Quarterback: From the Inside

Chapter 2

By Alan R

This story describes sexual relationships between young men and women (possibly). If you find this offensive, stop now and go visit someone else. If you continue and find this story entertaining, let me know. Your feedback encourages and inspires this story's development. Include positive criticisms in your feedback when you respond to bayoudreamn@yahoo.com.


From Ch. 1:

Matt: sophomore quarterback at Southwest Valley High; best friend to Vicky

Vicky: nicknamed bubbles; popular junior at SVH; Matt's best friend

Jennifer: popular Junior at SVH; gossip; girlfriend of Aaron

Grant: Junior wide receiver at SVH; boyfriend of Alexi

Alexi: Grant's girlfriend; popular junior; not someone you want as an enemy

Uncle Jake: Vicky's gay uncle

Jeremiah: junior halfback at SVH; friend of Matt and Grant

New characters:

Diego: student at Matt and Vicky's school; small-time thief; sophomore

Shawn: Diego's best friend; sophomore defensive linemen on SVH team

Manuel: Diego's brother

Eric: linebacker for SVH rival football team

Diego crept softly to the back door of the darkened storefront. Carefully he lifted the window, the latch had been broken earlier in the day. The building had no motion sensors or access alarms. He slid over the window ledge and onto the tile floor, sitting quietly for a moment to wait for his eyes to adjust to the low light before easing over to the service entrance to let his accomplices enter. The owner would think twice about his security decisions after tonight. The three men, two young and one older quickly gathered the items they wanted before making their getaway by the same doorway through which two had entered only a few moments before.

Diego's stomach churned mercilessly on the quiet ride back to the outskirts of town with his father and brother. He hated the feelings of shame that washed over him each time his father planned another quick in and out burglary. He thought of his mother and the hard life she'd lived, the efforts she'd made in the hope that at least Diego would turn out all right and not follow in his father's footsteps. He remembered the yelling, breaking bottles, loud crashing noises even now unexplained. He shivered as his mother's screams echoed in his head, the memory of her as she tried to intervene in his father's attempts to lead him into the life of crime he'd chosen for himself and his eldest son, Manuel. Two years ago, her fight had ended. As her drunken husband became more and more abusive and slowly won the battle to pull her last remaining son into a life of crime, she'd ended her suffering on a stormy night with a pistol aimed to the back of her head. Even now, Diego grieved for her. He'd been 14 years old then, a good student, and participant in middle school football. His school was the same middle school his mom had attended when she'd grown up in this old but proud area of town. She'd been a promising student but her parents' premature death during her senior year of high school had ended her hopes of a continuing education. She'd accepted her fate and withdrawn from school only months before graduation in order to take fulltime employment and maintain her family home. She had no brothers or sisters or living relatives near home to help her.

She'd met Diego's father at a party a year later, and they were soon living together in her home. He'd been charming and sympathetic for her struggles. He'd promised to take care of her and provide a good life for the two of them and their young. He married her months before the birth of her eldest son, Manuel. Just before Manuel was born the drinking started. At first it was just to relax each evening and would continue until he fell asleep. Over time, their lives did not become easier and though she worked harder and sought more advanced employment, her husband continued to look to the bottle for escape. Four years later Diego was born and as the expenses of a larger family increased, Diego's father became less and less a productive member of the family. Finally, some years ago he'd quit working altogether and had made his money in less acceptable pursuits. His decline had led to the dysfunction of the family and the recruit of his sons to help him. The mounting pressure of a life spinning out of control was too much. Diego's mom had reached her limit and chose to abandon her life and family. Diego cried silently, wishing somehow he could have been a better son.

That night, alone in his bed, Diego thought back to the times just before his mom died. Even though things at home were growing worse and worse, he was happy with his life at school. Even though he had little money, the popular kids at school accepted him. He was tall and handsome with the dark skin of his heritage, beautiful brown eyes, long dark hair, and the physical attributes of an athlete. He'd discovered the advantages of weight training at an early age, primarily to become strong and capable of protecting himself from the unruly kind he often encountered through members of his family. His natural physical gifts and the efforts he had to make for survival led to his interest in athletics and participation in middle school football. He was a gifted leader and became quarterback of the team in his 8th grade year. He led them to an all-city title. Shortly thereafter, Diego had awakened suddenly in the middle of the night with a storm raging outside and a sickening feeling of dread on the inside. A few minutes later he would learn of his mother's tragedy and the burgeoning happiness of a young teen would turn into a living hell.

Diego had moved through the past two years in a fog. He attended high school at Southwest Valley High during the day while his father and brother worked as mechanics at a friend's small auto repair shop. After school, Diego would hurry home to prepare an evening meal before his father and brother returned. Shortly after eating, his father would rest with his bottle and the boys would silently retreat to whatever quiet place of relative safety they could find until their father passed out from the evenings festivities or called out to them to enlist their support in another quick in and out. Often, these visits were preceded by simple preparations to make the work easier, like the one earlier on this night. Manuel and Diego had visited the store earlier in the day and while Diego distracted a nearby clerk, Manuel disabled the latch quickly and efficiently. Such was his talent that the store staff was unable to see the damage to the latch as they'd checked the window before closing. At other times, a check of doors and windows led to unrestricted access to a random target. Never had there been much danger, but Diego knew that eventually their luck would run out.

Diego awoke to the sound of his best friend's Harley racing in his driveway. He looked out the window and saw Shawn sitting aside "his baby" while chatting with a smiling Manuel. Diego and Shawn had played football together and unlike many of Diego's former friends, Shawn had held on for the voyage. He'd been there the night Diego's mom had died and had held his friend, quietly reassuring him while encouraging him to "let it all out" in the hope that the pain would slowly grow dim. He'd stayed beside him when Diego's life fell apart and the young boy lashed out at everyone around him in search of some target onto which he could thrust his despair. Shawn was the best friend Diego had ever had and even though the giant of a lineman was covered in tattoos coldly stating his bad boy image; on the inside was the heart of a lion and the compassion of a teddy bear all rolled up in one. Shawn was a fierce competitor on the gridiron, often leveling offensive linemen in his mad dash to bury the opposing team's quarterback before his teammates could get there to lend a hand. He was last season's defensive player of the year in his freshman season and no offensive signal caller doubted his worthiness to gain and maintain that honor. Shawn's friend Jeremiah liked to tease the giant, claiming that all of Shawn's success was a testament to his own goodwill. "We on the same team, white boy and you get awards cause I say so," the boisterous back would proclaim with a sense of unbending assurance.

Shawn often exploded into pursuit of his dark-skinned buddy. The two chasing each other all over the school like overgrown grade-schoolers. Finally, returning out of breath but with big smiles on their faces and the arms of one laying over the shoulders of his brother in tribute to their camaraderie. They'd rejoin their friends until the next moment presented itself or another unwitting target was exposed.

Diego thought of a time last year, when Jeremiah had become upset over something involving a teammate. Diego never knew exactly what happened but he remembered his friend being there for Jeremiah, often in the middle of the night when the big back would call because he was unable to chase away his late night demons. There'd been rumors of trouble at a park, but Diego had never heard anything of what it was about and though he'd asked Shawn several times, his friend would only wave his hand illustrating his unwillingness to talk about it, or quickly change the subject to some less haunting and more carefree topic of discussion.

Once, when Diego had been especially curious and persistent, Shawn had turned on him angrily before catching himself and replying with barely suppressed intensity that "some things even best friends don't share."

"Diego, get your narrow ass out here...," yelled Shawn. Diego lost his dreamy reflection as he bounded from the bed and threw on some clothes before sliding out the back door and around the house in an attempt to surprise his wary friend. Just as he reached the front corner of the house he stopped suddenly... just in time to catch the full force of a water hose directed right toward him at maximum pressure.

"You're a jerk, Shawn. The biggest, ugliest jerk I know," gasped Diego as he looked down at his recently dry but now completely soaked apparel. The giant was standing in the driveway beaming with happiness, his arms crossed over his chest and the water hose dangling from his grip as he guffawed with obvious pride in himself. Manuel stood nearby partially hidden behind their father's car lest he should be the next victim.

"You were in it, too," Diego accused his brother merrily. "When he gets his, be ready for yours." Manuel just waved off his brother as he returned inside to get ready to go meet his girlfriend. Last week, she'd presented a surprise gift to her boyfriend of two years, announcing that she was pregnant and their first child would be born early the next year. The news had inspired his brother and made him happier then Diego could remember. He'd been about to quit his job, but on hearing the news he'd become a harder worked than ever before. Their friend and employer was so pleased with Manuel's renewed commitment that he had volunteered to assist him in beginning to make plans to open his own shop sometime after the birth of their child. He'd talked to Diego only weeks before to express his worry about his brothers' lack of interest in recent months.

"Go grab some dry clothes wetback," said Shawn. "We're going swimming at the lake."

Diego glared at him in mock disgust for the use of the racial pun. From anyone else that would have been cause for a fierce ass kicking, but Diego doubted he could be angry with Shawn for anything, least of all a degrading term used with absolutely no attempt to disrespect. The friends often chided each other with all sorts of intolerant gibberish, but it was all in fun except when someone else took offense...but Shawn IS a giant, afterall.

Half an hour later they were at the lake anticipating a late morning swim.