This is just a portion of the first chapter of the thing I started writing while on holiday in San Francisco. I hope you like it so far 🙂
Natalia was just finishing up serving a regular male customer when she felt a hush fall over the room and glanced up to see four very attractive and very famous men—if you know football—heading towards her. She was a huge football fan, which she knew was strange for a girl, but who wouldn’t be when the guys looked like this?
James Burnell, Lucas White, Tyler Hunter and Shawn Peters. All gorgeous male specimens who played for her favourite team.
Her gaze strayed to Lucas—the one she had a crush on most—and ran her gaze over him in a quick survey. His dark hair had been styled in a faux hawk and his baby blue eyes held a playful glint as they met hers. He’d obviously caught her checking him out.
Lucas leant against the bar in front of her and smiled. Natalia had to refrain herself from doing anything but being professional and gave him a polite nod and smile back before focusing on each man in turn, giving them the same attention.
“What can I get you?” Almost involuntarily her gaze returned to Lucas and she saw his lips quirk sexily. A snort and soft laughter came from his team mates and it was only then she realised the double entendre in her words and felt her cheeks flame. She quickly looked away and met the grey eyes of James Burnell, who was also grinning but trying to hide it. She felt the blush get worse and briefly closed her eyes.
“We’ll have four Peroni’s, please.” Someone said, answering her earlier question, and she opened her eyes to see James looking at her with pity.
Natalia quickly turned away and walked the few steps to the fridge that contained the beers they wanted and opened the door and grabbed two bottles in each hand and set them on the bar top and shut the fridge door.
“She can’t keep her eyes off you, man.”
Freezing with her hand half way to the bottle opener built into the bar top, she listened to the conversation happening a few feet from her.
“You should totally hit that, Luc. She’s hot.”
There was a soft dull sound followed by a “Hey!”
“Shut the hell up, Ty!” Someone growled.
“Well if you don’t, I am totally making a play for her,” he went on undeterred. “She looks so innocent, do you think it’s just an act?”
Mortification barrelled through her, her body running hot and then cold in quick succession, her muscles tightening and loosening on the glass bottle in her hand and it slipped from her grip, smashing on the tiled floor.
Suddenly it felt like every eye in the bar was on her and she ducked down to clean up the mess she’d made and to avoid prying eyes. Grabbing a bigger chunk of glass carelessly, she hissed in a breath as the sharp edge cut into her skin of her index finger. “Shit!”
“Is everything okay, Nat?”
She glanced up to see her friend and colleague, Tom, stood a few feet away. Nodding, she continued to big up the bigger pieces of glass. His footsteps retreated and then he was back and crouching beside her as he used the bar’s dustpan and brush to sweep up the glass she’d missed and together they deposited them in the glass bin under the bar.
Tom glanced at the four men on the other side of the bar and then at her still red cheeks. “Why don’t you have your break now and I’ll take over here?”
Natalia knew she wasn’t due for a break for another hour at least and was grateful of his suggestion so she could collect herself away from the prying eyes of everyone in the bar and sort out the cut to her finger that was bleeding slowly but steadily, a trickle of blood slowly running down to her palm. “Thanks.”
He nodded and turned to the footballers, saying politely, “So what was it you guys wanted?”
The voice was low and smooth and caused the hairs on her nape to stand on end. Her gaze went to the speaker and clashed with Lucas’ baby blues. The intensity of the look he gave her had her legs trembling and she sucked in a much needed breath.
Forcing her gaze away from the hypnotizing blue depths of Lucas’ eyes, she glanced across at her colleague, whose brows were raised questioningly as he opened the bottles of beer she’d left on the side and reached for another to replace the one she’d broken.
“I’ll be back in fifteen,” she told him and turned on her heels to head to the “Staff Only” door at the side of the bar that led to the back break area, avoiding any more eye contact with the four men at the bar or anyone else.
Once inside the room, she headed straight for the worn, rickety, table and sat down on one of the black plastic chairs with her elbows on the surface and buried her face in her left hand, keeping her right aloft so she didn’t drip blood everywhere, and groaned softly. How embarrassing was that?!
Natalia’s finger began to throb in time with the blood pumping through her veins and she lifted her head to glare at the cut like it was the root of all her problems. Then she realised how stupid that was and got up to retrieve the first aid box from it’s position on the worktop and headed back to the table to find what she was looking for inside.
Several minutes later she’d cleaned, disinfected and put a blue plaster on the cut and returned the kit to it’s home on the worktop and was attempting to write up the accident in the accident book but it was proving tricky with her finger protesting any pressure on it from the pen. She finally managed to write the basics of what happened and sighed in relief.
Pushing the book aside, she got up again and retrieved a clean glass from the cupboard and filled it with water before gulping it down in one long drink. She refilled it and then just stood there, hands on the worktop, silently berating herself for her actions.
Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! “I should never have looked at Lucas,” she muttered. “They all know I like him; I can’t go back out there now.” Natalia’s head dropped forward on her spine with a sigh, “Of course I have to go back out there, but I don’t have to be the one to serve them; Tom can do it,” she reasoned.
Her hazel eyes were caught by the face of her watch and she grimaced. Her time was almost up. Picking up her glass she took a long drink and then poured the rest away and set it upside down on the drainer. With a deep breath, she turned and headed for the door and pulling it open headed back into the bar.
She’d barely taken two steps outside when someone called her name and she turned, trying to make out features in the dimness of this side of the bar. A figure stepped out of the darkness and she froze when she realised it was Lucas White standing not three feet away.
Keep it professional, she told herself sternly. “Yes, sir, how can I help you?”
“How about by calling me Lucas for a start?” He asked with a smile. “Sir makes me feel old.”
She swallowed hard, trying to ignore the affects his smile had on her. “I’m sorry but that would be unprofessional of me. And against company rules.”
Lucas’ head tilted slightly to the left. “What about off company time?”
Eyes widening at his implication, she just stared at him for several long minutes.. “I…uh…we…” her words trailed off as his gaze lowered to her lips, which suddenly felt dry and she poked her tongue out to wet them.
A low rumbling sound met her ears and she glanced up to see him watching the movement of her tongue across her lips. Cheeks heating in embarrassment, she dropped her head and idly scuffed the toe of her black pump against the tiled floor.
“Is that a no?” He asked, a smile in his tone.
Taking a deep breath, she raised her eyes to his and met his eyes boldly, “I don’t know what you’re after but I’m not after a one night stand.”
One side of his incredibly kissable mouth tipped upwards, “So what are you after?”
Natalia’s cheeks flooded with colour as images of them in bed and various other places together assaulted her mind. Firmly pushing aside those thoughts she said, “Nothing. I don’t want anything from you.”
Lucas watched her for several long seconds and then shrugged. “Alright.” He reached inside his back pocket and retrieved his wallet, which he deftly removed several things from before handing her a twenty pound note. “For your trouble,” he told her softly.
She glanced at the money, then back to his face.
When she didn’t immediately take it, he held it out further. “It’s the least I can do after what Ty said. He’s a star on the pitch but he can be a right dick sometimes when we go out. I can only apologise on his behalf. Here,” he wiggled the note as an incentive for her to take it, “take it.”
Reaching out she took the money hesitantly, unsure if she was agreeing to something else at the same time, and tried not to touch him unnecessarily. The note felt crisp to the touch like it had been freshly printed. “Thank you.”
His eyes stayed on the money in her hand for a second before meeting her hazel eyes with a smile. “You’re welcome.” Lucas took a step back, “Now I better head back to the guys.”
She nodded, her stomach dropping as she watched him walk away. Curling her fingers around the note to shove it in her pocket she frowned when she felt something stopping her and glanced down. Pulling the folded bill open, something fell out and clattered to the floor. With a frown she bent to retrieve whatever had fallen, her fingers curling around something plastic and rectangular. Natalia sucked in a breath, not having to look to know it was a room key. His room key.
He hadn’t given up on her.
Leanne Crabtree Copyright 2013