Chapter 1

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Why did I have to be nice? Even though he hadn't said the words aloud, Seth could hear the whine that would be in his tone and even he had to cringe as he walked up to his door. It wasn't like it was a huge deal. Becky was a good friend, after all, and she had to do a meet and greet in Davenport, so he had asked if she wanted to stay at his place rather than a hotel. He was going to be away anyway, and he thought she'd appreciate staying in a house with some personality—and privacy from fans—instead of yet another hotel. Now that he was home earlier than expected, though, he just wanted to zone out and play some video games for a while; company and energetic chatting were both pretty low on his wish list.

He disarmed and reset the security alarm quickly, half surprised Becky had remembered to activate it in the first place. A few sharp beeps rang out, and Seth hoped they hadn't woken her up. As he walked through the living room, he realized he needn't have worried: a lamp was on low and the television was paused on some Netflix show he hadn't seen. Glancing down at the couch, he saw a fuzzy grey blanket flipped back as if Becky had just gotten up. Why was she sleeping out here? The guest suite was cozy; Seth had spent a few nights in there himself before breaking up with his last girlfriend, so he had made sure it was comfortable. Then he heard a noise from the kitchen and he peered around the corner. "Be—"

"AAAH!" Seth wasn't sure which hit him first: Becky's startled scream or the snack bowl she had tossed at him, fuelled by panic and reflexes. Her second scream was shorter and quieter, more a way to shake off the sudden fear than anything. "Oh fuck. Seth. Oh, thank god." She staggered back a step in relief, popcorn crunching under her feet, and held a hand to her chest. "Holy shit."

Seth was still plucking popcorn out of his hair and saying a silent thanks that his dog was with his mother, so it took him a moment to take in the whole scene. Damn. Becky was shaking out her hands now, trying to banish the last tingles of adrenaline, but his gaze was drawn lower. He knew she preferred wrestling gear that covered her stomach because of some insecurities she still harboured, but from what he could see—which was currently a lot—she had no reason to worry. He wasn't sure if what she was wearing would be considered booty shorts or underwear, but they were tiny and tight and left everything between its low waist and the high, ragged edge of an old, cropped Pearl Jam shirt bare. The t-shirt had definitely seen better days, but Becky had clearly tried to prolong its life, hacking away at fraying bits until it was the crop top it was now. The sleeves were long gone, leaving arm holes that offered just a peek of her breasts from the side. Seth forced himself to look up, but that didn't help much: Becky's face was as striking as the rest of her. "Hey. Sorry. Didn't mean to startle you. One of the shows got cancelled, so. . . ." He gestured vaguely towards the front door. "Didn't you hear the alarm beep?"

Still wide-eyed, Becky shook her head. "I had the popcorn in the microwave. I just thought the beep was louder than normal because I was right in the kitchen." Then she glanced down at the drift of popcorn on the floor. Miraculously, between being thrown from Becky's hands and hitting Seth's chest, the bowl had somehow retained enough popcorn to cover the bottom. "I'm sorry. I'll clean it up right away." When she bent down to grab the bowl, Seth's gaze naturally followed, drawn to the gaping neckline of her shirt. "Where's your vac—" Becky glanced up at him and blushed when she followed his gaze. "Sorry. Again. Shit." She stood quickly and tried to tug her shirt down, but it didn't help much. "I'll . . . I'll go get dressed and then I'll be right back to clean things up."

"Don't worry about it." Seth's entire mouth felt parched and his gaze kept dipping down to Becky's hips. I bet her ass looks amazing in those. The thought took him by surprise and he was grateful it hadn't made its way to his tongue. What was he even thinking? He and Becky had been close for years, from the early days of NXT to the main roster. She was at his house as a guest, out of kindness. And it wasn't like he hadn't seen her in various states of undress before; that was the nature of wrestling backstage, especially in the early days of NXT when they were piecing things together—storylines as well as ring gear—as they went along. So why was his brain picking now to wonder what it would be like to slide his hand up that shirt or down into— No, he told himself, shaking popcorn off his arms and shoulders. Enough of that.

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