“Ohmygosh, RJ! This is beyond good,” Laney says as slaw and chili run down the side of her mouth. I start to laugh then take another bite of my double cheeseburger with extra bacon.“Told ya. Guess you’ve got a perk having a local as a roomie,” I say.
“Yeah I do,” she says as the bell chimes on the door swinging open.
I glance over my shoulder because more than likely it’s someone I know, but when I see him I give a huff and an eye roll. I turn around, trying to avoid him like the plague. Why is he everywhere today? He’s the last person I ever wanted to run into on campus, and on my first day here, I can’t escape him. I can’t believe I agreed to see him again tomorrow. Mental note – leave extra early in the morning.
“Did you see who just walked in?” Laney whispers.
Rolling my eyes yet again, I respond “Yeah, so what?”
“So what? Are you kidding me? Do you have a set of ovaries? He’s like hot tamale h-o-t!”
“He’s not my type,” I state flatly. Laney takes her burger, places it on her plate, crosses her arms and stares at me like I’m completely full of it.
“Yeah right! You can say what you want, but that boy is like fine as crystal and what I wouldn’t do to take a sip out of that glass.”
“Laney! Are you kidding me? Just because he’s got a six pack and can throw a ball doesn’t mean he’s God’s gift, ya know.”
“You’re not serious are you?” She looks at me, trying to figure me out.
“As a heart attack. Do you know where you chose to go to school?” She looks confused. “Look, not only do we have a nice little Division I football program on campus, but this county is like high school football dynasty. They don’t lose around here.”
“Huh? You lost me.”
“Okay, take this in for a second. Him coming to play here has nothing on the other talent I’ve seen growing up. Two of our four schools bring home state titles each and every year. It’s a way of life around here. From August to December everyone eats, breathes, and sleeps this sport. It’s not just a Saturday game here, it’s Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in this town. It just depends on if you’re a pee wee or a Charlotte Lion. He better be thankful that Coach Porter gave him a shot because word on these country streets is that he didn’t have anywhere else to go, and his time was up at that no-name junior college. He either had to take Blue Ridge’s offer or kiss the draft goodbye.”
Laney looks at me and suddenly I realize who’s standing right beside me. Oh well. I call it like I see it.
“So what’s the word on the streets, RJ?” he questions, looking down at me, and I do what I always do. I shoot straight.
“That you did something really stupid, and Coach Porter is the only one willin’ to give you a shot on the field in three years. You think this football town is nothin’, but you’re really surrounded by a piece of football heaven. You’re just too stupid to realize it.” Standing, I look at Laney, “You ready?” She doesn’t say a word, her mouth is wide open and she looks down at her unfinished burger. “Hey Hazel! I’ll bring your baskets back in the mornin’.” She smiles and I walk right past him and out the door. Now let’s see if he shows in the morning. Touchdown, RJ.