After figuring out where their relationship is and where it’s going, Daniel and Ryan begin to tell the people closest to them.
Author: Tamryn Eradani
Series: Daniel and Ryan, Book 10
Release Date: November 20, 2017
Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Word Count: 11700
Sex Content: Explicit
Tournament of Champions
Tamryn Eradani © 2017
All Rights Reserved
Daniel’s stretched out across the couch, feet on Ryan’s thighs, because he’s learned not to put his head on Ryan’s lap while Jeopardy is on. He learned it the hard way, falling off the couch when Ryan leaped to his feet, because the contestants were “too stupid to know how long the Hundred Years War was.” Ryan apologized and helped him up off the floor, but Daniel doesn’t sit too close during Jeopardy anymore.
He stays on his side of the couch with a book and occasionally glances up to smile, because it’s hilarious to watch Ryan work himself up over a trivia competition.
“You should be on my team for the company Jeopardy tournament,” Ryan says during a commercial break.
“No.” Daniel doesn’t bother looking up from his book.
“We’d do well,” Ryan continues. “You have a bunch of random facts in your head, and I know just about everything, so…”
Daniel can feel Ryan’s grin, but he still keeps his book between them as a shield. “Modest,” he says. “Still no. I don’t do optional company events.”
They host a Jeopardy tournament every year, the only rules being that the teams of four can’t be made up from four people in the same department. It’s supposed to foster community or something, but Daniel doesn’t understand how pitting your employees against each other for bragging rights and petty cash is supposed to build community.
“It’ll be fun,” Ryan says. “We can recruit Tracy and Aoife. Tracy will rock the Fun Facts category, and you’d clean up in Company Dealings.”
“How do you even know about the format?” Daniel asks. “You’ve never been to one before.”
Ryan flicks the bottom of Daniel’s foot. “Please. I have a Jeopardy radar. I heard your interns and my interns are banding together.”
“They’re going to crash and burn.” Daniel puts his book down on his chest, open so he doesn’t lose his spot. “You don’t need my help.”
Ryan gives him a look. “Of course I don’t. I’m the Jeopardy master. You could be my cheerleader.” He smirks, even after Daniel kicks him. “It’d get you bonus points with Harvey.”
Daniel narrows his eyes. It’s dirty pool bringing up their boss and Daniel’s desire to be acknowledged by the man. “I don’t need bonus points with Harvey. My work speaks for itself.”
“Your work gives you regular points,” Ryan says. “Bonus points come from going above and beyond. But fine. How about bonus points with me?”
Daniel picks his book back up. “I know how to get bonus points with you, and it has nothing to do with Jeopardy.”
He goes back to reading, surprised when Ryan lets the subject go.
He should’ve known it wasn’t that easy.
“So,” Tracy says, sitting on the edge of Daniel’s desk. Daniel’s been ignoring her for the past three minutes, because the grin on her face when she came in meant nothing good.
Daniel reluctantly looks up from his computer. “Yes?”
Daniel considers banging his head on his desk until she goes away. “Did Ryan put you up to this?”
She gasps, hand to her heart for added emphasis. “A conspiracy? I would never.”
“I already told him no. You, at least, should know better.”
She drops her hand back to her side. “Yeah, yeah. You don’t attend optional company gatherings and you even find ways to weasel out of some of the mandatory. Which is why I was surprised when Ryan mentioned you were thinking about it.”
“I wasn’t thinking about it,” Daniel says. “Ryan was thinking about it.”
“Hmm,” Tracy says. She taps her manicured nails on his desk. Daniel’s a little worried she’s going to ask when Daniel and Ryan were discussing this, but she doesn’t. “Shame. Aoife was looking forward to the prize money. I think she wanted to treat her kids to one last bit of fun before school starts up again.”
“The guilt trip isn’t going to work on me,” Daniel says. “Ryan’s the Jeopardy master. You don’t need me. You could pick anyone else in the company, and you’d be fine. Take one of the interns. Take Jeff. He deserves to win something.”
“Be nice,” Tracy scolds and follows it up by saying, “but the whole point of being on a team with you and Ryan is not only that we’d win, but you’d let us split the prize two ways.”
It’s…a valid point. The top three finishers win a prize—$4,000 for the winning team, $2,000 for the second, and $1,000 for the third—and they have to split it among their team. If Daniel ever entered the tournament and won, he’d let Tracy have his share, and she clearly knows it. He figures Aoife assumes the same about Ryan.
“What if you signed me up and then I didn’t show?” Daniel asks. He ignores how Tracy perks up again, as if she knows she’s going to get her way.
“They’d probably disqualify us,” she says. “All you have to do is show up, answer a few questions, and hang out with our coworkers. Maybe have a drink or two.”
“It sounds like a terrible way to spend an evening.” Daniel would much rather settle on his couch with a book or take a long bath. The best way to spend a night would be with Ryan, but there’s no way Ryan will want to skip out on the tournament. It’s fine. They don’t spend every night together, and Daniel knows how to be happy when he’s on his own.
“Ryan will be upset if you skip,” Tracy says. She’s tracing an invisible pattern on his desk, not looking at him. “He hasn’t said as much, but Aoife’s noticed. Me too. I think he wants to show off for you.”
“I’m not having this conversation,” Daniel tells her.
“The door’s shut. No one will dare come in without me to tell them whether or not it’s safe.”
Daniel pointedly goes back to his computer.
“He likes you,” Tracy says, undeterred.
Daniel is aware of this fact. He just doesn’t see why the entire world needs to know it too.
“And you like him,” Tracy adds. “I think it’s cute. Aoife does too.”
“You two talk about us?” Daniel aims for disapproving but hits resigned instead.
“Nothing bad. You two spend a lot of time together.”
More than you know.
“I, for one, think it’s about time,” Tracy continues. “Oh, don’t get your feathers ruffled. He’s a good guy, and you like him. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just felt like I should tell you I know so you’ll stop getting twitchy whenever he stops by your office.”
“I don’t get twitchy,” Daniel says.
Tracy’s look tells him she’s not in the mood for his bullshit. “I’m not going to judge you. No one else in the company will either. You’re both adults capable of making your own decisions.”
“I know. I don’t need a lecture.”
“It’s a pep talk,” Tracy says and Daniel laughs. She shrugs. “Maybe not a very good one. I’m just saying, I’m happy for you. And if he ever hurts you, then I know where he keeps his secret stash of coffee.”
Daniel shakes his head, but he can’t keep the smile off his face. “You going to threaten me next?”
She waves a hand, dismissive. “Aoife has that covered. You’re my boss. I look out for you. Aoife looks out for Ryan. By the way, Aoife knows the lock code for your tea collection.”
Daniel laughs despite himself. “Thanks, Tracy.”
She beams at him. “No problem. Give some thought to the tournament? If you don’t care about me, then at least think of Aoife’s children.”
“Get out,” Daniel tells her, no heat in the words.
He’s still smiling when she pats his hand and slips out of his office.