the bet and the baseball boy.
summary: in which a smitten peter stone makes a bet with you to try and get a date with you (baseball!au).
pairing: peter stone x female!reader.
warnings: language. mentions of drinking. probably incorrect baseball terminology (ya girl is trying). mike dodds is a meddler.
word count: 9.6k.
(a/n): so the other @qvid-pro-qvo and i started talking about baseball!peter...and we spiralled. so. here is an outcome of it all written out of your enjoyment, and i hope you guys like it!
You’re sitting at your desk when your phone rings. The number is a vaguely familiar one, but you can’t place it. Your name automatically leaves your lips as you answer, and as soon as you hear the voice on the other end of the line repeat your name excitedly, you smile, surprised once you recognize the voice.
“William Dodds, is that you?”
“How are you, my dear?” He asks. “Still at ESPN?”
“Oh, of course,” you reply with a grin, turning in your chair to look out at the view from the window of your tiny office - the view is great though, with a view of the skyline and Wrigley. “Still writing on the ins and outs of Major League Baseball.”
“Well, I heard you made quite the splash a few months ago with your piece on Nick Amaro - the Marlins’ second baseman.”
“I think I did okay,” you say casually, your cheeks heating at the praise.
It’s true, though. The piece was syndicated at least a dozen times by other major publications and you’d gained several thousand new social media followers - your bosses, Olivia and Rafael, couldn’t have been prouder.
“Well, it was fantastic,” William says. “And, I might have an idea for your next piece.”
“Oh, really?” You say, leaning back in your chair, immediately interested. “Whatcha got for me?”
“Well, I’m definitely biased on this one,” he says, “but, I think you and Mike could meet up and write a helluva comeback story.”
Your brow furrows. “Mike’s back in town? To play? I thought he was staying in Manhattan with you until he recovered?”
“He was,” William says. “The doctors cleared him for play last week - sooner than anyone anticipated. He’s back in Chicago to start practicing again.”
Earlier in the season, Mike had dislocated and fractured his knee while sliding into third base during a game against San Diego. He’d immediately been rushed to the hospital, and rumors had been flying ever since he’d have to retire early. Apparently that wasn’t going to be the case after all, not that you’re surprised - if anyone would pull through hell like that, it would be Mike.
“When was the last time you saw each other?” William asks.
“God, I don’t know,” you say, your brow furrowing again as you try to do the math. “Playoffs last year, maybe? It’s been too long, I know that.”
“Well, I think this could be a great excuse for the two of you to get together,” William says. “Should I let him know you’re interested?”
“Absolutely,” you say, smiling. “Tell him to call me and we’ll set up a date to start - everyone does love a good comeback story.”
“That they do,” William replies, and you can hear him smiling. “It was good to talk to you - we should have lunch the next time you’re in town.”
“We should,” you agree. “Or, the next time you’re here.”
“Of course. And I’ll call Mike now.”
“Great,” you say, and the two of you say your goodbyes.
You keep working on your coverage of the Cubs game the night before, and ten minutes later you get a text from Mike himself.
So, sounds like I’m your next headline.
You grin and type out your own reply.
If you’re interested. I would love nothing more than to make your comeback the stuff of legends.
Well, isn’t it already?
You roll your eyes.
I’m kidding. Meet me tomorrow at The Dugout? That’s where I usually go after practice with some of the guys - it’s just a few blocks from your office.
Sounds good. I’ll see you then, Mikey.
Perfect. It’s good to hear from you.
You too. We’ve gotta stop letting so much time pass between when we see each other.
Well, after tomorrow I’ll try and make that the rule. See you then.
You smile, sitting your phone down and going back to work, already excited to see your friend again.
You pull open the door to The Dugout (aptly named due to its close proximity to Wrigley, of course), hearing the chatter of locals from the neighborhood as well as a few Cubs players (one in particular) sat around at booths and tables and the bar drinking and eating. You don’t come in here often on your own, even though it is close to your office, but you do come here often to meet players for stories, much like you are now.
Mike’s body is facing towards yours as he sits on a barstool, waiting for you, but at the moment he’s not paying attention to you. He’s deeply engaged in a conversation with the person sitting on the stool next to him, who’s back is to you, but you know he’s another Cubs player by his shirt.
As you get closer, Mike’s eyes flicker up to you, then back to the man in front of him. But then, as he does a double take, a wide grin blooms on his features, and you can’t help but grin, too. “Hey!” He says.
“Hey, you,” you reply, and he’s immediately standing from the stool, and within seconds you feel his strong arms wrap around you, lifting you a few inches off the ground and spinning you around.
“Oh, I’ve missed you,” he says, kissing your cheek as he sits you back on the floor.
“Missed you, too,” you say with a smile, looking him up and down with a smile. “You look good. How’s the knee?”
“Getting there, but I guess that’s what you’re here to talk about,” Mike replies with a grin.
You laugh, grinning back. “Among other things.”
The man with Mike is looking between the both of you, watching your little reunion with a smile, while still slightly confused since he hasn’t been introduced yet, even though he had been aware Mike was waiting for someone.
You and Mike both see him staring, and Mike’s face lights up like he’s just remembered his friend is there. “Oh! I’m sorry - Y/n, this is our new pitcher, Peter Stone. Stone, this is Y/n.”
“Hi,” you say, extending your hand for a shake. “Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you, too,” Stone says, shaking your hand. Now that he’s getting a better look at you, he realizes that you’re easily the most attractive woman he’s ever met. From your kind, currently excited eyes, to the hair that he wonders if it's soft as it looks, to a smile that could make anyone’s day brighter.
Just like it just made his.
You have to admit that this Peter Stone is attractive - incredibly attractive. He’s got nice eyes, a beautiful smile, and hair you just know would be soft to the touch.
Not to mention he’s charming as hell.
But, that’s all. You aren’t going to let yourself feel anything else towards the cute pitcher sitting in front of you, because he’s a baseball boy. He’s a baseball boy, and you’re sure he comes with all the entails (with the exception of Mike, of course), and that’s the last thing you need in your life right now.
“She’s going to write a story on me,” Mike tells him, and then he’s beaming proudly. “She’s one of ESPN’s best writers - Y/n did that piece on Amaro a few months back.”
“Oh,” Peter says, recognition flashing in his features. “I read that one - it was incredible.”
His words seem genuine, and you can’t help the way your cheeks heat. “Thank you.”
Pretty, smart, and talented - Peter’s already smitten.
So Stone tries to make small talk with you while waiting for his Uber, tries to flirt, tries to land a date, but you deflect with practiced ease - it comes with the territory of constantly being around baseball players. However, Peter is determined to win you over, if only because of something he feels deep in his gut about you.
And Mike watches the two of you. He watches Peter pull out all the tricks he knows to try and get a date, and watches as you deflect easily, and he sees something there. Something that makes him smile, file the information in the back of his head.
But, he’s unsuccessful in gaining your number or a date before his Uber texts him, and he knows then he’ll have to wait until the next time he sees you - and he’ll find some way to ensure a next time.
“It was nice to meet you,” he says, holding out his hand for one last shake as he stands from his barstool.
“You, too,” you reply, shaking his hand again.
He and Mike exchange their own goodbyes, and then Mike turns back to you. “C’mon. Let’s find a table in the back so you can do your interview.”
You roll your eyes, playfully shoving Mike’s shoulder as you walk towards the back corner booth, where things are slightly quieter. You order some drinks and appetizers to split, and you get to work on asking your questions, your phone between the both of you to record anything you miss as you scribble notes into your black, hardcover notebook.
You sit for a few hours, your interview questions leading to normal conversations between the two of you, laughing and catching up on everything that’s happened in the last few months besides his injury. Finally, you checked your watch and realized you’ve both been here for nearly four hours.
“Alright, it’s getting late,” you say, pushing a hand through your hair and grabbing your phone to get an Uber, your recorder long having since been turned off. “I better head home. Start making my rough outline of this to take to Raf in the morning.”
Mike nods, but he doesn’t have to get a ride since his apartment is only a few blocks from here.
“We’ll probably need another meeting,” you tell him with a smile, even though you aren’t just trying to find an excuse to hang out with your friend again. “If you know of any day that will work.”
“I know of a perfect day,” he says, and your brows shoot up in interest. “I’m having a birthday party this weekend - Friday night. I was going to invite you anyway, of course, but now I have a way of guaranteeing you’ll be there.”
You laugh. “Like I’d have missed it anyway. But, yes - send me the details and I’ll make sure I’m there.”
“Perfect,” Mike says, grabbing the bill before you even get the chance. You follow him towards the register anyway, and he looks at you with a smirk. “So, I take it you and Stone hit it off.”
You roll your eyes and scoff. “Please. He just thought I’d be an easy date.”
“I don’t know,” Mike says, still smirking. “I think I saw some sparks there.”
You shake your head, bumping his shoulder. He laughs. “On a more serious note, though,” he says, “Stone is a promising up and comer. He’s just pitching relief right now, but they’re talking about working him into the starting rotation soon. I bet you could pitch a good story on him to your bosses, no pun intended.”
You think about it, nodding slowly. “That’s not...the worst idea.”
Mike smirks, nudging your shoulder. “And he’ll be at the party this weekend.”
You groan, rolling your eyes as Mike laughs. “Of course he will be.”
Your Uber pulls around the corner just as you and Mike step outside into the cool night air. You hug goodbye, promising to text him tomorrow and that you’ll see him this weekend before getting in the car and heading home to get a jumpstart on your article.
By the time Friday rolls around, you’ve managed to write a good chunk of your article on Mike, but you are excited to ask him a few more questions tonight, especially with the setting of it being his birthday party. You have a small gift in your hand, just something you’d managed to pick up during the week, and you knock on his door.
Mike answers, wearing a crisp white button up and jeans, and breaks out into a grin when he sees you, pulling you in for a hug. “You made it!”
“Of course I made it,” you reply with a laugh, standing on your toes to kiss his cheek and handing him his gift. “Happy birthday, Mike.”
“You shouldn’t have,” he tells you with a smile, wrapping an arm around your shoulders and leading you inside. It’s a calmer atmosphere than you had expected, even with the number of people Mike’s managed to cram into his apartment overlooking the field. He smiles as he looks down at you, seeing your dress and sneakers. “You look great.”
“Drinks and food are over there,” he says, his arm still around you as he points across the room. “You should know where the bathroom and everything like that are, but over there,” he says, turning your shoulders to face what appears to be a quiet corner of the room, with a tall table and two chairs, “is a quiet place where you can work on your article.”
You grin, looking up at him. “You know me so well - it’s no wonder we’re best friends.”
He grins back, and you go to sit in the tall chair; not only does it give you a good place to work, but also a good view of the party, something you’re hoping to work into your piece anyway.
Mike joins you after going to grab your favorite drink, and you ask him a few questions, these more reflective on his life and his career thus far - which seems appropriate, given the setting. After about half an hour, Mike’s attention is diverted by new guests, and with a smile you wave him off with the promise of finding him again later when you need him.
So you start working with what you have, pulling the small laptop you usually use when you cover away games out so that you can work with what you currently have and get it down while it’s still fresh in your mind. You occasionally reach over and grab a sip from your drink, occasionally look up and observing the party, and you have a good rhythm going until -
“Oh, hey! It’s you again.”
You look up and see the same man who had been sitting with Mike at the bar earlier in the week, and you’re much closer than you had been before. You’re close enough to really see his face and...wow. He really is gorgeous.
“Oh,” you say, smiling shyly. “Hey!”
And then you blank.
“Uh. You’re...Mike’s friend, right? From the bar?”
“Peter works, too,” he tells you, laughing.
“Right,” you say, your cheeks heating. “Peter…?”
“Stone,” he reminds you, still grinning.
“Peter Stone,” you repeat, trying to commit the name to your memory to keep yourself from forgetting again like you just did, while also trying incredibly hard not to look into his eyes too long -
“Still working on that piece about Mike?” He asks. He’s trying to keep his question nonchalant. Not make it seem like he’s been hoping you’d been hoping you’ll be here all week. Or make it obvious that he’s been searching the apartment for you all night. Or make it obvious that his stomach is stomping with butterflies and nerves and whatever else.
It gets a smile from you, while also intriguing you - he remembered that. You nod. “Oh yeah. Everyone loves a good comeback.” You look at your word doc and your notebook before back at Peter, smiling fondly. “Besides, Mike is a great guy.”
“He is,” he agrees, smiling back, but then his gaze falls to the floor. He lingers on his shoes for a moment before looking up at you again. “You two aren’t... you guys-”
You catch on to his question before he ever gets it out, and you cut him off with a laugh. “No, no definitely not. Nothing like that. Mike and I are just friends - we’ve known each other since high school. But, no. God, no. I’d never date Mike. He’s just a friend, and if you ask him, he’ll give you the same answer.”
Peter nods, smiling again, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d say he seems...pleased? “So, how long have you known Mike, more specifically? How did you meet”
“We met when we were freshmen,” you tell him, and he sits down in the chair across from you. “We had the same English class, but I haven’t seen him much since we graduated - once or twice a year here and there. But, we’ve stayed pretty close, and it’s been good to reconnect through my article.”
You look up at Peter then, your eyes scanning his face before you raise a brow, resting your chin on your hand. However, your other hand is poised over a clean page of your notebook, something in you slowly becoming interested in Peter for that story after all - and maybe even for more than just the story. “What about you? How’d you meet the birthday boy?”
“The team,” Peter replies, now leaning on his elbows as he rests them on the table. “I signed on as a relief pitcher halfway through last season. Came up from the Minors.”
“Mhm,” you hum, nodding as your eyes narrow slightly at him. “And I’m sure you made yourself right at home here. Do you like Chicago?”
The question makes Peter smile, and you start subtly scribbling his answers. “I do. I haven’t been here long, and I still don’t really know my way around, but I really like it. My dad, uh...my dad was sorta a big deal in New York, with the Yankees. Everyone knows him up there, knows my name, so I was pretty tied to that. I always will be, I guess, but here, I’m just me. Although, it definitely helps that I think Chicago has better food.” You laugh, ducking your head.
God, he is charming.
“Well, I’ve only been to New York for work,” you tell him, still smiling. “But, I’ll be sure to do some comparisons next time I’m there.”
“Be careful,” Peter says, a very serious look on his face despite how proud he is to have made you laugh. “It’ll ruin New York food for you. Trust me.”
You can’t help but giggle again, and Peter looks pleased now - so pleased that it makes you bite your lip a bit.
“Well, I’ve gotta go track Mike down again,” you tell him, placing one of your notebook’s ribbon bookmarks on the page with your few notes about Peter and packing up your laptop. “I still have a few more unanswered questions. But, I’ll see you around, Peter Stone.”
He nods, smiling at you. And it’s not the smile Peter usually gives the press - not as wide or toothy - but it’s just as genuine, if not more so. “I’ll see you around.”
And as he watches you walk away, watches as you disappear into the crowd, he takes a sip of his own drink, the one he’d forgotten during his conversation with you.
Yep. It’s official. Peter’s pretty sure he’s head over heels for you.
You find Mike a few groups of people away, sort of taking a moment to himself as he takes a sip of his drink. He smiles when he sees you, looking over your shoulder to see where you came from. When he sees Peter, he smirks.
“Y’know, Stone’s been looking for you all night.”
You scoff, shaking your head, but you notice the way you’re smiling. “Well, he found me. Did you talk to him about me? After the bar?”
“Your name came up,” Mike says, his gaze surveying everyone in his apartment as he takes another sip. He looks down at you with a smirk. “Why? Should I tell him his did, too?”
“No!” You tell him, your cheeks immediately heating. Once you recover, you glare at him. “I see what you’re trying to do here, Mike Dodds. You’re trying to play matchmaker, and I don’t like it. The last thing I need is...is a baseball boy. And who says I need a matchmaker, anyway? Are you trying to say I’m pathetic or something?”
“But Stone’s not a normal baseball guy,” Mike counters, still trying, while clearly ignoring your added questions. “Not in the way you mean.” He grins. “Just like I’m not a normal baseball guy.”
You roll your eyes, but you lean up and kiss his cheek anyway. “I know, Mikey - you’re one in a million, and I love you for it. But, from what I’ve heard, Peter Stone already has plenty of rumors going around about him already, and I don’t need any of that. Besides, I’m good where I am. I’m fine being single.”
“Okay,” Mike says simply, shrugging. You start to walk away, to grab another drink, but Mike swirls his innocently. “Y’know,” he says, his eyes focused on the amber liquid in his glass, “if you do write that story about him, you might ask him about those rumors. Might be surprised with what you find out.”
Your eyes widen, and you take the steps you need to be right next to him again. “How did you -”
“Please,” Mike scoffs. “I’ve known you since high school. I saw the way your pen was hovering over that notebook when you two were talking. He’d make a good story...or a good date.”
Your cheeks are hot, and you stammer out, “I’ve only got one story right now, Michael Dodds, and it’s you, so if you don’t want me to make a fool out of you with it, you’ll keep your mouth shut.”
He grins, chuckles, knowing he’s struck a nerve. “Well, then, if I’m your only story, what else do you need to know?”
“Lots of things,” you reply, feeling like you can breathe now that the topic isn’t Peter Stone. You grin at Mike. “One being, how does it feel to be old as hell?”
He laughs, shoving at you lightly with his free hand. “Oh, shut up. Besides, you gotta remember - if I’m old, you’re old.”
You laugh, shoving him back for that. He smiles, pulling you into his side for a hug.
“Happy birthday, Mike,” you tell him, giving him a squeeze.
“Thanks,” he says, kissing your head. “Alright. I need a break from people, so, let’s head out onto the balcony so you can ask me all your remaining burning questions.”
You laugh and let him lead you out to his balcony, to his incredible view and the cool air, but when Mike’s focus isn’t on your questions, it’s on you and Peter. He sees the way he looks at you - and the way you look at him, even if you don’t know - and he knows he needs a plan, whether you like it or not.
You finish up your story over the rest of the weekend, letting your bosses approve the piece and being told it’ll go out Thursday - the day before Mike’s first game back, which is, of course, a home game. It does, and it’s a hit, and now the anticipation around Mike’s return is higher than ever. But, like you’ve said before, everyone loves a comeback story.
And during the days following his party, Mike gets to work. And, really, it’s not hard to watch his plan come together.
He’s watched Peter scroll through your social media when he thought no one was looking. He’s listened as Peter sprinkles in little questions about you throughout their conversations - “What’s she like?” “Is she seeing anyone?” “How’d she get into reporting?”
And eventually, he hears the way he laments how there’s no way he’ll ever get you to go out with him.
And while this is happening, Mike hears you complain about the way you can’t seem to find a new story. Sure, you’ve covered the games you need to this week, but you haven’t had a story. And he remembers the way you looked when you were talking to Peter - interested, in more ways than one.
And that’s what really gets his wheels turning.
His first step is making sure you’re in.
He calls you on Monday, the day after the Cubs’ last game in their home series against the Phillies, when he knows they’ll have two days off (minus practice) before their next home series begins.
You’re sitting at your desk when your phone rings with the call, and you pick it up with a smile. “Mikey! What’s up? How does it feel to be back?”
“Oh, it...it feels great,” he says, smiling as he thinks back to the standing ovation he received when he went to bat, and the one he got when he got his first hit. But then he smiles, thinking of the incredible article you’d written about him. “And of course, a lot of that is due to you, of course.”
You feel your cheeks heat at the praise, and you smile. “I was just doing my job, Mike. But, anyway, I’m sure that’s not why you called.”
“Actually, it is,” he says, now feeling nervous his plan won’t work. “Sort of.”
You frown. “Okay. What do you need?”
“I think I have a story for you,” he says. “Your next big one.”
“I’m listening,” you say, immediately interested. “What is it?”
“There’s a big up and comer I know,” he tells you. “Super good guy - you’d like him. But anyway, he made a big splash in the Minors, and now he’s here. I think he’d be willing to sit down with you, if you’re interested.”
The details are vague, which would normally throw you, but something tells you that you should say yes. “That...that sounds good, actually. Yeah. Give them my number?”
“I’ll do you one better,” Mike tells you, and your brows raise as he tells you, “I’ve already got a reservation for you tonight, if that works with your schedule.”
You’re stunned. “Um, yeah. It’s a little short notice, but that works. What time?’
“Seven o’clock work for you?”
“Yeah,” you reply. “That works fine. I guess I’ll see this guy then.”
Mike smirks on his end of the line. “I guess you will. Talk to you later.”
One down, one to go.
However, conning Peter into will be much easier than conning you.
“Hey, Stone!” He calls out as practice ends and everyone heads for the locker room and the showers. Peter turns to look at him, and Mike grins. “You interested in going on a date tonight?”
Peter sighs, his mind still lingering only on you. At his hesitation, Mike says, “C’mon. I know you’re still hung up on Y/n. But this is a great girl, and she’ll help you get over yourself.”
That’s a complete lie, but he doesn’t have to know that.
Peter thinks on it for a moment, then realizes he doesn’t really have anything better to do. “Alright, I’ll go. Just text me the details.”
“Great,” Mike says with a grin. “Dress nice - jacket, but no tie.”
Peter nods, and the two men part ways and head for the showers, Mike already unable to wait to see how things went over the next day.
You leave work early to give yourself enough time to get ready, both Olivia and Rafael letting you leave without so much as a complaint at the thought of you bringing in another big profile on a player.
As you get ready, putting on one of your favorite dresses - one that’s not too fancy, but not too casual, either - you can’t help but think there’s something Mike isn’t telling you. But, a story is a story, and he seems excited for you to get this one, so you finish getting ready and hop into an Uber.
Meanwhile, Peter’s in the same boat, just already sitting at the restaurant he’s been told to meet his date at. He’d put on a crisp white button up shirt and a nice jacket, tried to do something more to his hair than what he usually did, but the shower after practice made it impossible - still, he didn’t look bad.
You enter the restaurant, soft lighting and hushed conversations meeting you as you step up to the hostess station. “Dodds?”
She nods, recognizing the name. “This way. The other member of your party has already arrived.”
You follow her to a table towards the back, in a smaller room of the already small restaurant, and your eyes widen when you see who’s sitting at the table. He finally looks up from fidgeting nervously with the corner of one of the cloth napkins when he sees the hostess coming, and his eyes widen just like yours did when he sees you. You should have known. You eye him in his suit, and for a moment all you can think about is how incredibly handsome he looks.
The hostess sits your menu down, giving you a small smile before leaving, and you can’t help but laugh a little, shaking your head - of course Mike would. “I guess you’re supposed to be my next big story.”
Peter stands, buttoning his jacket again, looking at you with a soft gaze. He can’t help his own laugh - a sound that makes you smile. “And you’re the date who’s supposed to help me get over myself.”
You laugh, a real laugh, both of you still standing. “Well, Peter Stone, I think we’ve been played,”
He laughs. “It would appear that way.”
“But,” he says after a moment. “I mean, we’re both here, right? Might as well not let a good reservation go to waste…”
You bite your lip, considering the offer. But, after a moment you think, if Peter’s going to pay for dinner, why not stay? Besides, he knows you’re here to try and get a story, so why not play it that way? You can’t deny there’s something compelling to you about Peter Stone (and thousands of other Cubs fans, not that you googled him or anything), and he really could make a good piece. So, you smile at him.
“Yeah, alright. Why not?”
The moment you smiled back at him, agreeing to stay, Peter swears his knees could have buckled right out from underneath him. This is the closest he’s come to getting a date with you, and he’s going to make the most of it.
Immediately, he moves over and pulls your chair out for you, pushing it back in once you’re in it. The action surprises you. “Thank you.”
He smiles back in response, moving back to sit across from you, and you try to ignore the feeling in your stomach that feels suspiciously like butterflies.
“So,” you say, resting your chin on your hands, elbows on the table as you look at Peter, letting your eyes quickly glance over him up and down to take in his suit again. “What exactly is it about you that Mike thinks would make you a good profile for me?”
Peter hums, smirking. “I don’t know. The better question to ask might be why Mike thinks you’d be a good way for me to get over myself.”
You raise a brow at that response, leaning back in the soft chair as you pull out your notebook and pen, opening to the page you have marked with the notes from the party, as well as a few stats and pieces of background information you’d found (again, you didn’t google him, just did some research).
“Well, maybe it’s because you know exactly how good you are, or how good you think you are,” you tell him, narrowing your eyes slightly, but smirking, “and you need a reminder that you aren’t all you think you’re cracked up to be.”
“Ooh, ouch. I’m hurt,” Peter replies, feigning offense as he holds a hand against his chest. But then he smirks back. “I was thinking that Dodds told you I’d make a good story because I’m much more interesting than he is.”
“I don’t know,” you reply, and you’re aware that you’re both dangerously close to flirting territory. “People love a good comeback, and I happen to be a pretty good writer.”
“But,” you say, grabbing your pen and clicking it, “every good story needs a hook. So. What’s your hook, Peter Stone? Is it the move to Chicago? The trials of the Minor Leagues?”
“How about relief pitcher to star pitcher in less than half a season?” He proposes, still smirking.
You roll your eyes, but you’re smiling. “Geez. You don’t have any ego there at all, do you?”
Now he’s smiling. “You’ve clearly never seen me pitch.” He picks up his menu and begins to examine the entrée section. “I mean, I know you have tickets through Dodds, if not just your job in general. There’s a home game tomorrow, the start of a series against the Braves. Come watch, and...maybe you’ll find your hook.”
He looks up at you over the top of his menu, and there’s a glint in his eyes. You stare at him, considering it, and he smirks at you again.
“Alright, fine,” you agree, picking up your own menu to decide what you’re going to order. “Maybe I will.”
As luck would have it (although, more likely, his overconfidence), Mike already has a ticket ready for you when you call that night and ask for one. The game starts at eight, which means you need to be there around seven, which means you leave work at six. Raf tells you how excited he is for the new piece, even though you haven’t given him many details yet - just that it’s another Cubs profile.
You run home and change into a pair of jeans and a Cubs t-shirt, throwing your cap on with it before heading over to Wrigley. You get in and find your seat with no problems, and you smile and wave at Mike in the dugout when he waves up at you.
Minutes later, he calls you. “I see you made it.”
“I did,” you tell him. “Have I mentioned how I should kick your ass for last night, Dodds?”
He laughs. “A few times.”
“Well, it bears repeating,” you reply, now smiling yourself. “Thanks again for the ticket.”
“Of course,” he says. “Can you see okay?”
“It’s perfect,” you tell him, looking out at the field. You’re a few rows up, but on the front side of the field and off to the left of home plate - you have a perfect view of the mound.
“What are the odds Stone actually pitches tonight?” You ask, already having checked the starting lineup - he’s not the starting pitcher. You’re happy to watch the game anyway, of course, but you want to know if you’re going to need tickets to another game.
“Good,” he tells you. “Halstead will probably need out around the sixth inning or so, and I know that when he does they’re putting Stone in.”
“Okay,” you tell him. “Well, you better go. Play hard.”
“I will,” he assures you. “Write a good story.”
You grin and hang up, pulling your notebook and laptop from your backpack. You connect your laptop to your phone’s hotspot, adding on to the introductory bits of the profile you’d written earlier.
Dinner with Peter had gone surprisingly well, and you can’t help but smile faintly when you think about it. He’d started out as cocky, but as the night (and your questions) went on, it faded to just his true charismatic self - you’d be lying if you said you didn’t find him charming, still. And, he truly is an interesting guy, and smarter than you would have ever given him credit for.
And, if you’re honest with yourself, he’s been on your mind today more than you’d care to admit...and not just when you’re working on your article.
It’s infuriating, really, how this charming, handsome pitcher has already wormed his way into your mind, despite the fact you’ve basically sworn off any and all athletes. You really can’t stop thinking about him, and you can’t wrap your head around that fact.
But, for now, you focus on making Peter Stone look good for everyone else, not just you, which is a much easier job than you’d like to admit.
It’s the sixth inning when Peter Stone finally walks out onto the mound, and he receives cheers as he does. Halstead already had one out under his belt when he walked off the field, and Peter gets the remaining two easily - one by throwing a strikeout and the other by catching a grounder and throwing it to Mike at second.
However, what really gets your attention isn’t his pitching ability, but what he does while running back to the dugout.
Mike runs up to him on the mound and gives him a high five, the both of them grinning. Mike says something to Peter, clapping him on the shoulder before running off ahead of him. Peter turns around, his eyes scanning the stands, and then they land on you. He grins widely, throwing you a wink before turning and running back to the dugout himself as the Braves take the field.
You’re stunned, and you feel heat rushing to your face as some of the other people in your section turn to you (some college age girls, in particular). You shake your head, that feeling of butterflies coming back in your stomach.
But you won’t let him win. You refuse.
So, instead, you start writing. You start writing, looking up occasionally to survey the rest of the game, especially when the Cubs are in the outfield again and Peter’s on the mound.
You write about Peter’s pitching - not just his ability, but also how enjoyable he is to watch (which, of course, has nothing to do with his looks - obviously). The rest of the article talks about Peter’s rise through the college and Minor leagues, all of it leading up to him signing with the Cubs the previous season.
You sprinkle the whole story with anecdotes about the Peter you’ve met, not only making him seem more human, but also managing to show how charming he is. You talk about the way he behaves one on one with someone, not only to make your audience feel like they truly know the pitcher when they’re finished, but also, subconsciously, to help yourself relive the moments. The way Peter Stone somehow manages to make you feel - the smiles he brings out of you, the laughter.
And the thought crosses your mind, if only for a moment, that you might be smitten.
The story goes out on Friday, since you stay up all night finishing and revising it, the adrenaline from the Cubs’ victory giving you the burst of energy you need to finish it. It goes viral almost instantly, Peter’s incredible games on Tuesday and another on Thursday only helping, and it’s not long until it has more hits than your piece on Mike.
Which, Peter of course gloats over as the team prepares for the last game in the Braves series on Friday, trying for a sweep.
It’s about a week later when you’re sitting in your office, working on a piece that is, admittedly, much less exciting than your last two pieces when you get a call from none other than Peter Stone.
You frown, but it’s more of a smile as you swipe to take the call, greeting him with, “I thought you were supposed to be in Tampa?”
“I am,” he replies, sitting on his hotel bed while he waits to leave for Tropicana for the game. “You keep up now?”
You can’t stop your smirk as you shake your head. “I cover the Cubs, I always keep up - I have the game schedule on my desk. Besides, don’t get it twisted, Stone - just a normal follow-up. I gotta make sure you don’t prove me wrong and fizzle out early or something.
You hear Peter’s hand hit his chest, and he dramatically replies, “Oh! I’m wounded! I cannot believe that after all the time we spent together you still have so little faith in me.”
“I don’t know, Stone,” you reply teasingly. “I’ve only ever seen you pitch one time, and you didn’t even start.”
If you could see Peter in person, you’d see the way he squares his shoulders with pride before his next response. “Well, that changes today. In ten minutes, the team’s going to announce that I’m the starting pitcher in tonight’s lineup.”
“Really?” Your face breaks out into a grin, and you’re very glad he can’t see you. “The Cubs actually gonna give you a chance on this one?”
“Well, Tampa Bay will be a good endurance challenge,” Peter replies, leaning back against his headboard. “And who knows? Maybe your article helped to convince them to give me my shot.”
You feel your cheeks heat, and you duck your head. “So you’ve read it, then?”
“I did,” Peter hums. “I wanted to know what you think of me.”
You swallow, feeling your cheeks heat yet again. And your voice is embarrassingly small as you ask, “So what do you think? That I think of you?”
Peter ducks his head, smiling to himself, his own voice softer than he would have anticipated. “I think that, whether you like to admit it or not, you think that I’m, at the very least, a good pitcher.” He takes a deep breath before dipping a toe in. “And maybe...maybe a little bit more than that.”
“That…” you say, biting your lip with a sigh, softly saying, “that would be a very good analysis of my piece, Peter Stone.”
Peter can’t help the way he does a little fist pump at your words, grinning widely now. But he doesn’t mention that, instead saying, “Maybe when we get back...you and I can get coffee?”
You fiddle with the pen in your hand, spinning it between your fingers, biting your lip as you think about his offer. And despite the rumors you heard about him while writing your piece, you can’t help but say, “Fine. One cup of coffee. But only if you pitch a good game tonight - I won’t be seen out with a bad pitcher.”
He laughs. “Deal.”
But then, a thought crosses his mind. He knows this isn’t a date, but what if...what if it could be?”
“Y’know,” he says slowly, treading lightly. “We...we could make things more interesting.”
For some reason, you’re intrigued. “How so?”
“I propose a bet.”
You lean back in your chair. “I’m...interested? What’s on the line?”
“If I can pitch, mmm, three strikeouts,” Peter proposes, “you have to let me take you to dinner when I get back. Not coffee. Not a casual dinner - a date.”
Your eyes widen, and you let out a stunned laugh - Peter smirks in his hotel room. “So...if you pitch poorly, then we do coffee. But if you can land three strikeouts - ”
“Then I get to take you out on a real date,” he says, the words already making adrenaline course through him. “I pick you up at eight, I schedule reservations, we order a bottle of wine.” And he can’t help but smile as he says, “It would be...the real thing.”
You’re stunned, sitting in silence and wondering how long he’s been sitting on that idea.
“So, you wanna play the odds?” He asks, grinning.
You rub your forehead with your hand, unable to believe the words that are about to leave your mouth.
“Make your cutoff the seventh inning stretch, and you’ve got yourself a deal.”
“Perfect,” Peter says with a smile, his voice sounding entirely too confident. It makes your chest tighten, and makes the butterflies pop up in your stomach again.
But you ignore it for now, sighing and looking down at your watch. “What time is the game again?”
“Seven PM,” Peter tells you. “Eastern Time.”
“Okay then,” you say, and you can’t help your small smile. “I’ll be watching.”
Peter’s glad you can’t see the wide smile on his face.
“Three strikeouts, Stone,” you remind him. “Seven innings. Think you can pull it off?”
Peter’s only response before hanging up is, “I’ll see you at dinner.”
You stare at your phone once you hear the line click off for a moment, and Peter starts gathering his things to head to the stadium with the biggest smile he’s had in a while.
“Oh my god,” you say to no one in particular, shaking your head. “The nerve!”
But then you realize...you said yes. You agreed to the bet, and possibly the date.
And even if he doesn’t get his three strikeouts in, you did still agree to coffee.
So it occurs to you, that you kind of brought this on yourself.
You can’t help your groan. A few moments later, Rafael knocks on the door frame of your office, assumingly having heard you.
“You okay?” He asks, slightly amused.
You shake your head, waving him off with a small smile. “Oh, yeah. I’m fine. I just...might have screwed myself into going on a date with a pitcher.”
He frowns, though slightly amused. “Might have?”
You shake your head, laughing, still smiling a bit. “We may or may not have made a bet that if he can pitch three strikeouts by the end of the seventh inning tonight that I’d let him take me out.”
Rafael hums, nodding. “And what are the odds he wins the bet?”
“Honestly?” You ask, thinking back to the game you’d watched the week before. “Pretty good.”
Rafael smirks. “Well, you do need to get out more, and not just to cover sporting events, so I can’t say I’m not rooting for the pitcher. But. Good luck.”
You roll your eyes. “Thanks, Raf.”
He laughs, heading back to his own office (or to find his wife - you aren’t sure).
Meanwhile, down in Tampa, Peter can’t wipe the grin off his face as he heads down to meet Dodds in the lobby.
“What’s got you so happy?” Mike asks immediately, seeing Peter’s wide smile.
“Oh, nothing,” he says with a shrug. “Just...might have a date when we get home.”
Mike nods, asking, “Might?”
Peter shrugs, still smiling, deciding to keep this to himself for now. “Probably. There’s a bet - I have to pitch three strikeouts before she’ll actually go out with me.”
“So...what you’re saying is you’re planning to be a complete show off?”
Peter grins. “That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
By the fifth ending, you know you’re screwed - Peter already has four strikeouts.
By the time he gets pulled out in the seventh inning, just before the agreed upon cutoff point, he has six. Double your agreed upon number.
You’re officially going on a date with Peter Stone.
And Peter knows that, which is why he’s absolutely beaming when he walks off the mound and into the dugout (well, that and the standing ovation he received from an adoring crowd of Cubs fans).
You don’t even watch the rest of the game. You take your glasses off, the blue light ones you’ve been wearing since you’ve also been working to meet your next deadline, and rub your forehead. You lean back against the couch with a sigh.
You’re going on a date with Peter Stone.
Peter’s ecstatic at the thought, and as soon as he gets the chance at the end of the game, he texts you.
So, does this mean we get two dinners?
You roll your eyes at the response, tossing your phone onto the cushions and rubbing your hands down your face. You laugh, more of a scoff, still unable to believe that you’re going on a date with a baseball boy.
You leave him on read, mostly because you aren’t confident enough that you won’t agree.
What’s gotten into you?
Twenty minutes later, your phone rings, and you pick it up to see it’s Peter Stone. Somewhat reluctantly, and smiling in spite of yourself, you answer.
“Oh, come on,” Peter says as a greeting, grinning as he unlocks his hotel room door, backpack slung over his shoulder as he enters. “Don’t be a sore loser, gorgeous.”
You definitely don’t feel your cheeks heat when he calls you gorgeous. Definitely not.
“I do believe our deal was only for one date, Peter Stone,” you remind him, crossing your arms as you drop your head back against the top of your couch.
“Alright, I give,” Peter replies, sitting on the edge of his bed and pulling his shoes off before leaning back against the headboard. “Any recommendations or suggestions on where we should go?”
“Nope,” you say teasingly, maybe even a little flirtatiously. “Your pick, Chicago boy. You’ve gotta learn the city one way or another.”
“Okay, then,” he says with a laugh. “I’ll find some way to impress you.” Then he smirks. “We’ve got one more game down here before I’m back - interested in placing any more bets?”
You scoff. “I may be a sports writer, but I’m not a gambler,” you tell him. “One date against my will is enough for me.”
Peter laughs, and you smile, hiding it behind your first. “I’ll see when you get back - I’ve got a deadline to meet.”
“I’ll see you then,” he tells you, smiling. Nervously, biting his lower lip, he adds, “And hey. I’m...I can’t wait to see you.”
You hear the way he stammers. You bite your lip, but still smile, just barely. Sighing as you admit the slightest defeat. “Yeah,” you reply. “Me, too.”
You both say goodnight, and when you hang up, you put your phone down again, holding your face in your hands, because…
Oh my god. You’re going on a date with a baseball boy.
It’s with a grin that Rafael waltzes into your office the next morning, knocking on the doorframe before leaning against it. “So, do you have a hot date for this weekend or no?”
You groan, leaning back in your chair. “He pitched six strikeouts - our deal was three. So. Yes. I definitely have a date this weekend.”
Rafael grins, laughing. “Well. Have fun. Just, make sure you meet your deadline.”
“When have I ever missed a deadline?” You ask, giving him a look. When he returns your look with one of his own, you close your eyes. “Don’t answer that.”
He chuckles, giving you a smirk as you roll your eyes. “Oh, don’t you have some tennis match to cover or something?” You ask.
“Not today,” he says, still smirking. “All I have to do is annoy you about the fact you lost your bet...and go with Liv to the basketball game she’s covering later.”
You grin. “Aww. Is it date night for the Barba-Bensons?”
He rolls his eyes, despite the fond smile on his face. “Oh, shut up and go back to writing your article.”
“Two can play at this game, Raf,” you remind him with a smirk. He waves you off before heading back to his own office.
Meanwhile, Peter is riding high on the fact he won as he and Dodds get ready for lunch before their last game in the series.
“Are you getting your date tomorrow?” Mike asks him, but the smile on Peter’s face tells him all he needs to know. “You did win your bet.”
“I did, and I am,” he says, and Mike’s a bit surprised to see the blush that crosses over Peter’s cheeks. “I called her last night to confirm that we’re going out tomorrow, so I guess I’m going to have to try and get a reservation tonight.”
“Any ideas on where you’re taking her?” Mike asks.
Peter shakes his head. “Not a clue, but...I’ll figure something out.”
The next night - at eight o’clock, just like he promised, Peter Stone knocks on your door. While he waits for you to answer, he can’t help the way he bounces on his toes, the way he makes sure he tie is straight, or the way he fidgets with the bouquet of roses in his hand while he waits what feels like a lifetime for you to answer - in reality, it’s about twenty seconds.
You’ve spent longer than you’d care to think about or admit getting ready for this date. You have no idea where Stone is taking you, other than it isn’t simply casual; you suppose he’s taking the description he gave you of the night very seriously. You check your appearance one last time in the mirror, straightening your outfit and your hair before running to open the door for him.
And when you do, you're both left a little speechless.
You don’t remember Peter Stone being this handsome the last time you saw him in person, but seeing him standing in front of you in this suit, one that fits him perfectly, makes your breath catch as your eyes scan him from head to toe.
Peter has now officially decided he’s not sure he’s never going to get over seeing you in person, that there'll never be a moment he’s not taken aback by how you look everytime he sees you. He does remember to hold out the roses to you, and his heart melts at the way you light up at them. “They’re beautiful, Peter. Thank you.”
He grins, watching as you sit them on your kitchen counter. When you get back to the door, you hold your arms out to him, looking at him almost shyly. “Do I look okay?”
He smiles, shaking his head. “Better than okay - you look beautiful.”
You smile, ducking your head. “Thank you - you look pretty handsome yourself.”
He blushes, and you can’t help but giggle. But, he recovers quickly. “We better get going if we’re going to make our reservation.”
You not, grabbing your purse from the hook by your door. You smile at him, ready for...whatever happens. “Well, then let’s go.”
Mike is excited on Saturday night, if not a fair bit disappointed when he hears Peter talk about how incredibly well his date had gone while they go out for drinks. He’d still been holding out hope that he could get the two of you together, but if Peter’s happy, then he’s happy.
“Do you think there will be a second date?” Mike asks.
Peter’s face turns red as he takes a sip of his beer. “We...may or may have gone out for coffee earlier today. But, I do think there will be another more official date sometime soon, yes.”
Mike’s brows raise, impressed. “You really like this girl, then?”
“I do,” Peter says, smiling fondly at the thought of how excited you seemed to see him earlier, the firm hug you’d given him. “I really, really do.”
The next morning, you and Mike meet for brunch, already making good on your promises to keep in touch better.
After you both order, Mike looks at you. “Well, it looks like you missed your chance with Peter.”
You were lifting your glass of water to your lips to take a sip, and you stop, but Mike doesn’t notice, going on to say, “Apparently he went on a great date Friday night. Couldn’t stop talking about it and her last night when we got drinks.”
You don’t answer Mike, instead finally taking a sip of your drink. Mike frowns when you don’t answer.
Is she really that upset by it?, he wonders.
But then he looks a little closer, and notices how you’re avoiding his gaze intentionally. At first, he thinks it’s the aggressive sun beating down on you both as you sit out on the balcony. Or maybe it’s because you’re both wearing sunglasses. But then, he sees the way you’re fidgeting with the table cloth, and his eyes widen. “Oh my god.”
A small smile starts to bloom on your face, and your eyes brighten as you think back to the way Peter had made you laugh until you cried, the way you went out for dessert after at your favorite place (you were close, and you had to show him what he was missing once he told you he hadn’t been), the way he held your hand as you discreetly took the long way back to your apartment.
And, of course, the soft kiss he left on your cheek at the end of the night at your door, before you asked, in spite of yourself, what the odds are you could still have that coffee date.
To which, of course, he readily accepted.
“Oh my god!” Mike says, even more excited now. “You were Peter’s date Friday night, weren’t you?!”
“I...lost a bet?” You say, holding your hands out in a shrug.
“Oh my god, it happened,” Mike says, grinning brightly. “I got you two together.”
“I wouldn’t say it was - ” You start to say, but he doesn’t let you finish.
“Oh, no, it was me,” he tells you. “Even if it was because of your article, I introduced you.”
You laugh, rolling your eyes as Mike asks, “Was the date as good as Peter says it was?”
You debate on whether or not you want to answer, but you can’t help it. You smile softly, thinking back to the night again.
“Yeah,” you tell him, still smiling. “Yeah, it was.”
“Are you going to go out with him again?” He asks, his excitement building again.
You smile, and nod again. “Yeah. Yeah, I think I will.”
Mike pumps his fist in victory, and you laugh.
Because...yeah. Whether you wanted to be or not, you were pretty smitten with a baseball boy.
tagging: @qvid-pro-qvo @teamhappyme @duchesschameleon @ssaic-jareau @fanofalltheficsx @joanofarkansass @averyhotchner @lacyandlusty
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