Win Big:A Bad Boy Sports Romance(9)

By: Bella Love-Wins


With the combine coming up, the stakes were higher than ever. I was on my way out. I had to think of the future.

Once we finished our warm-up run, we started a quick game to keep ourselves loose. Slade’s throws were as accurate as ever. At least being with Cassidy didn’t screw up his game, which was a big relief. I would have hated to have to call him out on any kind of slacking off just because he was with her. I’d tell him if I had to, though, as the one thing I didn’t put much effort into was keeping my mouth shut.

We ran a basic screen play, one that we’d run a thousand times before. I took off downfield like I always did. It was like breathing, it was so natural. We worked together seamlessly, him and me, and sometimes I wondered how good I would be when the time came for me to play in the NFL with a different quarterback. There were times I wondered whether it was Slade who made me play this well, or if it was all me?

I’d find out soon enough.

Catching the pass, I ran it in for a touchdown, and that’s when I stopped questioning my God-given talent. I was just as talented as he was. He could get the ball in my hands, but I took it home. I was usually the fastest person on the field, and I always would be top tier as long as I kept working at it. My speed and my hands together made me untouchable.

That was not arrogance. That was confidence.

I couldn’t wait until it came time to play in the NFL, so millions of people could see my skills and I could hear my name chanted by tens of thousands of live football fans all at once.

I tossed the ball back and lined up in spread formation for the next play. I was on the outside.

Chad was subbing for one of our defensive linemen’s positions. He grinned at me. “C’mon, pretty boy. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

I laughed. “All right, son. Time to take you to school.” I waited for the signal from Slade, then the snap. I took off.

Chad shucked and jived, trying to get in front of me, but I was too quick as always. My feet flew, and I danced to the right, then cut left. He went sprawling on his face, and I did what I could not to laugh as I flew down the field.

It was like flying. It was the closest thing to freedom I could imagine. I felt sorry for anybody who didn’t get the chance to experience this kind of wind at their faces and their bodies claiming every foot of distance with ferocity.

I turned to see the ball sailing through the air. It was coming my way, but Slade had thrown it just a heartbeat too fast, or Pete had tripped me up longer than I thought he had, or I had delayed at some point in the sprint. Realizing I was out of sync with the trajectory and of the ball, I hauled ass trying to catch up to it, and extended my body to make the catch.

Then it happened.

“Ouch!” I felt something tear. Something like fire spread through my upper thigh and crotch. I abruptly stopped and crumpled to the ground, yelling out without meaning to. I couldn’t stop myself from bawling. Everyone on the field came running over to me as I rolled around in pain.

“What the hell happened? Are you okay?” Slade took a knee beside me. One of the coaches came running. I saw his look of concern through the legs of the players now hovering around trying to help me.

“My groin. Oh, fuck, that hurts.”

I groaned, cupping myself and pulling my legs closed. It felt like a horse kicked me in the nuts. The pain wasn’t centered in my balls, but beside them, and it radiated all throughout the area.

“Let’s get someone to take a look at you.” He waved over one of the medical staff already heading our way, then he focused back on me. They made sure the injury wasn’t to my head or neck, then the two of them got on each side of me and began checking the rest of my body. I tried to sit up. Fuck, it was excruciating. Coach Jones got on one knee, reaching an arm out for support.

“Owwwww.” I rolled away from him. I didn’t want anyone or anything to touch me. I wanted to die. I couldn’t believe how much it hurt.

“Tell me what happened.”

“It’s my groin. It fucking hurts, Coach.”

“All right.” He turned to Jeff, the graduate assistant on staff working under the sports doctor’s supervision. “Let’s get him on a stretcher.”

“No! I can do this.” I winced to sit up.

“Come on. We’ll take you back to the locker room.” Jeff and the coach slid their hands under my shoulders, with me crying out in pain as they brought me to my feet. I hated that I sounded like such a pussy, but I had never been injured this badly or felt this kind of wicked pain before. I’d experienced a few minor injuries before—anybody who played football and actually put their ass on the line instead of screwing around faced injury—but this was different. Every step sent flames up and down my legs.

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