"Mmmm…" I moaned as I slowly retreated back under the covers, pulling them as tightly to my head as I could. My hand slid over a chunky, slippery blob as I adjusted my pillow.

"Come on, Katie! We have practice, remember? 'We can't jeopardize this trip because you want to relax! Every second counts!' Do you remember those words? We made it to finals, Katie. The prize is so close. Peter is so close. Think of all the good times you'll have after he wins. We're this close!" I could hear Mel making nasal and highly exaggerated attempts to mimic me, but nothing in my mind registered with the words "We came to Miami to win!"

"Not so loud," I managed to whine sleepily, turning my head the other way. My cheek brushed something wet. I tried to pull more covers over my body, but my arms felt like steamrollers trying to inch their way over a mound of bricks. I tried opening my eyes, but they were krazy glued together.

"Katie, I'm barely whispering. Are you okay?" I heard the rustling of sheets and I knew Melissa was getting out of her bed. Her footsteps inscribed the hotel room carpet as she approached me. I heard the flick of the light switch and more steps. "Katie?" She lifted the covers off me. "Yuck!" she muttered. "You puked all over yourself!" She sighed before dabbing my forehead with one of the few clean areas of the sheet. "It looks like someone isn't practicing today." Her fingers released the sheet and then she grabbed the phone by the side of my bed. I remember hearing her ask for someone before I fell asleep again.

I felt someone carefully rubbing my back. The person was massaging my skin in soft circles, over and over again. I opened my eyes and squinted. I was sprawled out on the bed with my head in someone's lap. My pillows were missing. "Peter?"

"He's at practice," a soothing voice bellowed. I shuddered a bit, tensing. The massage began to prick. I glanced up and blinked, trying to focus on the two warm blue eyes that met me. Mr. Hanes smiled. "You're awake."

"Mmmm," My head hurt like hell. "Where are we? Why are you here?" I whispered.

"We're at the hotel, sweetie. There's a tournament, remember? I think it's a bit early to plan a getaway, don't you think so?" He chuckled at his own joke. I usually can't stand when people do that, but I wasn't in the mood to say anything about it. "On a serious note," he stopped massaging my back, "Melissa called me earlier to notify me that you weren't feeling well. She asked me to come check on you. I made her go to practice." I deemed that he was truly concerned about my health, which I was slightly thankful for. I felt like I had been hit by a hammer repeatedly. Everywhere was incredibly sore, and my head throbbed like a siren.

Taking my head off his lap, I sat straight up, resting my right hand on my temple. "Why aren't you at practice?"

"I wanted to make sure that you were all right."

My eyes painfully darted in his direction. "I'm fine, really. You can leave now. Thank you for coming up. I'm good," I slurred a bit.

"Come on, Katie," he cajoled, "You aren't going to brush me away, are you? You don't look so well, and besides, the guys know their drills by heart. I don't really need to be at the court this morning." He put his left hand on my right shoulder. I looked at it, squinting now because of the pain. I was unsure of what to do. My senses were dulled. I couldn't remember any aspects of the previous night---what I'd done, whom I was with--- my mind was a blank screen.

"What did we do last night? All of us, I mean."

"Everyone had practice. Then the guys played and won their last two games and a semifinal game. We all went out to eat afterward to celebrate. I let you guys do what you wanted as long as you were back by midnight." I could feel his eyes undressing me as he talked to me, studying my expressions. His hand remained on my shoulder. My body froze under his fingers.

"Do you remember what I did?" I kept my eyes on his hand.

"You retired early. Peter did the same." His look changed as he lowered his view to my legs.

"I see," I replied, not knowing what else to say. "I don't think we did anything." I hoped we hadn't, although the pain I was in suggested otherwise.

"I hope you didn't. I'd have to send you home." Mr. Hanes let go of my shoulder and grabbed my hand off my temple, pulling me closer towards him. I was so close I could smell his cologne and after shave as the two collided around his neck. I liked the smell. I felt myself unconsciously burying my head in his chest as I got up and he wrapped his other arm around me. His muscles breathed beneath my cheek as I brushed against his shirt. Comfort crept into my skin as I felt his hands rubbing my back again. "See? Everything is okay," he whispered into my ear.

He continued to rub his hands slowly over my back and then I felt his warm breath on my neck. My pain seemed to dissipate as he began to kiss my neck. The thought of telling him to stop didn't cross my mind. I was enjoying every second of him. Looking back at this moment, I blame it on my attention whore status. My inability to control myself around guys had made the best of me, even in this invalid state. My nerves were on silent and I could feel the blood rushing throughout my body. I wanted him, and there really wasn't anything I could have done to stop it, save maybe vomiting, but I assured myself that I could keep everything in check.

I lifted my head up and inched closer to his face. His breath mingled with mine as I leant forward and kissed him. It didn't feel like any other kiss I had ever had. It wasn't the predator rush, or the lover's spark, but rather, a sizzle. In the back of my mind, something signaled that what I was doing was wrong, but as his lips tangoed with mine, I ignored everything. The light in the room faded into his blue eyes, whose dullness suddenly became radiance, and I could only feel the shiver of my insides as my body followed his lead.

He guided my back towards the bed, turning slightly so he could position himself above me. I winced slightly as my back propelled over the almost naked bed. I'm not sure what took over me. We continued to make out on my bed until the familiar chorus of "Don't Phunk With My Heart" began to hum loudly from the dresser. Someone was calling me.

Mr. Hanes jumped quickly, but I pulled him closer to me. "Aren't you going to answer that?" he raised an eyebrow. My eyes rolled as I sat up and grabbed the ringing telephone. The LCD screen read "James." Inwardly, I smiled. I hadn't really talked to him since we got to Miami, which was partially Peter's fault. Peter had suggested that we spend some alone time, which included detoxifying ourselves of James.

"Hello?" I coughed a bit. Mr. Hanes eyed me suspiciously. His hand remained on my thigh.

"Katie? Well, damn. It's about time you answered your fucking phone."

"Sorry. I've been busy."

"Right. I'm not going to hold it against you. I told you to enjoy your trip, didn't I?"

I giggled a bit. "Yeah. Sure. I've been enjoying it I guess. I don't feel well this morning though,"

"Don't tell me you're pregnant!" James feigned surprise. I could picture his face contorting with false astonishment.

"James!" I didn't mean to yell. I watched Mr. Hanes' eyes rise a the sound of James' name. He began stroking my leg. "Mmm," I moaned a bit.

"You okay? You sound like you're doing well to me,"

"Yeah, I mean no. Yeah," I ran the words together despite the yellow light.

"Are you drunk?"

"No. I'm not."

"What are you doing?"

"I'm lying in bed. I'm sick, remember?" My voice pitched higher than normal as Mr. Hanes' hand slithered its way along my leg. I had to restrain the second moan that was tickling my throat.

"If you want the truth, you sound a bit horny, like someone's---- Has that bitch made a move on you again?"

"No. I'm okay really," I could feel my voice pulling a whiny tone.

"If you're with Pete, just say so. I just missed you guys, that's all."

"I miss you too, James," Mr. Hanes now had his hands on the drawstring of my sweatpants. I tapped him with my foot. His eyes jumped on me. I scowled.

"Well, I'm glad you took my advice,"

"Mmm hmm," I had to tap Mr. Hanes again with my foot to keep his wandering hands off my pants. He was persistent.

"So how has the tournament been?"

"Good. The girls have been really obedient. Michelle and I haven't argued once. Mel... is well, being herself,"

"That's good. What about the boys?"

"They're in the final game. It's this afternoon. Our squad made it to finals too. I hope I feel better by then so I can ----STOP!" Mr. Hanes had made his way past the drawstring. He had the look of a mischievous kid who had just been caught stealing cookies before dinnertime.

"Katie?" Are you okay?"

I squirmed and slapped the hand that now resided on my thigh once again. "Yeah, I'm fine."

"What was that?"

"Nothing. Look, James. I need to go shower and everything,"

"But you aren't feeling well?"

"I can't miss the final performance!"

"As long as you're up for it… Are you sure you're okay? You sound really drunk."

"Okay, you caught me. I drank a bit last night. I guess it carried over a bit. There was a party,"

"That was smart,"

"Shut up. I know. I've puked all over the place. I'm trying to sober up so Mr. Hanes won't notice," I glanced at the anxious man. He was sketching me with his blue orbs, smiling. There was something about his smile that made me feel sexy, but at the same time frightened me. He knew what he wanted from me, but I didn't know what I wanted. "Shit," I cursed aloud.

"What?" I had forgotten that I was in the middle of a phone call.

"Nothing. I gotta go, James."

"You're acting pretty funny. What are you really doing?"

"I'm in my bed. Honest."

"Who's with you?"

"No one,"

"Who were you yelling 'Stop' to earlier?"

"What is this, James? The Inquisition? Just drop it. I'm good. I have to go. Later." With that, I hang up on him. I felt bad about it, but I felt like a deer in headlights at the moment.

"That James kid is bad for you," Mr. Hanes mumbled as he drew near me. His eyes wrapped mine as he came closer towards my face. I locked one arm around his back as I leant in to kiss him again. This time, I let him do as he wanted. He was in the middle of taking off my tank top when I heard the key click in the door.

Mr. Hanes jumped off me and stood up next to the bed, hovering over me as if checking my temperature. His face was still basically in mine; his breath continued to flow into mine and I had an urge to kiss him again. Melissa burst through the door. I averted my eyes towards the wall.

"Ah! There you are, Mr. Hanes! I didn't know that you would stay this long! How is she doing?" I heard her footsteps draw closer.

"Um, she's doing better, Melissa. She still has a fever, I'm afraid." It was then that I realized how hot my body was. I thought I was just flustered.

"That's not good. Finals start in two hours!" She put a hand on her hip and started tapping her leg. "Katie, come on! We need youuuuuu!" She dragged out 'you' like a prisoner. "Michelle has already altered the dances. You have to be there!"

I shot a glance at her. "Mel," I feel like I've been run over by a tow truck. I really want to do it, but---"

"I don't think you're fit enough to do it, and that's final," Mr. Hanes interjected, his eyes still on me.

"But—" both Mel and I began.

"Final," he repeated. "I'm going to go check up on the guys," he said before leaving my side and exiting the room. Mel came closer to me.


"I know," I mumbled. I sat up again.



"You have a hickey on your neck." I watched Mel's face light up like fire at the sight of it.

"I do?" I grabbed my neck.

"You and Pete have got to be more discreet than that. Mr. Hanes will kill you. I'm surprised he didn't see that!" she reached out to touch it, but I batted her fingers away.

"I'm not an exhibit, Mel."

"Right. So you can't do it?"

"You guys will be fine without me. I'm sure Michelle's corrections will be fine."

"Ughhh!" She let out a huge breath. "She's been barking out orders all morning! Who does she seriously think she is?" Mel's green eyes rolled like Ferris wheels.

"She's the co-captain. Don't stress about it. Just go out there and win. I expect to see a trophy!"

Her eyes jumped back to my neck. "I could've sworn that wasn't there this morning. I saw you from the right side. Did Pete come by this morning?" She raised an eyebrow quickly.

"No." I said quickly.

She shook her head. "I'll just ask him about it!" she said, a devilish smile on her face.

"DON'T!" I yelled.

"What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing, I just--- I mean… nevermind. I didn't want to bother him before his game, you know?"

"Or you didn't want him to find out about your love affair with the room service guy!"

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"I saw the way you batted your eyelashes when we ordered drinks last night. It's okay, Katie. You're human. Sheesh. Chill out a bit. Well, I'm going to go back downstairs. I'll see you later I guess."

"Bye." She grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator before leaving the room.

I suddenly felt alone and naked, despite the clothing and covers that surrounded me. Mr. Hanes came back into my mind. Did I just let him take advantage of me? Maybe this was a dream. I rolled over onto my stomach, turned towards the pillow, and puked again. I really was sick.

The rest of this chapter will be posted soon.