When he first spotted Meagan Chaney in the convenience store, he had been coming up the far isle from the freezer section in the back, on his way to the register to purchase the Gatorade he had just selected. She crossed his line of vision and he stopped in his tracks. Kind of like how his heart stopped in its tracks. He knew immediately that it was Meagan Chaney, the famous MMA fighter who had just won the championship last night. She had a large box of beer and a fifth of Fireball in her hands. His first reaction to seeing her was to be startled. What is she doing in Chicago? He wondered.
He knew little to nothing about the woman he was close in age with. He had merely come across a news article featuring her this morning, skimming through it. He had also watched the video highlights of the fight and had been impressed by her abilities. He remembered her face well and if he was being honest, he had noticed her body as well. She was very attractive. It was her eyes he had noticed first, though. Intense, yet controlled. Dark green and oh so mysterious. He had been intrigued. But never in his wildest dreams did he think he would ever see her in a place like this. He physically rubbed his eyes and did a double take just to be sure it was really her he was seeing. It was.
She didn’t notice him at all as she made her way back to the front counter. Callum was smiling at her as she approached. Starstruck and nervous, he didn’t want to make his presence known to her. As he watched them, Callum and Meagan seemed to be familiar with each other. He could tell Callum had a crush on her, a fact which got under his skin and gave him a small pang of jealousy. He immediately pushed those silly feelings away. He was still curious, however, so he decided to continue eavesdropping — a decision he was not proud of.
When Meagan finally walked out of the store without hugging or kissing Callum goodbye, he decided that they were not a couple. But she was definitely familiar which had to mean she was a local.
But he had lived in the city all his life, he pondered. How could he have overlooked someone like her? Sure, he hadn’t known to look for her before — How could he, really, when he hadn’t even known she existed? — but he knew automatically that she’s the type of woman he should have noticed.
Curiosity got the better of him. He had to find out more about her, or die trying.
Oh, quit with the dramatics, he scolded himself. It’s not going to kill you to talk to her. So she shuts you down. So what? Man up, for God’s sake. You’re not a child! In spite of his fear, he set the drink down and followed her out the door.
As Meagan opened the rear driver’s side door of Damien’s Sedan, she almost thought she had heard one of the front doors of the store open and close. Thinking she was just hearing things, she proceeded to place the alcohol she had just bought into the back seat. Closing the door, she had almost begun to turn around when she heard someone behind her begin to speak.
“Hi….” Meagan jumped right out of her skin and spun around. The way she did it, there might as well had been a loud thunder crack. She gave the man standing in front of her a quick once-over. He had short, brown hair in a buzz cut, grey-blue eyes which were incredible yet she dared not stare into them, and his facial hair consisted of a small goatee. He was decidedly tall, standing there with his hands in the side pockets of his large Carhart jacket. Accompanying the jacket were a pair of blue jeans and work boots.
“Sorry,” he was saying. She made the mistake of looking back up at his eyes, which were intently watching her. She quickly looked away. What does this guy want? “Scared the living shit out of me!” She complained.
Nothing was said while she turned around and secured the box of beer behind the seatbelt. The whiskey bottle was placed inside the box.
“I know who you are,” He said. “That MMA fighter?” She closed the door, half smiling. “Yeah… Everybody here knows that about me.”
She glanced over her right shoulder as she started walking around the car to the driver’s side. “So, what? You want an autograph or something?”
He followed her until he got to the back tire on the driver’s side. “Are you from here?” She asked another question. “Born and raised,” he answered.
That made her pause. With the door open, she rested her arm on the top of it and looked at him — really looked at him — for the first time. “Are you from here?” He asked. “Yeah,” she answered. “For the most part.”
For the most part… She let that hang between them without elaborating.
Her eyes narrowed on him. “It’s peculiar that I don’t remember seeing you around here before.” She thought she’d gotten him with that.
“Same,”he answered. “I mean, I never noticed you before either. It’s weird.”
“Yeah. Well, I’ve gotta get going so would you like an autograph or not?”
“Getting straight to the point, are we?”
“I’m a busy woman.”
He paused for a second. “I’ll take an autograph if it comes with a number.”
Meagan raised an inquisitive brow as a humorous smile grew across her face. “Any number?”
“Well, yours would be preferable.”
She snorted. “You want me to give you my number when I don’t even know your name?”
“Well, Adam, forgive me, but I don’t date local boys. I swore that off a long time ago. And I also don’t give my number to strangers.” She got into the car and closed the door. Starting the car, she waved out the window and pulled out onto the street.
Adam watched the car until it disappeared. Then he went back inside, bought his Gatorade, filled his truck with gas, and drove home — kicking himself all the way.
It was the funnest, most amazing party Meagan ever attended in her life. The fact that it was all for her probably had a lot to do with that. Damien hired a chef to prepare a fabulous dinner for the two of them and a very exclusive group of people well before the party began. The chef also prepped several plates of appetizers for the party guests, which a team of servers that Damien also hired would pass out.
Throughout the night, Meagan kept the Fireball to herself, sharing with absolutely no one. Everyone else either drank from the bar or grabbed a beer from the ice chest. The more Meagan drank from her bottle, the more loose she became. At some point, she ended up in the pool, where she just got drunker and could be seen grinding on several people. This went on until Meagan was, as it’s called, “sloshed,” and Damien ordered her out of the pool.
Since Meagan put up a fight, some of Damien’s friends helped out in getting her up to her room. She ended up going to bed with one of those friends.
In the very early morning hours, Meagan recived a phone call that jerked her out of her REM sleep. Head swimming, she stumbled for her phone on the night stand.
“You’re in big fuckin’ trouble, lady,” hissed a man with an Italian accent into her ear.
“Who is this?” Meagan demanded. She was still too confused at the moment to start being afraid.
“That fight you had with Mel Santorum? You were supposed to lose!”
Meagan rubbed her eyes. “What’re you –”
“What, your manager never told you?” Said the angry man on the other end of the line. “We bet on Mel to win. Had it set up with your pal Damien. Now we’re out fifty grand. Someone’s gonna have to pay for that.”
Meagan’s heart stopped when he said Damien’s name. And now her chest was so heavy, she couldn’t speak even if she wanted to.
“Fifty grand by the end of December, kid,” the man demanded. “Or looks like you two aren’t gonna live to see you get drafted.”