Obscene Gestures

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Chapter 10

Tess blinked in shock. “I’m sorry say that again?” Damon laughed, leading her off the ice.

“You heard me, little girl. My beautiful and talented daughter wants to start a women’s hockey team here, an extension of the Sounders. I happen to think it’s a fantastic idea.” A women’s team? Here in her hometown? And Meda hadn’t said anything?!? “Go get showered and changed. We will grab lunch and talk about it.” Tess could only nod and skate off back to the locker room with Meda hot on her blades.

“So? What do you think?” Meda’s blue eyes were sparkling with excitement. She stripped out of her practice uniform quickly and jumped in the shower. Tess followed, still in confusion.

“Um well considering my best friend in the entire world kept this little nugget of joy from me I’d say I have no idea what the fuck to think.” She was trying her damnedest to be mad at Meda but she just couldn’t muster the anger. “Oh hell, spill it girl. Tell me everything and then we’ll talk about what I think.” Meda squealed and spent the next twenty minutes yammering on about the new women’s team being assembled. The team would be called The Fury and Tess would be captain.

“Wow,” Tess huffed out a breath as she fluffed her hair and applied her lip gloss. Grabbing her gear, she followed Meda out. “I love the name and I think it’s an amazing idea. But I don’t want the captain spot because I’m your best friend. I want to earn it on my own merit. The team won’t respect me if I don’t.” Meda stopped mid-step.

“So,” she turned slowly to face Tess. “Does this mean you’ll do it? Dad can sign you?”

“Hell yeah, girl! What did you think I was going to say? No? That’s just crazy talk!” Meda screamed and wrapped Tess up in another bone crushing hug. The girls practically skipped out of the arena. Pulling into Persephone’s, they were talking nonstop about the new team. Apollo and Blake met them at the door. Blake swept Meda up into a deep kiss, squeezing her ass. Apollo just stared at Tess, a look of longing in his eyes but making no move to repeat his actions from the ice. Tess was surprised to find herself disappointed.

They made their way inside and found the large table in the private room Dominic had set up for them. The brothers were seated together in deep conversation along with a woman Tess would recognize anywhere. “Holy fuck, Meed!” she whispered. “Is that who I think it is?”

“Yep, that’s Karina Hamilton. She’s agreed to sign on as head coach.”

“Oh. My. God.” Introductions were done and everyone sat down to eat. Tess was seated across from Karina. Apollo was sitting next to her. Between the heat of his body every time he accidentally rubbed against her and her all time favorite female hockey player she was sure she was going to die. She turned to Apollo. “Did you know about all this?”

“Yep,” was he said before shoving a forkful of souvlaki in his mouth. Turning back to her own meal, she listened to Damon and Karina talk. They were discussing possible players to recruit and refurbishing the women’s locker room. Dominic joined in from time to time with his own input.

“So Tess what do you think?” Damon’s voice cut through the muck in her brain.

“Well, I think it’s a fantastic idea and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I’d already promised Meda I would be her new PR director for the foundation but I don’t see why I can’t do both.”

“I’ve heard good things about you, Tess,” Karina spoke with an easy smile. “I wasn’t able to make it to the arena today to watch you. Youth league sign ups were today for summer camp. But I have to say I’m really looking forward to watching Barricade’s daughter in action.” Tess smiled brightly.

“You coach big people and little people. How the hell do you do it and still look so fabulous?” Karina tossed back her head and laughed.

“My mother would say a good plastic surgeon but I disagree. I say it’s a life lived well. Sadly, this is the last year of youth league for me. My boys had the nerve to turn sixteen on me and now that the last few years of them being under my wing is drawing close, I want to make the most of what time I have left.”

“Rest assured, Karina,” Damon’s deep voice rumbled. “They never truly leave. Just ask any of mine. They keep coming back like a bad habit.” Meda and Apollo both gasped then proceeded to throw their napkins at their father. Damon’s laughter was catching and soon the whole table was joining in.

“Not to be rude or anything, Dominic but what exactly is your role in all this? You planning to coach?” Tess remembered that Dominic had played hockey all through school, just like Damon but never hit the big time. His passion was food and bringing the best of his Greek culture to the world through his award winning restaurants. He was a world class chef and every bite of cuisine showed it. Laughing, he winked at Tess and took a drink of his wine.

“Nah, I’m just a silent investor. I think this will be great for the city and for women’s hockey as a whole. When Damon approached me, I couldn’t say no. Besides, we all know I don’t play anywhere near as well as I cook.” Tess giggled.

“True that,” she chuckled. More talk ensued of contracts, salaries and surprisingly Tess’s input on the candidates. The list was impressive and the pay promised to be good. Hopefully it would be a bright enough package to attract the talent they were looking for. Tess’s mind was a whirlwind of ideas on promotions for both the Fury and the foundation. She could hardly keep her thoughts straight. Apollo sensed her agitation. He slid his hand on her thigh under the table and gave a slight squeeze.

“Settle down, baby girl,” he said, his voice low and sultry. “I can see the steam coming out of your ears, the gears in your head are moving so fast.” She took a deep breath but didn’t move her leg from under his hand. She kind of liked it where it was. Apparently so did her lady parts.

“I can’t help it, Pollo,” she said. She didn’t miss the hitch in his breath as she used his nickname. “You know me. My mind is never still. That’s why I’m so good at being in public relations.” He had her pegged. She was always full of nervous energy. Hockey was great for pulling all that out of her but now that she was older and having to be an adult, she just fell into her field. She loved working with companies to create a positive image, much like she’d done for the clients of Wilson & Starnes. She was damn good at her job and she was looking forward to sinking her teeth into the foundation. Just maybe not as much as she was looking forward to being back on the ice full time.

“You can do both, babe,” Meda said with a wink. “What? Girl I know what you’re thinking before you do,” she laughed. Tess rolled her eyes but agreed.

“Yeah yeah,” Tess giggled. “I can do both, the foundation and the Fury.” Giving Damon an intense look, she folded her hands neatly on her lap. “Where do I sign?” Damon rewarded her with a sexy smile – the man couldn’t help it – and slid a contract across the table. Squealing, Tess picked it up and proceeded to read everything including the fine print. When she got to the salary part, her eyes widened. “Whoa. Um, you know women don’t do as well as men in professional sports, Mr. D. That’s a lot of zeroes.”

“We aim to change that with the Fury, petaloúda (butterfly). As the franchise grows, I fully anticipate steady increases in pay as well as a multitude of sponsorships for the ladies. The exposure the players will get from their volunteer work with the foundation will help that along as well.” Wow.

“My days in the women’s league were amazing and I wouldn’t go back to change a thing,” Karina said. “But, I had to hold a second job to pay the bills. It took a lot of time away from my kids. I don’t want my girls to have to go through that and there’s no reason you should. We can pay a decent annual salary to make this the only job they need. By doing that, you can give everything you’ve got to the team instead of having to choose who or what gets your time.”

With a big smile, Tess shook hands with Karina and Damon, affixing her signature to her contract. “In that case, what the hell are we doing sitting here on our asses chatting? Let’s get out there and put this team together!”

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