Rolondo is going deep, but a safety and a cornerback are all over his ass. I duck a tackle, cut right, duck again. Gray’s covered. Diaz worse. Energy pulses, the crowd screams. I check Rolondo again. He’s pulling clear with a burst of speed.
Everything slows down inside me. It’s just me and the spot ‘Londo needs to be. Breathe deep, pump my arm back. Fly!
An arm hooks my middle, I crash into the turf with a bone-jarring thud. My eyes following the ball as it arcs through the air. And it’s damn beautiful when my baby drops from the sky to land in the cradle of Rolondo’s fingertips like I’d personally placed her there.
Right in the end zone. Perfect.
The victorious roar is deafening.
“Yeah,” I shout, my voice lost in the chaos.
My guys swarm in, pulling me up, bouncing me around like a pinball.
“That’s what I’m talking about!”
My head rattles in my helmet from all the slaps.
“That’s right, bitches. Whoo!”
I jump high, punch the sky, then run toward ‘Londo. He meets me halfway, bumping his chest to mine.
“That’s how you do it!” I slap his helmet, grinning wide. “Fucking beautiful, man.”
“Cuz my boy threw me a mutha-fucking rocket on a string,” he shouts back, laughing and grabbing my jersey to hug me. “We own this!”
Stumbling back to the sidelines, we’re surrounded once again by the team. The band plays a victory song. The crowd screams for us. For me. And there is nothing like it. It’s like flying and falling all at once. Only one other thing in this world makes me feel a high like this, one person. And I’m going after her.
SATURDAY FINDS ME working a mixer for the Engineering department’s alumni fund, held at the student union. It’s a big party with a full dinner service, which means my back is aching from hauling around massive trays, laden with dinner plates. Attendance is fairly low, something my manager Dave blames on holding the dinner at the same time as the football game. I think of Drew playing and a strange twinge of guilt pricks my gut. I ought to be there. Watching. Cheering for him. I shake it off and concentrate on my job.
It takes us a good hour to clean up the back kitchen, load the sheet pans into the washer, and lock up the remaining wine. When the rest of the staff leaves, I stay behind with Dave, because someone ought to and no one else is volunteering. As manager, Dave is responsible for returning the key to the main office. Once he’s done here, I’m done for the night.
He walks out with me, which is nice since the building has gone dark, and fairly screams “ideal slasher film location.” When I tell him that, we have a laugh over the idea, even though a shiver crawls along my spine. I’m creeping myself out.
“Though, really,” Dave says lightly, “every venue we work is ideal. Just think of what could go down in the Architecture hall. All that unrelenting glass.” His blond brows wag. “There’s like no place to hide.”
I laugh again. “Stop. Or I’ll never work another night shift again.”
He only grins wider. And mocks a terrible Bella Lugosi accent. “Do not resist. Your nights are mine, Anna Jones.”
We’re almost to my scooter when I see him. And my steps slow to a crawl.
Bathed in the brightness of a parking lot light, he’s leaning against the side of a cherry red classic muscle car with thick white racing stripes running down its center. I know enough about cars to identify that it’s a Camaro and it’s in mint condition. Not that it really matters. My eyes are on Drew. And, God, he looks good. Faded jeans hang low on his lean hips. He’s got one leg crossed over the other and his hands stuffed in his pockets, pulling the jeans lower. A pale grey Henley hugs his broad chest and gorgeous arms.
He’s watching me, has been since I noticed him, and that one dimple on his cheek deepens when our eyes meet.
“Oh man, that’s pretty,” breathes Dave at my side.
I’m fairly certain he isn’t talking about the car. I roll my eyes. “Night, Dave.”
He ambles off, muttering under his breath about lucky bitches, as I walk toward Drew. A casual stroll, as if my heart isn’t going ten miles a minute, as if I don’t want to run and jump on him.
A wicked smile curls his lips as I get near. I’m smiling too. I can’t contain it. He just looks so f**king good. There’s a strange buoyancy in my chest. Happiness. I’m so happy to see him, my legs want to go faster. I force a steady pace.
When I’m five feet away, Drew pushes off the car and stands tall. He’s still grinning when I stop in front of him, and his eyes travel over me. I feel that look down to my bones. God, he’s sexy. I don’t usually think of guys in those terms. Sexy sounds false, an adjective better left for advertisers’ use. But Drew is sex on a spoon. I want to slide him into my mouth and savor him.
“He’s g*y, you know,” Drew says by way of greeting.
It’s a minor miracle that I know what he’s talking about because I can smell Drew’s clean, tangy scent now. I can feel the warmth of his body, and it’s making me fairly dizzy.
“Considering I’ve met more than a few of Dave’s boyfriends, I’d say, yeah, I know. So you’re warning me, why?”
Drew huffs out a short laugh. “Petty jealousy, Jones. He’s a good guy for walking you out.”
“Mmm.” I look him over. “You win tonight, Baylor?” I’m guessing he did. Even here, far away from the stadium, the faint strains of the school band and laughter drift through the air.