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Clarissa, an amateur photographer, finds herself in a chance encounter with Drake, the new-reigning champion of billiards in their small rural town. Despite being from different classes, their attraction is undeniable. As Drake takes the stage to accept his trophy, all he can think about is Clarissa in the crowd. Meanwhile, Clarissa can't help but wonder what taking a shot with a jock like Drake would be like. He's so popular and she's just the plain Jane in her eyes. However, Clarissa realizes that sometimes you only get one shot at something special, and she must take it before it's too late.
Clarissa rushes through the venue, she's running a little late because her bus had been delayed; she keeps a tight hold of her camera bag and knows she'll have to explain the hold-up. Just as Clarissa rounds a corner, she collides with someone and braces herself to fall onto her bottom. A strong pair of arms swiftly hold her steady, stopping the fall. “Sorry, you okay?” Clarissa looks up and finds herself mesmerized by a beautiful pair of soft brown eyes, “Sorry, I wasn't paying attention.”
“Ah, no, it's my fault,” Clarissa steps back, standing up straight, “I'm in a rush, I shouldn't have been running,” She checks her watch, glad to see she's only five minutes late, at least it isn't as bad as she thought; she takes a second to finally give the man a once over, realization drastically sinking in, “You don't need to apologize,” How could she be so reckless? Of all people to bump into, it had to be Drake Hannity, her favorite pool player, “I'm so sorry, Mr. Hannity,” Clarissa ducks her head down, finding the formality rolling off her tongue, “I should really get going.” She parts, rattling off another apology with a smirk.
Drake stares after her, he hadn't even gotten her name and she knew who he was; an arm slides across his shoulders and he curses under his breath, “Who was that?”
“I don't know,” Drake turns to face James, shaking off the arm in the process, “She just bumped into me, I think she's a photographer, she was carrying a camera bag.”
“You saved her, wasn't she gorgeous?”
“James, I'm not a jerk, I wouldn't have let anyone fall. And was she? I wasn't looking, I was shocked that she called me, Mr. Hannity,” Drake laughs, but even as he brushes it off, his heart-beat quickens; all he can remember is her sky-blue eyes, clear as a summer's day, “If she's your type, you should go for it.”
James snorts out a laugh, turning away from Drake, “Come on, you need to practice.”
* * *
Clarissa doesn't see Drake again until later that day, taking pictures of him holding a trophy that he'd worked so hard for, she's proud, not that she has the right to be. She's been following his career over the past three years but hasn't always noticed him standing out. It wasn't until her older brother had shown her some videos of Drake playing that she began paying attention to what he was doing. The joy on Drake's face makes her breath skip for a moment, of course, he's happy; he had just won, with his family around him, and no doubt, a girlfriend supporting him. Clarissa swallows the bitter taste in her mouth and continues to take pictures.
She scatters with the crowd as they begin to leave, finding a quiet spot to look through the pictures, hoping they're good enough for her boss, “So, do you always stare at pictures of me?”
Clarissa jumps, turning to see Drake standing there, grinning, “Oh! Uh, I stare at every picture I take, my boss is a bit picky. I'm sorry again.”
“It's okay, as long as you're not going to call me, Mr. Hannity,” Drake's grin dissolves to a soft smile and it calms Clarissa, “They look great, don't be so hard on yourself. Sorry, I didn't get your name.”
“It's Clarissa, nice to meet you,” Clarissa holds out her hand and he shakes it gently; she's a little surprised that his hand is soft, as they pull away, she busies herself with tucking her camera into the bag, “I should get going. I need to send these to my boss.”
“Yeah, of course,” Drake is a little disappointed, but she has things to do and he can't keep her hanging around despite what James said, “Maybe I'll see you around at other events,” She smiles and now he realizes what James had been saying about her beauty, she is stunning; he weakly returns the smile, watching as she turns to leave. He turns too only to be faced with James raising his brows and making various hand gestures. God, Drake hates James sometimes; so, Drake turns back around to follow Clarissa. He finds her waiting near the exit, maybe today he is a bit lucky, “Hold on!” She turns around, a little surprised to see Drake standing there, “Hey, this sounds strange,” He sighs, Clarissa wonders what's going on, “Can I give you my number?”
“What?” Clarissa is completely stunned by Drake's words, she has to wonder what brought this on, guys didn't normally freely give their number out to her, “Why?”
“See, it's weird, I told James but he wasn't listening to me. I just thought we could get to know each other, it doesn't matter,” But Drake is still extremely disappointed, maybe his luck had run dry, “Forget about it.”
Clarissa purses her lips, watching as Drake moves, her Uber would be here in a moment. She finally braves it and carefully stops him with a soft touch to his wrist, “Okay, I'll be leaving in a minute,” She hands over her phone to Drake, he flashes her a dazzling smile, he quickly adds his number to her contact list, handing over the phone just as a car pulls up,
“I'll text you later.”
He nods, waving her off as she climbs into the Uber; he heads back through to the changing room, ignoring the big smile that James gives him.
“I hope you're taking her out.”
Drake refrains from saying how unsure he feels about it, instead choosing his words more carefully, “Maybe, but she probably won't text,” James rolls his eyes, Drake brushes him off and quickly changes into something more comfortable; they're soon heading out and Drake's phone buzzes about half-way through their journey to Drake's place, “Don't say anything.” James just smirks, shrugging as he continues to drive.
Drake pulls out his phone to check the message, the unrecognized number makes him giddy,
Hey, it's Clarissa. I really enjoyed your match today.
It makes him even happier to know that she had been watching, that she wasn't there just to take pictures, she enjoyed the game. He saves her number first, typing out a few stupid replies that he never sends; he only looks up from his phone when he hears James chuckling, they'd already made it back to his house and Drake quickly tucks his phone away, trying to hide his embarrassment.
“Has Clarissa got you hooked?” James is grinning at him; damned snoop must have seen her name on Drake's phone. Drake shakes his head, trying to ignore what James said, mostly because it seems too close to the truth, “You know you need to talk to me.”
“I don't know what you want me to say. We don't even know each other yet, she seems nice but it's always easy to fake the first impression. You were the one pushing me to go for it.”
James rolls his eyes, “Yeah, and if I told you to jump off a cliff?” That's a good point and Drake shrugs, “You caught her like some kind of prince charming and she couldn't stop staring at you, even if she's a fan of the sport, it didn't seem to be about that, she couldn't keep her eyes off you.”
“Okay, I should get going,” Drake smiles, trying to avoid the conversation that James is trying to start, “Be safe, let me know when you get back.” James nods and Drake jumps out of the car, grabbing his things from the back seat, he waves him off as James backs out of the driveway and drives off. Drake heads inside, pulling out his phone once he'd puts his cue case down and dumping his backpack on the sofa. He mulls over what to send back to Clarissa, settling on a very boring,
Hey, I just got home. I'm really glad you had fun.
Drake lets out a breath that he'd been holding, he leaves his phone on the coffee table and ventures into the kitchen for a small snack just to get a little energy back; when he returns to the lounge, he checks the phone while absentmindedly eating the pear he'd picked.
I got a reply back from my boss, he loved the pictures! I don't usually send everything, but you helped me look at them differently. I'm off to bed soon, but I'd love to talk tomorrow if you're not too busy.
Drake is eager but only for a moment until he remembers that Aiden has booked them some time on the table at the local pool hall, James would be there too and was likely to bring up Clarissa, he replies quickly, hoping to catch her before she fell asleep,
We can keep texting but I have plans for tomorrow so I'm not sure how responsive I'll be. I'll try to phone you once I'm finished if that's okay. Then we could chat for a while, maybe organize to meet up, sometime before I go to Germany.
He sends the message before he could change his mind, he heads up to his room, dropping the remnants of the pear into the bin before getting changed for bed; he needed to sleep or James would make it seem like Drake had been talking to Clarissa all night, just as he's getting comfortable, his phone buzzes.
Yeah, that's fine. Goodnight, Drake!
The little emoji makes a smile spread across Drake's face, he replies with a simple goodnight in return and curls into his sheets. Letting sleep wash over him.
Drake keeps checking his phone far too often, not even James’s teasing affects him, he doesn't mind it much; he still gets to play a little, and Aiden doesn't join in with James's teasing, which Drake is grateful for. Though, Aiden does laugh about it when James explains what's going on. They just finish up when James throws his arm over Drake's shoulder, “I'm hiding your phone, we're going to get some more time on the table, enjoy the break while it lasts.”
Drake shrugs off James, rolling his eyes which only makes him laugh, he heads through to the bar area and orders some drinks for them. He's thinking about how he could get back at James when someone falls against his arm, he turns his head, almost laughing when he sees the soft red hair, “Clarissa?” She looks up at him, straightening up rather quickly, “You enjoy bumping into me, don't you?” Drake isn't sure where those words come from, but it's already said now; much to his relief, Clarissa laughs, her eyes crinkling at t
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