a Game of Inches – Chapter Six

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The rest of the weekend was absolutely miserable. Neither of us wanted to be anywhere near the other. My heart was breaking, I knew now that I was definitely in love with Ashley. No way I would feel this bad if I weren’t.

The following Monday she went back to school, I began spending a good part of the day at the gym. I was working out like an animal, never had my drive been stronger. It was more of a pent up anger though than it was determination. Every night I either stayed out until bed time or went to bed extremely early.

The draft was going to be held in just over a week, the entire town was buzzing with excitement. Everyone speculated on where I would chosen, would team would select me, what round of the draft and so on. But to be perfectly candid, no one had any idea. My agent had told me several teams had contacted him, all seemed somewhat interested but no one was making any guaranty of any kind. During the day Saturday, Courtney’s Dad called and mentioned to me he would love to a have a party the next Saturday for the draft. We could watch it live at his house, then celebrate after I was selected. I was very hesitant to accept his offer. It could be a disaster if I was not selected by anyone. But he was very convincing, I reluctantly agreed to his offer. He told me I could invite any family members to be in attendance, the more the merrier.

That night I informed Ashley of his offer, inviting her to be there. I could tell she was very reluctant, but I think she felt trapped and obligated to go. I had been invited over to Courtney’s for Sunday dinner by her Dad, we would finalize the plans for the draft party.

The next Sunday over dinner, Mr. Timmons laid out his idea’s for the party. He would set up a large TV on his back patio area near the pool. He would have tables and chairs facing the TV, there would be a buffet table and drinks set up as well. In addition the TV in the family room would be available for overflow guests. I really felt bad about him doing all of this, I knew this was going to be expensive. I started to bring up the subject of cost, Courtney’s Mom quickly cut me off.

“Brian, give it up. You are this man’s son he never had. Either you let him do this or you may have to take him to training camp with you.”, she laughed.

I spent the rest of the day by Courtney’s, most of it sitting on the back patio talking to Courtney and her Dad. I left for home about ten o’clock that night, they both had work the next day. The following week was very hectic, I spent hours on the phone with my agent, getting details on exactly how the draft would proceed. We would keep an open phone line between us, in addition all of the teams had my cell number for direct contact. But after all of the calls back and forth, my fate was still very much uncertain. I was in the diner having lunch on Friday when I felt a light tap on my shoulder. I turned and saw an older man in his late sixties perhaps, standing there a serious look on his face.

“Brian, how are you son ?”, he asked.

“I’m fine sir, and you ?”, I answered with a smile.

“You don’t know who I am do you, son ?”, he asked.

“No sir, I am sorry, I do not.”, I answered him.

The old man took a deep breath, his hand brushing back the few strands of hair he had hanging down somewhat in his eyes.

“I am your grandfather Brian. My name is Thomas.”, he said softly.

I was stunned, suddenly I felt as if I had been punched violently in the stomach. I know I just sat there for quite a while staring at the old man. I really had no idea what to say to him, to be honest I didn’t even remember him very well.

“I understand if you don’t want to talk to me Brian. I just happen to see you here, I guess sentiment got the best of me.”, he said sadly.

“Oh no sir, I’m sorry. You just surprised me, that’s all. Please sit down sir.”, I said, suddenly feeling very bad for him.

The old man moved around the table, then carefully pulled the chair back and slowly sat down. He shifted himself carefully into the chair, his eyes finally coming back to mine.

“I really don’t know where to begin or what to say, son. It’s been so very long.”, he started.

“But it’s very obvious to me and the entire community, your Father did one hell of a job raising you.”, he said.

The last thing I expected was my mother’s father complimenting my Dad on anything. I was always told that my grandparents hated my father and everything he stood for. They did everything humanly possible to drive a wedge between my parents, finally succeeding in running my dad away.

“Thank you sir, that means a lot to me.”, I answered.

For the next hour the old man carefully explained what had happened over the past few decades, how things had really come to pass as they were. Apparently my grandmother was the driving force of the hatred that had fueled our dysfunctional family. She had convinced my mother through lies and manipulation that my father was no good, he would never amount to anything. She was a cruel woman who always got her way, it was easier to follow the plan than fight her. He then shocked me for the second time since our meeting.

“Even though I caught holy hell from your mother and grandmother, I saw just about every game you played in high school. I watched all of your college games on TV the past few years.”, he admitted.

“Why didn’t you ever let me know you were there ?”, I asked.

“I’m not sure Brian. I guess I always felt horrible for how I let them treat you and your Father.”, he said.

“Is my mother still married to Richard ?”, I asked.

“Yes she is, a useless man to say the least. They still live with us after all of these years, neither have a lick of ambition.”, he stated.

“I’m sorry sir, I really had no idea.”, I answered.

“I know you didn’t son.”, he responded.

We exchanged cell phone numbers and I promised I would call and keep in touch with him. He seemed genuinely relieved as he shook my hand. It seemed like a tremendous burden had been lifted off of his shoulders. As I drove home, I decided to keep the story to myself for the time being, too much was going on anyway.

I was sitting in the family room watching TV when Ashley came home from school. She asked me if I would mind fixing myself something to eat for dinner, she was going out with friends. I told her of course not, to go out and have a good time. She thanked me and headed to her room to get ready. I actually didn’t see her leave, though she did yell out that she was leaving, then went out the back door. Since it was close to seven o’clock, I decided to get dressed and eat at the diner again. Just as I was about to leave for the diner the house phone rang. I walked into the kitchen and answered it. It was very unusual for the house phone to ring, we both used our cell phones all the time.

“Hey Brian, is Ashley there ? This is Stephanie.”, said the soft voice.

“Oh hey Stephanie. No, she just left, not five minutes ago.”, I answered.

“Left for where ?”, she asked.

“She said she was going out. I figured that meant with you.”, I replied.

“No, that’s what I was calling to ask her. If she wanted to go out tonight.”, she responded.

“Well then I have no clue Stephanie, she didn’t say anything else to me.”, I told her.

“Brian, what is up with Ashley lately ? She seems so moody, she’s been acting really odd lately.”, she inquired.

“I have no idea Stephanie, she seems the same to me.”, I answered, doing my best to try and seem convincing.

“Well I guess I’m eating alone tonight.”, she said.

“Join the crowd Steph, I’m headed to the diner now.”, I said, before I could catch myself.

“Oh good, I will join you then.”, she quickly replied.

I had no choice but to be polite, besides Stephanie was good company, I enjoyed talking to her. She asked if I minded waiting a half hour before leaving so she could shower and change clothes. I agreed and decided to watch TV for a while before leaving. I lost track of time, I left about forty minutes later and drove to the diner. Stephanie was already seated at a booth when I walked in, I joined her.

“Hey, the woman is supposed to keep the guy waiting.”, she laughed.

“I’m sorry, I lost track of time.”, I said apologetically.

“I’m just kidding, I’m glad you’re here.”, she giggled.

We sat there talking for a few minutes before the waitress took our order. We both ordered sandwiches , fries, and soft drinks. Since it was Friday night, the place was packed. Several students said hello to Stephanie as they past in and out of the diner. In addition I was given some really strange looks as well, due to the fact I was sitting there with their teacher. I know Stephanie noticed it as well. Finally our food arrived and we began to eat our meal.

We talked for over an hour before we finished our meal, I really enjoyed the conversation. Stephanie was so different from Ashley in so many ways. Granted her physical appearance was everything a guy could wanted. She was perhaps five foot five inches tall, weighed maybe one hundred twenty pounds. She had a small waist and a gorgeous tight ass. She had long blonde hair and the face of a china doll. Her complexion was absolutely gorgeous. She was still like a teenager at heart, having just graduated from college a few years before. That and the fact she taught teenagers made her almost like one of them herself. I knew she was very well liked at school, especially by the boys. It had been along time since anyone at the local high school had anyone but Ashley to fantasize about, but I knew Stephanie got her fair share.

“Why is everyone staring at us ?”, Stephanie finally asked.

“Like I told you , this is a strange town Stephanie. People here are not used to anything out of the norm. And they decide what normal should be.”, I answered.

“I guess you’re right.”, she said, shaking her head.

We talked for a few minutes more, I saw Stephanie look at her watch. I glanced at mine noticing it was just after seven o’clock.

“I guess I should be going.”, I told Stephanie.

“Where are you off to ?”, she replied.

“Home, I guess, watch some TV. I have a big day tomorrow, the draft and all.”, I answered.

“Oh yea, I forgot about that. You must be excited.”, she responded.

“More nervous than anything to tell you the truth.”, I told her.

“You want to come over and watch some TV with me or something ? I could rent a movie, whatever.”, she asked with an impish grin.

“Oh geez Steph, I don’t know. I don’t want to cause any problems for you.”, I replied.

“Screw em, we’re both adults. They will just have to get over it.”, she giggled.

I was still very hesitant for several reasons. One of course was the damage it could do to Stephanie at school. But secondly, she was also Ashley’s friend, which meant double trouble for me. Although I had to admit, she was so precious standing there, her body slightly bouncing up and down, like she was anxiously waiting for a huge surprise. Besides, I had been honest with Ashley, I offered her everything I had.
She didn’t seem like being together long term was anything she saw possible. Maybe she was right, what I wanted was not possible.

“Oh heck, why not. At least for a little while.”, I answered.

“Oh good, follow me.”, she squealed.

As I got into my truck I had to laugh at Stephanie, she was so much not the adult she pretended to be at school. She liked to have fun, she didn’t take herself seriously at all. Sometimes in this high pressure world, spending time with a person like that was a big relief. I knew exactly where she lived, I had dropped Ashley off there once. I followed her to her house across town, relieved that no one seemed to be outside in the general vicinity. I followed her into the small but neat home, she closed the door behind me.

She led me to the center of the home, where she had a very small but well decorated sitting room. There were two small sofa’s, a small table, and a large TV mounted on the wall. She invited me to sit down and make myself at home, she went out to the kitchen to get a couple of soft drinks. She returned quickly, kicked off her shoes and sat down next to me on the small sofa.

“So tell me about tomorrow and the draft ? Where do you want to end up ?”, she asked.

“I really don’t care where I go, as long as someone drafts me. I just want to keep playing football. For a few more years at least.”, I answered.

We talked for the next hour or so about all the possibilities that could occur the following day. She then basically told me her life story and how she had come to end up in a small town teaching high school. She had been engaged to be married a few years back, but had caught her boyfriend with her room mate in college. She walked out on both of them that night and really never looked back. She finished school, then moved to get a fresh start. She had only been in one serious relationship in her life. We then got around to me, she was amazed that I had never been in a real relationship. The entire time we were talking, it seemed that she became more and more open. She began to gently touch my arm, or my leg when she was trying to make a point. I glanced at my watch again, noticing that it was getting close to nine o’clock. I figured that maybe I should start to head home, even though I knew I was not going to be able to get much sleep with tomorrow looming over me.

“It’s getting late Steph, I have a huge day tomorrow, I better get going.”, I said.

“It’s not late, besides you have nothing to do.”, she pouted.

“That’s true, but still, I think it’s time to go.”, I said softly.

“Brian, before you go, I need to tell you something.”, she said, resting her hand on my leg.

She had very tiny hands, they were so soft and delicate. I could tell she was reaching down deep, I had no idea what she was about to say. She took a deep breath, paused, then began to speak.

“Brian…. I don’t exactly know how to say this, so I am just going to say it. Please, before you interrupt me, let me finish.”, she started.

“I am extremely attracted to you, in fact lately you’re all that I can think about. I haven’t had feelings like this for a man in almost three years. Maybe my timing is incredibly bad, I know you’re possibly moving away soon but I had to tell you. Being really close to Ashley has made this even more difficult.”, she continued.

“I actually spoke to her once about this subject. She objected so strongly that I dropped it immediately. I know it would cause problems between us, that can’t be helped. So anyway, that’s it.”, she ended.

She exhaled deeply then set back in the sofa almost like she was waiting for bad news. Once again, I had no choice but to smile and laugh slightly. Her demeanor was just so cute and innocent, she made me feel so at ease.

“You think that’s funny ?”, she asked frowning, but grinning as well.

“No, it’s just the way you say things.”, I laughed.

“I’m being serious.”, she said, slapping my arm, “You don’t find me attractive ?”

“Oh no, that’s not it. I think you’re gorgeous Steph.”, I answered.

I could see she was immediately relieved by my last statement. In fact it seem to bring her back to life, she leaned forward like she wanted to hear more.

“It’s just with all that’s about to happen, I think starting a relationship would not be wise at this point.”, I replied.

“Well, let me worry about that.”, she answered, putting one arm on the back of my neck.

She pulled me down towards her, at the same time moving her face towards mine. My lips touched hers gently at first, almost like we were both afraid of the other’s reaction. That feeling passed quickly as I felt her tongue pushing over my lips, plunging deep into my mouth. She pulled back from me quickly, stood up, faced me, then straddled my lap in one quick motion. Before I could even react she was sitting on my lap, her lips once again pressed to mine. I pulled her small, very soft body into mine feeling her breasts against my chest. Soon I could feel her hips moving, she was beginning to grind her pussy against my rock hard cock. The feeling was incredible, soon I found myself pushing back, my hands grabbing her ass, holding her tighter. She pulled away from me for a second, her face just inches from mine.

“God, I have dreamt about this for months. I want you now.”, she whispered, hoarsely.

“Steph, I uh….. Well, I have never really….. You know…. “

“You have never made love before ?”, she asked, her eyes opening wide.

“Not really. I have fooled around, but never the real thing.”, I admitted, almost embarrassed.

“Well then, there are two things you need to know, big boy.”, she giggled, kissing me quickly on the lips.

“What’s that ?”, I answered.

“First, Steph is about to rock your world like it’s never been rocked before.”, she said, kissing me quickly again.

“Second, you need to know that you can never leave a woman wanting more. You let her cum as many times as she can. You let her tell you enough.”, she giggled.

“Is that so ?”, I laughed.

“That is so. And just so you know, I cum a lot.”, she said.

She leaned back towards me , her mouth covering mine, her hips rocking back and forth once again. By now, any and all reservations I had were gone, I was past the point of stopping. I felt Steph slide back on my legs, her weight resting on my knees. She continued to kiss me passionately as I felt her hands opening my jeans. Within a few seconds, she had unbuttoned my jeans, pulled the zipper down and had my rock hard cock between her fingers. She wrapped her small hand around my cock, stroking me gently but firmly. She looked down between her legs, her eyes bright and wide.

“Mmmmm what a cock, I can’t wait to feel you inside of me.”, she purred.

She released my cock, stood up in front of me and began to slowly remove her clothing. First she reached down, unbuttoned her jeans , sliding them down her legs, then stepping out of them. She then reached up and with one quick movement, pulled her shirt off, tossing it to the floor. She was wearing a black and white matching panty and bra set, she looked as if she had just stepped out of a lingerie izmit escort bayan catalog. Her body was even better than I had imagined, firm , very toned.

She bent over and grabbed my jeans by the legs, pulling them down my body quickly. She then reached up and pulled my shorts down, tossing them on the floor. My cock was standing straight up, I don’t think I had ever been that hard in my life. She reached around her body, quickly releasing her bra, lowering it as her eyes locked onto mine. Her breasts were perfect, full but firm, her nipples were rock hard. She pulled her panties off quickly, stepping back towards me, once again straddling my lap. As she eased herself down, I felt her tiny hand wrap around my cock pulling it forward away from my body slightly. Almost at the same time, I felt the tip of my cock brushing against her pussy. She was looking me dead in the eyes as she slowly lowered her small body on my rigid shaft. I cannot describe the feelings I was having as I slipped deep inside of a woman for the first time in my life.

Her pussy was very tight, it fit my cock like a glove. She was wet, very wet, her juices coating my cock, running down my balls. As soon as she had my cock completely buried in her pussy, she began to move up and down slowly, her eyes glued to mine. I knew two things at once, in no particular order. First, Stephanie was just as aroused as I was, that was for sure. Second, no matter how much I would try, I was not going to last very long.

“Oh my God, it’s been so long. I can’t believe how fucking good this feels.”, she whispered to me, “I’m gonna cum quick.”

She hastened her pace, I felt her grinding her clit against the base of my cock. It took maybe thirty seconds before she arched her back, her hands locked around my neck. Her body began to spasm violently, she slammed down hard on my cock.

“Fuck …………….. Oh my God………………… Yes, Yes, Yesssssssssssss.”, she screamed loudly.

I held her hips tightly as she rode wave after wave of pleasure, her body rigid and taunt. Eventually I felt her body relax, her back straighten, then she leaned in and pressed her lips to mine gently, her body once again slowly rising up, then down again. I could still feel her pussy contracting around my cock, fluids pouring from her.

“Oh fuck that was good Brian.”, she whispered into my mouth, as she kissed me.

She slowly moved up and down on my cock, her motion becoming steady and consistent once again. I can’t describe the feelings I was having, my entire body was on fire. With absolutely no warning, Stephanie plunged her body down, hard on my cock, another orgasm wracking her body.

“Jesus Christ…….That feels so fucking good….”, she cried out.

Once again I held on to her small, firm body as she gyrated her hips on my rigid cock, her hands gripping my shoulders tightly. This one was not quite as long as the first, but seemed every bit as intense. Slowly once again, she began to resume control of her body. Soon she had resumed her previous motion, her hips steady back and forth, her clit still grinding against the base of my cock. She kissed me passionately, her tongue plunging into my mouth, greedy with desire. She pulled back from me, her eyes fixated on mine again.

“Now it’s time for me to make you feel good baby.”, she whispered.

Almost immediately she lifted her body off of mine, my cock springing back against my body with a slap. She kneeled down on the floor between my legs, her hand pulling my cock forward. She quickly sucked the head of my cock into her warm , soft mouth. I felt a shudder run down my spine as her mouth moved up and down on my shaft, her tongue swirling along the length. I knew I was ready to explode, it was time.

“Steph, I’m gonna cum, watch it.”, I warned.

She released my cock from her mouth briefly, her head tilted up toward mine, her eyes looking deep into my soul.

“Cum in my mouth baby, please.”, she asked, lust dripping with every word.

She lowered her mouth on me again, her lips sucking the head of my cock deep into her throat. I cried out in pleasure as I felt the cum racing up my cock. The first blast rocketed against her throat with such force, she couldn’t swallow fast enough, she gagged once, then regained her composure. She was prepared for the next three waves of cum that exploded in her mouth. She continued to suck me as my orgasm subsided, her tongue swirling over the head of my cock. Even as my cock softened in her mouth, she still gently licked and sucked on my shaft making sure every drop had been deposited in her willing mouth. Finally she opened her lips and my limp cock fell from her mouth onto my leg.

“Mmmmmmmm,” she said, moving up to me.

Before I even realized what she might be doing, it was too late. She leaned in quickly, pressing her lips to mine, I had no choice. Her tongue plunged into my mouth, her eyes looking into mine for a reaction. I was tasting cum for the first time in my life and even though it was mine, I was not sure how I felt about it. But, I responded to her, it was too late to object now. Soon I found myself kissing her passionately, my tongue deep inside of her mouth. I sensed that she was extremely turned on by the fact I was not afraid to taste my own semen. One touch of my hand on her pussy confirmed that exact thought, she was soaking wet again.

I lifted her off and me and pushed her on to her back quickly. I assumed the spot she had just been kneeling on, grabbing her legs and pulling them over my shoulders. I lowered my head and quickly drove my tongue deep into her hot, wet pussy.

“Fuckkkkkkkkk, oh my god that’s good babyyyyyy.”, she squealed.

I plunged my tongue in and out of her wet pussy as fast as I could, my hands gripping her ass firmly. She reached down and began to run her hands through my short hair, soft moans passing through her lips. I reached over her thigh with one hand and found her hard, red, swollen clit. Using my fingers, I pushed back the hood, then sucked her clit up between my lips. I felt her respond immediately, her back arching off of the sofa.

“Oh shit, suck it baby, suck my clit…..”, she moaned.

I continued to suck her swollen bud between my lips, my tongue dancing off the end of it. It took maybe thirty seconds for her to lose control of her senses, once again. She grabbed my head firmly and pulled my face into her pussy, holding on tightly. She began pushing her hips up, attempting to drive her clit deeper into my mouth.

“Fuck…..Fuck…Fuck…”, she cried out.

I felt a wave of liquid pass across my tongue, across my lips and down my face. She was now cumming in my mouth, and it was clear, she loved it. This orgasm was harder and longer than the first two. Her fluid continued to spray against my mouth, I could feel it running down my chest, it was intense. As she had done just moments before for me, I continued to gently suck and lick her clit long after her orgasm had subsided. She was now laying back on the sofa, her face flushed, her hand gently stroking my hair, a smile on her face. I eased my tongue back deep inside of her pussy, tasting what was left of her cum.

As I moved over her, I pressed my lips to hers gently, my tongue grazing her lips. She once again, kissed me back passionately, her arms pulling me close, holding me tight. By now my cock was once again rock hard, a fact that she realized as she reached for me.

She quickly turned sideways on the small sofa, her arms pulling me over her. With one hand she guided my rigid cock to the lips of her pussy. I pushed forward slightly, easing my cock inside of her still soaking , wet pussy. She put both of her hands on my hips as I started to increase the speed of my thrusts.

“Fuck me baby, Fuck my pussy hard. Make me cum again….”, she urged with renewed passion.

It took less than a minute before I was crying out again, my cock buried deep in her womb. I felt wave after wave of hot cum explode from my cock, coating her pussy with thick hot semen. I rolled her over, sliding my body under hers, then pulling her back on top off me.
She leaned up and pressed her lips to mine softly, her tongue flicking across my lips. She had a warm glow about her, one that was strange to me.

“Are you ok, Steph.”, I asked.

“I’m more than ok. God I feel so good. Thank you so much.”, she answered.

“Oh no, Steph. Thank you, that was incredible.”, I responded.

“So that was really your first time Brian ?”, she asked.

“Yes, it was. I will never forget it either.”, I said.

“Well, you’re pretty damn good for a first timer. You got me off three times, and man did I get off.”, she said, kissing me quickly on the lips.

I pulled her head back down to my chest, wrapping my arms around her tightly. We just laid there for a long time, holding each other. I had never met a woman like Stephanie before. She was incredibly sexual, a woman who let you know what she wanted. But she was also a woman who cared about your pleasure as much as hers. Finally she lifted her head and whispered softly to me.

“Let’s go take a shower.”, she urged.

I followed her down the hall into the small bathroom, we both stepped inside. She turned on the water and soon the small room was steaming hot. We stepped inside of the shower together, she quickly grabbed the full bar of soap and begin to gently scrub my body. She had this way about her, she made you feel like you were the only thing that mattered at that moment. I reached and took the bar of soap from her small hand and began to rub it across her body. Softly but firmly, I soaped up her ample breasts, my hand sliding down her stomach. I turned her around and washed her shoulders, then down to her back. As she turned back around, I pressed the bar of soap between her legs, my finger easing into her wet pussy. She moaned her approval as I slipped my finger deep inside of her.

She took the bar of soap back from my hand, cupping it between both of her small hands. She then placed them around my cock, stroking it softly, the soap acting as a lubricant. Her tiny hands quickly had my cock throbbing once again, my heart racing in anticipation.
She turned me around and pushed my back against the fiberglass wall of the shower.

“You only got to cum twice, you get one more. “, she giggled.

She then once again got down on her knees, her mouth swallowing my hard cock quickly. I can’t describe the feeling adequately, hot water washing over my body, her warm mouth around my cock. I lowered my hands to her head, my fingers gently running through the wet strands of her hair.

She had one hand around the base of my cock, the other softly caressing the underside of my balls. Her tongue was swirling on the underside of my cock, just under the head. Once again, her expert mouth had me reeling, I extended my arms against the shower walls for balance.

“Fuck Steph, I’m gonna cum again.”, I grunted.

This time she pulled my rock hard cock from her mouth and began to furiously pump it, the head pointed at her breasts. It took just a few strokes of her tiny hand to achieve success. Rope after rope of cum erupted from my cock, coating her breasts in white, milky liquid. She firmly stroked my cock, squeezing each drop of cum from the head.

She stood back up, her arms wrapping around my waist, holding me tight. She laid her head on my chest, as the water poured across the both of us. I held her for several minutes, before she reached over and turned the water off. We both got out and dried off, then moved back to the family room. As I reached down for my clothes, she touched my arm gently.

“Please, stay tonight. I want to wake up in your arms.”, she asked.

“I can’t Steph, I would have to call Ashley and let her know. Then she would want to know where I am at. I can’t tell her here.”, I answered.

“You’re right, I wasn’t thinking.”, she said, disappointment clearly evident in her voice.

She left the room for a moment as I was getting dressed, then returned in a white terry cloth robe. Even in a plain white robe, her hair soaking wet and matted to her head, she was a beautiful woman. I finished dressing and turned to face her, extending my arms to her. She stepped quickly into my embrace, holding me tightly. I leaned down and kissed her one final time, her mouth still hungry, as her tongue flicked across my lips. I could sense, that even after all we had shared, she was still eager for more.

On the drive back to my house, it finally hit me. The guilt feelings started to wash over me, I could feel the anxiety building. I had let Ashley down, I had cheated on her, worst yet, with a close friend. By the time I arrived home I was both angry and ashamed of myself for what I had done. I quietly sulked into the back door, trying to be as quiet as I could. All the lights were off, I was hoping Ashley was asleep. As I made my way down the hall, I saw that her door was wide open. She always slept with the door closed, so I peeked in just to see. The bed was still made, she was not sleeping. After a quick walk through of the house, it was clear she wasn’t home. What was strange though, is her SUV was still in the drive. I went back to my room, changed into shorts and a tee shirt, then made my way back to the kitchen. I was pouring myself a glass of iced tea when I heard a car pull into the drive. I heard two doors shut, then the kitchen door open seconds later. Ashley stepped through the door followed by a man who appeared to be in his late thirties. He was well dressed, they were both holding a conversation which they abruptly stopped when they saw me.

“Oh, hey Brian. This is uh….. This is David, a friend of mine.”, she said, not able to look me in the eye.

The man stepped around Ashley, extending his hand to me slowly.

“So this is the superstar, huh ?”, he said, almost sarcastically.

I didn’t say a word, I shook his hand quickly, then turned and left the room. I went back down the hallway, closed my bedroom door, turned off the light and climbed into bed. The first thing that came rushing into my mine was one of my father’s old sayings, “Everything that you do will come back to you”. I laid in bed awake for hours, my mind imagining all kinds of things. As much as I thought I had pushed a relationship with Ashley out of my mind, I realized that I loved her more than ever. I had really made a mess of everything. And sooner or later Ashley was sure to find out I had slept with Stephanie, those things you just can’t keep quiet forever. I never did hear David leave, or Ashley’s bedroom door close for that matter, I must have fallen asleep. I rolled over and looked at the clock, it was almost seven in the morning. I checked my phone, I had two text messages. Both were from my agent, the first telling me to make sure I kept my cell phone in my hand for the rest of the day, no personal calls. The second was telling me he had already received credible evidence, I would be taken late in the second round by a Texas team, if I were still available. That was indeed some great news.

I got up, made some coffee, then went in the family room to watch the sports channel. The draft programming had already started and would be on all day. The actual live coverage of the draft would start at noon, the first pick coming in about four in the afternoon. They were scrolling information about mock drafts and best players available at each position on the bottom of the screen as the commentators gave their opinion. When the top twenty defensive players were listed on the bottom of the screen, I was disappointed I was not among them.
About an hour into the show, they listed the top ten underclassman who had entered the draft. I was listed at number eight, which was extremely disappointing to me. I sent a text to my agent asking him what had happened. He replied quickly telling me to relax, this happens all of the time. Defensive players for the most part are not glamorized like running backs or quarterbacks. The offensive players usually get all the ink, it happens all the time. But as he said, when a team needs good defensive talent, they don’t worry about player rankings.

I grabbed another cup of coffee and had just sat back down when Ashley’s door opened and I heard her bare feet in the hall way. She entered the family room a few minutes later with a cup of coffee in hand. She was wearing a long tee shirt, I was guessing not much else. The last thing I needed to do was get myself emotionally upset today of all days, I relaxed and focused on TV.

“What are you watching ?”, she asked.

“The draft coverage.”, I answered.

“It started already ?”, she inquired.

“Yep.”, I replied.

She became quiet for a couple of minutes for which I was grateful, but it didn’t last.

“Brian, don’t you think you were a bit rude to David last night ?”, she asked, “That’s so not like you.

“Rude ?”, I asked.

“Yes, he said hello and shook your hand. You didn’t say a word, you just walked out.”, she replied.

“No Ash, he didn’t say hello. He said, So this is the superstar.”, I answered.

“He didn’t mean anything by it.”, she shot back.

“Oh yes he did. I could tell from the way he said it.”, I responded.

“You’re imagining things Brian. He’s a very nice man, he was trying to be nice.”, she said, turning away from me.

I let it go at that point, I didn’t want to fight with Ashley today of all days. I got up a few minutes later, went to my room and got dressed. I went into town had some breakfast at the diner. Almost everybody that I saw that morning wished me good luck, telling me they would be watching. It was tough living in a small town sometimes, but one thing you could always count on was support from the locals. It was like one big extended family. I drove over and got a quick haircut, once again I was bombarded with best wishes for later in the day. It seemed like I wasn’t the only one who had only the draft on my mind.

By the time I got back home it was close to ten thirty, I was due at Courtney’s about noon. I felt I had to go a bit early to help Mr. Timmons set everything up, after all this whole event was for me. I showered, and put on the nylon wind suit we had been given for the National Championship. It was in the traditional team colors, I thought it was appropriate for izmit eve gelen escort the day. I looked at the clock it was almost noon. I walked back into the kitchen to grab my keys and wallet, I was ready to go.

“You leaving already ?”, Ashley asked.

“Yes, I am going to see if Mr. Timmons needs any help getting things ready.”, I answered.

“What time do you want me there ?”, she asked.

“It doesn’t really start until four this afternoon, then there is the chance, I don’t get selected until tomorrow, it’s hard to tell.”, I replied.

“Ok, I guess I will get there about four. Do you mind if I bring David with me ?”, she asked.

“No that’s fine.”, I answered.

I casually walked out of the back door and to my truck, even though it was killing me. Apparent she was more serious with this guy than I thought. Obviously she had known him for a while, she was not the impulsive type, I knew that for sure. I drove across town and pulled up at Courtney’s about quarter to one, there were already at least seven vehicles there. With the developments of the past few days, I really wished I would have declined Mr. Timmons offer to host this party. I would much rather be home alone watching the show on my own TV.
I really wasn’t in the mood for a crowd but it was too late now.

I knocked on the door, Gia answered it quickly. She was as always, bouncing and giddy, young teenager.

“Courtneyyyyy, lover boy is hereeeeeee.”, she yelled out.

This was her usual greeting for me, it had been for close to two years. One thing for sure, Gia was going to break some hearts when she got older. She was already far too beautiful for her age.

“Gia, I’m not here to love on Courtney, I want to love youuuuu.”, I told her, holding out my arms.

“Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww.”, she yelled, turning and running down the hall.

By that time Mrs. Timmons had entered the hallway, just as her younger daughter ran past her screaming. She bust out laughing at me.

“That’ll teach the little witch. Come on in Brian.”, she urged.

“Thank you. I’m sorry to be so early, I just wanted to see if there was anything I could help with.”, I asked.

“That’s so sweet honey, check with Gerald but I’m sure everything is done.”, she said, pointing to the back of the house.

I walked straight through the family room to the rear French doors that were open out to the patio. Mr. Timmons and a few of his friends were seated around the table closest to the large TV, already watching the pre draft coverage. He jumped up quickly when he saw me.

“Hey Brian, come on over. Glad to see you’re early.”, he said.

He introduced me to everyone as I sat down at the table. They were in the middle of some business so I quietly sat and listened politely. A few minutes had passed when Courtney came walking through the rear doors. She had on a very tight pair of shorts and a tight string top. She looked very nice, a fact that the other man confirmed with their eyes very quickly.

“Hey Brian, the brat told me you were here. She said you tried to kiss her ?”, she giggled, kissing me quickly on the lips.

“You know me sunshine.”, I winked.

“So any good news ? Are you going to be rich today ?”, she asked, that devilish grin crossing her face.

“My agent said he is sure Dallas will pick me in the second round if I am still there. But we are hoping I may be gone before that.”, I replied.

During the next few hours people began strolling in, some I knew well, others I had never met. All of the buzz and excitement had kept my mind off of Ashley, which was a good thing. My agent and I had been going back and forth on the phone for hours going over small details. With the draft about to start, the best scenario was I was going to be a late second round pick. Just about ten minutes after four the draft started, the first team was on the clock. I tried to appear calm, like this was no big deal, but inside I was dying. My entire life would be changed one way or another this day. I tried not to look at the screen too early, I was sure it would be hours before I would be selected.

Ashley arrived about quarter after four, David was in tow. I was sitting next to Mr. Timmons as she walked up, we both got on our feet to greet her.

“Mr. Timmons, thank you so much for doing this for Brian. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.”, she said shaking his hand.

“It’s my pleasure Ms. Thompson, he’s like a son to me.”, he replied.

“Yes, I know.”, she said, graciously smiling.

“Mr. Timmons, this is David Walker.”, she said, introducing her friend.

Nice to meet you David, I’m Gerald.”, he said , as the two shook hands.

David then side stepped Mr. Timmons and extended his hand out to me once more, a goofy smile on his face.

“Nice to see you again, superstar.”, he said, holding out his hand.

Now there was no doubt, he was being condescending. We had been introduced twice, both times he failed to use my name. I could feel my blood come to an immediate boil. Still holding on to his hand, I pulled him in close to me and whispered.

“You call me superstar again, nothing will ever be nice again.”, I answered, looking him dead in the eye.

He stepped back quickly, I could tell he was visibly shaken. Both Ashley and Mr. Timmons saw it too. I sat back down as Ashley and her friend turned to greet Mrs. Timmons who had walked out of the door. Courtney’s dad leaned over to me and whispered quietly.

“What’s that about Brian. Something wrong son ?”, he asked, concerned.

“I don’t know sir. That’s the second time I have met the guy, both times he uses that tone. I don’t like it, I don’t like him.”, I answered.

“It did sound kind of wise ass to me too. I just thought you two knew each other well and he was playing.”, he replied.

‘No sir, I only met him last night for a second. He said the same thing then too.”, I responded.

“Well in all the years I have known you son, I have never seen you react to someone that way. Don’t let him ruin your day and just so you know, men can be just as jealous as women.”, he laughed.

I looked back over at Ashley and I could see her and David were engaged in a very quiet but serious conversation in one corner. I was sure he had run crying to her about what I had told him. Fuck him, I could care less. Courtney came back out and I knew she immediately sensed something was wrong. She walked around the back of my chair and leaned over one shoulder, kissing me on the cheek and whispering in my ear.

“What’s wrong Brian. You ok ?”, she inquired.

“I’m good Court.”, I said, patting her arm.

She stood back up , her arms wrapped around my shoulders, talking with her Dad. I looked back over and saw Ashley was giving her a almost blank look. I began to get the feeling this was not going to be a good day after all. Just about then, everyone around the TV started asking for quiet, another pick was going to be selected. They were up to number seven, everyone was sure this was going to be a defensive player. Just then my cell phone rang, it was my agent.

“Oh my God.”, Courtney yelled, as the room became deathly silent.

I picked up the phone and answered it on the second ring. It was Ron Peters this time.

“Brian, I was just emailed some contract details, there may be a trade. I will have to act fast, do you trust me ?”, he asked.

“Yes sir, I trust you. Do whatever it takes.”, I answered, hanging up.

“What , what, what.”, Courtney was yelling.

“I don’t know yet, something about a trade.”, I answered.

Just then the next pick was announced, sure enough it was defense, the number one rated defensive end went off the board. That was good news for me, one less skilled player at my position. Over the next hour , four more players were selected, two on defense, two on offense. The second best defensive end was gone now too, things were getting better. As Mr. Peter’s had projected, defensive ends were at a premium this year, two were already gone in the first eleven picks,

As the announcers began the fifteen minute wait for the next pick, they began to analyze the top defensive prospects that were still available. After going over four to five names, one of them threw my name in the hat. Although as he said, I was extremely young, he felt I had a very good upside. I had, according to him, did extremely well at the combine, and had never been seriously injured. He also added that he thought, I could be one of the sleepers of this year’s draft. As they went to commercial everyone was applauding loudly. By now there were close to fifty people out on the patio, there wasn’t an empty seat to be found. I decided to get up and stretch my legs, grab a soft drink. Courtney followed me into the house. As I passed through the family room, I saw Ashley and David on the sofa watching the large TV on the wall. He looked totally bored, honestly Ashley did as well. I went in the kitchen, opened the fridge and grabbed a Coke. Before I could walk out Courtney pressed her body against me and wrapped her arms around my waist.

“Not so fast mister.”, she giggled, “Kiss me.”

“Court, not now.”, I replied.

“Why not now ?”, she whined, “Besides, you still owe me what we discussed that night. Remember ?”, she asked, smiling.

“Yes, I remember Court.”, I replied.

“Then kiss me, damn it.”, she demanded.

I leaned over and quickly kissed her on the lips, then moved past her back out to the patio. I had really forgotten about the night at Courtney’s, the night her parents came back with Gia. Just as I sat down my cell phone rang again, it was Mr. Peters.

“Brian, I killed the contract. It was absurd. They were talking about picking you late first round, but the money was more like late third round. They are just bargain hunting. Hang in there buddy, I will get it done.”, he urged.

“Yes sir.”, I said, hanging up.

“The trade fell through.”, I informed everyone.

There was a collective groan through the crowd, then everyone resumed their conversation. They were now up to the fifteenth pick, this was one of the teams I had spent quite an bit of time with. They had claimed to be every interested in me if I were still available, but when and where ? The announcers began speculating on this pick and when they got to the commentator who had mentioned me previously he once again chimed in confidently.

“You know, I could see Atlanta taking Brian Stevens here, the Defensive End from Louisiana. I know they are very high on him from talks that I had with their staff. It may be a bit too high up for him, but I don’t think he will still be available when they pick again.”, he stated.

“No way Stevens goes this high. He’s just not polished enough yet.”, another commentator answered.

Just then the pick came in and the commissioner read the card out loud at the podium.

“With the 15th pick of this year’s draft, Atlanta selects William Murphy, Linebacker, Nebraska.”, he announced.

Again there was a collective groan from the room, everyone’s eyes focused on me. Before I could even react my cell phone rang again.

“Hey Brian, I thought we had a shot at that one. I think our next best chance is at the 21st pick with New England.”, he said.

“Ok.”, I replied, then hung up.

This was the team that had talked about possibly converting me to outside linebacker. They too had shown a lot of interest in me at the combine. I settled in for about an hour and a half wait. Two more picks were made, one more defensive end was taken. According to a few of the graph’s they were showing, I was the third best defensive player left on the board at my position. I decided to get up and get something to eat, my stomach was in knots. I went back into the kitchen and filled a paper plate with some small sandwiches, deviled eggs and a few potato chips. As I was about to walk out, Ashley walked in.

“How are you holding up hotshot ?”, she asked, touching my arm gently, smiling.

“I’m ok Ash, it’s just hard waiting.”, I answered.

“I know sweetheart, hang in there, it will work out.”, she said, softly.

Damn her, that was just like her. I wanted to be furious with her, ignore her, as best I could. Then she walks in, touches me and with some soft words and a smile, she melts my heart. I moved back outside to my spot and began to eat. Soon it was time for the pick we had been waiting for, once again my phone rang.

“Brian, there’s going to be a trade I think. New England is moving down, you may have to wait a while longer.”, he said.

“Ok.”, I answered.

Sure enough there was a trade, the team that was looking at me moved down eight spots to the 23rd pick. At that point I knew it was going to be a long night. By that time, a few of the people were beginning to get anxious looking at the clock, several even wished me well, then left. More and more it was looking like we were headed into a second day before anything would be known. A few more picks were made mostly offensive, then another lineman went off the board. I was now rated one of the top two defensive prospects available. Again the commentator who was mentioning my name was speaking to his two co-anchors.

“Guys, I tell you what. I am shocked that Brian Stevens is still available right now. Whoever gets this kid is gonna get one hell of a football player. He’s smart, athletic and plays with tremendous emotion. I have never seen him take a play off, his motor runs at one speed, high. I expect to see him take within the next three of four picks.”, he stated.

Again everyone applauded, but to be honest, this was just his opinion. As nice as it was to hear good things said about you, they really don’t matter unless one of the teams feel the same way.

The 21st selection had just been made, the next team was on the clock with fifteen minutes to go. The team my agent thought would be interested in me was now sitting one spot away. I looked over at Courtney’s dad, he was staring intently at the TV. I could tell he was nervous, he was bouncing his leg up and down rapidly. I’m not sure he was even aware of it. My phone rang again, I reached over and looked at it, the number was not familiar, but it was long distance. I decided to answer it.

“Hello.”, I said, anxiously.

“Brian, this is Coach Reed, how are you ?”, said the man on the other end.

This was not what I had expected, not at all. He had been extremely kind to me the day I had worked out for his team, but we hadn’t heard a word from them since the workout, I figured it was a done deal. Again, the room was deathly quiet. I saw Ashley walk over, she was standing right next to me. She placed one hand on my shoulder, gently squeezing my neck.

“I’m fine Coach, how are you ?”, I answered.

“Well that depends on you Brian. Here’s the deal, we are pretty sure New England is going to take you in the 23rd slot. In fact, I would be shocked if they didn’t, they need help on the line. We are talking trade right now with the team that’s on the clock, we have maybe ten minutes. I just got off the phone with Ron Peters, it’s your call.”, he started.

“We would like to trade up and draft you right now. But here’s the catch, we want you to play tight end for us. You know how good we are on the D Line, it would be tough for you to make this team at that position. We feel you could be a good tight end, maybe even very good. But, it’s a gamble on both of our parts.”, he continued.

“If it doesn’t work out, you may get released in a year or two, then you’re back to square one. So in fairness to you, I have to be up front, we are drafting you as a tight end, not a defensive end. What do you think ?”. he ended.

“Geez Coach, I don’t know. I mean, all I know is that one position, I have spent my whole life on defense.”, I answered.

“Yes, I know, it’s a big gamble for both of us, but the reward is worth the risk, at least we think so.”, he added, “I like you Brian, you work hard, I think you can be as good as you want to be. In fact, I’m sticking my neck out here for you. Everyone else wants to go corner back here, but I have a strong say, I just have a feeling about you.”, he replied.

For some reason, at that exact moment, I could hear my Father’s voice in my head. He always told me that one of the greatest things you could possess in your life was people who cared about you, people who believed in you. I decided in a split second to gamble my entire future on those exact words.

“Coach, if you feel that strongly about me, I would be proud to play for you. I will do whatever it takes to make your team, I promise you no one will work harder than I will.”, I responded, “If you want me, I’m there.

“I know the effort will be there Brian. I wouldn’t be talking to you if I felt different. Let me see if I can get this thing done, we have about six minutes left.”, he said, hanging up.

“Sooooooooooo ?”, Courtney immediately shouted , jumping up and down.

“I don’t know yet Court. They are talking trade, maybe, I don’t know.”, I answered.

Everyone immediately went quiet again, all eyes were glued to the screen, watching the clock count down, anxiously waiting. With just two minutes left on the clock, the commissioner crossed the stage and stepped up to the podium.

“We have a trade.”, he announced, “San Diego is now on the clock.”

I closed my eyes tightly and leaned forward my head down, my hands clenched tightly. This was it, I was going to be a pro football player. I felt the emotion welling up inside of me, I so wished my Father could be here with me. God I missed him so much. All of this was because of him, he never once let me down. I felt the tears stinging my eyes, I tried hard to maintain my composure.

“Here he comes, here he comes.”, someone yelled.

I lifted my head slightly my eyes once again going to the screen. I could feel Ashley’s hands on my shoulders, massaging me gently, I knew she was a wreck. Courtney knelt down beside me, she took my hand in hers and squeezed hard. The commissioner once again stepped to the podium, this time several cards in his hand.

“As I said we have a trade. San Diego and Baltimore have exchanged picks. The remaining details of this trade izmit otele gelen escort will be announced later. But with the 22nd selection of this year’s draft, San Diego selects Brian Stevens , defensive end, Louisiana.”, he finished.

The room erupted, I could feel Ashley and Courtney hugging me simultaneously. People were jumping up and down screaming, I couldn’t believe my ears. Just month’s ago I was told I could maybe sneak in late second round, early third round if I decided to go pro. Instead, I had just become a first round draft choice. I stood up and faced Ashley, tears were pouring down her cheeks. I leaned over and grabbed her lifting her up off of the floor. I held her like I had never held her before, my face buried in her neck. I heard her soft voice in my ear.

“You did it sweetheart, I am so proud of you. I love you so much.”, she whispered.

I set her back down and stepped away, only to have Courtney jump into my arms quickly. She was squealing and crying, as she hung on to my neck. I saw Mr. Timmons behind her, tears running down his face as he patted my arm. I set Courtney down and for the first time since I had known him, Mr. Timmons stepped up and put his arms around me hugging me tightly. At that moment, it all became just too much. I broke down in tears as he held me, I just didn’t care anymore.

“Brian, your Dad is so proud of you right now, you made every dream he had a reality. I love you like you were son, I am so proud of you, words aren’t enough.”, he said in my ear.

“Thank you sir. I love you too.”, I answered.

Before anything else could be said, Courtney was jumping up and down screaming, asking everyone to be quiet.

“Listen, Listen.”, she yelled.

The anchors were back on discussing what had just happened, again the commentator who had been praising me took the lead.

“Ok guys, I am really shocked at this move. Obviously San Diego knew Stevens was going to be picked at 23rd and decided to jump up to get him, that’s obvious. But what’s not clear is, why a team with the best defensive line in football trades up to get another defensive end. Don’t get me wrong, I love this kid, but on the right team. I just don’t get this move at all.”, he said.

One of the other anchors broke in quickly, cutting his associate off with some news.

“We have our Michelle Dunne standing by at San Diego headquarters with Coach Joe Reed, their offensive play caller, maybe she can shed some light on this development.

The camera cut away to a shot of a pretty brunette reporter holding a microphone in front of Coach Reed. Behind them was a huge logo of the team that had just selected me. The young woman nodded and started the interview.

“Coach, thank you for taking time with us but we have to ask the question everyone is asking. With the talent you have in place now, why would you trade up to get a very young defensive lineman ?”, she asked.

Coach Reed stepped up to the microphone with this exuberant look on his face, one that said he knew something no one else did. He smiled at the young woman and began his explanation.

“Thank you Michelle, I appreciate you having me. I am sure we turned some heads with this move, to be truthful with you, this one is on me.
We had Brian Stevens work out for us last month, primarily due to something I noticed at the combine.”, he started.

“This kid is a hybrid athlete, someone who really doesn’t fit a particular mold. At six foot six and a half, two hundred sixty plus pounds, he is a physical player. He is extremely quick as we saw at the combine, he has good down field speed as well. But what failed to get everyone’s attention is his hands.”, he continued

“This kid has phenomenal hands, as he showed us last month. We worked him out for close to five hours, he caught damn near everything we threw at him. We’re going to move Brian to tight end where he can use his size, height and physical play to his advantage.”, he ended.

“Ok guys, you heard it from the man himself.”, the woman said, sending it back to the studio show.

One of the anchors picked it up from her cue quickly, almost in full laughter.

“Ok Michelle, there you have it. They’re going to convert a defensive end to tight end. It should have been obvious to us.”, he said, once again chuckling.

Once again, the commentator who had been behind me all day spoke up, thinking of his words carefully.

“You know, I just pulled up some numbers on Brian Stevens that I find interesting. Let’s compare him to the tight end’s at this years combine workout. Stevens ran a 4.61 forty, only one tight end this year was faster. He had a total of 33 reps on the bench, that ties the best this year. He had a thirty six inch vertical, that’s the best this year. Add his size and strength, he is as good as anybody at that position this year. The x factor is how good are his hands, but more importantly, can he change his mentality and learn to play offense ?”, he stated.

Another announcer cut in, stating that another pick was coming up so the camera moved back to the podium. I got up to take a walk, I needed some air. Everyone was still milling around, the excitement beginning to fade a bit. As I found a quiet spot on the corner of the patio, I took a few deep breath’s. Before I could even begin to clear my head, the cell phone rang. It was my agent, Dave Phillips, I moved back towards Mr. Timmons, Ashley and Courtney. I pushed the button and put the device on speaker phone.

“Hello Brian, congratulations.”, he said.

“Thank you, I appreciate it, I’m just glad it’s over.”, I answered.

“I bet you are. Well, I hate to break up the party but we need to get a few things settled. First and foremost, San Diego wants you out there Monday evening to meet the media, they want to unveil you so to speak. Next you’re due at rookie camp on the 30th of this month, you need to be in top shape. Last, I will meet you out here Monday night, we can start going on the base numbers on your contract ?”, he started.

“You were selected 22nd overall, but more importantly the 2nd tight end selected, that gives us a lot of leverage. Based on those numbers, playing against last year’s contracts at those respective slots, you’re going to come in somewhere in the range of 21.6 million for four years.”, he ended.

“Dollars ? You mean 21 million dollars ?”, I asked dumbfounded.

“Yes Brian.”, he laughed, “But don’t get carried away, the only thing we can count on is how much is guaranteed. That’s what you get whether or not they keep you, cut you or trade you. That’s the number I am looking at.”, he answered.

“Oh ok.”, I said, somewhat disappointed.

“Hey Brian, relax, you’re a millionaire, no matter what.”, he laughed.

Everyone started screaming and shouting at the same time. It was difficult to stay with the conversation. I switched the phone off speaker and finished the conversation with him. He told me her would make all the reservations to fly me out to the west coast, pick me up and get me to my hotel. For the time being, I would live out of my suitcase, but once the initial madness was over, they would get me a permanent place. He promised to call me tomorrow with more details.

The next few hours were spent just talking to everyone who was kind enough to be present, talking about the future and what it would hold. By eleven o’clock that night, there were maybe a dozen people left include our hosts. It had been a very long day, I knew everyone was tired. I found Mr. & Mrs. Timmons and once again thanked them for everything they had done for me. I made my way towards the front door. I noticed that Ashley had already left. Courtney followed me outside to my truck, she immediately reached for my hand.

“Hey, when do you have to leave ?”, she asked.

“Monday morning, I guess.”, I answered.

“Can I see you tomorrow ?”, she asked.

“Call me in the morning, I’ll what happens.”, I replied.

“Sounds good.”, she responded.

I gave her a quick kiss goodbye, got into my truck and drove home. I pulled into the driveway, Ashley’s SUV was already there, I was not sure if she had rode with David or not. He had made himself scarce at the party, after our initial confrontation. Maybe I had judged him unfairly, after all Ashley must see something in him. I unlocked the door , opened it and flipped on the kitchen light. Obviously I was the first one home. I opened the fridge and poured myself an iced tea, walked into the family room and sat down. It was nice to have complete silence, it had been an exhausting day, both physically and mentally. I leaned back on the sofa, closed my eyes enjoying the solitude. I had been there for maybe thirty minutes when I heard a car pull into the drive. I decided quickly to give Ashley and David their space. After all I was leaving soon, she would be here alone anyway, it was her decision who she chose to be with. I heard the back door open and close quickly, then the sound of her high heels on the floor. I got up to go to my room, just about running into her as she entered the family room.

“Hey, where you going ?”, she asked.

I looked over her shoulder, trying to see where David was. I guess she noticed me looking, she placed her hand on my chest.

“He went home Brian.”, she said softly.

“Oh…. I was going to leave two alone, give you some privacy.”, I answered.

“You don’t care for him much do you ?”, she asked.

“No not really, but I am biased, so you can’t worry about what I think.”, I told her.

I turned and went back to the sofa sitting down, I was too wound up mentally to try and sleep. Ashley sat down on the other end of the sofa, she quickly kicked her shoes off.

“Why are you biased ?”, she asked, a strange look on her face.

“Because of how I feel about you.”, I answered.

I’m not sure what was going on but something was not right. I could tell from her posture, her facial expressions, the tone of her voice, something was wrong. I decided to press the issue further.

“What’s wrong Ash ? You’re not yourself.”, I asked her quietly.

“I have made a mess out of things. I just don’t know how everything got so screwed up.”, she said, never looking up.

“What have you messed up Ashley ? Everything is fine, don’t worry.”, I told her.

“I have hurt you, Brian. That’s something I never, ever meant to happen.”, she responded.

“Ash, really, it’s not your fault. I shouldn’t have these feelings for you, I know it’s not right. It’s my fault, I’m so sorry. But look, I will be leaving here soon, after a while things will get back to normal, don’t worry.”, I told her.

She looked up at me like perhaps, I had just made things worst. I was really confused at this point. I was searching for something that made sense, I was totally lost. I saw her take a deep breath, then look up at me with those large, incredible brown eyes.

“That night, here on the sofa with you. That never should have happened, I was so wrong to allow it to happen, I knew better. The problem is, I have a lot of the same feelings for you that you have for me. But in the real world Brian, quite simply, we can’t be together. We could run from here but you’re going to become a very public figure. The truth would follow us, someone from this town would be dying to tell our story to the media.”, she started.

At that instant, I knew she was right. It was breaking my heart, but she was right. I was going to be in the spotlight, for a while anyway. I knew as well that we would hurt a lot of people if this became public. I had worked my entire young life to be the best athlete I could possibly be, it finally paid off. But that success would cost me any chance of a life with Ashley, it could never be.

“You’re right Ash, absolutely right. This town would never leave us alone, we would always be looking over our shoulder.”, I replied.

She smiled sadly, nodding her head several times. She slid over on the sofa and took my hand in hers, gently holding me with both hands.

“Brian, I will always love you. More than I should, but that can’t be helped. I want you to be happy, I want you to find a young woman, settle down and give me grandchildren.”, she said softly.

“You’re way too hot to be a Grandma, Ashley.”, I laughed.

“Oh hush you”, she said, slapping my shoulder.

“Seriously, find that girl, hold on to her with everything you have. And Brian, if that girl is Courtney, that’s fine with me too. I know she has hurt you several times, but if you love her, and she loves you, that’s all that matters. Life is about chances, first chances, second chances, even third chances. You have to take them when you can. I know her family loves you, so if that’s what you want, go get her.”, she continued.

“I was watching Courtney today, very closely. She’s in love with you, I’m sure of that. And I watch you react to her, I see something is there between the two of you. I don’t know if it’s enough, only time will tell that.”, she ended.

“Thanks Ash, I know you’re right, but it still hurts.”, I said, looking at her.

“I know hotshot, I know.”, she said, her hand brushing my cheek.

We talked for about another hour about the upcoming excitement and my move out to the west coast. I was going to be gone for quite some time, probably close to a year. Between rookie camp, training camp, then the regular season, I would be busy through the end of the year. We decided to call it a night, it had been an extremely long day. Surprisingly, I fell asleep quickly, I don’t think I even moved till I heard the alarm go off at eight thirty.

I got up and dragged myself into the kitchen, Ashley had already gotten up, got dressed and made the coffee. I poured myself a cup then fell into the chair.

“What do you have planned for today ?”, Ashley asked.

“Nothing really, I just need to get my travel plans from the agency, pack some clothes, that’s about it.”, I replied.

“Well try to relax if you can.”, she told me, “I have some things to today, I will be back this evening ok ?”

“Sure, see you then.”, I responded.

A special delivery service called about an hour later, confirming they would be at my house within the hour with my travel arrangements. Sure enough forty five minutes later the driver was at the door with my packets. I had already packed everything I wanted, I was ready to go. I decided to take a ride to Courtney’s to tell everyone goodbye, her parents had been so good to me. I pulled up around one o’clock in the afternoon, it seemed everyone was home. I rang the bell, I saw Courtney walking toward me through the paned glass of the door. She opened it, a huge smile crossing her face.

“Hey, come on in, I’m so happy to see you.”, she said.

I followed her into the family room when her dad was seated watching TV with Gia. He waved for me to come on over and joined him. I sat down right next to Gia, putting my arm around her shoulder.

“Hey lover girl, don’t I get a kiss.”, I whispered to her.

“Ewwwwwwwwwwww.”, she screamed, jumping up and running over to her dad.

Everyone laughed, it wasn’t easy to one up Gia, she usually got the best of you. We all talked for a while, I made sure I made a special point to thank both Mr. & Mrs. Timmons for everything they had done for me up to this point. I also promised Mr. Timmons he would get his signed jersey as soon as I was able to get him one. He thanked me, then suggested perhaps Courtney and I move out to the patio for some privacy before I left. I sensed something was up, following his daughter outside. We both sat on the small flowered love seat under the patio cover, it was really a nice day to be outside.

“Brian, I’m so glad your dream is coming true, we all are. But I’ll be honest, I am going to miss you like crazy.”, she said , a sad tone in her voice.

“I’m going to miss all of you too Court.”, I answered, “This is like my second family.”

She leaned over and took my hand in hers, she swallowed hard and took a deep breath. I immediately saw her eyes fill with tears, she blinked several times, tears began to roll down her cheeks.

“Brian, I…. I want you to know one thing before you leave, I never want you to forget this. If I could go back and start all over with you, back to the first time we started dating, I would change everything. I would never hurt you like I did, I am so sorry for what I did to you. You always treated me with respect, made me feel like a lady and I threw it all away.”, she said.

“It’s ok Court, really….”, I began.

She quickly squeezed me hand and interrupted me, she was really having a hard time keeping her composure.

“Brian please, let me finish. I don’t think I have to say this, but I am going to say it anyway. I love you, I always have. I was just foolish and immature, never realizing you only had my best interests in mind. I hope maybe one day in the future you could forgive me, because you will always be a part of my life, no matter what.”, she finished softly.

Tears were streaming down her face, I knew her words were heart felt, she was sincere. I leaned over and wrapped my arms around her, pulling her head to my chest as she sobbed uncontrollably.

“Court, it’s ok , please don’t cry. I love you too, you know that, I always will.”, I whispered.

Somehow my words didn’t seem to reassure her, it only made things worst. She suddenly pulled away from me and ran inside the rear door and disappeared. I got up and followed her in but she had long disappeared from sight. Her mom was standing there , her hands up to her face, she was clearly upset.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Timmons, I don’t know what happened. She just broke down, I couldn’t stop her.”, I said, apologetically.

“It’s not your fault, that has been coming a long, long time. She had to let it go, you have no idea how she feels about you. I have heard her cry herself to sleep many a night.”, she replied.

“I don’t know what to say, I never meant to hurt her… I….”, I was trying to find the words.

“You didn’t do this Brian, she did this to herself. That’s why it hurts so bad, she realizes what she lost. She was cruel and thoughtless, she is having an hard time forgiving herself. Just give her time, she will come around.”, she finished.

“I think I better go, I am sorry.”, I answered.

“It’s probably better that you do go. Just please keep in touch with her, for me.”, she asked.

“I will Mrs. Timmons, you have my word.”, I responded.

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