The morning of the Washingtonville Eagles’ first summer practice was marked by a blue sky and a brilliant sun. It was going to be a hot one, Drew could tell, and he could only hope that Coach Davidson would get in most of the tougher drills before noon. Heart pounding with nerves and dread, Drew shoved his gear into his big black-and-red duffel bag and hoofed it downstairs. If at all possible, he wanted to get out of the house before his father even came out of his bedroom. The last thing he needed this morning was an elucidation of his many flaws by his old man. He was tense enough as it was, thinking about Samson Hill and the Corinth team invading his field.
“Good morning, hon!” Drew’s mother greeted him the moment he stepped into the open, airy kitchen. “Grab a plate! I made you breakfast.” She was fully dressed in her workout gear and had a pan full of scrambled eggs working on the stove. Drew’s heart dropped. So much for a quick getaway.
“Actually, mom, I was just gonna grab an iced tea,” Drew said, reaching for the door of the stainless steel fridge.
“Oh, no you don’t. I know you’re all hyped up, but that’s all the more reason to eat some real food,” his mother said, patting him on the back.
“Consider it mandatory,” she said, her blue eyes serious. “You’re not leaving here without some breakfast in you.”
She turned him around and pushed him down into one of the kitchen chairs.
“You really are freakishly strong,” Drew said to his mother.
“Where do you think you boys get it from?” she asked with a smirk. “It’s certainly not from your father.” Drew laughed, and his mother pointed her spatula at him. “But if you tell him I said that, I’ll deny every word.”
Drew nodded as she placed a plate of eggs and toast in front of him. He could hear his father moving around in his room, closing the closet, turning off the morning news. Any second the man was going to join them in the kitchen, and the very thought made Drew feel morose—a feeling he did not need on a day when he had to be at the top of his game.
He heard the bedroom door close, and his heart skipped a beat. At that very moment, the phone rang. Drew dove for it.
“How’s the Eagles’ starting quarterback?” Trey’s jovial voice greeted him.
Drew was flooded with a mixture of relief and trepidation. “I’m not the starter yet.”
“Don’t deprecate yourself. You will be,” Trey said confidently. “I just called to wish you good luck.”
Drew smiled, rocking back on his feet. It meant a lot to him that his brother had gotten up early, taken time out of his own ridiculously busy schedule, just to call him. “Thanks, man. I’m gonna need it.”