Chapter One: Courtney

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You would think being at the NFL Draft with my boyfriend would be one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me.

But, in fact, it's one of the loneliest.

I'm sitting at an otherwise empty table in a room with the best college football players in the nation, most of who have brought their parents and girlfriends—and in a couple cases wives and kids—with them to be here tonight. There's a mixture of anxiety, excitement, and dread in the air, and the nervous energy of the players is palpable.

Being in the NFL Draft is what most of these guys have worked their entire lives for. But, a lot of these players know that just because they've entered the draft, it doesn't mean they'll be picked up by a team. And, if they aren't drafted, they can't go back to their college teams. Hence the dread.

Luckily, my boyfriend, Adam Kistler, isn't in that boat. He had a huge season last year, and even though he's only twenty, he's one of the most talked about players in the draft pool.

It doesn't hurt that every man in his family has played in the NFL and that they're all here tonight, making the rounds, chatting with people and posing for photos.

Though I'm excited for Adam and looking forward to finding out where he's going to play next year, I'm currently being totally, completely ignored. I'm sitting at our table, fidgeting and drinking way too much water so that I'll have something to do with my hands, while Adam is paraded around the room by his dad to talk to sports agents and journalists and other players.

"You hanging in there?" I hear someone ask.

I look up and see Becca Phillips, the Mizzou quarterback's girlfriend, seating herself at our table. She, like most of the girlfriends here, is supermodel pretty. Unlike a lot of the others I've met tonight when I attempted to be social, Becca is completely nice.

"Yeah," I say, as brightly as I can manage. "Nervous, I guess. For Adam."

Becca gives me a warm smile and says, "I completely understand. I haven't been able to eat anything all day because of my nerves. I don't know how the guys are standing it."

"I don't think Adam has even had time to think about what's going to happen tonight," I say. "His family has his schedule jam-packed."

So jam-packed that I've barely seen him.

He didn't decide to come to New York for the draft until two weeks ago, so his family had to scramble to get plane tickets and hotel reservations. Adam asked me to come here with him, and my parents had promised to buy me a ticket if he invited me. I had stupidly assumed that I'd be staying in his hotel room, so I told my parents not to worry about booking me a room when they offered.

But Adam's mom made it very clear that I would not be staying with them. Which, honestly, I found kind of weird since our families have known each other for ages. My brothers played football with Adam and his brothers. Our families tailgate together at Mizzou games, and we're always invited to the Kistler Super Bowl party.

But, things changed when Adam and I started dating last fall. I wanted to keep it a secret for as long as possible. I'd never had an actual boyfriend and didn't know how to tell my family that Adam and I were together. But when my friend, Sophie Tucker, was victimized by a group of women running a website called The Score List and needed some help catching them in the act, I volunteered to debut mine and Adam's relationship with a splash—by being featured on The Score List and helping Sophie dismantle the website.

Unsurprisingly, neither of our families was too pleased with how they found out about us. But when the Kistlers saw that I truly wasn't a distraction for Adam and that I wasn't affecting his game, they started treating me like they always had, and once my family got over the shock, everything seemed fine.

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