?
I smiled at her, but she just kept on talking about plans and strategy and assuming everyone could get over the fact that she lacked a dick. People around me laughed, but I gave her a wolfish grin. I don`t mind your lack of physical balls, Sookie. We both know you have plenty of them anyway.
I wasn`t sure if I had expected her to acknowledge me out loud as in `and Eric Northman is the love of my life`, but she could have given me at least a little wink or a smile. Of course, I was used to her treating me like the rest of the team. Back home she always made sure no one suspected her of giving me any favors. But here, when she had come to West Bromwich Albion after me, because of me, she could have made some kind of announcement of our relationship.
That was when it hit me like a red card. Did we have a relationship at all? Had Sookie and I broken up? For good? Yes, she had come to this team, my team, but was it even because of me?
I regretted that I hadn`t called him to tell him I was coming. I could see him squirm at the meeting and I knew why. I could almost hear all the questions roaming around in his head.
I decided to have a talk with him soon. Tomorrow at the latest. Today I had a full dance card.
I fell into my bed that night, totally exhausted by meeting everyone and trying to answer all the crazy questions from the British press. They had been in a frenzy over me being a woman and West Brom would get publicity worth a couple of my monthly salaries from that press conference alone. Some of the reporters had tried to ridicule me, but a sweet elderly guy with white hair actually knew about me and my accomplishments and had lectured the rest of them as if they were schoolboys.
His name was Niall Brigant and I had been very grateful when he managed to turn the whole crowd from seeing me as a dumb blonde to acknowledging me for my competence.
After the press conference my phone had been ringing non-stop, but I had still taken the time to give Mr. Brigant a long interview for his paper, which was a serious one. Not one of those creepy papers with naked women on every other page.
Oh yes, I had already had offers to show my `rack` in one of those papers. The British press was really different from what I was used to. Welcome to the frying pan, Sookie.
I was seconds from falling asleep when a loud knock on my door brought me back to reality. First I thought reporters had found out where I lived, but then a loud voice roared through the door.
“Open the door, Sookie.”
It was Eric and his voice startled me. I didn`t want to see him now. Not tonight. I wanted to be prepared and have thought through what I was going to say to him.
“Open the door,” he shouted again while knocking frantically.
As I didn`t want all my neighbors to wake up, I walked over and let him in.
“What do you want, Northman?”
“What do I want?” he almost shouted. “You suddenly turn up here after you said no to the job when I asked you to take it – and you ask me what I want? How about an explanation?”
He was getting aggravated and I always had a problem with aggravated.
“I don`t owe you anything, Northman,” I answered in my sternest voice. “I had a job offer that was meant for me, not the girlfriend of the great Eric Northman. I took it.”
“What is so wrong with being my girlfriend?” He looked almost wounded for a second, but then his eyebrows showed me there was some anger in there too.
If I had a problem with aggravated, it was nothing to how I felt about anger. It was gasoline on my temper.
“Piss off, Northman,” I hissed. “You can`t come to my apartment in the middle of the night and ask me what is wrong with being your girlfriend. I have a new job and I don`t want everyone thinking I slept my way into getting it. So that is what is wrong with being your girlfriend.”
I tried pushing him towards the door, but he was rooted.
“What the fuck do you care what people think? You are a great coach and you know it. I fucking don`t believe it. You come all the way over here and then you don`t even want us back together again?”
I held my breath. No, that had not been what I meant. I wanted us back together again.
“I want to build a name for myself. Is that so hard to understand? I`ve come too far to be just another WAG.”
“You are no fucking WAG. You wear too short heels and your IQ is too high, and you fucking know it.” He looked at me for a moment, furrowing his brows. “So you are saying that your reputation is more important than our relationship?”
“I`m sorry. I can`t have this conversation now. I`m tired and I want to sleep.”
I finally managed to motion him towards the door, but just as I pressed down the handle to open it, he grabbed my hand.
“Sookie,” he looked me in the eyes. “Don`t be like this.” He squeezed my hand when I tried to pull it out of his. “Answer me one thing at least,” he sighed and waited a little before he continued. “Did you miss me at all?”
I wanted to say no just to get him out of the door, but I knew I couldn`t lie. So I had to say the truth.
“Of course I missed you.”
The next thing I knew was having one huge Northman surrounding my much smaller frame. His arms held me in a tight hug and I heard a sigh of relief in my ear. He wasn`t kissing me or groping me. He was just holding me tight.
It felt awkward at first, but then I relaxed in his embrace and snaked my arms around his broad shoulders and hugged him back.
After a while I pulled back and looked at him.
“I meant it, though. I am dead tired and really need to sleep,” I said, trying to open the door again.
“What are your plans for tomorrow?” he asked.
“I`m going to a morning meeting, but have the rest of the day off to settle in. I don`t really start working until next week. I was just here to get all the press stuff out of the way before I begin.”
“Right. So you are free tomorrow afternoon?” His eyes had a little devil in them that I wasn`t sure I liked.
“Well, I guess…”
“I`ll pick you up at two, then. Wear comfortable shoes.”
“You are asking me to wear comfortable shoes? Have you ever seen me out of my trainers?”
He smirked. “Yes, I have.” And without any more explanation he walked out the door.
I knew just what I wanted to do with Sookie and couldn`t wait until two. At one-thirty I knocked on her door. Sookie opened it, only in her bra and panties and with wet hair down her back.
“I will come half an hour early for all our dates if this is how you receive me,” I smirked.
“Oh, stuff it,” she huffed. “Sit down and behave yourself while I get dressed and fix my hair.”
“Yes, ma`am,” I smiled and made a little salute with my hand to my head. “I love it when you get bossy.”
“So you love me all the time,” she stated.
I went over to her and kissed her still naked shoulder.
“I suppose I do.”
She just gaped and I couldn`t help winking at her.
“Where are you taking me?” she squealed when I took yet another turn on the small country road.
I had probably exceeded the speed limits, but what is the point of having a Corvette if you didn`t drive fast?
“You`ll see soon enough.”
And she did see it soon enough when we came to the gates of where we were going.
“Alton Towers,” she read and looked at me. “What is this?”
“It`s a place where you are going to have fun. You are the most serious person I know,” I said. She tried to protest, but I shook my head. “There is nothing wrong with being serious when you are a football coach. On the contrary. You get results even out of old dogs like me. But today you are going to be a girl and I`m going to get girlish screams out of you, if it`s the last thing I do.”
“I never scream.”
“Oh, I beg to differ,” I said while waggling my eyebrows. “I`ve had you screaming under me, and on top of me, several times.”
A sudden blush reddened her cheeks and I smiled at the sight. Sometimes Sookie was a girl. Not that I wanted her not to be the hardboiled woman who twisted my nuts on a daily basis, but there was something sweet about a blushing Sookie too and I was happy to see it.
“Yeah, yeah, Northman. I`m pretty sure Alton Towers isn`t a huge bed where you can have me scream in passion. So just tell me what it is.”
“An amusement park,” I answered. “And for the record – I don`t need a bed to have you screaming out your orgasms.”
I quickly parked the car and we were inside the huge park. I knew just where I was taking Sookie and I knew what I wanted to ask her there. So I pulled her so fast she was half flying towards the ride I wanted her to take with me.
I ignored all the people who recognized me just as Sookie ignored the ones that recognized her. She had been on a lot of front pages this morning and West Bromwich had done their PR job perfectly, getting all kinds of women to say how great it was to finally have a female coach in one of the top divisions. I was pretty sure most of those women never watched football themselves, but I still appreciated the support for Sookie.
I tried not to smile at anyone, or to even notice them, as I ran past them. Usually I would have stopped to give autographs or have my picture taken with them, but now I just wanted Sookie in The Oblivion and I couldn`t get her there fast enough.
I groaned when I saw the line, but pushed Sookie in front of me and figured I could always rub myself into her while we were waiting. I could wait at the gates of Hell if I just had Sookie`s body close to me. Unfortunately we were not on the same page. She pushed slightly away from me.
“Not here, Northman,” she told me in her schoolmaster voice. “People are watching.”
I bent down. “Let them watch,” I whispered into her ear.
She went over to stand side by side with me, while shaking her head. “Not going to happen, Northman. You were lucky I let you hold my hand before.”
“You`re a hard-hearted woman, Sookie,” I groaned.
After having waited for ages, written zillions of autographs and posed for an endless number of pictures, it was finally our turn to get into The Oblivion.
The Oblivion is the mother of all roller-coasters. Every car has seats for 16 people, sitting on two rows behind each other. It`s a slow and endless ride to the top and up there, the car tips over so that all 16 people look straight down into a dark hole in the ground. An ironic text over the hole says `Don`t look down`. You hang there for a minute or two and suddenly the car is released and you fall into the hole, face first. From release and until the car stops at the end of the ride, it`s 12 seconds. Yeah, I counted.
This was what I was dragging Sookie into – and I had my very own special plans for her. For us.
“What the hell, Northman?” Sookie exclaimed when the roller-coaster started working its way up to the top.
I took her hand, even though the safety bar made it hard. She looked at me and just as the car tipped over, she actually did scream. This made me smile at her – earning me a view of the tip of her tongue.
I coughed a little, gave her hand a squeeze and just as I heard the release of the car and before it set in motion, I yelled at her.
“Will you marry me, Sookie?”
I heard 14 people screaming for 12 seconds, but Sookie just stared at me. Stared at me all of the 12 seconds we were going down the deep, black hole and up again. And staring when the car came to a stop. I grinned at her.
“I`m going to buy the picture,” I said and went over to the little booth, pulling Sookie with me. She still hadn`t answered me, but I didn`t mind as I was pretty sure the answer would be no. Sookie was the kind of girl who needed that particular question half a dozen times before she got used to the thought.
I laughed when I saw the picture. Sookie`s face was priceless. I tried to focus on it and not on the stupid grin plastered on my own. My forehead had LOVE written all over it.
Sookie never answered the question I had asked her in The Oblivion, but she was quiet the rest of the day, her brain cells working overtime. I held her hand and didn`t let go of it except to write the occasional autograph.
I wasn`t sure how I got through the day or how I managed to say goodnight to him at my doorstep. There was no way I was going to invite him in after him springing that question on me. I needed to be alone.
Marriage had never been something I had considered. Not with him and not with anyone. I had been so focused on my career and honestly – I had never figured I would fit as the female half of a married couple. Or that anyone would ever be crazy enough to ask me.
Now someone had. And not just someone. Northman. Why the hell was he asking me an impossible question like that? Could he really see us in a little suburban house, drinking our morning coffee at the breakfast table, reading the paper and looking over it from time to time to comment on the tragedies of this world?
Did he imagine kids in his marriage dream? Did he have a vision of me with a huge belly, tripping around in pink ballerina shoes while discussing baby names with him?
Or did he see me as some future WAG? Made up like I was going to a party and wearing designer dresses like a money tree was growing in the garden?
I felt sick to my stomach. Really sick. But somewhere deep inside, there was a part of me that was doing cartwheels. Which didn`t help my nausea one bit.
I went to bed, but sleeping was out of the question so at five I got up, put on my trainers and my running gear, and went out the door for a morning jog of the fair city of Birmingham. When in turmoil – run.
I ran twice as long and much faster than I used to so I was tired and sweaty when I saw my apartment building at the other end of the road. But even as worn out as I was, I couldn`t help seeing the headlines of the newspapers in the little kiosk next to my apartment.
`Shagging the coach`, one of them said. `The coach and the footballer – their secret love story` was another headline. I ran into the kiosk, ignored the guy behind the counter recognizing me, and bought all the newspapers I could lay my hands on.
The papers had pictures of Northman and yours truly in that fucking amusement park, all of them apparently taken by cell phone cameras. Who the hell had come up with the grand idea to put a camera in a cell phone?
One paper even had the picture from The Oblivion. The one where I was staring as if I had been told I only had a week left to live.
“Fuck”, I shouted when I was well inside my apartment building. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.”
“I`m ready when you are,” a voice boomed from above in the stairwell.
“Shut up, Northman. You had the grand idea to prance me around like another prize hog. You fix this!”
I came up to the floor where he was standing.
“Well, you are hardly a hog, though you smell like one now,” he smiled and kissed me. “And this is easily fixed. A tiny walk down the aisle with me and everyone will rejoice and, after a while, shut up. Affairs are only interesting when they are not properly defined. As soon as both parties declare each other their unconditional love, journalists find other people to prey upon.”
I pushed him into my apartment. “I`m not going to marry you just to stay out of the papers. Have you lost your mind?”
I went to get a shower, a cold shower, before I had smoke coming out of my ears in utter frustration. I stepped into the shower and let it run over my face and body. I had not wanted Eric`s and my relationship to be public so fast. Actually I hadn`t wanted it to be public knowledge at all. I`m a private person – sue me.
Suddenly I felt a pair of hands snaking their way around my waist and my body was being pulled into a large and muscular chest.
“Don`t worry so much, Sookie,” he whispered into my hair.
“Easy for you to say,” I said without emotion. “You will probably have a pat on the back from everyone for nailing the coach. I`m suddenly the team whore.”
“No one has been calling you a whore. And if you and I lived together and were proper partners in life, no one would.”
“So you are saying that to protect my reputation, I should marry you?” I was frustrated.
He turned me around and smiled reassuringly to me. “I`m saying you should marry me because you love me. Your reputation will be just fine as soon as you start whipping the lazy asses of my co-players and West Bromwich is back in Premier League. If that happens, I`m sure you can sleep with half the team without anyone caring.”
I rolled my eyes. “I`m sure Sven-Göran Ericsson would beg to differ. Or John Terry.”
“They were in a relationship and slept around. You would never do that.” Eric bent down and kissed my neck. “You are not like that.”
I couldn`t help turning around and start kissing him back. I kissed and sucked his nipples since they were at my height and smiled when I heard him hissing. Then I tip-toed up and kissed his mouth. Really kissed it. Tongues, biting, sucking and all.
His hands roamed over my body and soon they were both on my butt, pressing me into his erection. And what an erection it was. I had heated flash backs of all the joy his erection had given me back home and suddenly all the stupid tabloids of Great Britain were gone and forgotten. All I could think of was Northman and his fantastic body.
He lifted me up, my legs around his waist and my back against the wall. I felt him against my entrance and suddenly he was inside.
His size and the water having taken away most of my natural moisture, made it almost painful when he entered me. Almost.
I moaned loudly at the pressure both on the inside and the outside. It was frantic and slippery, heavy pushes against the wall and hands holding tight to make sure I wasn`t falling. I was pretty sure I would have bruises on my back and possibly from his fingers on my butt. And as Northman`s coach, I should definitely not have allowed him to strain his thighs, back and arms like that.
But it was heaven. Rough and loud. And heaven. So I said nothing about the bruises and nothing about him straining his fine-tuned football body.
I held on to his neck and probably pulled out some of that beautiful blond hair, feeling my orgasm coming closer and closer. And suddenly he shifted me slightly and pushed harder and deeper and I came so hard I couldn`t help letting go of his neck, making us fall to the floor with Eric still pushing a couple of times. Suddenly he was roaring out his pleasure so loud I was afraid the mirror would crack.
We were on the floor of the shower, cold water pouring down our faces, and our bodies uncomfortable on the tile floor, but it felt as if we were in a soft bed with luxurious duvets over us.
“I`ve missed this so much,” I couldn`t help saying.
He smiled and kissed me.
“I`ve missed you so much,” he replied.
I stayed with Sookie all day and it was the best day we`d had in our relationship. Not only did we make love on every surface, but we also talked. Sookie`s and my relationship had started out as being sexual, but we did have much more in common than the pleasure our bodies could give each other.
Back home in Scandinavia people would become skeptical when things were getting good. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, quiet before the storm and all that.
But I was just enjoying it and secretly planning a future with Sookie. I had meant it when I had asked her to marry me. I could see myself growing old with her, children and grandchildren playing football in the yard and Sookie and me watching them with proud smiles.
Of course, it turned out that my countrymen`s pessimism was well founded when Sookie got a call late that evening.
I tried not to listen in, but couldn`t help myself when I heard her yell “WHAT?” into her cell phone. The stare she gave me was not filled with love or admiration.
When she hung up, she stared at me for a few minutes. Then she went over and picked up my clothes from the floor and threw it in my face.
“Piss off, Northman,” she said in a tone so full of hate and sadness.
“What the hell?” I yelled. “What happened? Who was it?”
Sookie put on a robe. Being naked with me was apparently out of the question.
“How many WAGs do you need, huh?” she shouted. “You want me to be your freaking wife and then it turns out you already have a girlfriend. A pregnant fucking girlfriend. She is declaring her undying love to you in one of tomorrow`s tabloids.”
“What?” I shouted. She could have spoken a foreign language. I didn`t understand anything.
“Marnie Stonebrook. Does it ring a bell?”
Shit, I thought and apparently it showed in my face. Sookie gasped.
“No, Sookie. It wasn`t like that. I never fucked Marnie Stonebrook. I danced with her and got pretty wasted, but I stopped at her doorstep when she tried to invite me in.”
“You must have done something. She is freaking pregnant with your kid. So you can just piss off.”
“Fuck Sookie…” I tried.
“Yeah, you seem to be doing a lot of that. And you didn`t even use a condom today, Northman. You knew you`d been with some WAG wannabe and you didn`t use a condom with me.” Tears ran down her cheeks, but those were hateful tears, not the kind of tears that invite you to put your arms around her.
“I fucking didn`t touch any Marnie Stonebrook, Sookie.” I knew I was lying, but how could I explain to Sookie what had really happened? That Marnie had gotten me drunk and that I had suddenly found myself with my tongue down her throat, without remembering what had happened up until then. All I knew was that I hadn`t had sex with her. But to say that I hadn`t touched her was… shit.
I picked up my clothes and put them on. Maybe it was my guilty conscience or maybe I was just frustrated that Sookie wouldn`t listen. I knew I had to leave.
I was so angry when he left I could have knocked down someone. When Niall Brigant called me to give me the tip about Marnie Stonebrook and how she had sold her story to the highest bidder, which wasn`t Niall Brigant, I knew I shouldn`t have trusted Northman.
He was the first guy I had ever trusted and this was the price I had to pay. It showed that you couldn`t trust guys and especially not footballers.
Now I had to face … I didn`t even know what I was facing. Papers today talking about me loving Northman and tomorrow about him having knocked up some random girl. I was extremely happy that my address and phone number were kept secret or I would have had reporters pounding down my door. Niall Brigant only had my number because I had given them to him because I had felt I could trust him. Luckily my faith in him was less misplaced than the one I had in the tall blonde that had just left my bed.
I didn`t get much sleep that night and I was determined that the only excursion I would make the next day would be down to the local kiosk to buy papers. I had called the club to tell them what had happened and to offer my resignation. I couldn`t see how they could want that kind of bad press.
For some weird reason this had not come as a surprise to them – and they had told me to relax. There were always new front pages and new stories. This would blow over.
I wasn`t so sure, but it was nice to know I still had a job. My reputation and my honor were in shambles, but at least I had a job. `Always look at the bright side of life` and all that.
The interview with Marnie Stonebrook turned out to be even worse than I had feared. Not only was I made into some ice queen who had bullied the great Northman around (this was actually the truth, but I still hated to read it), but there were also photos of them dancing at some club, kissing and holding each other.
I threw the newspaper into the garbage. So he hadn`t touched her? Fucking hell!
Northman called me a couple of times, but I never answered the phone. I was sorry that part of my reason for being in Birmingham was him, but I was going to do my job, even if it killed me. I was going to be the best assistant coach in Britain and Northman screwing around was not going to ruin it.
If he wanted some braindead WAG – I was certainly not going to stand in his way.
I wanted to start a war against Marnie fucking Stonebrook, that was how angry I was. What the hell? I may have had a fuzzy memory from the night I met her, but no way did I have sex with her. I seriously doubted that I even would have if I hadn`t loved Sookie, but with her in the picture there was no way I would have been screwing around.
Not even if Sookie and I weren`t officially an item at the time.
Coach Madden called me and my heart sank. He wanted me to come in and have a chat with him and Felipe de Castro. Talking to the coach AND the club president was never good news. Especially not with newspaper front pages like this.
The gates to Hawthorns were crawling with reporters and for the first time since I bought my red Corvette, I wished I had an anonymous Toyota instead. Fuck.
I managed to get in somehow and found de Castro`s office where Coach Madden was waiting with a frown. Felipe de Castro looked downright mad. If I had been a dog, I would probably have had my tail between my legs.
As it was, I was a guy and guys face shit and take whatever is thrown in their face. So I braced myself for whatever my two bosses wanted to say. I feared the worst.
This was probably why they took me by surprise when they both shook my hand.
“What a mess, huh?” Victor Madden said.
I looked at him and nodded tentatively. It was a mess, but what was with all the friendliness?
“Sookie will be here any minute,” Felipe de Castro said casually as if it wasn`t any surprise that she would be present.
Well, it was a huge surprise for me. What the hell was she invited here for? Then it hit me. What if they were shipping us both home? I froze. Had I screwed up not only my own career, but Sookie`s too?
I was just about to make a huge speech when the door opened again and a Sookie with eyes that could kill came in. I tried to smile at her, but even if she couldn`t kill me, she effectively murdered my smile.
“What I`ve called you guys in for,” Victor Madden started. I looked at Sookie to see if she reacted on being called a guy, but it seemed as if she had her focus elsewhere. “Is the Marnie Stonebrook case.”
I swallowed and nodded. “Yeah, I…” I started.
“Shut up, for a moment here, Northman,” Victor Madden said, but it wasn`t in an angry voice. “I think you`ll like what I`m going to say.”
Sookie straightened up and stared at Victor Madden who continued. “This is all a hoax. Marnie Stonebrook is a fucking Wolf.”
“Excuse me?” Sookie said.
Victor Madden looked at her. “A Wolf, one of the Wolves. She`s a Wolverhampton supporter.”
“And how does that make it a hoax?” I asked.
“Well, she drugged you, didn`t she?” Victor Madden said.
“She did?” I remembered being groggy that night, but it had never occurred to me that I had been drugged. “How do you know?”
“We do random blood- and pisstests, you know. We had them analyzed when this blew up in our faces. We`ve had it happen before. Not with Marnie fucking Stonebrook, but Rasul was set up by a girl named Jannalynn and there have been other cases. Those fucking Wolf-WAGs will stop at nothing to bring WBA down. Well, now we can strike back. If you are willing, that is?”
I was gasping and didn`t even know what to say, but Sookie`s brain worked faster than mine.
“I know just who to contact to make sure this gets a decent treatment in the papers,” she said. “Niall Brigant should get the story.”
So this was how I went from being the bad guy to being the victim. Niall Brigant ran the story about Wolverhampton using honeytraps and drugs and he even had a long interview with Sookie and yours truly about our relationship. He made us seem like a happy and romantic couple.
Which we definitely weren`t.
But the article made all the other papers write about Wolverhampton and their dirty laundry. It turned out Marnie Stonebrook had never been pregnant. Not that it was a surprise to me, but I did want to rub it in Sookie`s face.
It hit me deep in the gut that she hadn`t trusted me. Or at least let me speak out. She had thrown me out of her apartment just because a random girl had said I had fucked her.
I had blown it. I hadn`t trusted him when he had told me there hadn`t been anything between him and … that girl. I had expected him to screw around. Expected him to end up with one of those stupid WAGs with huge sunglasses.
And here I was. He had told me the truth and I hadn`t believed him. Now I had no idea how to fix the mess I had made.
So I did the only thing I always did when I didn`t want to think too much. I worked. I worked hard. And I worked the guys almost as hard as I worked myself. I was a slave driver whipping the players around on exercise and nutrition. Some of them were pretty pissed, but when they gave me shit, I gave them crap back.
When the results started coming and we were winning the games we needed to win, the players shut up and did what I told them to do.
I was pleased that one part of my life was working out because my lovelife was in the gutter. Back home Northman and I had been lovers without anyone knowing. Now everyone knew we were an item – and we weren`t.
No one noticed that we were never together because they weren`t expecting us to French kiss in front of the goal. They did insinuate warm and passionate love-making every night, but a few choice words from me effectively stopped the comments.
Northman was working hard – and avoiding me. He never said or did anything to anger me. It was as if I didn`t exist. Or at least, as if I wasn`t important. My heart bled for him and if I had been anything like all my girlfriends back home, I would have demanded a long heart to heart where I spilled my guts and asked for forgiveness. As it happened – I was not like any of my girlfriends.
I didn`t know what to do. Not a clue.
It was late one night when I decided I needed a work out before I hit the bed – or else I would just be tossing and turning and wearing out my sheets. I ran down to the club training center with the intention of pumping so much iron it would make Arnold Schwarzenegger weep, but when I opened the door I realized that someone else had the same intentions.
And I knew who it was. I wasn`t sure if it was the heavy metal on the CD-player, the smell of his cologne mixed with his sweat or the grunts I knew so well they made a knot in my lower parts.
I remembered another time he and I had worked out together and almost turned in the door. Then I mentally slapped myself and decided I would stay and work out – and just see what happened.
“Hi,” I tried to smile, when I walked around the corner where he could see me.
He looked at me and gave me a “hi” without a smile.
Okay, I thought. “Working out late?” I tried.
He gave me a short look. “As you can see.” And then he was back at his pushing and grunting.
I walked over to the bench press and put on weights. Then I had an idea.
“Would you mind spotting the bar while I bench press?” I asked him. It showed how desperate I was when, him looking down at me while I lifted weights, was the only interaction I could think of.
“Sure,” he said and came over and stood behind the bar.
I looked up at him and I instantly knew this was a bad I idea. The only thing I could focus on was the abs I could see through his wet t-shirt and the huge hands I would rather have had on my body than holding the weight bar I was going to lift.
I lifted the bar a few times and then finally I knew what I had to do.
“I`m sorry,” I said.
That got his attention. “Sorry for what?” he asked, his voice thick with suspicion.
“For not trusting you,” I admitted.
He was quiet for some time and I kept lifting the weight though my heart was breaking. Then he took a breath.
“It opened my eyes,” he said. “And that`s never a bad thing.”
I put the weight back on the little hooks and sat up. “What do you mean?”
“You not trusting me to not screw around opened my eyes to what you really think of me. It`s not just that you don`t trust me. You don`t see me as your equal.” He started going back to his machine, but I stopped him with a hand on his biceps. I had no idea what he was talking about.
“What do you mean? I don`t get it.”
He sighed. “You`re the coach even when we`re alone and I understand why. But it wasn`t until this…” He made some hand movement I figured indicated the whole business with Marnie Stonebrook. “I understood how low an opinion you had of me. You don`t trust me. You think I`m lazy, cocky and stupid.”
I started to smile, wanted to make a joke, but it died on my lips.
“I know, I know,” he said. “I may have given you reason to find me lazy and cocky back when we first met, but it seems you still think that of me. You haven`t seen how much I`ve changed. And I can`t live with that. I can`t live with someone who doesn`t really like me.”
“But that`s not true,” I said. I cringed because I knew it was true. I still thought of him as cocky and lazy. And probably stupid too. But that wasn`t all I saw in him. “I see so much more,” I started. But then I stopped again. I hated conversations like this because I never knew what to say.
He looked at me, waiting for me to continue, but I was struck mute. He then shook his head and turned his back on me and walked away.
That made me stand up and shout. “I love you, you fucking prick. Can`t you see it?”
I gasped at myself and desperately wanted to eat my words back.
He came back and looked at me. “What did you say?”
As if I had forgotten how much I had wanted to take back what I had just said, new words rolled over my lips. “I love you, you lazy, cocky prick.”
That made him smile from ear to ear. He lifted me up and kissed me.
“And I love you, you controlling, cold bitch.”
“Hey. Don`t call me bitch.”
“Try and stop me,” he teased. “Bitch,” he continued in a voice that could have melted Greenland.
I did the only thing I could to stop him. I kissed him back.
Then I pulled back and looked at him.
“Yes,” I said.
“Yes, I will marry you. If you will still have me.”
It turned out he would.
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