Hello to you! Let's analyze some game film, shall we? You know the drill by now. Twilight does not belong to me and no copyright infringement is intended. I just wanted Riley and Jasper to get physical...with each other *wink wink*. Football seemed like a pretty good way to make that happen.


Chapter 4 Intentional Grounding

Info from the Football Geek useful to this chapter: Two-a-days are when a team practices twice a day in preparation for the upcoming season. They are grueling and players generally hate them. The term 'hardware' is used below in reference to the ring a player receives from winning a championship. There's also a fair amount below dealing with the goings on at the NFL Draft. The 32 teams draft in the order based on their record from the previous season. So, the worse their win-loss record, the higher their draft position. Teams can work out deals to trade slots with one another as well. In a nutshell, all kinds of crazy shenanigans can happen on draft day so that a team can get an earlier pick.

Intentional Grounding - Penalty called when the quarterback, while under pressure from the defense and facing a possible sack, throws a forward pass that cannot realistically be completed.

Riley

I wake up from hands down, one of the best, most restful naps of my life. It takes me a second to register where I am; I'm still foggy from sleep. There's a moment I have to stop and wonder if what happened between me and Jasper was real or just another one of my vivid dreams that I've been having since I met the guy. The strange but insanely comfortable bed in a bedroom that most definitely isn't mine confirms the truth: hell yes it was real.

All fetal and clutching a pillow, I immediately miss the warmth of Jay's body against mine and I turn to find that I'm in the bed...alone. Panic sort of sets in. How long has he been awake? How long did I sleep? How much of the fucking day have I wasted?

I roll over to Jay's side of the bed, toward the nightstand, and a quick check of the clock eases my agitation. I haven't been asleep for much more than an hour, so there's still a good chunk of the day left. The last thing I want to do is waste the time I have with him. I have Whitlock all to myself for the next forty hours or so. Fuck all if I'm going to spend one more second unconscious than I have to.

Inhaling deeply, I can smell his cologne on the sheets and pillows. I burrow myself in them so that I'm completely surrounded by the musky scent, almost drowning in it. It occurs to me what I dumbass I must look like, though. I either look like I'm trying to get high off of cotton or one of those goofy fuckers from the stupid Febreeze commercials.

Not that I wouldn't buy a bottle or thirty of the stuff if it smelled like Jay.

There's rattling coming from the kitchen and I peel myself from under the covers to go see what he's doing. Still butt-ass naked, I figure I should put something on just in case it isn't Jasper. It could be the maid for all I know; how fucking embarrassing would it be to walk in there, sausage swinging?

When I walk in to the kitchen, I see him at the counter putting together what looks like one hell of a sandwich. His jeans hang low on his hips, low enough that I can see those sexy as fuck dimples peeking out over the top. They taunt me because I know where they lead...and fuck do I ever want to follow.

I'm a little hesitant to make my presence known, though. I wonder why he didn't just stay in bed with me, or at least wake me up. Maybe he didn't know what to say after what we've just done. Maybe he's decided he's not all that into me...

"Hey B," he says, turning toward me with that killer smile. "You want one? I was fucking starving."

Or maybe he was just hungry, you goofy fucker.

Ass-kicking myself across the kitchen, I stand beside him to see what exactly he's making. My stomach chooses that exact inopportune moment to rumble, reminding me that I didn't so much eat on the flight as I drank. Nerves and all.

"Yeah, sure. I could definitely eat."

"Damn boy, didn't they feed you on the plane?"

"I wasn't all that hungry at the time," I admit sheepishly, suddenly very interested in the tile pattern on the floor.

Jay puts down the knife and turns toward me. Grabbing the waistband of my shorts, he pulls me to him so that our bodies adhere to one another, a lot like velcro. He's got that look like he's famished, and maybe for more than what's on his plate. It makes me want to lay myself out on the table and tell him to grab a fucking spoon.

"Well, I can tell you are now." He puts his lips right on my ear and whispers, "Especially after that workout we just had; definitely need to refuel before round two."

"Ding-motherfucking-ding," I say, all cocky and shit, attempting to pull off half the swag Whitlock has.

"I'll make you love two-a-days* yet, Biers."

"Not sure that's possible, but if anyone can it's you." My voice is meant to tease, but there's an underlying seriousness. I'm absolutely certain they won't be the only thing I end up loving. That possibility not only excites me, but scares the absolute shit out of me.

"Damn right, boy." Playfully biting my ear lobe, he pats me on the ass and tells me to make myself at something to eat.

He takes his plate over to the small island and sits on a bar stool. I busy myself with the food, trying really damn hard to ignore my cock that's waking the fuck up again. Apparently he's ready for more.

"Hey, will you grab me a beer from the fridge? I forgot to get one." I can barely make out what he's asking me; it sounds like the fucker put one of his entire sandwiches in his mouth.

"Damn man, you might wanna chew your food; and close your mouth, for fuck's sake. Didn't your mom teach you any manners?"

"Fuck you, dude." He laughs, attempting not to choke and giving me the finger.

He's left himself wide open with that one. I do as he asks, but glancing over my shoulder I can't resist saying, "Oh, we'll see who's doing the fucking in a minute, boy."

Sure my taunt is meant to be smart ass, but the weight of my words and what they imply suddenly hit me like a defensive end I don't see coming. I'm sacked and unsure of what to say next.

It's clear that Jasper is pondering my statement, too. He's gone quiet and the air is thick and concentrated with the subject we've never discussed before. I know he's slept with other guys, but I have no idea how many partners he's had. Fuck, does he pitch or catch?

What if it's the former? I don't even know if I'm ready for the latter because, damn, I just gave my first blow job ever an hour ago. I think my having a cock in my mouth and up my ass is a lot of adjustment to make in one day. I need some time on that one.

All I know is that I don't like the awkward silence I've created here. I need to do something, say something to alleviate the tension and get rid of the fucking elephant in the room. Then I remember I'm supposed to be getting him a beer.

"Corona? I thought you were a Shiner man." It might be a lame attempt at a change of subject, but it'll have to do.

"I am, but they didn't have any when I made the beer run earlier. Apparently it's hard to find up here. Yankee fuckers."

"Better be careful, Whitlock. You could end up a Yankee fucker yourself after Saturday." I get his beer, then realize that there's also Killian's Red in there, too. I smile to myself because he remembered what I drink. "Thanks for picking up the Red, Jay."

"Of course, B." With his bottle in hand, he takes long, drawn out pulls. It's hard not to be mesmerized by the way that his Adam's apple bobs up and down his throat. "And while I might end up playing for Yankee fuckers, I will always be a southern gentleman."

His declaration is ironically punctuated with the loudest damn burp I think I've ever heard. That's really saying something considering the number of athletes I've been around over the years. We both laugh and I'm thankful for the levity; things had gotten way too heavy. I finish making my sandwiches and sit beside Jasper on the other bar stool.

It's not that I don't wanna have the talk; I do. I just need to loosen up a little first. A couple more Killians and I think I can broach the subject. I want my time and experiences with Jasper to be everything I've built them up to be in my mind. More even.

Starting on my beer, I do bring up a topic I don't need to be loose to discuss. "So, I know we said we weren't gonna talk shop, but I want to know if you've talked to your agent as much as I've talked to mine."

"Oh fuck man, about fifty times in the last two days for sure. Some of the teams are talking all kinds of crazy shit to move up and get an earlier pick."

"Yeah, same here. Where does he think you'll get taken?" I'm curious as this is sort of a measuring stick for myself. Our stats are pretty similar, with the exception of the hardware* I'm lacking. We both had good showings at the Combine, so I'm figuring we'll get drafted somewhat close together.

"Mr. Rosenhaus has a feeling I'll go somewhere in the top ten. What about you? What's your agent saying?"

"Pretty much the same thing, except that Tyler shoots straight with me. The Rose Bowl could come back to bite me in the ass, but my performance at the Combine could offset that. He says I could go top ten, or I could slip down somewhere in the twenties."

"Shit, Riley, I really am sorry."

"Why? I'm not. I've made peace with it. Honestly, I'll be happy to go anywhere that wants me; I just want to play."

"Yeah, me too."

For a second the bravado that Whitlock possesses falters and I can see that he's just as nervous about Saturday as I am. I've gotten so used to seeing him full of confidence, so self-assured, his momentary vulnerability tugs at the heart I'm not supposed to have for him.

We eat and drink in comfortable silence. I'm on my third beer; Jay is still working on his second. It's nice that we can have moments like this, not like the times where we've been so nervous and didn't quite know what to say. I realize that I want to ask him more about how he feels about the draft. I know what my feelings are and I wonder if he's having similar emotions.

"I guess you've practiced all the rehearsed, bullshit answers we're supposed to have for the press, right?" I chuckle because I myself have them down cold. I could rattle that mess off in my sleep.

"Oh, fuck, you know it. I feel like a damn robot. I just hope I don't get too nervous and forget it all."

"Well lucky for you, Whitlock, if you do, just unleash the power of the dimples on those ESPN bitches. Give 'em a wink, call 'em darlin' and you're good to go."

"Ha! Think so, B?" He quirks his brow at me and adds, "What happens if its one of the ESPN bastards?"

"That shit will still work, Golden Boy. Pretty sure no one is immune to those tools you've got."

"Is that a fact, Biers?" he says, polishing off the last of his Corona.

"Damn right it is."

"And what about you?" He puts the remnants of his last bit of food down, licks his fingers all seductive and shit, then angles his body toward mine. "You're not, are you, boy?"

"Mother of fuck no." I stand and move to stand between his parted thighs. "Especially this tool right here, Sir." I grab his cock, referring to the biggest tool he's got in his bag.

He hisses as I squeeze, and I feel him harden underneath my grasp. It's still such a fucking high knowing that my touch makes the Major's body react this way. I love the commanding effect my hands seem to wield over him; it makes me that much bolder.

I grab his hips, pulling him into me. Both of us hard, we grind into each other, desperate for contact. Jay kisses me hard, squeezing my shoulders. His grip is painfully tight, and if I were lesser in strength, I might cry out in discomfort. But I'm not; I'm sculpted muscle and welcome the pleasure from this type of pain.

My fingers dig deep into his flesh, the sturdiness of tendon and bone refusing to give way to my grasp. We are toe-to-toe equals, able to take fully what the other gives. I instantly know that's exactly what we both want: everything.

"Fuck, B, I want you. I want -"

"Everything. All of it," I finish for him.

"Fuck yeah."

His eyes pierce right through me, deep into my heart and detonating my soul. I've never wanted anything in my whole life ever like I want every last part of him. For the first time in my boyish existence, I feel like I'm fucking man enough to have it.

"Have you...?" he asks, the question unfinished, but I know the rest.

"Not with a man."

"Oh." There's more behind that, and it takes him a moment before he says anything. "But you have, though? Right?"

I see now why Jay's so serious; he's worried I'm a virgin. I almost laugh, because really? But then again, he knows I wasn't ever really attracted to girls. He also knows that my acceptance of my attraction to men is a new development.

"Yeah. In high school. I had a girlfriend my Senior year." I laugh, because looking back, the handful of times we did fuck was a damn comedy of errors. "That was how I knew for sure that I wasn't into girls."

"So you've only had the one partner then?" Jay's face is full of surprise, but there's something else there, too. Excitement or relief, I'm not sure, but I can tell it pleases him that even though he's not my first experience ever, he'll be my first one like this.

"Yeah."

My answer is honest, without an ounce of shame. That's mostly because he makes me feel like I don't have to hide anything. I know with Jasper I can just be me. Riley. Even with all my flaws and shortcomings, there's no judgment from him.

I'm so fucking happy right now; happy that I trusted that voice in my head that said "don't rush it, just wait". I'm thankful for the part of me that second-guessed and over-analyzed. It led me to this moment right here, to the man standing in front of me. I'm glad that I did those things because whether or not I was aware of it, I think I've been waiting my whole life for him.

Without another word, I pull Jay from the stool and lead him back to the bedroom. This time our trip down the hallway isn't rushed with one leading and the other following. We're side-by-side, carefully together with our steps in sync.

My eyes never leave his when we undress. I'm thankful that my hands aren't trying to take his pants off him though. They're unsteady and I don't want him thinking it's all nerves. I mean, of course, I'm nervous. Fuck, who wouldn't be?

As well as I know run and shoot offense, I know that it's also the anticipation. The excitement that this is real and fucking happening is what has me shaking. But it's the good kind; the kind that propels you forward. The kind that makes you feel alive and like nothing will ever be as good as this.

I stand there waiting and watching his every move. My stomach tightens when he fishes a small bottle and foil package from his duffel bag. Too right, he's always prepared; of course he has all the bases covered.

He's hard and ready, and shit, I wonder which one of those things are for me, the lube or the condom? Although they both could be if I'm the one getting his dick wet. I guess that very question is plastered all over my damn face because the next thing I know, Jay is standing in front of me.

He places his hand on my hip, drawing me closer to him. The calming feel of his lips on mine steadies me and, god, am I glad that he knows just when I need that from him. The spot-on way he reads me is almost scary.

"I want to know how good it feels," he says carefully. "To have you in me." Instantly, I know exactly what he means. "I know you're not ready for me to fuck you yet, and that's okay. You will be in your own time, and I'll wait."

He's absolutely right and I nod, relief washing over me that he's made the call. "Thank you for understanding."

"Of course, B." There's so much reassurance in his eyes I think my heart might burst out of my ribcage. "This," he says, motioning between us, "isn't something that will be universally understood or accepted, sometimes even within ourselves. I get the uncertainty, and I want to be sure that I don't push you. Just be honest with me about what you want to happen. "

Once again, he's right on the mark with perfect accuracy. I do need to be absolutely clear with him so that there's no misinterpretation. I take a second, hoping with everything in me that it comes out right.

"I want every experience with you, Jay. I do. And while I may not be ready for you to fuck me, I know that I'm more than ready to fuck you."

"Shit, Riley, I want that too. More than almost anything."

Finally, completely void of clothes and hesitations, Jay leads me back over to the bed. We crawl on top of the disarray of covers and pillows, facing one another. I know in this moment we're not entirely equals, and that's okay. This isn't about individual rank or stats; this is about us...together. And that's what matters.

On instinct, I first take the condom from him. I manage to keep my hands steady as I unwrap it and roll it over my cock. Squeezing some lube out, I coat my fingers with the slick gel. Jay moves in front of me, getting into position on his hands and knees. I do exactly what he did to me earlier, mimicking the way he touched me before sliding his finger inside. He hisses when I start out using one finger; he moans when I use two.

Jay rocks himself into me in preparation. He's tight and I can feel him give way to the width. I know the sensation will be amplified beyond belief when it's my cock in there, and that makes me twitch in anticipation. The sounds he's making, coupled with the hotter than hell way he's fucking my fingers, could possibly do me in if I don't get inside him. That shit won't fly.

I squirt some lube on my dick and only stroke enough to cover myself; too much of that and I'll come for damn sure, as keyed up as I am. I position the tip of my cock at his entrance, knowing that this is the moment that will change everything. Exhilaration and apprehension fill me all at the same time as I pray with everything in me that the change is good.

Taking in a much needed breath, I move forward slightly. I don't want to push in too fast, though, so I tell him to ease back into me. I know enough to know it's better if he controls this part.

The slow squeeze as I disappear inside him is unlike anything I've ever felt before. My entire body tightens, my breath stopping as the sensation overtakes me. I have no words to describe this, which is fitting since the sounds coming out of my mouth don't even remotely sound like a formal language.

When Jasper finally starts to really move around me, I fight the urge to thrust my hips with reckless abandon, because holy fuck do I ever want to pound against him. As badly as my body wants to move with force and speed, my mind knows how much I want this to last. I just have to figure out how to make that happen.

For a minute, I think that maybe the best thing to do is to shut my eyes. It's as if the combination of sight, touch, and sound is too much for me to handle. If I concentrate only on the feel and the noises - just the two - maybe it will desensitize the overload of pleasure.

A couple of seconds and few erratic pumps tell me that isn't the answer. Sight unseen does nothing to lessen the overwhelming sensations that ricochet throughout my system. There must be something else I can fixate on.

Maybe I should just concentrate on the boy and the perfect specimen that he is.

I run my hands over the expanse of his back and shoulders, losing myself in their strength and definition. I'm mesmerized by the ripple of his shoulder blades and the slope of his triceps. Jasper's body is a fucking work of art and I want to study and memorize the masterpiece of it.

I figure if I focus on more than just the fanfuckingtabulous sensation of my cock in his sweet ass, maybe I won't be another two-pump chump. Sadly, that's not the case. I can feel the rush constrict within me, every push forward and pull back threatening to level me completely.

"Stop for a second," I say through gritted teeth. Jasper stills and I fall forward, pressing my chest to his back. "I'm too fucking close."

"S'okay, B." I can feel the rise and fall of his body beneath me, our breath patterns falling in concurrence with one another. I can't help but be in awe of this moment in which I surround him completely.

Reaching around him, I place my hand around Jay's and begin to stroke his shaft, eventually moving his out of the way entirely. I think I've found a way to stave off the inevitable, when Jasper begins to thrust into my grasp. That would be fine if the action didn't involve movement of his ass, which is currently filled balls deep with my cock.

"Fuuuuck," I hiss in his ear. "Not helping."

"Sorry, feels too good not to." He takes a beat before slowly easing himself from me altogether. Before I can protest, he explains, "Let's change positions. Maybe that will be better."

Just like always, he's exactly right.

When I'm inside him again, the sensation is still just as powerful, but doesn't threaten to completely overtake me; at least, not at first. What's different from only moments before is that I'm utterly absorbed in Jay's face now that I can see it. The look in his eyes is so intense it's like I'm hypnotized. Only slightly more enthralling is the way they roll closed as he arches into my thrusts, throwing his head back. I'm absolutely mesmerized by his usually strong and taut jaw that slackens, his breath warm against my face. His exhales quickly become pants, as do mine. When I drive a little harder, a little deeper, his jaw tightens; gasps turn to grunts that vibrate in my ears and send shivers down my spine.

My attempt at shifting my focus only lasts so long though, much like I knew it would. I can feel what I've been denying myself refusing to stay at bay for much longer. It all feels too fucking amazing; I know if I don't give in soon, I'll totally lose my shit.

Of course, I want to make sure that Jasper comes, too. Some guys don't give a good goddamn if their partner comes or not, which I think makes them assholes. It matters to me, especially since as a guy there's no faking that shit. What's more is that I want us to get there together, as cheesy as that might sound. I need to see the look on his face when he gives way to the onslaught, knowing that I'm the reason. The very same way that I want him to see it in mine and know the exact same thing.

I slow my rhythm, pausing long enough to roll us over so that Jay is straddling me. I somehow manage to pull off the move without pulling out, and I'm right fucking thankful that I'm strong enough to do so. The new angle has pushed me deeper into him and the grunt he lets out, coupled with his sharp squeeze of my pecs is almost enough to make me blow right there. Two hard bucks of my hips and I'd be a fucking goner.

Jasper starts to move up and down, slow and easy at first, controlling the pace. He looks so damn hot riding my cock like that, and it takes me a minute or so to remember what it is I want. His own cock is hard and starting to bob up and down since his hands are still clutching my chest muscles.

The bottle of lube is within reach, so I squirt some onto his shaft and go to fucking work. As with every play I've ever memorized, completion is all about communication and timing. I might be a rookie to what we're doing now, but I know that it's no different.

I coordinate my strokes with the movement of his body against mine. I match the intensity of my grip with the force of his decent onto me. Finally, were both fucking with such abandon and outright hedonistic force that I can tell we're seconds away from the culmination of what's been building for fucking ever, it feels like.

Jay's eyes lock on mine, dark and burning; I know his release is as close as mine is. He growls out a "yeah" that isn't a question. It's a damn announcement that might as well be yelled over a PA system. I know exactly what he's telling me.

My own "yeah", while just as gritty, is drawn out and choppy; it morphs into an elongated "ahhhh" that echoes all over the bedroom. Nanoseconds later, it's like lightening strikes shoot through me, the resonant clapping completely overtaking me as I come hard and fast. I'm breathless, gasping for air and it must sound like I'm dying given the strangled shouting coming from my mouth.

But that couldn't be further from the truth because I'm fucking sailing. Weightless and free and soaring with the motherfucking rush of all rushes. I'm up so damn high I feel like nothing or no one can touch me. Ever.

Except maybe Jay.

His deep and bellowing groans weave through and conjoin with my own; the raw cacophony is by far better than any music I've ever heard. At first, I wonder what whoever's on the other side of those walls must be thinking. I quickly decide I don't give two fucks in hell when I feel warmth pepper my chest and spill over my hand.

There aren't many things I've done in my life that I would consider transcendent, but seeing Jasper come, yelling my name while I fuck him into oblivion, is by far and away number one on that short list. In this moment, I'd bet my fucking soul that no sight my eyes will ever see from this point on can hold a candle to what I just witnessed.

But I'm little bit wrong in that estimation. That visual only gets better and more amazing every single time. In the shower, on the couch, bent over the island in the kitchen, fuck, it's something I can't get enough of and something I never want to forget. I know deep down that the latter isn't even a remote possibility.

Especially when he whispers es todo in my ear after he comes. I'm pretty sure it's Spanish, but after the third time, I finally get the balls to ask Jay what it means.

Everything.

Which is perfect, because it's true.

We don't mess with clothes the rest of our time in the condo. Well, except for a couple of times to answer the door for the pizza guy, and the chick from the Chinese food place. It just seems pointless to put shit on only to have it ripped off again.

In fact, naked Xbox play becomes my new favorite pastime. I'll never be able to play Call of Duty again without thinking of Jasper reaching over and grabbing my cock, deliberately trying to screw me up. Funny, he ends up being the one getting screwed; not that he has any complaints.

...

...

Friday morning finds us with a mixed bag of emotions. As excited as we are to get the next phase of our lives underway and begin our professional careers, there's the knowledge that what we've just shared can never leave these walls. Ever.

Talk about a damn game face. It's going to be one of the most difficult things for me to see Jasper across the room with his agent and not want to be right over there with him. Shit, it's gonna be a fucking miracle if I can keep my eyes off of him for more than a five minute stretch. I tell him all this, partly because I wonder if he feels the same way. My heart feels like it might beat right out of my damn chest when he tells me he does.

We share one final time together before we have to dress and leave the sanctity of the condo. He understands as well as I do that this time will be the last for who knows how long. Touches are not wasted, but relished and revered.

However, the mutual fervor is layered with something else altogether. There's a quiet desperation underneath that both of us feel, but don't want to acknowledge. Instead, we joke that as soon as we're bank rolled, a vacay to a nude beach somewhere tropical is in order. Whether or not it ever really happens, only time will tell, but it gives us something to look forward to. Neither one of us could handle walking out these doors with the thought that this is all there is. No fucking way.

Then, just like that, the cab takes me away from him, back to reality and my hotel by Radio City Music Hall, and already I feel without. The severed phantom limb tickles at first, but by the time Saturday morning rolls around, the ache is more than obvious. Sure, seeing my parents, doing interviews, and analyzing draft scenarios with Tyler have kept my mind from dwelling too long on where part of my heart is. Outwardly, I'm the humble and appreciative would-be rookie, anxious and ready to help any of the franchises get to a Super Bowl. On the inside, I'm just a guy that's falling hard for someone who's amazing and damn near-perfect.

It's been roughly twenty-four hours since I left Jasper, but one quick look at him and the pang of how much I miss him almost doubles me over.

I know I have to squash that shit and remember what the fuck else is important right now. There are five of us waiting to hear our name called, our futures at the mercy of thirty-two different teams. We're sequestered in a waiting area off the main stage, but every now and again a film crew comes in, the network reporter armed with the same scripted questions for all of us.

It's nearing go-time and the room is gradually becoming more chaotic. Each one of us huddles with our respective agents, their phones glued to their ears as they listen to potential offers and trades. I find it funny, and oddly a little calming, when my dad texts to tell me that there's a group of Oakland fans that have my name on signs. I know that Tyler hasn't been talking to the Raiders, but it's nice to know their fans would like to have me just the same.

Eventually, Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, takes the podium and begins his pre-draft address of the crowd. The cheers erupt with his announcement that Detroit is on the clock with the first overall selection. The air becomes thick in the room, anticipation and excitement permeating the small space as we wait anxiously to hear who's going number one.

Of course, it's not me, but it isn't Jasper either. It's that defensive back, Edward Cullen, that gets the first taste of the spotlight. Not too surprising, especially since he won the Heisman. For a split second, Jay and I lock eyes, sharing an "it figures" kind of moment.

Organized chaos breaks out as Cullen is whisked out of our side-room and onto the stage for his shining moment, the one that we all hope will happen for us sooner rather than later. Even though things are just shy of insanity, my eyes stay affixed to Jasper's. There's an evenness within them that's keeping me balanced. I have no idea how long we stare, but it's Tyler's swift bump of my shoulder telling me that he's got Buffalo on the horn and things sound legit.

I nod in acknowledgement. The Bills have the number ten pick, which means if they draft me my contract is that much more lucrative. It's a very different locale from what I'm used to, but I would adapt just fine. I also know I'd get the start there because they don't have shit behind center.

"Hey man, where were you just now?" Tyler asks after he ends the call. I can hear the slight annoyance in his voice.

"Oh, sorry dude. Lost in my own head I guess. I'm just trying to stay calm." My reply isn't really a lie, but more of a half-truth. I simply choose not to reveal the method I'm using to chill the fuck out.

"Yeah, well, pay attention my friend. Buffalo is really serious if you're still on the board in nine picks. What's more, the numbers they're throwing out are solid."

"Well what the hell are they? I'm dying here."

"Think you could live with a five-year, forty-five million dollar deal, Riley Biers?"

I think I might choke, but when he tells me twenty-eight of it is guaranteed, I actually do.

"Fuck, that's a lot of zeroes."

My head swims as I digest what those numbers mean, not just for me, but for my family. There's so much good I can do for them and it excites me to know that I'll finally be able to give something back to my parents.

I think about how I'll literally be on the other side of the country from them, at least during the season. I can deal with multiple residences, because shit, I'll clearly be able to afford them.

I'm still trying to process my potential future, when I realize I have no clue who Jasper's agent is talking to or any idea where he might end up. I start running down the list of teams that are within the closest proximity to where it looks like I'm going. Fuck, I even try and assess their quarterback situation to see if he's a possible fit when I realize something pretty fucking important.

I have no idea where we go from here. Outside of a hypothetical getaway to some supposed tropical locale with no clothes where no one knows who we are, there has been zero discussion of what happens next for us. Then my gut folds into itself because, fuck, is there really even an us?

Before my brain can spiral out of my skull, Tyler tells me that Dallas has just traded down to get the fourth pick and is currently on the clock. I have no idea how long I've been in lala land, but clearly long enough for me to miss who the last two selections were. All I know that it's not the person whose future I'm secretly trying to mesh with my own, because there Whitlock sits, looking as poised as ever.

Suddenly, everything changes. I see his agent, phone in hand, start nodding his head vigorously. He's smiling like a damn Cheshire cat and clapping Jasper on the back. Excitement erupts on the other side of the room, and I know exactly what this means. All is confirmed when I hear the crowd begin to cheer, meaning the commissioner is taking the podium.

"With the fourth pick of the draft, the Dallas Cowboys have selected Jasper Whitlock, quarterback from the University of Florida."

The noise from the audience erupts like a sonic boom, as does the applause in this room, only on a much larger scale. Those around Jasper shake his hand in congratulations and it's all I can do to keep my ass in my chair. It's killing me that I can't go put my arms around him, tell him how happy and proud I am of him right now.

And just like that, he's gone.

My eyes follow him as he's ushered out of the room amidst stage hands and camera crew. I want to go with him, to see him pose with Roger Goodell as he holds the ceremonial jersey emblazoned with the number one. I want so badly to be a part of his moment, even if it's from the sidelines.

"Riley, what the fuck man?"

"Huh?" I turn my attention my own agent, who at that moment has a look on his face somewhere between perturbed and perplexed.

"Is there something going on I should know about?"

"No...no Tyler. Sorry, I'm just nervous and shit."

"Okay," he says, but his tone suggests that he's not all that convinced. "But if there's anything I need to know-"

"There's not. I swear."

Of course I'm lying my ever-loving ass off. Well sort of. Yes, there's other stuff going on, but fuck all if Tyler needs to know how I've spent the last forty-some odd hours. In fact, it's better that he never finds out. I can only imagine the shit storm of controversy that would cause.

I decide right then and there that I need to quit with the love-sick fool act and focus on what the hell is happening with me. Jay's future (or at least the next several years of it) has been decided and there's nothing I can do to change it. Things aren't a done deal with the Bills yet and there are still five more teams to go before they're even on the clock.

Tyler and I stay in close contact with the coach and GM from Buffalo. They're confident that the teams ahead of them won't be taking me, so there's no need for them to try and trade down. At this point, it's merely a waiting game until the Bills are up and they can make the announcement.

Somehow, I'm able to fire off a quick text to Jay without anyone noticing.

Congrats man! Dallas - that's awesome. Just wanted to say I'm excited for you.

Thanks, B! Things are nuts right now. Still waiting?

Yeah, looks like it's gonna be the Bills though.

Let me know what happens.

I don't know how much time passes, but when the tenth pick is finally up, it only takes them two minutes to get the official word in. Once the announcement is made, I'll have to do the obligatory interviews with ESPN and the NFL network. After that, Tyler and I will be on our way to the airport to head up to Buffalo for the press conference.

It seems so surreal that this moment is actually happening. I hear the commissioner say the words I've been dreaming about since I started playing ball.

"With the tenth pick of the draft, the Buffalo Bills have selected Riley Biers, quarterback from the University of Oklahoma."

From that very second, things become a total fucking blur. It's a tornado of photo ops and interviews, and I'm so thankful that my parents are here to keep me a little bit grounded. This experience is everything I thought it would be, and more.

I have absolutely no concept of time, but when I'm finally on the plane waiting to fly to Buffalo, I remember that I'm supposed to text Jay.

Bills took me at ten. On a jet now to fly up there for the press conference.

Dude, that's awesome, B! I'm happy for you man. I'm about to take off for Dallas any minute now for the same thing.

Very cool. Remember what I said: dimples and charm and you're golden.

Haha, right. And so it begins...

Whitlock's statement says it all. I'm just not sure if what's beginning could mean an ending for something else that has nothing whatsoever to do with football.


A/N: *sings* For the times, they are a changin'…okay, I'm not gonna butcher Bob Dylan. I love you guys too much to make your ears bleed.

Big ups to all the usual suspects - RoseArcadia, lola-pops, Jenny0719, Trinab74 and lemonmartinis for being amazeballs of kickassness and making sure this doesn't suck balls. These ladies keep my neurosis from slamming into overdrive.

Huge chest bumps (heehee) to mskathy and her legendary red pen of doom. I commit so many infractions of the grammatical variety and this thing would be a messy pile o'goo without her.

And of course, tacklehumps galore to all of you who read and indulge me in my love of football and sweaty boys. You guys make me giddy and give me all the warm-fuzzies. Thank you, thank you and thank you a million times over.

Until next time my friends!