Rush (Gods #2)(5)

By: Samantha Towle


I slam my hands on my hips, momentarily forgetting I need them to cover the girls, and then I put them back over my chest.

He smirks at me.

Asshole.

“Look, I’m not a groupie, okay? It’s my first day here. I got caught in the rain. I came in here, looking to borrow a shirt, as I can’t wear this one. You caught me about to change into one.”

“And you were bent over for the fun of it?”

“No, I was doing yoga.”

“Yoga?” He looks at me like I’m mental.

He wouldn’t be wrong.

“I was stressed about my shitty start to the day, and I practice yoga to de-stress. I thought I was alone. I was literally just doing the one pose to help clear my mind, and then I was going to put on a shirt and get out of here.”

“And which shirt were you putting on?” He glances over at his changing spot and then back at me, brows raised.

“Uh…” I’m stumbling. Deep breath. “Okay, I was going to borrow one of yours. But I was going to find another to put in its place.”

“Okay,” he says.

“Okay?” My brows draw together as I look up at him.

“Yep. It sounds plausible. Weird as fuck. But plausible.”

I can’t help but laugh at that. He laughs, too.

“I’m going to go.” Freeing one arm, I stand my heels up and slip my feet into them, appreciating the extra height they give me, but I still look like a child next to him.

“Don’t you need a shirt to wear?” he says.

“I’ll figure it out.”

“Here.” He reaches over and grabs a white dress shirt from one of the hangers. “Wear this. It’ll be big on you, so you’ll have to roll up the sleeves, but it’s better than a team shirt.”

“Thank you.” I smile genuinely. “I appreciate it. I’ll wash it tonight and bring it back tomorrow.”

“No rush,” he tells me.

“Thank you,” I say again.

I start to walk past him when he says, “I’m Ares, by the way.”

I stop and slide my eyes up to his. I feel a jolt at the visual contact. “I know who you are, quarterback.”

He smiles at that. “You said it was your first day.”

“Yes,” I say slowly, my mouth suddenly drying.

“I didn’t know we had a new staff member starting.”

So, my dad hasn’t told any of the players that I’ll be working here. Great.

“What will you be doing?” he asks.

“Oh, this and that,” I reply.

He laughs. “You don’t give much away, do you?”

I shrug.

His eyes glitter with amusement and challenge. “Do I get your name at least?”

I take a deep breath. “Ari. Arianna…Petrelli.”

I watch as my name filters in, and realization dawns on him.

The light fades out of his eyes. His expression shuts down.

And my stomach suddenly feels very empty.

He steps away, putting a good amount of distance between us. His arms fold over his chest, like a barrier. Jaw gritting. “You’re Coach’s daughter.”

I swallow past the dryness in my throat. “Yes.”

“I didn’t know you’d be working here.”

“I…it…” I lift my hands, unsure of what to say.

There’s a beat of silence. A moment of nothing. Neither of us says anything.

Then, he abruptly turns to his changing station, giving me his back.

Wow. Okay.

I’m used to people looking at me like shit. But not this kind of reaction. Like I have an infectious disease.

I take a deep breath and find my voice. “Is…is there a problem?”

“Nope.” He pulls a team shirt off a hanger.

I stand here, knowing full well there is a problem, but not really knowing how to handle his adverse reaction to me.

He glances over his shoulder at me. There’s none of the warmth or humor from before. His eyes are blank and narrowed, looking at me like I’m an inconvenience. I’m gum on the sole of his new shoes.

“I need to change,” he states, voice cold.

“Sorry.” I step back, holding his shirt to my chest.

His eyes drop to it with a flash of something akin to anger, and for a moment, I wonder if I should offer to give him his shirt back.

But I don’t. I keep my mouth shut, turn on my heel, and head for the door.

Before I reach it, I pause and turn back to him. “Ares?”

His eyes flash over to mine. His expression is tight.

I take a small step forward. “Could I ask a favor?”

He blinks slowly and exhales a harsh breath. “What is it?” His voice is irritated.

“I just wanted to ask…could you not mention this to my dad…that you saw me in here—”