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The Great Tray Robbery
The Service Club meeting couldn’t adjourn soon enough. Kate checked the clock again.
Kate turned to Grant. "Can I sled with you?"
He leaned back rubbing his short brown hair and turned her way. His amber eyes sparkled as he grinned. But not for her. Izzie, Grant’s supposed ex-girlfriend, sidled past Kate and sat between them.
Grant draped his arm around Izzie. “Sorry Kate, my sled is only big enough for two.”
Disappointed, Kate stared outside. Flakes floated below the glowing streetlights. Kate selected a Midwestern university because of snow. In Phoenix, sliding down a hill on a block of ice was as close to sledding as she got. It wasn’t half as thrilling as speeding down Amphitheater Hill on a toboggan.
The club president adjourned the meeting. “Anyone who’s sledding meet back here in fifteen minutes.” He held up a cafeteria tray. “If you don’t have a sled you can always snag one of these.”
Someone tapped Kate’s shoulder. Jesse, her pledge brother, stuffed his hands in his jacket pockets. “Hey, Arizona. Are you brave enough for Amphitheater Hill?”
“Sure, Townie. Except I don’t have a sled.”
“Me either. How about liberating one from the student union?” He nodded toward the building next door.
Kate blinked. “Sure.” Straight arrow Jesse was suggesting theft. That was a Grant move. She’d met Grant and Jesse her first day on campus, but only the roguish Grant made an impression. Not for Jesse’s lack of trying. He’d asked her to pledge Service Club then begged her to co-write the monthly newsletter.
Kate followed Jesse to the elevator. “I can’t believe you’re suggesting we steal trays from the food court.”
Jesse leaned against the back wall. “Only borrowing. I plan to return mine first thing in the morning.”
They zipped up their jackets and put on hats before racing the twenty feet between the student center and the union. The food court bustled with students. Jesse suggested La Tortuga Taco since they had the fewest customers. He tucked two trays under his arm. Kate followed him to the condiment and utensil counter at the edge of the food court. They made eye contact then ambled down the corridor.
“Hey, stop!” A female student security officer emerged from behind a pillar. “You can’t remove those from the food court.”
Jesse held up the trays. “We’re just borrowing them for tonight.”
Another patrol member closed in on them. “You and five hundred other sledders.”
Jesse dropped his booty. “Run!”
Kate and Jesse raced down the hall and turned right before the patrol could round the corner. The female’s voice crackled through a radio. “Busy night for trays.”
Jesse grabbed Kate’s hand and pulled her through the nearest outside door. The two of them raced across the mall to the engineering library. They whizzed through the entrance past two different student security guards. An alarm blared. Kate looked back. Security had stopped someone who tripped the detector.
Jesse tugged Kate’s arm. “Let’s hang out in the stacks in case.”
Kate thought he was being paranoid but agreed. Still holding hands, they found a small carrel with two seats. They pulled off their hats. Jesse’s sandy hair poked up aided by static electricity. His gray eyes matched his hoodie. “First time I’ve been here for pleasure.” Jesse’s boyish smile brought out deep dimples.
Maybe she’d crushed on the wrong guy. “Running from campus police is your idea of fun?”
“With the right partner in crime.” He took her hand again. “I think the coast is clear. Want to risk returning to the union for some hot chocolate?” Jesse stood and pulled Kate to her feet.
“As long as you return the tray when we’re done.” She pushed in her chair. “Tonight.”
Jesse slipped his arm around Kate and held her close. “I promise if you agree to go sled shopping tomorrow.”
“We’ll have to take it for a test run down Amphitheater Hill.”
“It’s a date.” Jesse had managed to pickpocket Kate’s heart.