It’s really been hard to find time to write. This may be the last chapter until after finals which are over in May, but during the summer I should be back on here consistently. Thank you for your patience!
Football in Texas was indeed different than Philly. For one, football was a year round sport. They took weight-lifting to a whole other level, some of these kids even juiced. It was evident when I first started to workout that I wasn’t used to being pushed so hard in the weight room. But in my first month of training, my strength grew to levels I couldn’t have imagined. I went from 170 to 185 by the end of the spring, all while getting even faster. My future teammates are up everything positive I did, eager to play with the new addition to their secondary.
“You don’t understand,” Dom, one of the starting linebackers, said when I’d commented on all the attention. “Our corners last year were so shitty. Teams would just pick them apart and we had absolutely nothing to do about it. You don’t even have to be great, just don’t suck.”
“Just don’t suck,” I repeated with a laugh. “I’ll remember that.”
Back at home, Ms. Ashlee was real easy to live with. Sure, I was incredibly circumspect with every muscle I moved in that house because of the favor she was doing my mother, but she was also easy to get along with. Since the day I stepped through her door, she’d spoken with me like she’d known me her whole life. We’d eat dinner together, watch TV and movies together, I’d accompany on grocery shopping trips and she’d load the cart up with foods and snacks I liked. I was taken aback by it all at first, but it was definitely better than it being awkward in the place I stayed every night, and it was great to form a tight relationship with at least one person in this place full of strangers. However, as nice as she was at home, she was horrible in the classroom. When I took my placement tests on the first day, they decided to put me in all Honors classes landing me a spot in Ms. Ashlee’s Honors History course. It wasn’t that she was mean to students or a bad teacher at all, it’s just all the damn work she gave made me wanna assault her in her sleep at night. And because she knew me, she was twice as hard on me as she was on other students. The class by far dominated my time more than any other, causing me to head to the library every morning before school to finish doing all my work.
One morning in the library I noticed a girl walk in that caught my attention every time I saw her. She was one of the only minorities in the school, along with me, but you could barely even tell. She had extremely light tan skin. Her jet black hair in braids that extended down her chest was the giveaway to her not being white, otherwise she could’ve passed. She had thick, but toned thighs, an ass that stretched her jeans out to the last seam, and tits that looked like they’d fit perfectly into my hands. She walked in with her friend, who immediately looked at me upon entering and made awkward eye contact with me that I had to quickly break. I subtly watched as they wandered over to the fiction section and perused the collection. To my luck, her friend left to go look at books in another section, and I took full advantage of my opportunity. I stood up, and acted like I was searching for something specific. I strode toward fiction and started scanning the last names.
“Hey, do you know if there are any Jay Daniels books here?” I whispered to her.
I must’ve broken a deep focus, because she jolted at the sound of my voice. “I uh… no, I’ve never seen one here. That’s my favorite author, though,” she answered. She didn’t have that southern drawl everybody else had. He couldn’t really read where she was from, she spoke so… proper.
“Yeah, I was recommended to read one of his stories, I heard he was pretty good,” I lied. I’d seen her with her face buried in one of his books for the first week I’d been there.
“He’s not just ‘pretty good,’” She imitated a deep voice when she said ‘pretty good’, “he’s excellent,” she corrected.
“And what’s so good about one of his books?” I asked, grinning.
“Everything,” she was smiling now, too.
“Man, I don’t wanna hear that. Break it down. Sell me on it.”
“Well, I think the characters are easy to relate to, and it makes it really easy to understand them.”
“Well can I relate to the characters?”
“I’m sure you can find one to relate to. Do you remember which story you were recommended?”
I thought back…
“Uh… I think it was called, When the Moon Comes This Way?”
She broke out hysterical laughter, “When the Moon Gets Its Way,” She corrected me.
“Yeah yeah that one,” I said smiling along with her laughter.
“Well I just read that one. I can loan it to you if you want.”
“That sounds great.”
“If… I can trust you to give it back.”
“Well, how bout this. You give me your number so I can text you when I’m done reading it, and that way I won’t forget.”
She arched an eyebrow. “Yeah? And how do I know you’ll remember to text me?”
“Because I couldn’t forget to text a girl as beautiful as you.”
Her whole face reddened, and she just stood there cheesing, not knowing what to say. Mission accomplished.
Finally she spoke, “Okay, I’ll bring it tomorrow.”
We exchanged numbers, and I asked her name.
“Tari,” she said. “Tari Reeves.”
“Nice to meet you Tari Reeves. My nam—“
“I know your name,” she cut me off. “Everybody does. Ramesses King.”
I texted Tari every day for weeks after our first encounter, but she never gave off any hints of being intimately interested in me. Every time we’d talk, it would end up just being small talk and it wouldn’t last very long. What I did find out was that she was one hell of a time manager. She was a soccer player, track runner, in the drama club, student Council president, and a straight A Student in all AP classes. Meanwhile, I struggle just playing football and making honor roll. I would try and ask her to hang out with me multiple times, but she would just straight up tell me “no.” It wasn’t until the last day of school that she found me as I was leaving and asked—no commanded me to accompany her to a local ice cream place. I was still getting used to the southern heat, a 10 minute walk had my skin glistening. After we ordered our ice cream, we sat down and talked for a bit.
“Are you from here?” I finally asked. I didn’t want to assume that she wasn’t, but her lack of any accent had me curious.
“No. I’m from Harlem,” she said nonchalantly.
“Damn, how’d you end up here?”
“When I was in eighth grade I started getting into a lot of fights, two of my friends joined a gang, and my grades started to slip. So my parents packed me up and sent me to live with my grandparents and go to highschool… not in the ghetto.”
“Wow. I couldn’t have guessed any of that from the time I’ve known you.”
She shrugged. “You haven’t really known me. Nobody here does.”
“So I guess it doesn’t get any easier here for me then.”
“Nope.” We sat in silence for a few minutes before she asked, “What’s the deal with you? How’d you end up here from Philly?”
“And we got nothing but time.”
“Personal story.” I looked her in her eyes.
She was gonna say something else but she stopped herself, thought, and said “well I thought we could get to know one another a little better today.”
“We can, but I don’t like talking about… that. Anything but that.”
She frowned. “Well will I ever get to know?” I heard the New York start to come out in that sentence.
“Yeah, well… maybe. Depends on how close we get.”
Over the summer, we made it a weekly routine to have ice cream together and just talk. The more I got to know her, the more she started to act more loose around me.
“Why do you act so… different? In school,” I had to ask her one day.
“Well, I’m sure you know how the people be around here,” she started. I nodded. “If I let any hint of the ghetto out, it’s back to the hood. And my moms would kill me.” I knew what she meant. Even in the place I live, I have to work hard to make myself come off a certain way. I carefully craft my sentences, look for the most sophisticated words to use, excessively say “please”, “thank you”, and “ma’am”. But Tari took it to a different level. She was almost robotic with it.
“Yeah I can’t even really act myself in my own crib,” I agreed. She gave me a look that I couldn’t decipher.
“You stay with Ms. Ashlee, right?” She questioned.
“How did that happen?”
“She knows my mom.”
“And she just took in her kid out of nowhere?”
I looked up at her and smiled. “Not yet.”
She threw her hands up “My fucking gosh Ramesses. I have no problem answering any question you ask me, can you please just answer this one that I have?”
I sighed and stood up. “Let’s take a walk.”
“So my mom is an alcoholic,” I started. “She would still work and stuff, but sometimes she’d just go through these periods where I wouldn’t even see her sober for days. But she never let it get in the way of making sure I ate, and going to work everyday. The last few months I was in Philly, she started to skip work, for maybe a day a week at first. Then she would skip a couple days per week, until it compounded into her skipping weeks at a time. She stopped feeding me, I’d have to eat at my girlfriend’s house. Then, one day I came home—“ my vision got blurry with tears. Ramesses finish your damn story, I told myself. “And there were these people taking my mom away and packing my things up. She had to go to rehab, and at first she told her highschool friend, Ryan, and he asked Ms. Ashlee if she could take me for a while. So, here I am.” Silence followed for an eternity and a day.
Finally she broke the silence, “Well I hope she’s getting better,” she softly said.
I walked her home, and before she went into her house, she yanked me to her and gave me a soft kiss on the lips. We parted and she looked me in the eye.
“I like you, Ramesses. It feels so good to be able be myself around somebody again.”
“Yeah, I know exactly how you feel.”
Throughout the rest of the summer, we were in this weird situation with no title. We’d still hang out, and I’d always give her a kiss goodbye, but it wasn’t like she was my girl.
The last day of “voluntary” summer workouts, Coach wanted to run us through tests to get some numbers on us physically. First was height and weight. I was 6’1, 190 lbs. Next was a 40-yard dash. The fastest time when it was my turn was a 4.52 by one of the running backs. After I zipped past the finish line, even the coaches mouths were agape.
“4.37,” one called out.
After that was the vertical jump. I jumped 36 inches in the air, 5 inches better than our next best. Bench press was the only thing I wasn’t the best at. I did 185 pounds 7 times, way off from the 21 done by our strongest player. All throughout the workouts they had me getting reps with the backups, which was fair because it would be wrong to be able to just walk into a starting spot over kids that have been playing for this team for three years. But when camp started, I was almost instantly promoted to first team. About a week before the season started, Coach called me into his office after practice.
“Are you interested in playing college football, son?” He asked me.
“Yes sir I am.” He looked at me for a couple of seconds, then pulled a stack of envelopes from his desk and handed them to me. Temple, Penn State, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and Auburn. All were letters of interest.
“You’ve already got some serious interest surrounding you, kid. Just play football, keep your grades up, and I’ll help make this process as easy as possible. You got that?”
The possibility of being able to earn a full ride to a top school was so exciting to me. My dream was one step closer to being realized and I couldn’t wait to get in to the process of picking a school. When I got home, I showed Ms. Ashlee the letters and she was ecstatic.
“Oh my goodness Ramesses! This is great! I had no idea you were this good of a player, congratulations!” She wrapped me in a tight hug as if I were her own son. Even Tari was thrilled to hear the news, making me pinky swear not to forget her when I got famous.
The first game of the season was away playing a small, non-conference team. From the first snap we showed we were the better team, breaking off a 63-yard touchdown run. We went on to win 42-0. I made a couple of tackles but the quarterback never threw to my side, so I was relatively quiet that game. Our home opener was the next Friday night against an in-conference team who’s usually pretty good every year. A win here would be a pretty good indication of how the season would go.
Running out onto the field, the stadium quaked with cheering fans. There were more people here than at any other game I’ve played in, and it felt great to have all these eyes on me. Something new I did for this school was returning kicks and punts, they always had Kai do it back home. Here, I was easily the most athletic player so they had me back to do it. The opening kick sailed into my arms and I ran, looking for a seam to the left side. It was congested, and just when I was about to be tackled, I spun toward the opposite direction leaving the defender sliding across the grass, and saw nothing but green. I turned on the jets and quickly gained ground away from everybody on the field and scored my first touchdown in my new uniform. Everybody surrounded me, slapping my helmet, and everybody in the stands was going berserk. We kicked the extra point and it was 7-0. On our first defensive possession, I finally got to make my presence known. The receiver tried to run a quick, one step slant, but I broke on the ball and swatted it away. The very next play, the receiver faked running another short route, and took off down the field. The quarterback tried to let his receiver outrun me and catch up to the ball, but the problem was that I was the faster player. I tracked the ball down and made an easy over-the-shoulder interception, and was tackled immediately. The crowd along with my teammates again were freaking out.
In the fourth quarter, the game was tied 14-14. There were 55 seconds left, and the opposing team was approaching our territory. I dropped back in my zone, and about a split second too late, I saw a receiver coming across toward me. I couldn’t make a play on the ball, so I lowered my head and CRACK! I ran through him at full speed, popping the ball from his grasp, and sending his helmet toppling. The receiver lay, unmoving on the ground. Flags flew. The opposing team was appalled while everybody on our side was juiced about the hit.
“Targeting, defense, number 23. Number 23 will be ejected from the game,” announced the referee. Boos rained from the stands. My coach was ready to get himself ejected by yelling at the official.
“That’s a fucking joke! It’s fucking football for Christ sakes!” He screamed at the ref, infuriated by losing one of his best assets. I yanked my helmet of and ran into the locker room in shock.
We ended up losing the game 21-14. They wasted no time in exposing the backup corner, and our offense couldn’t strike back on the last drive. Since I got thrown out of this game, I had to miss the first half of the next one too. My coach wasn’t mad at me, but the situation in general pissed him off.
“I guess we’re fucking playing two hand touch now,” he commented about it.
“Tari, I promise you I will get you an interception next game since I can only play half,” I said to her through the phone on FaceTime.
“Ramesses, that’s not happening.”
“When I say I’m gonna do something, the shit gets done.”
“And what if you don’t?”
“You wanna make a bet?”
“Sure. If you don’t, you gotta do all my homework for the rest of the year.”
“Deal. And when I do?”
She smiled at me. “I won’t disappoint you, trust me.”
My smile grew wide. Damn I hope she was implying what I thought she was.
“Alright. Sounds good,” was all I could say.
Our third game of the season was away against a team in our division that won the division last year, but lost 23 seniors. They were a shell of what they once were. We jumped on them 21-0 going into the half. When I finally came in for the second half, we continued to beat up on them. My blessing came midway through the third quarter, when the quarterback got hit during his throw sending the ball fluttering into nomansland. I swooped by and snagged it from the air then outran everybody for a touchdown. We ended up winning 42-7, our backups letting up a touchdown late in the 4th quarter.
After the game Tari ran up to me with rosy cheeks.
“Good for less than a half a game,” she teased.
“Yeah, but I think there was a little bet I won in that less than a half.”
She shyly smiled. “Yeah… are you free later?”
“Well then you should stop by my house.” My excitement grew ablaze.
I showered up and showed up to her house later that night. It was a small but very nice home. It smelled of warm cinnamon, everything was neatly in place and clean, it was nice and quiet besides the faint noise of the news playing on the T.V. Her grandfather was rocking in a reclining chair while her grandmother was on the sofa diligently filling out a crossword puzzle. Upon my arrival they both looked up, and stood up to meet me.
Her grandfather was tall, about 6’4, and had a muscular build. He had a shiny bald head and a faint, grizzly beard. “Nice to meet you. I’m Tari’s Grandad.” He had a booming, deep voice. He was trying to be warm, but I could tell that when he got angry his voice would be the first thing to strike fear in you.
He extended out a large hand and gave me a strong handshake. “I heard you’re a pretty good ball player, man.”
“I’m alright,” I meekly replied.
“I’ve seen you play a couple times up there at the high school. You’re not too bad. You’re about the best athlete I’ve seen in years since I been down here.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Yeah, no problem. Keep workin’ hard.”
Her grandmother was rather short and had her hair wrapped up in a cloth. She gave me a delicate hug and introduced herself, also complimenting me on my football.
After meeting them, me and Tari went downstairs to the basement. It was a nice area, carpeted with a couch and a TV on the wall.
“This is a nice little spot you got down here,” I commented.
“Yeah, I usually come down here to do my reading and watch some movies.” We both sat on the couch. “So, I know colleges are probably gonna go crazy over you this year. Any idea where you wanna go?”
“No, not really. Temple was always ideal but I never expected all these schools to like me.”
“Well how are you gonna choose?”
“I don’t have any idea. I don’t think I wanna be too far from home because I won’t be able to take care of my mom.”
“I think she’d want you to go wherever you wanted to go. Don’t let her hold you back from what you wanna do. That’s why she’s getting better now.”
“Yeah but… just in case. I can’t just leave her alone out there.”
“Ramesses she is a grown woman, she can handle herself. You need to go pursue your goals.”
We looked at each other, letting the words hang in the air for almost a minute. “Alright,” I finally let out.
“Promise you what?”
“Promise me you won’t let your mom affect your decision.”
I sighed, “I promise.”
She extended her pinky out toward me, waiting for mine in return.
“What is this, third grade?” I asked.
“If you break a pinky swear, I have every right not to fuck with you no more.”
“If we were five, yeah that’s true. We’re fucking 16 I’m not making a pinky swear!”
“Just gimmie your pinky, damn!” So I extended my pinky for her to wrap around it with hers. We looked at each other in awkward silence for a moment before she leaned in and pressed her, warm, soft lips against mine. I returned the kiss and wrapped my arm around her waist, pulling her closer. She gently ran her tongue across my lips, causing me to part them, allowing our tongues to meet each other. We kept kissing for a while, then she ever so slowly ran her hand up my thigh, toward my waistband. This was our first time making out, let alone reaching for waistbands. Her hand went into my pants and gently rubbed my dick through my underwear causing me to let out a deep sigh. I was already hard, but her teasing was taking me to a different level of horniness, my dick felt ready to tear out of my boxers. Just then, she freed it from my underwear, causing it to slap against my stomach and sit in the air. She parted from our kiss and gave me a devilish look that melted my heart. It took everything not to just turn her around and fuck her silly. She lowered her head to my waiting dick and ran her warm tongue up my shaft again and again. It’d been so long since I’d felt anything like that—I hadn’t even masturbated since I’ve been here because it would’ve felt horrible to do that in a house where I’m a guest. I was ready to cum just from the licking, then she put the head in her wet mouth. My dick twitched with excitement as she slowly took more and more inches into her mouth. She got about three-quarters of the way down before she brought her head back up. She took my dick in her hand and started pumping it before she wrapped her lips back around it and bobbing her head at the same rhythm.
“Shit Tari I’m gonna cum,” I choked, causing her to pick her pace up. I grunted when the first shot blasted, then another came, then another. I was cumming so much that it overflowed her mouth and started to dribble out of the sides, running down my dick. She popped her mouth off it, swallowed what she could, and said panting, “Gosh damn you cum so much,” to which I could just laugh, as I lay on the couch spent.