Home > Intercepted (Playbook #1)

Intercepted (Playbook #1)
Author: Alexa Martin

One

For the first three years, it’s fun being a pro football player’s girlfriend.

“Marlee, let me see your hand! Did Chris propose yet?” Amber asks.

I’m in year ten.

“Still naked.” I wiggle my fingers in front of her the same way I did last week and the week before that . . . and the week before that. #HeDidntPutARingOnIt

Sometimes, I like to hashtag my life. #CheaperThanTherapy

I sip my margarita. “When it happens, I promise to let you know.” Or, you know, keep asking every time you see me.

“Marlee.” Courtney sighs. She stands at the head of the table clutching a glitter-coated gavel. “We made exceptions for you to join the Lady Mustangs. Try to acknowledge that and save your little side conversation until we’ve finished.”

“Sorry, Court.” Every time I call her Court, she strains her Botoxed forehead and glares in my direction, so obviously, it’s the only thing I call her. Well, sometimes I call her bitch, but she doesn’t know about that.

“As I was saying, the annual Lady Mustangs Fashion Show is in three weeks. Everyone must attend the next meeting so we can discuss the outfits for you and your husbands.”

I catch her eye again. She raises her chin, and her fat-injected lips form an actual smile.

“Oh, I’m sorry. In your case, Marlee, you and your boyfriend.”

See? What a bitch.

“Thanks for the clarification, Court, but I understood.” My fingernails dig into my palm as I fight the urge to ask if one of her husband’s girlfriends will be joining the festivities.

“I didn’t want you to feel like you were being excluded.”

Hmm . . . including me by pointing out my differences. Makes so much sense. I don’t know if she’s trying to convince herself, me, or the rest of the Mustang wives, but she isn’t succeeding with anybody.

“You’re so thoughtful,” I return with an equal amount of authenticity.

Courtney is the president (how obnoxious) of the Lady Mustangs, the charitable organization consisting of the wives and girlfriend (singular) of the Denver Mustangs. We get together every Wednesday during the season to plan different events to benefit the community. There is an unspoken rule—each woman only gets one season to lead—but surprising nobody at all, Courtney didn’t think the rules applied to her. This is her fourth year as president. Her husband, Kevin Matthews, is our quarterback, but her head is bigger than his. And that’s saying a lot. There are football players and then there are quarterbacks—which are an entirely different breed. Courtney has also made it her mission during her reign of terror to put me in my place, a spot well below her. She doesn’t seem to realize I’m fresh out of fucks to give.

“As I was saying, now that the season has arrived, everyone needs to be here every week. No excuses.” She looks toward me again.

So I’ve missed some meetings, sue me. But, unlike Courtney, I have an actual job that includes more than lunching. We also live in the day and age of email, something that seems to evade her.

“Remember what we always say? We work hard to inspire our husbands’ on-field success with our off-field dedication, support, and achievements.”

Vomit.

Honestly, besides the constant pressure to prove I’ll be the best football wife ever, the only reason I keep coming to these awful things is because it gives me an excuse to drink in the early afternoon. I focus on the Colorado sun shining down on our rooftop patio table as I sip my oversized margarita, listening to the music as it switches between seventies pop and nineties hip-hop—until Courtney’s shrill voice pulls my attention back to her.

“Is there anything else that needs to be discussed today?” Courtney asks. After a quick glance around the table confirms there’s nothing else to be said, the gavel slams into the table and glitter explodes off of it, covering the table, plates, and floor.

Fantastic.

Like the waitstaff needed more of a reason to hate us beyond the ten separate checks, no dressing/no flavor orders, and the three women who sent their meals back because they spotted a carb.

Whenever these meetings end, the switch flips from good deeds to gossip central.

“Can I have a chip?” Naomi says. “Salad is so stupid. Why don’t you ever tell me not to order one?” She draws my attention away from the brewing gossip storm as she reaches to my plate without waiting for an answer. Not that she needs one, she does this every week. And every week she still orders a salad—like the calories don’t count if I’m the one who orders them. #WhoNeedsScience

“What if I was going to say no?”

“Were you?” She crunches into the chip in a manner so un-Lady-Mustang-like, I’m surprised Courtney doesn’t slam down the gavel again to reprimand her.

“No, you can have the rest, I’m done. Playing nice while Power Trip Barbie threw her jabs stole my appetite.”

I love Naomi. She has never questioned the authenticity of my relationship because of my lack of a gaudy diamond decorating my left hand. She’s the first to call me to get together when the guys are out of town. She also doesn’t partake in the hype some of the other women do when it comes to the faux fame of being an athlete’s wife.

“Don’t mind Courtney. She’s just pissed they’re bringing in another quarterback, and Kevin’s reign as leader supreme is coming to an end . . . not surprising considering how he played during preseason.” She doesn’t even finish the sentence before she’s grabbing the untouched taco still on my plate.

“Wait. What? When did that happen?” I ask.

“They announced it this morning. How do you not know these things? As a wide receiver, this affects Chris more than anyone else, except for Kevin.” Her eyes never meet mine, and if I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought she was whispering sweet nothings to a taco.

“The season started. Chris isn’t around to tell me these things, and I don’t have ESPN alerts sent to my phone like the rest of you freaks. Who’d they get?”

Instead of an answer, all I get is one flawless, manicured finger in my face while another points toward her mouth as she chews what was left of my lunch. Rolling my eyes to the heavens, I try to gather patience while she takes an eternity to swallow and chase it down with her watery Diet Coke.

“Gavin Pope—he was the Bears quarterback,” she says with shrug.

She’s all nonchalant while I, on the other hand, contemplate grabbing my chest and calling 911. My heart is racing so fast, I’m afraid I’m seconds away from keeling over. The sunshine now feels like a heat lamp, and my straightened hair against the back of my neck starts to curl.

“Holy shit. Are you okay? You just turned white.”

“Actually, I’m feeling a little queasy. I think I drank my margarita too fast.” I’m well accustomed to explaining away my distress around the wicked wives, and sitting by Naomi, hearing the one name I work overtime to avoid, is no different. “I think I’m going to head out, rest a little before Chris gets home.”

“Good, go and feel better. Call me later if you need anything.” Naomi’s watchful gaze follows my shaky movements as I put enough money on the table to cover my bill and offer a small apology for the glitter they’ll no doubt be cleaning for the next six months.

“I will, thank you.” I give Naomi a hug, shout a quick good-bye to our table, and get the hell out of dodge.

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