Colliding Hearts

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Chapter 3 | Meeting The QB


Standing in the middle of the practice football field, I spin around taking it all in. The faded green grass of the field rests beneath my heeled boots, as my eyes run over the two conjoining practice fields. The difference between the faded grass and the bright green turf standing out like a sore thumb. I haven’t been to a football game since starting at USC. I never had a reason to, I’m not friends with the players and I know nothing about football. Football is not appealing to me. I don’t see the enjoyment you can get out of watching two teams tackle each other quite aggressively and throw a ball around.

The girls think it is hilarious. That one of the few girls on campus who doesn’t fall head over heels for football players and doesn’t understand the game gets stuck writing about them. My dad also finds it funny, in-between trying to teach me how the game works and warning me to stay away from the players. Not like he needed to warn me, I am done dating athletes.

“Can we help you?” A male voice asks. I turn around, seeing the entire football team standing there in their jerseys and helmets in their hands. Well, that isn’t intimidating at all. “The cheer team stands on the edge sweetheart.”

“Then why aren’t you over there? Pretty sure you’d make a better cheerleader than a football player,” I smirk, crossing my arms and the guy gapes openly as the others snicker.

“Sorry about Colton. The idiot is a sexist pig most of the time,” Another guy says, stepping forward, glaring at the guy named Colton. Before his eyes connect with mine, recognition flashing through them. I recognize the guy from the bar last night, the one who’s eyes I felt burning into my back as I walked off.

“Most of the time? Does he ever stop?” One guy asks, chuckling, getting Colton to glare at him.

“Hey, its bartender girl!” The guy who jumped behind the bar last night, Dylan, shouts. His eyes widening as he moves to the front of the team.

“Hey, it’s the guy who jumped behind the bar,” I retort pointing at him, and he smirks.

“Oh, I like you,” He points to me with a smile on his face as I chuckle shaking my head. “Why can’t you fuckers be as nice as she is?”

“Dude, you jumped behind the bar?” Nick raises his eyebrow at Dylan. “Why?”

Dylan rubs the back of his neck. “Let’s just say if a girl keeps looking behind you while you’re hitting on her, the chances are her big beefy boyfriend is behind you.”

“This is why you’re always the one getting your ass kicked,” One of the guys tells him and Dylan shrugs.

“I’m Noah, the quarterback of the football team. Are you the journalism major?” Brown eyes, Noah asks, running his hand through his perfect brown hair. The infamous Noah Jackson is a popular guy around campus. Guys on campus envied him, professors loved him, and girls fawned over him. The all-around perfect guy in everyone’s eyes...cliche, right? Although I had only heard rumors about him.

Mostly surrounding the fact that he’s practically untouchable since he’s shown no interest in any girl on campus since he started. He doesn’t date, nor does he do casual sex, in fact people question if he took a celibacy pact. The more correct rumors are that he’s focused on making it to the NFL and doesn’t want distractions, which is admirable. I’ve never actually met him until now, and there is no denying he is good looking. His sharp jawline looks as if I could cut my finger on it, and his tan skin perfectly adds definition to his attractive features. His deep brown eyes draw you in, and it’s clear he has a nicely defined body under his football uniform.

“Yeah, that’s me. I’m Avalon. But everyone calls me Ava,” I introduce myself, giving a polite smile.

“Well, you can call me anything you like sweetheart. Preferably from my bed,” Colton smirks as his eyes roam up and down my figure...ok it’s official I hate this guy!

I raise my eyebrow. “You know you have a really big ego. Let me guess overcompensating for a smaller part of you?”

His face falls, and the guys burst out laughing, but he quickly regains his composure. “Why don’t you come back to mine and I can show you how untrue that is?”

“I’d rather rip my own eyeballs out and eat them before I ever slept with someone as ugly and egotistical as you. It’s not untrue, because the girls around campus who actually slept with you regretted it. They all talk about how small your dick is and how you left them unsatisfied,” I smirk. His jaw clenches and his teammates laugh again.

“Well, it’s nice to know that you can take care of yourself,” An older man says walking over to us. “I see you’ve already met Avalon, and clearly she’s made an impression. I’m Coach Brown,” He says sticking his hand out for me to shake and I do, smiling at him.

“It’s nice to meet you. Thank you again for signing off on this.”

“Now, I need to remind some of you idiots more than others to be respectful towards her. Because if you’re not, then I will make your life hell during practice. After practice, you all need to make interview times with Avalon so she can start on her project.” Coach explains to the team before turning to me. “Avalon, if you need anything and can’t find me you can go to Noah since he’s the quarterback,” Coach points to Noah who smiles at me and I nod. “Alright, boys warm up! Avalon, you can take a seat at the side.” He points to the side of the field where some benches are lined out at the side.

I nod my head before making my way to the side, sitting down on a bench and getting my stuff out. Looking up at the field, seeing the team getting into their positions. I take my focus on the field and look around before my eyes land on the cheerleaders as they walk through the gates and to the side of the field. Seeing me sitting on the bench, some look confused yet welcoming, while others throw glares my way.

This is going to be a long semester.

Hours later and the continuous loop of the players throwing and tackling as well as coach’s shouting has finally ended. I’m exaggerating a little. Watching them practice hasn’t been as awful as I thought, minus the fact I don’t understand the game or the terminology. The notes I have been taking for my article on the players and the game are a little wrong terminology wise...ok more than a little wrong.

“Alright everyone, practice is over for today. Hit the showers!” Coach shouts, ending the practice and the team heads back to the changing rooms. My phone goes off from inside my bag and I reach over to take it out, seeing a text from the group chat the girls and I share.

Hannah: How is it? How hot are the players? Answer me, woman!!!!

Me: Once again, you have a boyfriend!

Sierra: Ignore her, she’s mad Seb has class so can’t talk and she needs attention. Meet up at 7 for drinks at The Bar?

Hannah: I do not need attention!...ok maybe just a little.

Liv: Can’t tonight, Nick and I have dinner plans with the family.

Me: I’m in, meet you both there. Liv, how do you not stay confused watching a game? I’ve endured one practice and my brain is confused.

Liv: Smile and cheering is your best friend.

“Why are you sitting on the sidelines? Are you that desperate for the players to notice you?” Someone asks, taking my attention off my phone I look up seeing a redhead in a practice cheer outfit with her arms crossed and a smirk on her face.

“I’m a journalism major assigned to the team for the semester, so I will be around for a while,” I explain, knowing it will annoy her.

“Well, I will say this once and once only. Noah is mine, so don’t even think about it,” The girl says getting in my face, and I raise my eyebrow at her.

“Congratulations on being this clingy. Does it come naturally or? And don’t even worry, I don’t care about your football playing boyfriend. Much like I don’t care who you are, I care that you get your face away from mine,” I fire back and her jaw drops.

“Beat it one wants you here so stop harassing Avalon. Stop telling people we’re together because we’re not.” I hear and see Noah stood there with Nick, Dylan and the guy who commented about Dylan getting his ass kicked a lot.

“URGH!” The girl named Kelsey screeches, stomping her foot and walking off.

“Nice to meet you!” I shout, waving at her as she walks off.

“Well, I would ask if you’re ok. But I know myself that you can handle yourself pretty well with your attitude,” Nick says walking forward and we hug. “So, if Liv asks, I’m watching out for you. She threatened to make me sleep on the couch if I didn’t and she scares me.”

I laugh and ruffle his hair. “Aww, poor Nicky.”

“You know I hate being called that,” He says fixing his hair. “Anyway you’ve met Noah and Dylan, this is Aiden,” Nick introduces, and I smile. Recognizing him from the bar last night as well. “They’re some of the most decent guys on the team.”

“Don’t worry if you can’t remember everyone’s names on the team. Took me two months, I kept calling everyone by their number,” Dylan smiles cheekily. “As long as you remember my name, that’s the most important.”

“Was it Declan?” I ask him, smirking, and he chuckles.

“Now for the important question,” Dylan says, wrapping his arm around my shoulders before rubbing the back of his neck. “Have any hot single friends? I’d hit on you but to be honest you scare me a little.”

“Good, as it should be,” I smirk “Yes, I have single friends and no I’m not introducing you,” I pat his shoulder.

He smirks. “I get it, you want me all to yourself.”

“I changed my mind,” I admit, taking his arm from around my shoulder and he pouts. “Anyway, when are you guys free to do the interviews?” I question and they all tell me when. Nick goes first before telling us goodbye and leaving, needing to pick Olivia up. Dylan pats Aiden’s chest repeatedly, his eyes focused somewhere down the side of the field. I chuckle as Aiden slaps Dylan’s hands away and my eyes flicker over to where he’s looking, seeing a girl jogging over. A cheerleader, in a similar outfit to Kelsey.

“Hey guys,” The girl smiles at the guys before turning her attention to me. “Hey, I’m Bri. I just wanted to come over and apologize for Kelsey, not all of us are like her and feel the same way she does.” Bri introduces herself. “Aside from an odd few, a lot of us are really chill.”

“Ava, nice to meet you and thanks. Nice to know they don’t all hate me.”

“Just Kelsey, but she hates anyone that has the football player’s attention.”

“Well, then she must hate the entire cheer team because they all have my attention,” Dylan throws a charming smile Bri’s way, but all she does is chuckle.

“Charming as always. Anyway, I should get going, I can feel her eyes in my back as we speak.”

My eyes flicker over her shoulder, seeing Kelsey doing exactly what Bri described and is in fact glaring at Bri from behind. She waves goodbye before heading back, and Dylan’s eyes remain focused on her.

“You have a little drool,” I point to his mouth and he snaps out of his daze, making us all laugh.

“You don’t know much about football, do you?” Noah questions, picking up my notebook with my notes on the practice in it.

“No, I don’t and clearly you don’t know much about private property,” I take the book from him and he holds his hands up in surrender.

“If you don’t know about football, why are you assigned to the team?” Aiden asks, confused.

“We didn’t get to choose. They were assigned randomly, and we’re not allowed to swap. So, the girl who knows nothing about football somehow has to write about it.”

“If you want, I can teach you about football, that way you understand the terminology more. We all can,” Noah offers, referring to him and the guys.

“Really?” I question and he nods his head. “Sure, that would be great. Word of warning, you have your work cut out for you, this confuses me,” I motion to the field and they chuckle. “Anyway, I should get going. It was nice meeting you guys,” Giving a wave, I grab my things and make my way out of the field.

Walking into The Bar, I wave to Mateo who stands behind the bar serving drinks and he flashes me a smile. Making my way through the crowd of students who stand around drinking, dancing or making out I head to Hannah, Sierra and I’s usual table. The Bar has become our favorite place ever since I started working here. Thankfully the student bar has a licence to allow under twenty-ones on site and since my boss never comes out to the front. I can drink using my fake ID along with the majority of the student population.

“Finally, I thought you had been kidnapped or something,” Hannah exaggerates as I slide into the booth with her and Sierra, rolling my eyes at her theatrics.

“Sorry. Football practice went on for three hours. I had to get all the guys on the team to set up interviews before I could leave. Plus, my dad called when I got back to the apartment so I was on the phone for a good half an hour while I was getting ready,” I explain, pulling at my black leather skirt that is matched with a red lingerie style top.

“How did it go? Were you confused the entire time?” Sierra asks.

“Let’s see. I was hit on by a sexist jerk, so I put him in his place. Then one of the cheerleaders came up to me and warned me to stay away from the quarterback, claiming he was hers, so I also put her in her place.” I recall my day as the girls’ jaws drop. “Aside from that the players were nice and so were some of the other cheerleaders. But I was confused. Thankfully the quarterback, Noah, offered to help.”

“Who was the cheerleader? I’ll kill her if she said anything bad about you,” Sierra holds her fists up ready to fight and I place my hand over hers pushing her fists down.

“Let me get this right. Noah Jackson...the quarterback...Mr Untouchable to ever girl offered to help you,” Hannah enunciates. “He never shows an interest in girls, like ever, and not from lack of trying either.”

“Would you relax? He was being nice, after being hit on by that jerk and dealing with that cheerleader who’s obsessed with him. He probably thought it’s the least he can do,” I shrug but Sierra and Hannah share a glance. “What’s that look for?”

My eyes turn away from the girls and to the bar where I see Mateo making his way over to us carrying a drink. He places the drink down in front of me.

“Mateo, you’ve heard of Noah Jackson, right?” Sierra asks and Mateo nods. “Ok, so if he offered to help a girl with knowing about football, would you find it weird? Because he’s known for never showing an interest.”

“Yes,” Mateo immediately replies, and I roll my eyes. “Is someone showing an interest in our Ava?” He nudges me and I shoot him a glare. “I mean, he may not want distractions but he’s still a guy though he might just be being friendly.”

“Thank you!” I throw my hands into the air. “And thank you for my drink.” I pat his arm before he walks off getting back to work.

“Ok fine, but you can’t deny he’s the hottest guy ever,” Hannah smirks. “Oh, come on, every girl thinks it and you have eyes.”

“Ok, he’s hot. I’m not denying it. If you’re going to keep fawning over the football guys I’m telling Seb, speaking of where is he?”

“At his apartment. I told him it’s girls’ night tonight, so he’s not allowed. To girls’ night,” Hannah holds up her drink and we clink our glasses with hers as a cheer.

“How’s your dance piece coming along?” I ask Hannah, taking a sip of my drink. As a dance major, Hannah and her partner, who they assigned her to, are performing at the end-of-year showcase.

“It’s going good. We’ve started incorporating some lifts into our routine. I’m hoping my mom can drag my dad to the performance.”

“He’s still against you pursuing dance as a career?” Sierra asks and Hannah nods, a frown on her face.

“He’s still hoping I’ll forget about dance and be a doctor. Which is never happening. Have you seen me cut food?”

“Yes, and it’s terrifying,” I tell her, and we all burst out laughing.

“Well, hello hello. Ava, you never told me you had such gorgeous friends, and may I say you all look amazing,” I hear as we all take a drink after cheering. I see Dylan, Aiden and Noah walking up to our table with drinks in their hands and Noah’s eyes connect with mine. He gives a small smile, before his eyes roam over my outfit choice. Lingering on my bare legs before his eyes connect with mine once again. Dylan slides into the booth next to Hannah. Aiden and Noah walk over sliding into the other two empty spots, meaning Noah is beside me.

“This one is taken,” Hannah says, taking a sip of her drink.

Dylan frowns. “Today is not my lucky day.”

“This is my roommate Hannah and friend Sierra. This is Noah, Aiden and Declan...oops Dylan.” I throw a playful smirk Dylan’s way, in which he shoots a glare back before throwing on the charm Sierra and Hannah’s way.

“You know most people don’t choose to hang out where they work,” Noah states, his arms leaning on the table as he faces me.

“True, but not everyone works in a bar that sells good food and is friends with the bartender,” I point out and he nods his head in understanding. “You know, I think I’ve seen you three more times in the past two days than I ever have on campus.”

“Well, you’re going to be sick of our faces at the end of the semester,” Aiden chimes in. “Well, Dylan’s at least.”

“Who knows, she may fall in love with me. I’ve been told I’m quite charming, unlike you assholes,” Dylan confidently smirks.

“I don’t date football players,” I state...well not anymore at least.

“Don’t date or don’t like? Because you can still not like us but fuck us,” Dylan rests his head on his hand, leaning forward curiously.

“Curiosity killed the cat, you know,” I tell him, and he waves me off.

“Or in this case the Dylan,” Noah adds, making us all laugh, aside from Dylan.

“Well, all the football players I’ve met predating you guys have been all sleazy assholes. So I don’t like those types of football players, but you guys are pretty cool.”

“So, the Colton type of players,” Aiden says, and I nod my head.

“Who’s Colton?” Sierra asks confused. “The sexist jerk?” She asks, referring to our conversation before the guys arrived and I nod my head.

“That’s the nicest word she has called him. You didn’t see her on the field. Speaking of does she always have a sassy attitude, I’m curious,” Noah questions my two friends.

“Our girl can stand up for herself,” Hannah nods proudly and I chuckle.

“You got a thing against cheerleaders too?” Aiden asks.

“After meeting that psycho one today yes,” I say and they laugh. “They’re not all bad, Bri was really nice.”

Taking a sip of my drink, small chatter erupts amongst the rest of them. I sit back and listen as my drink slowly disappears. My arm brushes Noah’s as I move my drink to sit back on the table. He turns his head from listening to the guys chat like I was to send a smile before turning back to them. My gaze lands on Mateo behind the bar who is watching us and raises his eyebrow. I give him a pointed stare and he raises his hands in defense before getting back to making drinks.

“So, Noah we heard you offered to help Ava learn football,” Hannah mentions, and Noah nods his head. “Yeah, have fun with that.”

“Teaching Ava how football works is like teaching a puppy how to not chew shoes...long and painful,” Sierra adds.

“She’s not wrong, my dad tried all throughout my childhood and nada.”

“You’re lucky I’m patient,” Noah jokes making me chuckle. “Here, put your number in so you can let me know when you’re up for it.”

He takes his phone out of his pocket and slides it over to me. I raise my eyebrow, “On one condition, you three leave us to our girls’ night. You guys are great, I’ve been surrounded by a lot of male testosterone since practice.”

He chuckles before nodding in agreement. I pick up his phone and place my number in saving it under the unteachable student before handing it back to him and a laugh falls from his lips as he sees the contact name.

“Don’t say you haven’t been warned,” I shrug, and he shakes his head.

“Alright guys let’s leave the girls to their girls’ night. We don’t want her to get sick of us just yet.”

Noah taps the table as he stands up, along with the guys. “See you later, Princess,” He sends a smile my way before telling the girls it’s nice to meet them and they walk off.

“Not interested in you, my ass,” Hannah scoffs, making Sierra and I laugh.

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