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Everyone's a Winner with a Heart That Small



After a night full of bad dreams, Gigi woke up sad and angry. She decided to work out some frustration so she went downstairs to the gym in the basement, turned the stereo on and hopped on the treadmill for an hour. By the time she'd finished, she was starving so she went back up to the kitchen.

Aunt Lindsey was sitting at the counter, drinking her coffee and reading the newspaper. Gigi opened the refrigerator and began taking out ingredients to make brunch. She cooked eggs, bacon, grits, and toast and by the time she was getting ready to eat, Ezra joined them.

After they finished eating, Aunt Lindsey left for the day and Gigi began cleaning up.

"Ready for today?"

She gave him a sideways glance as she put some plates into the dishwaster.

"I guess"

"You'll have fun, I promise"

"We'll see about that," she mumbled.

"Alright," he sighed, standing up from his chair. "I'm gonna go get some beer. I'll be back soon"

"You know where I'll be"

Ezra grabbed her keys from the table in the foyer and left to go to the store while Gigi finished cleaning up the kitchen. Once she was finished with that, she went upstairs to change into her bathing suit.

Ezra was bringing in the beer as she descended the stairs again.

"How much fucking beer do you guys need?"

He shrugged. "Didn't want to run out"

"Problem solved"

He rolled his eyes. "The guys'll be here any minute"

Within five minutes of Ezra saying the words, the door opened and voices immediately filled the foyer. Tim, Pat, Kennedy, and Jared all pushed through the patio doors at once and made their way over to where Ezra and Gigi were sitting. Pat and Kennedy wasted no time stripping off their shirts and diving into the pool, while Tim and Jared took seats at the table.

The four of them talked for awhile until they were interrupted by more voices, calling out to Ezra. Garrett appeared on the patio first, closely followed by another friend of theirs, Eric. They all greeted each other and sat down, the table becoming more crowded.

Gigi got up to get herself a beer, but that turned into getting one for Ezra, Tim, and Eric as well. She went into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, getting out four beer bottles before shutting the door with her foot and heading back down the hall. She just looked back for a second before she collided with someone.

"Shit, I'm sorry!"

When she looked up, she almost dropped the bottles in her hands. John was looking back down at her, his eyes shifting all over her like he couldn't decide where to look. Ezra had invited him, not that she was surprised. She decided she should just make the best of it, since he was already here.

She smiled. "Hey, John. Everyone's out back"

She turned and continued down the hallway back out to the patio. When she reached the table, she handed out the beers but her seat had been taken in the time she'd been gone. Tim pulled her onto his lap and took a sip of his beer. Gigi opened hers and took a sip, and Ezra sat up grinning as John approached the table.

"Hey man. Have you met my cousin, Gigi?"

Ezra motioned to her and John's eyes widened as he realized that the girl in front of him was the one he'd been trying so hard to meet for so long.

"What?" "You're his cousin?" "Why the fuck didn't you tell us?"

The other boys were looking around at each other.

"I thought you said you were childhood friends"

"Well, yeah. We still are, despite the face that we're cousins"

Gigi smiled again and took a sip of beer and Tim pulled on the bottle, almost making her spill it.

"Don't you make me hurt you"

"You know, you're hotter when you're angry"

"Hey, hey now," Ezra scolded.

Gigi shook her head and took another sip, making sure Tim wasn't going to do anything else.

Pat called Gigi from the deep end of the pool, begging her to join him. At first, she declined but she quickly realized that he wasn't going to shut up until she got into the pool. She stood up and went to stand on the edge.

She didn't know that Tim was silently creeping up behind her until she felt a pair of hands on her hips for a split second before she hit the cold water. When she surfaced, all the guys were laughing except Ezra, who was shaking his head.

"You should not have done that, man"

"Why not?" Tim asked, still grinning.

"Kirch, I am going to kill you!"

"That's why," Ezra replied, looking back at Tim.

"I'm sorry, Gigi. You know I love you, babe"

"Yeah, yeah"

John made a face but sat there silently, still watching every move she made. He couldn't look at her enough. He had expected her to be beautiful but his imagination had not done her justice. Her bright blue eyes sparkled with the reflection of the water and he wanted so badly to just run his fingers through her long dark hair.

Gigi was in the pool with Pat and now Garrett but she was still listening to the conversation going on at the table.

"John, you sure are quiet, bro"

"Yeah, what's wrong? Cat got your tongue?"

Gigi smirked as she continued to listen to the other guys making fun of him and calling him out. She leaned against the wall of the pool and Pat swam over to her.

"What's that for?"


"That little smile. You look like you're up to something"

"Nope, not at all. Their conversation is just....entertaining"

"Oh, cause John likes you so much?"

Pat must've been talking louder than he realized because the whole table turned around to look at him. He shrugged his shoulders. "Oops?"

John ran his hands down his face while all the others laughed.

Gigi pulled herself out the side of the pool and squeezed the water out of her hair, going over to the table.

"Okay kids, I'm going inside now"

Protests sounded from all directions and she laughed, which made John just want to stand up and kiss her right there.

"Only for a few minutes. I promised to call Cora"

"Who's Cora?"

"My best friend"

"Is she hot too?"

"She's very sexy but she's also Ezra's ex so nuh uh. I'll be back in a minute or two"

Every eye was glued to her as she walked away from them and back to the house except, of course, Ezra. When he noticed that they were all staring, he groaned.

"Could you all just keep it in your pants? That's my cousin"

Jared shook his head. "Sorry, bro but she's just-"

"Hot," Kennedy finished.

Gigi got her phone from the kitchen and sat down at the counter to call Cora. She picked up right before it went to voicemail.

"Hello?" she answered, sounding groggy.

"Cor? Were you asleep?"

"Yeah, sorry. I didn't sleep much last night"

"Why not?"

"Oh, I'll tell you soon"

"You're weird"

"I know"

"So John's here"


"Apparently Ezra did invite him. But he hasn't said a word to me yet"

"He's probably intimidated. You are a pretty hot piece of ass"

"God, Cora, must you?"

"I'm sorry but I must"

The two girls talked a little more until Cora started to go to sleep. Gigi called her name several times but she didn't reply so Gigi gave up and hung up the phone. She set it down on the counter and ran her hands through her now tangled locks.

Someone cleared their throat behind her. When she turned around, John was standing there with his arms crossed over his tattooed bare chest.

"Finally decided to talk to me then?"

"You look nothing like I pictured"

"Is that good or bad?"

"Better than good"

She laughed. "I guess I'll take that"

"So you've been ignoring me"

"I've just-.....been busy"

"Yeah, right"

"Hey, I could be busy"

"But you're not"

He took the other seat at the counter and they just stared at each other for a moment.

"I can't believe I'm finally meeting you in person"

"Am I everything you expected?"


"You're sweet"

"No, really. It's hard to believe that the girl I was talking to over the phone is as beautiful on the outside as she is in"

She half smiled. "There's so much you don't know"

"Well, I'll be here, waiting to hear it"

"I'm not sure you want to"

He brushed a strand of hair away from her face. "Oh, but I do"
♠ ♠ ♠
Gigi. Well, here it is. The chapter you've all been waiting for.

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