A Team of Love Ch. 04bysimply_cyn©
After a two-hour morning practice in the hot Texas sun with temperatures well into the nineties, most of the players withdrew into the air-conditioned locker room for a well deserved shower and rest. But typical for J.T.’s go-getter attitude and non-stop aim for perfection, he stayed late to run wind sprints. The usual cluster of paparazzi and fans lined along the fence, yelling out encouragement or snapping pictures even as he continued to throw himself into both is passion and his career. But all J.T. was focused on was running off the frustration he felt over his impending failure with Raelyn. He couldn’t figure out what it was that made her shy away from him so much.
Sipping on a large bottle of Ozarka water, he declined a ride off the field per one of the many golf carts running amuck. He was stopped momentarily near the fence line by a local reporter and granted a brief interview before trading in his empty bottle of water for a full, cold one. The next twenty minutes were spent signing autographs for kids. Unknown to him, Raelyn stood close behind the slowly departing throngs of well-wishers, watching as he autographed a young boy’s Wheaties box with J.T.’s picture on the box. She couldn’t help but chuckle as he checked out the contents of the box only to find it was empty.
She could hear snippets of conversation as yet another reporter kept bugging him with questions. “J.T., it’s said that you never hesitate to make plays to get your team a victory, even at the risk of injury. Is that why you have a long-standing history of concussions? Is it really worth the injury to your head for your team?” When he thrust the mic towards the player, J.T. just seemed to stare at him a moment as if the reporter had lost his mind.
“Or course, it’s worth it,” he said, his words icy even as a smile appeared. He was forever the picture of perfection when it came to team morale. “I couldn’t hold my head up straight and claim to be part of a team if I wasn’t willing to sacrifice for them.” And then before the reporter could comment again, J.T. moved on, ruffling the hair of a young boy as he passed.
That’s when he saw her. Despite the fatigue that he felt, he smiled and the whole burden of the day seemed to lift from his shoulders. Striding towards her, it was as if everything else around him just seemed to fade away. He couldn’t believe that she was actually here. She was leaning against one of the tall light posts and straightened up as he quickly closed the gap between them. Stopping just short of pulling her into his arms, he grinned and said, “Rae … I’m surprised to see you here.”
“Well,” she shrugged, playing it off. “Just doing a follow up of our initial interview.”
He laughed, his cornflower blue eyes dancing a bit as he knew that there was more to it than that but he wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. He hadn’t been able to put her out of his head the past couple of days and right now, as long as she was here, he really didn’t care why. “Well maybe after I shower, we could go to my place and you can interview me all night?” he teased.
One slender eyebrow shot up as she looked over his sweaty form. As much as she hated to admit it, he was definitely eye candy and she had a hard time thinking straight around him. To be honest, she couldn’t really say why she had come today. But for some reason, she had found her way to the practice area after work. “Well, as tempting as that sounds, I think I have plans tonight,” she teased right back.
J.T. feigned heart, his hand coming up to cover his heart. “Aww, come on Rae … don’t wound me so.”
Raelyn just rolled her eyes playfully towards the sky and blew an errant strand of hair from her eyes. “Such drama from a football player. Are you all like this?”
J.T. laughed took another long drink of his water, gazing at her over the top. It just seems like they were meant to be and as much as he tried to hide it, every time she looked into his eyes, he knew it showed. “Terrell is having a bar-be-que this afternoon for lunch. Want to come?” he inquired.
“I don’t know, J.T.,” she began, futilely trying to find an excuse not to go. Even as much as she wanted to be near him, she didn’t want him to know.
“Come on, Rae,” he pleaded, reaching out to gently take her hand in his. “It’ll be fun.”
Later that afternoon, Raelyn found herself on the opposite side of a mock football field, amid a swarm of faces that she vaguely recognized. Mixed with a good sprinkling of both football players, wives and girlfriends, Raelyn was surprised to find herself feeling rather relaxed. Dressed in biker shorts and a cut-off jersey borrowed from Jewel, she huddled with the rest of her group on the opposing team that J.T. was playing on. Even from where she stood, she found herself looking for him amid the long strands of dark hair that hung loose as she bent to listen to the play.
J.T. looked down the line of mock players, a serious look on his face as he called the play down the line and then stopped short as Raelyn lined up opposite him, her eyes serious. He grinned at her but she only lifted one eyebrow and took her stance. God, she was something else. When he dropped back to pass, he barely saw the blur as Raelyn broke through the line straight for him, untouched. As he watched her quickly approach, his eyes were drawn to her shapely legs, her flat stomach exposed beneath the shortness of the jersey that showed off the curve of her breasts beautifully. Her dark hair was flying into her face and he stood momentarily mesmerized, the ball held back in position to pass.
Before he knew what happened, he suddenly found himself flat on his back with Raelyn on top of him, drawing back her loose hair with one hand. Her eyes bore into his as a slow smile appeared and then moved off of him with a haughty flip of her hair. J.T. sat stunned momentarily, pausing as he watched her retreating form and then, clambering to his feet, he heard the laughter of his friends and their taunting jests. But all he could focus on was the way Raelyn threw back another glance over her shoulder to him, her eyes speaking things that she was not ready to say verbally. Moving into the huddle with his friends, his eyes still on Raelyn as she pulled her loose hair back into a ponytail, he grinned. “Same play,” he said.
The game proceeded throughout the afternoon until almost everyone had dropped out, retiring either into the comfort of Terrell’s house or heading home for their own. J.T.’s long day was quickly catching up with him but he desperately wanted at least a moment with Rae before the day came to an end. As he stood defending his side and spied Raelyn with the ball, he spun quickly back and in a move that took her completely by surprise, sprang at her, raising his hands to clasp around her waist and with his momentum, pulled them both to the ground, the ball popping loose. He could hear the scramble of the rest as they went for the loose ball but J.T.’s mind was only on the girl that he suddenly found in his embrace.
As if by their own accord, his palms skimmed her ribs, coming to rest along the curve of her breasts. Despite the barrier of her top, his fingers found the outline of her bra beneath it, brushing over the lace-adorned cups. As his thumbs whispered across her nipples, even through two layers of cloth, Raelyn shivered beneath him. She looked up, spellbound as his mouth lowered slowly to hers. “If you were my girl,” he whispered, right before his mouth covered hers, “I’d make sure you were never far from my side.”
Raelyn stammered in return, her mouth suddenly desert-dry before his mouth brushed against hers, so lightly that she might have imagined it. Again, she heard his whisper as she trembled both in fear of being hurt again and in anticipation of what J.T. was going to say. “My love is all I have to give, Rae … it’s all I have left.”
“J.T.,” she stammered, glancing up to him from the ground beneath him. “I-I … I’m not ready.”
His thumbs grazed the aroused peaks again as she looked up at him. Even as her words sank into his mind, her eyes spoke things he knew she wasn’t ready to say. He could feel her quiver, her sigh melting against his lips as they lowered to claim hers once more. The kiss was hot, inviting and demanding in like measure. His tongue traced her lips, exploring their shape … their texture and then slipped between them to leisurely twine with hers. His lips sipped at hers, memorizing her taste.
It was as if Raelyn’s whole world tilted but J.T.’s strong arm was there to hold her close, allowing only enough space between them for his hand to cradle her breast. His fingers played their skillful magic on the dimpled crest. His lips and tongue teased, advancing and retreating until Raelyn caught his head between her hands and anchored his mouth to hers. A groan rumbled in his chest as her tongue slid seductively past his teeth, initiating her own bold foray into his mouth.
They were both breathing heavily, lost in the heat of their embrace. J.T.’s hand was traveling upward, underneath her jersey when loud laughter brought them abruptly back to earth. Raelyn gasped, jerking beneath him and would have rolled free had J.T. not held on to her arm. He didn’t appear to be all that steady himself at the moment. He looked as dazed as she felt.
Three of his fellow players and their significant others had given up the game as well, trooping back them as they left the field, issuing friendly taunts as they went. “Administering a little mouth-to-mouth there, J.T.?”
“Is that what a football game does for you, Terrell?” Raelyn blushed hotly as she recognized Jewel’s voice.
“Not usually, but I’m willing to try it some time!”
“Carry on folks, don’t mind us,” Jewel teased, waving long manicured fingers at them.
Raelyn wanted nothing more than to find a large hole, crawl into it, and pull it in after her! She had never been more mortified! J.T., blast him to hell, just shrugged and chuckled along with them as he stood up, hauling Raelyn to her feet. He acted as if it were no big deal to get caught necking in the middle of a friendly game.