Home > On a Tuesday (One Week #1)

On a Tuesday (One Week #1)
Author: Whitney G.

GRAYSON: NOW

Present Day

New York City

GRAYSON CONNORS WINS SUPER BOWL MVP, AGAIN

GRAYSON CONNORS LEADS NEW YORK TO CONSECUTIVE SUPER BOWL WIN

CONNORS’ LATE TOUCHDOWN LIFTS NEW YORK OVER NEW ENGLAND

I read this morning’s headlines for the hundredth time and forced myself to smile. I tried to feel something—anything, but it was no use. This wasn’t what “winning” was supposed to feel like, and I would know because— well, I almost always won.

As a heavy snow fell over Manhattan, I walked over to my balcony and watched a construction crew adjust a new billboard that read, "Go, Grayson Connors!"

Last year, I’d celebrated the championship by joining my teammates in a reckless five-day party in Las Vegas. We’d drenched our team plane in thousand-dollar champagne, demanded over the top accommodations for the Super Bowl parade, and basked in the never-ending attention from women who wanted to know “what it felt like to sleep with a champion.”

But this year, when the game clock struck zero, and the score was in my team's favor, I felt no excitement at all. I coasted through the ensuing media interviews with a fake smile plastered on my face, and I didn't bother flying with the team to Vegas. I came straight home and called the police to report the flock of groupies who were waiting outside my condo.

I decided to host my own private celebration, but when I scrolled through the five hundred contacts in my phone, I realized that there were only two people worth calling: My mother and my best friend, Kyle. Then again, my mother didn’t believe in leaving her house for non-emergencies when it snowed, and asking Kyle to celebrate days after defeating his team in the game was a bit egotistical. Even for me.

I’ll ask him about it next weekend...

I scrolled through my contacts again, hoping I’d missed someone, but the results were the same. Frustrated, I tossed my phone at the wall and turned on the TV.

As the announcers walked through their favorite moments of Sunday’s game, a knock came to my door.

Confused as to why my doorman would let anyone up to my floor without asking me for permission first, I walked over and looked through the peephole.

Anna?

“We’ve talked about this, Anna,” I said, opening the door and letting her inside. “You’re supposed to call and ask me if you can come up here first.”

“I’m your agent.” She scoffed and held up her phone. “I called several times because you just bolted after the game. Since you didn’t answer, I was worried.” She looked around the room. “Am I interrupting a celebratory orgy or something?”

“No.” I groaned. “What do you want?”

“I wanted to personally congratulate you on winning your second Super Bowl.” She handed me a bright pink envelope. “I’m so proud of you, that I actually wrote inside of this card.”

“You came all the way over here just to give me a card?”

"Of course not." She smiled and pulled a manila envelope from her purse. "I have a few things I need you to sign, and a few time-sensitive deals we need to negotiate."

“That sounds like it can wait until next week.”

“It could, but what if one of us dies before next week? What if you hurt your throwing arm between tonight and this weekend and suddenly, you realize that no one wants to endorse an injured athlete?”

I gave her a blank stare. This woman was the most anxious person I’d ever met. She was undoubtedly the best when it came to doing her job, but her anxiety made her incapable of relaxing, so she never took a day off. She used the word “time sensitive” for everything, and I knew just by looking at her, that none of what she had to say to me today was that crucial.

“You’ve got twenty minutes,” I said. “I’m not spending my entire day on paperwork.”

“Fair enough.” She carried her envelope to my living room, turned on the fireplace, and hit mute on the television like this was her house. Then she slipped off her heels and plopped onto my sofa, rearranging the ESPN and Sports Illustrated magazines on my coffee table.

“Would you mind making me a cup of coffee, Grayson?” she asked. “I’m thirsty.”

Okay. Now, you’ve got five minutes.

I filled two of my “Yes, I’m That Good” mugs with coffee and took a seat across from her, bracing myself for bullshit.

“Let’s start with the simple things first,” she said, sliding her phone to me. “The gossip blogs caught a picture of you dining with a mystery woman inside of a Tribeca restaurant a few nights ago. I know how annoyed you get about your privacy, so if you want to kill the speculation, would you like to confirm that you have a new girlfriend or tell them that this is just a fling?”

“I would like to tell them to go fuck themselves.” I rolled my eyes. “I was treating my mother to a private dinner. It was her birthday.”

“Oh.” She tapped her fingers against her phone. “Okay, well that’s now handled. Second thing, you’ll need to read over these contract amendments and sign off on them by tomorrow. Speaking of amendments, the last time we spoke ...”

I tuned out her voice and sipped my coffee as she spoke a mile a minute. Without giving her my full attention, I knew that every other phrase that fell from her lips was “speaking of that contract,” “I need you to sign this” or “Oh! Now, this one is really time sensitive.” By the time she finally stopped talking, an entire hour had passed.

“You went over by forty minutes,” I said, standing. “Whatever we haven’t discussed will have to wait. Hopefully, both of us will still be alive by then.”

She laughed. “Fine. Just make sure you’re all packed for your class reunion at The University of Pittsburgh. You’ll need three suits at most, something to wear on a golf course, and your old college jersey, of course. Delta Airlines has promised to leave two first class seats open on all their NYC to Pitt flights for tomorrow, so no need to feel rushed.”

“What?” I raised my eyebrow. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about your class reunion. It’s this Tuesday night.”

“Since when do college classes have seven-year reunions?” I asked.

“When your class is full of achievers, I guess.” She handed me an ivory envelope.

I opened the invitation and instantly remembered when she’d first given it to me months ago, when I agreed to “do whatever they needed me to do.”

I clearly wasn’t thinking straight.

“They want you to give two speeches,” she said. “One before the fireworks, and one at the farewell ceremony. I’ve made a draft of both speeches, a list of additional things you may want to touch on, and a photo collage of your college memories that you may want to look over while we fly. You’re welcome.”

“I don’t recall saying thank you.” I shook my head and returned the invitation. “I’m not going to this. Get me out of it now.”

“Grayson.” Her face paled. “Surely, you know how terrible it will look if you back out of this the day before. You’re the surprise, special guest speaker.”

“I don’t care.” I walked away from her. There was only one person who would make me consider going to that reunion, and since she never came to any alumni events I’d attended over the years, I didn’t need to waste my time. “Tell them something came up. You can also tell them that I’m more than willing to address the crowd via Skype.”

“Grayson, listen.”

“I didn’t stutter.” I kept my voice firm. “End of discussion.”

"Okay." She stood to her feet. "Well, now that you're not going to the reunion, I guess we can get your contract renewal with Nike out of the way. I'm having lunch with a few of their team members tomorrow, and I can make that happen, if so."

“Sure.” I officially gave up on the idea of her ever knowing and accepting when a meeting was ‘over.’

“Great! I’ll let myself out.” She slipped into her heels and headed toward the door.

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