Michela Walters’s Picture Choice:
Title: Owe Me One
It was the eleventh hour and Holly knew this was a long shot. She had one contact on the Men’s Water Polo team, but if he declined to talk the team into doing this photo shoot, she’d probably have to don a red bikini and hat herself, which wouldn’t have quite the same effect.
“You’ve got to be kidding me, Holly.” Zack didn’t try to mask the disdain from his voice.
She knew she was going to owe him, big time, and yet she wouldn’t mind too much. Getting fifteen hot, fit guys dressed in banana hammocks and Santa hats for the athletic department’s annual calendar would be her coup de gras.
Every October, the various athletic teams would come together to support the biggest fundraiser of the year. It helped give some added funds to the groups that weren’t the football team. No, the only sport that mattered here was football, so all the other little guys had to chip in and make a little calendar to pad the coffers.
“Aw, come on. It’s not like you don’t usually wear a speedo.” Holly urged him out of the bathroom in her little off campus apartment,
The door slammed open and Holly had to hold in the snicker at the sight of this strong, well built and insanely handsome man standing before her wearing hardly anything but a Santa hat and a frown. He looked adorable. And really, really hot. Holly had to shake away her thoughts of washboard abs and beg him to do this favor for her.
“I look ridiculous. How am I supposed to convince all the rest of the guys to wear this? Seriously?”
He stepped back into the bathroom and emerged moments later in his basketball shorts and t-shirt. “I know this is important to you, but do you really think I can get Mooch to put this on? The suit isn’t so bad, but the freaking hat? What next? Are you going to make us wear those elf shoes with jingles on the toes?”
At the thought of the six eight beast they called Mooch in elf shoes, Holly let the giggle she’d been holding in, loose. “Oh, my god--” she laughed, “--could you imagine--” Holly bent over at the knees to try and steady her breathing.
“Jeez if I’d known it was so easy to amuse you, I would have demanded we get the shoes,” Zack muttered under his breath.
Holly jerked upright, worried she’d just embarrassed herself with her childish antics.
At the sudden movement, Zack turned back around to face the woman he’d been thinking about ever since she approached him about being in the calendar. She was beautiful in an understated way, with long dark hair and sparkling blue eyes. He hadn’t really paid much attention to her aside from asking for her notes when he’d had the flu and missed their Political Science class they were both in. He knew she was shy and didn’t like the focus to be on her, which is why he was so stunned to find out she was in charge of the annual Christmas Calendar fundraiser.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to get so carried away,” she said, mistaking his frowned features as distaste in her awkward behavior.
“Don’t be. I like seeing you smile.”
The comment sent a flush across her prominent cheekbones, enamoring Zack even more.
“If I tell the team we’re doing this, do I get a favor in return?” The wheels were turning in his brain, as he was plotting his revenge.
Holly chuckled uncomfortably, knowing this was bound to happen. She didn’t exactly know what on earth he could want with her. She agreed with a quick, jerky nod. “Sure. It’s not like I’m in the position to say no am I? I’ve booked the photographer to come by after your practice on Friday.” She winced, waiting to hear him ask for cheat sheets, or note taking duties for a month, but never in a million years would she have imagined what actually came out of his mouth.
“Come to the Zeta Xi formal with me?” The words tumbled out of his mouth before he’d really had a chance to mull them over. He wasn’t sorry he asked,but was worried about her answer when her mouth gaped open and her eyes went wide.
“A formal? Me?” She looked around, as if he could possibly be talking to someone other than her.
His lopsided grin assured her he was in fact asking her. “We could have dinner maybe this weekend in case you wanted to get to know me before hand,” he hedged, not wanting to push his luck too much. “But yes, I’d love for you to come to the winter formal with me.”
Shaking off her shock, she simply nodded, not wanting to miss out on a chance to go out with the guy she’d been secretly crushing on since she’d gotten selected as the chairperson of the fundraising committee. She knew immediately who she’d turn to for the month of December, giving her a reason to talk to the outgoing captain of the team.
She walked him out to his car and discussed their upcoming date, still wondering how in the world she’d ended up in the win - win situation of a date and the photo shoot of the year.
“See you Saturday,” he called, waving his hand out the window as he drove away, trying to figure out a way to talk his burly three-meter man into wearing a jolly red hat.
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Michela Walters is a wife, mother and book enthusiast. She is currently attempting her hand at writing her first romantic fiction novella. You can read her other stories on her blog: michelawalters.wordpress.com