The Game of Love
By Elena Lane
Date: March 11, 2021
Ch. 77

Gigi knew that the challenge would be hard. Gigi wasn’t athletic. Obstacle courses were anything but her strong suit and Gigi wasn’t sure how athletic Vincent was, but she was hoping that he’d be able to carry both of their weights. Vincent took Gigi’s hand, sensing her nervousness. “Don’t worry, Gi. We can do this.” He said giving her hand a reassuring squeeze. Seeing this gesture, Kevin grinned and walked over to where Vince and Gigi were standing. Kevin put his arm around Vince’s shoulder and whispered something into Vincent’s ears. Gigi couldn’t make out what he said, but she knew that it wouldn’t be something she would like. When Kevin came around, it meant that he was stirring up trouble, trouble that Gigi desperately wanted to avoid.

“What did he say?” Gigi asked curiously.

“It doesn’t matter, Gigi. You’ll just freak out, anyway.”

“Tell me, Vincent.” Gigi would rather know the truth than be surprised by it later.

He sighed, “Fine, he said to kiss you at the finish line.”

Gigi wasn’t happy about that. She didn’t know if she was ready to kiss Vincent. A kiss meant having feelings for another person and Gigi didn’t know is she was ready for the emergence of feelings. Gigi had always been careful about making herself vulnerable. They hadn’t known each other for long. Were they prepared for the consequences that kiss would have? Gigi didn’t know the answer, but she stayed calm. She gave Vincent a nonchalant expression and said, “Do it. America will love it.”

Vincent looked taken aback for a second. He had obviously expected Gigi to resist at least a little. “Are you sure, Gigi? We don’t have to kiss yet if you don’t want to.” It was a sweet gesture, but Gigi, though not necessarily ready, wanted that kiss. She wanted to feel Vince’s lips on hers and wanted things between them to work out. More than anything, Gigi wanted a real romance. A kiss would undoubtedly make it real. A kiss would seal the deal.

“Vincent, it’s fine. I’m a big girl. I can handle one little kiss.” Gigi said, though she wasn’t so sure. If she and Vincent kissed, Gigi wasn’t sure if she could stop her developing feelings for him, but she had to take the chance. She could end up heartbroken, but half a million dollars was well worth a little heartbreak.

Gigi and Vince didn’t win the competition that day. However, they did kiss at the finish line and it was at that point that they began to win America’s hearts. Both Gigi and Vincent and Kenzie and Rowan were safe from elimination. All in all, Gigi couldn’t complain. She didn’t need to win every battle to win the competition, after all. Tomorrow was a new day and maybe, it would be a little better.

“What did I tell you about wearing my clothes?” Kenzie angrily asked Gigi, hands akimbo. “Trust me, even Lauren Madison jeans can’t make your ass look good.”

“Trust me, these jeans look better on my ass than on your skinny butt.” Gigi quipped, trying not to laugh. The producers had suggested that Gigi and Kenzie have a fight. They had no qualms about saying a few harsh words since they knew that none of them were true. In fact, Gigi and Kenzie had staged the whole thing beforehand and had even practiced it a couple times so that it would it would be perfect.

“Whatever, Gigi. Just know that being too poor to buy jeans of your own won’t make America pity you. You can wear all my clothes and use my makeup, but America will never choose you. You’re just a sob story, nothing else.” Kenzie said, storming out of the room. Kenzie had thought that those jabs had been too harsh, but Gigi had written them herself and had assured Kenzie that she wouldn’t be offended by them. Though, for a moment, Gigi wondered to herself if maybe they were true. What if she was no more than a sob story? It hadn’t been part of the plan, but Gigi collapsed onto her bed and let a few tears roll down her face. The worst part was that the cameras were still rolling and the whole nation would see the ‘sob story’ sobbing. Gigi wouldn’t have minded people seeing fake tears, but those tears were real and that made Gigi feel vulnerable, much too vulnerable.

Of course, it was at that moment that Vincent waltzed into Gigi’s bedroom as per the plan. Gigi wiped off her face. Vincent wasn’t supposed to see real tears. Gigi didn’t want him to see the real her. She still felt a little uncomfortable with him and though he was hot, she didn’t feel like he was boyfriend material the more she got to know him. Everything between them felt fake and Gigi wasn’t sure their relationship would ever be anything more than a sham. She wanted her half of the money, sure, but Gigi didn’t want Vincent, not if it was all just a lie.

Vincent wrapped his arms around Gigi and kissed her on the forehead comfortingly. Gigi stiffened a little before relaxing into his arms. The human contact felt good. It felt nice to have someone care about her, but those warm and fuzzy thoughts were fleeting because Gigi wasn’t sure that Vincent would ever love her. She wasn’t sure that he’d ever wrap his arms around her if half a million dollars didn’t come attached. Vincent wasn’t the type of guy who loved anyone other than himself, Gigi feared. Gigi felt like Vincent would never truly love her and this made her crying become more intense. As Gigi’s sobs became more intense, Vincent’s hold on her tightened, which only served to make Gigi more upset because he wasn’t holding her. No, Vincent was greedily clutching onto his money, holding onto the one person who could give him the money that he most desired.

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