Font Size:  

“This is not a democracy. I’m the one who set all this up, footed the bill.”

“Wow. Okay, Malfoy. Way to buy yourself a spot on the Quidditch team.”

Gage laughed, as Beaumont went to retrieve the backpack she’d brought with her. She pulled out a pair of headphones, a big bag of Doritos, and a twenty-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew.

“What are you? A fifteen-year-old boy?” he teased.

She looked around the room and smirked. “Seems to me, a good captain would have put a snack machine in here.”

“Shut up and give me some Doritos.” He grabbed the bag, ripping it open and snagging a big handful.

“Hey!” she protested.

Then he added more fuel to the fire by walking over to the water cooler, grabbing a paper cup, and helping himself to half of her Mountain Dew.

The two of them got settled in front of their PCs. When he texted her the place and time last night, they’d spent a few minutes discussing which game they should play for their competition.

Gage typically came out ahead onGrand Theft Auto, while Beaumont consistently edged him out onFortnite. So they’d agreed onCall of Duty, since they were most evenly matched there, with their wins and losses against each other almost fifty-fifty. They’d also decided to play the best of two out of three games.

“You ready?” Gage asked after they’d both taken some time to login to their accounts and set up their characters.

She nodded. “I’m ready.”

An hour later, they were two games in and tied, one win each. Beaumont was a fierce competitor.

They stood up and stretched for a few minutes before starting the final match.

“Feel like conceding now, Beaumont? Save face?”

She tilted her head. “Never.”

“Want to change the wager? Because I’m holding you to those seven years. There will be a contract, and youwillsign it.”

“You act like that’s a threat. If you were hoping to scare me away, you shouldn’t have shown me this room.”

Gage chuckled. “Good point. You still plan to ask for the makeover favor?”

She nodded. “Absolutely.”

He’d thought about her request a lot last night, trying to figure out why it bothered him. Then he’d finally landed on it. “You sure you want to trick a guy into falling for you?”

“What do you mean, trick him?” she asked.

“You’re planning to change everything about yourself just to catch a guy’s eye. Wouldn’t it be better to find a man who likes you exactly as you are?”

Beaumont sighed, not meeting his gaze. “That man doesn’t exist.”

“Bullshit,” Gage countered. “There’s a key for every lock.”

“I don’t really view what I’m doing as trickery, or even changing. There are parts of myself I’ve never figured out how to showcase. I mean…wearing my hair in a different style doesn’t mean it’s not still my hair. And people change their wardrobes all the time—hence the reason every decade has ‘a look.’” She fingered quoted the last two words. “Bell bottoms in the sixties, popped collars and Izod in the eighties, acid-wash jeans and flannel shirts in the nineties. How many people lived through those decades and changed their style with the times?”

“Those are broad fashion trends. I’m talking about you abandoning your unique style and adopting something that’s not really you.”

“They’re just clothes, Gage. I don’t put that much stock in them. I should think that would be pretty obvious.”

“Then what about the rest?” he asked, wondering why he felt the need to push the issue. If this was what she thought she needed to do to find a boyfriend, he should just let her roll with it. His problem was…he wasn’t sure he liked the idea of her changing.

“The rest of what?”

Articles you may like