The announcer’s voice sounded, and they both faced front. The teams were going to come in now, JJ was pretty sure.The guys in blue-and-white started to run onto the field. Oh my, the way those narrow butts looked in the tight pants was positively appetizing.
Ryan leaned over. “Who do you like? Any favorites?”
Okay, JJ was prepared. He took a deep breath. “Rivers, of course. He’s a great leader. Bound to make it to 5000 yards this year.” Oh sweet god of boys who like to sew, what did any of that mean?
Ryan nodded. “Amen. What about Gates?”
JJ sipped his beer to sort through his memory banks. “Best tight end to ever play the game.” He held his breath.
“You said it.”
Whew. JJ stared at the field. “Of course, quite a few of those guys look like tight ends.”
Ryan looked at him with his mouth open and then started to laugh. “Yeah. You got that right.”
The coin toss. The kickoff. Wow. That ball went all the way to the end, and a guy caught it. Cool. They all went farther down the field. Yep, just like Jerry had said. The guy in the center—the quarterback, probably—threw the ball. It soared through the air and some lean player caught it and started running like a son of a bitch. Holy shit. Two guys slammed him to the ground. That looked painful. JJ resisted the urge to close his eyes. He’d seen football on TV, of course. His dad had loved it. But JJ’d never paid much attention. In these good seats, the game was in his face.
Somebody came out and measured the field. A lot of people, including Ryan, moaned. He leaned over to JJ. “That was close.”
“Yeah.” Close to getting killed?
The players got back into lines. JJ could hear the cute one, the quarterback, calling out numbers. Some big guy in the front line moved. A yellow cloth flew through the air.
JJ whispered, “Offside.”
Ryan glanced over at him and smiled.
The announcer’s voice rang out, “Flag on the play. Offside.”
Holy shit. He’d gotten it right. Thank God for Jerry.
The whole crew of men moved and then got back in their line. A bunch of stuff happened at once, and JJ couldn’t follow it until everyone on their side leaped up so he did too. The announcer called “first down,” but it sure looked like about a hundred guys went down getting there.
Ryan leaned over. “I didn’t think they could make that one, after the foul.”
“Me too.” What? Good Lord, pretending was hard.
The whole line reassembled. The cutie stepped back and threw the ball a long way. The lean, fast guy ran out and caught the thing, which was clearly a miracle. He headed down the field like a jackrabbit with a pack of bulldogs on his heels. Shit, one bulldog came out of nowhere and tackled the rabbit, and then five other guys piled on. Whistles and yells sounded from their side and cheers from the other.
Then a groan and the crowd got quieter as the bulldogs pulled off and left the rabbit lying there in a heap. He didn’t get up. Oh no. JJ grabbed Ryan’s arm. “He’s hurt.”
“Yeah. Looks like it. Shame. He’s a great wide receiver.”
Receiver, hell. He was a gorgeous, fast-as-lightning black kid who had just got beaten to a pulp in a stupid game. JJ wanted to jump up and scream.
A stretcher was carried onto the field. Some guy put a collar around the player’s neck, and then they picked him up and put him on the stretcher. Hell, they didn’t look nearly careful enough. The crowd murmured and shifted. JJ looked around. They were uncomfortable with his being hurt, but it didn’t seem like they felt sorry for the player, exactly. It was more like they wanted to get on with cheering, and this moment of required sympathy was an imposition.
He looked at Ryan and found those blue eyes gazing at him. JJ’s hand was still locked on Ryan’s forearm. He loosened his fingers. “Sorry.”
“He just looks hurt bad.”
“Yeah. But they take a lot of precautions, so he may be up and ready to walk and run by the end of the day.”
“And he may not.”
The game continued, but JJ couldn’t stop thinking about the player who got hurt. He jumped up when Ryan did and cheered in the right places, but the game had lost its luster. The fun all came from Ryan being next to him. Having the man so close sent JJ’s dick into a constant state of anticipation. Lean to the left, lean to the right, stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight. Just like the cheerleaders at halftime—who could have used a costume redesign, by the way.