Quarterback's Secret Baby

By: Imani King

Afterwards, I stayed in the stands, assuming Kaden would meet me there. Twenty minutes later almost everyone was gone and he hadn't shown up. I was just about to write him off for good when I heard footsteps behind me.

"What are you doing, Tasha?" He asked, looking confused.

"Waiting for you."

"Here? I was waiting at the ticket booth!" He laughed and I just couldn't stay annoyed. He was just so damned good-natured. Not to mention that smile, the one that I couldn't even look directly at due to the fear of just melting into a puddle of submission at his feet.

He sat down next to me, his hair wet and smelling of shampoo, dressed now in a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt that fit him like a damn glove. "Well? What did you think? Did we make a football fan out of you?"

How was I caught off guard? Of course he was going to ask if I enjoyed the game. "Um, yeah," I started, feeling heat rising in my cheeks at my own awkwardness. "It was good, Kaden. I liked it."

He leaned back in his seat and laughed his head off. "You liked it, huh? It was 'good?' Geez, Tasha, you really shouldn't talk so much, you know?"

I smiled and looked out over the field, which was shrouded in darkness now the floodlights had been turned off. I knew he was teasing me. "Well I don't know what to say! I did like it. I just - I don't know much about the game, I guess I still have to learn."

"Does that mean you'll come to more games?"

I shrugged, trying to play it cool. "Maybe. It was fun. These two moms were telling me what the rules were - I think one of them had a crush on you, she kept yelling about your 'arm.'"

"Ahh, yeah, I bet that was Sokolsky's mom. She doesn't have a crush on me, she's just really into football. Some of the parents can get pretty crazy about it."

It was nice sitting next to Kaden. Really nice. I was very conscious of our shoulders touching as we talked, and of the size difference between us. I'm five foot eight, tall for a girl - but he was huge. Not just tall-huge, either. Broad-huge. He barely fit into the bleacher seat. I wanted to put my hands on him. He just looked so good in that thin t-shirt and it was like I could almost sense how his body would feel against mine, how warm and male he would be.

I shook my head, trying to clear it. It felt good being with Kaden. It made me feel all fizzy inside, like I had soda in my veins instead of blood.

"You want to go for a drive?" He asked suddenly, turning to me.

What did he mean by that? Just a drive? Or was that some sort of code for did I want to be added to your list of conquests? Instead of clarifying I just nodded without thinking. "Sure."

Kaden's car was an enormous black Suburban SUV. When he turned it on there was a sudden blast of country music from the speakers, loud enough to shock me and then, when I realized it was country, make me chuckle. He immediately turned it off and, if I'm not mistaken, actually looked a little embarrassed.

"It's OK," I said. "I don't mind. It was just a little loud."

Kaden shrugged and drew my attention, once again, to those magnificent shoulders. "It's not even mine. I drove here with a friend - it's his music."

I turned to look at him. "You don't have to be embarrassed about liking country music, you know," I told him. "It's not like you're the only one around here."

"I'm not," he replied, too quickly and keeping eyes ahead, on the road. "It's just not mine. We can listen to something else."

"Kaden, I seriously don't even mind. You think I don't listen to country music? I grew up in Little Falls too, you know."

"Really?" He asked, sounding surprised. "You listen to country music?"

I laughed. "Well, no. But it's not like I don't hear it all the time."

"What do you listen to?"

"Oh, lots of things. My mom likes old school R&B, she used to listen to a lot of that when I was growing up so I guess I kind of absorbed her tastes a little. But I like all kinds of music."

Kaden was driving us up into the hills outside of town. The thought that he might make an attempt to add me to the conquest list crossed my mind again. At a red light, a couple of little kids in the car next to us noticed him and rolled down their window to wave and cheer. Kaden waved back.

"You've got fans," I said. "Like, actual fans. Is that weird?"

"Nah," Kaden replied. "It's not about me, they just love football."

But it was about him. It was his name that had been on everyone's lips during the game and his name those two kids had been yelling. I couldn't tell if it was false modesty on his part or if he really believed it was just about football, and not about him.

We pulled over at the top of one of the hills and got out of the SUV. I turned my head up and looked at the stars.

Top Books