Home > Anatomy of a Player (Taking Shots #2)

Anatomy of a Player (Taking Shots #2)
Cindi Madsen

Chapter One


You know those girls with no gaydar who fall in love with every gay guy within a thirty-mile radius? I lacked whatever version of radar was for players. Playdar—yeah, I was definitely missing playdar.

I trudged up the concrete stairs of my apartment complex, my heart heavy after yet another breakup—if it could even be called a breakup, considering Trevor and I had never been an official couple. Something he’d so nicely pointed out earlier tonight when I saw him on campus with another girl.

The stabbing pain in my chest returned as I recalled the way Trevor had asked Perky McBoobs to give him a second before pulling me aside. Denial and I were old friends, and she whispered that maybe he’d have some great explanation, like the girl was just a close friend—his hand in her back pocket ruled out relative. Okay, so it ruled out friend, too. I didn’t go around cupping my friends’ asses, no matter how close we were.

As I slid my key into my apartment door, I replayed that awful moment when the guy who’d once told me I was so sexy that he thought about me all day long claimed I was “too needy” and he was afraid I wanted more than he could give.

Did I want him to refrain from having sex with other girls while he and I were together? Of course I did. Apparently asking for the most basic relationship requirement—after three months, no less—made me needy.

And there was nothing quite like getting played by the third freaking guy in a row, only to come home to one of the cuddliest, most in-love couples ever. I knew Lyla would never purposely rub her relationship in my face, just like I knew she and Beck had earned their happiness the hard way. But it didn’t make it any easier to walk in on them making out on the couch.

I shut the door behind me with a little extra force, and Lyla glanced up, obviously just noticing my presence. “Hey,” she said, pulling away from Beck and tugging her disheveled clothes back into place. “Didn’t hear you come in.”

The first few times I’d caught them, she’d blushed and apologized profusely. Now it was commonplace enough that we were past blushing and apologies. Last weekend she’d caught Trevor and me in the same position.

Another wave of sadness crashed into me, making it feel like my chest had caved in on itself. Why does it have to hurt so bad every damn time?

Lyla’s hazel eyes widened. “Oh, no. What happened?”

I’d done so well fighting back the tears on my drive home, but having someone care enough to ask that cracked the dam wide open. “You know how Trevor told me he was too busy with football stuff to hang out tonight?” My voice squeaked and I forced the next words out before I totally lost it. “I caught him on campus with another girl. It’s over. Even though apparently it was never a thing anyway.”

Lyla untangled herself from Beck and hugged me. “I’m so sorry, Whitney. I know how much you liked him.”

I sniffed and squeezed her back. “Last year I swore that I was only going to go for sweet nerds who’d appreciate me, but then I slipped and fell for Mr. All American Football Player over the summer, so I suppose I deserve this.”

“You don’t deserve it,” Lyla said, pulling back to look me in the eye.

I didn’t. Deep down I knew I deserved someone who’d treat me right. I just didn’t know how to go about finding him. Clearly I needed to avoid football players, though. Strike that. The guy before Trevor was Matt, and he’d played baseball in high school. So make it all athletes in general, and since the guy before that had been a frat boy, I might as well scratch them off the possibilities list, too.

Beck stopped the ignored movie playing in the background and ran a hand through his short blond hair. He had a bit of a dude-in-tear-filled-headlights look on his face, making it clear he wasn’t sure if he should stay or flee from the crying girl drama.

I meant to let him off, but then I found myself asking, “Why can’t guys just be straight with us?” I flopped onto the cushy red chair Lyla and I had picked up at a yard sale a couple of weekends ago. “Why act like you’re really into a girl and say super sweet things, when you’re doing the same thing to two or three other girls at the same time?”

Beck shrugged. “I was always up front that I wasn’t in it for the long haul.”

Lyla sat next to him and patted his leg. “It’s true. He told me it could only be sex, no strings attached.” She gave him a stern look and then shoved his arm, which elicited a huge grin from him. Clearly the attachment part had formed and then some.

“So what changed?” I asked, wanting the magic formula. Wanting to know how to achieve that kind of adoration and commitment so I didn’t have to constantly walk around with this ache in my chest.

Beck ran his hand down Lyla’s arm and linked their fingers together. “She was already my friend. She saw me at my worst and helped me through it, even when I didn’t deserve it. And, well…look at her. She’s hot.”

Lyla flashed him a smile, he smiled back and raised their entwined hands to kiss the back of hers, and it was disgustingly cute and envy-worthy. My lovable roommate at least looked semi-apologetic about the PDA.

I wanted what they had, and I’d been stupid enough to think that Trevor and I were heading in that direction. We’d met while taking Session II summer classes, and while I wasn’t sure where we stood when I’d gone home for a few weeks between semesters, he’d texted several times, and as soon as I’d let him know I’d returned to Boston, he came over and told me how happy he was to have me back. Didn’t “back” imply he’d had me in the first place?

Silly me, I’d thought he’d meant it in a relationship way, and obviously he’d meant in a booty call way. Now I wondered how many of the times he’d claimed to be busy with football he’d been scoring with chicks instead of a ball.

Yep, definitely done with athletes. In fact, the next time some ripped, suspiciously charming guy delivers a line, I’m going to let him have it. Maybe then he’ll think twice about using his smooth lines to land unsuspecting girls.

Okay, that was probably a stretch, but at least he’d know that I wasn’t his next mark.

Beck glanced at his phone and then said, “Babe, we should probably get going. The guys are expecting me at the party.” He looked from Lyla to me. “Unless you need to stay?”

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