Quarterback's Secret Baby

By: Imani King

She was standing alone by the main ticket booth, I spotted her as I looked for a parking spot. God, she was so fucking beautiful. Fitted leggings and a pink hoodie - she looked good enough to eat. It wasn't just the obvious stuff, though. It wasn't just the peachy curve of her ass in those leggings or the way she bit her lower lip sometimes when she was thinking. There was something self-possessed about her - a rare trait in the girls I knew. Even covered in spaghetti sauce at age ten and so embarrassed she couldn't look me in the eye it had been there, that refusal to surrender her dignity. It made me insanely curious. I parked the SUV and snuck up behind her.


She jumped and then turned to me, smiling. "Hey Kaden."


We both stood there for a few seconds and I felt a new and unfamiliar awkwardness inside me. What the fuck? If there's one thing I'm not, it's awkward. Especially not around girls. So why was I standing there like a lemon and jamming my hands into my pockets like a love-struck freshman? Come to think of it, why was she doing the same?

"So," I coughed. "You look nice. I like your, uh, I like your hoodie." Kill me.

"Thanks. I like your shirt. Do you guys always get dressed up before a game?"

I did a little double-take when she asked me that. "Yeah. Don't you ever go to games? How can you go to Reinhardt High and not be into football?"

She smiled and that dimple, the deeper one that always appeared on her left cheek, popped up. It would have been so easy to lean down and kiss that little dimple. But I didn't want to screw up. And not wanting to screw up was turning me into a stammering idiot. Get your shit together, asshole.

"Actually, no. This is my very first football game. I'm not really one for sports."

"Really?!" I asked, incredulous. Living in Little Falls and not being into football was like living in Italy and not being into pasta.

"Yeah really," she said, shrugging. "I guess it just wasn't a thing in my family."

I walked her to her seat, right next to the field in the 'friends and family' section of the bleachers and got stopped about ten times on the way. I admit I kind of enjoyed that part, mostly because I thought it might impress Tasha to see the respect with which I was treated by not just other students but grown men and women. As far as I could tell, though, she barely noticed.

Just as we were about to walk down the stairs to Tasha's row, I heard a female voice.

"Kaden! Kaden! Oh my God!"

My heart sank before I even saw her face. "Oh. Hey Kelsey," I said, in my best I'm-being-polite-but-please-go-away tone of voice.

"Kaden! Are you playing tonight?"

She knew I was playing. And I knew she knew it because Kelsey had developed a rather annoying habit of showing up wherever I was over the last couple of months.

"Yep." I nodded, watching her eyes as they moved away from me and came to rest on Tasha.

"Oh," she said, very quietly. "I didn't realize you were here with someone."

It's not that I didn't feel bad. I mean, I never promised Kelsey anything - I was quite clear with her that I wasn't interested in a relationship. But the lost puppy routine was getting old. She barged past me and introduced herself to Tasha before I could stop her.

"Hey, I'm Kelsey. I'm - well, I'm-"

She was stalling, trying to make it seem like there was something going on when there wasn't. "She's a friend of mine," I cut in as the girls shook hands.

Tasha started to make conversation: "Are you a huge football fan, then? This is my first-"

I knew if I let it continue that sooner or later Kelsey would make a scene and I was desperate to avoid that. Especially that night. So I took her by the elbow and led her away, reassuring her as she sat back down in her own seat that I would call soon. When I got back to Tasha she was giving me a look I wasn't sure I liked.

"What was that?"

"What?" I asked, playing dumb. Playing dumb usually worked with girls, especially if I threw in a big, charming smile. It did not work with Tasha Greeley.

"You know what, Kaden. I was right in the middle of talking to her and you just dragged her off. Kind of rude, don't you think?"

It was getting close to the time I needed to be in the dressing room with the rest of the team. I tried to play it off, but I don't think it worked.

"Yeah. Sorry about that. I just need to be down in the dressing room. We can catch Kelsey after the game if you want to hang out with her." There was no way in hell that was happening.

"Sure," Tasha replied coolly, "whatever, Kaden."

Fuck! The damn game hadn't even started yet and I'd already screwed up.

I didn't need a pump-up speech from the coach that night. I was already so pissed off at myself for messing up with Tasha that I ran out onto the field feeling like it was a championship game, determined to show her I wasn't just another dumb jock with too much testosterone and not enough brains. Even though that's pretty much exactly what I was.

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