Fair Play (End Zone, #1) by Cathryn Fox



1





Ella





“What does this button do?”

I smack my best friend’s hand away from the football’s team brand new camcorder, and give her the evil eye. She knows better than to play with it, which makes the shocked looked on her face all the more amusing. But the fact is, I’ve been entrusted with the very expensive device to record the Falcons’ first home game. Since I can’t afford to replace it, I can’t let my friend go around poking at every shiny knob and possibly breaking something.

“What?” Peyton says, blinking dark lashes over big innocent eyes. “I’m just asking a question.”

“No. You’re pushing buttons you shouldn’t be pushing. Now sit there before I send you to the bleachers with everyone else.” I point to the bench to the left of us and raise a warning brow.

She gives a light laugh, brushing off my threat. “You’d never do that. You love me too much.” She’s right. I wouldn’t. Peyton and I have been best friends since kindergarten, and for the last three years we’ve been college roommates choosing apartment-style living over a sorority house. She’s here for a degree in social work, and I’m here because I want to be a filmmaker. Yeah, working in Hollywood, behind the scenes, has been my dream since childhood.

Beside me, Peyton gives a very big, very happy sigh and takes in the football field from our perch—only the best, first class seating for the camera woman. “I do love the perks of being your best friend,” she says as she admires the football players warming up. A few are so close we could practically reach out and touch them if we wanted to. I don’t.

“I really can’t understand the fascination,” I murmur. “A bunch of guys in tight pants chasing a ball.”

She crosses her arms, and waggles her brows at me. “What’s it called again when a player passes the goal line with the ball in his hand?”

“Winning,” I say, giving her a look that suggests she might be dense, but when she breaks out laughing, I crack a smile. Yeah, I get it. I’m the one who’s dense. It’s true, I know nothing about football, but I need this fourth-year credit to complete my cinematic arts degree and really, do I need to understand the game to record it for the team to analyze later? That would be a big fat no. I hope.

“Well, at least you know how this thing works,” Peyton says, once again scoping out the buttons on my camcorder. “How about this knob? What does it do?”

“Peyton, cut it out.” I slap her hand again and laugh at her childish antics. How we remained friends all these years when we’re so different is a mystery. But we love each other like sisters. Sisters? Wait, that’s not right at all. I’m an identical twin and my sister Ivy and I go together like hotdogs and Ferris wheels. Peyton and I, however, no matter how different, we just work.

I stare at her. “Don’t you have football players to drool over?” Unlike me, she knows every player, and doesn’t hold the same kind of grudge against them as I do.

I adjust my ballcap to shade the sun from my eyes as I glance out at the football field. I catch sight of my sister Ivy as she kicks one leg out and flirts with one of the players, trailing her finger over his chest. Blonde and bubbly. That’s Ivy. We were raised by the same two parents, yet we’re so different, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in a cheerleading outfit that barely covered my ass. That’s her business though, and I don’t judge or interfere in her life, just like she doesn’t interfere in mine.

I’d like to think when push comes to shove, she’d be there for me, just like I’d be there for her. At least, I think she’d be there for me. We might not hang out, but we love one another and have each other’s best interests at heart. Of that I’m certain. It’s funny really. Ever since we were young, we fell into certain roles. The extrovert and the introvert, the outgoing one and the quiet one. I always stood in the shadows and let her have the limelight. Pretty Ivy, the theater student who lights up a room with her smile and flamboyance when she enters. Which of course, makes me the introverted smart, quiet one. We both easily fell into those roles and have yet to stray.

Peyton gives a low, slow whistle. “I don’t know what you have against tight pants. Look at all those cute butts and luscious muscles. Talk about slurpalicious.” She rakes her teeth over her bottom lip. “Don’t you want one little nibble, one taste?”