Coming February 6th
It's all I ever loved,
All I ever wanted.
Football is it for me.
The lights, the turf, the feel of the ball in my hands,
There's nothing that means more to me.
But then, I meet Rilla James.
It's a game changer right from the start.
Now, all I want is her,
Everything about her.
It's a love-hate relationship.
I love the excitement, the thrill of the game,
But despise everything it stands for.
The day the game took away someone in my life,
For the better.
And I couldn't be happier.
But then, I meet Tyke she Jamison.
It's a blitz right from the start.
Now, I'm questioning it all.
Maybe I could get used to life under the lights,
3 years earlier
“Hey, dipshit. You ready?” I question Baker.
“Give me five,” he says as he pulls Holly in and attacks her face. I don’t know why she puts up with him.
Glancing over at Janie, she smiles. “Wanna go make use of our time?” she says with a smirk. Hell yeah I do.
“Come on,” I say as I toss my beer can in the fire and take the last one from the case. I pull her away from the bonfire, nod to Baker, and walk toward my truck.
By the time we reach the truck, Janie has her hands all over me and I know exactly where this is leading. Climbing in the cab of my truck, she straddles my lap and leans in. She peels off her top and my hands begin to wander. I can feel her smile with each kiss, and I know I’m a goner with this one. There’s something about her that’s got me tore up.
Just as things start to get where I want them, I hear Baker outside the truck. I holler at him to give us five minutes and she giggles into my shoulder as Baker heads away from the truck.
As Baker opens the truck door, he’s grinning like crazy.
“Don’t even,” Janie says.
“Hey, I’m glad I could get a little action while I waited,” he says with a snicker.
“Ewwww gross!” Janie says, and swats his arm.
“Dude, you’re riding on the back for that shit,” I say as I start the engine and crack open the last beer.
Janie looks in my direction. “No worries. I’m good,” I say and kiss her lips again. She slides close to me, and I think about letting Baker inside the cab. It’s cold as shit outside, but I think it will be funny to watch him shiver the entire way.
Chugging the beer, I toss it out the window before I hit the main road. Janie lays her head on my shoulder as I wrap my arm around her. As she cuddles into me, I get comfortable, and that’s when I hear it … The sound of a horn.
Pulling the truck over to the right side of the road, I overcorrect and Janie flies to the other side of the cab and I hear Baker yell but I can’t stop. I feel the truck dip into a ditch and that’s when it begins to roll over and over and over.
The truck comes to a stop, and that’s when the whistle sounds. I look and see the one single light coming straight at us. Train. I try to grab Janie but she’s trapped inside.
“Go, TD. Go. Save yourself and Baker.”
I can’t leave her. I need Janie in my life. As the train is barreling down the track, I take a quick glance over my shoulder and Baker isn’t in the truck bed. Fuck. I look back into Janie’s eyes. They begin to drift away. No. No. No. Stay with me. “Stay with me Janie. Please don’t leave me,” I plead as her eyelids flitter for the last time.
“Noooooo!” I scream. I kiss her and pull her with everything in my being. The metal gives and I yank her harder. “God, help me please! I’m begging you!” I can’t leave her in the truck. With one final tug, I pull her from the pinned metal just in time. The train crashes into the truck and pushes it to the other side of the tracks. Holding her lifeless body, I look for Baker, and that’s when I spy his lifeless body in the brush. I run to him with Janie in my arms, fall to my knees, and cry myself sober.
As the sirens approach in the background, I feel numb. I just killed my best friend and my girlfriend.
Chapter 1 August 2016
“Tyke, you ready?” Mom asks as she places her hand on my knee, pulling me from my thoughts as I blankly stare out the passenger side window at my future. “Look, it can’t be that bad.”
I abruptly turn my head toward her. “You’re joking, right?” I question, already knowing she’s serious.
“Look, a bad choice might have made this an only option, but you’ve got to make the best of it.” I shake my head and get out of the car, slamming the door with little effort. I can’t believe I’m in this little hellhole of a town. I’m destined for great things because I am Tyke Jamison, the top recruited quarterback in the nation. I was born and bred to play football. All I know is pigskin, plays, conditioning and the thrill of throwing touchdown passes to win the game, but one stupid night changed it all. I went from hometown hero to a criminal in a matter of minutes. There’s no escaping what’s happened and it will haunt me forever.
“I get it, Mom. This is my one shot to start over, but let’s face it, no one wants their star player to have a rap sheet?”
She pauses as she lifts the trunk and stares at me. “Tyke Douglas Jamison, you stop right there. I will not listen to this load of crap any more. You are here for a reason. You are a bright young man that has a second chance at a future, and you will accept what is in front of you. No child of mine will throw away their life. If football is what you want, go and get it, but stop this,” she says as she points her finger in my chest. “You are in control of your actions. Now let’s go.”
I pause for a moment before grabbing an armful of my things. “Yes ma’am,” I say as we make our way toward the dorm. Following a step behind my mom, I smile. She’s one badass lady. She’s had to be to put up with me all of these years.
“Come on, slowpoke,” she says as she glances over her shoulder, and I shake my head and pick up my pace to meet hers. Yes, I’m cocky and have an attitude, but she’s the one person that keeps that checked. Mom is the one that stood by me through it all, not Dad. He’s too busy worrying about how this is going to affect him. How he can live vicariously through me when I’m not playing anymore. I’m the screw up who got a DUI, and killed my best friend and girlfriend. The day I was sentenced, my dad gave me all kinds of hell and pretty much told me to fuck off. That wasn’t part of his perfect plan, and neither was my time in juvenile hall and community service. That’s why he isn’t here today, but she is. No matter what, my mom has stood by my side. So, if she thinks this is my only hope to achieve my dream, I’m willing to give it a shot.
Casey Peeler grew up in North Carolina and still lives there with her husband and daughter.
Growing up Casey wasn't an avid reader or writer, but after reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston during her senior year of high school, and multiple Nicholas Sparks' novels, she found a hidden love and appreciation for reading. That love ignited the passion for writing several years later, and her writing style combines real life scenarios with morals and values teenagers need in their daily lives.
When Casey isn't writing, you can find her near a body of water listening to country music with a cold beverage and a great book.
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