Jinxed

 

Author: UtsSQ

Rated: NC-17 Language, graphic sex

 

 

1

 

Some people were born lucky.

 

Jinx was not one of those people.

 

Her real name was Jayce. Her cousin had dubbed her ‘Jinx’ at age six. The nickname stuck.

 

Now thirty, she had a good job, a good life. And except for the occasional odd accident things were going good. It was her first week of work. Randy had talked her into applying for the job. He was a wrestler with the WWE.

 

“Come on Jinx, tell ‘em how you got hired!” At the moment, Randy was being the proverbial pain in the ass. A few of his wrestler friends were eating lunch when she’d walked in. He’d called her over and began pestering her once again for the story.

 

“You know how I got hired. Why don’t you tell them?” Jinx looked at the three men with her cousin. If she had met them before she could not remember their names. She’d been so rushed, and stressed, that she hadn’t really had time to get to know any of the wrestlers she would be dealing with on a daily basis.

 

“It’s always funnier when you tell it.” Randy grouched, sitting back in his chair. The man on his right was grinning. His hair was a startling shade of blue.

 

“I’ve heard it. Hilarious.” He assured the other two men with a southern accented voice. He winked at her. Jinx sighed and rolled her eyes.

 

“All right, damn.” She chewed on her lip thoughtfully. She wished Randy would grow up and find some other form of amusement. “I went to Hartford for my interview. Into Mister…uh…Vince’s office.” She would never get used to calling the boss by his first name. It was just one of her things. “Anyway. We talked for about fifteen minutes, went over my work history. He said I got the job. He reached over to shake my hand…”

 

Randy was giggling. The blue-haired man looked like he was choking, trying to hold in his laughter. The other men were smiling, waiting with curiosity for the punch line.

 

“And I missed his hand and popped him in the crotch.” Jinx finished, face reddening at the male laughter that followed her statement. “Uh…then I jerked back and knocked a lamp off his desk.”  This got more laughter. “And…uh…knocked a full cup of coffee through the air. It hit him in the stomach and splashed all over his suit. I got the hell out of there before he could change his mind about the job.”

 

Randy was smacking his hand on the table. “It gets funnier every time I hear it.” He said between giggles. Blue hair was snorting, he was laughing so hard. The other two, an older guy and a huge guy that was more muscle than Jinx had ever seen were trying a bit better to hide their amusement.

 

“Don’t worry. I’m sure I’ll do something else that’s equally retarded and we can stop telling this story.” Jinx heaved a sigh. She did not find amusement at her own expense. It was just the way things were with her. She was clumsy. And that was putting it mildly.

 

“I know you will. We don’t call her Jinx for nothin’.” Randy informed his friends. Jinx sighed again and left them to their laughter.

 

Vince had given her this first week to travel and get to know some of the people she would be working with. After that she’d get to work at her real job-as an assistant to one of the bookers. She had been assigned to Michael Hayes, who had been a wrestler in his youth. He now booked matches and was a basic problem solver to some of the guys. Jinx would be assisting him, although she still was not entirely sure of what she’d be assisting him with. He seemed to know what he was doing.

 

Right now she was headed for conference room two. Wherever that was. Michael wanted her to sit in on a meeting with the wrestlers that he was responsible for. Just to meet them, supposedly. She planned on sitting in a corner, well away from trouble, and commit names to memory even if it killed her. It would be embarrassing to forget the names of the men she’d be working with in depth.

 

It took her fifteen minutes to find the conference room. In that small amount of time she’d managed to knock over a wardrobe rack, trip on lighting cables, and bump into-and knock down-one of the female wrestlers. She was assured there were no hard feelings. Jinx hoped that were true. Knowing her luck it wouldn’t be the first time she’d cause damage.

 

Michael was already in the room, talking quietly to a guy from the ring crew. Jinx was introduced and took a seat at the end of the table, farthest from Michael and his friend. The men looked at her for a moment before continuing their conversation.

 

It was not long before more people entered. The ring crew guy left. The first man to enter was huge by any standards. He had long dark hair, green eyes, and was dressed totally in black. He glanced at Jinx, his expression unchanged, before greeting Michael.

 

“Hey Taker.” Michael shook the large man’s hand. “Have a seat. And that’s Jayce. She’s our new assistant.” Michael motioned to where she was sitting. “Jayce, this is Taker.”

 

“Hi.” She said shyly.  She hated meeting new people. She was always tripping over herself to break the ice.

 

“Hi.” The man had a deep voice. It sent a shiver down her back. He was looking at her, studying her, curiosity in his eyes. “You can call me Mark if you want. Taker’s just the wrestling name.”

 

“All right. Mark.” She added his name, making a mental note to remember. “And I’m Jayce. Although as I’m sure you will hear sooner or later, most people just call me Jinx.”

 

“Jinx?” He moved closer and took the seat that was nearest her. Michael was on his cell phone, company apparently forgotten.

 

“Family nickname.” Jinx shifted nervously in her seat, putting as much distance between them as she dared. She did not want anything bad to happen to this monster of a guy that had anything to do with her. She did not think he’d be nearly as forgiving as the female wrestler from earlier. “Randy Orton is my cousin. At least when I feel like claiming him.”

 

This got a low chuckle. “I wouldn’t admit to bein’ related to him either.”  His piercing eyes were drawn to the front of the room as the door opened. “Speakin’ of family…”

 

Jinx followed the direction of his gaze. Another huge man entered the room, ducking his head to clear the doorway. He was a bit bigger than Mark. And totally bald. At least he dressed normally in jeans and a T-shirt. Mark motioned him over. He gave Michael a bored wave and sat in the seat closest to Jinx on the other side of the table from Mark.

 

Great. Now Jinx sat straight up in her chair, unable to lean away from either man. Mark gave a half-smile. “Jinx…this is my brother Glen. Glen, Jinx.” He made introductions.

 

Glen smiled, and looked her over. “Jinx? Is that some kind of joke?”

 

“Not entirely.” Jinx looked at him and could not help but stare at his eyes. One was blue, the other hazel. It was kind of mesmerizing. Mark cleared his throat.

 

“Jinx is Michael’s new assistant.” Mark said as if an explanation was necessary. Glen looked at his brother.

 

“Poor kid.” They laughed. Jinx looked from one to the other, a bit wary. Before she could even begin to ask, two more men entered the room. One was wearing a cowboy hat. He seemed to be there just to chitchat with Michael. The other was tall, dark complected, and brooding. “That’s David.” Glen said, nodding at Jinx. “Or Dave.”

 

“I suck with names.” Jinx muttered, repeating their names in her head. “Ok, so who is Tex?”

 

“Tex?” Glen looked at the other man who had entered, a grin on his face. “That’s John. JBL. That’s his wrestling name. He prefers to be called that. We have a few Johns roaming around here.”

 

“I’ll never keep up.” Jinx was still muttering. Michael was rising to his feet. Their meeting was getting ready to start.

 

“Gentlemen…I’d like you all to meet Jayce.” He gestured to her. The men all looked at her curiously. Jinx felt herself blush and struggled to make eye contact. This was worse than getting in front of a class at school. “She’ll be our new assistant. Which means if you have issues, you’ll have to go through her to get to me.” This got a general chuckle. “Jayce, we only have four guys right now. Three actually since JBL here doesn’t wrestle anymore. We’ll have others join and leave, but this will be our core group. If somebody from outside the group comes to you, you send them packing. Got it?”

 

“I got it.” Yeah right. Like she was going to tell some three hundred pound muscle head to take a hike.

 

The door opened and a woman entered, carrying a tray with plastic cups and a pitcher on it. Michael went on as if there had not been an interruption. The woman went around the table, leaving cups of water in front of everyone gathered. The men were all taking turns talking, discussing heat, pops, gimmicks…Jinx could barely follow the conversation. Right that moment, she was more worried about keeping her distance from the two men that flanked her and the cup of water that seemed to be mocking her from the table. She knew better than to even try to pick it up. Her luck. Or her lack thereof.

 

Mark all but sprawled in his seat, sipping from his water, expression one of total boredom. Michael droned on, saying something about a storyline, shuffling through papers as he spoke. Glen was scribbling something on a piece of paper he’d found. With a smile he folded it and handed it to Jinx. She was careful not to touch his hand when she took it, lest she deal him a lethal paper cut. She had never done it, but she knew such things were possible when it came to her.

 

She unfolded the paper, trying to be quiet about it. Glen had written in capital block letters: MEETINGS ARE BORING. LUNCH IS FUN. HOW ABOUT SOME FOOD?

 

Jinx glanced at him but Glen seemed to be enthralled by whatever JBL was saying, something about a table and a monitor. Jinx should be paying attention to them, not to Glen’s attempt at a first grade note. She carefully reached out and took his pen from the table where it was laying and scribbled her reply. Again in block letters: FOOD DANGEROUS. PADDED CELL SAFER. She replaced the pen.

 

She held out the paper and Glen took it, using the same care she had used. Exaggerating it a bit. She watched as he opened the paper and read. And chuckled, so low Jinx was sure she was the only one to hear it. He took his pen back and took a few moments to compose a reply.

 

Jinx made sure no one was looking at them before accepting the note. With a slight smile curving her lips she opened the paper. HEARD THAT ABOUT YOU. WILLING TO RISK IT. DINNER?

 

So her reputation was preceding her. Great. Randy had a big mouth. At least Glen had been warned ahead of time that Jinx was…well…a jinx. Glen was holding the pen out to her, his eyes almost twinkling with humor. She took the pen carefully and wrote her response: WILL THINK ABOUT IT. UPGRADE YOUR INSURANCE.

 

Glen could not have grinned wider if he tried when he read it. Distracted by his humorous expression, Jinx went to put the pen back on the table. Her hand bumped the cup full of water. Barely bumped. If fact it seemed as if she hardly tapped the very edge of the plastic.

 

The cup went flying as if she’d thrown it off the table. Right into Mark’s lap.  He jumped at the sensation of cold water soaking his clothing and made a sour face, tugging his shirt from his chest in disgust.

 

“I had a shower already today, thanks.” He said, voice low and full of sarcasm. Jinx was reaching for the cup, which had settled in his lap.  Mark caught her hand before she could more than make a halfhearted attempt to grab it. “I think I can get it myself.” There was a bit of humor in his voice at least. Jinx leaned back and became aware of the looks they had drawn. Her face reddened alarmingly.

 

“Sorry.” She squeaked out, ducking her head. Michael was laughing.

 

“It’s all right, hon. Taker could use a cold shower every now and then.” This got a chorus of laughter. Mark mumbled something under his breath, so low that Jinx could not hear it. Michael called their attention back to him and finished up his lecture.

 

She wished the floor would just open up and swallow her. That would be wonderful. An hour into her first meeting and she’d managed to bumble it. She risked a glance at Mark. He was dabbing at his shirt with a napkin that he’d found, expression full of a strange mix of thunder and humor. How he managed to pull both off was beyond amazing.

 

The men were rising to their feet. Jinx thought it would be best if she stayed back and let them leave. She did not want to accidentally trip one of them, or hit them with an errant chair or door. Those things had happened to her on numerous occasions. Glen hesitated before rising, following his brother’s lead. He gave Jinx one last look before heading back to the hallway.

 

Michael was shuffling his papers into order. She carefully made her way to him, full of questions. He looked at her and grinned. “Pretty boring, huh? I promise, it gets better.”

 

“Sorry for the interruption. I don’t know how I managed…”

 

“Nothing to worry about. Shit happens, right?” Michael put a hand on her shoulder. “Enjoy the rest of your day. Tomorrow I’m going to actually put you to work.” With that he gave her shoulder a squeeze and went back to his papers. Jinx decided it would be best to head to her hotel room and brave out the day alone. No one could get seriously injured if she were by herself. She knew she would not be able to do that for long, so it was best to enjoy it while she could.

 

2

 

“So what do you think?”

 

Mark’s question pulled Glen from his thoughts. They were driving away from the arena, heading out to attempt lunch at a restaurant. It was dangerous, considering they were celebrities, but they were willing to risk it. Especially this late in the day in the middle of the week.

 

“What do I think about what?” Glen finally turned his attention to his brother. Half brother really. Their family history was long and twisted, but they were still family. Mark was looking at him as he braked for a stoplight, his expression amused.

 

“About that new girl. Jayce.” Mark laughed. “Jinx. Now I believe it. I guess the rumors are true.” He shook his head. “She’s good lookin’. Even if she’s clumsy.”

 

Glen smiled. “Yeah. Agreed.” Jinx was a looker, with her light brown hair and grey eyes. Very striking. And something about her seemed so innocent…he just couldn’t put his finger on it.

 

“How long do you think this one will last?” Mark resumed driving. Glen was laughing.

 

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe we should go easy on her for a change.”

 

“Easy? You are kidding, right?” Mark shot his brother a look. It was true, he and Glen were the reason none of the other assistants stuck around for more than a few weeks. There was really no reason for how they acted, they just enjoyed it. Brotherly bonding time, as Mark put it, as yet another dewy-eyed kid packed his bags and headed home.

 

This time the woman was a bit older. That did not change anything. She seemed nice enough, and Mark could tell she was nervous as hell. But…the lady would have to be tested. And the brothers were very good at administering the tests.

 

“It was just a thought.” Glen said looking out the window. “We’re getting a rep for being assholes. Just thought I’d let you in on it.”

 

Mark laughed again. “Hell, there’s worse things to be called.” He shook his head. “She did give me a shower back there.”

 

“You probably deserve it for something.” Glen said humorously.

 

“Probably.” Mark adjusted his sunglasses. “Payback is the proverbial bitch though.”

 

“What are you planning?” Glen asked, sounding a bit worried.

 

“Nothing. Yet.” Mark grinned. Not the good humor grin either, but the hard grin that said he was plotting something. “Calm down, bro. I’m not going to chase her off just yet.”

 

“Good. I think.” Glen frowned and resumed scrutinizing the scenery as Mark drove.

 

They found the restaurant. Once they were seated and had placed their lunch order, Mark resumed their conversation. “Saw you passing notes in there. What was that about?”

 

“Ehh…nothing really. Just bored.” Glen shrugged. He wondered if Jinx would seriously consider going to dinner with him. He’d meant it as a joke but in reality he would not mind spending a little time with her. She was good looking after all. And if Vince put her with Michael, she would have to be smart. That was a requirement just to keep up.

 

“Bored, huh?” Mark took a sip of the drink their waitress had left at the table. “Find out anything good?”

 

“Yeah. She’s probably as clumsy as Randy keeps saying she is.” Glen chuckled. “I saw you checking her out.”

 

“Not a crime.” Mark said, leaning back. Glen smiled at his brother.

 

“Damn good thing for you.” In truth, Glen kind of worried about that. Mark was not a womanizer by any means, but he was never at a shortage of women who wanted to bed him. Jinx was a newby, and therefore off limits. At least in theory. Mark didn’t often make plays for the women they worked with. It was easier that way. Glen worried that there would come a day when he would make an exception. He hoped Jinx was not going to be it.

 

“Damn good thing.” Mark echoed with a smile. “So what do you think of JBL’s idea?”

 

“I think I missed that part. Fill me in.” Glen and Mark settled in to their food, changing the subject to work and their current storylines.

 

*~*~*

 

Hotels were boring places.

 

Jinx had not traveled much in her life, and now she knew why. This was the third place she’d stayed at in the last week and the only thing that was different was the color of the bedspread.  Gaudy was an understatement.

 

She hadn’t bothered to unpack, knowing that she’d be leaving in the morning. She settled in with the room service menu and the remote to the television.  Jinx kicked off her shoes and stretched out. At least when she was alone she didn’t have to worry about embarrassing herself. That clumsy thing was almost always reserved for other people’s detriment. Or if it was aimed at herself, it was in front of a room full of people.

 

At least she realized what a total spaz she was. Most people didn’t. At least, in her opinion they didn’t. She didn’t know why she was the way she was. Bad luck of the draw is what her dad used to say.

 

And today…dumping water on that guy…uh…Mark. That was his name. Jinx gave herself bonus points for remembering. Not necessarily her smoothest move. So much for easing into a new situation and causing no trouble.

 

With a sigh she switched on the television and found a movie she’d seen a dozen times. It was comforting to glance up and see something familiar. She did not want to think about her faults anymore damn it. She wanted to be able to just relax and enjoy what little time she had to herself.

 

After a while Jinx ordered a burger and some snacks from room service. She could have walked out and found a restaurant, but that would mean putting herself in sticky situations. She’d had enough of that for one day.

 

The kid who brought up the food looked barely old enough to work. Jinx took her food with no incident and held out a tip for him. He took it, grinning from ear to ear. Jinx quickly shut the door in his face. She knew if he’d thanked her that would have set off some kind of clutz chain reaction that she would not be able to help.

 

She’d just settled back on the bed when the phone rang. Jinx gave her food a longing look, then picked up. “Yeah?”

 

“Caught you eating, didn’t I?” Randy’s voice held laughter, as usual. It must be nice to be able to make fun of someone else at their expense. Jinx frowned and poked a finger at her burger.

 

“So? What do you want?” Jinx did not try to mask her annoyance. Six days in and he was already on her last nerve.

 

“Don’t get that tone with me. I just wanted to see what you were doing tonight after the show. A bunch of us are going out to…” He did not get to finish.

 

“I think that would be a horrible idea. Honestly. You do know who you’re talking to, right?” Jinx picked up her burger and took a bite. She did not care if eating while talking on the phone was rude. It was just Randy after all.

 

“I know who I’m talking to.” Randy laughed. “Come on, J.” Uh oh. The fact that he just used her initial instead of her name…or her nickname…made Jinx roll her eyes. Randy had used that little trick to get his way on more than one occasion.

 

“I don’t want to be your comic relief for the night.” She said around a mouthful of food.

 

“I didn’t ask you to be. You know, I’m starting to wonder if you just bring all this bad luck shit on yourself. Thinking about it causes it.”

 

“Thank you, Mom.” Jinx said sarcastically. That was easy for Randy to say. He was a big lumbering guy. But he was big GRACEFUL lumbering guy. Jinx had no idea how he pulled it off, but he did.

 

“How about if I promise not to make fun of you for the remainder of the night?” Randy resorted to his sweetest voice.

 

“There’s a novel idea. And why the hell do you need me to go out with you and your friends? Isn’t there a plethora of ring rats waiting to do your bidding? Take one of them.” Ring rat was a term she’d picked up only because she found it to be hilarious and somehow fitting. There never seemed to be a shortage of scantily clad women waiting at the back of the arenas, in hotel bars, looking to pick up a famous man. Even if it was just for one night.

 

“You mean to tell me you’d rather sit there, all alone, nothing to do than watch TV and sleep instead of hanging out with your favorite cousin?”

 

“In a word. Yes.” Jinx was not amused. She smelled a rat. “Whatever you had planned, I suggest you rework it. I’m not going anywhere until I have to. Have a good night.” With that she hung up the phone. With a sigh she took another bite of her now cold burger. For a moment she contemplated just leaving, forgetting the job, the contract she’d signed. “Nah.” She said it out loud. Randy was not going to get to her so easily. She had a six-month deal to work with Mister…Vince. After that she could decide where she was going. Randy was just going to have grow up.

 

Several hours later Jinx almost wished she had changed her tune. She was bored. Mindnumbingly bored. There was nothing on TV, no movies that caught her interest, all of her friends back home were out, which meant talking on the phone was out.

 

There was a bar in the hotel lobby. Jinx did not want to go there, she was not a drinker. She thought that drinking made her even more of a clutz than helped her with it. Plus it was probably full of strangers and half-naked women. There would be nothing there to entertain her.

 

So she got up and got dressed in a pair of black low riding jeans and a purple jewel-tone top. She could have stuck with her jeans/t-shirt combo but for some reason she wanted to add a little color. Grabbing her key and the small wallet she kept her ID and money in, she stepped into the hallway.

 

And ran face first into a very large man who was passing her room.

 

She didn’t hit him hard, but it was enough to make her step back. Her shoulders hit the door to her room. It had not shut all the way, and she felt herself tripping over her own feet, falling backward.

 

Strong hands grabbed her arms, righting Jinx before could tumble headfirst into her room.  Mortified beyond words, she glanced up into a pair of green eyes.

 

“Where’s the fire, hon?” Mark asked, a smile on his face, hands still holding onto her, steadying her.

 

After her initial look, Jinx closed her eyes. “I am so, so, so sorry. I didn’t know you were walking by, I didn’t think I was going that fast…”

 

“It’s all right.” Mark’s deep voice carried a note of amusement. “No harm, no foul.”

 

Jinx nodded, grateful he wasn’t going to freak out and maybe kill her. She risked another glance at him. “Uh…um. Well…” She was at a loss for words. Damn that shyness thing that she could not seem to get over. Mark released her, seeming to realize he’d held onto her just a little too long.  He smirked and shoved his hands into his pockets.

 

“Heading out for dinner?” He asked, breaking the silence that fell over them. Jinx shook her head.

 

“I thought about checking out the bar. I’m bored.” She smiled a little, still not able to meet his eyes directly. She looked instead at his lips. Which was probably an even bigger mistake. He had very sexy lips.

 

Jinx mentally shook herself. She was not here to have lustful thoughts about the men she’d be working with. After all, she’d told Mister…uh…Vince that she would have no problem obeying his fraternization policy. Which would not, in the end, be a problem. She usually ended up scaring most men away before anything really deep could happen.

 

“Not much going on down there.” Mark was talking, but Jinx was barely hearing him. She was watching his lips for the words. “Probably have better luck finding a bar in town.”

 

“I don’t think I’m up to actually leaving the building.” Jinx said, finally tearing her eyes from his mouth.  “It was worth a shot. I guess I’ll just go on to bed.”  She fumbled in her pocket for her key. The door had closed itself while they talked.

 

“You can come hang out with me. If you want.” Mark shrugged. He did not usually invite anybody but Glen into his room, but for some reason he wanted to make an exception for this girl.

 

“Thanks…but ah…” She had the key in her fingers. And watched as it slipped from her grasp and bounced on the carpeted hall floor. Into the heating vent that was against the wall next to her door. “Damn it.”

 

Mark laughed. “I was starting to smell a blow off, but that might be all I needed to change your mind.”

 

Jinx sighed and stole another peek at his eyes. “You’re not some crazed pervert psycho that’s gonna take advantage of me after drugging me are you?”

 

“Would I tell you if I was?”

 

“Probably not.” Jinx bit her lip. “All right. For a little while, then I have to figure out how to rescue my key.”

 

Mark chuckled and nodded. “Maybe if you’re nice I’ll give you a hand.”

 

“I am always nice.” Jinx followed him down the hall, sparing a last look at the door to her room. She could not believe that she was going to some strange man’s hotel room at midnight. Of course, it was her fault she was going. Damn her butter fingers.

 

Mark turned a corner and stopped. He had his key in his hand. He gave Jinx one last questioning look before unlocking the room and leading her inside. With a smirk he shut the door behind them, shaking his head a bit at the situation that had gotten them there.

 

3

 

“I’d offer you a drink but I don’t have any sippy-cups handy.”

 

Mark’s voice pulled Jinx from her thoughts. It took a second to register what he’d said, and she blushed.

 

“I’m am so sorry.”

 

“Are you going to make apologizing a habit?” He asked, settling himself on a chair. He had gotten a suite. The bedroom was separate from this area. There was a bar in the corner and a huge fireplace against the wall. Jinx was sitting on the couch, staring into the empty fireplace.

 

“Apologizing seems to already be my habit.” She said wryly. Mark grinned and rose to his feet.

 

“I’m getting a beer. Do you want anything?” Against his better judgment he asked anyway.  Jinx shook her head. This room had thick white carpet. Better to not tempt fate. “I’m going to check my messages. Be back in a minute.” With that he left, going into the bedroom.

 

“What the hell am I doing here…” Jinx muttered to herself. She rose to her feet and went to the window. There was nothing out there but the city skyline. There were cars moving along the barely visible highway. Jinx lost herself in thought again as she watched the lights fade in the distance.

 

“I’ve seen better views, but it’ll do.”

 

She had not heard Mark come back into the room. Jinx jumped and her elbow knocked his arm. He managed to keep his beer steady, not spilling any of it. She put her hand to her mouth, and looked at him, eyes wide.

 

“I am so…”

 

“Sorry. Yeah, I know.” Mark smiled grimly. Then he studied her face. “You know, if you’d relax a little…”

 

“I wouldn’t be such a clumsy ass. I know. I’ve heard this speech before.”

 

“Good advice.”

 

“Except that I’m clumsy whether I’m relaxed or not. It doesn’t matter.” Jinx sighed and turned to face him. “If you were smart, you would have not invited me in here. I might end up killing you.”

 

Mark chuckled. “I highly doubt that, hon.”

 

“Don’t underestimate the power of my inability to be graceful.” Jinx carefully moved past him, keeping her distance. Mark watched, amused, as she settled herself once again on the couch.

 

He waited a moment, then joined her. In fact, sat down closer than there was any need to. Jinx shifted uncomfortably away. Mark smirked.

 

“You act like I’m gonna bite ya. I don’t bite. Unless you ask first.”

 

“Ha. Ha.” Definitely a fake laugh for his joke. Jinx was eyeing him warily. Mark did not know if it was because he still held the beer in his hand or if it was just him. She was looking at his mouth again. He’d caught her doing it earlier, in the hallway. Damn but she was skittish.

 

Mark leaned down and put his beer on the coffee table in front of him. He swung his arm over the back of the couch, his fingers within inches of her far shoulder. Jinx raised an eyebrow. “You must be brave. Or have a death wish.”

 

Mark laughed at that. “I’d vote for brave, hon. You don’t scare me.”

 

“It’s not ME you should worry about.” Jinx said, shifting again. Trying to move farther from him. There was really nowhere else for her to go. She was pressed against the arm of the couch as it was.

 

“I’m not worried about you bein’ clumsy either.” His voice had dropped lower. Another shiver went up her spine. Damn but he had a sexy voice. He leaned closer to her. Jinx looked away from him, once again biting her lip.

 

“I’m worried about me being clumsy. That’s all that matters.” She did not notice him inching closer. Taking a deep breath she turned her head, a little too quickly. Her forehead caught him in the nose. Mark jerked back in surprise more than pain. Jinx leapt to her feet. “Oh God, I’m sorry…I…” She was leaning over him, trying to get a look at the damage.

 

Mark gingerly touched his nose. “I think I’ll live.” He said, that low note of…whatever had been there…gone from his voice. He dodged her hand as she tried to check the damage for herself. “All right, I learned my lesson. I can handle it myself.”

 

“I should go.” Now that Mark was distracted by his nose, Jinx finally realized that he’d been moving in to try to kiss her. Why the hell else would he have been so close to her in the first place? She had no intentions of sleeping with him. Not even if he did have the hottest pair of lips she’d ever seen.

 

“Not necessary…” Mark picked up his beer and took a drink. He was eyeing her speculatively. Jinx shook her head and backed toward the door.

 

“Yeah it is. Uh…thanks for letting me hang out for a while, I gotta go, gotta long drive tomorrow…” She was rambling as she fumbled with the doorknob. Mark rose to his feet, either to stop her from leaving or to help her go she did not know. The door finally opened and Jinx spilled into the hallway.

 

She straightened her shirt and hurried from his room to her own. Belatedly she remembered her key. “Damn it all to hell.” She eyed the heating vent dubiously. She would just go downstairs and get a new key. And pay for the old one. Great. Her clumsiness was an expensive business after a while. Just another reason why she hated it so damn much.

 

On her way back from the lobby Jinx ran into another guy. Literally once again ran into him. It was becoming even more of a habit than the apologies she kept having to give.

 

“Sorry…” She barely muttered it. She looked up. Mark’s brother stood in front of her, trying to enter the elevator as she exited. He smiled at her and shook his head.

 

“No big deal.” When she didn’t move, his grin widened. “Going down again?”

 

“Oh…no.” Jinx stepped out of his way. He held the elevator door with one hand and looked at her. “So…give any thought to my offer?”

 

“What offer?” She held her key in a death grip. And would not look up at him.

 

“Dinner. Remember?”

 

“Oh. Uh…” Her eyes briefly touched his then darted away. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”

 

“Why not?” Glen ignored the beeping sound coming from inside the elevator. He was studying the woman in front of him, a smile tugging the corners of his mouth.

 

“It’s…complicated.” She sighed and stepped back. Jinx had to bite her tongue to keep from telling him it was because his brother had pretty much tried to make a play for her. She did not think that would win her any points…with either brother. “Look, I wasn’t kidding when I said it was dangerous.”

 

Glen laughed. “I’ve heard.” She met his eyes again, briefly. “I’m not worried about it. How about tomorrow night? After the show?”

 

Jinx hedged for a full minute, her eyes closed as if trying to wish him away. She sighed. “Fine. It’s your funeral.” With that she turned and wandered off down the hall before he could say anything else. Or before she could cause anything bad to happen to him. Glen wasn’t sure on either count.

 

He waited until he saw Jinx enter her room before punching the button for the lobby. He was whistling a bit as he rode down to the ground floor. That Jinx was definitely a hot woman. Too bad she was so shy. Glen was not usually the one to make advances, because he himself had always been a bit slow to warm to new people. But in her case, he was making an exception. She seemed so nervous, especially tonight. He wondered what was up, then decided he’d just ask her tomorrow.

 

“Probably first day jitters…” He muttered to himself as he stepped from the elevator. Michael did say she was actually going to start work tomorrow. Glen would be nervous too. Especially considering what her job involved. With a knowing smile, he headed toward the bar. A few of the guys had decided to stay up late and shoot pool. Glen was something of an insomniac. It seemed like a good way to pass the time until he could finally pass out for the night.

 

*~*~*

 

Back in the relative safety of her room, Jinx stripped down and dressed in her pajamas. All right, no more bright ideas about wandering the halls. She’d embarrassed herself in front of two of the guys she’d be working with. And she was pretty sure one of them thought she’d be a pretty easy girl to crawl into bed with. The joke was on him. If Jinx was careful about how she did things in the daytime, the rule quadrupled in bed. Ever since Jake, her boyfriend in college, Jinx had been a little leery of sex. He’d managed to sprain an ankle while they were…involved.

 

Glad that Randy hadn’t managed to unearth that bit of information, Jinx crawled into bed. The TV was on, the sound was low. She clicked the lights off and waited for sleep to take her. She was a bit nervous about tomorrow. Sighing she rolled onto her side and fluffed her pillow under her head. She’d just deal with it when it got there. It was starting to be her life motto.

 

4

 

Jinx moved down the hallway of the arena, keeping close to the wall, avoiding contact with the rushing people around her.

 

There had been another meeting that morning. Michael had called Jinx and Mark to the ring and began going over a match that Mark would be having that night against a guy named Kennedy. Kennedy was a muscular blonde with a very cocky attitude. He was leaning against the ring, arms crossed, smirk on his features.

 

He and Mark climbed into the ring eventually and began working through their match. Jinx was fascinated. Michael was calling out ideas, occasionally turning to her to see what she thought.

 

Although Randy was a wrestler, and her uncle had been a wrester, Jinx was not by any means an expert at what was going on. Michael did not mind. In fact, he told her that he preferred she was not schooled in it. It gave them a new perspective.

 

They had an hour. Jinx paid close attention, watching the men throw each other around. Mark kept stealing looks at her, always with a thoughtful look on his face. It was starting to make her feel self-conscious.

 

At the end of their ring time the two men huddled with Michael to hash over some last minute plans. Michael eventually waved her over. “I’m gonna need you to hunt down Glen, tell him we’re about ready for him.” Jinx nodded and headed off toward the locker rooms.

 

She wandered for about ten minutes before she spotted him. He was in the training room, lifting weights. Jinx watched him for a minute, not wanting to disturb him. And to be honest…it gave her a chance to check him out. He was wearing a pair of loose track pants and tennis shoes-and was shirtless. She felt a bit of heat climb her cheeks and mentally berated herself. There was no sense in blushing over a shirtless man. She’d seen plenty of them in her lifetime.

 

Jinx cleared her throat. Glen looked over his shoulder at her with a smile. “Hey. What’s up?” He did not stop his steady lifting of the weight in his hands.

 

“Michael requests your presence at ringside.” Jinx did not make an attempt to enter the room fully. That would be inviting trouble. Although Glen seemed to hold the heavy weight with ease, she could envision him dropping it because she did something stupid. And it landing on his foot and breaking about twelve bones. Better to just keep her distance.

 

“That was quick.” Glen hefted the weight one last time before returning it to the rack it had been sitting on. He stretched. Jinx felt her flush deepen a little. Keeping herself from getting all hormonal over the guys was turning out to be harder than she’d thought.

 

Glen slung a T-shirt over his shoulder and walked toward her. “So are you getting the hang of things yet?” He asked, stepping into the hallway. Jinx gave him room to do it.

 

“I haven’t really done anything yet.” She said, following him back the way she’d come. For now the guys were busy with their matches for that night. Tomorrow was a day off. Then Monday was a show. Part of Jinx’s job was to make sure they guys got to where they were going when they needed to be there. The other part was what Michael had referred to as babysitting. She would have to make sure the guys did not go out and get too crazy at night. He liked his wrestlers to be responsible, and to represent their company in the best light. She could understand that.

 

“Don’t worry. You will.” Glen smiled at her and fell into step beside her. Jinx made sure to keep space between them. He looked down at her, amused. “Why do you do that?”

 

“Do what?” She looked puzzled.

 

“Back off whenever somebody goes near you. I noticed it yesterday, just didn’t say anything.”

 

“Oh. Uh…I don’t even realize I’m doing it, I guess.” That was another thing that had become a habit. She did it without thinking about it.

 

“Hmm.” Glen made a noise that was not a word. He was still eyeing her. “You don’t seem very clumsy to me.”

 

Jinx laughed. “Obviously you have not been paying attention.”

 

“Accidents happen.” Glen said with a shrug.

 

“They happen constantly to me, then.” She sounded resigned to it. Glen smiled.

 

“So what time should I pick you up tonight?” His question caught her by surprise. Jinx looked up at him, her eyes wide. She did not see Maria, one of their female wrestlers, turn the corner ahead. Glen took Jinx’s arm and pulled her closer, avoiding another one of her accidents.

 

Jinx blushed. Again. Glen was still smiling as he let her go. “Thanks.” She muttered. “Uh…I thought you were kidding. About dinner.”

 

“I never joke about food.”

 

She glanced at him. “I still don’t think it’s a good idea.”

 

“Well, I do.” Glen stopped at the door to the ringside area. “You gonna back out on me?”

 

Jinx sighed and shifted her weight from foot to foot, nervous. “I don’t know.”

 

“That’s an honest answer at least.” Glen smiled again. “My match is second. I should be done by nine. I’ll find you after, we can decide then. Ok?”

 

Jinx nodded slowly. “All right. I guess.” She gestured at the door. “Michael’s waiting.”

 

Glen nodded and held the door for her to enter first. He followed her to the ring where Michael was making notes on a yellow legal pad. With a grim smile, Glen went to work.

 

*~*~*

 

It had been a very long day.

 

The show was starting. Jinx finally found a quiet area to sit down and go over the notes she’d been making all day. Tomorrow was her day off, and she had to laugh. Even though she did not have to be at the arena, she still had some work to take care of. Dave was going home for two weeks, which gave her one less person to worry about. Tomorrow she’d have to make sure he got on his way with no trouble. Which was funny considering who they were trusting with the task.

 

After that she was free, unless any of the other three guys needed something. And since they were off too, that was unlikely. Jinx planned on driving on to their next venue and getting a room at a place with a pool. Then she could lounge around all day and soak up some sun.

 

Randy came into the room, grin on his face. He was wearing his wrestling gear. Jinx smiled at him, shaking her head at his enthusiasm. His match was later on. He was ready to go.

 

“So how is it?” Randy asked, gesturing to her notes.

 

“It’s my first day. Ask me in a week.” She said with a smile.

 

“Wait a while, it gets boring. Then you’ll be wishing you were new again.” He sat down next to her. “So anybody giving you any trouble?”

 

“Trouble? Why would they?” She looked at him with her eyebrow up.

 

“I dunno. Some of the guys…and girls…like to give new people a hard time.” Randy shrugged.

 

“Like you?” Jinx poked him.

 

“Ha. I’m family, I’m allowed.” Randy looked around. “Although I do have a piece of advice for you.”

 

“Ok.” Jinx eyed him warily.

 

“Don’t make too much of a separatist of yourself. I know how you think you’ve got rotten luck and you spread it around. I’m just sayin’…some of the people will think you’re stuck up.” Randy gave her a look.

 

“It’s for their own safety.” Jinx said with a smile.

 

“So you wanna call a meeting and explain it to everybody?” Randy asked with a grin.

 

“Hell no. I’m no public speaker.” Jinx sighed.

 

“You are not a bad luck charm, J.” Randy said softly. “Look at me. We grew up together, we run around all the time, nothing bad ever happened to me.”

 

“You have your shield up.” Jinx said with a laugh. It was true. Weird things happened to everyone around her, but Randy remained unaffected. She wished she knew how that was possible.

 

“That I do.” Randy smirked. “How’s working with Michael?”

 

“It’s all right.” Jinx shrugged, glad he was changing the subject. “I am still not entirely sure what I am supposed to be doing.”

 

“Don’t worry. He’ll load you up with stuff.” Randy laughed. “Hey…wanna grab some food after I’m done? I skipped dinner. I hate eating before a show.”

 

Jinx blushed. Randy eyed her as she looked down at her notebook. “I think I already have plans.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“Uh…Glen asked if I wanted to get some food. After he was done.” She was mumbling. Randy grinned.

 

“Glen huh? He’s a good guy.” It was Randy’s turn to poke her. “You work fast, J.”

 

“I’m not ‘working’ him. He asked me. I never really said yes.” Talking about this made her uncomfortable.

 

“Aw, don’t mess with the guy too much. Go on, have a good time. Relax.” He dragged the word out.

 

“I will try.” She smiled at her cousin. “What about the other ones? Uh…Mark? Dave?”

 

“What about ‘em?”

 

“Should I be worried?”

 

Randy laughed. “About them? Hmm…Dave, nah. He’s married, has a couple of kids. He pretty much has his shit together. You won’t hear too much out of him, and when he does have an issue it’s like pulling teeth to figure out what it is. Mark…” Randy paused. “You will probably have to keep an eye on.”

 

“Am I his mother or something?” Jinx asked with a grin. In truth, his statement made her a little nervous.

 

“No, no.” Randy shook his head. “Mark’s a good guy. He’s been with the company forever. He’s kind of a legend around here.” He stopped, looking thoughtfully at his cousin. “He has kind of a reputation though.”

 

“Reputation for what?”

 

“Ring rats.” Randy smiled when Jinx laughed.

 

“Well, you don’t have to worry about me. I refuse to stand outside in a tube top.”

 

“I wasn’t worried about you a bit. Just…” Randy shook his head. “Never mind. You know what you’re doing, J. I’m proud of ya.” He gave her shoulder a squeeze and rose to his feet. “I gotta go, finish getting ready. Call me when you get back to the hotel, all right?”

 

“Sure thing, Mom.” Jinx waved him away. Randy left her to her thoughts. So she was going to have to watch out for Mark. She already figured that part out. With a sigh she stood and tucked her notes into a small bag she’d carried to the arena. The first match was well underway. She was officially off the clock. She wanted to find Glen and tell him to meet her at the hotel so she could change and take a quick shower.

 

Jinx ducked around people in the hallway, smiling at anyone who looked in her direction. She felt good. It seemed to be contagious. People smiled back. Of course, feeling good meant her guard was down. She should have known better.

 

She rounded a corner, looking over her shoulder at one of the wrestlers. He was telling a story to a couple of the female crew members, really getting into it. Jinx did not see the man coming in her direction, nor did she see what he was carrying.

 

The man was moving to the side, trying to step out of her way. Jinx ran directly into the ladder he carried tucked against his side. The end she hit went down. The back end went up. There was another wrestler behind the guy carrying the ladder. The bottom of the ladder shot up and popped him in the chin, making his head fall back.

 

The guy with the ladder dropped it. The guy who got hit brought both hands to his chin and said a very loud ‘ouch’.

 

“Oh God…Sorry…I wasn’t watching where I was going…” Jinx went to the man and looked up at him, concerned, almost feeling like crying. She had seen this guy around before, he was a big deal apparently, but she could not remember his name.

 

“It’s all right. Calm yourself.” He tested his jaw. Then he smiled. “Kind of an extreme wake up call, don’t you think?”

 

“I am so sorry…” Jinx tried again to apologize.

 

“I’ll live. Don’t worry about it.” The man leaned down and picked up the ladder. He handed it to the man who had been carrying it originally. Then he looked at the woman in front of him. “I’m Paul.”

 

“Ji…Jayce.” She almost gave him the nickname. She might as well just go on and tell him. Not like she’d be able to hide it. “People call me Jinx. For obvious reasons.” This got a laugh.

 

“Well, Miss Jinx, what do you think?” He tilted his chin. Jinx sighed at the red welt that was on his skin.

 

“I’m sorry.” She couldn’t help but apologize again.

 

“Is it that bad?” Paul rubbed the mark with a hand.

 

“No, no. I’m just…I wasn’t paying attention, and…”

 

“Look, Jinx. It’s all right. Really. I’ll just tell people I got sucker punched. Not a big deal. We show up with bruises all the time.” Paul turned his attention behind him. A woman was coming up the hall, smiling a bit, calling his name. “Take it easy, Jinx. Forget about it, it’s not big deal.” He repeated before giving her a half-wave and turning to speak to the woman.

 

Jinx sighed and continued down the hall, this time being more careful. It seemed to be pointless. It did not matter what she tried, she was still…well…jinxed.

 

“Maybe somebody put a hex on me.” She muttered under her breath.

 

“You talkin’ to me?” Another wrestler was standing in front of her. He had turned to give her a wry look. She had not met this one yet either. He had dark hair. That was his defining feature.

 

“No, I’m talking to myself.” Jinx said, her voice serious. The man smiled and went back to leaning against the wall. She spotted Glen up ahead, ducking into a locker room. Maybe she should just tell him never mind, to forget it. She did not even want to imagine the damage she could cause in a restaurant.

 

Glen was hearing none of it, of course. Jinx had knocked, entered, and immediately gone into why she could not go out with him. He’d crossed his arms and listened, a smile tugging the corners of his lips. When Jinx paused for a breath, he’d reached over and cupped her shoulder, giving it a squeeze.

 

“Now that you got that out of your system, I’ll be there to pick you up at about nine-thirty.” He smiled and nudged her chin. “I’ll see you at the hotel. I gotta finish getting ready.” With that he led her to the door before she could begin to protest.

 

Jinx stood in the hallway for a minute, blinking. “Damn it.” She was still muttering. Glen was not going to take no for an answer. She only hoped that for once in her life, things would go right. With a heavy sigh, she turned to the exit. Maybe she’d think of a good reason to call off this date while she got ready for it.

 

5

 

Jinx eyed herself critically in the mirror.

 

She had no idea where Glen was taking her, so she had no clue how to dress. After some mental debate she settled on a black skirt that stopped just above her knees and a mint colored sweater that made her skin looked like it glowed. She’d fussed with her hair, debated on her makeup, and finally decided to hell with it. She sat in the chair in her room and watched TV until she heard a knock on the door.

 

Glen stood there, a shy smile on his face. “You look great.”

 

“Thanks.” Jinx smiled back, feeling a bit shy herself. She grabbed her purse, checked to make sure her key was there, then followed him into the hallway. Glen was wearing a pair of dress pants and a black button down shirt. She did not feel over dressed, which was good. He led her to the elevator, grinning at her as they entered.

 

“Uh…I’m not sure what you like to eat. So I thought we’d cruise around until we found something agreeable.”

 

“Sounds good to me.” Jinx watched the elevator light as it marked their progress. “I gotta tell you, I’m nervous.”

 

Glen chuckled. “The feeling is mutual.”

 

“Really?” She looked up at him. And again was mesmerized by his multi-colored eyes. Glen smiled at her.

 

“Sure. You know how long it’s been since I had a date?”

 

“Probably not as long as me.” She said, smiling back.

 

“I’m not gonna tell you. Just so I don’t scare you away with my lack of experience.” He said wryly. Jinx grinned and did not protest when he reached over and took her hand. “So how was your first day?”

 

“It was all right.” She felt him stroke the back of her hand and had to struggle not to pull away from him. She kept thinking about bad things that could happen if she got too close to him. It really did put a damper on her mood. “I…uh…didn’t do much.” She shrugged. “I suppose everyone is going easy on me because I’m new.”

 

“That won’t last much longer.” The elevator came to a halt. Glen led her through the lobby to the parking lot. He helped her into his car then slid into the driver’s seat before speaking again. “People will get to know you, you’ll get to know them. Then the real fun starts.”

 

“I can’t wait.” Her tone was sarcastic. Glen looked at her and smiled.

 

“It’s not all bad. There are a few pranksters you have to watch out for. And a couple of…uh…ladies men?” He made it a question. Jinx laughed and nodded. “You’ll know who they are. Watch out for them.”

 

“Like you?” She eyed him.

 

“Me? Hell no. I told you…it’s been forever.”

 

“For a date. Not for…uh…you know, the ring rats.”

 

Glen laughed as he guided the car down the street. “Believe it or not, I don’t bother with them. What’s the point? Besides, they’re more trouble than they’re worth. I’d rather pick and choose.”

 

Jinx smiled and settled into her seat. They chatted during their drive, not talking about anything serious, mostly just getting to know each other. They finally agreed on a restaurant, and Glen ushered her inside with a hand on the small of her back.

 

They were quiet until the waiter had taken their orders. Then they looked at each other and grinned.

 

“I forgot how awkward this dating stuff is.” Glen admitted.

 

“Me too. I think besides the odd blind date every now and then, this is the first time I’ve gone out in a couple of years. On an actual date.” Jinx said, ducking her head.

 

“I find that hard to believe.” Glen was looking at her, eyebrow raised.

 

“Believe it. I don’t date. Much.” She smiled. “How about you?”

 

Glen shrugged. “The road life. Not really a lot of time for it.”

 

“I see.” Jinx sipped the drink the waiter had placed in front of her. “You are brave, wanting to take me out in public. I am accident prone, and that’s an understatement.”

 

“Ahh…Well, so far so good.” Glen smiled and reached over to take her hand again. “You can relax around me. I’m not worried about it.”

 

For once, neither was she. Glen made her feel comfortable. He seemed to be a very genuine, very sweet man. Which totally went against his image as a rage-filled monster for the show.

 

They ate slowly, taking their time, talking about their childhoods. Glen and Mark were the first generation in their family to wrestle. Jinx regaled him with tales of her exploits with a younger Randy. When his father had traveled, he’d sent his son to stay with Jinx’s family on and off. They were more like brother and sister than cousins.

 

Dinner passed with no major incidents. Jinx did trip a waiter as he walked by. She had her legs crossed and her foot caught him in the knee as he passed. He carried an empty tray and managed to right himself with a flourish that made her laugh. He grinned and told them if they wanted anything all they had to do was ask. There was no need for violence.

 

Giggling, Jinx took another sip of her drink. Glen watched her for a moment, not speaking. “What?” She finally couldn’t take it.

 

“You’re beautiful when you laugh.” His voice had gotten very serious. Jinx looked into his eyes for a moment before looking down into her drink.

 

“Thanks. I think.”

 

“What’s there to think about? It’s true.” Glen smiled and handed the waiter his credit card to pay for their food.

 

“I guess I’m not very good with the compliments, either.” She nervously toyed with her glass.

 

“Get used to ‘em. You deserve it.” Glen signed the slip the waiter brought, and reached for her hand. “Are you ready to go?”

 

“Where are we going?” Jinx asked, letting Glen help her to her feet.

 

“I don’t know. Somewhere. I’m not ready to go back to the hotel yet. Unless you are…?” He made it a question. Jinx looked up at him, biting her lip.

 

“No. I think I’d rather stay with you for a while.” She finally admitted softly. Glen smiled at her and led her from the restaurant back to the car.

 

*~*~*

 

They drove for over an hour, just talking, listening to the radio that was turned low. Glen found a country road and they rode in the dark. To Jinx it almost felt like they were the only people on the planet.

 

“I think there’s a lake or something out this way.” Glen said, cutting into her thoughts. She smiled.

 

“Planning on going swimming?”

 

“Nope. Just wanted to park for a while and stretch my legs.” He shrugged and glanced at her. “That is, if you don’t mind.”

 

“Not at all.” Jinx’s smile widened when Glen reached over and took her hand again. He drove for another fifteen minutes. They were quiet, just listening to the music and the sound of the car.

 

A small road was marked by a sign. Glen made the turn and grinned at her. “Told ya.”

 

“I never doubted you.” Jinx peered through the darkness at the trees that lined the road. The lake was man-made and a housing development littered one side of it. This was a feeder road, barely paved, that the parks department used to check the water level.

 

“Are we allowed to be back here?” Jinx asked as Glen parked the car. The lake opened before them, it’s water looking black in the darkness.

 

Glen shrugged. “There’s a beach down there. In the summer it’s open to the public over here. Keeps them from going to the houses and cutting through the yards.” He smiled and shut off the engine. “Wanna go for a walk?”

 

“Since we’re already here, I suppose.” Jinx climbed out of the car. Glen had parked at the very edge of the lot. There was a small strip of grass, then a wide swathe of sand that led to the calm water.

 

“Last time I was here, it was August. It was packed, even though it was late.” Glen said softly, once again reaching for her hand. Jinx smiled at him and kicked her shoes off. The sand was warm under her feet. This early in June it was warm enough to swim but not quite summer enough for campers, which was where most of the August people came from.

 

“It’s beautiful.” She said, walking beside him, loving the feel of sand under her feet. They were quiet for a while, each lost in their own thoughts. Glen set an easy pace. Jinx had no trouble keeping up.

 

He finally stopped. They were at the edge of the beach. The sand here gave way to grass, and fifteen feet from them, trees. The car was a vague shadow in the distance. Glen turned her to face him and studied her in the meager light of the moon. Jinx felt butterflies in her stomach at the look he was giving her. Her knees threatened to buckle. And that was just from a look.

 

“Are you always this nervous?” Glen asked, smiling a bit. He felt her hand tremble a bit as she looked everywhere but at him.

 

“Most of the time. Yes.” Why lie to him? She was not a forward person, never had been, and yes, this did make her nervous. She was alone with some guy she barely knew, she really had no clue where they were, and the guy was looking at her like she was dessert. It was scary and somehow tantalizing at the same time.

 

Glen hesitated for another moment, then finally pulled her against him. He ducked his head and pressed his mouth against hers, kissing her gently, not forcing it, just testing her response. His tongue traced her lower lip. A shiver went down her back.

 

Jinx was so surprised by the sensation that she tried to step back away from him. Unfortunately her legs refused to cooperate. Her feet tangled into each other and she fell backward. Glen kissed air for a second before he saw her sitting on her ass in the sand. He chuckled.

 

“I don’t think I have ever blown someone away with just a kiss before.” He held out his hand and helped Jinx to her feet. She pulled her hand away and made herself busy knocking sand from her clothes. Ok, for real, now she was ready to be swallowed whole by the earth. Mentally she prayed for it. At least she’d fallen away and hadn’t taken him down with her.

 

Glen looked at her with his hands in his pockets, grinning. He still had that dark look in his eyes that had made her get all weak legged in the first place. Jinx glanced at him, then sighed.

 

“I’m sorry. I can’t do this.”

 

“Can’t do what?” Glen asked, tilting his head to the side.

 

“This…” She gestured, taking in the beach, the water, him. “I just…can’t. Not yet.”

 

Glen was silent for a minute, still studying her. Then he nodded. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to rush you into…”

 

“You weren’t. It was just a kiss. Sorry I freaked.”

 

“That was a freak out?” Glen took her hand and led her back toward the car.  Resigned to the contact, Jinx kept her head lowered, watching her feet sink into the warm sand.

 

“My version. Usually ends up with me falling on my ass.”

 

Glen laughed. Jinx risked another glance at him. He was very handsome although he did not act like he knew it. That was probably what made him so attractive.  Glen helped her into the car. They rode in silence back to the hotel.

 

Glen walked her to the door of her room, a smile still playing on his lips. “Well, I had a good time.”

 

“Me too. Mostly.” She smiled shyly. “I should go now, before I totally ruin it by breaking your nose or something.”

 

Glen chuckled. “I think you’ll be gentle with me.” With that he leaned down and kissed her…on the cheek. “I’ll see you at work.”

 

“Yeah.” Jinx watched him walk away, feeling like the world’s biggest idiot.  For the second time in as many days she’d rebuffed the advances of very sexy men. Something was definitely wrong with her brain. With a sigh, she went into her room, wanting nothing more than to beat herself up for being a fool.

 

6

 

“Seeing that you know me so well, I don’t see how you can sleep while I drive.”

 

Jinx was in the driver seat. Speeding. This stretch of highway was straight and flat. She wanted to make good time. She’d decided after a restless night to get an early start. Randy had seen her lugging her bags and had decided to ride along with her.

 

He was not much help in the driving department. After fussing about her choice of music he’d reclined the passenger seat and dozed off. It was nearing nine in the morning. Time for him to wake up.

 

“You’ve never had an accident.” He still sounded sleepy. Jinx grinned.

 

“Always a first time.”

 

“Ha ha. You won’t wreck. The shield is up.”

 

Jinx laughed. “If Mom had signed me up for ballet when I was a kid, do you think I’d be more graceful now?”

 

Randy adjusted his seat so he was sitting upright. With a yawn he glanced down at the speedometer then out the window. “Nah. You’d just leap and knock down walls.”

 

“Thanks.” Jinx pretended to hit him. Randy pretended to be injured. It was an old joke between them.

 

“So how was your date?” Randy was grinning.

 

“Oh. I wondered when you were gonna bring that up.”

 

“Right now. Did he behave like a gentleman?”

 

“Yes, he did.” Jinx rolled her eyes. “You are a dork. And really it’s none of your business.”

 

“Hey now, when Uncle John asks me what you’ve been doing, I don’t wanna have to lie to him.” Randy said with a laugh.

 

“Don’t you think I’m a little old for Dad to be pumping you for information about what I’m up to?” Jinx signaled a turn for the next exit. After three hours they were finally almost there.

 

“Yup. But that doesn’t stop him from asking.” Randy adjusted the ball cap he was wearing. “Hoping for grandkids while he’s still young enough to play with ‘em.”

 

“Ugh. Don’t make me dump you out here, jackass.”

 

Randy laughed again. “You love me. You have to turn at the third light.”

 

“I know. I can read.”

 

“Just reminding you.”

 

Jinx made the turn and slowed the car, keeping an eye out for the hotel they’d made reservations at. Randy pointed it out. She sighed in relief. She did not mind driving but her legs felt as if they were cramping from sitting so long.

 

She angled the car into a vacant parking spot and shut off the engine. “Think we’re the first ones?”

 

“Hell no. Some of the guys drove last night. Some of ‘em left before we did. There’s a few who drive faster than you do.” Randy shrugged and climbed out of the car. “They’ll be trickling in a few at a time all day. Tomorrow everybody will be here. It’ll be crazy.”

 

“I’ve seen for myself.” Jinx knew that most of the wresters and crew tended to stay in the same place. It was just easier that way. Many of them went in together and shared room costs. That was the only area jinx had any luck-she had money saved from her last job as a magazine editor, and her father had insisted on she invest a bit of it. It was enough to keep her in her own room. Jinx didn’t know anyone else well enough to even want to share a room. Even if it was just for a few hours.

 

Randy led the way into the hotel lobby. “I’m gonna go check in. Want me to get yours too?”

 

“Sure.” Jinx was hardly paying attention to him. She was looking around, taking in the layout of the place. There was a bar of course, but it looked like it was meant more for quiet social gatherings than rowdy drunks entertaining themselves. There was also a movie theater. For guests only. It only played one movie at a time on a single screen but it looked like any other theater she’d ever been in.

 

Of course, not paying attention, she pulled her usual stunt. Jinx walked right into someone, knocking them forward.

 

“Sorry…” It was automatic. Jinx looked up and saw Mark standing there, looking at her, amused. That was a good thing, she guessed. Better he was amused than pissed off.

 

“Gotta quit runnin’ into each other like this.” Mark said, a smile forming on his lips.

 

“You’re tellin’ me.” Jinx matched his Texan drawl without realizing she was doing it. Mark grinned.

 

“Maybe you’re trying to tell me something.”

 

“What? That you’re a big guy and in my way?” Jinx said it without thinking. She was too busy trying not to look at him.

 

“Hey, I was just standing here.” Mark’s grin did not fade.

 

“I know.” Jinx blew her hair back from her face. “I keep telling you people that I’m a hazard. Is it really my fault you don’t listen?”

 

This got a deep chuckle from him. Damn but he was good at giving her the shivers with that voice of his. Jinx shook her head and turned to find Randy. She ran into another man who was walking past, knocking his briefcase from his hand, sending it sliding across the lobby floor.

 

She mumbled an apology. The guy gave her a dark look and went to retrieve his case. Jinx quickly walked away from a laughing Mark, once again hating herself for giving these people so much amusement.

 

Randy was coming her way. He grinned. “I saw that.”

 

“Figures.”

 

“I should quit picking on you about it. Maybe I’m the problem.”

 

Jinx looked at him, shocked. “Why would you be the problem?” She was genuinely confused.

 

“Maybe if I didn’t keep telling you how clumsy you are, you wouldn’t be so self conscious about it. And then you wouldn’t be so clumsy.”

 

Jinx shook her head. “So what about all the times I’m clumsy when you’re not there to make fun of me?” She took her key from his hand.

 

“Residual bullying.” Randy said with a straight face. Jinx cracked up.

 

“That’s a pretty big word for you there, Rand. You look faint. Need to lay down?”

 

“Probably. I’m still a little tired.”

 

“You slept during the ride.” Jinx pointed out, following him onto the elevator. Mark was there, holding the door for them. Randy greeted him. Mark nodded and stood in the corner, out of their way.

 

“Yeah, and it makes me feel like I need a nap.” Randy laughed as the elevator came to a halt at the third floor. “See ya later.”

 

“Lazy.” Jinx grouched, watching him walk away. The doors slid shut. The elevator began to rise. Jinx was on the eighth floor. She hummed and tapped her foot. The elevator came to a jerking halt. “What the hell?” She leaned over and tapped the button for her floor. Nothing happened. She glanced at Mark, who still looked amused.

 

“More of your magic at work?” He asked, a smile tilting his lips.

 

“Probably.” Jinx kicked the door. The elevator did not budge. “Great.”

 

“Relax. This happens here all the time. Damn computerize stuff.”

 

“You get trapped in elevators a lot?” Jinx asked, turning to face him.

 

“Not usually.” Mark’s voice was low. “This will be the third time at this hotel though.”

 

“Good. Can’t stick that one on me.”

 

“Oh, I don’t know. They said last time it was fixed.” Mark chuckled.

 

“Funny.” Jinx paced two steps and leaned against the wall opposite him. “Good thing I’m not claustrophobic.”

 

“I am.”

 

“No way.”

 

“Yeah. I’m not. Just trying to make you feel better.” Mark grinned. Jinx looked away, suddenly nervous.

 

“How long is this gonna take?” She said, idly punching at random buttons.

 

“A few minutes. An hour. Who the hell knows?” Mark did not sound put out by it. Jinx glanced at him, saw him staring at her, and looked away quickly. He looked like he had something on his mind, and she would harbor a bet that it wasn’t his wrestling match the next night.

 

Sighing, Jinx slid down to sit on the floor, her legs crossed in front of her. She closed her eyes. Not pretending to sleep, just making sure she didn’t try to steal any glances at those lips of his.

 

And thinking of Mark’s lips made her think about Glen’s. Too bad she’d gone and clutzed herself out of the situation. He had just been getting started and she’d ruined it. But then again…that kind of situation scared her. So in a way she was glad. Who know how far she’d have let him go if she hadn’t fallen on her ass?

 

“You have a weird look on your face. What are you thinkin’ about?” Mark’s voice was inches from her ear. Jinx jumped, cracking her head on the elevator wall.

 

She glared at him and rubbed her head. “Just thoughts. What’s it matter to you?”

 

“I was just curious. Damn.” Mark held up his hands in a warding off gesture.

 

“Sorry.”

 

“What did I tell you about apologizing?” Mark said with a half-smirk.

 

“Uh…not to do it?” Jinx could not remember.

 

“Not to make a habit off it, but close enough.” Mark stretched his legs out next to hers. It made Jinx realize once again how tall he was. “I heard you and my brother had a dinner date last night.”

 

“Word travels fast.” Jinx said, and that was all she was going to say.

 

“Around here it does. Did you have a good time?”

 

Jinx looked at him, meeting his eyes. “Weird question.”

 

“Just wondering.” Mark chuckled. “No crime in being nosey. Although from your reaction should I guess it wasn’t very good?”

 

“No…you can take from my reaction that it’s none of your business, and I in fact had a lovely time.” Jinx huffed and shifted away from him.

 

“You don’t have to get defensive.”

 

“Who’s getting defensive?” She slid another inch away. Mark looked at her for a moment, then chuckled.

 

“I’m starting to get the feelin’ that I make you nervous.”

 

Jinx forced a laugh. It sounded nervous to her own ears. Mark smiled.

 

“Why is that, Jayce?” Mark’s voice had dropped low. Damn it. She felt another shiver working its way up her spine. Especially when he used her name, her real name. Had she ever heard a man say it in just that tone of voice? Hell, had she ever heard a man say it except for her father?

 

“Uh…probably cuz you’re twice my size and have a bad temper?”

 

“I don’t have a temper, darlin’.” Mark was still smiling. “At least not that you have seen.”

 

“So I took a guess.” She shifted again. This time Mark reached over and grabbed her hand before she could get far.

 

“Stop tryin’ to run away.”

 

“I’m not running. I’m shifting. My butt’s asleep.” Jinx could not meet his eyes.

 

“You don’t have to be nervous around me.” Mark went on as if she had not spoken. He was doing that thing again, where he leaned forward when he spoke. Jinx thought he did not even realize he was doing it, it just came naturally. What was more intimidating than a huge guy standing over you, looking down at you?

 

“If you wouldn’t try to bully me, then maybe I wouldn’t be so nervous.” Jinx kept her voice level. She scooted over another few inches, this time not trying to be subtle about it.

 

“I’m bullying you?”

 

“What would you call it?” Jinx finally turned her head to look at him. Mark had followed her progress and she had not even noticed. He was still just inches from her. “How many times do I have to warn you that getting close to me is the equivalent of signing your death warrant?”

 

“I’ll take my chances.” His voice was so low it was barely audible. Jinx opened her mouth to say something snappy, perhaps a resounding ‘whatever’. Mark took advantage, ducking his head quickly and claiming her lips with his own. It was not Glen’s tentative technique from the night before but a full on invasion. Mark’s tongue was in Jinx’s mouth almost before she was aware he was kissing her.

 

He cupped her face in his hands before she could pull away. His tongue delved deeper as he urged her to respond to his intimate caress. Jinx could not help but respond to him, could not fight the urge to run her tongue along his.

 

Just when she was about to let herself go, to really get into the kiss, the elevator lurched into motion. Without thinking about it, Jinx jerked back, at the same time clamping her mouth shut. She caught a pretty good piece of Mark’s tongue in the process.

 

Mark cursed and pulled back from her. “If you wanted me to stop, you coulda just said so, darlin’.” He experimentally touched the tip of his tongue to his teeth.

 

“Oh…I’m…”

 

Mark silenced her with a look. Not a bad look, just a look that told her not to say what immediately came to her mind. Then he smiled. “It’s forgivable.”

 

With that he rose to his feet, then helped Jinx up. Once again she felt as if her face were on fire. She ducked her head and waited for the elevator to reach its destination. Mark half-smiled and touched her chin with his fingertips. “That was more along the bully lines. You don’t have to be embarrassed. I started it.”

 

Was that supposed to make her feel better? Then she thought of Glen and how nice he’d been to her the night before-and how she’d pushed him away. Now there was embarrassment. The elevator doors slid open. Without a word she rushed out of the enclosed space, wanting nothing more than to lock herself in her room for the day.

 

She guessed she now knew what guilt was. Although really she had nothing to be guilty about. It wasn’t as if she and Glen were a couple for crying out loud. They went out one time. That really didn’t count.

 

“Damn it.” Throwing her bag on her bed, Jinx kicked her shoes off, still fuming. Once again she’d proven herself the queen of all stupidity. Glen was a great guy, so there was no way she couldn’t not feel guilty. She liked him. He was easy to talk to. She could relax around him. The same could not be said for his brother, who made her nervous on a level she could not define. And now he’d gone and planted one on her, making her feel…well…like some worthless tramp. 

 

Forgetting the pool, at least for now, Jinx decided a long soak in the tub was in order. She needed to think. And there was no better place to do it than in chin deep scalding water.

 

An hour later she was wrapped in a towel, lying on her bed. Jinx was getting a headache. She was really over thinking the problem. Mark was just Mark, and he was just a bully. He was just showing her he was stronger than she was. Well, good for him. Mission accomplished. She’d just stay the hell away from him. She knew his type. He’d find someone else to bother after a short time.

 

Her phone rang. She warily picked it up. “Hello?” No one but Randy knew her room number. She hadn’t bothered to call her parents yet.

 

“Hey. Just thought I’d see if you made it in all right.”

 

Jinx sighed in relief. “I’m fine Glen. Got stuck in the elevator for a while, but I’m in one piece.” She debated on whether or not to tell him about what else happened, the decided against it. She didn’t want to start trouble.

 

“Stuck, huh?” Glen chuckled. “That’s happened to me a time or two. Uhm…” He hesitated. Jinx waited him out. “I…uh…just wondered if you were doing anything later tonight. Thought you might want to watch a movie…or something.” He sounded unsure. It was downright adorable.

 

“I dunno. Let me think about it. I’ll give you a call later, after I’ve had a nap.” Jinx made a note of his room number and said goodbye. Then she stretched out on the bed. Great. Glen got nicer the longer she knew him, and here she was kissing his brother in an elevator.

 

“Enough already. Get over it.” Jinx got to her feet. She needed to finish drying off, then she was going to do what she’d said. She was going to force herself to relax, even if it killed her.

 

7

 

After spending a quiet evening alone, Jinx showed up the next morning a bit more relaxed and ready for work.

 

She’d called Glen and given him an excuse about having a very bad migraine. Her head felt fine after her nap, but she did not want to make a habit out of spending time with him. She was afraid of hurting him, and not just physically.

 

He’d been nice enough about it, offering to bring her aspirin, something to drink, and himself to give her a massage. Jinx was tempted but turned him down. She was not going to be taking her clothes off for him for any reason. Things got too complicated after that happened.

 

She entered the conference room a bit past ten that morning, carrying a few notebooks and a bag with a laptop in it. Since this was her first real day, she was going in prepared. Jinx opened the door and stopped in her tracks.

 

Instead of the usual group of four men and Michael, there were almost a dozen guys in the room. Michael was once again at the center. The men were spread out in various poses of relaxation. The all looked at her when she walked in.

 

Ignoring their looks, Jinx made her way to the back of the room, giving a wide berth to anyone who was within the fall out zone that was her clumsiness. Glen was to her right, watching her, a smile on his face. She pretended not to notice it. Mark was also looking at her, but his gaze was more clinical, as if trying to figure her out.

 

Jinx took her seat and took another look around. Besides the guy in the cowboy hat, whose name had slipped her mind, there were a few that she had seen around in the halls. Randy’s blue-haired friend was tilting his chair at a dangerous angle, talking to the dark haired man beside him. And Randy himself was in deep discussion with a few other guys.

 

“All right, settle down.” Michael shuffled some papers. “Jayce.” She looked at him. Michael passed a sheaf of papers down the table. “That’s our roster for the next thirty days. I hate to do this to you, but looks like we have had a little emergency come up…”

 

“If you wanna call it that.” Someone said sarcastically from the front of the room. Some of the men laughed.

 

“Be that as it may. Eric’s wife went into labor last night. He activated a thirty-day leave. Which means we get to pick up his slack while he’s gone.”

 

Jinx nodded and glanced through the papers. Names, and storyline summaries were neatly typed. She heaved a sigh, wondering what the hell she was supposed to do about it.

 

The door opened again. Someone was later than Jinx had been, which made her feel better about her entrance. A woman walked in. She was pretty enough to be one of the female ‘divas’ who were on television every week. But she was dressed down in jeans and an old T-shirt. She looked comfortable in the room of men. Jinx envied her. Even dressed as she was, her dark hair and eyes gave her a sultry look. Most of the guys couldn’t help but stare at her.

 

“Glad you could join us, Evie.” That was from Randy. Jinx bit back a smile at the tone of his voice.

 

“Can’t leave you kids alone for a minute, huh sweet cheeks?” The girl was not put out by Randy’s remark. She handed Michael a few sheets of paper, then came toward the back where Jinx was sitting. She took the chair next to her and blew her bangs from her forehead.

 

“All right…where were…” Michael had barely gotten words out when his phone began beeping. “Damn it. Ok, sit tight everybody. That’s the boss on line one.” Michael stepped out of the room. The men looked at each other and resumed their conversations as if they hadn’t been interrupted.

 

“You must be new.” The woman, Evie, was looking at Jinx with a ghost of a smile on her lips.

 

“That I must be.” Jinx smiled at her. She was rewarded with a bright smile in return.

 

“I’m Evelyn. Known as Lyn to my dad, who I want to choke every time he says it. You can call me Evie.”

 

“I’m Jayce. Or Jinx. Your choice.”

 

“Ah. How long have you been here?”

 

“A week. This is my first real day.” Jinx admitted.

 

“Don’t sweat it. It’s not that hard of a job, no matter what these jackasses have been telling you.” Evie hooked her thumb at the men in the room. Then she grinned. “Jinx huh?”

 

Jinx rolled her eyes. She was getting tired of explaining her nickname. “Unfortunate bad luck is my lot in life.” She said with a shrug.

 

“Luck.” Evie made a strange noise. “I don’t believe in luck. And if there is luck, I think you make your own.” Her eyes moved to the right. “What’s up, sexy?”

 

Jinx followed the direction of Evie’s gaze. Mark was sitting there, watching them. Evie had apparently caught him looking.

 

Mark smiled at her. “Nothing much, Ev. How you been?”

 

“Better now that I’ve seen your fine ass.” Evie winked at him. Jinx raised an eyebrow. Evie caught her expression and laughed. “I’m a shameless flirt. Just ignore me. I try to be obnoxious.”

 

“And mostly she succeeds.” Mark said, still smiling a bit.

 

“I don’t care what anybody else says, baby. You are sweet as candy.” Evie grinned.

 

“You’ll make me blush if you keep up that kinda talk.” Mark shook his head. The guy next to him said something. Mark turned his attention from the women to answer the question.

 

Evie turned back to Jinx. “That man would make a nun wet.”

 

Jinx had been taking a sip of water. She choked on it, spitting it all over Evie’s shirt. She laughed and brushed the drops of water off. “Sorry.”

 

“Forget it. Water won’t melt me.”

 

“How long have you worked here?” Jinx asked, curious. She’d known her for all of five minutes, and already she found Evie to be fascinating beyond words. Jinx wished there was a way she could buy her kind of confidence.

 

“A little over a year.” Evie shrugged. “I was Michael’s assistant for a while. I got reassigned to Eric after a few months. More guys, more booking. Michael is something of a trainer for us assistants.”

 

“Oh. I didn’t know I’d be moving around.” Jinx bit her lip. Why did that bother her? She had barely started and already she was worried about an upheaval in her schedule.

 

“Depends on how you work out. I asked for the transfer.”

 

“Do I want to ask why?” Jinx said cautiously.

 

Evie laughed. “Nothing bad. Michael only had a few guys. There was really not much for me to do. I wanted something a bit more challenging. Although I hear he’s helping a few of the other bookers now, so I guess that’ll keep you busy.”

 

Jinx nodded. She chewed on her thumbnail thoughtfully and once again glanced around the room. Evie seemed nice, if a bit over the top. Plus her comment about the luck thing…

 

“Do you really believe it?”

 

“Believe what? That you’ll be busy?” Evie had been lost in thought, flipping through the notes that Michael had passed to Jinx.

 

“No. That you make your own luck.” She felt silly asking.

 

“Of course. If you think you’re unlucky, then you are of course going to be unlucky.”

 

“Ok, so what if it’s not luck at all? What if you are just born clumsy and everything you touch just falls apart?”

 

Evie eyed her, one eyebrow raised. “Nobody is born clumsy.”

 

“That’s easy for you to say. Let me guess, ballet?” Jinx had seen how Evie had weaved through the room. And she didn’t even seem to be thinking about it. It just came to her naturally.

 

“Gymnastics through high school.” Evie said with a smile. “How’d you know?”

 

“Believe me, I know the signs.”

 

“You could always…”

 

“I don’t think so.” Jinx laughed. “If I tried to take classes, gymnastics, martial arts, stuff that teaches balance, I would fall on my face. And probably take out half the class with me.”

 

“So you’re saying you’re a walking calamity?” Evie looked intrigued.

 

“That’s a good way of putting it.” Jinx would have to remember that one.

 

“Cool.”

 

“Cool? What’s cool about it? I’m surprised Randy didn’t already spread the warning to you. If you value your looks, your feet, your hands, then I’m the last person you should be sitting next to.”

 

Evie laughed. She had a very musical laugh. Heads turned to look at her when she did it. Something else for Jinx to envy. Great.

 

“At least I won’t ever find you boring. That’s a plus.”

 

“My life is anything but.”

 

“Ok, give me an example.” Evie grinned. “How clumsy are you exactly?”

 

Jinx lowered her voice and gave Evie a quick rundown of her job interview. The other woman was laughing by the time she was done. Jinx felt herself blush a bit. She seemed to be the only person who did not see the humor in her actions.

 

“If it was as bad as you seem to think it is, you wouldn’t be sitting here.” Evie finally said. “Old Vinnie Mac has a sense of humor about some things, but the family jewels are strictly off limits.”

 

“So that’s one violation against me.” Jinx said with a sigh.

 

Evie was shaking her head. “You are a goof.”

 

“Me?”

 

“Yeah, you. You’ve been here a week. Does it seem like anybody is worried about the damage you cause?”

 

“Uh…” Jinx stopped to think about it. “Not really. It’s weird. Usually by this time I’m being railroaded to the nearest corner to sit alone.”

 

Evie laughed again. Michael was coming back into the room. “I’ll let you in on a little secret. The reason these boys aren’t worried, don’t seem to care, is cuz they’ve seen just about everything there is to see. There isn’t a damn one of them that hasn’t done something completely retarded that they wish they could take back. And before you’re through here, you’re going to see some of that for yourself. Traveling together like this, you can’t help but notice. So everybody just brushes it off, calls it road crazies, and gets on with the show.”

 

Michael cleared his throat. Evie turned her attention to the front of the room. Jinx looked at her thoughtfully. The woman had given her something to think about. But it would have to be later. She wanted to figure out this damn job, and wanted to do a good job doing it. Couldn’t do that if she were in her own world.

 

Two hours later, Michael called a lunch break. Jinx had scribbled away in a notebook, taking notes, writing her observations. Evie had not bothered with notes. She had a bored look on her face the whole time. Jinx did notice that Glen was doing his little note trick with Evie. Whatever he was writing had to be passed through a few people before Evie actually received it.

 

Jinx felt a bit jealous at that. Until Evie had snickered and shown her what was written on the paper. A riddle. They were passing elementary level jokes back and forth. Jinx couldn’t decide how that made her feel. Right before the break, Glen had passed another note. Evie had glanced at it then held it out to Jinx.

 

Jinx hesitated then took it. Her name was written on the front. She unfolded the paper and had to smile. Glen had drawn her a picture, a very workable likeness of Michael. He’d added about fifty pounds and had taken away most of his hair. Jinx grinned, then noticed the note at the bottom. No capital letters this time. ‘Lunch on me?’

 

She looked up to find him watching her. She smiled and nodded. It was, after all, just lunch. When Michael dismissed them, He waited for her, watching as she packed her things.

 

Evie was stretching her arms over her head, not in any hurry to go anywhere. Jinx smiled at her. “We’re going to get something to eat. I’d love it if you joined us. I could use the moral support.”

 

Evie looked from her to Glen. “Glen’s a big old teddy bear. I don’t think you need my help with him.” She grinned.

 

“Not with…Glen. Just with this job. I’m still a little in the dark about what exactly I’m supposed to be doing here.” Jinx did not want to admit that although she was not afraid of Glen, she did not want to be alone with him anytime soon.

 

Evie thought for a moment, then nodded. “All right. I suppose I can find time in my busy day to help you out.” She stood up and linked her arm through Jinx’s. Jinx had to point out once again that contact of any kind meant a sure accident. Evie laughed but did not move away. “I’m probably echoing something you’ve heard a million times, and you’ll probably hear a billion more. I ain’t worried about it.” With that she led Glen and Jinx out the door.

 

After a quick lunch that had been buffered by Evie’s presence, the three of them returned to the conference room. Michael wanted the guys who were on that night to go to ringside. Glen and Mark both rose to their feet, along with Randy and a few others. Once they were gone, Michael dismissed the rest.

 

“So what do we do now?” Jinx asked after most of the guys had left.

 

“We wait five minutes.” Evie said cryptically.

 

In about three minutes one of the guys came up to them. He was smiling shyly. He was a young blonde just getting started on the circuit. “They told me to come talk to you guys.”

 

“Who is they?” Evie asked, arching her eyebrow. “Mike, this is Jinx.”

 

“Hey. Uh…” Mike seemed to not be able to form words.

 

“Spit it out kid, we don’t have all day.” Evie said with a laugh.

 

“Well, my contract says I can’t take more than two days a week off for six months, and I’ve only been on for four. My dad’s having surgery in three weeks. I wanted to see if I could get a week off to help my mom out.” He said it in a rush. Jinx looked to Evie for help.

 

“I’ll…er…we’ll talk to Shane, see what we can do. Give us a couple of hours.” Evie said. Mike grinned and wandered away. Evie shot Jinx a triumphant look. “See. Five minutes. It’s so predictable. Shane will be in the production truck most likely. I’ll give you the honor of huntin’ his ass down.”

 

“So that’s what problem solver means?” Jinx asked, stuffing her notebook into her laptop case.

 

“Partly. Sometimes the hotels get overbooked and we have to find new rooms. Sometimes they need rental cars, or tickets to give to their families, or a million other mundane things that they can’t seem to do for themselves. Pretty much our job is to keep them happy.”

 

“Keep the happy? Why does that sound dirty?” Jinx asked warily.

 

Evie laughed. “That part is totally optional.”

 

“You are kidding.” That was not a question. Jinx was now staring at her new friend in shock.

 

“Hell no I’m not. Have you taken a good look at some of the guys here? Rowr.” She made a purring noise. Then Evie grinned. “Like your pal Glen, for instance. He’s doable.”

 

It was Jinx’s turn to laugh. “Doable?”

 

“Hmm…maybe not the throw him on the bed and rape him kind of doable, but doable all the same. Now Taker…” Evie smiled dreamily, exaggerating the expression. “He’s utterly fuckable. Don’t need much else from him after that.”

 

“That’s kind of sad.” Jinx said.

 

“Why? Everybody goes home happy.” Evie shrugged and followed Jinx into the hallway.

 

“So have you…uh…and Mark…”

 

“No. And it’s kinda obvious due to the fact that I still have full operation of both legs.” Evia laughed. “I told you, he strikes me as a rough rider kinda guy.”

 

Jinx couldn’t help herself. She laughed. “So that’s the vibe I have been picking up from him.”

 

“Oh yeah, he wears sexy like we wear perfume.” Evie paused. “I gotta go say hello to some people. I’m in room six-fourteen at the hotel. Holler at me later, we can go out and do something.” Without waiting for an answer, Evie ducked into another hallway. Jinx shook her head and walked on.

 

“Holler.” She snickered, saying it under her breath. Evie definitely had the accent of a good southern girl. And the vocabulary and delivery of a sailor. With a grin, Jinx headed to the production truck to hunt down Shane and see what he said about Mike’s request.

 

8

 

The next few months went by quickly in a whirl of travel and activity.

 

Jinx found that she hardly had time to herself, which was all right by her. The busier she was, the quicker the time passed. She’d gotten the hang of her real job, by way of Evie’s help. Eric had returned from his leave and his group once again split from Michael’s. Since Jinx only had four guys to work with, Vince okayed her to help out Eric’s group when needed.

 

She and Evie had become close friends. Jinx was always amazed at Evie’s outrageousness. She said what was on her mind and did not care who heard it. She also hadn’t joked about being a flirt. She flirted with everyone, some of the girls included. They played back because, well, it was funny. And it drove the guys crazy.

 

Jinx and Glen had gone out a few more times. She really had no reason to keep telling him no, so she’d give in and they’d go to dinner, or a movie. He was always a perfect gentleman. He always ended his evenings with her with a chaste kiss on the cheek or a hug. That was it. Jinx found it to be sweet and frustrating at the same time. She did not know how to take the next step, or even if he was interested in the next step.

 

Mark made himself scarce for a while. If Jinx saw him, she made it a point not to look at him or invite any kind of conversation from him. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but after that incident in the elevator, she wasn’t sure she wanted to get close to him. She still harbored a nervousness around him that made her angry with herself.

 

Of course, she still had her little ‘accidents’. Running into people, knocking things to the ground, breaking lamps. It was par for the course in her life. Evie had tired of pep talking her and just shook her head and looked amused whenever Jinx found herself the cause of mayhem.

 

At the moment the fed was in Florida for a weekend. There were no shows on Friday or Saturday, but Sunday was a pay-per-view. The guys were either home relaxing while they could, or holed up at the hotel enjoying the break in the schedule.

 

Jinx was coerced into sharing a room with Evie. Not just a room, but a suite. Two bedrooms. A kitchen. A sitting area. And probably the biggest television she’d ever seen taking up a space that was designed to look like a fireplace. Normally Jinx would not have splurged, but since Evie was paying half, she decided to treat herself. The really good part, in her opinion, was the gigantic hot tub in the bathroom. It looked like it could hold ten people with room to spare. She couldn’t wait to jump in.

 

Evie headed her off. “You are not going to hide in the bathroom for two hours when it’s ninety degrees outside and a pool on the roof.” Her voice held a scolding. Jinx grinned.

 

“On the roof?”

 

“Hell yeah. I asked the guy downstairs, he said it was closed to everybody but us with the fed. So how ‘bout we go down there and wow the hell out of the guys?”

 

“I really do not feel like parading myself around in a skimpy swimsuit for a bunch of men, Ev.” Jinx bit her lip and frowned at the other woman.

 

“The skimpier the better. Go, change. Let’s check it out.”

 

Jinx sighed but ducked into her bedroom. She emerged wearing a dark blue one-piece suit that was almost modest. Evie was shaking her head. “That’s skimpy?”

 

“For me it is.” Jinx looked down at herself. She looked all right. She was never one to get too caught up in her body image. But if she planned on swimming she was not going to risk anything less than what she had on.

 

“Woman, please…” Evie went into her room. There were muffled noises as she threw her bags around. She reappeared, holding up a few scraps of material. “Found it. Try this on. Don’t give me any lip about it either.” She shoved the scraps at Jinx then crossed her arms and tapped her foot, waiting.

 

Jinx sighed again and went back into her bedroom. Ten minutes later she still had not come out. The suit Evie had given her was not a suit at all but a bikini. And barely a bikini in her eyes. It was big enough to cover what needed to be covered, but that was about it. The tags still dangled from a piece of plastic. Apparently Evie had not had a chance to wear it.

 

“Did you die in there?” Evie called from the sitting area.

 

“I wish.” Jinx slowly came out of the room. Evie looked her over. Jinx stood still for it.

 

“I don’t know what you are so scared of. You look great. I might have to borrow your suit if I go out there with you.”

 

“Oh, gimme a break.” Jinx laughed. Evie actually took time every other day to work out. Jinx was more sporadic. She went to the gym when she got guilty about not going. Usually she had more than enough nervous energy to keep the fat burned off of her.

 

“You could use some color. You aren’t one of those people who are afraid of the sun are you?”

 

“Never have been.” Jinx shrugged. Then adjusted the top of her bikini over her breasts. She felt as if she’d fall out any minute.

 

“Well good. Let me get changed and we’ll head up. Lay out, listen to some music, rest. It’ll be great.” She did not wait for Jinx’s opinion. Evie went into her room and shut the door.

 

Jinx sighed and looked critically down at herself. Shaking her head she went to her room and grabbed a couple of towels. She wrapped one around her hips. The other she carried draped over her arm. She found a book she’d been meaning to read stuffed into her bag. And a pair of sunglasses. She was ready as she would ever be.

 

Evie emerged, looking like a goddess in her two-piece. It was even skimpier than Jinx’s minimal coverage. Evie did not care. She worked hard to look the way she did, and she liked to show it off. “You ready?”

 

“I suppose. Here.” Jinx tossed her friend the second towel. Evie grabbed her room key and they headed for the elevator.

 

*~*~*

 

A few hours later, Jinx snagged Evie’s key, intent on heading back to the room. When they’d first gone to the pool, they were the only ones there, which was a good thing. Jinx’s top had shifted as soon as she’d stepped into the water, and she’d flashed herself at her friend.

 

Evie had laughed, and Jinx was once again too embarrassed for words. After testing the water, and having it fail miserably, she decided it was better to just soak up some sun while she could.

 

Eventually more people appeared. Randy and a woman Jinx had never seen before. A few guys she’d not had the pleasure to work with. Glen came up with Dave, looking like they were lost in whatever conversation they were having.

 

And…Jinx felt a little burnt. She wasn’t fair skinned, but it had been a while since she’d had time for more than a little sun. She wanted to take a quick shower and then relax, maybe check out what movies were playing nearby.

 

She was just turning the key in the lock when a hand touched her shoulder, making her jump. Jinx gave a breathless shriek and turned on her heel. She was barefoot, and her foot slipped. She found herself falling against Glen as he stood behind her with a grin on his face.

 

“I’m glad to see you too.” He said with a grin. Jinx just shook her head. She made sure her bikini top had stayed in place, then backed away from him. He was in black swim trunks, with a towel slung over his shoulder. He hadn’t gotten in the water, he’d been too busy talking to Dave.

 

“I’m sorry. You scared the shit outta me.” Jinx swatted his chest playfully.

 

“Then I should be the one apologizing. I thought you heard me coming.”

 

“I’m oblivious. What can I say?” Jinx went back to opening her door. Glen followed her inside to check out her room.

 

“Pretty nice digs here, Jinx.” He said looking around. Then he smiled at her. “First you’re clumsy, now you’re oblivious. Is that an improvement?”

 

Jinx laughed and tightened her towel around her waist. “I think it’s compounded. I didn’t give up one for the other.” She shifted nervously. “Uh…did you need something?”

 

Glen was still smiling. “Nah. Just wanted to say you look great.” He winked. Jinx blushed and ducked her head.

 

“Evie’s idea.”

 

“Well, it’s nice to see her being a good influence.” Glen said with a laugh.

 

“That’s one way of putting it.” She gestured to the couch. “Have a seat. Want a drink?”

 

“Sure. I’ll take a water.” Glen settled on the couch.

 

Jinx grabbed two bottles of water and handed one to Glen. Then she debated whether or not to sit on the couch. She was dry at least. She sighed and sank onto the cushions, keeping a respectable distance from the man beside her.

 

“Wanna watch a movie or…” Jinx noticed the way he was looking at her. Not at her face either, but at her chest. She looked down and felt her mouth drop open. The bikini top had shifted, exposing one of her nipples. Glen’s eyes were wide as she adjusted herself so she was concealed. “Apparently I don’t have enough to fill this thing out to keep it still.” She tried to make a joke. In truth she was mortified.

 

Glen was quiet for a minute. He tore his eyes from her chest and reached over to touch her cheek. “I think it’s the other way around.”

 

Jinx looked down at herself. “Yeah?”

 

“Definitely.” Glen slid closer to her. He’d thought she was a good-looking woman when he’d first met her. And she was wearing an outfit that damn near bowled him over. And to beat it all, she still had that innocent quality to her, even if she was mostly naked in front of him. Jinx looked up just in time to see him leaning toward her.

 

“Uhm…” She managed to get a noise out. Glen looked at her, stopping his forward movement. “I…uh…”

 

“Sometimes you think too much, Jayce.” Glen’s voice was low, deep, husky. Jinx took in a shaky breath. Glen was inches away. She could almost smell him, and if she moved she’d probably give him a hefty headbutt for his efforts.

 

“Evie’ll be back…”

 

“You’ve got her key.” Glen ran his hand down her cheek, her neck.

 

“She’ll knock.”

 

“Ignore it. She can wait.” His hand cupped the back of her head, forcing her to look up at him.

 

“I don’t have any…uh…protection…stuff…” She could barely get the words out. She watched his eyes darken, the lids heavy with his desire for her.  Then he smiled slowly.

 

“Well, you might have me there. I don’t either.” He leaned a little closer, turning his head to rub his cheek against hers. Jinx sighed at the feel of him. Her hands were clutching the cushions on either side of her as she struggled to maintain her resistance. She wanted him, damn it, and she’d been denying herself for too damn long. She could feel herself giving in to his slow stroking of her cheek with his, could feel her guard going down.

 

Jinx lifted one hand and let it rest on his thigh. She could feel the hard muscle beneath the velvety skin bunching as he struggled to keep from reacting to her touch. “Evie might have…something…in her room…” She managed to mutter, her eyes closing as she gave his leg a squeeze.

 

“I’ll go check.” Glen reluctantly let her go and rose to his feet. Jinx could not watch as he left the room. Remembering something Evie had said, she stood.

 

“Check her make-up bag!” She called out, walking past the door to Evie’s room.

 

Glen said something unintelligible, making Jinx smile. She went into her own room and dropped the towel she was wearing to the floor.

 

“Got it.” Glen’s voice was triumphant from behind her. Jinx smiled and turned to face him, her hands going to the tie that held her top on. “God…leave it on for now. You don’t know how hot that is.” His voice was husky again. He came forward and stood in front of her, staring down into her eyes. “Ok, I’ll kick myself for asking, but are you sure you wanna do this?”

 

Jinx met his eyes and held them with her own. Then she raised a hand to touch his cheek. “I shoulda done this the first time you wanted to.” She said softly. Glen made a noise low in his throat and ducked his head, capturing her lips with his.

 

Jinx gripped his shoulders, kissing him back, opening up her mouth for his tongue. Glen delved into her mouth with a barely controlled passion that made her feel like she was falling. He held on to her though, his arms wrapped around her waist as he angled his head to deepen the kiss.

 

Glen pulled back and caught his breath, then slowly moved her toward the bed. He dropped the condom on the nightstand and eased Jinx onto the mattress, not taking his eyes off of her. Jinx watched as he crawled next to her, her eyes roaming from his face, down his body, back up.

 

He kissed her again. This time his hands were free to roam. He began tracing her body with his fingers, stroking her from her head to her knees, then up again. Jinx arched into his touch, moaning softly when his hand rested against her breast. Glen squeezed her gently, drawing another moan. He made that noise in his throat again, too soft to be a growl, and tugged the material of her bikini top away, exposing her nipple to his fingers.

 

Glen rolled it gently, then flicked a thumb over it. Jinx closed her eyes, wanting to just feel the sensations as he continued touching her breasts. He pulled the scrap of material covering her other breast, laying it bare. He repeated his slow caress, watching her face as she reacted to his touch.

 

Jinx reached up, grabbing his shoulders. She pulled Glen down into another kiss, a slow, exploratory, earth-rocking kiss. Her hands slid down his arms, up, over his shoulders, as far down his back as she could go. She wanted to touch him, wanted to learn the contours of his body the way he was learning hers.

 

Glen wasn’t ready for that yet. He broke the kiss, smiling at her sound of frustration when he shifted his body downward. He nuzzled her neck, his tongue marking a wet trail down her skin.

 

“I want you so much, Jayce…” His voice was a deep rumble.

 

She could say nothing. He’d moved down a little further and hesitated before taking one hardened nipple into his mouth. Jinx cried out at the sensation of him sucking on her, his tongue flicking the peak.  He repeated the tease at her other breast, not stopping until Jinx was almost out of her mind with the feel of him. She was pulling at him, trying to move him on top of her. He wasn’t ready just yet.

 

Jinx saw his slow smile, saw his eyes drop low, looking at her stomach, her legs. She felt a flush forming over her entire body as he hungrily eyed her. “Glen…” Her voice sounded strange to her own ears.

 

He was moving farther down her body, kissing her stomach, her hip. “Hmm?” Not a word, but a sound. He found a spot on her thigh that was a bit ticklish and Jinx sucked in a breath. He tugged the strings holding her bikini bottom on, and yanked the material out form under her, leaving her bare.

 

“I don’t know if I can take this…” Jinx moaned as she felt his breath puff against her hot center.

 

“You can.” Glen assured. She shivered in anticipation. “I think I’ve wanted to do this since the first time I saw ya, Jayce.” With that, Glen parted her folds with his fingers and lowered his mouth to her clit.

 

Jinx was beyond responding to that at the feel of his mouth on her. He used his tongue, his fingers, his lips to drive her to the brink. Just when she though she couldn’t take it anymore, Glen would pull away and suck gently on the skin of her thigh. Jinx reached down and stroked the top of his head, urging him to finish her as she felt heat flood her body. Her climax took her, made her lock her entire body down. She arched off the bed, pressing against Glen’s mouth forcefully. Glen settled a hand on her stomach, holding her down, watching as pleasure wracked her body.

 

Jinx collapsed back onto the bed, looking at him through cloudy eyes. Glen slowly moved up the bed until he was hovering over her, nudging her thighs apart with his knee. “Glen…” She reached up and gently raked her fingernails down his chest. He hissed and closed his eyes, rubbing his cock against her moist center. “Glen…get the…the…thing. Now.” Her voice held an urgent note. Glen reached behind him and grabbed the small plastic square. He tore it open with his teeth. “Give it to me…”

 

Glen let the condom fall into her hand. Jinx reached down, touching his erect cock, stroking it a bit. He was big, he was hard, he was hot. That was all she needed to know. The kept stroking him with one hand as she unrolled the condom onto him with the other, taking her time doing it. Glen kept jerking his hips spasmodically against her hands, making her smile at the effect she was having on him. When he was sheathed, she lay back and met his eyes.

 

With a sigh of pleasure, Glen slowly probed her entrance. Jinx tilted her hips a bit, facilitating his entrance into her body. With a groan of passion he stroked fully into her, sucking in a breath at her sound of passion.

 

He began to slowly rock into her, keeping a steady pace. Jinx clutched at him as if holding on for dear life when he picked up the pace, shortening the strokes, pumping harder. Her breasts were rubbing his chest, and even through the condom he could feel how hot, how tight she was. He also felt what he thought was the beginning of another orgasm for her. Raising himself on his palms, he watched her face as he angled his thrusts, getting the most contact from her body with his.

 

Jinx suddenly arched up under him, crying out his name. The sight of her, the feel of her, was enough to set him off. Glen moaned out his pleasure as he came, his hips jerking into her. With a groan he collapsed against her, mindful to keep most of his weight off of her.

 

Jinx was breathing hard under him, her hands stroking his back. Glen smiled and kissed her gently on the sensitive spot just below her ear. “See. No injuries.” He murmured.

 

“You haven’t gotten off of me yet.” Jinx said with a breathless giggle. “Technically we’re not finished.”

 

“Mmm. I like the sound of that.” He licked the skin he’d just kissed, moaning in answer to the sound that issued from her.

 

“You’re asking for trouble.” Jinx finally managed to say.

 

“If this is trouble, then I’ll take about four helpings a day.” Glen lifted his head to look into her eyes. “I shoulda grabbed a handful.” It took her a moment to realize he was talking about the condoms. Then she giggled, making him smile. He was definitely going to have to go shopping in the very near future.

 

9

 

“What has gotten into you?”

 

Jinx was sitting at a table, going over some paperwork, humming to herself. Evie’s question pulled her from her thoughts.

 

“What are you talking about?” She asked innocently.

 

“Spare me the act. You have been practically glowing since Saturday. It’s sickening.” Evie was playing with her can of soda, eyeing Jinx critically.

 

“I am not glowing.” Jinx put her hand to her cheek. She did feel a little hot.

 

“Woman…please. You have this whole satisfied look about you. Tell me that you got some.”

 

“Maybe.”

 

“I knew it!” Evie smacked her hand on the table, making Jinx jump. “Who was he? Was he good? Obviously he was good if you’ve still got that afterglow thing going on.” She answered her own question.

 

“I really don’t wanna talk about it.” Jinx said, ducking her head and blushing. She and Glen had spent pretty much all of Saturday night in bed. That was after he’d made a trip to the store for food and necessities.

 

Evie made a frustrated noise. “Of course not.” She grinned. “I have noticed the level of destruction around you has fallen to manageable levels. Who knew dick would be the answer?”

 

Jinx had been taking a sip of her water. At Evie’s remark she spit it out. All over her paperwork.

 

“Ok, so I spoke too soon.” Evie’s voice was wry. She looked around the room. “Was it Taker? He keeps giving you looks…”

 

Jinx glanced up. Mark was sitting near the back of the room with a bunch of other wrestlers. He was looking in their direction. She blushed a little deeper and looked down. “No. This is the first time I’ve seen him in a few days.”

 

“He’s been hiding, huh?” Evie grinned. “Rough rider.”

 

Jinx laughed. Ever since the first day they’d talked, all Evie had to do to get a laugh was mention Marks’ new ‘nickname’. “Why don’t you go over there and find out?” She finally said. Evie looked at Mark cynically.

 

“I would. I don’t think he’d have me though. He seems hung up on someone else…” She gave Jinx a meaningful look.

 

“Why would he be hung up on me? I barely talk to him.”

 

Evie laughed. “I said seems to be. Probably he’s just doing that thing where they try to chase you off.”

 

“What thing?” Jinx asked, looking at her friend.

 

“Oh…Mark and Glen gave me about three months worth of hell before they finally decided I wasn’t going to quit. I actually liked the challenge.”

 

“Three months of…what are you talking about?”

 

“Nobody told you about the last few people who had your job?” Evie looked at Jinx, incredulous. Jinx shook her head. “Rumor mill must be down for repairs. The last four people all quit…because of Mark and Glen.”

 

“Why would they do that?”

 

“Cuz…like I said…they made life hell.” Evie shrugged. “They can do that scary thing pretty easily. They’re big guys. Taker actually tried a seduction kinda thing on me. Which did not freak me out in the least. I told him anywhere, anytime. After a while they gave up on me as a lost cause.”

 

Jinx said nothing. She was staring at Evie, a strange look on her face.

 

“The last guy who was here, well, got intimidated enough to walk out and forfeit the last two months of his contract.” Evie stated. “The girl before that…”

 

“I don’t want to hear any more.” Jinx said softly. Evie smiled.

 

“I’m just warnin’ ya. Just ignore them, or play back. They’re just testing you.”

 

“Testing me?” She could not believe it. Evie was giving her another one of those piercing looks.

 

“Oh God. What happened?” She pushed her drink aside. “I gather this is not as funny to you as it is to me. What’s going on? What did they do?”

 

Jinx felt like crying. “They didn’t do anything but prove how dumb I am.”

 

“Oh, come on. You are not stupid. What happened?”

 

Jinx glanced around, making sure no one was within earshot. Then she spilled everything out for Evie to consider, her dates with Glen, Mark’s kiss in the elevator, and Saturday…she didn’t even want to consider Saturday. She’d trusted Glen, damn it, and now she’d found out it was just part of some amusing little quest for him and his brother.

 

“That son of a bitch.” Evie’s voice held all that Jinx was feeling. “They took it too far, apparently. God, I’m sorry J. I should have just kept my mouth shut.”

 

“No, I’m glad I know. At least I don’t have to make a fool out of myself again.” She said, looking down. She wanted to cry. She couldn’t believe Glen had been using her, not just using her, but plotting something worse after that. She had no clue what it could be. Probably a massive public dumping. That would be worse than death for a person who made a public spectacle of herself on a daily basis. He knew how flustered she got when she did something clumsy in front of people, especially people she worked with.

 

“Want me to crack his nuts for you?” Evie asked sweetly. She picked up her soda can and crushed it. Jinx could not help it. She smiled.

 

“What, and stoop to their level? No thanks.” She sighed. “I can’t believe I fell for it. You mean that whole nice thing was an act?”

 

“Nah. Glen is nice.” Evie held up a hand to stop Jinx’s protest. “To most people. He’s a good guy most of the time. But…uh…when he and Taker get together, it’s trouble. With a capital ‘t’.” Evie smiled grimly. “Taker on the other hand is like a shark. He only looks calm. He’s really just waiting for the opportunity to strike.”

 

Jinx closed her eyes. “I can’t believe this is happening. I’m a fool’s fool, you know it?” She stuffed her paperwork back into the folder she’d pulled it out of, angry all of a sudden. She was mad that she’d been used, mad that she’d fallen for it, mad that he’d managed to get past all her defenses. If she saw Glen right now, she’d kill him, and it would not be an accident.

 

“Now, now. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It is kinda hard to resist a hot man. Especially if it’s been a while.”

 

“That’s not comforting.” Jinx shoved the folder aside. “What am I gonna do?”

 

“Do? You want to do something?” Evie’s eyes lit up. Jinx wasn’t sure she liked the look her friend was giving her.

 

“Would you?”

 

“Hell yeah, I’d kick their mother fucking asses and have their balls for earrings.” Evie punctuated this statement with another knock on the table. Jinx grinned, liking the sound of that.

 

“So what do I…”

 

“Do you have your cell?” Evie was looking over Jinx’s shoulder.

 

“Well…yeah. Why?” Jinx pulled it out of her pocket.

 

“Just do what I say. Put it to your ear and act like you just got a call.”

 

Feeling like an idiot, Jinx did as Evie asked. She said hello then pretended to listen to the other side of a fantasy conversation.

 

“Good, good. Keep it up.” Evie talked without moving her lips much. Instead of looking at Jinx, she pulled the folder in front of her and made a show of being engrossed. “Laugh.”

 

“What?” Jinx could not help it. She had no clue what Evie was up to.

 

“Laugh damn it.” Evie hissed. She was grinning. Jinx forced a laugh. It sounded fake to her own ears. Evie made a face and Jinx laughed again, this time a bit more naturally. “Now hang up and get up and go. The back way. Don’t stop and talk to anybody. Act like you’ve got something better to do than sit here. I’ll meet you at the diva locker room in fifteen minutes. Got it?”

 

“All right. Bye.” Jinx said, trying to convey her agreement and end her imaginary call at the same time. She snapped the phone shut and rose to her feet. “I’ll catch you later.”

 

“Where are you going?” Evie looked up as Jinx reached for the folder.

 

“Meeting a friend.” Jinx kept a straight face when she said it. It was not a total lie.

 

“Well have a good time.” Evie grinned smarmily.

 

“I always do. See ya.” With that Jinx walked away, confused, still not understanding why Evie had her acting like a moron.

 

Fifteen minutes later, as Evie had said, they met up at the locker room that the female wrestlers were using. Evie ushered Jinx inside and leaned against the counter that ran the length of one wall, laughing. Jinx just looked at her.

 

“That…was…priceless.” Evie said, catching her breath.

 

“Wanna share with me? Why was I talking to myself on my phone?” Jinx thought that Evie was having a laugh at her expense. Which only made Evie laugh harder.

 

“Oh…whew.” She finally managed to calm down. “You didn’t see him. Glen came in the room, was standing a few feet behind you, talking to one of the crew guys. Every time you talked, he’d look at you.”

 

“Oh Lord…” Jinx pressed her hand to her forehead.

 

“Then when you jumped up and took off, he came over and asked where you were headed. Since I know he heard you, I played innocent, said you didn’t tell me. Then he walked off, looking wounded. Fucking hilarious.”

 

Jinx smiled. It was more for show than any actual happiness. “That’s kinda mean…”

 

“So fuckin’ what?” Evie grabbed her arm. “It’s about time those jackasses got a little payback. And I think I have a great idea.”

 

“Dare I ask?” Jinx was still wary. Damn it all, she had actually started to like Glen as more than just a friend, and it had nothing to do with the sex. Although that had been fantastic. She still could not believe he would use her like that, all in the name of proving what a man he was.

 

“No, no. I still have to think about it. But for today, we’re going to play a game. It’s called avoid the Brothers of Destruction. Think you can manage it?”

 

“Without half tryin’. Yeah.” Jinx pushed her hair back and watched as Evie smiled slowly. “Why?”

 

“I’ll tell you later. Just…don’t talk to either of them. If they try to talk to you, tell ‘em to hold on a minute, you’re busy. Then come find me and I’ll deal with ‘em.”

 

“All right.”

 

“Go straight to our room. No pit stops. Don’t hang out here talking to the guys either.”

 

“Yes mom.”

 

Evie laughed. “This is going to be so much fun.”

 

“I’ll take your word for it.”

 

“I do have one question.”

 

“Go ahead.” Jinx wondered how bad it could be. She was about to find out.

 

“How practiced are you in the art of seducing a man?” Jinx stared at Evie blankly. Evie laughed and shook her head. “Not very. All right, no problem. I’ll help you. Later on. Right now I have to get to Eric, turn in some scheduling.”

 

“Same here.” Jinx still did not know what to think.

 

“I’ll meet you at the room tonight when the show starts. See ya.” With that Evie exited the room. Jinx stayed where she was for a few more minutes, gathering her thoughts. Evie obviously had a plan in mind. Ignoring the butterflies in her stomach, Jinx finally headed for Michael’s conference room, determined to get this day over with as soon as possible.

 

10

 

Jinx went toward the ringing phone, running her fingers through her hair.

 

“No, no, no.” Evie beat her to it, shaking a finger at her. “We’re pretending you’re not here, remember?”

 

“Oh, sorry, I forgot.” Jinx said with a laugh. “Force of habit.”

 

Evie grinned and put a finger to her lips. Then she picked up the phone.

 

“Hello?” She tilted her head. Her grin widened. “Hey Glen, what’s going on?”

 

Jinx sank down on the couch and watched as Evie cocked a hip against the table. “No, she’s not here. She left about an hour ago.” A pause. “I have no clue. She didn’t say.” Another pause. “I’ll tell her you called.” Apparently Glen said something funny, because Evie laughed. “Well, we’ll just have to see.” She paused again. “All right. Mmm hmm. Have a good night.” With that she hung up and started laughing.

 

“This is so mean. Why don’t I just tell him to piss off? At least he’ll know I’m mad.” Jinx said from her seat. Evie sank down beside her.

 

“Because we’re trying to make a point here.” Evie fiddled with her hair. “Now, I told him that I’d tell you he called. So hey Jinx, Glen called.” This made Jinx laugh. “And when he calls back later I’m going to tell him you said you’d talk to him tomorrow cuz you are busy.”

 

“Ok. I still don’t see…”

 

“Oh, come on. We gotta mess with them a little.” Evie poked her in the arm. “Teach them a lesson. Now…Glen is taking next week off.”

 

“He is?” Jinx hadn’t known that. Of course, if he’d put in the request with Michael, she wouldn’t have seen it.

 

“He is. So that’ll give you some time to get your head straight. Just avoid him as much as you can. If he talks to you, act bored. Can you do that?”

 

“I think so.”

 

“And whatever you do, don’t try to stop the clumsiness. I want you to be falling over everything in his presence. Knock stuff over, spill stuff, whatever.”

 

Jinx laughed. “You think it’s going to come to good use?”

 

“Hell yeah. Look, you said that there are certain people you are less accident prone around, and Glen was one of those people. Well, not anymore. I think he’ll get the message that something is up. He just won’t be able to figure it out.”

 

“It still sounds mean.”

 

“I know. I know you don’t want to play their game, but I’m a pro. So listen. I figure when Glen is gone, Mark is going to make himself the star player. Do not be nervous around him. Flirt your ass off. When you talk to him, touch him, like this…” Evie reached over and laid her hand on Jinx’s arm. “Accidentally bump into from time to time. Act like you love every second of it.”

 

“I’ll try.”

 

“You’ll do it. Just try to have fun, damn it. Don’t be all serious. You don’t want them to know how much what they are doing bothers you.”

 

“I might have more trouble with that.” Jinx frowned. “Why don’t I just call Glen and tell him he’s an ass, and to leave me the hell alone.”

 

“You could try that. But then they’d know they got to you, which I think was their goal all along.”

 

“Glen got to me, all right.” Jinx sighed.

 

“Don’t. Ok?” Evie nudged her. “Don’t beat yourself up.”

 

“What if it wasn’t part of some game? What if he really does like me?”

 

“That may be true.” Evie admitted. “Then again, do you want to take that chance? I mean, you could ask him flat out but who’s to say he’ll tell the truth?”

 

“You have a point.”

 

“Of course I do. Look, I know it seems hateful and vindictive, but believe me, the guys do worse than this to each other out of boredom.” Evie laughed.

 

“I don’t…” Jinx sighed. “I don’t wanna hurt him, Ev.”

 

“Oh, he’s a big boy, he can take it.” Evie smiled at her. Jinx still was not totally into this idea of hers. “Ok, if you don’t want to give him hell, then at least do this. Ignore him for a while. Make sure he gets the point that he is not the only form of entertainment you have. Don’t let him know that you’re on to him, that is…if he is actually messing with you. Just….be superior.”

 

“Superior.” Jinx repeated. “I can ignore him. I think. What am I gonna do though, have you screen all my calls and hide under the bed if he comes to my room?”

 

“Sounds like a plan to me.” Evie smiled. “I guess I have a more evil nature than you do, J. I’d wanna teach him a lesson.”

 

“I just don’t want to do anything without knowing what’s going on, that’s all.”

 

“All right then. You want some advice?”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

“Go talk to Taker.”

 

Jinx looked at her friend, eyes wide. “Mark? Are you crazy?”

 

Evie shrugged. “Hey, at least Mark wasn’t the one wooing you. He doesn’t have anything invested in you. So he won’t want to lie to make himself sound better.”

 

“There is no way. What the hell would I say?”

 

“Well…for starters, you ask him what kinda game he’s playing. Then you grab him by the balls and tell him to knock it the fuck off.” Evie laughed. Jinx could not help but smile with her.

 

“He hasn’t really done anything.”

 

“The hell he hasn’t. You told me about the elevator thing.”

 

“That was months ago.” Reluctant, Jinx rose to her feet and paced the room.

 

“He still watches you. It’s kinda cute actually.”

 

“I wouldn’t go that far.” Just thinking about Mark made Jinx nervous. She did not know why. It was frustrating. “I don’t think so.”

 

Evie shrugged. “Why the hell not? He is just a guy, J. A hot, sexy slab of man, granted, but still just a guy. Like any other guy on this planet, he thinks with his dick.”

 

Jinx smiled wryly. “I am not going to seduce him, if that’s what you were hinting at earlier.”

 

“Damn.” Evie sighed dramatically. “I was hoping one of us would at least catch a ride.”

 

“Well it’s not going to be me. Just go to his room and throw him down and do him, get him outta your system.”

 

“I told you, he’s not interested in me. Besides, I have a man of my own to deal with.”

 

“You do?” This was news to Jinx.

 

“Hell, why do you think I carry condoms?”

 

Jinx laughed. “I dunno. I guess just thought you were prepared.”

 

“I am.”

 

“So who is he?” Curious, Jinx sat down.

 

Evie sighed. “If you must know, it’s John.”

 

“Which John?”

 

“Cena.” Evie grinned.

 

“Oh. Damn.” Jinx laughed again. “I thought he was dating that girl from wardrobe. Well, not dating, but sneaking around.”

 

“He just tells people that.” Evie smirked. “Too bad he’s on vacation this week. I could use a…uh…helping hand.” Jinx giggled and blushed.

 

“John Cena.” Jinx giggled when she said it and studied Evie. They did not seem like a well-matched couple. Although she knew that meant virtually nothing. Opposites attract, it was a fact of life. She just could not picture Evie and John together. Which was probably why it was such a well-kept secret.

 

“Ok, and now you have to promise not to tell. It’s more fun when it’s a secret. As far as anybody else is concerned, I’m a crazed single slut.” Evie was grinning.

 

“I promise I won’t tell anybody.” Jinx smiled. “Just makes me wonder who knows about Glen and me…I haven’t necessarily been sneaking around.”

 

“Oh, believe me, if it were public knowledge, I would have heard about it. As far as I knew, you guys hardly talked to each other.” Evie shrugged. “Vinnie Mac doesn’t like the fraternization, but he does turn the other cheek a lot. He knows that shit will happen. Just so long as you don’t over dramatize it and distract his wrestlers.”

 

“That’s a good thing. I guess.”

 

“So I guess it’s a good thing you don’t wanna tread on any so-called feelings.” Evie finished, still grinning.

 

“All right, I get that I have to be careful. You don’t have to rub it in.”

 

“You don’t want to hurt him, fine, I understand that. But I do not want him to hurt YOU, J. I won’t stand for it. Just so you know, if you do it your way and he manages to make you feel like shit, I’m gonna kill him.”

 

“Thanks.” Jinx said sarcastically. “I have no clue what I’m going to do. I’m not gonna quit damn it. I like my job. But I am not going to let them treat me like a…an…an idiot for their own amusement.” She sighed. “I’m going to go lay down. I need to think.”

 

“Don’t worry. I’ll guard the door and phone with my life.” Evie gave a little salute. Jinx smiled and went into her room, shutting the door.

 

She must have dozed off. The next thing she knew, she heard voices in the sitting area. She rolled onto her back and listened as Evie informed whoever she was talking to that she was alone.

 

The male voice that answered was Glen’s, Jinx was sure of it. Evie was standing at the door, talking to him. Apparently when she didn’t call him back, he’d worried and stopped in to see if she was all right.

 

“I don’t know. I guess she’s having a good time, wherever she is.” Evie said. Although her voice was muffled, Jinx had no trouble hearing it.

 

“She never called.”

 

“I told her when she called here that you asked for her.” Evie’s tone was all innocence. Jinx had to smile. “She said she’d call you when she got in. And she’s not here yet. I think I might start worrying myself if she doesn’t make an appearance.”

 

“Well…” Glen sighed. There was a pause. “Just…tell her that I need to talk to her. It’s important.”

 

“I will.” Evie said good night and Jinx heard the door close.

 

With a sigh, Jinx curled onto her side, pulling her pillow over her head. It was going to be hard to ignore him, damn it. At the sound of his voice she had wanted to jump up and run out there to see him. Why did Evie have to tell her about Mark and Glen’s little…hobby? Jinx would have been perfectly happy believing that Glen actually liked her, in spite of all of her faults. Closing her eyes, she tried not to think about him and go back to sleep. She had a feeling she’d need all the strength she could get.

 

 

11

 

“Where were you last night?”

 

The question from behind her made Jinx jump. The papers she’d been shuffling went flying. They scattered, a few hitting the table in front of her, the majority floating to the floor. Evie did not have to tell Jinx to be clumsy. Jinx could manage on her own.

 

“You scared me.” She glanced over her shoulder as Glen, who stood there looking worried.

 

“You didn’t answer my question.” With a sigh he bend down and picked up her paperwork, straightening it before putting it on the table next to her.

 

“I was out with friends. We didn’t get in until late. I didn’t have a chance to call you.” Jinx was on the verge of apologizing, then stopped herself. She had nothing to apologize for. It wasn’t like they had made plans or anything. Plus…she was mad at him. The problem was that she had to struggle to hold onto her anger when he came around. She couldn’t fathom the sweet, gently Glen she knew as a guy who just wanted to play games and piss her off.

 

“Oh.” He sank onto the chair next to her. Jinx made it seem as if she were engrossed in the papers in front of her. The silence started to get to her. Her hands were shaking.

 

Glen was looking at her. She could almost feel the weight of his gaze as he studied her, trying to figure out why she wasn’t talking. Jinx picked up her can of soda and took a sip, pretending she didn’t know he was watching her. That was actually the easy part, because it was something she did all the time, without thinking about it.

 

“Something is wrong.” He said it out of nowhere. Jinx closed her eyes and set the can back on the table, keeping her fingers wrapped around it so it would not do something stupid like jump off the table.

 

“Nothing’s wrong. I’m just…still…getting the hang of this place.”

 

“Two or three months is plenty of time to get the hang of what you do.” Glen pointed out.

 

“True for some, but not me. Can I help it I’m slow?” She darted her eyes and looked at him when she said it, gauging his reaction. He looked very sad for some reason. Jinx felt sick to her stomach. It as easier to not look at him. She turned back to her paperwork.

 

“You are not slow.” Glen reached over and touched her arm. Jinx jerked back, sending the soda flying. Glen barely managed to avoid getting splashed. He raised an eyebrow at her. “I haven’t seen you this nervous since your first day. You gonna tell me what’s bothering you, or do I have to torture it out of you?”

 

“Nothing is bothering me.” Jinx made work of picking up her can and mopping up what little soda had been in it with napkins from the table. “I was out late. I’m tired.”

 

“That’s all it is?”

 

“Of course.” Jinx stood up and tossed the can and used napkins in the garbage can. She returned to her seat and began gathering her paperwork up into a folder. “I have to go. Michael’s meeting me to go over some things.”

 

“All right.” Glen rose to his feet but hesitated. “Do you want to grab lunch later?”

 

Jinx took a deep breath. “I don’t know. I’ll find you after I’m done with Michael and let you know. I told Evie I’d have lunch with her-she wanted to show me somethings…”

 

“That’s fine…” But he didn’t sound like he was fine with it. Glen knew a blow-off when he heard one. Jinx was nervous as hell, wouldn’t look at him, and kept biting her lip. Signs that she was definitely not happy with him. “Can we get together later, talk? I’m leaving late tonight, going home for a couple of weeks. Michael extended my time off. I’d like to spend some time with you before I go.”

 

Jinx licked her lips. “Sure. I’d like that.” She glanced up at him, only for a moment, before saying goodbye and hurrying away. Glen did not like the look in her eyes. He’d seen it enough in his lifetime to know what it meant. Distrust. He ran a hand down his cheek, rubbing absently, as he watched her leave the room.

 

*~*~*

 

“I can’t do it.”

 

Evie was sitting on the counter in the bathroom, legs crossed comfortable, smoking a cigarette. She raised an eyebrow at Jinx’s comment but said nothing.

 

“I mean, I thought I could, but I can’t. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, or with them, but I can’t play their game.” Jinx said it all in a rush, as if afraid Evie would tell her to shut up.

 

Instead, Evie took another long drag from her cigarette. “So what do you want to do?”

 

Jinx laughed. It sounded harsh to her own ears. “Turn back the clock and not get involved with him in the first place would be good. Other than that, I don’t know. I can’t look at him the same way, you know? Not while I’m wondering what his true intentions are.”

 

“So ask him.”

 

“You said not to come right…”

 

“Fuck all what I said. You do things your way.” Evie smiled. “Maybe it’s meant to be and you’ll live happily ever after. Who knows?”

 

“It’s not a fairy tale. I’m not the fair princess waiting for prince charming.” Jinx said irritably. She looked in the mirror and ran a hand through her hair. “I wish it were that simple.”

 

“Don’t we all.” Evie butted the cigarette on the edge of the sink and hopped down from her perch. “You said he’s leaving tonight.”

 

“Yeah. He said Michael approved extended time.” Jinx looked at her friend. “So what?”

 

“So…” Evie shrugged. “Go on, go to him tonight. You’ll have a couple of weeks to put it in perspective.”

 

“I can’t.”

 

“There’s a lot you think you can’t do, isn’t there?” Evie sighed. “How do you know you can’t until you try? Hell, if all he’s wanting is a good lay to tell the guys about later, go on and fuck him senseless.”

 

Jinx’s eyes widened. “I didn’t say…”

 

“I know what you said. And you heard what I said. Why must everything be such a trial for you? Do you ever just do something without having to analyze it to death first?” Evie sounded aggravated.

 

“I wish I could.” Jinx said softly.

 

“Fuck, why can’t you? It’s not hard. What do you want to do?”

 

“I…”

 

“Don’t stop to think. Tell me the first thing that pops into your head.” Evie instructed.

 

“I guess I want to be with him.” Jinx said, looking at the floor.

 

“Guessing isn’t good enough.” Evie was stern. Jinx looked up at her.

 

“I want him. All right? Damn.”

 

“That’s a good start. Now you go and see him tonight. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Matter of fact, don’t even think about it. Just go. That’s an order.” Evie’s tone held a note of finality that Jinx could not ignore.

 

*~*~*

 

Evie wandered into the training room, seeking Mark. She found him alone for a wonder, laying on a weight bench, doing presses with some ungodly amount of weights. He barely glanced at her when she walked up to him. He just kept repeating his movements over and over with the single-mindedness he was known for.

 

“What’s up, Ev? You look pissed.”

 

“That’s an understatement.” She stood over him, looking down, watching him. “You wanna tell me what’s going on?”

 

Mark grunted and pushed the bar up. “What do you mean?”

 

“Glen, Jinx. What’s going on? Don’t lie to me either.” Evie rested her hands on the back of the bench he was on, staring down into his upside down face.

 

“Glen and Jinx?” Mark frowned a bit.

 

“You know, your brother and your assistant booker? What kind of game are you guys playing. I wanna know, and I wanna know now. She’s a sweet girl, she doesn’t need to get railroaded by you two.”

 

Mark’s frown deepened. “I gotta news flash for ya, Ev. I have no clue what you’re talkin’ about.” He puffed out a breath and pushed the bar up again.

 

“Remember when I first started here, and you thought it would be hilarious to try to con me into bed?” Evie said, holding his gaze. Mark nodded, a grimace that might have been a smile forming on his lips.

 

“I remember you wanted to.” He huffed out. “Kinda put me off my game.”

 

“It’s not a game.” Evie said slowly. “I’m wondering if your little brother didn’t pick up some of your tricks.”

 

“What are you talkin’ about?” The smile was gone before it could fully form. He was frowning again.

 

“Does all that muscle really make you that dense?” Evie asked, exasperated that Mark was playing dumb.

 

“Shit, Ev…” Mark huffed again and grunted with effort. He slammed the bar into the socket it rested in and swung up to a sitting position. “Glen…and Jayce?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Shit.” Mark repeated and grabbed a towel. He swiped at his face with it. “I didn’t know.”

 

“Please.”

 

Mark met her eyes. “I honestly didn’t know.” He stood up. “What the fuck does he think he’s doing?”

 

“Fucking with my friend. For starters. So it is a game you’re running.” Evie felt triumphant.

 

Mark knocked her down a peg. “I haven’t even talked to Jinx in a month. Hell, I haven’t sat down with Glen in about as long.”

 

“So he’s on his own, no help from big brother?” Evie cracked her knuckles. Mark shook his head.

 

“You don’t get it, do ya?”

 

“Get what? That cocksucker is about to be toast.”

 

“Do you know why Glen is taking two weeks off?”

 

“I dunno. He asked off months ago. I’m not that fuckin’ nosy.” Now that Evie had heard what Glen was up to, she wanted to hunt him down and call him on it. Before Jinx fell even more for him.

 

“Glen’s taking off because…” Mark’s jaw muscle clenched. He was pretty pissed too. Evie suddenly wondered if this was such a good idea. “Fuck. He’s getting married on Saturday. This Saturday.”

 

“WHAT?” Evie yelled it. It was the last thing she’d expected to hear. “Fuck. Fuck, fuck.” She practically spit the word out. “She doesn’t know. J doesn’t know a damn thing about it. She thinks Glen’s either fucking with her or totally into her. I’ll fuckin’ kill him!”

 

“Not if I get to his ass first. Damn it.” Mark snatched his shirt from the chair where he’d thrown it. He could not believe that Glen would do something like this. But a part of him had known, hadn’t it? That was why Glen had made himself scarce. He didn’t want Mark to talk him out of it. Mark had only wanted to mess with Jayce a little, to see what she was made of. Clumsiness aside, he had to admit she impressed him. She was a paradox. Clumsy and organized, beautiful and bashful. Glen had played her like a fiddle, and she did not even know it, willing to trust him before she ever really knew him.

 

Mark looked at Evie. “Where is he?”

 

“I don’t know. He asked J if she’d meet him after the show. Before he leaves.”

 

“And she’s going to?”

 

“I think so.” Evie sighed and shoved a hand through her hair. “We definitely should have gone with plan A.”

 

“Plan A?” Mark asked as he led her out of the training room and into the hallway.

 

“The original plan was to give you guys a taste of your own medicine. She was supposed to ignore his ass.”

 

“Oh.” Mark looked thoughtful. “That was it? That’s all you had?”

 

“I don’t find this funny.” Evie said heatedly.