“Are you coming with me to watch the swim meet?” Lisa asked Annabelle as she started heading toward the door of their shared dorm room. The two young girls had quickly become friends after their first year of college and had continued to share their residence for their sophomore year.
“Sure, it’s not like I have anything else going on.” Annabelle replied as she held the door open for her friend. Once they were both in the 300 square foot room each girl took their respective seats at their desks to catch up on assignments and reading for their classes tomorrow.
It had been a little over a month since the new semester had started and the coursework was beginning to heat up.
Once the girls made it to the sports complex, Annabelle took a seat next to Lisa on the bleachers that surrounded several Olympic sized swimming pools.
Lisa’s job as one of the campus paper journalists required her to be at any and every school event. The first swim meet of the year was no exception.
Annabelle did her usual scan of the crowd then back to the team who had just begun to strip off their parkas. She watched as many of them did some light stretching and meditation to clear their minds.
“Who’s that?” Annabelle whispered as she subtly motioned to a new face on the roster. The young man was tall with a medium muscular build. A pair of red Speedo’s tightly hugged his body, pressing against the V leading up to a pretty impressive package.
He had his hands clasped behind his back waiting for instruction from his coaches. He had shaggy, black hair that was tucked behind his ears and from what she could tell, light colored eyes that almost blended into his irises.
“He’s new.” Lisa replied, taking notes on her steno pad. “We scouted him from another college. He’s supposed to be really good. Division champ or something.”
As if sensing the gaze of both girls on him, the young man turned his attention to the bleachers. Annabelle froze, with only the rapid beating of her heart keeping her oriented. His jaw was tightly clenched, and the muscles on his forearms and abdomen reflexively followed suit.
Lisa returned her attention back to the notepad, but Annabelle had no other distraction to keep her eyes occupied. She saw the corner of his mouth turn up in a smirk before he looked down to take his position.~
“He’s gorgeous!” Annabelle remarked, once the two girls were out of the gym.
“Join the club.” Lisa grinned as they both walked toward the mess hall for dinner. “For the last few weeks that’s all I've been hearing from the girls in my classes.”
“You’ve been keeping him a secret from me for WEEKS?” Annabelle kid.
“I think he’s already been on a few dates already. Better get your name on his dance card before someone sweeps him up! I hear he’s quite fond of Kristen. They’ve been spotted on two dates together already!”
“How do you know all of this?” Annabelle replied, crestfallen that her Romeo was so far out of reach. She couldn't possibly compare to Kristen "I'm a hot cheerleader who drives a Tesla" Rogers.
“I’m a reporter, it’s my job to know things. I have feelers in every outlet of campus life.”
Annabelle made an effort to attend every swim meet thereafter, including some practices. It was after one of these practices when she was able to finally get the attention of this mysterious Adonis.
“Swim fan?” He asked casually as he walked over to the bleachers where Annabelle was seated. He had a towel wrapped snugly around the V of his hips.
“Oh God, no.” She laughed to herself. She thought he was referencing the popular movie with the same name about a crazed stalker in love with a swimmer. Think Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.
He shot her a confused look before asking “Then why have you been coming to all of our practices?”
“Oh well…” she stammered, “I realized you’re new so I thought I would eventually introduce myself and show you around.” She got up and nervously flung her backpack over her shoulder.
“I’ve been here nearly two months now, so I’m pretty acclimated. Everyone here has been so nice and helpful.”
“Oh.” She mouthed, shooting him a sheepish smile. “I suppose the girls around here have been a valuable resource.”
“I suppose you can say that." He replied with a suggestive smile playing across his perfect lips. "Do you know of any hiking trails nearby? I’m really into nature and most people just want to go out to bars and parties.”
Annabelle had no clue about the local hiking scene, but she wasn’t about to let him know that. “I know of a few nearby.” She lied, “We can go this weekend if you'd like?”
“That sounds great. I'm Xander, by the way." He extended his hand toward her for a shake.
"Oh, sorry! I'm Annabelle."
Xander's pale blue eyes scanned her with cautious intrigue. Her hand was still limp in his grasp as she stood before him mesmerized. Sure, she had crushes in the past, but this was different. This was her first grown-up college crush.
"He said he'd go hiking with me this weekend!" Annabelle squealed to Lisa as they both sat on her bed watching a scary movie.
"I know, you told me five times already!" her roommate joked. "Just don't get your hopes up. Guys like him can be total sleezeballs."
"What do you mean 'guys like him'" Annabelle asked genuinely, "Do you think he's bad news?"
"All-Star Athlete lothario with a different girl on his arm every week? Sounds like marriage material to me." Lisa groaned sarcastically. "I just don't want you to get hurt."
"It's not like I'm going to marry him! I just have this insane attraction towards him and I wanna see where it goes."
"You and every other girl on campus!" Lisa replied. The sad part was, she wasn't exaggerating. His devilish good looks were part of the reason the bleachers were packed during every meet. "Promise me you'll be careful on your hike?"
"Scouts honor!" Annabelle saluted.