Flag on the Play

Prologue

I'd seen her at every one of our practices for the past couple weeks. She was not sitting on the bleachers with some magazine or book like most of the other girls; but actually watching us practice, and occasionally writing things down in that little green notebook of hers. I'd casually asked all of the guys if she was one of their girlfriends, because there was no other reason a girl had ever sat through our practices; let alone a girl not from our school. The answers had been no, most of them hadn't even noticed her around. I had though. I was thinking about this as I sat in the locker room, ignoring the antics some of the guys around me were getting up to. Sitting there, I was hoping that she was going to be out there watching us today.

"Asher! Heads up!" my eyes jerked up in time to see the football sailing directly towards my face. I reacted quickly, leaning back far enough that I would have a chance at catching it; and I did.

"Nice catch Navaar." My friend Cody punched my shoulder in approval and I grinned at him. Absently I wished she could have seen that.

Apparently wishes came true because she caught my eye, standing at the door talking with coach Tanis while smiling straight at me. "That was definitely a nice catch!" she called across the locker room, and all of the boys came to a screeching halt; there was a girl in our locker room.

Coach Tanis interrupted the stunned silence, "All right boys, sober up, we've got a visitor today." He walked leisurely over to the main part of the room, ushering the girl along with him. All of the guys, including myself were sitting at attention. "This here is my key advisor when it comes to football, she's a natural at this game and the closest thing to an expert we've got around these parts. Say hello to Devin."

The quarterback of the team, Jay Thompson, actually burst out laughing. "That's a good one coach, but you should get the little girl out of here, she's making Madder uncomfortable. Just look how red he's gone!"

The confidence in the girl's eyes didn't waver a moment, the sly smile never left her face. Coach Tanis on the other hand looked about ready to explode, "Thompson, four laps of the football field." Jay shook his head, exuding arrogance, "Now Thompson." Realizing that Coach was serious he sighed dramatically before waltzing out of the locker room, sneering at Devin as he went.

"Better than listening to whatever this little princess has to say." He yelled just before the door shut.

"Anyone else?" coach looked livid; his face was turning red, until the girl, Devin, touched his arm lightly and smiled. The large man grew noticeably calmer. "Good, today Devin is going to be on the sidelines with me, giving advice on what to do with you useless porkpies. She's been watching you for the past couple weeks and has informed me that while I've got a lot to work with, I also have a lot to work on." Again he was met by shocked silence, "All of you out on field and run two laps!"

There was nothing but incoherent mumbling as the team filed out of the lock room; I noticed some of the guys leering at the girl, who was now talking quietly with Coach Tanis. Their looks were understandable; she was attractive to say the least. Coming back to reality I stood up and grabbed my helmet from my shelf. As I walked towards the door I couldn't help myself, I stopped by Coach Tanis and stuck out my hand. "Asher Navaar, it's nice to meet you." I saw her hand twitch and her smile grew wider, but then I felt a hand on my shoulder followed by a shove.

"Keep moving Navaar." Muttered the coach. Knowing better than to make a scene I did, but I couldn't stop smiling.

We were halfway through our last lap when coach yelled for us to come over, Jay Thomson looked the worse for wear. As we were running up you could see coach lean down to Devin as she said something in his ear. That was when I noticed she was clutching that little green notebook in her hands.

I heard some of the guys to my right mumbling about how hot she looked even in her baggy sweat pants and windbreaker. I couldn't help but agree. Her hair was golden brown, with a wavy texture that cascaded to tops of her shoulders, it framed her face perfectly. Her lips were full, but not overly so, and had no gaudy lipstick covering them. You could tell, even under the windbreaker, that she was quite slender but when the wind blew her coat against her you could see the curve of her breasts. She was one that could definitely command the attention of any hot-blooded, teenage boy.

She whispered something more into the coach's ear after we'd all arrived back before moving and taking a seat on the bench.

For the most part practice proceeded as usual, only when I really thought about it I noticed that Coach was putting a stronger emphasis on practicing our running game for offense and blitz for defence. Contemplating it further I guess those really were our two weak spots. At one point during the defence practice I saw Devin walk up to coach and say something to him. He looked a little confused at first but, as Devin, I'm assuming, made her case, he gave in.

The next play he ordered Blaire Madder and Nathan Taylor to switch positions. After a lot of complaining they acquiesced. It worked perfectly, Madder's protective instinct made him excel at left tackle; maybe this girl was an expert.

Just before practice was over I saw Coach Tanis lean down and give Devin a hug before calling all of us into the locker room. Then he yelled "Except you Navaar, you're on equipment duty today." Punishment for talking to Devin no doubt. The rest of the team disappeared into the locker room.

Sighing I started gathering up some of the discarded jerseys and other pieces of smaller equipment. As I walked towards the equipment shed I noticed that I had a helper. Devin was inside dropping some pylons into the box.

"You don't need to do that you know." I said, a little more shyly than I had hoped, but the wind had died down and she'd taken off her coat. With her tight green sweater clinging to her every curve, she was very, very attractive.

"It's no problem," she turned and smiled at me, "I hate to see someone punished just for being nice to me, and besides he asked me to lock up the shed when you were done."

"I know I already introduced myself, but I'm Asher."

"I know who you are." She smiled wryly as she spoke, "Navaar, number seventeen, wide receiver."

"Best wide receiver in the league you know?" I couldn't help but grin at her, and she laughed lightly.

Then rolling her eyes she retorted, "Maybe if you could catch on the field like you do in the locker room, I might believe that."

"Harsh..." I muttered grasping dramatically at my chest, guessing she'd been allowed to watch the games from last season, I defended myself quickly, "I'm better now than I was last year."

"But you could be the best Asher." She said passionately, her chocolate coloured eyes taking on a gleeful light, before she shrugged and glanced away embarrassed, "Maybe I'll help you out, we could practice together." She said it so matter of fact it almost seemed natural.

But then I felt my ego flare up despite my good nature, "And how would you practice with me?" I snapped in a tone was a lot darker than I had intended and felt regret settle in immediately.

Her back was towards me and I saw her shoulder muscles in it tighten visibly. "Why are all of you pathetic football players the same?" There was bitter venom in her words as she shoved me aside roughly and left the shed, running across the field towards the parking lot. There was a twinge in my shoulder that made me realize that she was a lot stronger than she looked.

Watching her back disappear around the corner of the school I felt terrible. It was later that night that I learned from Cody that she was Devin Tanis; the coach's niece.

A/N: Hope you enjoyed the first installment. Up in time for Superbowl Sunday tomorrow! Please review, it would make me a very happy camper and make me feel better about working on this while I should be writing essays hehehehe.