Andi rendezvoused with ballplayers in plenty of
dark establishments. However, the only similarity between them and the place she
entered that summer evening was that they served alcohol. The nudity on stage
wasn't far off her beaten track, but the lack of a grinding soundtrack to
accompany it was.
Of all her lovers, only Brad would want to meet here. Only Brad would dare
ask her to meet him in a place not of her choosing. She admired his moxie.
Andi suspected that he arrived well before her and was seated in a dark corner,
watching her entrance. His team flew in from Detroit while she was still at the
office, and they had a rare day off. Their series against the Sox started
tomorrow evening, and Brad wasn't pitching until Sunday. The rare five o'clock
start was being nationally televised by ESPN and would wrap up the three-game
visit. She preferred it that way. Although Brad was more emotionally stable than
the other starters she knew, she'd rather not deal with him if his recent luck
held to form. According to Jay David, the last three times Brad pitched, he'd
limited the opponent to two runs. Yet in none of the three had his teammates
managed to score that many in his support, and he had three losses to show for
his effort. That had to sting.
One of the dancers onstage lifted a strobe light and began to spin as the poet
described the effects of a thunderstorm on the verge of loosing a tornado. As a
flash illuminated the audience, Andi saw her target. He sat against the wall, as
she had suspected. And he wasn't watching the performance. He was watching her.
She smiled briefly and started to walk toward him, struggling to conceal her
excitement at seeing him again. He was one of her favorites; in some ways her
absolute favorite. Brad did as much to stimulate her mind as he did her body,
and her body felt no lack of attention when the Royals came to town.
As Andi watched, a waitress approached his table and deposited two drinks. It
was hard to say whether he had anticipated her arrival or just worked out a
signal with the staff, but she appreciated the effort regardless. She slid into
the booth next to him, sipping at the dark concoction in the martini glass. It
was delicious, powerful, and eye-opening with a kick to it that included more
"It's the espresso," he said in a sideways whisper, his eyes once again on the
stage. "Black Martini. There's a bar in San Diego that serves them. Premium
vodka, Kahlua and espresso. Damn good. The only thing I miss about the National
League as much as batting." The dancers finished as the poet's last stanza rang
out, and after polite applause, Brad returned his attention to her—where it
"Damn it, Andi. Every time I see you, you've grown even more beautiful. How do
you manage that?"
She took a slow sip of her drink and paused, brow furrowed as she searched for
an answer to a loaded question. Unlike most men, he waited patiently for her
reply, genuinely interested in her answer. She knew Brad wasn't above giving
idle compliments if they served a purpose, which really meant they weren't idle
at all. Being smaller in stature than most professional athletes, he more than
made up for any disadvantage with his mind.
"Well, I have to give complete credit to good genes, a wholesome Midwestern
upbringing, and my health regimen. I get regular facials," she quipped, grinning
at the double entendre, "and I never miss an opportunity to ride. Speaking of
which, why are we wasting time here? Don't tell me you're into this form of...
art." She spat the last word, revealing her disdain.
"I'm expanding your horizons," he teased as he ran the backs of his fingers
along her jaw line. Her eyelids fluttered, and she experienced a momentary
annoyance at her loss of composure under his touch.