Overtime for Love(4)

By: Synithia Williams

Isaiah laughed. “That’s why I hang out with you.”

Isaiah would rather have Kevin there than any of his other teammates. He and Kevin were total opposites. Kevin was the wild card on the team with tattoos, earrings and a spontaneous personality that had led to two failed long-term relationships and four kids. Isaiah had the reserved nature cultivated by academic parents, spent more time volunteering than partying and had limited experience with women, including one on-again, off-again relationship with his college girlfriend, Bridget, and a few hookups in between. Despite their differences, their personalities jibed. Mostly because Isaiah lived vicariously through Kevin. His friend wasn’t afraid to say, do, or go for what he wanted, whereas Isaiah spent more time thinking of long-term consequences instead of immediate needs. Nearly ruining his mother’s career due to a rash decision had that kind of long-term effect.

Isaiah checked the schedule for the basketball camp and compared it to his schedule, saw a conflict and grunted. “I’m going to miss picking up Bridget from the airport,” he said absently.

“And? She can’t find her way to a hotel?” Kevin asked drily.

Kevin had met Bridget twice and wasn’t a fan. Isaiah wasn’t offended. Bridget’s straightforward personality often rubbed people the wrong way. For the past year, she and Isaiah had been off-again while she finished law school. He’d asked her to move to Jacksonville after getting her degree. He was tired of being on the dating scene. He was ready for a wife and kids. Bridget was the best option. His parents liked her, they were compatible and he knew she wasn’t after him because he was a professional baller.

Isaiah flipped his phone in his hand. “I thought about letting her stay at my place,” he said in a blasé tone.

Kevin’s attention snapped to Isaiah. “Hell no!”

Isaiah shrugged. “Why not?”

“Her staying with you means you’re back on again.”

“I’m ready for that step.”

Kevin cocked his head to the side. “What step?”

“The next step. Marriage, kids, all that.”

Kevin’s head shook before Isaiah finished talking. “Not her.”

He hadn’t expected Kevin to give an enthusiastic endorsement for Bridget, but he wasn’t expecting the flat-out steel in his friend’s voice. “Why not?”

“Man, she’s a nice girl but she isn’t right for you.”

Isaiah leaned back and laughed. “She’s perfect for me. Smart. Beautiful. Good family. No scandals.”

Kevin’s head fell back and he made a snoring sound. “Boring.”

Isaiah grinned at his friend’s theatrics. “Reliable. I’d much rather trust my future with her than someone I don’t know. You know how exhausting dating is? I don’t want to meet some new woman’s mom, dad, sisters and brothers. I don’t want to have to figure out if she’s really into me or hoping to be the next star of celebrity wives. I know and trust Bridget.”

“You can trust her to tie your balls in a knot,” Kevin grumbled. “And not in the good way.”

Isaiah raised a brow. “There’s a good way?”

Jack stopped the tattoo gun to stare at Isaiah. “Of course there’s a good way.”

Isaiah waved a hand. “Oh, well, then enlighten me.”

Kevin pointed at Isaiah with his free hand. “You want a woman who drives you crazy and makes you laugh. Someone who heats your blood with just a look. A woman that’ll cuss you out when you’re being a fool, but you know she’ll always have your back.”

“That sounds like a recipe for drama.” Isaiah couldn’t keep the distaste out of his voice.

“It’s a recipe for excitement,” Kevin said. “She challenges you, pushes you, and you might not like it all the time, you may argue, but making up again?” Kevin grinned and nodded. “That makes everything worth it.”

Isaiah laughed. “No harm, but that doesn’t sound like the type of marriage I want.”

“Hell, what can I say? That didn’t work for my marriage, either.” Kevin said in a teasing voice, but Isaiah caught the glimpse of regret in his eye.

Also By Synithia Williams

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