The Jock and the Geek(4)

By: Sidney Bristol


She gasped and jumped sideways.

“Oliver!” She glared at him, holding onto the initial surge of anger.

How dare he?

One side of his mouth hitched up. His thick, black hair never cooperated, and tonight he had a few curls falling over his forehead in a sexy, Latino Superman kind of way. He’d always been aware of his charm. The son of the former Venezuelan ambassador, he’d lived most of his life here, in DC. In her circles and on the fringes of her life.

“Sorry,” he said, “you seemed really engrossed in your phone.”

And she’d been about to walk straight into him.

She hated Oliver.

And she needed to remind herself of that.

In public, around her family, she had to act as if nothing were wrong. As though he was the adopted brother she’d always wanted. She could put on a brave face and pretend he wasn’t the man who’d so cruelly broken her heart after taking her virginity. Some days, she fanaticized about popping her father’s bubble. Oliver wasn’t perfect. He was exactly like his father, the playboy ambassador. But that would break Dad’s heart and as much as she wanted to strangle Oliver on a daily basis, she would never hurt her father’s feelings like that.

Which was how she’d wound up unemployed and addicted to Monster-Go.

“Sorry, doing a thing. Don’t mind me.” His smile amped up a bit, and then he dropped his gaze to his phone.

This was how it always was with Oliver. He smiled and pretended as though nothing was wrong. As if he hadn’t been her first, true love…

“Mm-hm, and what’s the latest thing’s name?” She shouldn’t ask. She really didn’t want to know, but she couldn’t help being catty when it was just them. It was ugly, petty, and she hated herself for it. Did he have any idea how much he’d broken her? How she’d cried? Did he even care?

“Doing a Mystic right now, actually.”

Wait a second.

A chill raced down her spine.

Had she heard him right?

Sam stared at Oliver tapping at his screen.

Oh. No. He. Wasn’t.

Had he just said he was a fan of a mys-take?

He was the enemy!

“You mean bitch-stic?”

Sam didn’t know what kind of reality they were in where Oliver would play the augmented reality phone game, but she wasn’t about to roll over and let him contribute to the blue team. She clicked the dojo, determined to do her part now more than ever.

Screw Oliver and all of the blue team with a rusty chainsaw.

“What are you? Yellow?” Oliver glanced up.

“Please.”

“Red? Really? You’re one of them?”

Oh, he didn’t…

She clicked into the dojo, selected her six most powerful monsters and hit the button to initiate the battle.

“I really didn’t peg you for a red girl.”

“Shows how much you know about me.”

The dojo was a level five, which meant she needed to battle her way through five competitors to take it down. Her team was already chipping away at the blue team’s hold. Though some of her team mates couldn’t take down the nearly twenty-eight hundred level Naporeov, they could defeat the lower level monsters. The Naporeov was a workhorse when it came to dojo battles. It could take a huge beating and dish out just as much with its epic water pump attack. For such a cute little water fox, it was a beast to take down. Which was why every little bit helped. For every monster her teammates took down, it made her job easier.

“Oh, look, your dojo just got down-graded,” she said in a sing-song voice.

Perfect timing, too.

The first monster was an eleven-hundred power level Nlareof, a creature that looked like a cross between a fox and a flame. Her choice was easy. She tapped her team and put her twelve-hundred level Syradog into the mix.

“Wait—you have a Syradog?” Oliver breathed down her neck.

She shivered, remembering all too well how those lips felt against her skin and elsewhere. Yeah, she was a glutton for punishment when it came to him and she wanted to be over it.

“Back up and give me some space.” She focused on the screen, intent on making the most of her power-ups and the monster’s special moves.

“Damn, if that wasn’t my team I’d be impressed.” Oliver stood next to her and started tapping at his phone, no doubt in a vain attempt to help buff up their score.