If one of his friends had said they’d fallen in love at first sight Tucker would have punched the guy in the place where his nuts used to be. Real men don’t fall in love with a woman they’ve never met. They might fall in lust, but not love. Make no mistake, he’d loved women. In fact he loved everything about them. From the socialite whose singular purpose seemed to be partying, to the seriously driven whose only goal was success, they all had their appeal. But he’d never seen the point of falling for just one when there were so many to choose from. That was until Leila Peterson walked into the UC Berkeley quad that overcast Sunday. His world stopped and his only goal in life became getting closer to her. Without ever uttering a word to her he knew instinctively that she was the one. He wanted her, not just because she was gorgeous which she was, but because she literally took his breath away.
Mike and Tucker were returning from a run when he spotted her talking to the younger sister of a mutual friend, Sarah. She wasn’t dressed flashy or particularly sexy, but even from fifty feet away he was drawn to her. She was petite, just slightly over five feet tall. He could imagine lifting her just high enough for her legs to wrap around his waist. He could barely hear Mike speaking as they walked closer to the group standing in front of the drama building. Tucker stood and watched as Sarah and her friends performed some weird ritual dance. The theatrics shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Sarah has taken the word drama and incorporated it into every aspect of her life. So the Nutcracker routine was normal for her. He watched Leila watching the group, her expression a comical mixture of dread and confusion. His gaze burrowed through her. He hoped his intense stare would make her look at him. He was sure that once their eyes met she would feel the connection too.
He wasn’t a man that women overlooked. At 6’4 and 230 pounds of muscle he was difficult to ignore. But she didn’t seem to notice him. He watched her watching Sarah’s crazy friends make public spectacles of themselves dancing in front of the theater building. She walked past him as if he were invisible. He tried not to take it personally because she was clearly momentarily dumbfounded by the scene. She then spoke to the crowd giving them her reasons for not hanging out with them while backing up to make a hasty retreat. Tucker literally placed himself behind her so that she would have to stop and talk to him. But she ran right into his chest, stumbled backwards and landed on her behind. She looked up and rather than being dazzled by his soft dark blond curls, azure eyes and deep dimples she looked annoyed. He reached down and pulled her to her feet.
“Great, first I find out my roommate’s insane then I run into a building.” She said without looking at him.
“Are you hurt?” He asked with a slight chuckle. She dusted her round bottom and it took all of his efforts not to ask if he could help her.
“No but you should really consider wearing a sign or reflectors.”
“I’ll look into that,” he said.
She mumbled the words, “big lump,” as she walked away and it was confirmed. He was in love.