Next thing I know, Dallas has sent the disc soaring over our heads, and when I look, Nell is standing alone, completely unguarded in the end zone.
She’s holding her hands out and staring at the disc like it’s a missile instead of a piece of plastic. I take off toward her in case she misses it. I want to grab the disc and get it back into play as soon as I can.
As I sprint, the disc slips right through her grasping fingers and nails her in the chest. She gasps; no doubt the air was knocked out of her. The disc ricochets, and if I dive I might can manage to catch it, but I can’t quite drag my eyes away from her chest. Her tits are practically spilling out of the top of the tiny tank she’s wearing. I’d had a front-row seat earlier with my arm around her. Now she’s clutching at herself in pain, but all I can see are her smooth, delicate arms pressed against the curve of her breasts, pushing them even higher.
I should look away before something very unfortunate occurs in my baggy gym shorts, but now I’m picturing that shy girl loosening up beneath me. It’s too easy to take those wide eyes she gave me when I draped my arm around her and imagine them in the low light of my room, her head on my pillow and her legs spread wide.
She makes a soft whimpering noise, and now the rest of my senses join the fantasy, and I think of how she would feel, taste, sound. I wonder just how low I could get her inhibitions. Enough to say my name? To scream it?
“Damn,” I groan, and try to clear my head. “You all right?”
She looks up at me, still clutching at her chest, and pink spreads over her cheeks. She doesn’t say anything.
“Okay,” I say. “There is honestly no way to ask this without sounding like a pig, so I’m not even gonna try. And really, in these situations, I find you might as well go balls to the wall and throw it all out there. So . . . at the risk of getting slapped, how are your tits?” I think about offering to check them out for her, but I figure that’s probably taking it a step too far.
Her mouth presses into a firm straight line. “It wasn’t my . . .” She trails off.
“Tits,” I finish for her. “You have them. You can say the word.”
“It hit me in the collarbone, not the breasts.”
Breasts. I raise an eyebrow, and she rolls her eyes.
I take a step forward and say, “Let me see.”
I take another step, until my shadow falls over her, and take hold of one wrist. “As you pointed out, you weren’t hit in the breasts. Just let me have a look. With the right strength and good wind, a disc can go as fast as twenty miles per hour. I’ve seen them break fingers and noses.”
“Dude, Torres!” Silas shouts behind me. “What are you waiting for? Grab the disc and let’s go!”
Hesitating, I ask, “You wanna take a break? Catch your breath and let me see it?”
She shakes her head stubbornly. “I don’t want the game to stop because of me.”
I turn around and shout back to Silas, “Nell and I are taking a break. You guys keep playing with eight.”
Taking her elbow, I pull her off the field toward the picnic tables. She protests, but only mildly, and she still has one hand pressed just above her cleavage. And looking down at her, I can see moisture clinging to long lashes at the corner of her eye.
I sit her down so that her back is to the field, and go down on one knee in front of her. She’s so small that it puts us eye level, and I say softly, “Move your hand.”
“It’s fine,” she says. “Just give me a couple seconds, and I’ll be fine.”
You don’t grow up with five sisters without learning that sometimes with women, words are pointless. I reach out and move her hand myself, pulling it away from her chest. The skin just below her collarbone is an angry red, and the disc scraped through a couple layers of skin. Not enough to bleed, but I bet it hurts. “Tell me how it feels. Still a sharp pain? Or more of an ache?”
Her eyebrows slant over her pretty brown eyes. “The pain was sharp and steady for approximately thirty seconds, but now it kind of stings.”
“Like a slap,” I say.
She gives a short laugh, her shoulders bouncing once before she stills in what I’m guessing is pain. “I can’t say I know what that feels like. Though I’m not surprised it’s a sensation you’re familiar with.”
I shrug. “I don’t believe in censoring my thoughts. Some people just aren’t as fond of freedom of speech as I am.”
She shakes her head, and I think she’s trying not to smile.
I reach up my left hand and as lightly as possible run my thumb over the red mark. She sucks in a breath and I ask, “Hurts to the touch?”
“Um.” She swallows and blinks a few times.
“Does it hurt a lot?”
I brush my thumb over her skin again, even lighter this time, wondering if the Frisbee could have hit hard enough to crack something. There’s already a purpling around the center that tells me it’s going to bruise pretty good.
She swallows, and my eyes are drawn to the graceful slope of her neck, up to a small chin and full lips. And it hits me then . . . why this girl caught my eye from the moment she walked toward our group, why I can’t drag my eyes or my hand away from her now.
She reminds me of Lina.
And the memory of the only girl I’ve ever loved packs a punch so hard that it’s my turn to raise a hand to my chest to soothe an all-too-familiar ache.
Nell’s To-Do List
• Check off Normal College Thing #2: Make New Friends (in a way that doesn’t require physical activity).