By: H.J. Bellus

The writing is clearly etched on the wall with these two. The only question left is whether they will be bedmates or have something a little deeper.

“I think I’ll just stay behind. I’m actually going to go for a run after the late lunch I mowed down.”

“Are you sure?”


Lane wraps his arm around Sophie’s waist, and she doesn’t even flinch. “Let’s go eat. I’m hungry too. Careful, Blue, it’s almost dark.”

“I’m going to use the running trail around the campus. My dad did some research and it seems to be pretty safe.” I shrug while picking at the hem of my shorts.

“Yeah, it’s well lit and the best place. The gym will be open for athletes tomorrow.”

“I hate the treadmill. Actually, I despise the fucker.”

Sophie giggles loudly. “I already love you, Blue Williams. I hate that fucker, too.” She takes two large steps and wraps her arms around my shoulders, giving me one more hug. This one lasts a bit longer, and I realize Sophie Watson has burst my bubble and any hopes of having one.

The couple wastes no time getting out the door, and if I were a betting woman, I’d bet Sophie comes back with messy hair. Plucking the damn spa kit from the bed, I toss it in the trash and nail it from feet away. I played basketball all through high school and loved every single second of it. It’s weird to think I’ve never cheered at a boys’ basketball game because of scheduling, but thankfully my school allowed cheerleaders to participate in sports as well.

Looking out my dorm window, I notice the dusk settling in over the campus and decide to hustle my ass. We sure did luck out on the view. It’s a gorgeous view of the cityscape, and with the setting sun, damn near picturesque. I wiggle into some tight spandex running pants and toss on a light hoodie.

Walking back out into the commons, it’s even more crowded and rowdy. It seems all the athletes are excited to meet each other.

A different guard sits behind the desk watching a television show and doesn’t even notice me as I exit the building. The running trail parallels our building and is only fifteen feet from the side of the dorm. There are several different routes you can take, lengthening or shortening your workout with different stations throughout to work your muscles.

I decide on the longest route and begin my five-mile jog. Visualizing the map in my head, I decide about a half mile down the trail that this might not have been the best idea. Darkness envelops the night air with just enough groups of stars and a sliver of the moon lighting the way.

I find my pace, and it feels good to let my longs legs go. Signs point the directions at each crossroad, signaling which loop to take. I’m thankful and find myself melting away into my thoughts with no worries. Pushing myself to the point of breaking has become my drug of choice over the years.

I never count sets in the gym when doing weightlifting; no, I always go to failure. It’s an exhilarating feeling to push my body to its limits when my brain is screaming to quit. I’ve never been one to listen to that tiny voice saying, “Stop.” I set my mind and do it.

Mile three, and my lungs are beginning to sting a bit, but I push it away from my thoughts and dream of meeting my new teammates and coach. I met Coach Lindsey at try-outs, and she was amazing and super inspiring. It was her charisma and aura that drew me to choose Preston.

The breeze sends chills through me when it meets the sweat droplets running down my skin. I reach back and pull my hoodie up and over my Beats and focus on Lil Jon’s song blaring in my eardrums. I’m able to block everything out for the next mile as I pick up my pace, forcing my body to keep up.

A dark figure comes into my peripheral, and I jump to the side. My legs tangle together as I jolt off of the trail. My upper body lands in a grassy area as my legs crash into the pebbled running track, and I feel each stone tear into my flesh.

I grab my head to protect it from anything that might be coming next. The dark shadow hovers over me. I’m too out of breath to look up and still in a daze from whatever the fuck happened. Seconds go by before I realize I just ate shit. When I look up, I see Tuck standing above me, clothed in a black hoodie and loose gym shorts that fall right below his kneecaps, exposing very impressive calf muscles.

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