Author's Note: This is a rewrite of my first story, Love at First Sight. Many characters are the same but the story has completely changed. I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I am enjoying rewriting it.
Sunday nights are the best nights for running, right before it gets dark. The air always feels cool against my skin, and the sound my feet makes when it hits the ground is satisfying. Time flies by as I go lap after lap around the concrete track with my music blasting loudly in my ears.
On this particular Sunday night I arrived around six o'clock. The track had a couple of older men and women walking quickly, along with a jogger or two. The basketball court nearby was occupied with a group of guys playing a game. They were nice guys, and I'd even played once or twice with them. My best friend, Nell Jablonsky, had dated one of the players for a couple of months before they decided to call it quits. He asked me about her every now and again.
I got out of my car and took a deep breath. Though it was the middle of September, this was Texas, and the weather was still pretty warm. I wore a pair of black shorts and a blue tank top with my sneakers. I began my stretches by the car, bending down to touch the tip of my toes. I spent a good five minutes stretching. I knew what could happen if I didn't stretch well enough before a run from experience, and I didn't want to have that happen again.
When I stood up again and twisted my body first to the right and then to the left, I noticed a new player on the ball court. He was tall with tanned skin and chestnut brown hair. He wore a plain black muscle tee and black and white basketball shorts. Not too shabby, I thought as I placed my ear buds into my ears and selected some running music on my ipod. I made my way to the track and began my run.
I managed a couple of laps before I had to stop and take a drag of my bottled water I kept in my car. The game was still going on strong. The new guy was smaller than the others, but he was quick. He managed to get the ball and keep it away from the other players with ease. The group broke up after one of the guys made a basket, and Anthony, the guy Nell had dated, made his way over to me.
He was sweating, which made his dark skin glisten in the sunlight. A woman's named was tattooed on his right breast. Nell had once told me that it was his mothers name, but she wasn't quite sure how true that was. His hair was cut close to his head, and his eyes were a dark brown, just a little darker than his skin. He smiled at me, and I wondered why she wasn't dating him again.
"Hey, Jo, how's the running going?" He asked.
"Pretty good. I'm thinking about doing an actual run, like for charity." I didn't really care about miles run or time, I did it just to let myself think or not think. But I did like to make a goal, to see how long I could run without stopping. Anthony was nice enough to remember and ask about that when really I knew he wanted to ask about Nell.
"That's good. Bet you'd win. Though I guess that doesn't really matter, when it's for charity," he scratched the back of his head. "Hey, um, how's Nell doin'?"
I smiled at him, "She's good. I'll let her know you asked about her."
He smiled back, sheepishly. "Is it sad I still ask about her?"
I held my forefinger and thumb about just a bit from each other, "Just a little."
"Ah, well, she's a good girl. If I could have another chance, I'd take it in a heartbeat."
Poor guy. "I'll make sure she knows that too."
"Yeah," he shrugged. I took a step closer to him and gave him a sort of half hug with the right side of my body. He smelled of sweat and something else I couldn't place.
"Keep kicking butt, Anthony," I told him, giving him one last squeeze before separating myself from him.
He nodded and jogged back over to the court. I took another gulp of my water before returning to the track for another run.
Nell and Anthony had dated for only a few months last year. Her parents had totally flipped out when they found out she was dating a black guy, and it made their relationship so much harder than it needed to be. That and the fact that he was four years older than her. Their break up had been harsh, and Nell had been hurt for a while before she even thought about dating again. I saw Anthony more often than she did since I tried to run every Sunday and would often pass messages back forth for the two of them. I secretly hoped they would get back together some time. Preferably after Nell moved out of her parents home.
By the time I finished my running, the group at the court had left, but the new guy was still there, throwing a basketball at the hoop and often making it. He ran back and forth, playing with an imaginary team and attempted to throw a basket at the farther end of the court. I watched as I stretched, lifting my right leg behind me and holding it there with my hand for several seconds. He made the basket and threw his hands up in the air as though cheering for himself. He picked up the ball and dribbled it around the court. I switched legs and stretched for several seconds before turning for my bottled water .
The sound of the ball bouncing came closer and I turned to watch it roll near the front of my car. I turned to see the guy jogging over my way. I gulped. He was even better looking up close than further away. His midnight blue eyes twinkled and there was a dimple at the corner of his mouth when he smiled. Which is what he was doing. Right now.
"Hey," his voice was deep and sexy. "Sorry about that."
"No problem," I bent down and picked up the ball. I tossed it at him and he caught it easily. I hit pause on my ipod so I could hear him better.
"You want to play a round?" He asked, motioning with the ball to the court. "I've got some pent up energy I still need to burn off."
"Um, no thanks. I sort of burned off all mine just now," I told him nodding towards the track.
"Sure? We could put a wager on it if you want to make it interesting." He grinned.
"Yeah, like, if I make the first basket, we go out for coffee? How does that sound?"
"Are you kidding?" I could feel the anger begin to slowly boil in my blood. Was this guy serious?
"No. Unless, of course, you and Anthony have something going on, but he told me it was cool so...?" He looked at me questioningly.
"I'm pretty sure whatever relationship Anthony and I have together is none of your business. And what kind of girl do you think I am, to make a wager like that with a complete stranger?!"
"Oh, I'm Jake," he held out his hand to me as though I would actually take it. His good looks were not helping his case in any way. In fact, they were destroying. I should have known someone as good looking as this guy would turn out to be such a jerk. Weren't they all?"
"Oh, Jerk? Nice to meet you, but I've got to go." I pulled open the drivers side door and slid in quickly.
"Jake," he grinned. He was enjoying this! Ugh! "Nice meeting you too. Maybe we can play next time you're out here," he suggested, dribbling the ball for effect.
I shook my head and slammed the door. Honestly!