footballpractice

“Found her,” Bekah announced as they strolled over to the benches.

“Hi guys,” Tamar said breathlessly, plopping beside Crystal.

Crystal pushed up the brim of her school hat to smile at her. “Hey! It’s about time you got here. The game’s gonna start soon.” She glanced down at Tamar’s shirt. “We really need to get you a jersey.”

“Meet Dylan’s fan club president,” Tonio drawled with a grin. “That might as well be her name when we’re at a game.”

“Umm hello? She’s his girlfriend. She should totally have a jersey. She’s vice president by default.”

Bekah smirked at Crystal. “Shouldn’t the vice president know something about football first?”

Tamar narrowed her eyes at her cousin, feeling a little better. “I know some stuff,” she mumbled softly, her voice barely audible over the loud chanting around them.

“Besides the tossing of football across the field, what else?” Bekah challenged playfully.

Tamar was silent for a few seconds and cleared her throat. “The quarterback is the star of the game,” she answered proudly, grinning.

Bekah only scoffed in laughter. “See?”

“Hey, she knows Dylan’s position is important. I can work with that. I can work with anything.” She plucked her hat from her head and placed it on Tamar’s. “There. That’s a little better. The vice president has to show team spirit for the man’s team.”

Tamar lifted a hand to brace the cap over her head and she gave Crystal a gracious smile. “Thanks.”

Bekah nudged Tonio. “Where’s mine?”

“You’re not the president or the vice president. I’m not responsible for outfitting you,” he explained casually, his eyes on the field. Just moments later though, he removed his own hat and settled it over Bekah’s hair. “But since I’m such a generous guy…”

Bekah’s teasing smile waned at his tone but shrugged, facing the field in front of her. No one was going to ruin this moment for her. Not even him.

Tamar adjusted the hat on her head and peered over at the empty field. “When does Dylan come out?” she asked Crystal.

Tonio leaned in and nudged Bekah when she didn’t respond. “Lighten up, Princess.”

Crystal glanced down at her watch. “In about a minute. I can’t wait to see if he’s at 70 percent completion. That would be amazing. Are you excited? I mean not about his completion percentage but the game.”

Tamar had no idea what Crystal meant but she knew Dylan wouldn’t disappoint his fans. He’d worked so hard for this moment. Her heart skipped a beat in anticipation and she craned her neck to look out onto the field, awaiting his entrance.

Bekah rolled her eyes at Tonio’s nudging. His mercurial behavior toward her was annoying. She was too old to entertain the confusion he brought up in her.

“Do that too often and they might get stuck,” he warned with all the wisdom of an old man. “If I promise to take over your outfitting for the next game you gonna smile at me?”

Bekah raised a brow at him before smirking derisively. “It’ll take more than giving me your hat to bribe a smile out of me, dude.” She rolled her eyes for good measure and turned her attention to the field as the crowd’s cheering got louder.

“It looks good on you though,” he said as he rose to his feet. “That should be worth one of those pricey smiles of yours.”

Crystal rose up on the tips of her toes, screaming at the top of her lungs as the football team ran out onto the field. She grinned at the way Tonio made a show of rubbing at his ear and reached around to shove him playfully.

Tamar cringed at Crystal’s screeching beside her and when Bekah grinned full-on at her, she responded with a smile of her own. Directing her gaze to the field, her heart went pitter-patter as the players ushered onto the field and her breath hitched at the sight of Dylan trailing behind. His long legs and his broad shoulders sent her heart racing, she could hardly breathe.

Bekah cupped both hands around her mouth and cheered once she spotted Dylan on the field.

The crowd erupted in a frenzy as Dylan and a few of the other players bounced around the field, hyping everyone up before the start of the game. Finally the team settled down as the special teams took the field in preparation for the kickoff.

Crystal locked her fingers together in anticipation as the ball went airborne.

“Nice catch,” Tonio murmured appreciatively as one of the players began racing back up the field, ball in tow. He weaved out and around the other players. His teammates threw up block after block as he ran.  He was finally tackled just inside the 50 and Crystal jumped in excitement.

“This is gonna be good. I feel it. Last time Jones had a return that good, we got a touchdown on the next play!”

Tamar could only see Dylan. Saw his number and latched on for the entire game. She smiled with uncontainable pride at the expert ease to which he moved across the field. He commanded the entire team without a word and her entire body shivered with the thrill of knowing that he was hers.

Bekah grinned like a proud mother when she watched Tamar’s face enraptured with the scene before her. She was like a dazed but joyful child in a circus, her eyes dancing with joy. Shaking her head in amazement, she turned back to the game.

Crystal was a live wire the entire game. She jumped, cheered, yelled, groaned, and complained throughout the night, leaning into Tamar every so often to explain a play or a call. She was engaged until the very last second ran down on the clock and then she exploded into cheers with the rest of the stadium as the Covington Cheetahs won the game.

By the end of the game, Tamar was clapping and cheering as the others in the stadium. She couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear, her gaze zoned in on Dylan as he high-fived the player next to him. The adrenaline that had kept her up on her feet and cheering pulsed through her and she jumped like an wired teenager in a concert. She couldn’t wait to hug Dylan.

“Great game!” Bekah cheered and whooped aloud, waving Tonio’s hat in the air.

“He had to be sitting on at least a 65 completion percentage. Had to be. Oh my gosh and Clayton was on fire tonight!” Crystal brought her water bottle to her lips as if she just realized she held it. “Man what a game!” She smiled at Tamar. “See, total vice president material.”

Tamar grinned at Crystal. “That was about the most exciting thing I’ve ever witnessed,” she confessed, still breathless.

“Looks like you enjoyed yourself too,” Tonio said to Bekah, smiling as he watched her wave his hat around with abandon. It bothered him how much pleasure he got simply from watching her.

Bekah laughed freely. “It was fun,” she admitted, lowering the hat. Then thinking again, she shoved the hat against his chest. “Thanks for the loan.”

He didn’t lift his hands to take the hat. “Keep it. I like it on you.”

She smirked and flipped the hat on top her head without question. “Don’t ask for it back later. I won’t give it to you.”

“Didn’t think you would. You’d let me borrow it though, right?” he asked with a smile.

“We’ll see about that,” Bekah tossed back.

Tamar stood on her tiptoes, peering between the standing crowd for Dylan. “Is it over?”

“Yeah. We can go meet him out front but it’ll be a few minutes before he comes out. And then there’s the fans,” Crystal explained. “He’ll sign autographs and all that.”

She nodded and smiled. “I’ll probably have to get in line too, right?”

Bekah chuckled softly. “You want an autograph too? Heck, why don’t we all go meet him?”

“We’re the fan club. We’ve got special privileges,” Crystal said mischievously. “Let’s go.”

Tamar grinned in excitement as she followed Crystal and Bekah down the steps. She was practically bouncing on her heels as they nudged between distracted students, barely noticing how Bekah stayed close to her side as a barrier between her and the hyper fans.

<<Chapter 29 || Chapter 31>>

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