The summer games settlin.., p.11
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       The Summer Games: Settling the Score, p.11

           R.S. Grey
 

  I could feel her shaking beside me, and when she glanced up, I realized it wasn’t with nerves, it was with rage. She was seething.

  “Fine,” I said, loosening my grip on her waist. “Wait for me inside.”

  She promised she would and then her media consultant whisked her away to walk the red carpet in front of me. They had me wait so it wouldn’t look as though we’d arrived together. I stood there out of sight, watching as they shouted for her attention. She smiled so beautifully even I couldn’t tell if it was real or fake.

  “Andie! Andie!” they shouted.

  “Look here!”

  Her media consultant pushed and prodded her along and when it was finally my turn to take the carpet, I waved and smiled for a photo or two, but not nearly as many as Andie had. These cameramen weren’t my mates. They’d shout and beg for a photo one minute and then sully my name in the gossip pages the next.

  My consultant flitted around me, trying to get me to stop and pose in specific spots. “If you could stand here for one—”

  I shook my head. “That’s enough.”

  I skipped the dozen or so reporters set up at the end of the red carpet, posed with microphones and cameras. They shouted questions as I passed, but there was nothing I wanted to answer. Was I still betrothed to Caroline Montague? On paper. Did I plan on breaking my world records? Isn’t that the bloody point? Was I enjoying my time in Rio? What was there not to like?

  I brushed by them and walked inside the restaurant, anxious to get to Andie. I’d lost her at some point on the red carpet, and she wasn’t waiting for me in the foyer like she’d promised. I swept my gaze around the room, taking in the usual suspects. There was an athlete present from every country, mingling and chatting with the few reporters allowed entry into the event.

  A waiter swept past me, holding out a tray of appetizers.

  “Chicken skewer, sir?”

  I shook my head and pushed past him, stepping deeper into the restaurant. I’d assumed it wouldn’t be difficult to find a blonde woman wearing a blue dress, but I circled the room twice without any luck. Then I spotted her in a group of other female athletes. She was laughing at something one of them had said, holding a glass of champagne in one hand and a folded napkin in the other. She looked carefree and happy, not at all concerned with the fact that she’d stood me up at the door. What had changed all of a sudden? Her texts earlier hadn’t explained anything.

  I made my way toward the corner of the room where she stood with her group. I had the advantage as she listened attentively to one of the women, an athlete I recognized from the Japanese swim team. She was in the middle of a story, but I didn’t care.

  “Andie, could I speak with you for a moment?” I asked, plastering on the innocent smile I’d learned as a child. It was the smile I wore around the media, the smile my mother had forced from time to time.

  “I’m actually busy at the moment,” Andie said, smiling politely and then turning her attention back to the woman I’d interrupted. She didn’t seem surprised that I’d found her, which said more of my apparent obsession than it did of her lack of remorse.

  “Oh, no it’s okay if you need to go talk,” the woman said. The rest of the group nodded, clearly affected by my smile more than Andie.

  “I loathe cliffhangers. Please finish your story,” Andie said, waving her hand in the air so the woman would continue.

  “It’ll only be a moment,” I promised, though it wasn’t the truth. Not that it mattered; we’d been lying to one another all day.

  I turned away before she could protest. I heard a gentle sigh, then the sound of her heels hitting the floor behind me; she was following.

  The restaurant was smaller than I’d assumed. There was the main dining hall and a foyer up front. That was where most of the media personnel were stationed, so I steered clear and turned down a side hallway instead. The lights were low and each door we passed was labeled to keep us out. We passed a broom closet and a door marked ‘Staff Only’.

  I pulled the door open for one of the private restrooms. It wasn’t the setting I’d hoped for, but when I turned to see Andie follow me inside, I knew it wouldn’t matter.

  She was long legs in a tight dress, bright eyes that sparked something inside me. I knew she’d been lying earlier. She was scared and nervous. The easiest solution was to push me away, but I wasn’t ready to let that happen.

  It was an exercise in restraint to keep my hands to myself as she walked over to the vanity and turned to face me. I let the door slam behind us and reached out to lock it. The space was tiny, cramped, and dark.

  “I asked you to stay away.”

  Her voice was calm, but curious.

  I unbuttoned the front of my blazer and nodded. “I know.”

  Her makeup made her gray eyes stand out even more against her delicate features. She was watching me, studying me, waiting for me to act, but I stood there for another minute, simply taking her in. Her blonde hair was twisted up high. There was nothing touching her neck, nothing that would get in my way.

  One of the straps of her dress was threatening to fall from her shoulder and as I stepped forward, a sudden realization passed over me. The games, my records, the press—none of it seemed important if only I could have Andie. Normally I would have chalked it up to lust, but this need ran deeper.

  “So is it a game to you?” she asked. “Getting a reaction out of me?”

  I shook my head.

  “Because I meant every word I texted you earlier. Last night was a mistake.”

  I watched the rise and fall of her chest. Every time she inhaled, her breasts pushed against the tight bodice of her dress.

  “This isn’t a game,” I said in reply to her earlier question. “I’ve been honest about what I want. And now, what I don’t.”

  She crossed her arms around her waist.

  “I came to Rio to play soccer and have fun,” she said, working up to an argument I didn’t care to listen to.

  “You don’t think last night was fun?” I asked, taking a step closer to her.

  Her eyes widened.

  “I had fun,” I continued.

  She blinked, and blinked again. I could see the logic trying to work its way around her brain.

  I took another step closer and fingered the strap falling off her shoulder. “You wanted me last night.”

  She shook her head.

  “I could feel your heart beating.” I pressed my hand to her chest, to the bare skin above her dress. “Just as wildly as it’s beating right now.”

  Her gaze was on my lips when I leaned in and kissed her, cutting off her protests. My hips caged her against the vanity and my hands wound up through her hair, tilting her head so it was easier to slide my tongue past her lips. She moaned softly, a seductive sound that made me step closer and pull her taut against me. I could have kept her there forever, but I wouldn’t force her. When I pulled back, I gave her an out.

  “Leave if you want to.”

  I stepped back and gave us space, staring down at her against the vanity. Her chest was heaving and her fists were clenched by her sides. Her mouth was red and swollen.

  “I don’t want to be dragged into this,” she protested with a fierce warning. “You think the rules don’t apply to you, but this is my life too. A reporter harassed me today. About you!”

  “Then you should go,” I said again. “The reporters will never stop. I wish I could say they will, but they seem intent on capturing every moment of my life from here on out.”

  She inhaled another breath.

  “Go,” I said again.

  “No.”

  One word spoken with bated breath.

  I stepped closer and she swayed. I let my hands slide up her arms, slowly, giving her time to rethink her answer. By the time my hands had found her shoulders, she looked drunk with lust.

  She leaned in and kissed me then. She was hot and demanding as I dragged my lips down her neck and shoulder, kissing a line to the thin stra
p of her dress. I stilled there as I brushed my hand up beneath her dress. She was velvet and the higher I drew my hand, the quicker her breaths came.

  I slid my hand across the center of her thighs, feeling the lace she’d slipped on beneath her dress. I slid my finger back and forth, testing her patience. Her teeth on my bottom lip proved how little she cared for teasing. Her hips arched to meet mine just before I gently pushed the material aside, laying her bare.

  “Ahhh…” she moaned, letting her head tilt back and her eyes flutter closed.

  I stroked her back and forth. Slowly. So fucking slowly she nearly begged for it by the time I slid a finger inside of her.

  “I can feel how much you want this.”

  I leaned forward and stole a kiss. She wound her fingers through my hair with a punishing grip. She was mine in that bathroom and I could feel her starting to unwind. I could push her up onto the counter and spread her thighs as wide as I wanted. The protests from earlier had died on her lips, replaced with the sexiest moans I’d ever heard.

  I was in control.

  And then suddenly, no one was in control. I couldn’t stop and I needed to stop. There were voices in the hallway and any minute there’d be a knock on the door.

  I ripped my mouth away and pointed to the door.

  “You were right. I shouldn’t drag you into this. Leave.”

  She reared back, eyes wide in surprise. “What?”

  She sounded wounded.

  “Go back to the party.”

  Her nostrils flared. “You pulled me in here and now—”

  “Go back…to the party.”

  My voice was strained and raspy, but she didn’t hesitate.

  “Fuck you, Freddie.”

  She shoved past me and pulled the door open so hard it slammed against the wall. As soon as she was gone, I reached back and locked the door.

  Fuck.

  I gripped the edge of the sink and leaned over, trying to gather my wits. I hadn’t expected to come to my senses at the exact moment she was giving herself to me, but that’s when it’d hit me. We couldn’t sneak off during a cocktail party and fuck in the bathroom. I didn’t care what it would do to my reputation, but it would ruin hers. It didn’t matter that Caroline didn’t have a ring on her finger—Andie would still be labeled a home wrecker, while I would probably be forgiven for being seduced by her presumed wickedness. And if she was already being questioned by reporters, that meant we had been careless in the club. Understanding that, I needed to get her out of the bathroom before someone saw us leave together.

  By the time I’d collected myself and straightened my suit, I had a text waiting for me on my mobile. I read it as I stepped back into the party.

  Andie: Stay the hell away from me.

  I didn’t reply; I turned off my mobile and slipped it into my back pocket. The party had only just begun, otherwise I would have left and taken a cab back to the village. If I left then, the media would spin it into something it wasn’t. The media consultant I’d ditched earlier found me at the bar after I’d ordered a drink. She’d become a nervous wreck; apparently disappearing for thirty minutes at the start of a party will do that to them.

  “Mr. Archibald are you prepared for your interviews? I tried to find you earlier, but then—”

  “I was here,” I lied.

  “Oh. Right. Of course.” She fidgeted with the clipboard she had clutched to her chest. “Well, everyone is waiting near the foyer if you’ll just…”

  I turned and took the drink from the bartender’s hand before he’d even extended it my way. I needed two more, but I didn’t dare ask, not when I caught Andie out of the corner of my eye, chatting with a reporter at the other end of the bar. She was beautiful and flush from the last thirty minutes and the lucky wanker she was talking to leaned in closer, probably spewing some excuse about how hard it was to hear over the crowd. She laughed and I turned away.

  “Let’s go.”

  CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

  Andie

  I WOULD HAVE let Freddie fuck me in that bathroom. I wanted him to do it. He had me caged up against the sink. I could feel how much he wanted me. His hips were right there, pushing up against mine and driving me to the brink of madness. I thought he’d toss me up onto the counter and tear my dress in two—all right, that’s a little Tarzan, even for me, but still. I’d been right there with him, ready to let it happen, and then he’d turned away as if suddenly he wasn’t interested. Suddenly, it wasn’t worth the trouble.

  Fuck him. I’d come to win games, not just play them.

  After the cocktail party, I’d laid in bed stewing over the turn of events and replaying what it’d felt like to have his hands on me. I had been the one to push away first. I was the one trying to keep my distance. How dare he pull that stunt and then leave me like that with his hand up my dress and my heart on my sleeve?

  Like I said, fuck him.

  “Andie! Is that water running in there? Are you showering again?!” Kinsley yelled.

  I leaned forward and turned off the faucet, letting the last few drops hit the back of my head.

  “What the hell are you doing in there?”

  “Nothing! I’ll be out soon!”

  Yes, I’d already showered twice that morning, but it was Freddie’s fault. I’d woken up with fantasies playing on repeat in my head (the dirty kind with a happy ending). I’d shoved the blankets aside and run to the bathroom to wash the shame off my body and then I’d tried to go on about my day. I’d returned a phone call from my parents, answered emails, and looked over the opening ceremonies itinerary they’d handed out the day before.

  Then, like a dirty little habit, I started thinking about Freddie again. I closed my eyes, imagined what it would have been like if I’d slipped my hand past his belt and tried to affect him as much as he’d affected me, and yes, I couldn’t help it; I touched myself at 8:02 AM. Obviously, I’m a terrible person. I’d had two orgasms and no breakfast and I was showering again and hating Freddie for making me crazy.

  By the time I walked out of my room, dressed for the opening ceremonies, I couldn’t even make eye contact with Kinsley and Becca for fear they’d find an admission in my eyes. They were in the kitchen, preparing breakfast, so I took a seat at the dining table and dropped my phone next to a red beret we were supposed to wear during the ceremonies.

  “MORNING SUNSHINE!” Becca said. “Feeling squeaky clean now that you’ve used up all the water in the whole complex?”

  I nodded.

  “Want some granola and yogurt?” Kinsley asked.

  I nodded again.

  “You make our ceremony outfits look really cute,” Kinsley said.

  She was lying; the outfits were way over the top. The Olympic committee had enlisted a young designer, Lorena Lefray, and she’d decided that every athlete from the United States should rock a bright red jumpsuit. I felt like I was about to parachute out of an airplane so, yeah, clearly, I didn’t understand high fashion.

  “Thanks,” I muttered, staring out past the living room window. I could just barely make out the mountain range in the distance.

  Kinsley and Becca carried over our bowls of granola and took their seats at the table. For the first half of breakfast, I ate in silence, more than happy to listen to their conversation take place without me.

  “What’s wrong?” Kinsley asked. “You’ve hardly touched your granola when most mornings you almost eat the spoon on accident.”

  “I’m just not that hungry.”

  “Are you having cramps?”

  I shook my head.

  “Diarrhee-ree?”

  I smiled. “No.”

  “She’s lonely,” Becca offered.

  “No I’m not.”

  “When’s the last time you felt the touch of a man, Andie?” Kinsley asked.

  I squeezed my eyes closed. “Never,” I lied. “I’ve never felt the touch of a man. Let’s drop this.”

  “I have a brilliant idea!” Becca said.

&nb
sp; I glanced up to take in her wide smile. “No thanks. I’m fine. No brilliant ideas needed.”

  Becca already had her phone out and she was scrolling through the app store. “I’ve heard this rumor…”

  I focused on my granola and tried to pretend my hearing had gone so they’d leave me alone.

  “Apparently a ton of athletes are using Tinder to find hookups during the games.”

  Kinsley leaned forward. “Are you serious?”

  I caught Becca’s nod out of the corner of my eye. “Yeah, Michelle and Nina were telling me about it yesterday. There’s like a thousand athletes on there and you can narrow down the distance so you only see the profiles for other people in the village.”

  “Cute. I hope they find love,” I said before scraping my chair away from the table and carrying my half-full bowl of granola over to the sink.

  Becca continued, “Look, I know we were being hard on you the first few days we were here. We just didn’t want you to go loco. But we can tell you’re depressed from all of this Freddie stuff, and sometimes the best way to get out of a slump is to get a good hump!”

  “Yes!” Kinsley said, high-fiving her for the rhyme. “It’s settled then. We’ll make a profile for Andie. I already have this photo of her in a bikini I was going to use for blackmail someday.”

  “NOPE!” I shouted from the kitchen. “No profiles needed, but thanks!”

  They ignored me. Kinsley scooted her chair around the table to join Becca. They dropped their heads together and got to work. I washed out my dish and loaded it into the dishwasher, listening as they giggled like two schoolgirls.

  “I think we should say she’s ‘a fun-loving girl with a heart of gold’.”

  Becca shook her head. “Boring. How about ‘A leggy blonde with lots of room for love’.”

  I closed the dishwasher. “That makes it sound like I have a huge vagina or something.”

  They ignored me.

  “I think we should just say how it is,” Becca said. “‘A desperate but pretty soccer player in need of a good fuck.’”

 
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