Derrick Jones sat on a bench near the Miami beachfront, feeling conspicuous. Wearing sunglasses and a baggy hoodie as a sort of half-hearted disguise, he told any passerby who recognized him that he was just in town for an AAU tournament. If it were up to him, he would be spending his Saturday afternoon either working on his jumpshot or perusing the Steam Summer Sale for new games, but it wasn’t up to him.
Not when Jimmy Butler had personally texted him requesting to meet.
Derrick understood it. Jimmy was the new face of the franchise, stepping into the hole that Dwyane Wade had left, and he wanted to get to know his new teammates. But why did he want to have their intimate, bro-on-bro male bonding session at the beach? If Jimmy had asked, Derrick could’ve named twenty high-class restaurants where they could get a table without being bothered by paparazzi and starstruck fans.
“First things first, we gotta get you a new pair of shades,” said a voice from behind the bench.
Derrick turned around and saw the unmistakable face of Jimmy Butler. He brought a hand up to his sunglasses to feel their contours. “I’m not going to go around wearing a thousand bucks on my face just so somebody can steal them off me. Besides, who cares what sunglasses I’m wearing?”
Jimmy sat down next to Derrick and pointed out at the beach, where swimsuit-clad beachgoers relaxed or frolicked in the surf. “All those beautiful women, for one.”
Derrick frowned. Yeah, he was single, but he was happy that way. Buying expensive accessories to woo women seemed wasteful. “Yeah, but I’m not really looking for a girl at the moment.”
Getting to his feet and grabbing his new teammate’s hand to force him to do the same, Jimmy replied, “You are now. Because I’m officially the leader of the Heat and that means guiding my teammates to success, not only on the basketball court, but in their personal life goals as well.”
Derrick unwillingly followed Jimmy as they headed to a nearby eyewear store, wondering what Pat Riley had told Jimmy in their introductory meeting that was causing him to act this way.
They were back on the bench. Jimmy was rooting through his various bags of purchases which obviously contained more than just a single pair of sunglasses. “These are for you,” he said, pulling out an admittedly stylish pair of shades and handing them to Derrick. Jimmy didn’t mention anything about the cost, so Derrick was at least grateful for the gift, however misguided.
Derrick replaced his sunglasses for the more expensive pair while Jimmy looked through another bag. Finally, he pulled out a small scrap of fabric that Derrick couldn’t place and handed it to him. Another gift, apparently.
Taking it in his hands, Derrick unfolded the tiger-print article. It was a speedo. “Uh, I can’t wear this. Sorry.”
“You can wear it and you will wear it,” Jimmy asserted. “I’m telling you, the women here are going to lose it when they see such a hot pile of man-flesh all in one place. There’s a changing stall over there.”
Not wanting to be the one who fractured team unity before the season even started, Derrick took the too-small article of clothing to the nearby changing stall and hoped that Jimmy had picked out the correct size.
“I am way too skinny for this. I look like a baby giraffe.”
“A baby giraffe wearing a sexy speedo,” Jimmy corrected. “You’re too hard on yourself. The toned look is working for you, man.”
“Maybe,” Derrick replied. He felt like he was breaking some kind of public indecency law just by standing there. “But this thing leaves nothing to the imagination. You can see, like, the borders and outline of my Derrick Jones Junior Junior.”
Jimmy waved away Derrick’s concerns. “Don’t worry about it. Chicks like to do a little window shopping. Now get out on the beach and do your thing.”
Derrick had one more question. “Am I supposed to be trying to get a girlfriend here or just, like, finding girls to bang?”
Jimmy shrugged. “Either. Both. Whatever you want. I’m just here to make sure you’re successful. Remember, I’m the leader of the team now.” Derrick was looking forward to getting away from Jimmy’s power-tripping for a bit, so he struck out across the sand. Immediately, he could feel eyes on him, but he tried to push aside his feelings of self-consciousness. Objectively, his body was a lot more attractive than many of the male bodies wandering the beach.
However, after ten minutes, he hadn’t uttered a word to anybody, much less an actual woman. He was just walking back and forth across the same section of beach wishing he had his phone with him so he could pretend to be looking at his messages.
Faintly, Derrick could hear a voice calling out across the beach. “DJJ come on! Quit being a pussy!” It was Jimmy Butler.
“What’s that crazy guy yelling about?” Derrick cracked to the woman who was next to him.
“Can’t tell,” she replied. “Hey, you’re cute. What’s your name?”