A/N: This one-shot was written in honor of SorceressCirce's birthday, and was inspired by her Sunday football tweeting.
This story contains Edward/Jasper slash. Thanks to Missyfits for prereading and TwilightMundi for betaing. Rated T for language. Enjoy.
I tried not to snarl outright as I carried a few beers back to my seat for Emmett and me. We'd need them during the second half of the game if the score didn't change pronto. Granted, it was a tie game, but even the thought of a possible loss to the Saints made me cranky.
We had made the long drive down to the Superdome and had decent seats for the away game, thanks to some contest Emmett had won. But considering we were currently tied, my lucky Roddy White jersey wasn't fully doing its job this week.
The stadium concourse was crowded during halftime and not a little slippery with spilled beverages, food, and other substances I didn't care to identify. I tried to watch where I stepped as I hurried to get back to Emmett before the start of the third quarter.
Unfortunately, keeping my eyes on the ground meant that I wasn't totally watching where I was going. And apparently, neither was the stranger who crashed into me, dumping the contents of my hands—several mediocre but overpriced beers—all over my shoes.
"Shit!" The guy cried as his own beer spilled onto the ground, while I uttered my own "Fuck" before sighing as I surveyed the damage.
I looked up when he started to apologize.
Fuck if he wasn't completely gorgeous. Tall, with reddish brown hair and green eyes, and just the right amount of scruff ornamenting what had to be the most gorgeous jawline I'd ever seen. He looked to be about my age as well—somewhere in his mid- to late 20's. And he was wearing a Tony Gonzalez jersey. I felt my anger rapidly dissipating.
He was totally fucking hot, a fellow Falcons fan, and seemingly not a total asshole, judging by the way he was apologizing repeatedly.
I'm sure he was mistaking my silence for anger but in truth my mouth had gone complete dry. I definitely wished I had my beer back, if only because I really could have used the liquid courage.
"Christ, I'm really sorry," he said again, running his hand through his hair. "Can I make it up to you? If you don't mind waiting, I'm going to go get back in line and get a new beer for myself. I can get two more for you?"
I hesitated. I didn't want to miss the start of the second half, but at the same time, this stranger was intriguing—not to mention the most handsome man I'd seen in ages. And I had promised to keep the beer coming this afternoon in exchange for the free ticket Emmett had given me.
"You don't have to do that," I finally managed to croak out, my voice unfortunately shaky in the presence of such hotness.
"Are you sure? It's the least I can do," he offered with a slight smile.
It was the smile that did it. I'd follow that smile anywhere, including back into the extremely long line of people waiting to buy beer and hotdogs. I could watch the game on the large monitors inside the concourse, and I'm sure Emmett would be fine waiting a few more minutes. He was probably still hitting on the pretty blonde girl sitting in the seat next to him.
"It's really okay. But I'll get in line with you? Safety in numbers, you know?" I joked, gesturing between our jerseys.
He nodded and smiled, and started to head toward the line. I followed a few steps behind, happily checking out his ass along the way—until he stopped short and I crashed into his back.
He chuckled as he turned around. "We have to stop bumping into each other like this."
I nodded dumbly. "Right. Sorry, I wasn't paying attention." Well, that was pretty much a total lie. I was paying attention, but mostly to the way his butt looked in those jeans.
"I thought I should introduce myself before we get in line and it's too late to do so without feeling like an idiot," he said, holding out his hand. "I'm Edward."
"Jasper," I replied, placing my hand in his and shaking it firmly.
"Jasper," he whispered, and nodded, almost to himself. "Nice to meet you."
I couldn't quite keep the smile off my face as I echoed the sentiment and headed off with Edward to the very long line that now seemed not nearly long enough.
When I finally made it back to Emmett with the beer, the third quarter was well underway. I shrugged in apology as I handed him his beverage. "Sorry, I spilled the first ones I bought and had to go through the line a second time."
Emmett didn't seem to upset, claiming he'd had fun arguing with several Saints fans while I'd been away. Knowing my buddy as well as I did, I didn't doubt the truth in his statement.
Unfortunately, things took a definite turn for the worse at the end of the third quarter when Atlanta turned the ball over and the Saints scored. Plus, the fans Emmett had sparred with at halftime were certain to let him know the Falcons were very much losing.
In an effort to ignore the score and the more obnoxious fans in my section, I snagged a pair of binoculars to take a closer look at what was going on down on the field.
It was only natural to scan the crowd between plays. And really, was it my fault that my eyes were trained to pick out Falcon's red in a sea of black and silver Saints paraphernalia? Thanks to the binoculars I recognized plenty of Matt Ryan jerseys, enjoyed some creative face painting, read a few signs, and... spotted another pair of binoculars framed by messy bronze hair and a red #88 jersey—aimed directly at me from two sections away.
Edward. It was Edward. And then Edward gave a shy wave in my direction.
I smiled and waved back.
"Hey! Who 'dat?" Emmett joked, punching me in the arm, before stealing the binoculars and training them back in Edward's direction.
"Emmett! No, stop, please," I begged, and futilely tried to grab them back.
I saw the tiny spec of Edward quickly pull his own pair away from his nose and turn back to face the field.
"Shit," I muttered under my breath.
Emmett shrugged and handed them back to me after a few agonizing seconds. "Nice," he commented. "#88. He's a fan of tight ends."
I punched Emmett's arm. "I talked to him in line at halftime and he was really nice. But it's not like I know if he's gay or single or anything, but we kinda clicked..." I trailed off and grabbed the binoculars back, and tried to sneak a peak back at Edward without appearing too obvious. But Edward wasn't looking in my direction even a little. I took the opportunity to survey his surroundings. It looked like he was with the blond older guy to his right. Not like that helped me determine which team he played for, or whether he was attached.
"Even if he was interested, you totally just scared him away," I scolded Emmett.
"Fuck, sorry!" Emmett thought for a moment. "I've got a plan."
"Oh, no. No plans. No way." Emmett's plans were largely unsuccessful and often embarrassing as hell.
But he wouldn't be dissuaded. "Dude, it's been way too long since you've clicked with anyone—and by clicked, I mean 'gotten laid.' So, just leave it to me," he said. "All you have to do is let me know when he's looking this way again."
I tried not to watch Edward. I really did. But he was magnetic and my eyes disobeyed at every possible chance. And, much to my surprise, his head occasionally turned my way as well.
Finally I gave in and figured with the Falcons still down, I had little to lose. I sighed. "Emmett, he's looking," I said as a timeout was called on the field.
"Excellent," Emmett told me before turning to the blonde girl with whom he'd been ruthlessly flirting. "So, Rosalie. Wanna do me a favor?"
She tossed her blonde hair and eyed him suspiciously. "Why?"
"Because my buddy here, Jasper, needs a little help. Someone in the next section thinks that Jasper and I are together. And I need to prove that we're not. So, I was just hoping you might kiss me so that the other guy—what's his name? Edward?—realizes I'm not with Jasper."
She thought for a moment. "Alright. I'll do it. For Jasper. Not for you," she told Emmett, poking him in the chest, before winking at me.
"Trust me, I don't want to kiss you either, what with the awful Saints logo plastered across your chest," Emmett smirked.
She laughed. "Oh, just do it before I change my mind."
Emmett stood up and pulled her with him. "Let's put on a show."
And fuck if they didn't. It was a full-on tongue-twisting make out session. I grimaced. It was enough to make every gay man in the stadium shudder and turn away.
Meanwhile Edward watched the whole damn thing. I sighed. If he was interested in that, I guessed my own chances were slim to none.
But then, if that were true, why did he keep turning to look at me with his binoculars and that little half-smile?
Okay, rise up, Jasper, I told myself. With nothing to lose, I bit my lip and waved tentatively, as he had done previously.
I didn't need binoculars to see the giant grin that broke out on his face when I did so.
By the time Emmett and Rosalie sat down again, play had resumed and the stadium had gotten quiet as everyone watched Matt Ryan and the Falcons march down the field, via a critical third down conversion to Gonzalez, and a TD pass to White.
Late in the fourth and we had the lead.
Maybe my lucky jersey was doing its job after all.
The game was exciting, though stressful. The lead wasn't ours for very long as Brees got the Saints into field goal range, tying the game with four seconds to go.
We were headed to overtime.
This meant more time to puzzle over Edward, and more time to occasionally catch his gaze and subsequent smile. But the game was so good, it wasn't as if I was about to get up from my seat. Even Emmett had stopped flirting with the enemy to pay attention.
The Falcons started with the football, but we could do nothing with it. Unfortunately, Brees could. My heart dropped into my stomach as I watched Hartley step up to kick the game-winning field goal from short yardage. I couldn't watch as everyone around me was standing and cheering.
Fuckity, fuckity, fuck.
And then I heard something very strange; the entire stadium seemed to groan at once.
I looked up at Emmett, then glanced down at the field.
Hartley had missed. The game was still tied. And we got the football back.
Emmett and I screamed and cheered and jumped up and down, and we never stopped as the Falcons picked up the ball and went on to win the game.
Victory. Mother-fucking Victory!
It was while Emmett had me wrapped up in a big bear hug that I remembered Edward. I glanced past Emmett's shoulder and saw him standing and cheering as well.
I smiled to myself thinking of him. He'd made my day a little more enjoyable with his funny smile and unassuming personality. That was enough. I was crazy envisioning anything more. What did I expect? I didn't even really know anything about the man.
I let go of Emmett so he could try to smooth things over with Rosalie, who was understandably less flirtatious now that her team had lost. Still though, I imagined Emmett would find a way.
As I started to gather up my things, I happened to look over at Edward one more time.
He was waving at me. Once he had my attention he held up an empty plastic cup and pointed at it.
I puzzled over this for a second.
Empty cup. Empty cup. Cup that once had beer in it. Maybe the beer he'd purchased with me?
I grabbed one of my own empties and lifted it, and waved my other hand back and forth between us.
Across the seats and hundreds of people and through the chaos, I nodded in return.
Perhaps he was telling me he thought it was good beer. Or perhaps he was reminding me to recycle the plastic. Or maybe toasting our overtime win. But I dared to hope he was saying something different entirely.
I grabbed my stuff and tapped Emmett. "Hey, I gotta go. You okay for a minute?"
When he said he'd be fine, I told him to turn on his cell so we could find each other again once we separated. And then I ran, pushing through the mobs of people, heading back into the concourse as quickly as I could.
I stood outside the spot where we'd purchased beer together. It was now closed, and mobs of drunk, upset Saints fans pushed past, heading for the exits after the game.
I watched, hoping for a bit of red...red jersey, red hair, it didn't matter. I was just hoping it was headed in my direction.
But I didn't spot him in the throngs of angry black and silver.
I waited for a few minutes, trying to decide what to do. I guessed I was wrong in how I interpreted his empty cup gesture. I had stupidly hoped he meant to meet him back where we'd bought the drinks. I sighed at my own ridiculousness.
Pulling my phone out of my pocket, I started scrolling through the numbers so I could call Emmett and figure out where to meet him.
As I hit the send button, I saw a pair of now-familiar shoes come to a stop right in front of me.
I looked up, swallowing hard, my mouth dry. "Edward?"
"Yeah, sorry, it took me awhile to get here because of the crowds," he said, his hand once again messing with his hair. Maybe I wasn't the only nervous one.
"Oh, it's okay—" I started to tell him when I became aware of a small tinny version of Emmett's voice calling my name.
"One sec," I told Edward, before holding the phone to my ear. "Emmett? I'll call you back, okay?"
Without waiting for an answer, I hung up and shoved the phone back in my pocket.
"My friend," I explained. "I have to meet up with him again before I leave."
"Yeah, I have to meet my dad in a couple minutes too," he said.
So the blond man was his father. I could deal with that. "So, um...good game?" I said after a bit of awkward silence.
"Yeah, that was awesome! I couldn't believe it!" his face was animated as he started talking about the crazy ending.
"I think we won because of my lucky jersey," I told him, only half-kidding.
He laughed. "Actually, I'm pretty sure that it was all me. Not only is my jersey lucky, but I haven't washed my socks since the preseason. I wear them during every away game," he informed me.
I snorted at his admission. "Maybe it was both of us? After all, we both scored," I pointed out. "I mean, Gonzalez and White scored, not you and I. I mean, you know what I mean. I mean, Gonzalez found a hole and went all the way and White has great hands and Ryan just drilled it right in there."
While my brain fumbled, my cheeks reddened, and my tongue tripped over terminology that suddenly sounded more than a little questionable, he stood there smirking.
Finally he interrupted me. "Jasper, I'd ask to buy you a beer, but you already shot me down once today. And I don't have very long before I have to meet my dad. We have a long drive home and he has to work early tomorrow—"
It was my turn to interrupt him. "Wait, you said you have a long drive. Does that mean you're not from around here?"
I held my breath, afraid to hope again.
"I live in Atlanta, actually," he answered. "You?"
"Just north of it," I replied, quite unable to suppress my grin. Hell, it was all I could do not to break out into a full-on touchdown celebration. "So...try again?"
"Again?" he looked confused.
"Yeah. Ask again. To buy me a beer. Back in Atlanta," I told him.
He smiled. "Can I?"
I gave a quick nod before pulling out my phone and plugging in the phone number he gave me. I then sent him a quick text with mine, as well as the name of one of my favorite pubs.
"Cool," he said. "Next weekend maybe?"
"We could watch the game on Sunday. It's a home game so you can wear clean socks," I teased.
He chuckled. "Sounds great. I'll call you. Unfortunately, now I really do need to go meet my dad," he said, a slight frown crossing his otherwise perfect features.
"Okay, bye," I said, a bit sad to say goodbye even though I was pretty sure I'd see him again. I knew he had to go, but somehow I wasn't quite ready to let him.
As he started to walk away, I called to him. "Hey Edward? I'm glad we bumped into each other."
Edward turned back abruptly and crossed the space he had put between us, pulling us back into a corner. When he was close enough he reached out and grabbed my hand, entwining his fingers with mine. "Is this okay?" he asked in a low voice.
"Yes," I whispered, as he twisted our arms up together between us, pulling me close against him. "I'm glad too," he breathed, before pressing his lips against mine in the briefest kiss. Then he quickly squeezed my hand before releasing it entirely and walked off through the crowd, turning back only once to wink at me.
I spiked my empty cup as he disappeared from sight.