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BLUE

By:HJ Bellus

ehead.

A lone customer catches my attention, and he only does that because he’s dressed in a long sleeve black t-shirt with a backward ball cap placed on his head. Craning lower, I also notice he’s wearing workout pants and not shorts. I wonder if it’s the Bionic Man. How in the hell is he not having a heat stroke dressed like that in one hundred degree weather?

“The Tuck Jones,” Lane calls loudly as he strides to the corner booth. I watch as he slides into the booth with the clothed man. They do the bro shake and hug and whatever else men do. It’s clear Lane is deep in conversation with the man. Several moments later he nods in my direction and points. The man pulls his attention from his food up to me, and I’m busted. Yes, busted beyond a shadow of any doubt. I try to casually look away as if nothing just happened, but I’m fucked.

“Ma’am.” A voice draws my attention from the embarrassing situation.

Looking forward, the two parties are gone and there’s a gap the size of freakin’ Texas between me and the counter. Yep, fucking busted.

I try to order my food, but the look on the man’s face haunts me. His face is so chiseled, and even at a distance his masculine beauty is overpowering. There is something about his deep, dark brown eyes that flips my tummy. Unlike the other men who nearly caused me to piss my panties over their good looks, he is different, and different in a way my brain can’t comprehend.

The lady behind the counter clears her throat, showcasing her irritation with me. I hurry up and order that burger I’ve been craving, along with a large order of fries, and, of course, a soda. I mean, why stop short when you’re going to splurge? I’ll be running later tonight when it’s dark, that’s for sure.

Plucking the red tray of greasy food from the counter, I find a booth, and not just any one, but the one furthest away from the group of men. As I pull out the chair, I hear someone holler my name, and I’m not shocked to see Lane standing up and holding a chair out for me.

“Join us.” He puts his arm over his chest as if I were breaking his heart.

I shake my head, knowing it wouldn’t be a good idea.

“Don’t make me cause a scene, Blue.”

I keep shaking my head, and then finally sit down in the lone seat at my table.

“Don’t go breaking my heart,” he belts out, and I think he’s trying to sing, but I’m not quite sure. He throws my name in about every other word, and before I know it, the whole diner is staring at me.

“Asshole,” I say to myself as I pick up my food and head his way. “Happy?”

I plop down in the open chair, dying from embarrassment, and completely out of lust with Lane. His ‘come fuck me’ eyes no longer have any power over me after his obnoxious show.

“Blue, meet my boys, and boys, meet Blue.” He pauses for a moment. “I didn’t catch your last name.”

“Probably because I didn’t offer my last name.” I plop a ketchup soaked fry in mouth.

“Feisty one.” He takes a bite of his burger and talks around it. “I guess you didn’t like my singing.”

“You call that singing?” His teammates bust out in laughter. I look up to see all of them watching us, even the man who is overdressed. “And my last name is Williams.”

“Blue here is a freshman cheerleader.”

“That would be me, and this would be the most awkward moment of my life.” I grab my burger and go in for the kill, taking a large bite just like Lane did.

“Consider this your welcome to college life,” Ethan advises. “My girl is a junior cheerleader. Her name is Stephie, and she never eats like that.”

Several men choke back their laughter, but it’s the one in long sleeves who holds my attention. He shakes his head and backhands Ethan.

“Well, I guess she doesn’t know how to live life then.”

Immediately I pray to the cheer gods that Stephie isn’t that one hardcore mean girl on the squad, but with my luck, I’m probably screwed.

Ethan and Lane assault me with numerous questions, and I do my best to answer them through bites of my burger. And mother-lovin’, humpin’ hell, I now know why the line was so long. As I stuff my face, I watch the man in long sleeves, studying his movements and his face. I’m careful to not make eye contact with him. I can tell just from his body language that he’s a closed book and doesn’t want unnecessary attention drawn to him. Unlike Ethan or Lane, who’d probably strip for women ogling them.

Throwing my napkin into the now empty red basket, I glance over one more time at the mysterious man. This time I realize what it is about him that sets him apart from the other men. His face is chiseled and well defined, everything runs from his strong jawline, and his brown eyes are perfectly framed with his eyebrows. The man could walk a runaway fully clothed and still be the most gorgeous person. I can tell he’s built and very athletic, just like the rest of the men at the table.

“So are you all football players?” I dig for the information on my own and almost feel guilty.

“Yes, ma’am,” one of the quieter men in the booth pipes up.

“Names? I mean, I can’t leave just knowing Ethan and Lane.”

Ethan takes the lead and begins pointing out the men. “Gus T., redshirt freshman. Dustin, sophomore defensive end. Lane, resident pussy. Tuck, the best running back in college football, and he’s a junior. Jared, sophomore offense.”

I know Ethan continues, but after learning the name of the man who’s held my attention even over that glorious burger, I get distracted. His name is Tuck, and he’s a running back, and obviously his teammates speak highly of him. And he’s the oldest at the table, and by far the most alluring. This time I outright stare at him, not worried if he catches me or if the others notice my actions. Ethan finally shuts his trap.

“Nice to meet all of you,” I say, not breaking my stare.

Tuck finally looks up at me, but only for a second as he offers me a shy little smirk. Just the brief eye contact and the slight grin has my stomach do

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