“I heard the same about you. I think the guys brag too much. I love the game and practice a lot. Where do you play? I’ve never seen you before,” Gina said in a soft, velvet tone. She seemed guarded while she looked him over.
“I frequent another bar across town. Coworkers from the brokerage company I work for often go there.”
She wrinkled up her nose. “Oh, you’re one of those.”
“Why? You don’t like the business?” Sean asked, taking a seat next to her.
“It’s just that the stock market is so, well, unpredictable. I just don’t understand what’s so fun about doing work based on guesses.”
Sean thought of many other questions, but decided to not start waves this early. “Hmm. What do you do when you’re not playing pool?”
“I teach kindergarten at one of the private schools in the area. Otherwise, I keep to myself.” Gina glanced past him. “I think they’re becoming impatient. Ready to play?” She stood and stepped toward the pool tables on the other side of the room.
Sean followed. “You bet. Rack ‘em up.”
“Best out of three?”
“Sure. Lady’s first.”
“Uh, Sean, that may be a mistake,” Pete warned.
Sean panned the room to find shaking heads all around. “It’s cool guys. I’d like to see what she’s got.”
“Your funeral.” Pete backed away from the table.
Sean ignored his pal and nodded for Gina to take her first shot. After she pocketed four balls, Sean suddenly realized the prowess with which she played. Each shot possessed her full attention. Her stance never wavered once her study of the current layout was complete. The cue slid through her fingers as if coated with butter.
She’s good. Too good.
Gina prepared for her second to last shot when Sean locked her gaze. He studied her intently until she broke their connection. Her jaw muscles were tight with tension, and her furrowed eyebrows betrayed intense concentration. She was angry, pissed off even. He checked the table to discover that her next shot would be difficult, but doable if the cue clicked the seven ball at just the right angle.
I have to distract her.
Sean moved, causing Gina to glance up at him once more. He grabbed the opportunity to smile. She grimaced before looking away and shaking her head. Gina readied for the next shot, but then faltered. For all her shots, he’d not seen her do that.
She straightened and continued studying the table. Shifting to her right, she turned around and pressed her buttocks against the table.
Wow! No wonder the guys lose every game.
Sean forced his eyes to look away from her alluring figure and repositioned himself so he stood facing her side. Gina placed her cue across her lower back and faltered again. Finally, she took the shot. The cue nipped the seven ball, only nudging it a few inches.
Sean determined not to mess up the only shot she’d probably let him have during the game. However, as he surveyed the table, he realized, to his dismay, that his shot would be more difficult to make than hers. He’d have to hit the cue into one of hers to get to his. He had no intention of pocketing a ball for Gina.
He leaned over the table and exhaled before banking the cue ball into two of his, pocketing one.
I’m still in the game.
Sweat dripped off his chin as he made one shot after another. Then the unexpected happened.
She winked at him.
She’d used the same tactic he used on her and it worked. His heart pumped a bit faster, just enough to distract him for a split second. He stared at the ball teetering near the pocket and sighed. He knew she would pocket his ball in order to make her next shot, but that wouldn’t help him. She wasn’t going to mess up twice.
Gina won the first game bringing on a loud cheer from the others Sean learned she had consistently beaten over the past few months. Sean strolled over to her and gave her hand a congratulatory shake.
“Great game,” he said. That won’t happen again.