Cain was lying on his bed, on top of the covers, tossing a football up into the air, catching it, and tossing it again repetitively. It used to drive his sisters crazy when he would do that at home, in the living room. He kept expecting Cassidy to turn around and snap at him any minute, but his roommate didn't seem to care.
Cassidy sat at his desk with his history book open. Cain wasn't quite sure what he was doing. He was turning the pages quickly, but only one at a time, glancing at each one right before he turned it, then moving on to the next. He was moving through the pages too quickly to even be skimming them. Maybe he was looking for a certain picture? Cain tilted his head to try to get a better look, and accidentally mis-threw his football.
"Heads up!" he said quickly as it arced toward Cassidy. Yeah . . . his roommate was going to get annoyed now.
Cassidy twisted in his chair and caught the football, one handed then tossed it back to Cain without a word.
"Sorry 'bout that," Cain apologized.
Cassidy shrugged and resumed turning pages in his book.
Cain sat up and watching him for a moment, debating whether or not to ask the question on his mind. He knew it was probably a bad idea – he was pushing his luck with Cassidy tonight – but he had to know.
"Hey, what do you think of Tamara?"
Cassidy didn't look up from his book to answer. "I don't," he said simply.
"Huh?" Cain was confused.
"I don't think about her," Cassidy elaborated.
"What do you mean?" asked Cain.
At last, Cassidy seemed to have had enough. Or maybe he had simply turned every page in his history book except the back cover, which he now slammed shut. "What do you think I mean, Winchester?" he asked, scowling. "How many ways can you really interpret, 'I don't think about her?'"
"Okay, sorry," Cain said quickly. "I was just . . . never mind."
Cassidy glared at him for a moment. Cain looked away and started to fiddle with the laces of his football.
"I don't like her," Cassidy said abruptly.
Cain blinked. "What?"
"She's too nice," Cassidy told him. "Too naïve and friendly. Not my type. So you don't have to worry about me getting in your way." He leaned down and removed another text book from his back pack, put it down on his desk, opened it to the front, and began turning pages in it, just as he had in his history book.
Cain watched him for several minutes, wondering what on earth his roommate got out of doing that, but decided to ask a more important question.
"Am I that obvious?" He hoped Cassidy wasn't going to get too mad about him prolonging the conversation.
"She doesn't know if that's what you're asking," Cassidy said tonelessly.
Cain considered this. "Did Spencer or Adam tell you?"
"Give me some credit for intelligence."
"Am I really that obvious?" Cain asked again.
"Not really – not that there's any reason not to be obvious if you really want her. Just remember that you're going to have to live in the same house with her for the next four years unless one of you requests to be transferred out. So if you do go out with her, try not to screw it up too badly . . . but if you do, it better be her that transfers to another dorm. You're one of the only people in this house who doesn't give me a headache."
Cain grinned. "Oh, wow, high praise from Eian Cassidy. That is your first name, right? That's what was on the letter telling me who my roommate was."
Cassidy looked up from his book again. "I reserve the right to change my mind."
Cain tossed the football back to Cassidy. "Course you do."
Cassidy looked as though he was considering something – Cain wasn't sure what. Maybe whipping out his switchblade and stabbing the football? But then he tossed the ball back to Cain, looking slightly amused.
"Thanks," Cain told him.
"The other night. Today."
Cain had just enough time to throw a short pass before he was tackled as the other scrimmage team blitzed. He saw Cassidy catch it as he was falling. His roommate was still in possession of the ball when he got back to his feet. Cassidy was able to outrun Carson and dodge Phillips before finally being tackled by Connor. They both went down hard.
Coach Alderman began screaming curses at Carson and Phillips for letting a freshman get past them, then at Cassidy for allowing himself to be tackled at all. The old man only calmed down when the two practice teams started to line up again.
"Good job reading blitz, Winchester," Alderman said grudgingly. "And . . . not bad running, Cassidy. Not bad . . . but not good! The hell'd you let Connor tackle you for?! I see no goddamn reason you couldn't've taken that goddamn ball all the way to the end zone! Next time I want you to go all the way or die trying, goddamn it!"
Cain could have sworn he saw Cassidy smirking as he took his place back in line. As though he felt his roommate's eyes on him, Cassidy turned to look directly at Cain and rolled his eyes, letting his amusement show. Cain grinned then turned his concentration back to the scrimmage.
Alderman blew the whistle and the game started again.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed "The Home Team." If you did, you might also like "Aiming High," the prequel to this story - that's when the drama with the local students, as well as the sort-of rivalry between Cain and Cassidy starts. Also, keep an eye out for the third story in the Aiming series, "Let The Games Begin," as well as some upcoming one shots featuring various characters from the series. I hope you all have a Happy New Year!