Johnny Deeper: A Sports Romance (2 page)

“You have until the end of the season to sleep with these three…” I count on my fingers as I list them off. “A freshman, an alumnus, and a teacher.”

The room erupts with hoots and hollers. They all echo back at me through the steam-filled air and I breathe in that satisfying, sinful aroma of manly body spray.

I raise my hand. “Show of hands, boys. Who’s in?”

I wait, scanning the room from face-to-face, expecting a little bit of enthusiasm but all I get is fucking crickets.

“Oh, come on, guys!” I point at Junior’s handsome mug. “Morgan, you’re in, right?”

“Uh…” He slides his deodorant under his armpit.
“No
.”

My finger goes limp. “Why the fuck not?”

“I don’t think my fiancée and daughter would approve,” he smirks, running a comb through his short, dark hair. “I’ll sit this one out.”

I roll my eyes. I almost forgot how off-the-market Junior Morgan was. Last year, he was a fucking sex god. He even had a damn sex van, loving dubbed The Junior-mobile. Then he went all domestic on us. Oh, well. More ladies for me.

“Fisher…” I point at Ty and his trimmed black hair peeks out from behind his open locker door.
“Fisher….
Come on…”

“No,” he says. “I’ll pass.”

I deflate. “You know, you’ve become super boring since you started kissing men, dude.”

He winks up at me. “Duly noted, Johnny.”

“Don’t call me Johnny. Only girls can call me that.” I hop down from the bench. “No one else is in? It’s just gonna be me?”

I take in the team’s faces. Each man looks away as I pass them by, either too jaded or too taken to face
the trifecta
. I don’t get it. I really don’t. College isn’t about finding your true love and settling down. College is supposed to be a numbers game and during your senior year, that number is
three
.

“I’ll accept the challenge.”

I spin around, following the voice and I grit my teeth the second I realize where it came from. Douglas Floyd. The cornerback.

If I were a superhero, my nemesis would be
Douglas Floyd.

Even now, he’s got that sinister look about him, leaning against the far lockers with his arms crossed over his bare chest as if he’s just been waiting there all day to deliver that line at just the right moment.

I’ve lost track of how many times this guy has cockblocked me since freshman year. Just when I’m about to seal the deal with some lucky gal, Douglas Floyd swooped in with his blond hair and blue eyes like goddamn Prince Charming on his valiant steed. He’s been training for
the trifecta
for as long and as hard as I have and this year, he’s pulled out all the stops.

He definitely upped his protein intake over the summer because his biceps definitely weren’t as jacked last season and I spot several brand new tattoos scattered along his torso. Little symbols that mean absolutely nothing but that makes them the perfect conversational bait for unsuspecting mates.

“Oh, hey…” she giggles, “what’s this one mean?”

And last, but not least, his damn hair. He’s sporting a man bun. A motherfucking
man bun
. Trendy son-of-a-bitch must have started growing it months ago.

I throw on a smile and walk over to him. “Douglas! My man!”

He shrugs his wide shoulders. “Doesn’t seem like it’ll be too difficult.”

“Don’t get too cocky,” I warn. “This challenge has overwhelmed the best of men.”

His eyes twinkle. “Not this one.”

I smirk to conceal the contempt.

What a douche.

We stare at each other for a long moment before I spin back around. “Anyone else?”

Half of the team has already taken off. The rest of them shake their heads at me, smiling wide with amusement.

“Okay, then.” I extend my hand to Douglas. “Looks like it’s just you and me.”

He glances at my hand but he doesn’t take it. “We should make this more interesting…”

“Oh?” I raise a brow. “What do you have in mind?”

“Well, if it’s just the two of us, how about we race?” he asks, his lips curling.

I pause, admiring his tenacity but also screaming inside. “I like that. You’re on.”

We shake hands and I look around at the rest of our team. “You all witnessed this!” My voice echoes off the walls. “You will hold us accountable.”

They all nod, laughing silently to themselves.

“May the best man win, Kirby,” Douglas says to me.

“May the best man win,” I repeat.

He pushes off the lockers and throws a shirt over his head, knocking a few strands of hair loose from his bun but he still looks like he’s about to swoop me off my damn feet for a nice happy ever after.

For a second, I feel a twist of doubt deep within my gut. Achieving
the trifecta
was always going to be a challenge but now it’s a full-blown competition between gentlemen. That wouldn’t be a problem, usually, but now that Douglas Floyd is involved, I’m a bit nervous.

But I shouldn’t be. I’m John
fucking
Kirby; the fastest man on the team. I got this.

I return to my locker and gather my clothes, feeling a little more confident with each wink I give myself in the mirror.

Classes start tomorrow morning.

Time to start hunting.

 

Chapter 2

Rose

 

I push open his office door and stick my head inside. “Dr. Zach?”

When I see he’s talking on the phone behind his desk, I nod apologetically and start to duck out but he waves me back in.

I move quietly and sit down in the chair by his desk, trying not to make too much noise as he wraps up his conversation. He rolls his eyes at me and smiles, so he’s obviously very eager to dump the call. I scan the room, checking for any changes but Dr. Payton Zach has always been a simple guy. He’s got his books and his file cabinet and his mini-fridge full of diet soda and snack cakes. There’s only one decoration on the wall, other than his numerous degrees and certifications, and that’s a poster I got him when I graduated of the Periodic Table of Chocolate.

“Yeah…” he says, blinking impatiently. “Look, I gotta run. My TA just arrived but email me the rest, all right?”

When he hangs up, he drops the phone onto its cradle and it wobbles loudly before settling into the groove. “
Thank you
, Rose,” he says, sitting back. “That was hour number
two
of that phone call.”

“Everything okay?”

He waves a hand and runs his fingers through his black and gray-speckled hair. “Just the department head and his crap. Don’t worry about it.” He pauses and smiles at me, his eyes soft and amused. “And here you are.”

“Here I am,” I shrug.

“It seems like only yesterday you walked in here; a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
freshman.

I cringe. “Don’t remind me.”

“And now you’re my teaching assistant. Are you nervous?”

“Yes.”

He laughs. “Don’t be. It’s
general chemistry.
Nothing you can’t handle in your sleep. You nailed the training course. Now it’s just application.”

“You make it sound so science-y.”

“Everything is science.” He pulls his desk drawer open and lifts out a folder. “Now, I shouldn’t have to go over this with you and it’s, frankly, a waste of both of our time, but it’s a requirement.” He hands the folder to me and I scan the top page.

“Ethical guidelines,” I nod.

“It’s your basic common sense,” he says. “Treat all students fairly. No discrimination of any kind. No harassment of any kind. No inappropriate touching. I know you’re still a student yourself but you’re also an
authority figure
now, so try and keep all those photos of you doing keg stands off your social media profiles, all right?”

“Oh, you know me, Dr. Zach,” I laugh sarcastically. “Me and my keg stands. Every weekend.”

“Right,” he nods. “Like I said, a waste of time, but…”

“Required.”

“Exactly.” He hands me another folder. “Here’s our syllabus and lesson plans for the first few weeks.”

“Ooo…”
I peek inside. “The good stuff.”

“I’ll do the talking for the first class tomorrow,” he says, “but on Wednesday, the floor is yours.”

“Wednesday?” My chest lurches. “
This
Wednesday?”

He grins. “You’ll do
fine
, Rose. It’s chapter one. You probably know it better than I do.”

I swallow the rock in my throat. “Oh, yeah. Sure. No problem.”

“Still nervous?”

“Yes.”

He laughs. “Too bad. Get it out of your system by Wednesday. Or just do as I do and imagine the entire class in their underwear.”

I force a nod. “I
think
I can do that.”

“Good girl.” He stands up. “Let me show you where your office is.”

“I have
an office
?” I gasp.

“Well…” he shrugs. “It’s more closet-like than this one and you’ll share it with other TAs…”

I leap out of my chair. “Who cares? I have an office!”

He laughs and I follow him down the hall with wide eyes.

 

***

 

“So, you’re actually a
teacher
now?” my sister chuckles. “Those poor children.”

“They’re
undergraduates
, Daisy,” I say into the phone. “Not children.”

“Still,” she says. “My twin is responsible for the intellectual maturity of living human beings. Surely, some kind of mistake has been made.”

“Ha-ha.” I glance across my living room at the television, half-paying attention to the football game in progress while I go over the syllabus and lesson plans for the first few classes. “You’re watching the game, right?”

“Uh…” she pauses and I hear her snatching the remote off a table. “Yes?”

My sister lives across the country so I don’t get to see her in person as often as I’d like to. We always get on the phone and watch the games together, though; football, baseball, whatever is on, really. It’s our little tradition.

“You’ve only missed ten minutes,” I chuckle.

“Is that all?” she groans.

I roll my eyes and glance down the class list, scanning the names one-by-one until I reach the K’s and a name jumps out at me. “Holy crap…” I mumble.

“What?”

I smile wide. “One of my students is
John Kirby
.”

“Who?”

“John Kirby!”

There’s a short silence.
“Cool?”

“He’s on the university football team.”

“Is that the quarterback?” she asks. “He’s hot as fuck.”

“No, that’s Junior Morgan. John Kirby is the halfback.”

“Ohhh, right. What’s a halfback again?”

I sigh and point at the television even though she can’t see me. “Okay, look at the offensive line right now.”

“… All right.”

“You see the three guys behind the quarterback?”

“Uh-huh.”

“The one the quarterback just handed the ball to,” I say, “and is now bolting down the field to score a touchdown…”

“I see him.”


That’s
the halfback.”

“Oh, don’t sound so condescending, lady,” she laughs. “How many times have you asked me what a shortstop dpes?”

I tilt my head. Daisy is as nuts about baseball as I am about football. “Fair enough,” I say, grabbing my glass of water.

“So, you gonna bang him?”

Liquid tumbles down the wrong pipe and I choke, coughing it out into the arm of my sweater. “
No—
” I spit. “Jeez, Daisy. He’s a student.”

“So are you.”

“A
graduate
student. As a TA, I’m an authority figure. No student-teacher relations allowed with the undergrads.”

“I bet he likes a woman on top…
in more ways than one.”

I wipe the dribble off my chin. “No,” I say again.

“Fine.
I’m just saying… it’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

I bite my lip. “No, it hasn’t.”

“Rose.”

“You don’t know!”

“Yes, I do. I have magic twin psychic powers. I can tell you’re wound tighter than a monkey’s butthole. A little halfback in your end zone will do you some good.”

“My end zone is
fine
, thank you. Worry about your own…” I stutter, pulling from my limited baseball lingo, “… pitcher in your dugout. Or whatever.”

“That was
weak
,” she cackles. “I like the dugout euphemism, though. I’ll have to remember that one.”

“I’m elated that you find my lack of sex life so entertaining, Daisy.”

“Seriously, Rose…” Her voice drops to a more somber tone. “From one woman to another, I implore you,
get laid this year
. I know you had your heart broken once but that was a million years ago.”

“He didn’t
break my heart
,” I argue.

“He busted a nut and took off. Whatever. The point is, like…
one
deep dicking should be enough to cure what ails you. Something casual with no strings attached. And the sooner, the better.”

I shake my head. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

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