Jessy checked his calendar on his phone and glanced at the time. He shook his head. They were going to be late, and the sponsor was not going to be happy. The lead-in to the Olympics was always like this, and when you were a returning Olympic gold medalist, the sponsors all wanted their bite of your apple.
"Baby! We have to go. Now."
"I'm always having to fucking go." Someone was grumpy, growly.
Jessy couldn't say he particularly blamed his baby for it. "I know, Mike, but we have to pay the piper. Without the sponsors, we don't get to train twenty-four-seven." What sucked was that it was around the Olympics that the demands on Mike's time increased. He was sure the sponsors understood on some level that training right now was more important than ever, but they paid their money and they wanted their Olympic spokesperson, no matter what else was going on.
"If I'm dealing with these assholes, I'm not training. I'm playing a goofy monkey."
He bit back his chuckle at Mike's self-description. "I know, baby. We have to do it anyway. Come on. This is the last one, I promise." He swatted Mike's ass as his baby went by.
Mike just snarled at him and stormed out the door. Not just grumpy: someone needed some special attention. Mike was going to get it, too. As soon as they were finished with this last commercial, he could give Mike a night to hold onto until after the Olympics had run their course.
Jessy caught up with Mike and hit the open button on his key fob before settling into the driver's seat. Mike slipped into the car next to him, headphones on, the screaming music audible even to him.
Leaning over, he tugged out one of Mike's earbuds. "You're going to blow an eardrum."
"I am not." Mike frowned at him. "What am I selling today? Shoes? Food? Can't I get a fucking soda sponsor?"
"No unhealthy sponsors." It was a rule. As long as they could live without them, they stayed away from soda and chips and shit like that. Ever since Mike's first Olympic medal, they'd been able to be picky about who Mike's name was associated with. And if Jessy wouldn't allow Mike to have it, he sure as hell wasn't going to allow Mike to advertize it.
Mike rolled his eyes. "Yeah. Stupid rule."
Jessy's knuckles went white as he held onto the steering wheel. Mike was snarling and sassing at him now; maybe this was one sponsor duty too many. "I could call them. Tell them you're too sick to do the commercial today, take you home and beat your ass rosy."
"Then I'd just have to do it tomorrow. I'm already in the car." Near black eyes met his. "I'll play nice with the money people."
"You could try playing nice with your coach, too." He managed, somehow, not to snarl the words out. He wasn't the bad guy here.
If you liked this book, you might like these other Mike and Jessy stories: Personal Best, Personal Best 2, Personal Best 3, Love and Swimming, and Halloween Birthday.