As Jake walked closer, Remi threw the football in a perfect spiral, right to Sterling.
Jake let out a low whistle. It was an impressive pass. The kid didn't even need to break stride. The ball fell right into his hands.
Sprinting back toward Remi, Sterling tossed the ball to his brother and took a stance beside him.
Remi motioned with his empty hand for Sterling to run. Taking a few steps back, Remi threw the ball. Once again it was a tight spiral, right to Sterling.
The kid was pretty good. He appeared to have excellent hands, but Jake wasn't sure how much real practice he was going to get with someone who threw as well as Remi. Maybe Jake would call his friends and see about putting together a team for the kid to practice with next weekend. It would do him good to have to get through a defense.
Setting the cooler about ten feet from Remi, Jake turned to watch Sterling jog back toward them. "I'm impressed. That was a hell of a pass."
Remi flinched, apparently caught off guard, his sunglasses slipping down his nose a little. "Yeah, guess I still have it."
Jake grinned. He was going to have to work with the man on using his senses. "I brought us some water." The shades on Remi's face were the Oakleys he normally wore, not mirrored Ray-Bans. Jake's glasses hung from the collar of Remi's tank top. He took them and put them on. "What do you mean, still?"
"I used to play in high school."
Panting, Sterling stopped in front of them. He also wore a tank top but bruises covered his arms. After tossing the ball to Remi, he dropped his hands to his knees. "He was quarterback the year our high school made it to state."
Jake ignored the bruises. He would ask Remi about them later. Remi played football in high school? "Holy shit. Lassiter, number twelve." How had Jake never made the connection? Tina had been a freshman and on the drill team that year. Jake had gone to most of the home games to watch his younger sister and found himself watching the sexy starting quarterback more than a few times. No wonder. Had he ever gotten close enough, he might have realized the man was his mate back then. "You were fuckin' awesome, man."
Remi shrugged off the praise.
If Jake hadn't been watching closely, he would have missed the brief grin.
"Where'd you play college ball?" Jake asked.
After tossing the ball into the air, Remi caught it.
"He didn't." Sterling stood and stretched his hands over his head.
What? How could he not have played in college? He was damn good. Several players on the team had gotten scholarships to big name colleges. He figured Remi would have been one of them. If Jake remembered correctly the middle linebacker was now in the NFL. "Why not? I heard guys were getting scouted left and right."
"Yeah, some were." Remi flipped the ball to Jake. "Jake, you can snap me the ball." He studied Sterling. "Ready to go again?"
Catching the ball, Jake frowned. Remi's scent had changed. He's hiding the truth for some reason.
"Same pattern, Sterling." Remi stepped back, motioning for Jake to get in front of him.
Jake wanted nothing more than to ask what was going on, but he had a feeling it would put Remi on the spot. He could sense Remi had been upset by the conversation.
Giving in to the need to nurture and protect his mate, Jake bent over and set the ball on the grass, and let the conversation drop. He glanced back at Remi, raising a brow, then clapped his hands together to gain Sterling's attention. "Okay, let's go. Let's play. Sterling, get over there. Remi, what count?"
Sterling jogged over to his position.
Dipping his head, Remi caught Jake's gaze. "Okay, on two."
After about three passes, Remi's pensive mood dissolved. At first, all Jake could concentrate on was Remi's unease, but after Remi relaxed and started having fun again, Jake became ultra aware of Remi's hands on his body, constantly touching him. To make matters worse, Remi was beginning to work up a sweat. He smelled so fucking good. Jake nearly groaned the next time the strong hand touched his back, before getting into position behind him.
Jake snapped the ball into Remi's hands and Remi dropped back, holding onto the ball a few seconds before releasing it. As soon as it left his hand, Remi took off running toward Sterling.
Catching the ball, Sterling looked back. His eyes widened when he spotted Remi coming toward him. Whipping his head back around, he turned on the speed. The kid was quick. A great asset if he was going to play receiver. Getting to the edge of the schoolyard, he spiked the ball and yelled, "Ha."
Remi never stopped. He dipped his shoulder, planted it into his brother's midsection and swooped Sterling up.
Sterling hollered in surprise and started beating on Remi's back. When Remi set Sterling on his feet, they both fell to the ground laughing.
Grinning from ear to ear, Jake made his way toward them. He loved seeing this side of Remi. He'd seen the man joke and cut up around Chay, but it was nothing like this. This was real...unreserved. Whatever had bothered him earlier about discussing his high school days was gone now.
"Butthead." Sterling tore grass from the ground and threw it at Remi.
Jerking his head to the side, Remi nudged Sterling's thigh with his own. "Brat." Remi licked his lips and smiled. The shiny gold surface of his Oakley lenses reflected Jake's image.
Before Jake realized his intent, Remi caught his ankle and tugged.
"Shit." Jake leaned forward to keep from landing on his ass. Catching himself, he fell with his hands on either side of Remi's head. His face poised inches from Remi's, his glasses slipped, hanging on his ears by the earpieces.
Sterling roared with laughter, but it seemed distant. Jake couldn't focus on anything but his mate being so close.
Remi wasn't unaffected. His breath hitched and the smell of arousal filled the air. A soft sound of surprise left his lips and fanned over Jake's face.