The Crooked Number
Juliana was exhausted, as she slipped off her three-inch heels for her more reasonable flats. She had been working constantly for the past six months, and she was proud her effort had finally paid off.
’’Jules, we’re gonna be back in five.″ The Spice Sports Network producer blared loudly into her IFB. Jesus, she thought, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to someone talking into my ears like that.
‘’Great. But Larry no-one’s given me the name of my guest.’’
‘’We did give you the memo Jules.’’ She was so scattered these days that she easily could have misplaced it or forgotten.
‘’His name is Derek Tanner, and he’s the new hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers.’’ Juliana felt like she was going to faint, and this time it was not because she was overworked.
Derek rolled over and groaned as he swung at his bedside alarm clock.
’’Baby let’s just stay in bed.″ For a second the sticky sweet voice of his bed companion jarred him, and he shot straight out of bed. He was stark naked and even in the morning fog; he looked as handsome as ever.
‘’It looks like you want some more of me.″ The blonde woman looked directly at his erect manhood and giggled. ‘’At least let me help you with that.″
Derek’s bronze skin flushed as shame took over any residual lust he had felt.
‘’Can’t do it, um…Lucy.’’
’’It’s Lindsey.″ Lindsey thrust her cosmetically enhanced bottom lip downward. In the bright light, she looked a lot older than he had thought last night. I’ve got to stop partying, he thought.
‘’Well Lindsey, I’ve got a big interview with Spice Sports and if I miss this one the Dodger’s owner might just suspend me.’’
‘’I wouldn’t want a star like you to be taken off the field.’’ Lindsey now was slowly pulling up her mini skirt and thigh high boots.
‘’Have fun at work. Don’t forget about me.’’ She planted a kiss on his cheek as he pulled back. She was certainly not Derek’s type.
‘’Five, four, three, two, one.’’
’’Juliana Sprouse here. I’m with Los Angeles Dodger’s newest star Derek Tanner.″ Juliana’s voice shook as she heard her ex-boyfriend’s name reverberate through her IFB. She had not looked directly into his light green eyes since he had strolled into the studio. She had not been able to see that Derek Tanner had as well been stunned by the sight of his college sweetheart. Juliana had not even shaken his hand, and her producer had given her his queer eye at her inhospitality.
’’So, tell me how different your life is now?″ The question had not been on her list, and she was surprised that she had allowed such a direct query to slip through her lips. She quickly added. ’’Since you’ve been added to the L.A. Dodgers roster?″
Derek did not immediately answer. Instead, he clenched his pronounced jaw muscle and tried to feign a yawn.
A shiver pierced deep in her belly as she heard his rough voice roll over the syllables in her name.
‘’I can’t say much has changed.’’ She could tell that was a lie by the expensive Armani suit he was wearing and the gold Rolex that flashed on his wrist.
‘’It’s all baseball. Whether you’re in the minor or major leagues, it’s just the fans that change.’’
‘’And the paycheck.’’ She replied curtly.
‘’Juliana what is wrong with you?’’ Her producer hissed so loudly into her mike that her ear drum began to throb. What was wrong with her? Well, the list was so long that it had taken two therapists to alieve some of the pain the breakup had caused.
Derek laughed uncomfortably. ‘’It doesn’t hurt.’’
‘’Well folks, that’s all the time we’ve got for today. It’s been great catching up with the league’s newest star, Derek Tanner. Until next time, Juliana Sprouse here.’’
Finally, the throbbing red light on the camera went dark, and Juliana sprung from her seat as quickly as possible. Her long auburn hair spun a perfect circle as her lithe figure pivoted away from Derek across the television studio.
‘’Wait.″ Juliana heard Derek calling for her, but she did not stop walking. In fact, as soon as her boss was out of sight she began to sprint. She had almost made it to her dressing room when she felt a muscled arm reach around her tiny waist and pull her back.
‘’Did you forget that I get paid to chase the ball, honey.″ Derek was still behind her and had plied her long waves from her neck and was now whispering into her ear.
‘’Listen I didn’t set this up. I didn’t know that I’d be interviewing you,’’ Juliana spat.
‘’So it was just a coincidence then, that my ex-girlfriend would do my first big interview.’’
Juliana struggled against his tight grip; embarrassment had overtaken her anger.
‘’Listen, this my job and if you mess this up for me.″
‘’You mean worse than you already have.’’
Her mousy assistant was now coming down the hallway, and she was glad when Derek released her.
Juliana loudly exclaimed. ’’It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Tanner. I’ll have Lucy give you my contact info.″ Lucy had made it to them and had picked up on the awkward encounter.
‘’This way Mr. Tanner.″ Lucy professionally guided Derek away from a now hyperventilating Juliana. She finally looked into his eyes as he gave her one final glance. The electric chemistry that had always flowed between them had not diminished over the last five years since she had seen him. There was sorrow in his eyes now, gone was the coy playfulness she had come to love. How could he be upset, she angrily thought? Derek Tanner was the one who had ended it with her!
She had looked beautiful, Derek thought as he drove home. The years had done nothing but build a graceful maturity to the young girl he had once been in love with. Even now as he drove along Hollywood Boulevard with his window down, he thought he could smell her soapy sweetness. That had been one of the hardest things to get over after they had broken because every one of his sweatshirts and pillows had carried her scent.
Derek squinted hard as a flash of California sun, reflected off the hood of his Escalade. As he did, he could see the perfect outline of her clavicle, and the soft mounds of her cleavage. He blinked hard and shook his head. He was not about to have a car accident because he was fantasizing about Juliana Sprouse. Just in time, his phone lit up, Derek reached into the console and looked at the smartphone screen. It was an unknown number, and immediately he felt a wash of cold cross his body. Was it her calling him? He had given his number to her assistant and had pressed the young woman to tell Juliana to call.
‘’Tanner here.’’ Derek waited to hear Juliana’s slight British inflection. The gorgeous brunette was a first generation American, and though she was patriotic, she always had brought up her parent’s homeland as superior.
‘’Hello?’’ He asked after a long silence. Finally, he heard a long exhale. ‘’Jules, it’s O.K. I know this is weird.’’
‘’Jules! Who the hell is Jules.’’ The woman’s voice on the other end screeched.
‘’Oh my God Jenny.’’ Derek’s stomach rolled at the sound of his previous night’s date. ‘’My apologies. I was just waiting to hear from the reporter who just interviewed me.’’
‘’So you made it weird already.’’ Jenny laughed and began to speak quickly as though she knew he was about to interrupt. ‘’I just wanted to say I had a great time last night and, I can’t wait until we have another round.’’
Now it was Derek’s turn to laugh, but it was not a joyful sound. Instead, he sounded constricted and awkward. ’’Listen, Jenny, I am really busy. I’ve got training camp just around the bend.″ He was lying to her, but he was sure the ditzy young woman would none the wiser.
‘’I thought we shared something special?’’ Jenny’s whining voice was really grating on his already frayed nerves. Special, Derek mused? Last night’s sexual encounter had been anything but special. Every weekend for the last two years he had spent with a different woman. Some had been baseball groupies, but most were just ‘star fuckers’.
’’Listen I think your great Jenny, but honestly, I’m just too busy right now for anything serious.″ The old trick ‘it’s not you but me’, was one he had gotten so accustomed to pulling out that it was now second nature.
‘’Whatever Derek, you’re not as hot as you think. I’ve had better.’’ Jenny’s sticky voice now sounded menacing as Derek quickly rebutted. ‘’I didn’t say I was hot stuff. Good luck with that.’’ For some reason as Derek hung up the phone, he feared that would not be the last time he heard from the now scorned Jenny.
Juliana had finally fallen asleep, after hours of delirious fatigue. Seeing Derek had turned, what was supposed to be her first day interviewing on camera into her worst professional appearance yet.
She was now entering a deliciously deep sleep she had been craving, and in her dream, she could barely make out the image of her affection. Though, she knew that it was Derek Tanner that had invaded her subconscious. She had dreamed this nightmare many times since he had left Seattle for the City of Angels five years ago. It was always the same. First, he would bend down on his knee and present his open palm to her. He would whisper that when he was in the major league’s he would gift the largest diamond his baby deserved. Then he would slip his hand underneath her translucent nightie and trace his fingers up her thighs. All the while kissing her knees, which had been to wobble. When his rough fingers would finally make it into her dripping wet pleasure center, she would wake drenched in sweat, and moan Derek’s name. This night was no different, except when she woke instead of burrowing her head in her pillow and crying. She began to stroke her throbbing clitoris finishing the job Derek had started.
’’See I don’t need him or any man to satisfy me,″ Juliana mumbled aloud to her purring cat. But as she stroked her pet, a part of her panged for human to human contact. The irony was not lost on her, that while she had been nearly chaste for the last five years, Derek had probably hundreds of lovers. She had always been the more amorous one in the relationship, and now she was a lonely cat lady. I’m going to have to remedy that, Juliana thought as she walked naked into her shower.
Derek slammed the lid of his laptop hard, almost cracking its surface.
‘’What the hell is up with you?″ Coach Andre snapped behind him. ‘’I told you no electronics at practice.″
’’It’s an emergency coach.″ It was not, Derek had just rewritten his letter to Juliana for the fifth time. ‘’Can I just carry my smartphone?″ Maybe she would take the initiative and contact him first.
‘’Fine, I just want to see that swing of yours.’’ Derek pulled on his tight white uniform and flashed a pearly white smile at the newly appointed L.A. Dodgers coach. He carefully put his laptop into his locker and closed, but forgot to lock it. Derek sauntered out onto the bright green lawn of the stadium. This was the only place besides Juliana’s embrace had he ever been truly content. Why had it been one over the other? Why could he not have both? The truth was when he had been offered the contract Juliana was only a second-year college student in Seattle. He had told himself he loved her too much to ask her to follow him. Now she was here on her own volition. Fate had collided them. Who was Derek Tanner to fight fate?
’’Did you see that new reporter, that Spice Sports has hired?″ Derek had finished a successful practice and was in the locker room shower with his team’s pitcher Anthony Rodriguez.
‘’She definitely doesn’t look like the typical plastic L.A girl.’’ Anthony could have been essentially having a conversation with himself because Derek had not said a word since Anthony had first mentioned Juliana’s name.
If Derek were a better man, he would have brushed his jealousy aside and agreed with Anthony. But as he stood naked next to the Cuban pitcher, he could not help but compare himself. They were similar in ways, both mixed races, both with bright green eyes, but as Derek’s eyes lowered he immediately shrank back. No woman had ever complained about the size of his manhood, but Anthony’s put his to shame. He recalled Juliana once saying that there was such a thing as too big, but like every man out there, he had taken her kind words with a grain of salt.
‘’Anyway my man. I’m having a party tonight to celebrate the new season. You coming?’’ Derek had thought the party was a perfect chance for him to get to know his new teammates off the field.
‘’Course bro. I think I’ll ask out what’s her name.’’ Derek gritted his teeth into a fake smile as he reached for his towel and tied it around his taught waist. Juliana had always loved how the cut V of his abs had looked every time he had walked out of their shared bathroom.
‘’Her name’s Juliana.’’
‘’ I’m not doing it.’’ Juliana slammed the door behind her assistant. ‘’I don’t care if I get fired.’’
‘’Come on Jules. You’re just saying that.’’ After Anthony Rodriguez had called her assistant, the young woman had mentioned the invitation to her producer.
‘’Why did you have to tell Alex that Anthony called?’’ Juliana whined to a beleaguered Lucy.
‘’I am so sorry Juliana. I honestly thought you would want to go and get an inside scoop.’’
‘’To Derek Tanner’s party?’’ Juliana’s fatal mistake had been, not disclosing who Derek was to her to her assistant.
‘’ He is my ex-boyfriend Lucy.’’ The look of shock on Lucy’s cherub face hurt Juliana, and she felt guilty for omitting her past.
‘’ Oh my God! That’s why you looked like you saw a ghost after he left.’’
‘’ Right a ghost. He did, after all, ghost me for five years.″ Why, she thought, she had no idea?
‘’ I’ll just tell Alex that you’re sick.’’ Alice had a habit of shielding her from her boss’s wrath.
‘’ No you don’t have to do that. It’s just work, and maybe I can use my connection to my advantage?″
‘’ I like the sound of that Ms. Sprouse.’’ Both women looked at their reflection in the makeup mirror and laughed as they both jutted out their jaws in mock defiance.
The party was too loud already, Derek thought as he took his third beer out of his fridge.
’’Wicked place man. I can’t believe this is my first time seeing it.″ Derek’s younger brother had wandered into his newly renovated kitchen. ‘’Must have cost at four million.″ Johnathon Tanner had taken over the family real estate business, and though he was nowhere near as successful as his older brother, their parents treated him like he was.
’’I was just talking to Juliana.″ Johnathon had always had a small crush on his older brother’s sophisticated girlfriend. ’’Man, she looks great. You really shouldn’t have ignored her.″ The truth was that Derek had been shocked when he had seen Juliana. She was wearing a bright green summer dress, and flats, and not a stitch of the heavy t.v makeup she had worn the day previous.
‘’I will John. I will.’’
As Derek walked back out into his backyard which overlooked the Hollywood hills, he searched for Juliana in the dark. There were people everywhere, and he felt somewhat claustrophobic. Derek was used to crowds but not when they were in his sanctuary and completely inebriated.
‘’Hey Honey.’’ His stomach hit the floor as he recognized the sexy simper. Oh God no!
Anthony had his arm wrapped tight around Juliana’s waist and was slurring into her ear.
‘’Let me take you home baby?’’
’’Listen, Anthony. I’ve got an early morning shoot.″ Juliana tried to twist out of his firm grasp.
‘’You’ve got the best tits here.’’ The Cuban had his other hand now cupped over her breast.
‘’What the hell man. Get off of me!’’ She screamed, but where they were situated by the edge of the lawn, no-one paid any attention to her.
‘’I can tell your all natural baby.’’ Anthony muscled hand squeezed harder as though he was handling one of his baseballs.
‘’You are hurting me. Please stop!″
‘’No-one has ever complained to me before.’’ He leaned in to now kiss her as he whispered into her gaping mouth. ‘’Do you know who I am?’’
‘’Who do you think you are?″ Before her drunk companion had the chance to respond, he was punched in the back of his thick skull. Derek had appeared out of nowhere and was now on top of her disastrous date and was pummeling him into the ground. Juliana had fallen back, and her skirt was above her hips. The raucous scene had finally drawn a crowd, and she was embarrassed by the situation. Her boss wanted to find a story, not become the story.
’’Derek, please get off of him. He’s just really drunk.″ As Derek looked at her, she saw a wave of anger she had never seen before. When they had fought in the past, he had usually rolled his eyes and jumped in his car for some space, while she had repeatedly lit up his phone.
‘’This is your fault.’’ He growled at her.
‘’How is this my fault, Derek?″ Juliana was devastated by his cutting words and attempted to walk away before tears streamed down her face.
‘’Don’t worry about my man sweetie.’’ A blond girl had materialized out of the circle of onlookers and had grabbed Derek’s arm in a way that suggested there was some intimacy there.
Derek watched as Juliana’s back stunned as Anthony and Jenny started drunkenly flirting with one another. He began to throw people aside and run towards her. Finally, he caught with her in his driveway.
‘’Don’t leave.’’ He panted. ‘’When I saw you here tonight I really wanted to talk to you.’’
‘’What do you have to say now? When you had five years to reach out?’’ In the moonlit night, he could barely see, her pert mouth scowl.
‘’I…I just want to say that I am sorry.″ His throat tightened, and he thought he was going to lose control. ‘’I am so unbelievably sorry for what I did to you. You of all people did not deserve that.″
Juliana had started to cry as she collapsed into his open embrace.
’’Don’t say anything, Derek. Just stop.″ As her warm curves folded perfectly back into his, Derek could not help but feel the heat of his lust filter across his body. He had one arm cupped around the small of her back, and he pulled her into his now burgeoning groin. He took his other hand and began to massage the nape of her neck. He could feel the goosebumps forming on her soft skin, and he moved his hand up to her scalp, kneading the tension out of her tight scalp.
‘’Please stop. We can’t do this.’’ Juliana wiped her bloodshot eyes and tearfully pleaded with her ex-boyfriend. In a matter of minutes, Derek had kicked almost all of his houseguests out and had towed a resistant Juliana into his loft bedroom. Jenny had refused to leave and even as he threatened to call the cops fought she had sat stone still with her feet dangling in his pool.
‘’Who is that girl?’’ Juliana had finally gathered her composure, and with her hands on her hips, she demanded an answer.
‘’Nobody Jules. Just a friend.’’
‘’You’ve got a strange group of friends now don’t you?’’ Juliana looked around the starkly modern bedroom. ‘’You’ve changed your style too.’’
Derek had never cared about interior decorating, leaving all of it to Juliana when they had lived together.
‘’I’m older now.’’ He pulled her down to sit on his king size bed. Derek cupped her chin in his hands, forcing her to look at him in the eyes. ‘’I was young then. I made a mistake. Please give me a second chance?’’
‘’What do you want though?’’ She would not allow herself to be yet another conquest for the great Derek Tanner.
’’I want you. I’ve always wanted you.″ Derek licked his crimson lips. She had always been jealous of how plump and vibrant his lips were. Before she could respond, he softly kissed the side of her mouth. Juliana inhaled as a flutter of ease traveled through her body. She relaxed into his embrace, and as his kisses grew deeper and deeper, she responded by taking the lead. Juliana’s fingers blindly found the buttons of his shirt, and she began to undress him from the clavicle downward. As she stroked his gleaming chest, she felt for the few hairs that used to carpet it. She was pleasantly surprised to feel nothing but silken skin. He had changed a lot since the last time they had been together. Juliana had taken off Derek’s shirt and pushed him backward onto his crisp sheets. For a second as the two old lovers untwined their mouths and held eye contact, they were both frozen still, as though they were in a memory not experiencing reality.
‘’I can’t believe you’re here.’’ Derek’s hands were now on her belly underneath her mid-length dress.
’’Me too baby.″ Juliana was straddling him and had started unbuckling his jeans. Derek’s hands were now fondling her pert nipples, and she felt her core begin to heat up. She moaned and was now frantic to pull off his pants. Juliana stood up on top of him, as he shimmied both his jeans and boxers off. Derek was stark naked as he reached up her dress and pulled off her conservative panties.
‘’I see you haven’t changed.’’ Derek quipped with a charming smirk. Juliana giggled as she once again placed each of her long legs on either side of him.
As she stared into his feathered eyes, she seductively and slowly lifted her dress over her head.
Oh, my God, Derek thought, as he stared at Juliana. She looked exquisite in the burnished light of the room; her pale skin glowed like the string of pearls he had once gifted her. She had not changed in the past five years, in fact, age had brought a certain elegance to her.
‘’Do you have a condom?’’ He was so lost in his trance; he could barely make out her request.
‘’Yeah, in my side drawer.’’ Derek hated using condoms, but out of respect for her, he would put one on. Juliana peeled apart the plastic and began to unfurl the latex rubber. His hard penis stood erect and poised for action as she bent to kiss its head. Derek could barely contain himself as she lubricated it with her lustrous tongue. She squeezed hard on the head as she placed the condom on him. Derek put his hands on her firm behind and lifted her hips guiding her to their union. First, she teased him rising and falling just on the tip of it. Finally, he pulled down hard on her as she moaned loudly. The feeling of filling Juliana’s tight vortex was indescribable. Derek felt like he was at home.
’’I love you,″ Juliana whispered breathily into Derek’s ear as she pumped her hips up and down, keeping rhythm with her lover. They could not contain themselves, and their climax came quickly. Juliana screamed his name aloud, and Derek bit down hard on her neck. As she rolled off him, still entangled and sweaty, Derek kissed her mouth, and while looking directly into her now shining eyes, he said. ‘’I love you too.″
‘’Derek. Derek. Wake up.’’ Juliana had fallen asleep in Derek’s arms, but a strange sound had woken her out of her deep sleep. The room was pitch black, and the only light came from the glow of his alarm clock which said it was 3 am.
’’Huh. What’s wrong baby?″ Derek was still groggy and confused as he flung his arm over Juliana, temporarily suffocating. She struggled to lift the dead weight off of her mouth. Finally, she pinched him hard on his nipple. Derek flinched, and as soon as he was aware of her, he removed his arm and instead reached around her naked torso and spooned her from behind. Before she could react to his morning arousal, a large crashing noise sounded from the downstairs of his house.
‘’I thought you kicked everybody out?’’ Juliana hissed, as she pulled the sheets over her pert breasts.
‘’I did. Maybe someone just passed out.’’ Before he had a chance to get up and drag on his boxers, the bedroom door flung open.
‘’Jesus Christ. You scared me, Jenny.″
‘’Who is Jenny, Derek?’’
‘’I am his girlfriend. Who are you?’’ Derek had switched on his bedside lamp, and as the two lovers wiped the sleep out of their eyes, they were confronted by a wild, angry woman. Immediately Juliana recognized her as the same girl who had been hanging all over Derek yesterday.
‘’Is that true Derek?″ Juliana looked at the now crying Jenny to Derek, who looked as though he was going to kill the girl. Was she now a mistress? The question made Juliana want to vomit. Never before had she been so reckless, she had only slept with Derek because of their history. But perhaps, more had changed than he had let on.
What is she doing here? Derek thoughts rushed as he grabbed Jenny roughly by the arm, and dragged her into the hallway.
‘’How dare you just come in my room like that!’’ Derek was so furious as he yelled at Jenny.
‘’You just spent the night with me. I thought you’d like an encore.’’ Jenny wiped the stream of black mascara off of her cheeks.
‘’I thought I delivered my message loud and clear.″ Juliana had now entered the hallway and was just silently watching the heated exchange.
‘’Right, when you fucked me.’’ Jenny’s lips snarled into an ugly grin as she sarcastically pelted Derek. He did not have a rebuttal, she was right. He had been such a promiscuous jerk lately, and now karma was catching up to him. The awkward trio stood in silence for what must have been minutes until Juliana spoke.
Her voice was stern and cold as she declared she was leaving.
‘’I see you have a complicated situation, Derek. I am certainly not interested in being in the middle of your mess.″
How could he have done this to her? Juliana was in the back of an Uber driving home to her small condo in West Hollywood. The warm light of dawn rising over the Hollywood Hills did nothing to alieve the cold pit of shame that had nestled deep into her bones. Juliana began to shake, she had declined Derek’s attempt at giving her a sweater to wear home, and she was still in her soiled red dress.
‘’Do you want me to turn up the heat?’’ The middle-aged female driver asked her.
‘’Sure. That would be great.’’ Juliana’s gums stuck to her dry lips and she longed for a sip of water. Drinking too much was yet another mistake added to her list.
It took a long 45 minutes to drive through the near empty streets as her driver took her sweet time. All Juliana could think about as the car pulled on to her street, was a good cry and long cuddle with her cat.
Derek’s heart was pumping into his as he parked his Escalade next to Juliana’s humble apartment building. He jumped out of the vehicle and ran through the lobby and jumped into the elevator. As each floor slowly passed his heart raced more and more. Would she accept his apology? Two apologies in one night was a record for Derek Tanner. What kind of man was he turning into? At that moment in the cold light of day, he did not care. He just wanted to be with Juliana again. More so ever, he wanted to be inside her.
’’Derek what are you doing here? I thought you would be consoling your girlfriend by now?″ He had only knocked once before Juliana’s door had flung open. He did not say a word. Instead, he grabbed her and picked her up. Derek pushed her up against her wall and kicked the door behind him closed. His hot lips mashed against hers in a violent, possessive kiss. His tongue danced and prodded deep into her mouth, as Juliana responded with the same veracity. Derek searched blindly up her thigh until he felt her wet throbbing clitoris. He placed his thumb on it as he plunged his point and index finger inside of her. Derek simultaneously prodded his mouth and his hand in rhythm. He could sense her trying to moan under his barrage of kisses as he swallowed each one of her exclamations. Not now sweetheart, I’ll let you talk later, Derek mused. He steadily was devouring the love of his life, and nothing felt better than watching and feeling her ecstasy. Juliana attempted in between the grinding to unbuckle last night’s jeans, but he brushed her hands aside.
‘’It’s all about you baby.’’ He finally allowed her breath as he whispered in a sexy hushed tone.
‘’I want you inside of me,’’ Juliana replied silkily. Mission accomplished he thought, as he, at last, allowed his throbbing erection to spring from its stronghold.
‘’I’ve got to go to work Derek.’’ Juliana and Derek were both squeezed into her small bathroom shower. She giggled as he nibbled her earlobes and continued massaging soap onto her back.
‘’Honestly, this is important to me. If I show up late, I will look unprofessional, and someone else will swoop and take my job.″ Juliana had turned to face her glistening ex. Damn, he looks good, she thought and reached up to kiss him. Derek was over 6-feet tall, and she was only 5-foot 3.
‘’Tonight then Jules, let me take you out.’’ Derek backed off of her and put his hands up in mock protest.
’’I’m not stopping you. You’re free to go.″ She hesitated as she studied his rock hard abs, and pectorals. He was more fit since they had last been together. Whether it was a ramped steroid use that had toned him or hard work, the journalist in her would find out later.
‘’I’ll pick you up from work just text me.’’ She had painfully dragged herself out of the soothing shower and was now applying her makeup.
’’You don’t need to wear lipstick, Hun. You are so beautiful when you’re natural.″
She laughed. ‘’Wait until you see the mask they put on me before I go on camera. Oh yeah, that’s right you already have. Does that mean you didn’t like the way I looked the other day?’’
Derek’s sexy smile lowered as he wrapped a towel around his taught hips.
‘’ You are always beautiful. To be honest, I was so surprised I think I almost blacked out.″
Juliana looked at him, and before she applied her lipstick, she went on her tip toes to apply a long deep kiss. Even in the bright light of morning their lust and passion could not be subdued. She was breathing heavy as she pulled back from him, his manhood had swelled up underneath the towel, and his eyes were heavy with desire.
‘’God. Juliana, look at what you do to me.″
Derek was light on his feet as he walked out onto the L.A Dodgers baseball field. He could not contain his joy, and even his coach caught on to his player’s newfound enthusiasm.
‘’Jesus kid. I guess you had quite the party last night?’’ Derek had all but forgotten about his house party and shook his head with a sly knowing grin.
‘’Whatever as long as you’re not too hungover.’’ The middle-aged coach nodded across the field and pointed to Anthony.
‘’Your buddy sure looks worse for the wear. What did you do to him?’’
’’Nothing. Don’t worry about him. I’ll give him a hand today.″ As Derek jogged over to the beleaguered shortstop, he waved. He did not hold a grudge against his friend. It was not as though he had not acted like a drunken idiot on more than one occasion.
‘’Hey there, how are feeling this morning?’’ Derek tossed the baseball lightly to Anthony.
’’Like shit. Look, man; I’m so sorry about last night.″ Anthony peaked out from under his baseball cap with a shameful smile.
‘’Don’t worry about it. Booze gets the best of us.’’ Derek reached up his arm to catch a poorly aimed toss.
‘’That girl of yours is a real firecracker.″ Immediately Derek tensed up. Why would Anthony even mention Juliana after what he tried to do last night?
‘’Listen, please don’t talk about Juliana. We’ve got a long history together.’’
‘’Juliana? I thought her name was Jenny?’’ At just the sound of his early morning intruders name, Derek gritted his teeth hard and drew blood from his lower lip.
’’Juliana was your date. Jenny was the chick that pulled us apart. Don’t you remember?″ The two men had stopped practicing and were now exchanging stories way out in left field.
’’All I remember is making out with some chick and then her saying that you’ll be mad ‘cause she’s your girl.’’
‘’Where the hell did you make out with Jenny?’’
‘’It must have been her car.’’
The glow of last night’s amorous encounter had faded, and Derek was now seething mad. Jenny was a manipulative liar, who was spreading rumors about him to his friends.
’’Yeah, I didn’t believe her, because she’s not really your type. But, when she pulled out the pics. Well, I guess since we share a locker, I recognized your package.″ Now it was Derek’s turn to look down sheepishly. He had always been a deep sleeper and this time he had invited the devil into his bed chamber. If Juliana finds out about this, she will leave him for good. Derek started to run into the locker room as he heard his coach call out to him. Nothing else mattered than destroying whatever evidence Jenny had. This time nothing, not baseball, not a few nude snaps, not a psychotic clinger, would ruin his second chance with the woman of his dreams.
‘’You have a real story here Jules.’’ Alice had listened intently as Juliana had spilled her guts to her assistant. She had started with her date’s inexcusable behavior; she had detailed every second of her passionate encounter with Derek Tanner. Alice’s face had turned a crimson red as Juliana had explained how fulfilling sleeping with her ex-boyfriend had been.
‘’God. Alice, he was incredible. It felt like I was coming home. Like the tears and the years had not happened. We just made love like we had not just spent five years apart.’’
The excitement ended abruptly when Juliana recalled how scared she was when a drunken girl had broken into Derek’s room. Alice asked compassionately if Juliana really believed that Jenny was not Derek’s girlfriend.
’’I do Alice. The way he just left her and drove to my apartment. You should have seen him; he looked so lonely, he looked so broken. When he said I love you, I believed him!″
‘’Hey buddy lookin’ good.’’
‘’That’s quite the parcel you’ve got.’’
‘’I think we’ve got ourselves a stage five clinger. Ring the alarm.’’
Derek was doing his best to ignore his teammates, but even the sound of the showers could not drown their taunts. It had taken his moments to realized that Jenny had sent his pictures to everyone on the roster. Going to see Jenny alone was out no longer an option, she would only try to blackmail him into sleeping with her. He had to get to Juliana before somehow she received the pictures. They were on precarious footing; he was not entirely sure he had convinced Juliana that Jenny was not his girlfriend. Yes, he had been single when they had been taken. But, he was not sure how Juliana would react to his promiscuous past. As he jumped into his SUV with just a tank top on showcasing his bulging muscles, Derek squealed the tires as he peeled onto the highway. Damn L.A traffic, he cursed because as soon as he had reached the highway, his momentum came to a quick stop. Yet, another hindrance to life in Southern California. The city of broken dreams and fallen angels looked smoggy and smelled foul from his vantage point. Derek took the time to comb his shaggy pitch black hair, he had missed his last barber’s appointment and now his hair curled around his sideburns and constantly fell into his eyes. Giving him the appearance of shyness. He had not shaved that morning at Juliana’s, and the dark shadow further accentuated his sharp jawline. He yawned and closed his eyes only to be shocked alert by a pounding car horn and a soccer mom who gave him a dirty and pushed ahead of him in the long line of cars.
‘’I’m Juliana Sprouse for Splice Sports. Have a great weekend folks.’’ For the first time since she had accepted the on-air position, Juliana’s wide smile was authentic.
’’That was a great show, Jules. Keep up the good work.″ Alex patted her on the back and even as he reprimanded her for not getting the inside scoop of the L.A Dodger’s new roster, she could tell her producer was pleased.
I’ll just have to thank Derek tonight for the ego boost. For the last five years, she had tried to establish herself as an independent single woman, perfectly content to be alone. Obviously, last night’s unbelievable exploits had shattered her false armour. She was and had always been happier with Derek. The truth was that he had left her and she had never stopped pining for him, even though she had never admitted it to herself.
‘’Have you seen your emails yet?’’ Alice was privy to her private emails and regularly perused them, sending and replying on Juliana’s behalf.
’’No, I just got off the air. I haven’t even changed yet.″ The barrage of work never stopped for her, and all she wanted was a quiet night with her man.
‘’Why? Did Alex already email me? My God, I’m not even out of the building yet.’’
Alice’s face was redder than usual, and it almost matched her dyed hair.
‘’Umm... You remember Derek Tanner.’’ Juliana’s stomach dropped and grabbed her phone away from her assistant. The first thing she saw was a picture of Derek, who was completely nude and obviously asleep. The caption next to it said. ’’If you don’t stay away from my man. I’ll ruin his life and yours, sweetie.″
They did not say a word to one another as Derek pulled onto Juliana’s street. She had wanted to change before their early movie. Derek waited and impatiently watched her doorway. He had been too scared to mention Jenny’s blackmail and Juliana had given him a warm smile and a wet kiss when she had met him outside of Splice Sports studio. He thought their silence was a comfortable one and that she was just tired after a long day at work. The clock signaled half an hour had gone by and he assumed that she was probably just showering. I should join her for round two he thought and jumped out of his car without a second of hesitation. His heart pounded like it had yesterday as he softly knocked on her front door. Derek tried the doorknob, and to his surprise, it was unlocked. The notion that Juliana was putting her life in danger bothered him as he walked through her hallway into her master suite. Derek slipped off his jeans and boxers hurriedly and pulled off his shirt that his nervous sweat had already permeated. He could hear Juliana’s soft voice singing the newest Adele song and the sound of water rushing. Derek took a huge breath of air and even though his anxiety was making his body shake, Derek pulled back the shower curtain. Instead of the welcome he had fantasized about, he received a stinging slap to the cheek.
‘’You bastard.’’ Juliana was now crouched down in a fetal position in her bathtub. ‘’I could have killed you.’’
‘’I just wanted to surprise you, baby.″ Derek bent down to hug her. Juliana flinched at his embrace and pulled away. She was mad at him for the pictures Jenny had sent her, and this was just the cherry on top. Derek reached forward again, but instead of hugging her torso, he cupped her bare bottom and lifted her. Before she could fight back, he had pinned her to the wall. She was excited by his domination and every ounce of restraint melted as he kissed her wet, greedy mouth. The drone of warm water and his wandering lips overwhelmed her and pulled his erection into her pulsating crevice. The sensation of his naked manhood pushing deeper and deeper inside of her was undeniably the most incredible feeling she had ever felt. Juliana could tell Derek was quickly losing control and she allowed him to climax in a frenzy of pumps.
‘’I’m sorry baby.’’ He breathed into her breasts as he could tell she had not orgasmed with him. Derek dropped to his knees and gently plied the lips of her shaven womanhood apart. He forced his tongue down hard on her clitoris as his fingers entered her. His seed spilled out as he lapped it up. Juliana’s fingers combed his silky wet hair as she held his rocking head against her. She began to breathe heavily, and she grabbed one of her breasts hard. With the other hand, she ground his face into her and screamed in ecstasy.
‘’Oh my God. Oh my God.’’
’’I didn’t know you still thought I was your God Jules.″ Derek had released her, and she slowly collapsed onto him. They were both sitting in a pile of spent, naked limbs and she started to laugh.
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