#Nerd (Page 2)
Sharp pain burned through my hip and I drew back, fighting the urge to double over as I rubbed the sore spot.
That was going to leave a bruise.
Doing my best to ignore the pain, I walked around the table to where the pencils were scattered on the floor. Bending down, I began scooping them up with my hand.
One pencil had rolled farther away than the others, and I had to stretch my arm all the way out to reach for it. Just as I was about to snatch it up, two overly large feet wearing a pair of Nikes appeared right beside it.
I pushed my glasses up on my nose and followed a pair of jean-clad legs all the way up, past the familiar jacket, to full lips and a chiseled face.
“Need a hand?” he said, tipping up the corner of his lips. Amusement sparked in his jewel-like blue eyes.
I opened my mouth to reply, but no sound came out. I tried again.
A little squeak escaped instead of actual words. I slapped my lips together and went back to collecting pencils.
And this was why I preferred animals to people. So much easier to talk to.
A rich chuckle floated over my head and my cheeks heated even more. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if my hair caught on fire from the force of my embarrassment.
He crouched down and reached for the rogue pencil the same time I did. Our fingers collided.
Electricity jolted through my hand and bolted up my arm. Shocked, I gasped and fell back. All the pencils in my hand clattered on the floor around me.
Romeo gave me an odd look and then picked up everything in like three seconds flat.
I guess having large hands like that is useful.
When I realized I was just sitting on the floor like a complete weirdo, I scrambled to my feet and looked at him. He was already turning away.
“Wait,” I said.
He glanced at me again.
I held up the severely wrinkled paper. “I’m your tutor.”
The doubt in his eyes kind of made me mad. Did he think I wasn’t smart enough to tutor him?
“See,” I demanded, shoving the paper in the space between us.
That half-smile thing he did resurfaced, and he took the paper out of my grasp. “What’d this paper ever do to you?” he said, taking in its crumpled appearance.
I scowled. For starters, it was forcing me to talk to him.
He sighed and I thought he muttered something beneath his breath, but I couldn’t hear what it was. “All right, then, Teach,” he said, motioning for me to take the lead. “Let’s get this over with.”
Obviously, he didn’t want to be here.
That made two of us.
The sounds of the locker room were always the same. Laughter, catcalls, and men ribbing each other rose above the sound of the showers running in the back. The air was humid from the constant running water, and the scent of sweaty jerseys permeated the room.
Basically, it was home.
I was one of the last ones off the field tonight and most everyone else was already out of their uniform as I walked through the room toward my locker. A couple damp towels snapped me on the ass as I went by, and I promised revenge later.
Laughing, I swung open my locker door and turned just in time to see something fall out and land near my feet.
What the hell?
The sounds of the room faded to the background as I picked up the cream-colored envelope with a black wax seal on the back. My pulse picked up when I recognized the crest in the seal.
Inside was a matching cream-colored card, completely blank on the outside. I lifted the bottom to reveal the inside.
That’s all it said. No signature. No other writing. Just one word.
But I knew what it meant.
I grinned and gave a loud whoop. A couple of the guys echoed the sound. Beside me, my teammate and friend Braeden leaned in to look at the card.
“Aww, shit,” he said and slapped me on the back. “You’re in, dude.”
I held up my fist so we could pound it out. “Hells yeah,” I said.
“You know Alpha Omega is like the most exclusive frat on this campus,” he said, reaching into his locker to pull out a T-shirt.
Everybody knew that. It’s one of the reasons I wanted in so bad. I didn’t think it would happen, because last year—my freshman year—I didn’t get in. That had been a bitter pill to swallow because my father and grandfather had both been members.
I never did find out why they never let me in, but obviously, whatever it was didn’t matter now.
This was the opening I needed. From here I knew I could make it in.
“Congrats, man,” Braeden said, slamming his locker door closed.
“Anderson!” Coach yelled from the door of his office. “Get your pansy ass in here!”
The usual oohs and awws followed me as I walked into the office and Coach slammed the door. “There a problem, Coach?” I asked.
“Your grades suck, Anderson,” he said, blunt.
“It’s only the first month of the semester,” I argued, even though yeah, my grades sucked.
“Last year you were points away from getting kicked off the team.” He leveled me with a harsh stare. “I’ve already spoken to your professors. You’re already headed down the same path this semester.”
I sat in the chair near his desk. “It’s hard to find time to study with all the practicing I do,” I hedged. It wasn’t exactly a lie. I got up early to work out, then fueled up, went to classes, and then had football practice for several hours each day. And some days we had more than one practice.
“I hear you’re rushing Alpha Omega.”
How the hell did he find that out so fast? I’d only just gotten the note.
He looked as if he’d smelled a bad fart. “You’re my star player. I know exactly what you’re up to.”
“I—” I started to make some excuse, but he held up his hand and sighed.
“I get it, Anderson. School sucks. You’re here to play football and chase women.”
“I was your age once. But the hard truth is you can’t play if your grades don’t come up.”
That wiped the smile right off my face. “But, Coach.” I sat forward in my chair, ready to beg. Football was my life.
“Relax,” he intoned. “You’re still on the team. You’re still starting, and I intend to keep it that way.”
I didn’t like the sound of that.
“You now have a personal tutor. You’ll meet in the library every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for two hours after practice.”
“Two hours!” Holy shit, that was brutal.