"That’s some pretty cool knitting.”
Lauren looked up to see the outline of a massive football player staring down at her, the sun glaring behind him. Although with his size she wasn’t surprised he blocked out most of the sun.
“It’s cross stitch, not knitting,” she replied coolly. One of Lauren Turner’s biggest pet peeves was when people called her sewing projects knitting. Does it look like I have two big old hooks in my hands? Would you put this stiff fabric around your neck? Some days she just let it go…guess today isn’t someday.
“What’s it going to be?”
“A Christmas stocking.”
“Christmas? This early?”
“It’s not something that can be finished in a few hours. And I don’t always have time to work on it.”
“Can I help you with something?”
“I was told you were one of the recruit’s parents.”
“Marcus Turner. He’s a tight end from Lincoln West.”
“He’s a big tight end.”
“My husband was a lineman. Stunted his gene pool with me so we ended up with a tight end that gets used more for blocking than anything else.”
“I’m Daniel Jefferson.”
Daniel extended his hand to her then sat down as she could finally make out his face. Estimating his height at least six-seven, Lauren felt comfort with the man who didn’t need shoulder pads to be intimidating. Her husband, Clark, had been a lineman with every inch of body required; strong arms and chest, thick frame of a body, and a spirit that was all about protection. She’d always found safety amongst the trees of the offensive line.
Daniel’s face had the attractiveness of youth with his smooth, dark chocolate skin obstructed only by a shaggy, light beard, not long, just in need of lining up. It was his eyes that held her. They were dark brown verging on black and wasn’t that her Achilles heel?
“Nice to meet you.”
“I’ll be one of the captains next fall. I’m pretty sure I’m assigned to taking you and your son around for a campus tour after practice. They’re going to have him suit up and run a few drills so after that we’ll shower and show you around.”
Intellectually Lauren knew he meant him and the team, but when Daniel said we’ll shower she had an unnatural reaction.
“Is it just you or did your husband come along?”
“My husband passed a few years ago. It’s just me and Marcus now.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I didn’t mean to…” Daniel fumbled and Lauren couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
“How would you have known? It’s not like I have a sign over my head that says widow woman. Have fun at practice. I’m used to being in the stands alone.”
Have fun at practice… Jesus, she was such a damn mom sometimes. Lauren turned back to her sewing, accustomed to the solitude of the activity. She’d started sewing when Marcus was younger as a way to separate from the team moms.
For offensive lineman Daniel Jefferson, spring ball was enough of a hassle, but setting the stage for recruitment with some of the top high school juniors before they were swamped in the fall had been Arista University’s way of staying ahead of the curve. His charm and quiet command of situations had caused the coach to tap him to be a tour guide for a few years as he convinced nervous parents that their son’s could turn out as successful as he had.
Lauren Turner was anxious about returning to her alma mater, but when they asked her son to come for a visit he was so excited to check out the campus and work out with a college level program she couldn’t refuse the visit. As memories of her time on campus overwhelm her, the tour guide Daniel only brought back the desire she always found for the strong protective men that played the line.
When Daniel saw young looking Lauren, the last thing on his mind was their age difference. She didn’t fear the massive lineman and with a brush of the back of their hands, they both felt the electrical charge. But how could a woman old enough to be his mother ever see him as anything but a child?