The little rubber ball came flying at my face. I pulled back my arm and hit it with a loud thwack of my racket, returning it to Kane.
It ricocheted off the wall. My best friend’s sneakers squeaked on the polished floor and he made a valiant effort, but he missed the ball. I threw my arms up into the air, smirking as I pumped my eyebrows at him.
“Another point to the away team,” I said. “Maybe you should find out if they offer racquetball lessons at this fancy new club of yours.”
Kane narrowed his blue eyes at me and scoffed. “I don’t need lessons. I just need you to shut up.”
I laughed. “No can do, buddy. Want to try again?”
He sighed but spun his racket in his hand and nodded. “Let’s do it. What time do you have to be back at work?”
Glancing down, I checked my watch and groaned. “Soon. My lunch break is almost over and I still need to grab a shower, but I’ve got time to give you one last chance to defend your honor.”
Kane shoved a lock of brown hair from his forehead and flipped me off with his free hand. “My honor is just fine. Are you meeting with the lawyers today?”
I nodded. “After work, but I’m going to have to leave a bit early, which also means I can’t get back to the office too late after lunch.”
“I got it,” he said as he bent over and scooped up the ball. “You have to admit that it’s pretty cool the old man left you something, though.”
I shrugged, not really knowing what to think at this point. The old man he was referring to was my maternal grandfather, Foster Chesterfield, who had died a couple of weeks ago.
I hadn’t even known until the people handling his estate had reached out to me about a meeting. Crazy as it was, it seemed I’d been named in his will.
I just really didn’t know why I would’ve been. I hadn’t been at his bedside when he’d blown out his last breath or even attended his funeral.
Hell, I’d barely even met the man.
Maybe a few times when I’d been little, but that was it. A couple of years before I’d been born, he and my mother had fallen out about her relationship with my father. According to him, Dad hadn’t been good enough for Mom, and when she’d refused to break it off, my dear old grandfather had cut her off in turn.
In keeping with her family traditions, however—and probably hoping that her father would come around—Mom had still named me after him, but I couldn’t say that being his namesake had made much of a difference to my life or bought me any kind of relationship with the guy.
I hit the ball Kane sent hurtling my way, but my thoughts threw me off my game and he finally managed to score a point.
After tossing his fists into the air and turning in a victorious circle, he frowned at me. “You okay? You haven’t said a word since I made that comment about your grandfather.”
“I know. I was trying to blow it off, but I guess I got caught up anyway. Besides, we don’t even know if he left me something. All we know is that the estate lawyers requested a meeting.”
“I thought you said you were named in the will?”
I shrugged again. “Apparently, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Mom said he was a real stickler for family traditions, so maybe he left me a pair of cufflinks with the name ‘Foster’ engraved on them. I mean, no one else would be able to use them, right?”
He chuckled. “Nah. Your grandmother could’ve just mailed those to you. It has to be more.”
“Maybe, but again, I’m not getting my hopes up. I’m only going to honor his wishes.”
“Yeah, I know, but it must be nice to have been remembered in the will, at least. Maybe he left you a note explaining why they never tried to build a relationship with you and Porter.”
I scoffed. “We already know why. Our dad wasn’t good enough and neither were we. No mystery there.”
“Well, in that case, I hope he left you more than just cufflinks. The dude didn’t know what he was missing with you two.”
I winked at him. “Aww, thanks. I didn’t know you had a crush on us. How would that work, anyway? Me, you, and Porter? Would Hope be involved as well? She’s pretty attached to him these days. I doubt she’d approve of you stealing her man now that they finally got over themselves and hooked up.”
Kane laughed, but since Sarcasm might as well have been his middle name, he didn’t back down. “You wish, man. Seriously, I’d have wined and dined you so hard, you wouldn’t have known what hit you. But no, Hope wouldn’t be happy about it. Porter is head over heels for her, so he wouldn’t have been interested, and you’re not much of a catch. No offense.”
“Fuck you,” I retorted, chuckling as I shook my head at him. “I’m a massive catch. You would’ve been lucky to have me.”
“Maybe that’s true,” he joked. “It’s too bad we’ll never find out. Either way, let me know what the lawyers say. Your grandfather already lost out on having you in his life because of that grudge he held against your mother. It’d be a real pity if he screwed you over in death as well.”
“Honestly? I don’t want anything from him,” I said. “Whatever he left me is what he left me, and that’s it. There’s nothing else to it. How’s the new job going?”
We left the court side by side, our sneakers padding silently across the thick carpets beneath our feet. Kane grinned. “It’s great. If I’d known how much of a pay bump came with a big promotion, I’d have applied ages ago.”
“Everyone knows you get a pay bump with a big promotion. How did you miss it?”
“Asshole,” he said. “I knew I would be getting an increase. I just didn’t know how much it would be. Plus, finally having a whole team of people working under me definitely has its own perks.”
“I bet. And the new condo? I still can’t believe you left me to fend for myself with Mrs. Scott.”
“Ah, Mrs. Scott.” He sighed, pretending to be nostalgic for a minute before he let out a loud snort. “You should move, Foster. She’s going to be waiting naked in your bed one of these days.”
My face scrunched up, but I couldn’t argue. Kane had been my neighbor for years, but he’d moved out of our building after he’d gotten his promotion and now Mrs. Scott, our other neighbor, had set her sights firmly on me.
She was harmless, though. Just an older woman who wanted some company at times while her husband was away for work, but still, I was now the only one she could target to get that company—and it really was just to talk.
Contrary to his little joke, she’d never made a move on either of us, much less landed up naked in our beds. I glanced at him when he came to stand at the locker next to mine. “Any chance you’re thinking of moving back to slum it with us instead of staying in your fancy new condo?”
He grimaced at me. “Sorry, bro. I like the new place. Besides, you know you’re going to move out of that building soon.”
“Probably,” I agreed, though I didn’t know how soon. The truth of the matter was that it was a nice building. The apartments were decently sized and the amenities weren’t bad, but since both Porter and Kane had now moved, it kind of felt like it was time for me to do the same.
It kind of felt like I was stagnating, and no one wanted to be that guy. Kane had gotten his promotion, a better place, and even membership to the exclusive club where we played racquetball a few times a week.
Porter, my brother, had not only moved but had finally pulled his head out of his ass and told his best friend, Hope, that he’d been in love with her for the last decade.
They were now in a serious relationship and it was getting more serious by the day. Soon, they would be starting a family, and meanwhile, I was still completely single. By choice, but maybe it was time to reevaluate that decision.
Despite having gotten a promotion of my own recently, overall, it just felt like it was time for a change. A change I’d have to set in motion later, though. For now, I had to get back to the office and then I had to make it on time for my meeting with the woman settling the estate.
After grabbing a quick shower, I got dressed and said goodbye to my friend, then raced back to the Sight Unseen building and sat down behind my desk not a minute after my break had officially ended. I grinned to myself as I turned toward my computer and logged in, ready to make the next couple of hours count so I could duck out early.
Milena Kress, my boss and the owner of the dating agency I worked for, was pretty lenient on our office hours. She didn’t micromanage and she was happy with us coming and going as we pleased—as long as our work was done before we left.
As Vice President of Operations nowadays, I had even more freedom to do my own thing, but I loved my job and the last thing I wanted was to let anything slip through the cracks.
For the next ninety minutes, I hardly looked away from my computer. A lot of people—my own brother included—thought it was weird that a young, single guy could take his job working at a dating agency so seriously, but I really did love what I did for a living.
As a company, Sight Unseen was amazing to work for. Milena was a savvy businesswoman with a real knack for the industry, and I learned something from her with nearly every single interaction we had. The office environment was relaxed and supportive, the work was fun, and the way I saw it, there was nothing not to love.
After I’d worked my way through a slew of emails, Hope stuck her head into my office and smiled. “Hey. You got a minute?”
I nodded and grinned at the love of my brother’s life. “Sure. What’s up?”
As it happened, she was also now a rung above me as President of Operations, but I didn’t mind working underneath her. If anything, we were a good team and we’d known each other a long time, long enough to know and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“I just wanted to check in,” she said. “Porter’s coming by any minute and he mentioned you had a meeting with the estate people today? How are you feeling about it?”
I shrugged. “Indifferent. The man meant nothing to me. I have no idea why he’d have left me anything.”
“You were his namesake,” she said gently as she strode in and took a seat across from my desk. “That means something to that generation.”
“If it really meant something, he’d have reached out when he was still alive.” I cocked my head at her. “Is Porter really worried, or are you?”
She wrinkled her nose at me, released a heavy breath, and then chuckled. “Fine. It’s me. He told me neither of you really give a shit about any of this and to stop worrying.”
“He’s right, but thanks for the concern.” As I said it, my office door opened again and my brother walked in, grinning when he saw Hope.
“Hey, look! It’s my two favorite people,” he said in a singsong voice. “My ears were burning. What were you saying about me?”
Hope smirked at him. “That’s for us to know, Mr. Nosy. That being said, I love you. Hi. How was your day?”
He laughed and pulled her into his arms, laying a kiss on her that would’ve made anyone not used to it either blush or get a hard-on. Thankfully, I was more than used to it by now, so I just waited for it to be over before I arched a brow at him when he finally let her go.
“You’re worried about me?”
“Nah. You’re okay. When are you leaving?”
“Soon,” I said, turning to save the document I’d been working on before shutting down the computer.
Hope chewed on her lower lip as she watched me roll my chair away from the desk. “For the record, even if you inherit like, a million dollars, I’m still not allowing you to quit.”
I laughed. “It won’t be that. I still don’t think it’s going to be any money at all, but you know how I feel about this place. You won’t be getting rid of me anytime soon.”
She grinned. “Good. I just thought I should remind you.”
Porter slung an arm around her waist, pulling her into his side as he looked at me. “He doesn’t need a million dollars. He needs to find a good woman. It’s time.”
“And look at that. It’s time for me to leave. I’m out of here, guys. See you later.” I grabbed my phone, wallet, and keys off my desk and left Porter and Hope alone in my office, relieved to have an excuse to get away from the conversation before it’d even really started.
Ever since they’d gotten together, they’d been relentless. Ironic for two people who had known each other for twelve freaking years before they’d so much as kissed, but these days, they were on a mission and it was all about finding me a girlfriend now that they were in a relationship.
It hadn’t bugged me so much at first, but recently, I’d started feeling like they were getting in my head. They were making me want things I’d never wanted before—or at least things that I hadn’t even thought about wanting in a long time.
I shrugged it off once I got to my car. Porter and Hope were in the honeymoon phase, and sure, it was lasting a hell of a lot longer than I’d thought it would, but ultimately, they were happy and I knew they wanted me to feel the same way.
The big difference between us was that I didn’t need or want a woman to make me happy. I had them, my friends, and my job, and while it was true that I probably had to reevaluate my stance on relationships for myself at some point, I just wasn’t quite there yet.