The Boy of Summer Ch. 01byPatientlyWaiting©
Thank you to me editor Girlowned and MugsyB for looking my story over and encouraging me. I wrote this story about nine months ago, so it's a major coincidence that it is about a Giants player and they happened to win the World Series this year. If I'd known I had magical powers I would have written about a Mariner. This story is purely fiction and fantasy and is not about a real baseball player. Enjoy!
Note: The title The Boy of Summer is in reference to the song "The Boys of Summer" by Don Henley.
"Kat, where is the nonfat?"
Kat fumed. Sarah has always been a bit of a ditz but she had worked at the coffee shop forever; there was no reason for her to not know where the milk was. "Oh my God, Sarah! If you don't let me leave I'm going to miss my meeting, then I will kill you."
Kat walked into the back to show Sarah where the milk was, to find her smiling and pointing at her. "Gotcha. Now go. I have everything under control. Good luck."
Rolling her eyes at Sarah, Kat grabbed her bag and headed out the door.
Kat had started working at Isabelle's Coffee in college as a part time job and now, five years later, she was still working there while she struggled to make it as an artist. As much as she loved the people she worked with and her regular customers, Kat had bigger plans for her life than cleaning up spilled milk. Kat was hoping that today would be the day that changed that. A gallery owner had seen her paintings at the coffee house and decided to feature her at his gallery. Kat was meeting the press today for a preview.
Kat was already running late when she walked outside to see that some asshole was blocking her in. And it wasn't just any car; it was a brand new Lamborghini.
People are ridiculous, she thought. Just because they have money does not mean that they can park illegally and block in her '93 Honda, even if it was crappy.
Just when she was about to give up and start running the seven blocks to her meeting, Kat saw the owner getting out of his car. He was halfway to her before she realized who he was. This wasn't just any rich asshole; this was a famous and notorious rich asshole. The whole of San Francisco was in love with Jeremy Halman, the young hotshot pitcher for the Giants. So in love that everyone tended to overlook his trouble-making and womanizing ways.
Jeremy's look matched his car perfectly: leather jacket, sporty sunglasses and a day or two worth of stubble, he had bad boy written all over him.
Well, just because he was gorgeous and talented didn't mean Kat was going to let him get away with shit like everyone else did. "Hey, you can't park there. You're blocking me in and that's a no parking zone." She called after him.
Instead of getting back in his car and moving it, or even acknowledging the woman yelling at him, he walked over to her meter and added a few quarters. "Better?" he asked.
Kat almost lost it. Could he be more arrogant? "No, not better. Are you kidding me? I have an important meeting to get to, so move your car or I'm calling parking enforcement."
"Speaking of which," Jeremy paused and looked down at his watch, "I'm late as well." With that he walked in to the building, not giving her a second glance.
If it weren't for the fact that she was no longer six years old, Kat would have stomped her feet and screamed. He'd called her bluff and there was nothing she could do about it. As much as she would love for him to get a massive ticket - or better yet his car towed - there was no way Kat had the time.
She weighed her options on how to get to the meeting. With no money for a cab and knowing she would never make it on a city bus with a five-foot long canvas that currently sat in her car, Kat opted for carrying it the seven blocks to the gallery.
After about a block, the extreme awkwardness of trying to get her arms around the canvas sank in and she started to lose it. If she ever saw Jeremy Halman again, it wouldn't be pretty.
"Jeremy, you just can't pull stuff like this anymore. You're not in the minors, you can't blow off steam like that and think no one cares about it. When you go out the whole world is watching and documenting it. If you continue to pull stunts like this, not only will you start getting fined by baseball, eventually you are going to become too big of a liability and no one is going to want you. Let alone pay top dollar for you."
Really it was nothing his publicist hadn't said to him before. While Brenda lectured him, Jeremy just sat there pretending to look mildly interested. It was her job to deal with this shit, so that he could do what he wanted. Jeremy figured that as long as he was on top of his game, he should be able to do what he wanted the rest of the time.
Brenda cleared her throat, trying to get Jeremy's attention. "I saw what an ass you were to that girl outside. It really couldn't hurt for you to show a little common courtesy."
The comment did little to affect Jeremy, except remind him of his mother, Brenda sounded just like her.
Wincing at the sound of his name, Jeremy held his temples in one hand. "Watch it, I have a hangover, you don't have to yell."
Brenda breathed a heavy sigh of frustration. "Well I'm obviously not getting through to you and I don't see this getting any better. In fact I see it getting worse. So this is my last straw, either do what I tell you or I'm dropping you as a client and selling those pictures to the tabloids, just to teach you a lesson. Because really I don't need your money, I've got plenty and I sure as hell don't need the headache. So what's it gonna be, listen to me or watch your career go down the drain?"
Jeremy sat there in shock. He never expected this, Brenda was a hard ass, but he always thought that she was just that way with the media, not with her clients and least of all him. But Jeremy had to admit she knew her shit so if she thought that it had come to this, then he might be looking at a reluctant lifestyle change.
"I'm listening. What do I have to do?"
"Let's start with the obvious, no more threesomes in the back of some club. It cost me a fortune to buy the pictures from that photographer."
"I think I can manage that."
"Good, but that's the easy one."
"Not having any fun is the easy one?" Jeremy looked at Brenda with a raised eyebrow.
"It is compared to getting forgiveness." Brenda took a deep breath and looked at Jeremy seriously, he had a feeling he wasn't going to like this. "The girl you screwed over today, make it up to her, get her to forgive you."
"You can't be serious? She was nobody; I don't even know her. Why should I?"
"Well Jeremy it's not really about her, or just her. It's about all the people you've been a jackass to. And since there are too many of them to track down before you die, we're gonna go with her."
Jeremy sucked in a deep breath, "And if I don't?"
"Then you'll enjoy seeing pictures of yourself in the National Enquirer, taking a hit off a bong next to a stripper."
Jeremy thought he had seen her come from the coffee shop in Brenda's building, so he figured he'd start there. The coffee shop was done up in a bohemian style, full of bright colors and varying patterns. The walls displayed an eclectic array of artwork. It seemed to work though; the atmosphere was instantly inviting and comfortable. The shop served as the perfect escape from the busy corporate life going on all around it.
At most Jeremy thought someone would know her first name, he never expected to see her behind the counter. Luckily, she didn't see him until he was standing before her at the register; he would have hated to hear her response if she had seen him coming and had time to prepare.
"YOU!" she said with enough force to push him backwards. Without hesitation, she came storming from behind the counter and started pulling Jeremy in to a corner. She probably wanted to diminish the spectacle, but it was too late, they already had a curious following.
Before he could even contemplate his apology, she started in on him again. "Just because you're famous does not mean you can do whatever the hell you want, without any regard for others, let alone the law."
"So you do know who I am." The second it was out his mouth he knew it was a mistake, though part of him was secretly pleased at seeing her so heated and angry. Her fire had him intrigued.
Instantly her eyes widened in rage, and then slowly she took a step towards him and pushed an insistent finger into his chest. "Don't tell me that you thought I only got upset because I thought you were a nobody; as if knowing you are famous should change my reaction."
Jeremy decided to fuel the fire, "Okay, I won't." To finish it off he gave her a slight smirk.
He watched the heat rise into her cheeks; it was the exact reaction he was looking for. "Other people may care who you are and what you do and they may treat you different because of that. I'm sure you could just about get away with murder, but to me that is no excuse. I had to walk seven blocks carrying a five foot long nude painting because of you."
Jeremy stared at her, trying not to burst with laughter at the image she had created for him.
"Are you going to say anything?" Her eyebrows raised in question.
He shrugged, "Well I guess you should be glad this is San Francisco, it sounds like a pretty minor occurrence." He did it again; he couldn't help it.
Kat fumed; Jeremy could practically see the smoke pouring out of her. "That's it get out." Kat grabbed him by the arm and started dragging him toward the exit.
"Kat, you do realize who you're kicking out of here, right?" Sarah yelled at Kat from behind the counter.
Kat's eyes rolled in deep annoyance, "Yes Sarah, I know its Jeremy fucking Halman." Jeremy roared with laughter, just before she opened the door and shoved him through it.
Jeremy stood outside and watched Kat walk back to the counter while contemplating. How was he ever going to get this girl to let him apologize to her? Scanning the posters and flyers on the café door; his attention heightened when he noticed Kat's picture. Under the photo was her name, Kathryn Reynolds, and a date, advertising a gallery opening for tomorrow night. Jeremy smiled to himself, thinking it was the perfect opportunity.
Standing in the center of the gallery seeing the room filled with people admiring her art, Kat couldn't believe it. The crisp white walls displayed the colorful bold strokes of her abstraction paintings. She needed just a moment to take it all in, to remember everything, before she got lost in the business and schmoozing.
As she took her last look around the room, Martin the gallery owner came up to her. "I just sold three of your pieces to a young man and he'd like to meet you."
Kat tired to blink herself back to reality. "What, three?" She was shocked, having half expected no one would buy anything tonight.
"Yes, he's right over there," Martin said, gesturing towards a tall man with dark hair.
Kat turned and saw the man standing with his back towards her. As she watched him trying to figure out what seemed so familiar about him, he turned, allowing her to see his profile.
"Would you like me to introduce you?" Martin asked.
Kat was ready to burst; why was it every time she saw him she felt like a child having a temper tantrum? "There's no need." Kat left Martin standing there confused and made her way across the room.
Tapping Jeremy on the shoulder, Kat started her rant before he could even see her. "If you're buying my pieces to try and apologize in some weird way then you can forget it. I don't want your pity money, I want these to go to someone who really wants and appreciates them."
"Whoa! Hold on," Jeremy grabbed onto her shoulders trying to clam and slow her down. "Your rants are killing me woman. Look, I tried to apologize the other day in the coffee shop and you wouldn't let me. So I came tonight to try again and ended up genuinely liking your work."
Kat stood there stunned. He wanted to apologize? He liked her work?
"Finally, she's quite." Jeremy smiled at her astounded silence. "As my apology, will you let me take you to dinner after your opening?"
She was still shocked and slightly confused. He wanted what? Her mind reeled, but finally she found her words, inarticulate though they were. "Sure." She paused letting her mind catch up with things. "I have to go," Kat gestured to the room and all the people there to see her.
"By all means, I'll just enjoy your work and you can come find me when you're ready." Jeremy smiled down at her, loving how he'd caught her off guard, finally.
Kat walked away a few feet and then turned to look back, making sure she hadn't imagined everything. Jeremy still stood there watching and smiling. She shook her head slightly, as if to clear it, and walked off.
He continued to watch her as she walked away. He hadn't intended to ask her out when he got there, he was only going to apologize. But then when he'd seen her work, she struck him in a whole new way. Looking at her use of bold strokes and bright colors, he could tell he liked the way she saw the world. The people in her paintings were vibrant and intriguing. Jeremy found himself wondering about the individuals, who they were, what their stories were, where Kat had met them. She had a few landscapes and urban settings as well. The way she captured everything made it seem alive in a whole knew way, as if her perspective gave it a twist the viewer never would have thought of.
Then he had started watching her. He hadn't really had time to notice in their encounters before, they'd been so brief and heated, but she was beautiful. He was used to models and high maintenance types and Kat was anything but. Kat was natural and casual. Her wavy brown hair had Jeremy wanting to run his fingers through it. She had deep blue eyes that turned bright when she yelled. Her flowing green dress hung perfectly on her tall, curvy frame. The more he watched her, the more she sucked him in.
Even though she was across the room from him, Kat felt like Jeremy was sucking her in. The charm just rolled off of him and she was sure he knew it. Everything about him seemed so calculated. The way his warm brown eyes melted her, his perfectly fitted clothing showing off his toned body and his cocky smile that reminded her of only one thing: sex. Knowing that so many women before her had probably fallen into the same trap did nothing to stop her from being lured.
Jeremy stood with Brenda, waiting for Kat to finish so he could take her out to dinner. "What's with you? Please tell me you didn't do something stupid."
"What? No, it's nothing like that." Jeremy smiled to himself gazing at Kat.
"I know that smile. Only a woman could put that look on a man's face." Brenda followed Jeremy's stare across the room to where Kat was standing. "She got to you didn't she? I knew she'd be good for you."
"Wait, what?" Brenda's last comment had pulled him from where his thoughts away from Kat.
"You didn't think I sent you to apologize to just anyone did you?" Jeremy stared at her, confused. "I've known Kat for years Jeremy; I buy coffee from her every day. What do you think I'm doing here? It's not a coincidence, I helped her get this gig."
The look on Jeremy's face had shock all over it. Damn she was good, he thought, setting him up like that. Did she know that Kat would have this effect on him?
He didn't have time to ask before Kat was coming over to them. "I think I'm done here, are you ready to go?" Kat asked, looking at Jeremy.
She turned to Brenda and hugged her. "Thank you so much. I never would have gotten here without you."
Brenda pulled away and smiled at her, "Yes, you would have. I just sped things up a bit."
Kat felt Jeremy press his hand into the small of her back, leading her towards the door. Her stomach did a drop as if she'd just gone off a cliff.
"How do you know Brenda?" Kat asked looking up at Jeremy.
Jeremy smiled, to himself more than at Kat; she had no idea Brenda was so calculating. "She does my PR."
Kat's eyes got wide as she noted the connection, "Oh really?"
"Really," Jeremy said, opening the door for her to exit.
Jeremy walked around his car and opened the door for Kat. She looked up at the restaurant he chose. She recognized it from an article in San Francisco Magazine.
"This place is way too nice."
He smiled at her modesty as they walked through the door. "It's really not, plus it's one of the few places where I don't have to worry about having my picture taken."
The maitre D' came and took them to a cozy table by the window. "That must be hard having people watch you all the time."
Jeremy stifled a laugh and it came out as a half snort, not realizing she had been sincere.
"I'm serious. You just..." she stopped and looked at him, unsure.
"What, now you're holding back?"
Kat smiled, "You kind of fuel the fire." Briefly, she looked down at her menu and then back at him, a serious look on her face. "You could be great you know."
He smiled boldly, "I thought I was."
"God, you're modest." Kat took a sip of water and then settled back into her chair. "You're good, real good, but you could be great. I'm talking Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling great. I'm talking about continuing to amaze year after year, winning Cy Young awards and national championships. You could have a whole country falling in love with you, not just a city. Then people could be proud of you because you are a good person, someone they feel connected to. Not just because you can throw a baseball like few others can."
Jeremy sat there in total awe of what she just said, so many things running through his mind at once. He couldn't believe that this artsy, coffee house girl knew so much about baseball. He was shocked that she thought that much of him, that she saw all that potential in him. It scared him to death and yet drew him to her even more.
"I wouldn't want to see you waste it." Quickly she diverted her eyes from him, down to her menu again.
She had been so brash till now, constantly fighting him with her stubbornness. Now here she was caring, the way few others had.
Jeremy cleared his throat, ignoring Kat's more serious comments. "You really know your baseball."
Kat shrugged, "I guess, I never really thought about it, having grown up around it. My brother always played, my dad always coached, and we always watched every game that was on TV. It just becomes apart of you, you know?"
Kat wanted to smack herself; of course he knew, what a stupid question to ask. She felt the heat rising into her face at her embarrassment.
Jeremy felt his blood flow south at the sight of Kat's flushed cheeks. He liked the way she reacted to him.
The evening passed smoothly, the banter between them never ceasing, until Jeremy and Kat were sitting in his car in front of her apartment.
"So have you accepted my apology?"
Kat smiled shyly, the heat returning to her cheeks. "How could I not after a meal like that?"
"Oh good, you had me holding my breath," Jeremy said smiling at her.
Kat giggled and rolled her eyes, "Yeah, I'm sure it was bated too."
"If I piss you off again will you let me take you out to make up for it?"
Kat laughed some more and unsnapped her seatbelt. "Probably not. I think it would be better if you just asked me out; there's no need to keep pissing me off."
"Yeah you're right, that would be better."
Kat got out of the car and turned back to him. "Goodnight Jeremy."
Jeremy swallowed at the sight of Kat leaning into his doorframe, her breasts straining against the neckline of her dress, her eyes sparkling a deep blue, her red lips teasing him with a shy smile.