Read The Hating Game Online

Authors: Talli Roland

Tags: #Humor & Entertainment, #Humor, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Romantic Comedy

The Hating Game (41 page)

BOOK: The Hating Game
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Kyle tried to nod
, grimacing with the movement. ‘I’ll live. Just a concussion. The doctor said I was lucky to escape at all. Medical miracle, apparently.’

Thank God
you’re okay.’ Mattie exhaled. She didn’t know what she’d do if he had been seriously injured; it didn’t even bear thinking about. Her fingers fiddled with a stray thread on the edge of the sheet.

Look, Kyle.’ Raising
her eyes, she met his again. ‘There’s something I need to tell you.’

All right,’ he said, holding her gaze.

I messed up,’ she said quickly
. ‘I was using my business – and everything else – to protect myself against what I was feeling for you. I was scared to trust you.’

smiled. ‘I know.’

But I’m ready to take that leap now.’ She reached out and covered his hand. ‘With you.’

Kyle’s eyes went soft and his
fingers closed around hers. ‘Well, I kind of liked how you said it the first time better.’ His mouth twitched.

Mattie’s jaw dropped. ‘You heard that? But you were unconscious!’

I heard,’ he said. ‘I just couldn’t answer
at the time.’ His smile got wider. ‘And, you know, I figured if you meant it, you’d say it again.’

Bastard!’ Mattie said, but she
was grinning so hard her face felt as if it might split in two.

Come here.’ Kyle winced as he tried to raise an arm and Mattie moved towards him, leaning into the warmth of his body. He slid a hand onto her back. ‘From now on, it’s us, together. I’m on your side, no matter what.’

e put her head gently on his shoulder. ‘
Second Chance for Romance
, after all?’ she smiled.

Kyle pulled her closer. ‘S
econd chance for love.’








QUICK!’ JESS TURNED UP THE VOLUME on Kyle’s TV and plopped down on one of the sofas. ‘Mattie! Kyle! It’s starting!’

smiled over at her friend as she and Kyle came in from the small garden of their Castle Combe cottage. Jess’s cheeks were bright red. Mattie hadn’t seen her so excited since she’d got the invite to the Staines Secondary School reunion. That seemed like another life now – so much had changed.
had changed. For the first time in ages, Mattie was actually happy.

thoughts flicked back to the aftermath of
The Hating Game
. Unwilling to leave Kyle, she and Jess had camped out at the hospital until Kyle’s release the next day. Deniz had long since made her way back to London, so after several long conversations with the police about Adam, the three of them rented a car and made a beeline to the city, not even bothering to collect their things from the caravan. Mattie couldn’t bear the thought of setting foot back in that place again.

At home, h
er voice mail was stuffed full of calls from media companies who’d seen her on television and wanted to discuss their needs with someone who ‘understood the industry from the inside out’. It was ironic: she hadn’t got one penny of the prize money, but it looked as if the show might save her business after all.

There were too many new clients to handle alone, so Mattie and Kyle made a decision: they’d form a partnership. She’d be in charge of new business and he’d handle client services – much the same way they’d done before, but on equal footing now. The new partnership was going from strength to strength and the two of them were now thinking about buying larger office space.

Quiet, it’s starting!’ Jess said again, turning up the telly even louder.

Reality S
hows: the Reality
flashed across the screen. They sat in silence as Deniz took them through a blow-by-blow account of what had actually happened on
The Hating Game
. Mattie shook her head as she watched Deniz explain that no prize money was ever intended; that the contestants had been lied to, manipulated and even subjected to physical harm.

e contestant, Adam Higgins, is still recovering in hospital. Higgins experienced a psychotic episode after failing to be provided with the medication his doctor recommended,’ Deniz said as a slow-motion video of Adam pushing Kyle played out on the screen. ‘Once able to stand trial, lawyers say he will likely be faced with charges of attempted murder.’

Mattie closed her eyes,
not wanting to see Kyle fall to the ground again or Adam’s twisted face as he called out for her from the zip-wire platform.

This documentary tried to contact Silver Hatchett, the former managing director of SiniStar Productions, at her home in the Cayman Islands. She declined our request for an interview,’ Deniz was saying.

Mattie opened her eyes. ‘Yeah, I bet she did! I still can’t believe she managed to get out of the whole thing unscathed.’

Former producer
Baz Jonson – now working as second assistant clown co-ordinator for children’s show
Clowning Around
– also refused to speak to us.’ The television showed video of Baz pushing the camera away from his face, then ducking through a circle of clowns as a group of children jeered in an attempt to get away.

Mattie snorted. ‘At least someone got what they deserved – worse than prison!’

They watched in s
ilence for a few more minutes as Deniz explained the class-action lawsuit launched by the contestants against X-ACT and the lobbying for new government legislation to regulate future reality shows. Finally, the credits scrolled across the screen.

Instead of switching it off, Jess leaned closer. ‘There it is! There’s Nate name!’ Her cheeks increased their rosy hue as the words
Nathan Reilly, Executive Producer

Then Jess
picked up her mobile and punched in a number. ‘Congrats on your documentary debut!’ she sang out before scurrying off into the garden.

Kyle and Mattie smiled at each other. It was lovely to see Jess so happy – and with Nate, of all people! When Nate got in touch with Jess to research his documentary on
The Hating Game
, the two of them had just clicked. They’d been together ever since, and despite Nate’s ex-girlfriend breaking into his place one night and begging him to ‘start fresh, like’, they were even talking about Nate moving into Jess’s scruffy Clapham flat.

Mattie had to admit
she was impressed with Nate’s determination to make his documentary production company a success. He’d already produced two or three meaty shows and he was on location God-knows-where right now, filming something about an evil dictatorship.

Look, there’s Ram’s name!’ Mattie pointed as the credit for principal cameraman came on-screen. Funny how
The Hating Game
had brought her and Kyle back together, saved her business and launched Nate’s documentary career with Ram on camera and Deniz as host. Who would have thought it?

Jess came back in from the garden. ‘Nate say
s hello. He’ll be home from his shoot tomorrow. I can’t wait!’ She plonked down on the sofa across from them and grinned.

Mattie snapped off the TV, birdsong floating in from the soft April twilight. Kyle and Jess looked up at her expectantly. She smiled and raised her glass high in the air. ‘Here’s to reality!’

To reality!’ Kyle and Jess clinked their glasses with hers.

ight now, Mattie’s reality was better than anything she – or any producer – could ever have imagined.










And coming soon from Talli Roland



BOOK: The Hating Game
3.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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