Exclusive Excerpt from Playing Life
by V.M. Sanford
Ryan wriggled around, but he couldn’t leave. He wanted to, but he couldn’t do that to Kenny.
Right? Maybe he could make a run for it. Surely, Kenny would understand.
“You’ll be fine,” Kenny said from his favorite armchair.
“I know. It’s not the first time I meet new people.”
Kenny grinned. “Exactly. And they’re my friends, so they’re already vetted as nice people. They’re probably going to spend a lot of time tongue-tied and staring at you.”
“Were you trying to make me feel more comfortable? Because it’s not working.”
Kenny laughed. “I told you, there’s no need to be worried.”
“You just said they were going to stare at me for the entire evening!”
“But you’re used to being stared at.”
“That’s on the ice. This is different.”And not only because Ryan wanted in Kenny’s pants. He liked Kenny, and he wanted them to be friends. Which they kind of were, but meeting Kenny’s friends might confirm that—or break it.
They’d been going along fine since Ryan had moved in with Kenny. Ryan had friends in Sacramento, of course, but he felt closer to Kenny than he did to most of them. Kenny was a family man, a simple man who didn’t care what Ryan did for a living or how much money he had in the bank. That wasn’t something that happened often, and Ryan treasured it.
It felt like they’d known each other for years rather than a few weeks, and Ryan was aware of the way his feelings were already changing—had been changing almost since that first day. He was infatuated, and he didn’t know what to do about it.
That wasn’t true. He did know what to do about it, and that was nothing. He’d keep on being Kenny’s friend, nothing more, and that was why having Kenny’s friends meet him was so important.
What if they hated Ryan? What if they really spent the evening staring at him? Kenny was right, Ryan was used to it, but it was different when he was on the ice. There he had something else to focus on, and he barely even noticed the people watching the game.
There was no way he wouldn’t notice Kenny’s friends staring at him in Kenny’s living room. Hopefully, they’d be focused on the movie Kenny had rented. It was the latest superhero movie, and Ryan hadn’t had the time to watch it yet, so he was looking forward to it. He didn’t often have the opportunity to just relax during the season, and his summers weren’t much slower, what with training and everything. He still had a few years of superhero movies to watch, and Kenny was bent on watching all of them together over the next few weeks.
The doorbell rang. Ryan jerked, making Kenny laugh again. “Relax,”he said as he passed by Ryan to go open the door.
No way was that going to happen. Ryan wanted to make a good impression on the people in Kenny’s life. He thought he’d done a good job with Kenny’s family. They hadn’t kicked him out, which he supposed was a good sign.