“Okay, I seriously have to get you out of my lap. If you don’t, we’re going to get in trouble for public indecency and then some.” I moved off with a groan to sit next to him and my hand trailed down past his, the one that had just been stroking me.

“If you want me to hold your hand, all you have to do is ask.” He winked at me.

“Uh… no I don’t hold hands.” I brought mine back to my lap.

He reached over and squeezed my hand into his, “Let’s head back.”

“Good, I’m starving.” I stood up and started stretching out my legs and dusting the sand off of me. “Do you want to race back?”

“Sure, I’ll smoke you and it won’t be fair, but I’m a guy so I love competition.” He grinned while trying to reach behind him and get the sand off his back.

“Always so cocky. I think you should at least give me a couple of second’s head start, seeing as I’m not an all-star athlete.” I beamed at him.

He grabbed me into his chest and bent my head back so I was looking directly up at him. My chin was against his chest and he ran his hands over my hair. “For you, Beautiful, I’ll give you a whole minute.”

“Okay, first one home wins?” I asked and he nodded his head, looking down at me. I turned around, moved out of his arms, and started jogging. I looked back at him and yelled, “Loser can’t have sex for two weeks!” I saw his mouth drop open.

“Game on!” he hollered back with an arrogant smirk.

I was pretty positive I knew how Jaxon would run home. Our apartment was basically a straight shot to the east and then you had to cut north a bit from the beach with the university in between. So it would be a given that he’ll take that route. But I know of an alley street that runs at an angle, which shaves off time. I knew without a doubt he was faster than I was, but if I had less of a distance, then hopefully I could win.

As I was running, I could see down the sides of each house onto the main street and so far no sign of Jaxon. I reached the apartments and took the stairs two at a time. Once I turned down our hallway, I darted for our doors. Quinn was coming down the opposite way and she leaned up against the wall, looking at me with confusion.

“What is up with you guys? Why are you two barreling down the hallway?”

“What? Why do you say ‘you guys’ like that?” I asked her quickly and out of breath.

“Jax just came down the hallway like a bat out of hell.”

“Shit! How did he do it?” I yelled.

Right then I heard his deep laugh coming out of his doorway. I turned around with my arms folded over my chest glaring at him. I walked toward him and stood in front of him. He was drinking cold water out of a glass, with sweat rolling down his head.

“How did you do it? I even took a short cut… did you take a cab?” I reproached him.

He handed me the last half of his water and I gratefully chugged it down. Then he bent down and picked me up, my legs automatically wrapping around his waist.

He laughed at my accusation. “No, I’m just faster.” He shrugged. Our sweaty bodies were mixing together. He was a bit intoxicating when he smelled like this. “You need a shower, wanna join me?” He smirked at me, turning to go inside his apartment.

I leaned in toward his mouth and almost said yes, but then I heard Quinn gasp in the background. Crap, how did I forget she was back there? I was in trouble now, because I hadn’t talked to her about Jaxon at all yet. I groaned as I slid down Jaxon’s body to the floor. He inhaled sharply at the touch of our bodies skimming together. I downed the rest of the water and handed the glass back to him.

“I’ll see you ladies at the game tonight?” he asked us, backing inside his apartment.

“I’ll see Cole there, but I don’t think I want to see you!” Quinn glared at him. I knew she was only half kidding.

Cole stuck his head out of the doorway, laughing. “Aw, thanks babe.”

She glared at all three of us and pointed to me. “You, follow me.”

“Gee thanks, Jax, you got me in trouble with mom,” I teased.

“Hey, Beautiful, don’t forget… no sex for two weeks!” he reminded me.

I grumbled at him as I followed Quinn into our apartment and then the bathroom. She turned on the shower and checked the temperature.

“Get in there and make it fast, you have a lot of explaining.” She pointed to the shower.

I stepped out of my clothes and got into the steaming hot shower. “I’m sorry, Quinny, it all happened so fast. But at the same time, it’s nothing at all.”

“Nothing at all! Em, he picked you up and almost kissed you in front of everyone. You seemed totally fine with it. That’s not nothing at all,” she yelled back.

“Okay, well yesterday we had sex…”

“Why does that surprise you, you knew it was coming? I’ve only been talking about how gorgeous he is for weeks now.”

“You never told me. You always tell me, and sometimes you even tell me before it happens.”

“I had no idea it was going to happen. Then we were at the party all night, and you were gone before I got up this morning. I’m sorry I should have texted. Next time I’ll send a pic.”

“Absolutely, except I lost a bet, so now nothing will be happening with anyone for two weeks.” Never mind the fact that he was free to go off with someone else. But that didn’t bother me. Not one bit. I finished rinsing and grabbed the towel to dry off. When I stepped out, Quinn was standing in front of the mirror straightening her hair. I pulled on a robe and walked out to the “closet.” We always got ready together in here.

Quinn brought her straightener and my curling iron and plugged them in. We sat on the floor together, in front of the mirror and finished our hair.

“Why would you agree to that bet, Em?”

I groaned, “Because it was my idea. I thought I had a sure fire way of winning. Apparently, I’m an idiot though, because I tried to race a football star.”

I could feel the wheels spinning in her head as she thought about everything I had just told her. Then out of nowhere she looked at me through the mirror and she said, “I feel like he’s different.”

I sighed, “He is different, but the outcome will be the same.”

“It doesn’t have to be. Not everyone cheats.”

“Quinn, it’s not just about the fact that he could do that. I just can’t hurt him, and I will if I pretend I can handle a relationship,” I said.

“Just the fact that you care enough not to hurt him shows me that maybe you can handle one.” She got up to go get our makeup.

“I don’t want to handle one. If we’re talking about relationships here, what about you and Cole?” I watched her flinch in the reflection of the mirror. When she came back, sat down, and still didn’t respond, I continued, “It’s okay to like him, Quinn, he’s a great guy.”

“It’s not okay to like him. If he doesn’t feel the same way, I’ll ruin everything. It’ll hurt too much to be rejected by him.” She said barely above a whisper.

“If that’s what you’re worried about then just stop. I see the way he looks at you, the way he worries about you and what you think of every situation. Trust me, there’s no problem there.”

She gave a little nod, but didn’t say anymore on that topic. I decided to give her a break because she let me distract her from my interrogation about Jax. We finished getting ready quickly so we could make it to the stadium in time to get good seats.

When we arrived at the stadium, we picked up our tickets at will call. Cole always made sure there were tickets there for Quinn and me at every single game. Usually our tickets came together because they were both from Cole. Today she handed one to Quinn and then kept searching for mine. Finally, she found it and handed it to me with a note attached. She stared at me like she was scoping me out. I bet she was wondering if I was with the drop-dead gorgeous guy who had left this for me.

Scream my name nice and loud, just like yesterday. - J

“What does that mean?” Quinn asked reading the note over my shoulder. When she read the second half she burst out laughing. Now I understand why the attendant was staring so much.

“It means this guy is in serious need of a blow to his ego,” I replied while laughing.

“It’s sweet he left you a ticket.” Quinn has been begging me to date someone for years; she’s always wanted to double date.

“We made a bet that first day we met. He said he knew he would score a touchdown at the first game. Well, we all know what a snob Dalton is, he never throws to the new guys at first. This will be fun,” I said while walking up to our seats.

“What did you wager this time?”

“That’s… a strange request. What do you get if you win?” She was looking at me like I was crazy.

“I never decided on anything. I’m hoping he scores, but he does need his ego deflated as soon as possible.” I smiled.

Since we always get here early enough, we’re able to sit in the same spot directly in front of the team bench. Today there were two girls already sitting in our usual seats. We had to sit in a whole other section over because we wanted the front row, but we were still close to where the guys would be sitting. The stadium filled up fast and everyone was excited for the new season to begin. This whole half of the stadium was decked out in our school colors. Jace found us and came to sit next to me. It didn’t take long for the seat on his opposite side to fill with another girl who leaned over toward him, blatantly showing her breasts. Jace appeared to enjoy the show.

With the cheer of the crowd, the teams came running out and lined up in front of their field-side benches. We spotted Cole first who was already looking into the stands for us; he knew where we always sat. When he looked in our usual spots, he made a disgusted face. Quinn and I both started giggling at his expression. The girls in our spot noticed him looking at them, so they started waving and smiling at him. He quickly started walking down the line scanning the stadium seats. Quinn finally put him out of his misery and whistled at him. The second he heard it, he whipped his head toward us and I swear I saw the relief flash across his face. Yeah, there was no denying that boy’s feelings for my sister.

“You’re only torturing him the longer you guys don’t get together.”

“Emmy, it’s not just me, he hasn’t done anything either,” she said frustratingly.

Jace interrupted us, “The feelings are mutual, Quinn. He’s just afraid of messing up your friendship.”

I saw her jaw hit the floor as she stared at Jace. I beamed, reached up, grabbed his face and gave him a big kiss on the cheek. This was exactly what she needed to hear. I could never convince her when it was only coming from me. All of a sudden, I heard a loud bang that made me jump back. I looked right at Jace, who was shaking his head back and forth with a little smirk on his face.

I looked toward the field and Jaxon was right on the other side of the barrier separating the stands from the sidelines. “Hey!” he shouted. “You do realize you’re doing that to the wrong twin, right?” He turned and glared at Jace, who only started laughing. Oh my God, he looked so damn sexy in his uniform. It was tight in all the amazingly right places. I was almost jealous that every other girl here could see how well defined his muscles were, but I don’t get jealous.

“Oh, I knew exactly which twin I had between my hands,” I cracked.

“Emerson, I’ll pull you over these railings and make you sit down here with me.” He still looked a little angry. I realized that maybe this whole him not-wanting-me-to-like-his-brother-or-best-friend thing, was more serious than I thought. I got up, walked to the railing, and crouched down so I could be face-to-face with him through the bars.

“I only kissed his cheek, and I only did that because he just helped me out with Quinn in a big way.” I felt like I needed to sweet-talk him.

“I’m being an asshole, I know. I’m trying real hard to not be possessive over you, but please, just not my brother, okay?”

“You’re right, you are being an asshole. You’re also not allowed to be possessive over me, but I promised no brother or best friend.” I leaned in and gave him a loud smack on the lips.

A mega-watt smile was plastered across his face as he backed up toward his team looking at me. He turned around and listened to what the coach was telling the rest of them. He stood right next to Cole who had a big grin on his face. They both smiled and then punched each other in the arms. I could tell they were thrilled to be playing together again; it was amusing to watch their interactions.

I turned to Jace to see his reaction to his brother and best friend in uniform together again. “Do you miss it?” I asked him.

“Not really. It was fun to play with those two, but I never took it as serious as they did.” He looked happy to be watching them as well.

“You’re a great brother, you know that. I wish I had a brother like you. Jaxon told me how you helped him stay in shape to come back and play again.”

He shrugged, like I predicted he would. “He’s my brother, that’s what brothers do.”

We watched the guys take the field and they huddled around each other. Jace put his arm around my shoulders and squeezed.

“You’re playing with fire,” I mumbled to him trying to extricate myself.