Fallen Fourth Down

Page 36

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Logan winked. “And guess what? He hates Park Sebastian as much as me.”

“See.” Matteo’s head bobbed up and down with an approving grin. “Soul brotha connection. SBC. That’s what I’m calling it.”

Logan jerked his chin up at Mason. “And you’re not included. You’re not a SBC-er. That sucks for you.”

A couple of the guys in the group started laughing. One, who was leaner than the rest but just as tall, shook his head. He had brown hair, long enough for him to gel it up into small spikes. He had dark eyes, high cheekbones, and a soft face that gave him a young, pretty boy look. He said to Mason, “Your brother and your roommate are in love with each other.”

Mason grinned at the guy. His hand moved to a loop in my jean’s waistline. His finger went through it, anchoring me to him. “I’m seeing that.”

Matteo and Logan had stopped listening. They turned to each other and both held the other’s head in their hands. They began moving up and down, as if participating in a dance/football huddle together. They began chanting. When I heard it, I started laughing.

“S-B-C.” With each letter, they moved up and down. “S-B-C.” They began saying it faster and faster. The rest of the group started in, shaking their fists in the air. When it was so fast, sounding like only one loud word, Logan and Matteo threw their arms in the air, making the sound of an explosion. The other guys did the same.

Logan stepped back, grinning like crazy, but Matteo danced around. He jumped, planted his feet on the ground, and began shaking his fists in the air, pumping his arms like he was a machine, and he went faster and faster until his arms were a blur. The guys formed a circle around him, bringing their fists down in the air as they began their own chant, “Cain. Cain. Cain.”

A battle cry came from Matteo and he jumped in the middle of the circle. He stayed in the same spot, but jumped so he was facing north, then south, then west. He went all the way around, his arms still going, the guys making the same chant, until finally he seemed to combust. His head tipped back, his arms shook in the air, and the rest of the guys flung their hands up at the same time. They were all saying, “Cain U. Cain U. Cain U. Cain U.”

The pretty boy guy moved into the circle. He lifted a hand. As he did, the group fell silent. All their hands lifted in sync with the leader. They were waiting, watching him, and as he brought his hand down, they slammed theirs down on top of his. One last cheer erupted from them, “Cain U conquers you!”

The rest of the room, including the staff at the bar, joined in and the sound was deafening. The school pride was unmistakable.

Mason leaned close to me. “This is our chant before we run out of the locker room. We start it right when we step on the field, and at the end, the stadium joins in with the last line and we run out.” His eyes were sparkling. “It’s an adrenalin rush.”

I nodded, but I had no words. The unity and tradition was strong. I had felt it at the game, but I felt it even more now. These football players were gods here. My hand curved under Mason’s and our fingers laced together. He was one of them. Everything fell away.

I was proud to be at his side.


When I woke up, Mason was gone. The door to his bathroom was open so I knew he wasn’t in there. A rumbling began in my stomach and I laid back down. I didn’t want to move. The whole night had been a lot to take in. We had stayed at the club for a few hours. It had been nice to meet all of his teammates. I could tell they already respected Mason, and his roommate adored him. It was obvious. Grinning, I remembered the look of brotherly love Matteo had given Mason when we said our goodbyes. The big lineman had been drunk, and his girlfriend told me later that he was glowing because he was so happy about meeting Logan, but I could tell that his supposed soul brotha connection wasn’t only with Logan. It was with Mason as well. When we left the nightclub, Logan and Kris had stayed, but the guy who led the chant (Mason formally introduced him later as Drew) reassured us that he’d make sure Logan would get a cab.

“Morning.” Mason came through the door with a cup of coffee in one hand and a toasted bagel on a plate in the other. He put both on the stand beside the bed and sat next to me. The bed dipped under his weight. “You sleep good?”

“Mmmm, more than good.” His finger trailed up my arm, and I closed my eyes. A feeling of contentment filled me. As his finger went to my shoulder, I rolled to my side, and he went down my other arm. Images of the night came to me, once we had gotten to his room. I felt a stirring between my legs again. We had spent the rest of the night making love. “What time is it?”

“It’s eleven in the morning.”

We had slept four hours. I grinned up at him. “Aren’t you tired?”

“Nope.” He grinned. “Not a bit. You?”

I shook my head. “I should be.” But I wasn’t.

We shared a look, then I began tugging him down to me as his phone went off. Groaning, I flipped onto my back as he went to answer it. “Logan.” He paused, twisted to see me, and I sat up. “Yeah, yeah. We can do that.” He paused again, his eyes narrowing. “You sure? Okay. I’ll call him.”

When he hung up, I asked, “What’d he want?”

Mason came back over and sat beside me, his phone in hand. As he pressed two buttons and lifted the phone to his ear again, he rested his hand on my leg. “He wants to meet for brunch. He wants Nate to come too.”

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