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Forever Mine (The Moreno Brothers #1)

By:Elizabeth Reyes

ll rang. He was late to practice again and he knew his coach wouldn't be happy. It was the second time this week, but he had to stay after class to get the extra credit assignment. He was failing Spanish II, again. Spanish! His parents owned a Mexican restaurant, for crying out loud. Only reason he had taken it was because he needed two years of a foreign language to even have a prayer of getting into a four year college. And now it may cost him time on the field.

Apparently, he was only good at the curse words and the teacher called his Spanish, Spanglish. It was a Catch 22 though, if he didn't stay late to get the extra credit assignments, he wouldn't be able to make up some of the lousy scores he'd been getting on the quizzes. If he didn't make them up he wouldn't have the grades to play on the team. Not picking up his grade also meant staying after school for tutoring. Just the thought made him groan.

He made it to the weight room just as they were starting warm ups. The coach barely looked at him and pointed to the bleachers outside in the hot sun.

"Twenty," he said. "Make 'em fast."

Running bleachers was the worst. As he began to sprint toward them, he heard Dana call out to him from the track area where the cheerleaders were warming up.

"Bleachers again, Angel?"

He nodded barely looking her way. Some of the other girls laughed and joined in. His dimples made their appearance as usual, although his smile was anything but genuine. The catcalls had stopped making him uncomfortable a long time ago, especially from this group of girls.

At seventeen, Angel was already an impressive six-feet-two. He was very much following in his two older brothers' footsteps. Although it was nice to have instant notoriety as soon as he started high school, there were times he resented having to live up to his brothers' legacies. He had the looks, the build, the popularity, but, unfortunately, not the grades.

He frowned at the thought of his two older brothers being on full sports scholarships in college, and here he was struggling to stay eligible to play high school football. It was embarrassing but he wasn't going to give up. As his father, and lately his oldest brother Sal, always say, failure is not an option.

Lost in his thoughts, and still annoyed with himself, Angel ran slowly and pensively up the bleachers for the fourth or fifth time, he'd lost count. Sweat trickled down his face and he struggled to keep his breathing steady. He usually could get a rhythm going, but not today. Someone ran right past him a little too close. Startled, he almost lost his balance. He caught himself and was about to give him an earful when he heard her apologize and realized he was a she.

"I'm sorry, did I bump you?"

"No, I'm good," Angel was bent over with his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath.

"You sure you're ok?" she asked again.

He looked up at her for the first time, still breathing hard. The sun was directly behind her. Angel squinted at a petite silhouette. She shifted slightly, blocking the sun for a moment. The first thing he noticed were her eyes. They were an amazing light green. A startling contrast to her dark features. She stared at him as she too stood there breathing hard.

Her hair was up in a ponytail, except for a few strands dampened by her perspiration that stuck to the sides of her face and forehead. It surprised Angel that he didn't recognize her from anywhere. He thought he knew everyone in the school. But there was something familiar about her, he just couldn't place it.

"I'm fine," he said.

"Good." She started untangling the earphone wire. She'd apparently taken it out of her ear when she stopped to check on him. She didn't smile back or ask anything else. She seemed eager to be on her way. He watched as she adjusted it in her ear and got ready to go back to her running.

With his heart pounding and palms sweating, to his own surprise he stammered, "So, you like to run?"

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

She turned and looked at him without responding. Maybe she hadn't heard him, he hoped.

"I'm Angel, what's your name?"

"Sarah."

All he could manage was a smile as the name sunk in.

"Well, have a good one," she said, and ran off.

He watched as she ran up and across the bleachers. From a distance she looked very small with little to no curves. Then it hit him, lost girl, from the first day of school. That's where he'd seen those eyes. He'd noticed them even then. He remembered feeling struck but he hadn't seen her since and had almost forgotten about it. Almost.

He started his bleachers again, and his thoughts went back to his grades. Was he really gonna need to be tutored? He shook his head in disgust and picked up his pace.

********************

Sarah ran, concentrating hard. She had a feeling he was still watching her, and would die if she fell or tripped. The butterflies in her stomach were out of control. How could she almost knock him over? Of all people it had to be him. She should've said more to him but she'd been at a loss for words, thoughts, just like the first day of school when he'd caught her gawking at him like an idiot. Ever since then she'd avoided coming face to face with him again. Any time she even thought she saw him, she'd run in the opposite direction.

Her legs almost gave out when she realized who she bumped. Damn him and his smile. As sure as she was that he probably didn't even remember her, she hadn't wanted to chance making a fool of herself again.

Sarah knew all about the great Moreno brothers. Valerie had lived here her whole life, and had gone through grade school and middle school with them. Since Valerie had a huge crush on Angel's older brother, Alex, she told Sarah about them all the time.



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