The lunch crowd had long since filtered out of the cafeteria, choosing to stand in line for the lifts rather than hamburgers. I spooned up a bowl of chili from what looked like the dregs of the pot. Bell sat at a corner table with some other guys from the team. His blond hair curled around his shoulders, and I thought he was the best-looking guy I had ever laid eyes on.
I sat down a few tables from them. When I glanced up, I saw Bell watching me. I smiled and he smiled back, said something to his friends, picked up his tray and started walking in my direction. I figured he was done with lunch and about to leave. I wanted to check him out, but not stare, so I concentrated on my chili.
I didn’t look up again until he sat down across from me, at which point I was caught up in a kind of gummy, adolescent speechlessness. He had a half-eaten burger on his tray and a mound of fries slathered in ketchup.
“Chili any good?” he asked.
I stared at it as though it might give me an answer to his question. The crackers I’d been crumbling into the bowl were stuck to my palm. “I wouldn’t recommend it.” I brushed the crumbs from my hand.
“I was watching you ski,” he said. “You’re pretty phenomenal.” He smiled down at his burger.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” I answered, thinking the minute after I said it that this was possibly the stupidest thing that had ever dropped out of my mouth.
“You want to grab a beer or something later?”
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