He Wins, He Loses

It is a well-known fact that Greyson Jacobs, now co-captain of Kensington High’s basketball team, is an awfully competitive son of a bitch.

Case in point: this doughnut-eating contest he’s hell-bent on winning.

It started as a joke between friends. Greyson didn’t have any business joining contests like this, not when he should be busier thinking about the upcoming game against long-time rival Irving High. “But it’s for a good cause, Greyson!” Samantha Larsen, 1/4 of their motley crew, insisted, leaning over their makeshift booth to hand her friend a pen. “Sign up!”

Greyson’s eyes remained fixed on the flyer Sam shoved into his hand a few minutes ago. Sign up for a Doughnut-Eating Contest! For the benefit of Kensington High’s Volleybelles. “Let me get this straight,” he said, raising an eyebrow. “I pay you five dollars so I could humiliate myself in front of the entire student body?”

The smile on Sam’s face turned into a thin, stern line. Leaning over again, she snatched the flyer from Greyson’s hand, effectively giving him a paper cut. He howled and threw Sam a glare, which she graciously returned.

“Beat it if you’re not going to be of any help.”

“What are you raising funds for, anyway?”

She rolled her eyes. “Sometimes I don’t understand how we’re friends, Greyson. How many times have I told y–”

“Oh, a doughnut-eating contest! Awesome!”

Greyson felt an arm drape over his shoulder a second later. He didn’t need to turn his head to know who just arrived. “Greyson, you signing up?” It’s Ashton, his best friend and team mate, also part of their small clique. “Hi Sam,” he continued, nodding at the blonde whose mood seemed to have soured.

“Hey, Ash.”

While Greyson distracted himself with something else at another booth, Ashton reached for the pen in Sam’s hand and, without another word, signed on the participant form. He dug his pockets for a couple of bucks after that, handed them over to Sam, and went after his best friend, dragging him away to the food stalls.

“Ash! Ashton!” Sam called out. He’d given her ten dollars by mistake.

But Ashton only looked over his shoulder and winked at her. Sam shook her head and decided to give the extra cash back after dismissal, but when she glanced at the sign-up form, she realized he didn’t make a mistake at all.

* * * * *

School fair day.

“If you signed up with a partner, please come forward with them and take your spot at the game area. If you didn’t, we’ll pair you up with a volleybelle of your choice . . .”

“Ashton, we should be at the gym . . .”

Ashton clicks his tongue, keeps Greyson captive with an arm over his shoulder. “Just ten minutes.”

“You know you shouldn’t be eating that much before practice.”

“God. How much worse could you get if you become captain next year?” Ashton wonders aloud, then waves at Sam and Aislyn Kim, the newest addition to their clique since she came to Kensington a little over six months ago. Both ladies are helping set up the game area, which involved wooden poles with doughnuts hanging on them by strings.

The host, volleybelle captain Marsha Christie, continues to explain the rules. “Each pair is given five doughnuts to eat.” She gestures to each pole–there are ten of them now, held up on each end by either a volleybelle or a volunteer–and says the first team to finish all five doughnuts on their pole wins movie passes and gift certificates to Pixie Frost, the popular ice cream shoppe near Kensington.

“Is that why you wanted to join?” Greyson asks, frowning. “You wanted to win gift certificates to Pixie Frost?”

And movie passes, duh.”

“Dude if you want to take Eloise out, don’t be such a cheapskate.”

“Says someone who’s never been on a date.”

“Hey!”

Marsha is calling on the participants now, and Greyson just shakes his head when Ashton enthusiastically throws his hands up in the air as his name is called.

“And our last contestant, Mr. Greyson Jacobs.”

What?

* * * * *

“Did Ashton put you up to this?”

Somehow, Greyson ended up getting paired with Aislyn, and they are now standing in front of each other with hanging doughnuts in the way. He’s still upset about getting dragged into this and had already decided to somehow punish Ashton later, but the lilt in Aislyn’s voice makes him forget.

“Uh. Well–”

She smiles. It’s that shy sort he’s accustomed to seeing from her, the sort he hates because it makes him feel things. “Thanks for signing up anyway. We do need to raise funds for uniforms and stuff . . .”

Uniforms, right. Kensington’s volleyball team isn’t very popular after all, and therefore didn’t get much funding ever since. How could he have forgotten?

She then raises both hands, palms open in front of him. He stares at them dumbly, but follows suit. Something painful gets lodged in his throat when Aislyn closes the space between their hands and clasps his with hers. A quick glance at the other players tells him this must be some kind of rule. He obviously wasn’t listening.

“Ready!” Marsha says, loud over the microphone.

Aislyn chuckles. “I wonder if we can win this.”

“Set!”

His hands squeeze hers determinedly. Even the glint in his eyes has changed. “Let’s show them.”

“GO!”

The first few seconds are excruciating, with Greyson trying his best not to choke at the sight of Aislyn’s lips moving so close to his. They attacked the first doughnut at almost the same time, and he felt like their faces would crash against each other.

It’s amazing to him how quickly in sync they became, even if they never really talked about a strategy or anything like that. They never really talked, period. She tried opening conversations with him many times, but he was not as receptive to her as Ashton and Samantha had been. She’d asked him once if he didn’t like her hanging out with their long-established trio, and the conversation made him feel like an asshole.

That didn’t change things so much.

Because the truth was that calm and composed Greyson felt all sorts of nervous around Aislyn for reasons he chose to ignore, and closing the door on her was easier than having her step in and make a mess of him. He couldn’t afford that. Not when he’s just fixed everything up.

They don’t know it yet, but they’re leading by about two bites, already on their third doughnut. He sees Aislyn flash him an amused grin, and he realizes he must have some white sugar on his nose just like she. He grins at her too.

Four doughnuts down, and Aislyn starts slowing. Greyson takes charge, having bigger bites, chewing faster than usual. By the time they get to the fifth doughnut, he’s clutching at her hand tightly and giving her a nod of encouragement.

“Just one more,” he says, mouth full of doughnut. No one is cheering for a winner yet. They still have a chance. “One bite each’ll do it.”

“Mm-kay.”

Taking his cue, Aislyn leans forward and takes that one bite, but the remaining piece dangles dangerously close to falling. Greyson, without second thoughts, leans in and quickly saves it, but not without his lips grazing hers.

They pull away at almost the same time, wide-eyed, hands to themselves.

They win the contest, but Greyson feels he’d lost.

1,234 words
#promptoftheday response to “doughnuts”
contributed by mai ❤

Want to contribute a prompt? Click here.

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