Out of bounds the summer.., p.12
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       Out of Bounds (The Summer Games #2), p.12

           R.S. Grey
 

  “My mom is great. She gave up a lot so I could compete when I was younger.”

  “And your dad?”

  My instincts told me he knew more, but then I reminded myself it was a simple question. Most people have two parents.

  “I never knew him.”

  I didn’t need to elaborate. There really wasn’t more to say; I didn’t miss someone I’d never met.

  “What about friends?” he asked, sensing my desire to move on from the subject.

  I tilted my head toward the guesthouse and offered a small smile. “You’re already familiar with them.”

  He nodded and tossed his fork in the sink. It rattled against the shiny stainless steel.

  “And boyfriends?” His voice was rough, like sandpaper against my nerves. “What about them?”

  I laughed, thinking he was making a joke, but when I met his gaze over the island, my breath caught in my throat. He was serious. Dead serious. He had his hands propped up on the granite counter, and he was leaning closer, studying me. It felt like a game even then. He was baiting me, daring me.

  I blushed and glanced away. “I’ve had a few.”

  I could see his faint smile out of the corner of my eyes.

  “Yeah? Did they last long?”

  “A few months. Nothing serious.”

  I was answering like a suspect in a cross-examination, as if my attorneys had counseled me to offer no more information than was necessary.

  His expression told me he thought I was bluffing.

  “I know it must shock you,” I continued, glaring back at him. “But some men actually find me attractive.”

  “Oh I don’t doubt it,” he replied, no hint of sarcasm in his tone. “So why don’t those men last?”

  I shrugged. “Elite gymnastics isn’t exactly conducive to casual dating.”

  “Yeah? Is that the only reason?”

  “I’m a busy girl,” I said, purposely leaving it vague.

  “Something tells me it had more to do with impatience…or maybe boredom,” he said.

  “Boredom?”

  “I think girls your age start to lose patience for boys that don’t know what they’re doing.”

  He was so close to the bull’s-eye that I narrowed my eyes and sat back in my chair, folding my arms over my chest. Truthfully, I’d had a string of duds in the last few years. Zach was slightly better than the rest, but he had been naive and just as inexperienced as me. After him, I’d had high hopes for Noah, but that had crashed and burned. They were all the same: young and nervous and shaking. It’s like they wanted to look but were too scared to touch.

  I’d be damned if I let Erik know that though.

  “I assure you, Zach kept me plenty interested,” I replied with a suggestive smile.

  His gaze slid to my mouth and my smile faded. I licked my bottom lip, trying to ease the tension growing between us. It swirled in the air, tingling against my bare skin.

  “Somehow I don’t believe that.” He tilted his head and ran his finger along his smooth jaw. My lips ached to do the same. “I’ve never met an interesting Zach.”

  He was egging me on with his fuck-me smile and smooth words. He seemed wholeheartedly unaffected by my presence in his kitchen and that only made me want to push back harder. I liked this little game we were playing and I’d die before I let him see me falter, so instead of backing down, I leaned forward until my breasts hit the island and offered him a slow-spreading smirk.

  “This one was interesting enough to take my virginity.”

  I caught his sharp intake of breath, that fleeting moment of shock at my blunt response. For a moment, I tasted control and I fucking loved it, but then a devilish grin overtook his lips and a rush of heat pooled between my thighs.

  I’d just poked a bear.

  “So you’ve been fucked, Brie?”

  My jaw dropped, but his eyes twinkled with amusement. Asshole.

  “I have fucked,” I corrected coolly, as though the semantics mattered at the moment.

  “How’d he take you that first time?”

  My chest tightened and I resisted the urge to flatten my palm there, to ease the pain. He wanted details. Fire burned through me. It’d be so easy to walk away, but I liked this. It was fun to shock him, to say the dirty words out loud.

  I answered with a calm tone, like the words spilling out of my mouth were fitting for an afterschool special. “He took me to his house when his parents were at work and he locked us in his room. He kissed my neck as he bent me over the edge of his bed. I can still remember the exact moment when his hand first dipped between my legs.”

  His brow arched in disbelief though the devilish grin spread an inch wider. “I think you’re lying.”

  I was exaggerating.

  There’s a difference.

  Zach had barely managed to roll on a condom before he came, buried halfway inside me. It’d been the most disappointing moment of my life, but I had technically been bent over his bed.

  “I can’t imagine Virgin Zach knew how to handle you,” he continued with a voice that finally sounded strained.

  “I don’t care what you can imagine.”

  “Is that right?”

  I nodded, past the point of return.

  “How did he make you come?” he asked with a challenge in his eyes.

  Heat coiled around my chest and neck. It felt like it was a hundred degrees in his kitchen. Boiling hot. I was more turned on than I’d ever been before and he hadn’t even touched me. His hands were still on the granite, propping up his body and keeping him a safe distance from me.

  “With his fingers,” I answered.

  “And his mouth?”

  How did we get to this point? I couldn’t believe Erik, my coach, was here asking me for specifics about my orgasms, and even more, I was answering. My stomach quivered and this time when I spoke, it was hardly more than a whisper.

  “All the time…”

  He smirked. He knew.

  I turned away before he could sense my embarrassment. My hands worked to smooth my pajama shorts, but the pressure on my thighs was too much. I moved them away as he replied.

  “I think you’re lying, Brie.” My breath caught in my throat as I glanced up and met his smoldering gaze once again. “You’ve never really had your pussy licked.”

  God.

  That word.

  He couldn’t say that word and expect me not to storm out…and yet I wasn’t leaving. I was melted to my spot, trying hard to ignore my pounding heart, my sweaty palms, the urge to wet my lips again.

  “Did he make your body burn?”

  My skin felt warm and a cold sweat broke out across the back of my neck.

  He laughed, a low chuckle that told me he was teasing me, playing with me. I was an idiot. I whipped my head back to look at him.

  “If you mean the way I feel when you’re around me? No, he never infuriated me the way you do.” His eyes narrowed. “You have a way of crawling under my skin like no other man ever has before.”

  The edge of his mouth tipped up again, amused. “So not counting the boys, Brie—how many men have you been with?”

  He was teasing me again and I was sick of it. I pushed away from the counter and turned for the door.

  “Enough to recognize a bad one when I see him,” I snapped.

  I flung the front door open so hard it slammed against the wall then I strode out into the chill.

  “Go to bed, Brie. I don’t play with girls.”

  Chapter Sixteen

  Brie

  I hated Erik with every fiber of my being. It’d been a few days since I’d stormed out of his house; I still wanted to rip his face off, but in my dreams—when I wasn’t in control—my mind morphed him into my darkest fantasy. No matter how hard I tried to resist him during my waking hours, the moment I closed my eyes, he was all I saw.

  In my dreams, our time in his kitchen had played out differently. He’d tossed the fork into the sink and stalked around the kitchen
counter, watching me like prey.

  He’d asked me how many men I’d been with and then he’d caged me in, dropping his hands to the counter on either side of my body.

  I felt his warm breath on my neck and a shiver ran down my spine.

  “None,” I replied, truthfully.

  He groaned and leaned closer, wrapping a hand around my waist until his chest was flush against my back. His lips hit my neck, dragging down slowly. I knew he could hear my breaths quickening. I knew he could feel how turned on I was.

  “I want to bend you over this counter,” he said, forcing me forward so that I had no choice but to give.

  My face hit the cold granite and his hands were on my waist, sliding my tank top up to expose my back. His palm ran along my spine, burning my skin.

  “You’d let me wouldn’t you?” he asked with a dark tone as he pushed his hard cock against my ass. “You’d let me to take you like this.”

  I was going to come from nothing more than his dark words whispered in my ears. I could feel my insides churning, growing, warming…

  A pair of feet hit the ground beside me and I jerked awake. Molly stood beside my bed, reaching forward to hit snooze on our alarm. I blushed, hoping she wouldn’t look over at me; thankfully, she turned and headed into the bathroom. I sighed and glanced down to find my body fully covered by my blanket. Underneath, my legs were spread wide, my hand was down the front of my panties, and my fingers were touching my soft skin the way Dream Erik had been.

  Embarrassed, I ripped my hand out from beneath my blanket just as Molly glanced over with her toothbrush in her mouth.

  “Hurry or you’ll be late for practice,” she said, completely clueless of my nighttime escapade.

  I was relieved; I didn’t want anyone to know the extent of my feelings for Erik. The feelings that were rioting in my chest were better left locked up. I knew I could force them to the side, tamp them down if only I kept trying. Lusting after my asshole coach wasn’t exactly why I’d traveled across the country. I’d all but depleted my bank account so I could train in Seattle. I was here to focus on gymnastics, to perfect my routines for Rio, and Erik was nothing but a distraction. He liked to rile me up, to pull my attention away from what was important, but I wouldn’t let him. I had a few weeks left before the Olympics and if I wanted to win gold, there was no room for Erik’s games.

  In the gym that day, I tried to put my thoughts into action, but I was off all day. I stumbled on easy skills, losing balance over the simplest of moves. During my beam rotation, I didn’t land a single standing full and my ankle was hating me for it. My focus was nowhere near the gym, and Erik knew it.

  “Brie, that’s the fourth Deltchev you’ve eaten shit on,” he said as I pushed myself up off the mat and tried to catch my breath.

  We were working on uneven bars and it was going just as pitifully as my beam rotation had gone before it.

  “You’re better than that,” he continued with an angry tone.

  Like he needed to tell me. Like he needed to point it out in front of everyone. I was the one who’d missed the high bar and fallen flat on my face. I was the one whose air had been knocked from my chest. I was the one whose shoulders ached and whose hands were torn up and bloody beneath my grips. I was the one who had to compete in three weeks.

  Fuck!

  “You’re wimping out at the last second,” he continued with a dark tone as I got to my feet and brushed past him. “Trust your body and go for it!”

  “I am!” I shouted back so loudly I felt the vibration in my chest.

  The gym went silent.

  Molly cleared her throat and Lexi tried her best to hide a snicker.

  Erik jerked around to face me with enough fury in his eyes that I nearly cowered. My knees wobbled and I knew on another day, I could have collapsed down, gripped my hands together, and begged for his forgiveness. Instead, I held my ground and tilted my chin an inch higher. Couldn’t he see I was trying? Couldn’t he see I was having an off day? It wasn’t my fault.

  “Excuse me?” he asked, his jaw tightened with anger.

  I ripped my grips off my hands and winced at the pain of the rips opening up along the tops of my palms.

  I glared at him, too riled up to back down. “I said, I am trusting my body. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

  If I’d toed the line with disrespect with the first comment, my second comment had blazed past it. Even Lexi didn’t laugh then, too focused on whether or not Erik would kill me.

  He stepped closer, bending low to level me with a dark gaze. “Thin ice, Watson.”

  I clenched my jaw and tilted my chin, showing him how little he intimidated me. Sure, my entire body was shaking like a live wire, but I prayed he didn’t notice.

  “Get back up on the bars.”

  My hands stung; I knew a few of the rips were bleeding. I needed Neosporin and ice. He knew I was at my limit and he didn’t care. He wanted me to look down, avert my eyes, and offer up a submissive yes sir. I would have eaten my own tongue before I gave into him then, but if he wanted another routine, I’d give him another routine.

  I put my grips back on and chalked them while my team stood off to the side, watching our exchange with wide eyes.

  There were certain elements an Olympic uneven bar routine had to consist of: a transition from the high bar to the low bar, a release move, the dismount, etc. The entire routine needed to flow from one movement to the next without any pauses or extra swings. Exact handstand positions were expected and large deductions were given for even minor deviations. Bent knees, piked hips, even a slight gap between my feet and I could kiss my chance of winning gold goodbye.

  The routine I planned to compete in Rio was the hardest routine I’d seen in competition. It was packed with difficult transitions and release moves, and if I could compete it with a clean finish, there was no question I would outstrip every other gymnast there.

  That day in the gym after Erik chewed my head off, I didn’t perform my routine for Rio. Instead, I pulled from the skills I’d learned in my early tween years: easy giants, kips, hip circles. A five-year-old could have done the same routine. I released from the high bar with a soft push, not bothering with a release move. When my feet hit the ground, I swiveled toward Erik and held my arms out in an exaggerated V to signal the end of my routine, but it was less of a finale and more of a Go fuck yourself.

  I could feel the tension emanating from him as I walked away, but I tore off my grips and threw them behind me, too exhausted to care.

  Molly: Wow. That was…

  Lexi: AWESOME.

  Rosie: Are you okay? I’ve never seen you like that before.

  Brie: I’m fine.

  Molly: Where are you?

  Brie: In town.

  After storming out of practice, I’d gone back to the guesthouse and showered, trying to calm my temper. A night of baking—flour, sugar, and freshly baked bread—would have helped, but I didn’t dare approach Erik’s house after my tantrum in the gym. No. Instead, I slipped on a soft sundress. It was an old favorite that was a bit too short for Seattle’s cool weather, but I didn’t care. I liked the feel of the cotton against my skin. It was a small comfort, and after the day I’d had, I knew I’d take anything I could get.

  Lexi: Where? We’ll come join you.

  I glanced around the bar and tried to find a name plastered somewhere. The place was small and dark, a real hole-in-the-wall I’d stumbled into by happenstance. I’d been walking around downtown Seattle, trying to find a distraction far away from the world of gymnastics. I needed a place to hide out for a few hours so when I turned down East John Street and found the door to the bar unmanned, I walked in and found a spot in a secluded booth. The place was perfect. It had low lighting, loud music, and was all but deserted.

  I felt bad not ordering anything, but there was no point in trying to get a drink. For one, I couldn’t afford it, and two, I didn’t want to get kicked out once the staff realized I was underag
e.

  The young bartender—who’d been eyeing me from behind the bar since I’d first walked in—came over to my booth and offered me a small smile. He dropped a glass of water on my table and the coaster beneath it had the bar’s name printed around the edge in big bold letters: Paul’s Ice House.

  “Figured you could use some water.”

  I smiled. How polite.

  “Thanks,” I said, grateful.

  “Can I get you anything else?” he asked, tilting his head to get a better view of my downturned head. I glanced up and offered him the smile he was after. He was cute, with blond hair, kind eyes, and an affinity for the color black. He looked to be around my age, maybe a year or two older.

  “I’m good. Thanks.”

  “We don’t usually have girls come in here alone,” he said, eyeing the group of men sitting at the bar, griping about a baseball game playing on the TV.

  “Should I leave?” I asked, testing him.

  His smile widened and he leaned closer. “Not until my shift is over in a few hours.”

  I smirked and glanced away, indicating that he could go back to work. I wasn’t leaving.

  When he went back behind the bar, I unlocked my phone to reply to the group text.

  Brie: I’m at a place called Paul’s Ice House. I’ll just call when I need a ride home. I don’t feel up for company.

  Lexi: Whatever emo girl. Just don’t yell at the bartenders like you yelled at Erik. We might not be able to pool enough bail money to save you.

  I rolled my eyes and pocketed my phone, annoyed at her for bringing Erik back to the forefront of my thoughts.

  I’d had a terrible day at the gym and I couldn’t pinpoint where the stress was coming from: Erik or the Olympics. Most of the girls on my team were veterans. This was their second time competing in the games and they knew how to handle the pressure. Rosie and I were the only rookies, though there was one glaring difference: Rosie was young. She had at least one more Olympics to compete in after Rio, but for me, this was it. At twenty, my body was at its peak, but it was also tired. I could feel the ache in my muscles, the need for a break. My tendons and cartilage wouldn’t survive four more years of wear and tear. Maybe that was why it was hard to breathe at times. The pressure of having one chance at changing my life grew to be too much to handle at times.

 
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