The Friend Zone

By: Kristen Callihan
A Game On novel


4:13 am. Text to Gray Grayson from unknown source.

Unknown: Mr. Grayson, my father tells me he lent you my car. I don’t really care if he’s going to sign you or not. As said agent’s daughter, I know football players and their ways. So let me be clear. There will be no shenanigans taking place in it or you’ll answer to me. You want to hook up with one of your women, do it in a bed and not in my car.

Sincerely, Ivy Mackenzie.

GrayG: Hey, Miss Mac. You do realize your car is a bubblegum-pink Fiat 500, right? Even if I could get it up surrounded by all that heinous pink, the car is better suited for Lilliputians. So don’t worry, there will be no shenanigans (Shenanigans? Srsly? What are we, 80?) anywhere near the car. I’m not about to pull a hamstring in the pursuit of pleasure.

—Btw, beds are overrated. Branch out a little.

IvyMac: You’re schooling me on my use of shenanigans? Really, Mr. Lilliputian? I don’t know whether to choke on the hypocrisy or be impressed that you know what a Lilliputian is.

I won’t make mention of your pink phobia, and I don’t care where you do your business. Just so long as it isn’t in my car.

GrayG: Yes, I read. Contain your shock. Or maybe chill. I think you’re developing a fascination with my bzness.

IvyMac: Ok. Fine. I was an ass. Or course you read. Read this: one scratch on that car and you bought it.

GrayG: It’s a tempting offer. I mean, who wouldn’t want this car? I’m assuming you take gumdrops as currency?

IvyMac: Sure do, Cupcake. But the car’s not for sale.

GrayG: I see you’ve discovered my inherently sweet and tasty nature. Wait until you taste my frosting.

IvyMac: Eew…Keep your frosting to yourself!

GrayG: Heh. So why are we having this conversation at 4 in the morning? Don’t you sleep?

IvyMac: Sorry. I’m in London. It isn’t four in the morning here. Hey, shouldn’t you be sleeping? Why are you answering my texts anyway? ;-)

GrayG: I don’t know. Some previously unknown masochistic need to argue over a powder-puff car?

IvyMac: I always thought tight ends loved pain.

GrayG: Naw, we bring on the pain, Mac. And have awesome asses. Obviously.

IvyMac: Okay, I’m going now.

GrayG: K. Bye.

IvyMac: Bye.

GrayG: See you.

GrayG: Or not. Because you’re in London.

IvyMac: Gray?

GrayG: Yep.

IvyMac: Go to sleep.

GrayG: K. Night. Or morning. Or whatever.

GrayG: Mac? Hello? Right. You’re gone.

A few hours later…

GrayG: Mac? How do you feel about 18” chrome rims? Pretty sure when you see the result, you’ll love them.

IvyMac: What? You’re shitting me, right?!?

GrayG: Foul language, Miss Mac? I am appalled. Keep that up and I’m going to have to call shenanigans.

IvyMac: Gray! What the fuck did you do to my car?!?

GrayG: Ha! Gotcha. You freaked. Admit it.

IvyMac: I admit nothing!! Are you waking me up to terrorize me as payback for waking you up the other morning?

GrayG: Mac, it’s 8 p.m. in London. Why are you asleep?

IvyMac: Gotta get up at 3:30 a.m. I’m an apprentice at my mom’s bakery

GrayG: Pastries and shit? Oh, God, I’m having a moment.

IvyMac: Like the sweets, big guy?

GrayG: Are you talking dirty to me, Mac?

IvyMac: *eye roll* Is there a real reason for this text?

GrayG: Guess not. Sorry to bug you. Night, Mac.

IvyMac: You aren’t bugging me. I’m just grumpy because I hate getting up early. People say I’m…prickly. I don’t mean to be.

GrayG: Prickly? Naw. You’re…saucy. Like that sauce on a Big Mac.

IvyMac: If you call me special sauce, you lose a nut.

GrayG: I knew it, you’re talking dirty to me! Shenanigans!!

IvyMac: lol. Dork.

GrayG: That’s Cupcake to you, Special Sauce. Go to sleep, Mac. I’ll get to work on the rims.

IvyMac: >:-P

And the next morning…

IvyMac: I was walking down Jermyn Street today. Saw a guy in a bright pink suit, very flash. Thinking of buying you one to match the car. You could make a whole pink power statement.

GrayG: Great! But I’m pretty sure that’d have to be custom made. Extra-long, too. I dress left, btw.

IvyMac: Is it just me, or do you mention one of your body parts in every convo we have?

GrayG: You’re the one who brought up my nuts last time.

IvyMac: Only in regards to kicking them.

GrayG: But you’re thinking of my nuts. That’s the important part. ;-)

IvyMac: Sure I am, Cupcake. *pats cheek* keep dreaming the dream.

GrayG: I knew it!!! You want me bad. It’s okay, all women do.

IvyMac: Right.

A bit later…

IvyMac: Why are you borrowing my car, anyway? I find it hard to believe you don’t have your own. Is it in the shop? For-like-ever?

GrayG: My best bud Drew (he’s our QB) broke his leg. His car has a stick shift. My truck is auto. So I lent him mine and borrowed…The Pink Nightmare.

IvyMac: Gray. That’s really nice of you.

GrayG: Told you I was sweet.

IvyMac: You actually are. Totally sweet.

GrayG: Now you’re just embarrassing me. I lied. I’m a hardened thug. For realz.

IvyMac: Aw, Cupcake.

IvyMac: Gray?

IvyMac: Hello?

IvyMac: Fine, you’re a stone-cold killa. Happy?

GrayG: Yes. Although I’d prefer lady killa.

IvyMac: How about Sir Fucksalot?

GrayG: Hi-larious! Really. Night, Special Sauce.

IvyMac: Night, G-Man. ;-*

Several text exchanges after that…

GrayG: I’m bored. Talk to me. Again. Heh. Heh.

IvyMac: Soup has got to be the best thing ever. It’s an entire meal in a bowl! But in hot liquid form.

GrayG: Hot liquid form…? Unh. I’m pretty sure you’re my dream girl, Ivy Mac. Or did someone tell you that soup was my favorite meal?

IvyMac: You love soup too?!? Soup-lovers’ fist bump! Booyah!

GrayG: Booyah! And, baby, I make the best soup you’ll ever taste.

IvyMac: Oooh, talk to me, Grayson. Just. Like. That.

GrayG: Marry me, Mac.

IvyMac: Okay, but only for the soup.

A few minutes later…

GrayG: Why is six scared of seven?

IvyMac: Why?

GrayG: Because seven “ate” nine.

IvyMac: Hur! How do you count cows?

GrayG: How?

IvyMac: With a cowculator.

GrayG: So awesomely bad. I think you have to marry me now. No one else likes my jokes.

IvyMac: Good to know my bad taste in jokes is a selling point.

GrayG: It’s fucking sexy. I’m actually sporting wood.

GrayG: Mac?

GrayG: Hey, I was kidding. I’m not trying to hit on you, I swear.

GrayG: Mac?!?

IvyMac: I’m here. Sorry! I’m on the tube. Lost you in a tunnel.

GrayG: Okay. Cool. Got worried.

IvyMac: Naw. I know you were just being you.

GrayG: That’s me, always joking. Gotta head out to practice. Txt U when I’m done.

Later that day…

IvyMac: I spent the entire morning baking bread and thinking about your name.

GrayG: My name? Honey, if you’re going to think about me, concentrate on my gigantic…hands. Magic hands, baby. The things I can do with these hands are mind-boggling.

IvyMac: Like palm balls all day long?

GrayG: >:-(

IvyMac: Heh. Heh. Your name is way more interesting than your penchant for ball handling.

GrayG: Har. Gray Grayson is a special kind of torture to inflict on a kid. What can I say? My mom was reading The Pelican Brief right before I was born. Decided to name me after the hero Gray Grantham. No one could change her mind. I used to hate it. But now I love it because she picked a name she loved.

IvyMac: It’s a cool name. Bounces in my head: Gray-Grayson. Gray-Grayson!