Home > Body Games (Games #5)(6)

Body Games (Games #5)(6)
Author: Jessica Clare

Now…that was interesting. So if my partner and I lost, I still had a chance to stay in the game by beating him at the Judgment challenge.

“In addition to the Judgment twist, we also have something called Pandora’s Box.” Chip paused dramatically to let that sink in. “Somewhere on the island, Pandora’s Box will be hidden. It might be in a tree, underwater, or buried. You’ll just have to look for it. As for what’s in it…who knows? It might be something good or something bad. You’ll just have to wait and see.”

With that said, Chip sliced his hand across his neck in a ‘cut film’ motion. “Let’s pause for now and move everyone into their teams.”

Obediently, cameras went down and a production assistant stepped forward with a clipboard. “Okay! We’re going to call out names and when we do, I need you to go stand next to your partner over there.” She pointed at the beach just as another assistant drew an X in the sand. “Teams are not negotiable. We ready?” Without waiting for an answer, she flipped a page on her clipboard and put her glasses on. “Team one — Kandis and Brodie from House Guests.”

Someone clapped awkwardly, and others followed suit. I did the same, feeling a little stupid. I mean, it wasn’t a reward to get a teammate, right? But acknowledging it felt better than standing there and doing nothing.

The couple that had been holding hands on the boat moved forward, beaming up at each other. They were sickeningly cute together, and I hoped that they’d be crappy players so they’d get the boot faster. The problem with lovey-dovey couples was that they were intensely loyal right until the end. There was no maneuvering for their votes. After all, everyone had tried to get me to turn on Kip and I’d been dickmatized up until the very end.

“Team two - Jendan and Sunnie from House Guests!”

I clapped politely again as tall, dark and sexy that had been standing next to me strode forward and gave a comfortable hug to the pretty redhead. It figured that the hottest guy on the island would be paired up with the prettiest girl. I sighed inwardly. The good ones were always taken.

I was a little concerned as they fist-bumped and stood in place next to each other. They didn’t look surprised to be teaming together. Had they been warned ahead of time that they would be teamed up? Did everyone have a pre-set team but me because I was a late arrival? I glanced awkwardly down the line, wondering who I’d be paired up with.

At my side, Kip wiggled his eyebrows in my direction.

I delicately turned away, feigning interest as the production assistant flipped another page on her clipboard. “Team Three - our girls team, Summer and Polly, from The World Races.”

The two women in matching athletic gear - and okay, matching ponytails - bounded forward and took their places on the beach next to the other couples.

“Team Four - also from The World Races, Kissy and Rusty.”

An older couple with matching graying mullets moved forward. In contrast to everyone else that was lining up on the beach, they weren’t in great shape. Kissy (who I assumed was the woman) was dumpy and Rusty had a bit of a gut, but they were smiling and looked thrilled to be on the show. That made me warm up to them a little. They seemed nice and genuinely pleased to be participating.

“Team Five - Jerry and Saul from our first season of Endurance Island!”

I recognized the two guys. Big, meaty firemen. They were both slightly older than the rest of us, being in their early forties, but were in great shape. They’d also played a mean-ass game and stomped the competition. I was actually surprised to see them, since I’d heard their mean-spirited play had soured a lot of viewers on the show and only the big romance in the second season with Abby and Dean had turned the ratings around.

“Team Six - Alys and Christopher from Endurance Island season two!”

Not the lovebirds I’d remembered from that season, but solid competitors. I was also starting to get really uncomfortable as the line of contestants narrowed down. There were four people left standing, and they were all from my season. Last season. Myself, Kip, Leslie, and Emilio. Leslie was an older woman with a salty mouth and a sour attitude. Emilio was as sweet and personable as Leslie was rotten. They’d been an odd couple to become friends, but last season, they’d been incredibly tight and had a secret alliance together. I’d been surprised to watch, every week, as they made decision after decision together in private while keeping their distance in public.

Did that mean I was going to be teamed up with Emilio, then? I liked Emilio - he was strong and athletic, and a super-fast swimmer. I would be totally fine with being Emilio’s partner. But something about that struck me as odd. Why would the producers separate the two of them?

That only left Kip as a partner for me…but surely not…

“Team Seven - Emilio and Leslie!”

And there was my answer. The producers wouldn’t separate them, which meant that I was Kip’s partner. We were team eight.

I’d been lied to.

 

 

Chapter Three

“I felt sorry for Annabelle with that whole beach scene. Cute girl, seems strong. Sunnie’s a sweetheart, but she’d rather lay around on the beach and work on her tan than figure out how to win this thing.” — Jendan, Endurance Island: Power Players, Day 1 Confessional

“Absolutely not,” I yelled out, striding forward even though my name wasn’t called.

“Please be quiet—” Chip began as the production assistant looked up from her clipboard and frowned in my direction.

“No way,” I said, my angry footsteps spraying sand as I marched over to Chip and the woman in charge. “It’s in my contract that Kip and I are supposed to be on different teams.”

“I can assure you that it’s not in your contract,” the production assistant said with a sniff. “Teams were outlined with legal yesterday.”

“Yes, but the casting director promised me…” My voice trailed off at their expressions.

A smirk crossed the production assistant’s face and was echoed on Chip’s. “The casting director, huh? She has no say over who is teamed up with who,” the production assistant told me. “If she did, it would have been in your contract. Did you read through all of your contract?”

I blinked for a moment, stunned at her nasty expression. I hadn’t combed through the contract word by word. I’d just assumed…

Damn it. Gullible Annabelle strikes again. You know what they say about assuming. I really was my own worst enemy, wasn’t I? “I don’t know if it is or not.”

“It’s not,” she informed me in a snide voice. “Please go take your spot. As I said, teams are not negotiable.”

“I refuse to be on Kip’s team,” I said through gritted teeth. I should have felt betrayed by the casting director, but all I really felt was embarrassed. It was my own fault that I hadn’t read the documents thoroughly enough.

“Are you forfeiting?” The production assistant asked.

“What happens if I forfeit?”

“We have to find another contestant and you’ll be charged for each late day of shooting.”

Uh. “How much does each day of shooting cost?”

“A couple hundred grand.” She smiled tightly. “It’s all outlined in your contract.”

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