Home > The Opportunist (Love Me with Lies #1)(7)

The Opportunist (Love Me with Lies #1)(7)
Tarryn Fisher

“Are you going to be making a point any time soon, or are you holding up the game to brag about your detective skills?”

He laughed. He looked down at the floor then back at me.

“If I make this shot, will you go out with me?” His gaze was traveling between my eyes and my lips. I felt the heat hit my face and I ducked my head. I didn’t like the way he was looking at me. It was like he was already planning our first kiss, evaluating my lips. I shook my head. It was ridiculous. He was making a production of his wounded ego and I didn’t give a damn if he made that shot.

I narrowed my eyes. “If you were born an animal do you know which one you’d be?” I asked. A flicker of uncertainty passed across his face. After our little encounter in the rain, I had Googled Llama’s just as he suggested. Apparently, they were pretty rude; spitting, kicking and head-butting were part of their social decorum.

“A peacock.”

He grinned.

“It took you all week to think up that one didn’t it?” His eyes were on my lips again.

“Sure,” I said shrugging.

“So then, it’s fair to say that you were thinking about me all week?” Now it was my turn to look shaken. Damn. Just when I had him.

“No…and…. no, I will not go out with you.”

I leaned back in my chair and decided to look at the score board. Maybe, if I ignored him, he would leave. The Black Eyed Peas were playing loudly over the speakers. I tapped my foot to the rhythm.

“Why not?” He seemed agitated. I liked it.

“Because I am a llama and you are a bird and WE are not compatible.” There was an increasing rise in interest across the gym, as people were standing up to get a better look at what was happening. I started getting nervous.

“Okay,” he said matter-of-factly. “Then what will it take?” He was leaning so close to me I could feel his breath on my face. It smelled like peppermint. I held my breath and tried to gain control of my racing heart.

And then a brilliant thought.

“Miss it.”

He cocked his head. I leaned closer, narrowed my eyes. I spoke slower this time, so there would be no confusion.

“Miss it, and I’ll go out with you.”

I saw the tenderness drain from his eyes. Asking a Peacock to pull out his feathers was a hard thing to do.

He stood up quickly, too quickly, and took the stairs back to the court two at a time. I settled back into my seat with a smug smile. Bet he wasn’t expecting that. Hotshot. Idiot.

Cammie was taking turns looking from me to Caleb. There was something like awe on her face. She opened her mouth to say something, but I held up my finger to silence her. This was not the time for Cammie’s mouth.

“Save it, Camadora,” I warned her.

I focused my sole attention on the figure standing at the free-throw line, not looking quite as composed as he’d looked a few minutes ago.

The ref blew his whistle and Caleb raised his arms with the ball held lightly in his hands. I tried to imagine what he was thinking. He was done with me, no doubt. Probably angry that I would have the audacity to….I lost my train of thought. The moment of truth was beginning.

The muscles in his arms flexed, as the ball spun from his hands and sailed toward the hoop. In those few seconds, my mind had time to register that something wasn't right about the situation. And then it happened. The ball fell short a foot from the basket and hit the ground with a sickening thud. I watched in horror as pandemonium broke forth.

“No, no, no, no,” I whispered under my breath. How could he do that? Why would he do that? What an absolute idiot!

“Olivia, I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear any of that,” Cammie hissed, grabbing me by the wrist. “We need to go before someone kills you.” As she pulled me though the throng, I turned back to the court for one last look at what was happening. Caleb was gone.

I didn’t hear anything from him for over a week. Guilt had started seeping into my self-righteous bones and it hurt right down to the marrow. I didn’t want to admit that Caleb Drake had surprised me and humiliated himself. Someone like him couldn’t surprise someone like me…right?

Somehow, the news that he had sabotaged the game for a girl had spread across campus. Since it was me he had been talking to minutes before his miss, I was prime suspect. Girls whispered when they saw me and the basketball team had taken to giving me searing and menacing looks.

“She’s not even that pretty,” I heard one cheerleader say to another. “If he was going to sabotage his entire basketball career; he should have done it for a better piece of ass.”

I ducked my head in shame and disappeared into the library. How was I supposed to know there were scouts at that game? My knowledge of sports was limited to being able to identify the different colored balls, and anyway who would have thought that he would actually have done it?

I spent a little more time in front of the mirror in the mornings applying mascara and curling my hair. Since all eyes were on me, I might as well try to be a good-looking piece of ass.

I was too pretty to be plain and my features were too round to be exotic. Men avoided me. Cammie told me once that I had a kind of fierceness in my eyes that scared people away. Yet, Caleb Drake had not been scared. He missed the hoop on purpose. He played my game and I lost.

“Olivia there’s a uuuh…delivery for you,” Cammie called through the bathroom door one evening.

A box was sitting on my neatly made bed when I emerged. I quickly removed it and dusted the spot where it had been. Cammie rolled her eyes and collapsed onto her own bed, which hadn’t been made in a week.

“Open the thing won’t you? It was hand delivered by that creepy guy from the campus post office. He even tried to smell my hair when I took it from him.”

“He has sinus problems,” I said grabbing the scissors, “don’t flatter yourself.” The box opened, and I stared into it not quite sure of what I was seeing.

“It’s a deflated basketball,” I said holding it up to show Cammie. There was an envelope attached to it. Cammie sat up her eyes suddenly alert.

“No genius, that’s the deflated basketball!”

I swallowed hard as I read the note:

Olivia,

Time to pay up. Meet me in the library in ten minutes.

-Caleb

“Unbelievable!” I said holding the ball in my hand. “Not even a please! He pretty much commanded me to be there!”

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