Out of bounds the summer.., p.5
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       Out of Bounds (The Summer Games #2), p.5

           R.S. Grey
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  “I’ll go first,” I said with a smile. “Never have I ever had a one-night stand.”

  No one but Lexi put down a finger.

  Molly was next. “Never have I ever gone to third base.”

  Rosie leaned forward and lowered her voice. “What’s third again?”

  Lexi rolled her eyes. “You haven’t done it.”

  She nodded. “Right. Oh, it’s my turn. Um, never have I ever…been kissed.”

  “ROSIE.”

  “What?” she asked. “I’ve been busy training! It’s not like boys have been beating down my door to get to me.”

  Lexi covered her eyes with her hands. “That’s just wrong.”

  I shrugged and came to Rosie’s defense. “It’s hard to find time for boys.”

  “You’ve never had a boyfriend?” Molly asked.

  “I have,” I said, thinking over the awkward dates and even-more-awkward sex I’d had in the past.

  “When was the last one? A while ago?” she asked.

  I thought of Noah. Easy, nice Noah.

  “Well there was this one guy,” I said. Everyone leaned closer. “His name was Noah and we met when we were both competing at Worlds last year.”

  “Oh! I remember him. He’s cute,” Molly said.

  “Yeah. We exchanged numbers and tried to hang out a few times, but he was boring with a capital B. I mean, seriously, on our first date he went in for a side hug at the end.”

  Even Rosie’s eyes widened at that. “Are you two still seeing each other?”

  “God no. I mean, he’ll be in Rio. He’s competing with the men’s gymnastics team, but I don’t plan on hanging out with him or anything.”

  Lexi reached for Rosie’s beer and took a long sip. “What a waste of potential.”

  She was right. When I’d first met Noah, I assumed he would be the guy to show me how good sex could be. I wasn’t a virgin; I didn’t want to take it slow with him. We’d gone out on five dates, we texted all day, and I gave him plenty of hints. I mean, there’s only so many times you can throw yourself at a guy before it becomes embarrassing. I explained this to the group and Lexi looked personally offended.

  “Maybe Noah didn’t want to have sex with me because I’m a sea urchin and everyone can see it but me.”

  Lexi stood up on her seat, shaking the table in the process. “YOU LOOK LIKE NATALIE PORTMAN!”

  I reached out to force her back into her seat, but she wiggled out of my grasp.

  “Just because one boring ass boy didn’t want to have sex with you doesn’t mean you aren’t pretty.” To prove her point, she turned to a table a few yards away from us. “You just need a man. Hey! You guys!”

  Four burly bikers glanced over to us and I sank lower in my seat. “Do you think my friend is pretty?”

  I groaned and buried my face in my hands. This was the most mortifying experience of my life.

  “Aw hell yeah! A little skinnier’n I’m used to!” said a toothless biker.

  “I’d do her!” another added.

  I waved my hand. “Okay, much appreciated. That’s all.”

  “See?” Lexi said.

  I wanted to slither under the table and live there forever. “I need another drink.”

  Lexi clapped. “I’ll get it!”

  A few hours later, as we sipped our third (or fourth) beer, I knew we’d made a major mistake. My head was already swimming. I couldn’t see straight and my stomach hurt.

  “I can’t believe I’m living with a bunch of virgins,” Lexi said, shaking her head. “It’s like a nunnery or something.”

  “Hey!” I protested. “I’ve done it a few times.”

  Even if they weren’t great…

  “And it’s called a convent,” Rosie corrected with a hiccup. “Not a nunnery.”

  Lexi groaned. “Only a nun would know that.”

  “Let’s play another game,” Molly said. “What about truth or dare?”

  Rosie punched her fist in the air. “YES. I’m so good at that game.”

  Lexi reached for her hand and brought it back by her side. “You nearly just took my nose off with your fist.”

  Rosie giggled, drunk. “SORRY!”

  “Brie, you’re up first,” Molly said, turning to face me. Her pale cheeks were flushed from the beer and her freckles were even more prominent than usual. She really was pretty.

  “Okay,” I agreed. “Go for it.”

  “Truth or dare?” she asked.

  “Truth.”

  “Wait!” Lexi said, holding out her hands to push Rosie and Molly back. “Let’s decide on a question together.”

  “That’s cheating!” I argued as the three of them put their heads together on the other side of the booth. For a few minutes, all I could hear was whispers and giggles. I crossed my arms and tried to avoid eye contact with the bikers at the table beside ours.

  “Yes!” Lexi said, leaning back from the huddle. “That’s perfect. Ask that!”

  “It’s sort of personal, guys,” Rosie said, eyeing me tentatively.

  “Yeah, listen to Rosie,” I said. “Have some decorum.”

  Molly shook her head and plopped her butt back on the seat beside me. “Okay, truth: what do you think of Coach Winter?”

  My heart dropped.

  The three of them sat staring at me with wide eyes. Lexi’s smile was sinister, knowing. I glanced away.

  Why were they asking me this? I’d only met him that day.

  “Never mind, I choose dare.”

  “ANSWER!” they all shouted at once.

  “As a coach?” I shrugged. “He seems fine.”

  I reached for the beer in front of me and tried to tap out a few last drops into my mouth. It was completely empty.

  Lexi leaned across the table, trying to meet my eye. “You know what she’s asking.”

  I straightened my back and turned away, hating the accusatory tone she was using.

  “He couldn’t take his eyes off you this afternoon. I swear he forgot the rest of us were even there,” Molly said, elbowing me in the side.

  I shook my head, trying to force down the blush creeping up my neck. “That’s not true.”

  Even Rosie agreed. “He really was staring at you during the meeting.”

  I rolled my eyes, tired of the subject. They were imagining things.

  “He was staring at me because I was being bitchy. That’s it.”

  “But do you think he’s cute?” Molly asked.

  They weren’t going to drop the subject until I answered, but I didn’t want to answer. I rolled my beer bottle between my palms, keeping my focus on the label instead of meeting their eyes. There was a careful line I didn’t want to cross with Erik, a line I’d never even been tempted to cross with a coach before. I could compartmentalize him into one of two groups: man or coach. As a man, he was incredibly good-looking, tall, and muscular, with a face that made my body burn. But as my coach, he was nothing. Not cute, not ugly. Not mine.

  I dropped the bottle and shook my head. “I plead the fifth.”

  “BOO!” Lexi said.

  “Fine, if you don’t want to answer the question then you have to do a dare,” Molly said, exchanging an evil glance with Lexi.

  My stomach clenched. “What is it?”

  “You have to kiss him,” Lexi said with an evil smirk. “Y’know, since you aren’t sure if you think he’s cute or not, you should test the waters.”

  Molly bounced up and down on her seat, clapping her hands at the possibility that I’d actually say yes to the dare.

  I shook my head adamantly. “Hell no.”

  They were on crack if they thought that was an option.

  “Seriously!?” Molly groaned. “Come on.”

  I shook my head again, staring out at the TV above the bar with a flat smile. I knew they could sense I was reaching my limit. Why were they pushing this on me? I hardly knew the guy, and I definitely didn’t want to kiss him. Punch, maybe, especially after the meeting earlier.

>   “Okay, fine,” Molly relented. “Then I think you should have to wear something embarrassing to practice tomorrow.”

  I inhaled a deep breath, relieved. Finally, they were off the Erik subject.

  “Like what? I didn’t pack any costumes.”

  Lexi leaned forward with a wide grin. “I packed a cheetah print leotard that has a cat tail on the butt.”

  Of course she did.

  Rosie lost it in a fit of giggles, but I didn’t even hesitate before holding out my hand for her to shake.

  “Bring it on.”

  A cheetah print leotard was light, easy, fun—nothing compared to my first dare. I knew they were just being playful, trying to get a reaction out of me, but I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to think of Erik outside of practice. I didn’t want to discuss him here, giggling over how cute he was. I didn’t want everyone to go to practice the next day and whisper about the fact that I was harboring a crush for our coach. I wasn’t. He’d been nothing but an asshole all day and the last thing I wanted to think about was whether or not I might or might not find him attractive.

  I didn’t.

  Like he’d said earlier that day: he was the coach, I was the gymnast.

  End of story.

  Chapter Six

  Brie

  I had a dream about Erik that night. A sexy dream. I’d gone to sleep a bit drunk and a little annoyed by how the truth or dare game had gone. With these facts in place, my brain had (mistakenly) assumed I wanted to dream about Erik. Specifically, it thought I should dream about being a secret agent on a mission to seduce and question him. Makes total sense, considering I’m 5’2” with absolutely no interrogation skills. Regardless of its unrealistic nature, the dream progressed until I got to the good part. Erik was sitting in a leather chair in a corner of a hazily lit bedroom. His left foot was resting on his right knee and he was watching me, mesmerized by me as I danced for him. I was supposed to strip or something, and in between articles of clothing I was supposed to be gleaning state secrets for the FBI. (Seriously, I need to stop watching reruns of Alias.) I rolled my hips and spun around slowly, letting my silk shift dress fall to the ground. I think I was getting pretty close to completing the mission—shall we say—when the dream was cut off.

  “Wake up, little cheetah!” Lexi said, barging into our room.

  I bolted up off my pillow like I’d just been shot. “Eri… What’s going on?”

  Something soft sling-shotted across the room and hit me square in the chest.

  Lexi laughed. “It’s time to put your money where your mouth is.”

  I blinked my eyes open and saw the leotard sitting limp on my chest, sparkly and oh-so-cheetah printed. Molly leaned over the edge of the top bunk and wiped the sleep out of her eyes. “Oh wow. It really does have a tail.”

  I turned it over and felt the long furry thing between my fingers.

  “I can’t wear this,” I said, shaking my head.

  Lexi tapped the doorframe. “Fine, then swap spit with Erik. Your choice.”

  She left before I could argue, but I still shouted at her down the hall. “That’s not how the game works!”

  “Sorry! Can’t hear you!”

  It really wasn’t fair. Lexi’s dare had been to dance on the table. Molly had to hit on a biker bro, and Rosie picked truth and was too shy to answer any of the questions we shot at her. Yet somehow, for me the game had extended into the next day. I should have fought harder against the leotard, but I’d been relieved at the time, happy to get off the subject of Erik.

  I pushed out of bed, much to the dismay of my head.

  “I feel like shit.”

  “I feel like shit that has come to life, eaten some other shit, then shat out more shit,” Molly answered, rubbing her temples before crawling off the top bunk and hitting the ground with a heavy thud.

  I groaned. “That’s disgusting.”

  “It’s the truth.”

  I put on a sports bra and then pulled on the leotard over it. The thing was tight, like skintight, and on top of that, it looked like a costume a showgirl would wear. I tried to put running shorts on over it, but the tail got in the way. I forced them on anyway.

  “This is the worst thing I’ve ever put on my body,” I said.

  Molly laughed from the doorway of the bathroom. “I like it. The tail is extra cute, and it might help with balance.”

  “GUYS!” Rosie shouted up the stairs. “Come on! We have to be at the gym in fifteen minutes!”

  I grabbed a spare leo and ran down the stairs after Molly. For the amount of beers I’d had the night before, I didn’t feel as bad as I’d thought I would. I mean, yes, there was definitely a category 5 hurricane wreaking havoc on my brain, but with a little food and water, I knew I’d be fine.

  Molly grabbed protein bars for us and then June directed us outside.

  “We don’t have any time to spare,” she said, tapping her foot.

  “We’re coming!” Molly said, running after me.

  “What the hell are you wearing?” June asked as I passed.

  Lexi laughed. “It’s her leotard, June.”

  I grinned. “Pretty cute, right?”

  “No.” She rolled her eyes and then spun on her heel to lead us all out of the house.

  Lexi leaned in close. “Wow, guess you won’t be the only cat in the gym today.”

  I smiled back at her before trailing outside after the others. There was an old forest green Jeep parked in front of the guesthouse and a note on the front windshield outlined the rules. It was ours to use while we were in Seattle—well, ours to use if we wanted to go three specific places: Seattle Flyers, the grocery store, or the emergency room. Anywhere else was off limits.

  “I’ll drive!” Molly said, whipping around the front of the Jeep and pulling open the driver’s side door.

  Molly was quite possibly the worst driver in the world. To be fair, the car was a manual and she hadn’t used a clutch in years.

  “I’ll get the hang of it,” she promised as the Jeep stalled for the fifth time in the middle of the road.

  “We’ll never get there,” June groaned, letting her forehead fall against the window in the back seat.

  “Just have a little faith,” Rosie said from the center seat, leaning forward to pat Molly’s shoulder. “I think you’re doing a great job.”

  “You really are,” I added, purposely leaving out the fact that Google Maps had estimated the drive would take fifteen minutes and we’d already been driving for thirty.

  “He’s going to kill us!” June said. “Ugh, just let me out and I’ll walk there myself.”

  “JUNE! Just shut up,” Lexi snapped from the opposite end of the back seat. She was massaging her head, likely battling the same hangover hurricane as me.

  By the time we pulled up to the deserted parking lot of Seattle Flyers, we were all annoyed, carsick, and in a rush to get inside. Molly pulled in next to an old Ford pickup and I’d barely hopped out and pulled the front seat forward when June pushed past me to get out. The seat collided with my shoulder with the force of her exit, but she didn’t care. She ran ahead so the four of us were left to walk in her wake.

  “What a joy it will be to live with her for four more weeks,” Lexi groaned.

  “That’s not even counting Rio,” Molly pointed out.

  I frowned. “I keep trying to give her the benefit of the doubt…y’know, like maybe she’s really nervous about competing…but it’s getting harder to see reason with her.”

  Lexi shook her head. “I agree. We’re all about to be in the Olympics. We all feel the pressure. It doesn’t mean you’re allowed to shit all over your teammates.”

  “Let’s just go easy on her, guys,” Rosie said, holding the gym door open for us. “I’m sure she’ll warm up to us soon.”

  We walked in and dropped our gear next to a wall of cubbies near the entrance of the gym. Come 4:00 PM, the place would be packed with gymnasts arriving to work out after school. Until then, the
place was ours.

  “It looks really nice,” Rosie said, stepping up beside me.

  I nodded. “It’s nicer than where I trained in Austin.”

  The space was divided into two areas, one for men’s gymnastics and one for women’s. The women’s side of the place looked like it could fill up multiple football fields. There were two regulation size floors, a dozen beams lined up in two rows of six, three vaults, and too many uneven bars to count. Everything was organized and clean. The equipment was all relatively new and bright. The walls were painted a crisp white and dozens of championship banners hung from the ceiling. Clearly, Erik had made a name for himself in the gymnastics world.

  “…and I tried to stop them, but they went out last night anyway.”

  June’s voice jerked me out of my scan of the gym. I turned and walked around a corner of the foyer to find her talking to Erik near the gym’s office.

  “Obviously I knew it was against the rules, which is why I didn’t go,” she continued. “So I don’t think I should be included in any punishment they receive.”

  He was trying to exit through the office door, but she’d caged him in so she could snitch on us.

  “Oh hell no,” Lexi said, breezing past me. “That little rat.”

  I reached out my arm to stop her. “It’s not worth it.”

  Besides, Erik wasn’t paying attention to June, he was watching us—specifically, me.

  His stubble was back, covering his chiseled jaw and framing his high cheekbones. His hair was tousled and his strong frame stretched his gray t-shirt in a way that made my knees weak. I’d never had a gymnastics coach as intimidating as Erik and the longer his eyes stayed pinned on me, the more I wanted to cut and run.

  “So, you all had a little fun last night,” he said.

  When we didn’t try to deny his claim, he continued. “Whose idea was it?”

  My stomach clenched.

  Rosie and Molly glanced to me. I could feel their gazes boring into the side of my face, but I kept my attention on Erik.

  Lexi crossed her arms and stepped closer to me. “We’re a team, coach. It was everyone’s idea.”

  June shook her head. “She’s lying!”

  Erik pushed past June and walked closer to where the four of us stood. “Someone speak up.”

 
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