((Yay!!! Double digits posts!!! Anyway....))
As usual I met Sasha and Cara in the dining hall for brunch the next morning. Not many got up to be there early. If they did, they'd get quite the fashion show.
Meaning the football team lookin' sharp.
Meaning an eyeful of Murphy in dress pants and suit coat.
"You're drooling," Sasha muttered.
I probably was.
Murphy looked around somewhat hopelessly, and was nudged by Devan. They moved for the omelet line, Murphy digging in his pocket.
"Is that Murphy?" Cara asked. I'd forgotten that she didn't know what he looked like.
"Yup." I couldn't help but blush. Which increased when my phone buzzed against my plate. New text. I flipped it open. It was from Murphy.
I smiled. It was something he'd send; something little, sweet, and utterly Murphy.
Hello. I sent back.
We watched him dig for his phone, Devan looking over his shoulder. His shut and seconds later mine buzzed. Sasha and Cara leaned in.
Hi hi. good morning. what'd u have 4 breakfast?
I looked at my mostly-eaten waffle and send him a message back. He hit back pretty quick.
& thats wheat?
I didn't really know what to say, so I sent it wont kill me.
We spent most of our separate but combined time having a conversation in little 160 character messages, all while carrying on social niceness with the people sitting around us. Sasha and Cara couldn't stop looking at each other, then at me, and grinning. I decided I didn't want to know.
My inbox got one last message as the football team stood.
see u there.
Which I dutifully sent back, good luck!
"You are so gone," Cara said. "So gone."
My cheeks attempted to incinerate themselves.
We left shortly after, already having worked out that I would walk up to Cara and Sasha's, pick up Sasha (Cara had dance rehearsal) and we would go to the football game together. But first I needed to get some things - like a sweatshirt, and my backpack - first. The fourth floor walk was nothing anymore, but I stopped short when I saw my door.
There was a hat hanging on my door handle. More specifically, a baseball cap.
I picked it up and a note fell out. I looked at the inside of the hat and crouched for the folded piece of paper. M. MacRiley was written on the underside of the brim. I unfolded the note. In untidy, slightly slanted writing was:
Didn't think you had H-gear, so I'm letting you borrow my hat. It's been Febreezed, so don't worry. See you at the game.
The edges on the brim were frayed from use. It looked well-worn. On the back by the strap was an embroidered 54. I was guessing his jersey number.
I couldn't help the grin as I opened my door, packing my bag and then standing in front of the mirror, the hat in my hands. Murphy's hat. I had to move my messy bun of hair lower and tighten the strap. It was beat-up, slightly gnarly, and on my head. Which meant I would soon start to smell like Febreeze.
There were a few stares as I left, earbuds firmly in place for the trek up the hill. Sasha was sitting on the steps to her building. She looked at the hat.
"That's not yours," she pointed out.
"I know. It was on my door."
"So you put it on your head?" which, honestly, I expected and therefore turned the lecture she immediately launched into, with me adding only to the conversation by mumbling something about Febreeze and boys.
We found places to sit in the stands after the National Anthem was played, glad that our team was on our side of the field. It had been a while since I'd gone to a football game, I'd forgotten how certain things worked. Well, minor details, really, not big concepts. I knew the point of the whole thing. I'm not a complete dumbass.
Sasha pulled a "program" from somewhere and we confirmed that, indeed, Murphy MacRiley was number 54. We located him on the sideline, standing next to - hey, who would have thought - Devan Starrett, 47.
We must have lost the coin toss because after the kick off the defense was on the field. Including Murphy.
"Here comes Macho Man," Sasha muttered. I shoved her shoulder.
I then, based on my next observation, concluded that Murphy was either channeling a particularly violent spirit hellbent on destroying anything and everything in its path or wanted to impress me very badly. He did this by sacking the opposing quarterback two plays into the game.
When he trotted off the field, his duty temporarily done, took off his helmet, slapped his teammates high fives and other manly things, and started looking through the crowd. I knew when he found me - he grinned bright orange. He'd forgotten to remove his mouth guard. I grinned back.
"Okay," Sasha said, leaning on the bench behind her as though she were relaxing on a couch. "Let the chest-thumping begin."