Out of bounds the summer.., p.22
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       Out of Bounds (The Summer Games #2), p.22

           R.S. Grey
 

  I lifted her hips and pulled out of her, setting her back onto the ground gently, watching to make sure she had her footing before I released her.

  She straightened her dress and I tossed the condom, tucking myself back into my briefs and then zipping up my suit. By the time I glanced back up at her, she looked nearly as presentable as when she’d left the mixer, albeit a little more flushed.

  Her phone rang on the ground in a purse I hadn’t even noticed until she was reaching down for it. I vaguely remembered hearing a phone ring a few minutes earlier as well.

  She reached for it and answered with a quick swipe.

  “Hey—no…I thought you guys left already.” She glared back at me.

  “Hang up the phone.”

  She shook her head and turned her attention toward the street. “Erik—er…Coach Winter told me he let you guys know I was leaving.”

  I’d lied.

  I brushed past her and stood at the end of the alley, surveying the street. The hotel was only a few yards away and I could see the rest of her teammates lingering outside, waiting for her. Noah was there too, hovering near them with his hands stuffed down his pockets like a sad sap. He looked like he’d just lost his puppy.

  “No, just wait for me,” she said with an annoyed huff. “I’ll be there in a second.”

  She moved to walk past me out of the alley, but I reached out for her arm, pulling her back to me.

  I brushed a quick kiss to her cheek and whispered against her velvet skin, “I don’t care who you wore the dress for tonight…as long as you remember who you took it off for.”

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Erik

  I woke up the next morning feeling satisfied and guilty as hell. Brie was young and drunk on authority. She wanted me because I was her coach and she liked the danger of it…and maybe I was taking advantage of the situation. Persuading her to follow me into a dark alley wouldn’t help mold her into an Olympic champion, and yet I’d done it anyway.

  We were using each other, fucking and fighting like it was our job. We’d become each other’s prisoners, twisting ourselves into a sexual Stockholm syndrome, but now that we were in Rio, there were consequences lurking around every corner. I shuddered to think what would happen if someone had seen us together. Brie wasn’t underage, but in the eyes of the public, it wouldn’t matter. I was her coach and she was my gymnast. I was the predator and she was the victim. I smiled at the thought. Brie would hate being labeled a victim; she was a fighter through and through. She’d gone into that alley with me because she’d wanted to; she teased me because she liked it. She wasn’t the flowers and chocolate type of woman. She didn’t want me to hold her hand in public, she wanted me to kick her feet apart and take her from behind. She wanted what I wanted, and that’s why deep down, I knew we were a perfect fit.

  I showered and pulled out a black suit from my closet. We’d been in Rio for three days and qualifications were set for the following morning. The Today Show would be covering the competition and interviewing a few of the athletes. They’d requested a pre-qualifications interview from me, and though I would have appreciated a few more hours of sleep, I’d agreed to the segment months ago. Besides, it wouldn’t be so hard. They wanted a one-on-one with me so I could give them information on the girls—if they were ready to compete, what they were like when they weren’t training, that sort of thing.

  An hour later, I sat on a stool facing the stage lights and tried not to go blind in the process.

  “Y’know, Erik, I have to say, if I’d had a coach that looked like you, I might have stuck with the sport a little longer myself,” the correspondent, Melissa, joked before reaching forward to touch my knee gently. She had a short blonde bob that swished back and forth every time she leaned forward to touch me, which was getting to be more and more often as the interview droned on.

  I smiled and adjusted the lapel of my suit jacket. “It’s never too late; I could open up adult classes at Seattle Flyers.”

  I was flirting with her enough to make for good television and she was eating it up.

  “Oh gosh. I’m scared I’d break a hip or something!” She laughed before turning to her cue cards. “So as you know, we asked our audience to tweet in questions about you and the team. Nine out of ten wanted to know more about Brie Watson. She stormed onto the gymnastics scene a few years back, and it’s not every day you find someone like her: the total package. Can you tell us a little more about her?”

  I swallowed and tried to keep my expression neutral as I answered. “To be honest, I wasn’t sure what Brie would be like when she arrived in Seattle. She trained at a great gym in Texas and I knew she had the skillset required to compete at the Olympic level.”

  “We know she’s a great gymnast,” ribbed the anchor. “But what is she like outside the gym?”

  “Well she definitely has a strong head on her shoulders. I think you’ll find in her interviews that she’s not afraid to give her opinion.”

  Melissa laughed. “Good! She fights back, I like that.”

  Ha.

  “That’s crucial to compete at this level,” I continued. “Gymnasts have to be exceptionally confident. There comes a point in their training when they know what’s best for themselves, and sometimes that’s the point when they stop being coachable.”

  “Do you think Brie’s past that point?”

  I shook my head. “She wants to win, probably more than any athlete at these games, and even though she completes routines that leave me speechless, she’s not perfect. Until she has gold around her neck, she will keep looking to learn and improve.”

  Melissa nodded thoughtfully. “You know, some have said if Brie leads the team to its first all-around gold in twelve years, it will make the Committee seem like geniuses for appointing you as the replacement coach, give you a little job security, eh?”

  I smiled. “It’s definitely an honor to have been selected, but like you said, I’m only concerned about helping this team win.”

  She glanced down at her cue cards and then back up to me, leveling me with a sincere stare. “To delve into that question a step further…it’s no secret you and your father have a strained relationship. I have a quote here where he states that he believes you’re ‘ultimately a quitter.’ What would you say in response to that?”

  I unclenched my fists, trying to keep my cool on live television.

  “Melissa, my father had thirty years as head of this program and it’s been twelve years since we won all-around gold. My father was a good coach—no one would deny him credit for launching U.S. women’s gymnastics into the 21st century—but change was coming long before he started having health problems. I’m glad the committee could see reason through pride, even if he couldn’t.”

  Her brows perked up with interest, surprised by my lack of diplomacy. “It’s rumored you and your father haven’t spoken in nearly ten years. What was it that first put a wedge between the two of you? Did it have to do with your premature departure from the sport—”

  I smiled, tight and thin, before cutting her off. “That stuff is old news. I’d rather focus on the future.”

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Brie

  Life in the Olympic Village wasn’t quite how I imagined it to be. Most of the athletes were beautiful and fit, but I was too busy practicing and worrying about qualifications to peep at pecs or gawk at glutes. I woke up early, trailed after my team to the food court on the first floor, and ate breakfast with my earbuds in place. I practiced in the competition arena, and when that was full, I moved to the less glamorous practice gym they’d built next door. After I was done, I crashed in our condo, too anxious and exhausted to worry about the famed “village orgies” and “parties that make you bow at the altar of debauchery!” Despite Lexi’s wonderful way with words, I still preferred to stay low key. We’d been in Rio for a few days and other than the alley with Erik, the most excitement I’d seen was the mob of athletes that formed around the salad bar ever
y time they put out a new batch of hard-boiled eggs.

  Qualifications were scheduled for the following morning and I tried not to think about Erik as I laid out my competition leotard—just like when I would try to not think about Erik while I brushed my teeth, or ate my lunch, or y’know, generally existed on earth. I knew it was futile; he conquered my thoughts no matter how hard I tried to resist.

  Deep down, I knew he was bad for me. Every time I thought of him, my heart rate kicked up a notch and my stomach clenched tight. He was a sweet poison and I was so addicted, I didn’t care that our encounters left me choking for air.

  Letting him fuck me in that alley a few days earlier had been the single most exhilarating experience of my life. An ever-shrinking part of my consciousness screamed HELLO! PEOPLE COULD HAVE SEEN US, but as a whole, did I care? No. Nope. Nuh-uh. It was so hot I couldn’t think of it all at once or I would literally start sweating. Even after I finished laying out my competition gear for qualifications, when I was tucked in bed and supposed to be counting sheep, I closed my eyes and guided my hand down past the hem of my sleeping shorts and replayed the best parts: the way he’d gripped my thighs, pulling my legs apart so he could see all of me. He’d watched when he guided himself inside me, moaning with the sight of it. God, he’d done it so slow that first time, letting me slowly stretch out for him. I’d thought I would pass out by the time he was buried all the way inside.

  He’d held me there against the wall, not bothering to cushion it for me. My back scraped the concrete, my legs ached. I dug my nails into his arms, begging him to slow down, to give me time to adjust. He didn’t care that it was too intense. He’d growled into my ear, pumping into me until I thought I’d break in two, but right before I’d hit the edge and cried out, he’d slipped his hand between us and started to swirl his thumb over me. I’d squeezed my eyes closed and tried to will the rising tide to recede. I didn’t want to come that easily. I didn’t want to reveal how much he owned me.

  “Come for me, baby,” he whispered, hitting the exact spot that tilted my world.

  “Erik…”

  “I can fucking feel you.” He groaned. “Jesus…”

  I’d clenched around him, driving him insane, and he hadn’t slowed his fingers as I came. I’d let my head fall back with the intensity of it all. He’d had me there, legs wide, dress tugged down to my waist, body bared. I’d been vulnerable and shaking, completely under his thumb. He was destroying me and he loved it.

  He wanted to rip my heart out for sport, to add it to his collection with all the others. I should have fought him more, but I liked it. I liked the way he ruined me. The game we were playing lit my life on fire—it was clearing out the old, dry portions to make way for new growth. Every morning, I woke up with him on my mind. I daydreamed about his mouth. I replayed the way it felt when he was deep inside me, how it felt to control him for those short moments.

  I wasn’t stupid, though. I knew we weren’t in love in that dark alley—far from it. We were in a fantasy. As I rolled over and longed for sleep to take me, I tried to ignore the fact that after the sex, after the fights, after the blowups, he never once asked for more.

  “Brie, you there?” my mom asked, drawing my attention back to our phone call.

  I was standing in the bathroom the following evening, trying to rush and get ready to go out with Lexi.

  “Yes, I’m here,” I said, rifling through my makeup bag. I usually kept a few bobby pins in there, but I couldn’t find any.

  “You did so good today! I wish I could have been there to see it.”

  I paused my search and stared up at the mirror, absorbing the guilt in her tone. “I know, Mom.”

  “I’m so proud of you. No matter what happens at finals, you’ve already made me so proud.”

  What about if she found out I was sleeping with my coach? Would she still be proud of me then? My stomach tightened.

  “Did you get to watch the competition today?” I asked, forcing myself to meet my own eyes in the mirror.

  “Oh sweetie, I couldn’t get off work until about midway through, but I watched the end and I’ve been looking up clips online since then. You were amazing, Brie. The top spot in all four events! I can’t believe it!”

  I smiled at my reflection. She wasn’t exaggerating. Qualifications had been a breeze, almost too easy. I’d woken up at the sound of my alarm, refreshed and ready to tackle the day. The lines for the food court weren’t extraordinarily long, and I’d even managed to snag a seat on the shuttle to the arena that hadn’t yet begun to stink of other athletes’ BO.

  I’d waltzed into the arena with my competition gear on and my bun so tightly secured to my head I feared my scalp would never be the same. There was a short opening ceremony and then each event flew by quicker than I could have imagined. I thought of how for the past thirteen years, the hours in the gym seemed to drag, yet now they whizzed by with each blink of an eye. Fortunately, my teammates and I had come in first during the qualification round and now we had two days to rest before team and individual finals started. Even just thinking the word gave me hives: finals. Fi-nals. Ugh. Qualifications were one thing. That day, the scores hadn’t counted beyond earning a spot for finals. No medals were handed out at the end, nor were any anthems played, so in a way, it hadn’t felt real.

  Maybe that’s the only reason you competed as well as you did. Finals will be different.

  I shivered and brushed the thought away, finally hearing my mom again on the other end of the phone line. She’d been rambling on about the highlight clips she’d watched from qualifications and I felt a little bad for tuning her out.

  “When I get home, Mom, you should take some time off. We both deserve a vacation.”

  “Oh Brie, don’t worry about that right now.”

  Was she kidding? Making her life better was the only thing I cared about. And Erik. And alleyways. And Erik pushing me into alleyways…

  “Promise me you’ll only worry about doing your best during team finals. Just go out there and have fun.”

  I promised her I would and told her I loved her before I hung up, staring at my phone in my hands. My life back home in Texas was always there, lodged in the back of my mind…right beside Erik. I groaned, annoyed that my brain couldn’t filter the thoughts of him.

  I had no clue what was going on between us. A normal relationship progressed rationally, with first dates and first kisses and first times staying the night. Erik and I had none of the above. We had whispered secrets and sweaty yoga studios and other memories that made my toes curl.

  It was utter insanity, all of it. And yet, I wanted more.

  Lexi wanted to celebrate the fact that we were finished with qualifications at a club downtown. I believe her exact words were, “LET ME DANCE, BITCH.” She swore it would be safe for us to go because the Brazilian soccer team had shut it down for the night, making it exclusive to Olympic athletes. Even still, we couldn’t convince the rest of the girls to tag along. They scampered off with lame excuses and I didn’t care to push them to come with us. If Molly wanted to giggle over the phone with Duncan, fine with me. I didn’t want to be held back. I wanted to get lost in the night, celebrate how well we’d done earlier that day, and forget about the stress that would greet me as soon as I woke up in the morning.

  Lexi held my hand as we flashed our athlete badges and slipped into the bar. The place was called Sete Pecados Mortais and as we crossed the threshold, it looked like we were stepping right into the depths of hell. The decor was dark and plush, and the lights were dimmed, casting the room in red light. The place was completely packed and while we’d had to flash our badges to get in, it was clear athletes weren’t the only VIPs to gain entry. No, the woman in front of me who I vaguely recognized as a Victoria’s Secret Angel probably wasn’t going to be hurling a javelin the next day.

  “Ladies, check in here first,” a bouncer called from the side of the foyer. He was standing behind a small counter with a clipboard in his hands
.

  “We already showed our badges,” Lexi protested.

  He nodded. “This is where you check your cellphones.”

  My eyes widened. “Cell phones?”

  “There are two hundred people in here who would prefer their night stayed private. No Snapchat, no Twitter, no Instagram.”

  It made sense—we all wanted a night out of the public eye—but I resisted giving mine up. To be honest, I liked the idea of having it nearby, just in case Erik wanted to check in…something he liked to do um, NEVER. But still… He’d been back in coaching mode during qualifications, treating me like the other gymnasts. I craved his touch and I knew he was probably growing restless too. It’d been four days since the alley and I was hungry for more.

  “Brie?” Lexi called over her shoulder as she handed the bouncer her phone and retrieved a ticket she could use to claim it at the end of the night. I fought off the urge to text Erik and instead, I handed my phone over to the bouncer. It wasn’t like he would reply anyway.

  Lexi giggled with excitement and strung her arm through mine, leading us farther into the club. I wished I could match her mood, but I couldn’t bring a smile to my face—not when I was thinking about Erik, wondering what he was doing with his free time. I was in the club to celebrate, but I wanted him to be there with me. I wanted us to disappear into the dim lighting together, and just the idea of being with him on the dance floor made my palms sweat.

  Lexi pointed toward a small partitioned area to our left. “I think that sign on the wall says ‘gluttony’ in Portuguese.”

  I nodded and took in the rest of the club. It was laid out like a giant circle divided into six sections, each one dedicated to a different sin: pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, sloth, and greed. Apparently Sete Pecados Mortais was Portuguese for seven deadly sins.

 
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