“Hey. Drew Benson, right?” Samson said suddenly, stopping in front of Drew.
Drew hesitated a second. Why was this asshole talking to him? “Yeah.”
“I’m Samson Hill,” he said congenially, offering his hand. “I played against your brother last year. That boy had skills.”
Drew stared at Samson’s outstretched hand. He was kidding, right? Was he really standing there complimenting Drew’s brother? The guy Drew would rather never have mentioned on this field again? Drew looked around and saw that pretty much everyone on the field was watching them, wondering what Drew would do next. He knew they were also enjoying the juxtaposition of the two quarterbacks. They were obviously sizing them up, making their judgments. Oh, this kid was good. Clearly this was all an act—an outward show of benevolence for the benefit of his new coach and teammates. Let them see how very mature and agreeable he was.
Suddenly, Drew hated him more than ever.
“It’s nice to meet you, man,” Samson said. “If you’re anything like your brother, I’m glad we’re not gonna be on opposite sides of the field.”
Intimation? You’re not as good as he is, and we all know it. God, what Drew wouldn’t give to strangle this kid right here and now.
Drew could feel Coach Davidson’s eyes on him. He could feel the tension mounting in the air around him once again. One misspoken word and there could be a throwdown right here, right now. Considering all the negative emotions roiling around inside of him, Drew wouldn’t have minded a fight, but he knew what Coach would want him to do. He’d want him to mitigate the situation, not perpetuate it. Drew would have to save all this pent-up adrenaline for the field. Which, he knew, would probably be a good thing.
“Yeah,” Drew said finally. “Sure. Nice to meet you.”
Then, reluctantly, he shook hands with Samson Hill.
“Good. Glad to see you two are getting along,” Coach Davidson shouted, striding over to them. “If you two are going to lead this team, you’re going to have to work together.”
Drew dropped Samson’s hand. “I’m sorry, Coach. If we’re gonna lead the team?”
“That’s what I said, Benson. Hill here was elected captain of his squad last year, just like you were elected captain of yours,” Coach said, putting one hand on Drew’s shoulder pad, the other on Samson’s. “So from this moment on, the two of you are co-captains, got it?”
Drew’s skin felt as if it was about to melt off his face. His dad was going to love this. “Co-captains,” he said through his teeth.
Samson merely nodded. “Thanks, Coach.”
“You got that, team?” Coach shouted. “Greet your new captains, Drew Benson and Samson Hill!”
Drew had never heard a more lackluster round of applause in his life. No one on this field liked it. Not one soul. But there was nothing any of them could do about it. Drew’s frustration coiled every muscle in his body. Now he really needed an intense practice.
“Now let’s get to work!”