Griffith raised an eyebrow and took a swig of his beer. “Seriously?”
I frowned at his response. “Why does that surprise you?”
“I met Zack for dinner last week and he may have suggested I set you up because you were—how did he put it—oh, yeah, ‘becoming an old maid’. I take it you aren’t interested?”
“Nope.” I muttered, unwilling to say any more about it. I didn’t want to talk about Lia with him. I wasn’t worried about my relationship with her, but I didn’t like how star struck my woman had been over another man. What was it about rockstars? Anyway, the last thing I needed was for Griffith to take an interest in her.
Drew arrived just then, and Zack trailed in a few minutes after. After taking the other two chairs, they put in drink orders, then shook hands with Griffith.
We shot the shit for a time, loosening up the atmosphere, presumably to put Griffith at ease so he would be more open to our proposal. Although, of the four of us, he seemed the most relaxed.
Finally, I interrupted the chit chat. “I need to get going. I’ve got plans for the evening.”
Drew laughed and gestured in my direction as he spoke to Griffith. “Becket has recently become pussy-whipped.”
I rolled my eyes. “You’re one to talk.”
Drew winked at me and grinned. “Didn’t say it was a bad thing.”
I lifted my beer in a salute of agreement before taking a swallow.
“That reminds me,” Drew leaned back in his chair, watching me with curiosity. “Are you still planning to deal in the tournament tomorrow? I know you’d keep your commitment to me, but if you’d rather spend the day with Lia, we’ll find a replacement.”
“Why would I do that? Lia is playing so I might as well deal even if it can’t be at her table because that could be considered a conflict of interest.” I grinned. “But I’ll still have a front row seat to watch her kick everyone’s ass.”
Drew’s brow furrowed, his face clouding with confusion. “That’s what I thought, but Addy and I just went over the list of participants. Lia didn’t register.”
My hand froze with my beer hallway to my mouth. “She didn’t—what the fuck?” The bottle in my hand slammed onto the table.
Drew nodded and pulled his cell from his pocket, murmuring as he dialed. “I’ll check with her again. We still had ten minutes until it closed when we looked over the list.” He hit a button on his phone and held it to his ear. After a moment, a female voice picked up, presumably, Addy, the event manager who was handling the tournament. “Is Cornelia Carrington on the list?” he asked. “I know. But check again.”
I sat on the edge of my seat, my body vibrating with tension. When Drew locked eyes with me and shook his head, I shot to my feet, nearly upending the table.
Something was very wrong. There was no way in hell Lia would have changed her mind about playing. This was a prestigious, national tournament and I knew she hoped it would convince her family that this was a serious career.
I turned and took a step but was halted in my progress by a hand grabbing my arm. I whipped back around and stared at my brother with murderous intent. “Let me go or I swear I will lay your ass out,” I snarled.
“Calm down, brother,” he said warily. “I just wanted to offer my help and figured maybe you should make a plan rather than just running around half-cocked.”
My eyes narrowed, my lips curling malevolently. “I am fully cocked, Zack. Someone is going to a eat a bullet tonight if I don’t find my woman right the fuck now.”
Drew sighed and waved a hand in my face to get my attention. “You’re sure she didn’t just change her mind?”
I jerked my head from side to side. “No fucking way.”
“Alright, then let’s be logical about this. I’ll bring in Knox, and we’ll figure this out,” Drew appealed.
“Fine,” I gritted. “But do it fast.”
Before I could blink, Knox appeared at our table. I didn’t know how that motherfucker was so quiet or seemed to know exactly where to be, but I didn’t much care at the moment. I was just grateful we didn’t have to wait for him.
“Problem?” he asked his alert eyes taking me in.
“Lia’s missing,” Drew explained. “She didn’t sign up to play tomorrow.”
Knox frowned and folded his arms over his chest. “I saw her in the coffee shop a couple of hours ago. She was on her way to registration.”
“Apparently, she never made it,” I answered through clenched teeth.
Zack’s hand loosened on my arm, when I seemed to have calmed down somewhat but he didn’t let go. “What about her card?” he asked.
I swung my eyes to Zack. “Her player card?” I clarified. I didn’t know where he was going with this.