Free Fiction Friday: Second Shot – The Senior Year – 42
Free Fiction Friday: January 9, 2015:
Second Shot – The Senior Year: Chapter 42
Since one of my 2015 goals is to post more consistently and to keep up with my FFF posts, it seemed right that I start the year off right. That said, many of you probably have no recollection of what’s going on—so before I post the next chapter here are the links of the last five chapters (If you like having the last five chapters at the top of the newest one, leave a comment and I’ll make it a regular feature):
Jason saw movement to his right and turned to scan the open space between him and the field house. The group leaving the building was too far away to make out everyone, but he easily recognized his grandfather. Without knowing, he had a fair idea who the other people hovering around Graydon University’s most generous benefactor.
A ball grazed the side of his arm and he spun around with a start. Two of his teammates threw up their hands as the ball landed at the feet of a defender. Fortunately it was a scrimmage and not a real game.
“Tellerman!” Coach Stevens yelled. “Get your head out of your ass or you’ll be running laps for an hour after practice.”
Jason almost ran over to tell his coach that his grandfather, the athletic director and the university president were on their way over, but instead he nodded and hustled back to keep his head in the practice game. Coach Stevens had been around long enough to know what he could do or say. Besides, Raymond Henry wouldn’t be in the least bit offended by the coach yelling at his grandson for slacking off.
Much as he wanted to hear the exchange between his grandfather and Stevens, he focused as best he could on the game. He’d just managed to get back in position when Blake stole the ball back. Having erased Jason’s miscue, Blake pressed the attack. Pivoting back toward the opponent’s end, Jason ran full out to help his friend.
Blake passed the ball to Davis who drew the defenders to far side of the field. Instead of continuing toward the goal, Davis crossed the ball back to Blake who threaded the ball through two defenders into a clear space a few feet in front of Jason.
Feigning left, which gave him a clearer path to the goal, Jason pulled Matt, the defender with him. He noticed Blake slipping into an area vacated by another defender who came at Jason. With the barest of nods to his friend, Jason fired the ball across the front of the goal.
Blake broke before Jason finished his kick. While the goalie and remaining defenders moved to follow the shot, Blake dove into the path of the ball. Snapping his head at the last instant, Blake redirected the ball into a wide-open part of the goal. He landed with a thud on the muddy ground, but popped right up to celebrate the score.
Before Jason could enjoy Blake’s impressive effort, Matt bumped into his shoulder.
“He saved your ass, Jase.” He kicked at clump of mud. “Good thing he owes you.”
Pushing back, Jason smirked. “Yeah he did, but who’s keeping track.”
“Tellerman!” The coach yelled across the pitch. “Both Tellerman. Get over here.”
Jason dropped his head and glanced at his friend. “Do you think he knows anyone else’s name except mine today?”
“This time I think it’s cause your Pops is here.” Matt nodded in the direct of the group from the field house. “Probably wants to remind Fur Butt that soccer is king at Graydon so long as a Tellerman is on the team.”
“Ugh.” Jason had no desire to be around their athletic director. No doubt Mr. Ferber—or Fur Bitt, as the team referred to him—was trying yet again to get Pops to help pay for a new football stadium.
Blake ran over and put Jason in a hug. “Nice cross, Jase.”
“Tellerman! Stop acting like a pee wee soccer player scoring his first goal and get over here!”
“Yeah, he definitely wants you there.” Matt tried not to laugh, but it came out.
“C’mon, Blake.” He noticed Dean jogging over and tugged his friend’s arm. “I want you to meet, my grandfather.”
“Um….” He eyed the rapidly closing group. “I don’t know. Coach did call for me.”
“Yeah, but my grandfather really likes Ethan and if he finds out you’re here and I didn’t introduce you, I’ll be in trouble.” He pulled again. “And honestly, you’ll be in more trouble with Fur Butt if you piss off Pops and he doesn’t get his donation.”
Still looking unsure, Blake let Jason drag him along. They began a quick job and made it to Coach Steven right after Dean and a few seconds before the others.
“Sweet header, Blake.” Dean high fived his friend. “Oh, and nice cross, bro.”
Their coach’s eyes narrowed and focused on Blake. “I don’t remember calling for you Finch.”
Jason moved over just enough to give Blake a breather. Keeping his voice down, he glanced at his rapidly approaching grandfather. “Coach, trust me. My grandfather will want to meet Blake.”
The dignitaries were too close for Steven’s to respond.
“Coach Stevens.” Mr. Ferber said, sounding none too happy. “Why are Jason and Dean and…?”
“Blake Finch.” Jason added when it was clear the athletic director didn’t know who Blake was.
“Because Ronald, Coach Stevens knows I’d appreciate the opportunity to speak to my grandsons.” Mr. Henry glanced at the university president for a half second before turning his attention back to Coach Stevens. “Thank you, for allowing Jason and Dean a break to say hello.”
“Of course, Mr. Henry. But I’m afraid it will only be a brief visit.”
Jason’s grandfather laughed and held out his hand. “I appreciate the small courtesy. Jason, Dean and I can catch up at dinner.”
After shaking hands with the coach, Mr. Henry gripped Jason’s shoulders and smiled. “You look well. And nice pass. I was expecting you to shoot but that move opened up the space nicely for you teammate.”
“That was the idea.” If he hadn’t been muddy, he’d have hugged his grandfather. Instead he held out his hand. “Good to see you, too, Pops. Is Grandma here?”
“Of course. Do you think I’d visit without her?” The little twinkle in his grandfather’s eye when he spoke about his wife made Jason smile. He hoped he and Peter would be that happy for that long. “She’s having tea at the moment. And you, Dean. University life seems to agree you.”
“Thanks, Pops. I’m really liking it.”
He cast his grandson a suspicious eye. “And are your grades what they should be?”
“Yep, Jase and Darryl are like house mothers.” He laughed and punched Jason in the arm. “They make sure I study.”
“Damn right they do.” Coach said. “They know how much you mean to the team. Can’t have you academically ineligible.”
Mr. Henry smiled. “I never had a doubt there would be a problem with that. Boys, your grandmother and I expect you to be ready for dinner at 7:00.”
“We’ll be there. Um, before we go, I wanted to introduce you to my teammate, Blake. He’s good friends with Ethan.” He hoped his grandfather picked up on the hint, but if not he’d explain later.
“The Miller boy?”
Jason snorted. That he still referred to Ethan as ‘the Miller boy,’ always amused him. “Yes, sir.”
The older man turned and held out his hand to a visibly nervous Blake. “Raymond Henry. A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Finch.”
“Thank you, sir.” He wiped his hand on his shorts, but given his last dive, that only made then dirtier. Red faced, he scrambled to find a clean spot on his jersey, rubbed his hand quickly and held it out. “Nice to meet you to, sir.”
“Impressive goal just now. I hope you save some of that for the games.”
“Yes, sir. But it was a great pass. If I’d have missed I’d be embarrassed.”
Mr. Henry laughed. “Nonsense. The pass was good, but so was the finish. Don’t be ashamed of your feats.”
“Okay, boys.” Coach Stevens gave them the look that told them to leave. “Get back to the scrimmage.”
“Yes, Coach.” They said in unison.
“A moment if you please, Coach Stevens.” Mr. Henry said before Jason could say goodbye. “Mr. Finch?”
“Yes, sir?” He glanced at Jason. Having no idea what his grandfather wanted, Jason shrugged.
“If you’re not busy, I’d like you to join us tonight.”
“I….” He looked at Jason first then Dean. The deer in the headlights look on Blake’s made Jason feel sorry for him.
“Yeah, he’ll come.” Dean said. Blake looked over like Dean had just sold his car out from under him. “We’ll talk him into it.”
“Excellent.” Mr. Henry nodded. “We’ll see all of you at seven. Remember, coat and tie required.”
Jason had been to enough of these types of things were the kids were brought in to make an appearance then leave quickly so the ‘adults’ could talk. That and Blake looked like he was about to pass out. “C’mon. Let’s get back to practice.”
The three started to job back to their teammates who had gathered at midfield for a rest and a drink. Half way there, Blake slowed to a walk.
“Holy shit balls.” Blake said. “What did I get myself into?”