#Nerd (Page 3)

“I mean it, Anderson. The team needs you. You’re the best player we have, and the dean wants a championship this year.”

I wanted a championship too. It would draw in the NFL scouts. The NFL was my endgame. Hell, it was my only game.

“Fine,” I muttered. This was going to suck.

“You start tonight,” Coach added, then pointed at his door for me to get out.

The locker room was emptying out when I opened up my locker again. Braeden sat there with his duffle at his feet, waiting for me. “What’d Coach say?” he asked.

“I have to get a tutor,” I muttered.

Braeden laughed. “Have fun with that,” he said and stood. His laughter drifted behind him as he left.

Fun? Yeah right. Not bloody likely.

By the time I was showered and changed, everyone else was gone. I threw all my gear into my locker and grabbed my backpack, heading for the library. I was starving, and as I walked, I scarfed down a protein bar.

The library wasn’t a place I visited very often, and when I stepped inside, I realized Coach hadn’t even told me the name of my tutor. I looked around for someone who looked like they might be meeting someone else, and my eyes landed on a hot chick sitting near the back. Her blond hair brushed the low cut collar of her top. When she saw me looking, she leaned over a little more and gave me the perfect view of her cleavage.

Nice.

Maybe she was my tutor. Maybe two hours in the library wouldn’t be that bad. I was just about to head over there and ask her if she was waiting for me when I heard some commotion behind me.

A cup of pens and pencils had fallen off a nearby table and some girl was rushing around to pick them up. I couldn’t even see her face because of the mess of dark hair falling around it. She didn’t look very big and was dressed in a baggy sweater that made checking out her body impossible. The way she scrambled around and kept her head down told me she probably spent a lot of time in this place.

I glanced back at the girl with the awesome tits, and she smiled. But when my feet moved, it wasn’t in her direction. Instead, I found myself towering over the pencil girl.

When she saw me, her entire body stilled. I watched as she took in my legs and tilted her head all the way back to stare up at my face.

Tangles of dark hair hid most of her features and covered her shoulders. I wondered if she’d combed it at all this week. Her skin was pale and she was wearing a pair of black-framed glasses that could have been my grandma’s. Her face was clearly makeup free and her pink lips didn’t shimmer with any kind of gloss.

“You need a hand?” I asked. All she was missing was some of that white tape in the center of her glasses.

Her cheeks turned bright pink and sound erupted from between her lips. Poor girl. She was so incredibly awkward. I couldn’t help but laugh at the look on her face. It was almost like she’d never had a conversation with anyone before.

We reached for the pencil by my feet at the same time. Our fingers bumped together, and she jerked back like she’d been shot. She fell backwards onto her butt, and the pencils she’d been gathering spread across the floor again.

Geez, this girl was a disaster.

I picked up everything I could find and straightened to dump them all in the cup. I thought about bending down to help her up, but judging by her reaction when we’d accidentally touched, I figured it wasn’t a good idea. Besides, I had a hot tutor waiting for me.

“Wait.” Her voice was small when she called out behind me. Something about it speared my chest, and I turned.

“I’m your tutor,” she said.

What? No. There was no way in hell Coach would hire this meek little… nerd to tutor me.

Oh yes, he would, a voice in the back of my head taunted.

“See,” the girl demanded and shoved a crumpled paper at me. It was my schedule and the courses I needed help with. At the top was my name.

“What’d this paper ever do to you?” I teased her.

She scowled. I guess nerds didn’t like to joke around. This was going to be worse than I thought. “Thanks a helluva lot, Coach,” I muttered.

I glanced back at the girl. She was short, didn’t even come to my shoulder. Her hair hid most of her, and what it didn’t, the god-awful sweater she was wearing did. It hung all the way to her knees and was brown, making it look like a sack. She pushed up the glasses on her nose again, her slight fingers poking out from her too-long sleeves.

I guess it could be worse.

She could smell.

“All right, then, Teach,” I said, resolved to my tutoring future, and pointed for her to lead me to her table. “Let’s get this over with.”

If being tutored by her was what I had to do to stay on the team, then that’s exactly what I was going to do.

Chapter Three

Rimmel

Romeo had the attention span of a slice of bread.

Which is none at all.

Every time I started to explain something, it’s like not only his eyes glazed over, but his entire body. At one point, I wondered if it were possible for him to be asleep with his eyes open.

And God, he smelled good.

It was a clean scent, like soap, the kind of soap that probably costs five dollars a bar. It was a thick scent, but it wasn’t heavy. Every time he fidgeted in the chair, a cloud of it would waft over me and I would inhale just a little deeper.

The way the ends of his damp hair curled up around the collar of his jacket made it hard to keep my eyes trained on the paper. Clearly, he had just showered. He probably didn’t always smell this good. Most guys were stinky… weren’t they?

Truth was I had no idea. This was the closest I had gotten to a guy since high school, and even then that was limited mostly to the guys who sat around me in class and Nick, my childhood friend.

Nick never smelled like this.

Focus, Rimmel. I scolded myself. I couldn’t very well criticize him for his lack of attention when I was sitting over here sniffing the air.

“Hey,” I said, tapping my pencil on the notebook in front of us. “You’re supposed to be paying attention.”

Romeo was doing some kind of trick or something with the pen in his right hand, somehow passing it through all his fingers. Back and forth, back and forth.

I snatched it and slapped it on the table. “I think that little trick is using up all your concentration.”

He laughed, his straight white teeth flashing at me. “Sorry.” His tone was sheepish and he leaned forward, placing both his elbows on the table, and looked at the notebook. “I’m listening.”