Pivot

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Bree in her Kitty Caruso uniform, sat with her four team mates: Detonator, Pregnant Pause, Ann Arkey, and Cath Arsis watching the Bad Secretaries take on the Tuck Shop Ladies Arms.  The Tuckers used a goat herding strategy to put the Bad Secretaries out of play and free their own jammer.  They were going to win.

Beside her Toni the Detonator Pagano shouted, “Good whip,” as the Tucker’s pivot grabbed their jammer’s hand and swung her forward so she was better positioned to break through the pack and score.

But Bree felt both jammed and whipped, and she didn’t dare pivot because Detonator had brought a Stickyfoot—a non skating, family friend along to the bout and that family friend was Anthony Gambese.

“Tell me again how you know him?” she hissed.  “You’ve been away so long I didn’t think you knew anyone.”

“The Gambeses and the Paganos have known each other since day dot.  Oh good jam!” yelled Detonator.  “Our mothers were best friends.  Our fathers too, until Ant’s dad died when Ant was fifteen.  Ant and I took baths together, played street cricket, had our first smokes, you know that kind of thing.  But once his dad died he was busy being the man of the family and had no time for me.  I haven’t seen him for years.  How was I supposed to know you worked with him?  Don’t worry, there’s no way he’s going to recognise you.  I hardly recognise you.”

This was true.  And it wasn’t simply because this was the last place Anthony would think of looking for her.  For a start, Anthony hardly ever looked at her anyway.  It was as though he thought he shouldn’t in case she read something unprofessional, something sexual into it.  On top of that, The Big Swinging Tricks uniform was a good disguise.  Under all her padding and helmet, with her hair tucked up, and black war paint on her face, Bree was virtually undisguisable from any of the Tricks with the exception her lack of tattoos and the big red stars on her helmet which signified she was a jammer, responsible for scoring the team’s points.

“And you brought him because?”

“Because he made an arse of himself then apologised so damn sweetly I felt sorry for him.  He’s my cuz.  He’s the brother I never had.  Why do you care that he’s here?”

Bree knew why she cared.  It was too close for comfort, but she wasn’t sure which part of what Toni said to react to first.  Anthony being an arse, that he could apologise sweetly, or that he could make anyone feel sorry for him. 

The being an arse thing she could see.  He’d been an arse to her this week, just for violating the unspoken principles of their territorial deal and coming into the office early. He’d invaded the peace of her mornings with his strong smelling take-away coffee, his brooding dark looks and general pissed-off-with-her-ness.  

Then he’d written an absolutely cracker report on demand uncertainty that Doug had taken straight to Bryan, who’d come out of his lair to personally talk to Anthony.  And she was supposed to be The Senior Analyst.

Worse she knew he was breathing down her neck in the share portfolio competition, which she was supposed to win.  Had to win, otherwise everyone would think her promotion was about skirts and heels, not the quality of her work.

They’d been taking their places on the team bench when Detonator waved at him across the stadium and pointed him out.  Bree nearly stacked.  Anthony wasn’t in his Armani or Boss, just jeans and a t-shirt, he wasn’t even clean shaven, a dark shadow of stubble on his jaw.  And he was tanned and his t-shirt emphasised what his suit didn’t—a wall of chest and shoulder, narrow hips and powerful legs.  Yeah, he was a sex god out of the office as well as in.  And that was so inconvenient.

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