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Riley looked up to see a football hurtling towards her head. Instinctively she reached up and caught it, before it could do any damage to her face.
Riley smiled up at the beautiful tanned and toned guy who had jogged over to retrieve his football and who was now smiling back at her.
“Thanks. I have three brothers,” she replied, tossing him the football. “All of them equally into football.”
The guy smiled even more as he caught the football, and held out his hand to shake. “I’m Grayson.”
Riley reached up and shook his hand. “Riley,” she replied.
“Nice too meet you, Riley,” Grayson said.
“And you as well,” she said back, still smiling. She noticed Grayson’s blue eyes light up as he continued smiling at her and she felt her heart skip a beat. A feeling she hadn’t felt since her freshmen year here at college.
“Well, Riley, since you seem to be an expert on football, would you be willing to play?” Grayson asked, hopefully.
Riley hesitated, biting her lip. She had swim practice in an hour, but this was a perfect opportunity to put herself out there like her roommate Angela was always bugging her to do. She sighed and held out her hand. “Fine. But none of that two-hand touch crap,” she teased. She could play for a bit. After all it was an hour she had to kill.
Grayson laughed and helped her up. “Fine, but if we injure you, you have to promise you won’t sue.”
Riley gave him a flirtatious smile. “I can’t make that promise,” she said.
Grayson smiled again. “And somehow I’m okay with that.”
Riley laughed as she stole the football from Grayson’s hands and took off running towards where he and his group of friends had been playing; all her cares and everything that had been weighing on her mind suddenly disappearing far behind her, at least for the moment, as she ran.
Grayson wasn’t far behind her, and neither were her problems, despite the sudden distance.
Almost an hour later, Riley fell and got a mouth full of sand as one of the boys tackled her down before she had reached the makeshift endzone. She laughed as she spit out the grainy dirt that was slowly causing her mouth to turn dry.
The boys laughed and Grayson sauntered over to help her up. “How’s the sand taste?” he teased.
She smiled. “I don’t know you tell me,” She said, pulling on his hand and causing him to fall.
Grayson caught himself before he fell on top of her, but now he was only inches away from her lips.
Riley’s heart raced as she realized this was much better than her original plan of shoving him in the sand. She tilted her head up a little and kissed his lips.
Grayson’s friends ooohed as Grayson cupped her face in his hand and kissed her back.
Riley held back a delighted smile, her heart picking up speed and a hot spark like tingle running between her lips and Grayson’s.
Riley jumped back, breaking her kiss with Grayson and turned to see her best friend Angela Crawford standing at the start of the beach. She gave her a confused, and slightly annoyed look, wondering why Angela had just ruined Riley’s perfect shot at possibly getting a new boyfriend.
“Dana is going to kill you!” she called.
Dana? What does Dana..oh s***! Swim practice! Riley thought. She clambered out of Grayson’s hold and quickly gathered the swim stuff she’d casted aside after she’d started playing with Grayson, before starting into a quick jog towards Angela.
Grayson and the boys watched confused. “Hold up! You cannot just kiss me and take off!” Grayson called, smiling. “Don’t I at least get your number or something?”
Riley froze, knowing she had better explain to Grayson why she had to go. But there wasn’t much time. She was already a few minutes late and Angela was right, Dana was going to kill her, since she hadn’t already. She threw her swim bag and towel over to Angela and turned back.
Angela caught her things and rolled her eyes, as she waited.
Riley jogged back to Grayson and uncapped the permanent marker she had managed to sneak out of her bag before tossing it to Angela. Then she gently grabbed Grayson’s arm and wrote her cell number across his forearm. She capped the marker when she was done and said, “I swear if this ends up on any of the bathroom walls or on Facebook, I can guarantee next time you’ll taste sand and not my tongue.”
The guys ooohed again and Grayson held her face again. “Trust me,” he whispered. “I’m not that type of guy.”
Riley smiled. “Yeah, well you’re gonna have to prove it. I don’t trust easily,” she answered.
Grayson kissed her lips again and Riley felt the same excited chills run along her neck and down her spine. She wanted the kiss to last forever, but when Angela cleared her throat, Riley knew it couldn’t.
Riley pulled away again. “Sorry, I gotta go,” she said, stepping back.
Grayson gave her a sad look and opened his mouth to speak, but Riley pushed a strand of her dark brown hair, back behind her ear and took off towards Angela again, before he could speak a word.
“What’s so important?” Grayson called after her.
“Practice!” she shouted, behind her. She didn’t care to specify what type of practice; she figured that if he cared about her enough he’d figure it out on his own. Leaving things as a mystery was all part of the game.
“So, Riley, what’s your excuse this time?” Dana asked, slamming her locker shut.
Riley pushed her way past a couple of a few freshmen girls who were already suited up and talking in a cluster. She rolled her eyes. “Ugh. Dana, don’t start,” she said.
“Oh, but why shouldn’t I?” Dana replied. “I mean, after all I am captain of this team and you are late.”
Riley dropped her stuff down on the bench and fixed her gaze on Dana. “Co-captain,” she declared. “You are co-captain of this team. “
Dana rolled her eyes. “Doesn’t matter. If you’re late one more time, Coach Carr is going to demote you and then I’ll be captain, the only captain, of this team.”
“Who the hell told you that? It certainly couldn’t have been Coach Carr because she understands why I’m late half the time; which is school related, and since I got a scholarship for both my grades and my swimming, she respects the fact that school is just as important to me as swim. Clearly, unlike you.”
Dana stiffened. Scholarships were a touchy subject with Dana since she almost didn’t get one, and even then, the one she did get was for her grades, not swim, and it wasn’t a full ride. It wasn’t even a half ride. Riley, on the other hand, had received two scholarships; one for swim and one for academics. Her swimming scholarship paid for more than half her schooling, and her academic scholarship paid the rest. She was technically going to school for free and this was what Riley figured, pissed off Dana the most.
Dana’s face was beginning to turn red in anger and Riley knew what was coming.
She braced herself for the attack Dana was about to hurl at her, but suddenly Coach Carr passed through the locker room.
“Alright girls, get on deck. Riley, hurry up and change, please.”
The freshmen cluster who had stopped talking to watch the almost argument between Dana and I, suddenly began to gather their things.
Dana rolled her eyes and sighed annoyed as she grabbed her goggles off the bench and headed out to the pool deck, leading the others.