Colliding Hearts

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Chapter 23 | I Just Need A Moment


Tapping my fingers against my thigh, the soft denim of my jeans scratches against my fingers as I do. Coach’s eyes remain focused on my article that sits in his hands. His eyes scan the page, and he gives no indication of his thoughts as his face remains as stoic as ever. Silence elopes us, as it has done since he started reading. His eyebrow raises, the first movement he’s made since he started reading. Leaning back in my seat as I patiently wait for him to finish, my eyes scanning his office. Some place I haven’t been into...apparently the guys only get called in when they’ve messed up. Something they all dread is getting called in.

The end of the semester has almost arrived, and my deadline for my assignment on the football team is coming up. Having finished the finishing touches to it, the coach’s first demand when allowing me to write my article on the team was that he got to read it before I handed it in. Clearly, he doesn’t trust his players to not give themselves a poor reputation. Coach clears his throat, which gets my attention. Tearing my eyes away from looking around his office, he looks up from the article. Tears glistening his eyes, making me raise an eyebrow at him.

If only I knew how easy it is to make the coach cry.

“Have any of the players seen this?”

I shake my head. “No, they keep begging to see it, but I won’t let them yet.”

“I’m sure Dylan is putting up a fight,” Coach chuckles, before sitting up in his chair more. “It’s really good. I was worried the knuckleheads would have put you off them and got a bad reputation.”

I laugh and shake my head. “I’ve had some troubles with a few of the guys, but they don’t make up the whole team and when they’re on the field, they’re different.”

“Between you and me, some of them really are idiots,” Coach mutters, making me chuckle and nod my head. “Surprisingly, Dylan isn’t one of them.”

“Well, I won’t tell him you said that. He’d never let you hear the end of it.”

Coach nods his head. “No, I would not. Well, I’m guessing I’ll still see you around practices and the games since you’ve become friends with four of the knuckleheads.”

“More than likely, yes,” I chuckle, nodding my head as I stand up and gather my bag. Taking the article Coach hands back to me. “Oh, and coach? I won’t tell anyone you cried.”

“Much appreciated. Now I’m going to politely ask you to leave. Not so I can cry again! I just need a moment.”

Walking out of the office, closing the door behind me, I shake my head at the coach’s actions.

The noise of the bar surrounds us, yet as soon as the guys come into view and my gaze locks with Noah’s the sound does everyone else. Leaping into Noah’s arms, wrapping my arms around his neck. He laughs, lifting me off the ground with his arms engulfing my waist and spinning me around in the middle of the bar. Not caring who is in the way. My head rests in the crook of his neck as he presses a kiss to my temple in greeting.

“How come he gets a greeting like that, and we don’t?”

Knocking us out of our brief moment, I pull back, and Noah places me back on the ground. Holding onto me as I get my bearings back after being spun around. Dylan places his hand to his heart, a wounded expression on his face.

“Because I’m ecstatic I finished my assignment, and he was the first one of you guys I saw.”

“Way to make me feel special,” Noah scoffs, leaning against the bar to flag down Matteo. “There was me thinking you were happy to see me.”

Rolling my eyes at Noah, I look towards Dylan and hold out my arms. “Aww come here.”

Sending a victorious smirk in Noah’s direction, Dylan opens his arms before running into mine and giving me a hug. Making me laugh as he congratulates me on finishing the assignment.

“Big baby,” Aiden scoffs, shaking his head, wrapping his arms around Sierra. “Congrats on submitting your article, I hope you wrote a glowing one of us.”

“Oh no, I wrote horrible things about all of you,” I joke, and they chuckle.

“Wouldn’t put it past her,” Matteo mutters and I roll my eyes, slapping his arm from the other side of the bar. “First round is on me, as a congratulations.”

I wink at him, as he pours everyone’s drinks of choice and a shot each for all of us. Clinking our shot glasses together, we all tip our heads back as the alcohol burns through our throats. Dylan shakes his head like a dog, making us all laugh at his dramatic actions. Putting my shot glass back on the bar, my eyes flicker to the arms that rest on either side of me on the bar, caging me in.

“I hope you know just because you’ve finished the assignment doesn’t mean you’re getting rid of us.” Noah’s voice reaches dangerously close to my ear. Yet not talking overly quiet since the bar is too loud. Turning my head, a little to the side to face him, I watch as his eyes flicker around my face.

“Well, there goes my action plan,” I joke, and he shakes his head before I poke his cheek. “You’d miss me too much.”

He nods his head, staring into my eyes, yet doesn’t respond. Before I can say anything, Aiden’s voice travels over to us.

“So, Ava. When do we get to read the article?”

Turning my head away from Noah, I face the rest of the group. “Not yet. I want to see what my professor grades it first.”

“Hmm, that sounds like you’ve written something bad about us,” Dylan rubs his chin in thought.

“Have you girls read it?” Nick questions, looking at all three girls who look at each other, giving away the answer. “Favoritism.”

“Grow some boobs then,” I tell him, making the guy’s snicker.

“I think you’d look great with boobs,” Liv joins in, making Nick roll his eyes at his girlfriend.

“Why do I come out with you all?” He mutters, picking up his drink. Turning back to the bar, I don’t tell the guys the real reason I won’t show it to them, as I have an idea in mind to surprise them.

“What’s cooking up there?” Noah taps my temple, clearly knowing something is up. I turn my head and wink at him, getting him to chuckle. “Hmm ok.”

Thankfully, he lets it go for now, and I decide to change the subject. “You get your tux for the wedding fitted in a few days, right?”

He nods his head. “Yeah, we’re all going together, even the twins. Looking forward to seeing me in a suit at the wedding?”

I roll my eyes. “How good do you think you look in a suit?”

“I’ll have you know these muscles look great in a suit.”

“Who told you that? Your mother?”

Noah gasps. “You’ll change your mind when you see.”

I laugh, shaking my head, before leaning back into his chest. Still caged between his arms. “Maybe.”

“I’m so ready to be done for the semester and be able to celebrate Christmas. Tree decorating, baking cookies, putting together gingerbread houses,” Hannah rattles off, looking dreamily into the distance as she thinks about it.

“Well, I’ll be damn, Hannah here isn’t a grinch. I would not have guessed that,” Dylan mutters and she slaps his arm.

“Oh, no, Hannah loves Christmas. She made Ava decorate the dorm first year,” Sierra mentions, and I nod my head in agreement.

“Is that why you asked if you could come live with Nick and I in freshman year?” Liv questions, and I smile sheepishly as Hannah’s jaw drops.

“In my woke me up at like six in the morning to decorate,” I point to her and Noah chuckles.

“Come on Hannah, I’ve known her for less time than you two probably did then, and even I know she is the worst morning person in the world. Especially if you do not give her coffee,” Noah mentions.

“No one should be a morning person.” I throw my arms up into the air before confusion takes over my features. “Where did Dylan go?”

Everyone looks around, confused, as Dylan is nowhere to be seen. Yet he was here just a second ago. I have no idea how none of us didn’t notice him disappearing.

“Chug chug chug chug.”

Hearing chanting, we look over to where the noise comes from, seeing Dylan in the middle of a crown, chugging down three drinks that are lined up in front of us. We all look at each other in disbelief before Aiden sighs and speaks up.

“I’m leaving his ass here if he gets drunk.”

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