Charlee hadn’t even told Drew about them, and she normally told her everything. She’d considered telling her this past weekend when she and Drew had drank a couple of wine coolers and Drew made a few confessions of her own. But even Drew’s confession wasn’t bad enough. Basically, Drew had been one of those dumb girls in high school and actually sent her ex-boyfriend a photo of her boobs when she’d always said she would never do such a thing. She said she’d felt so stupid after sending it, and that’s why she never even told Charlee about it until now.
That still wasn’t bad enough for Charlee to share what she’d always thought was a little freaky about herself. Even now, Charlee felt the heat creep up her spine at the very thought of sharing this with anyone. She’d been around the guy for all of five minutes, and already late at night with her door locked deep under her blankets and in her freaky mind, he was doing to her things she’d only read about and caught glimpses of when she accidently went into a p**n site on her computer.
She reasoned that it was because he was quite possibly the most gorgeous guy she’d ever seen. Why not choose him if she was going to fantasize about anyone? As the days passed since she’d seen him last and the details of his looks were beginning to get fuzzy, she’d come to the conclusion that she was probably building him up to be more amazing than in reality. But seeing him again today only confirmed something she hadn’t thought possible—he was even more perfect than she remembered.
Sitting there now, watching him from across the room, she felt almost starstruck. It was as if the star of one of her favorite shows, or in Charlee’s case her scandalous fantasies, was right here just a few yards away, and he was even more beautiful in person. Her eyes gazed downward from his face to that body. As Drew had so eloquently put it earlier, “The guy was built like a brick shithouse.” Apparently that was a good thing—a very good thing indeed. Just watching him even from this distance made her gulp.
Not only was she sitting here shamefully intrigued by a guy based on his looks alone but there was something new adding to her excitement. It was rare. No. It was unheard of, at least in her experience, to see a guy like him at a chess tournament, but not only was he here as a spectator it appeared he might actually be a contender. Her jaw had nearly hit her knees when she saw Walter walk back to a confused-looking Hector and walked with him over to the registration tables. Just as mystifying was the fact that someone like Hector would be hanging around the likes of Walter.
Walter was obviously not competing, so there was only one other explanation: Hector was a chess player—one good enough to be competing here. Geez! Why did that excite her so?
“Take a picture, why don’t you?” Drew said, nudging her.
Charlee straightened out in her seat, immediately tearing her eyes away from Walter and Hector. “Hmm?” She glanced around casually, trying to appear completely unaware of what Drew meant.
“Oh, stop,” Drew giggled. “You haven’t taken your eyes off him since we got here.” Drew turned her head to Walter and Hector’s direction. “Can’t say I blame you. Mr. Muy Caliente is quite the eye candy.” Drew leaned in and whispered but not soft enough. “You know what they say about Latin lovers.”
Charlee nudged her and glanced around, feeling a little alarmed. “Will you stop? O.M.G., someone’s gonna hear you.”
“So what?” Drew looked around at the people sitting near them with that feisty little glare of hers. “Who cares?” She turned her attention back to Mr. Muy Caliente and clucked her tongue. “You think he’s here to compete?”
“Looks like it,” Charlee said, glad that she had reason to gaze at him again. “That’s where you register to get your badge and number.”
They’d already established earlier that Hector was the same delicious guy that had knocked Ross out, but Charlee hadn’t told Drew much else about him, not even what little Walter had told her about him, and especially not that he was a boxer. She hadn’t even shared his name with Drew. It was silly, but she and Drew had always sort of shared and lusted over the same unattainable guys together. For that very reason—because they seemed so unattainable—it didn’t matter if they both fantasized about the same guy. But this time she didn’t want to share. No other guy had ever invoked such fantasies in her. And she just didn’t think she’d be as giggly and enjoy hearing Drew’s fantasies about Hector like she usually did about other guys. Just listening to Drew referring to him as Mr. Muy Caliente had her pressing her lips together tightly already.
Thankfully her BFF had the attention span of a tick. She was already checking her phone for texts or any Facebook updates, no doubt.
“You better respond to anything you need to, using that phone now, because once the tournament starts, all phones are to be shut off completely.” Her dramatic friend looked up at her with the horrified expression. “Drew, you act like this is the first tournament you’ve been to.”
“Yeah, but watching you is different I don’t get so bored. And I almost always make sure I get there when I know it’s nearly over. This is different. I don’t even know these people.” Drew looked at her with a suddenly content expression as if she just remembered something. “But you said this was a fast one right?”
Charlee shook her head, exhaling softly. “No, I said these are speed games. They are shorter. Thirty minutes versus four to six hours. But there will be lots of them until everyone is knocked out and there is only one player left standing: the winner.”
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