De’Andre Hicks should’ve been drafted number one in the professional football league draft. However, due to an injury caused by a traumatic accident that still haunts him he dropped to the last round of draft after missing almost a whole season. He finds his place with the back-to-back national champions the Carolina Cougars but his competition for the starting position is the best albeit most troubled wide receivers in the league, Jay’Von Riddick. All De’Andre wants to do is provide a better life for his mother and to be able to give his girlfriend, Alana, the things that she deserves as she sacrifices to support his dreams. Will De’Andre succeed? Or will he be left to wonder “what if”?
Alana Mitchell is smart, ambiguous, and beautiful and she knew she loved De’Andre the first time on the campus of Florida Technical University. Alana is following in the footsteps of her father, a successful corporate attorney and well on her way to becoming a superstar lawyer in her own right. A native of Palm Beach, Florida her background is one of wealth and privilege while De’Andre was born and raised on the rough streets of the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. Alana sacrifices her dreams of attending Georgetown’s law school to support De’Andre and his career. Will Alana’s sacrifices be worth it?
Fair & Foul Part I
“De’Andre, I know this isn’t what you wanted but ya know your injury hurt your chances.” I listened but I wasn’t trying to hear shit Joe, my agent, was saying right now. I had just been drafted in the fucking sixth round when last year this time I was projected to go in the first round in the top ten. But shit happens, I guess.
Joe continued, “Just go to training camp and make a name for yourself. The Cougars know you can do it or they wouldn’t have wasted a draft pick on you.” “Look I’m going head to head against Jay’Von Riddick, the best fuckin’ receiver in the league. I’ll be lucky if I make it through the first cut.” “Dre, between you and I, Riddick is skating on thin ice. The front office is sick of his shit.” “If he keeps winning championships they’ll keep covering for him.” Joe grew silent and told me he’d get at me later.
I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of Alana’s apartment complex. It had been a few days since the draft and I was still trying to process what had occurred. I could still see this disappointment on my mom’s face. All I ever wanted to do was move her out of Liberty City and put her in Coral Gables or somewhere like that away from the craziness of Miami.
I got out of my car and went upstairs to Alana’s apartment and when I unlocked the door all of the disappointment faded away. She was in the kitchen cooking dinner with some slow music playing in the background. She walked over and hugged me tightly, “How was your workout babe?” I shrugged my shoulders, “It was a workout.” She smiled weakly. “Look I cooked your favorite for dinner. By the time you get out of the shower it will be ready.” I kissed her on her forehead and headed towards the bathroom.
I showered, got dressed, and went back into the kitchen. My plate of chicken parmesan was waiting for me with double chocolate cake. “Sooo I’ve been looking at some places in Charlotte...” Alana said quietly as she slid some print-offs from Zillow across the table. “I think these would work for you.” I shook my head, “I’m just going to stay with my cousin. I don’t want to make any decisions until I know for that sure that I made the cut. I’ll be in a hotel for training camp anyway.” Alana also gave me a letter from the Charlotte School of Law. “What’s this?” She smiled widely. “Open it.”
I glanced through it and realized she’d been accepted to their law school. I hugged her tightly and congratulated her. “Lana, what about Georgetown though?” “I want to be closer to you.” I sighed, “Lana, I don’t want you to give up on your goals to follow me around. I’m not even secure in my spot on the team.” Lana placed her hand on top of mine, “Dre, you’ve got this.” “Yeah.”
She stepped up behind me and began rubbing my shoulders and kissed my neck. “You’re going to make sure they know the name, De’Andre Charles Hicks.” I leaned my head back against her and looked up into her eyes. “Bet.” As I finished dinner Alana went into the bedroom and reemerged in a black negligee and black stilettos. I bit my bottom lip as I looked at the personified perfection standing in front of me. She took my hand and led me into the bedroom. She gently pushed me back onto the bed and removed my shirt. She reached over onto the nightstand and picked up a bottom of massage oil. I turned over on my back and she straddled me.
Her hands felt like a bit of heaven as she massaged away every bit of tension in my muscles. She began to lay a trail of kisses down my back with lips as soft as rose petals. I turned over and pulled her closer to me as she kissed from neck down to my navel and began pulling at the waistband of my Adidas joggers and my boxers. Every thought of the past few days melted as she took me into her mouth. But at that moment I just wanted to be inside of her. I pulled away and got on top of her and entered her. Her moans were like music to my ears.
As we lay in the bed a blissful silence lingered in the air as the cool ocean breeze blew in through the window of my condo. The tingle of satisfaction coursed through my body from top of my head to the tips of my toes. I ran my fingers across his abs as he stared up at the ceiling with his fingers crossed behind his head. I knew he was disappointed by the way the draft had went but I knew he would make his mark in the league.
15 months ago De’Andre had been at a Welcome Home cookout for his brother whom had just been released from prison. De’Andre’s brother, Rico, had been in the drug game before he’d got locked up and he’d had robbed some dudes for their work. The guys shot up the cookout, killing Rico, and De’Andre had been shot three times. One shot broke his finger, another shattered his femur, and another shattered his ankle, which also caused damaged to his ACL. Between the physical and mental, Dre’s recovery had been hard. However, he grinded and he worked his ass off and was able to return in time to help the Buccaneers win the national championship game. But his on-field abilities had been affected his 40 speed had been affected as well. His head wasn’t in the game either and that was a big part of the being able to play, the mental part.
I placed my head on his chest and listened to his steady and strong heartbeat. “What’s on your mind, Dre?” He ran his fingers through my hair and sighed heavily, “Nothing.” I kissed his chest, over his heart he had a tattoo of his brother’s name. “Dre, I love you.” He kissed my forehead and responded in kind. I just wanted to see him succeed and I knew he still had it him to do so.
I’d met De’Andre my sophomore year at Florida Tech, I’d been assigned to be his tutor for American History. I’d seen him around campus and I knew he was a star football player but nothing about athletes were attractive to me because they had all the girls in the world and were super arrogant. I couldn’t front though he was cute. He was 6’0, brown skin, light brown eyes, a dazzling smile, and an athletic frame. He’d come in day one trying to flirt with me but I wasn’t about to be won over just because he could catch a ball well. But he always knew how to make me smile even when I was trying to be serious. But I remember when I knew he was the one for me. I’d missed our session because I had the flu. He’d actually found out where I stayed and brought me soup and nursed me back to health. He fucked around and caught the flu from me but somehow still managed to rush for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns against Alabama that Saturday.
Dre had my heart and I’d do anything for him. I mean my parents weren’t thrilled about me dating a football player from the projects but they grew to love him and he quickly became a part of our family. He went on our family vacations and everything and was like the son my father never had.
I thought Dre had drifted off to sleep because his eyes were closed. When he spoke it startled me, “What if I fail?” “Oh but darling, what if you fly? I’m not going to tell your hardheaded ass anymore. You are about to change the fucking game.” “And if I don’t?” “And if you don’t you still tried and you got an opportunity that so many people don’t get.”
When I arrived to the Cougars’ training facility I knew it was either go hard or go home. But I was ready to do work. I had no other options. I was ready to eat. There were 90 men here fighting for 53 spots. Some people’s spots were secure but others were up for grabs. My main competition was Jay’Von Riddick I had been in his shadow since undergrad. I was coming for that dude’s head.
“For some of you this is your tenth maybe even your twelfth training camp and for many of you this will be your first and last. I’m not going to make some long, dramatic speech. You know what you’re here to do and you know what my expectations are. I just ask that you get out there and do your job and do it to the best of your ability. I want you to push yourself/” Coach Thames said in a serious and even tone. Coach Thames was serious even in his post-game interviews he never cracked a small, win or loss.
When I stepped out onto the field the only thing I knew was go mode. It was damn near 100 degrees outside but I was used to that shit I was from southern Florida. When I put my helmet on I was in my zone. I could feel Jay’Von burning a hole into the side of head. If I could have my way the franchise would forget he ever existed. I ran my routes to perfection and he dropped a few passes. I could tell he’d been eating well during the off-season, he was moving slow as hell.
After the day’s workouts ended I rode back to the team hotel with Javontae Walker. He was from Miami as well and we’d played Pop Warner together. He’d been drafted in the first round as a corner; he was my roommate for camp.
“Bruh, Jay know you coming for his spot.” “Nothing personal all business.” “No doubt.” I laid back across my bed and stared at my nightstand looking at the pictures of my mother, my brother, and my girl. My mother had worked hard to take care of my brother and me all by herself. She was a manager at McDonald’s and she worked her ass off for us. I didn’t want her to struggle anymore. My brother was way better than me in football but he’d got caught up in the streets and he was never able to shine like that and but he had always made sure I grinded to be the best. He didn’t want me to be like him. And Alana, I just wanted to be the man she needed me to be. She’d put so much faith in me I didn’t want to let her down. She had made so many sacrifices for me. I didn’t want them to be in vain.
I picked up the phone and dialed my mother’s number, “Hey baby.” “Hey ma.” “How was day one?” “It was good. How you?” “I’m fine baby. Just getting home from work. You sure you okay?” “Yeah ma, just tired.” “I know baby. Make sure you’re getting rest. You want me to send you anything?” “No, I’m fine.” “Well, just let me know. You talked to Lana today?” “Not yet.” “Oh okay. I don’t want to hold you up. I want you to get some rest so you can go out there tomorrow and do your stuff.” “No doubt.” “I love you, baby.” “Love you too, ma.”
I plugged my headphones into my phone and Facetimed Lana I needed to see her face. As soon as she picked up I could tell something was wrong. “Hey bae.” She said softly. “Lana, what’s wrong?” “Nothing, allergies. I’ve been stirring up all this dust while I’m packing. How was day one?” “It was cool. You sure you aight?” “I’m fine.” “I miss you.” “I miss you too, Dre.” Lana suddenly dropped her phone and I could hear what sounded like her vomiting in the background. It took a few minutes but her face returned to the screen.
“Lana, what’s going on? You sick?” She tucked her lips in as if she was fighting back tears. “Dre, I’m pregnant.” And like that, tears started rushing down her face. My brain went haywire. I didn’t know what to say. “You sure?” “Yes, I’m sure! I went to the doctor because my period hadn’t come I just thought it was another cyst on my ovary on something.” “How far along?” “Three months... It’s twins.” “I thought you were on birth control.” “I am or at least I thought I was. Apparently, when I switched from the old pills to the new pills it was period of time that I wasn’t protected.” I rubbed my hands across my face as I tried to process what she was telling me.
“What do you want to do?” Lana heaved as she tried to regain her composure. “I don’t know. I really don’t know.” “Whatever you decide we’ll make it work.” “I love you.” “I love you too, La.” She ended the call and left me with my thoughts. Lana had been sick for the last couple of week but we just thought it was stress. Lana and I both wanted kids but we wanted to do it the right way and after we’d both got on our feet. I just wanted to be with Lana right then and make sure she was straight but I couldn’t leave camp that would automatically cut me from the team.
Javontae was looking at me with concern on his face. “You straight, bruh?” “My girl is pregnant…with my twins.” Javontae’s eyes grew wide, “Ah man. What she gon’ do?” “She don’t know yet.” “Man well congrats, I guess.” I shrugged, “Yeah man, I guess.”
I lay in the middle of my bedroom floorballed into the fetal position as sobs overcame my body. In a few weeks I was supposed to be moving to Charlotte to start the next chapter of my life but yet here I was on my bedroom floor crying. My whole life I’d always known what I wanted to do but for once I had no idea what I wanted to do.
I loved Dre too much to have an abortion but I was nowhere near being stable in my life to help take care of a baby. How could I go to law school and take care of two babies? How was I supposed to tell my family? I timidly touched my belly and closed my eyes.
I looked at my phone and read a new message from Dre. “Did you get an ultrasound?””Yea.” “Take a pic and send it to me. I want to make it the background on my phone. I’m doing this for them.” I retrieved the sonogram of Baby A and Baby B from my purse and took a picture of it and sent it to Dre. “Lana, I love you so much. I know this situation isn’t perfect at all. But I’m going to be the man you need me to be and I’m going to step up and be there for you in the ways that you need me to be in this situation. We going to make this work. Love you and take care of my sons. ;-P” That text message let me know that having an abortion wasn’t even an option. I didn’t know how but we’d make it work.
I looked at the ultrasound picture and I felt the reality setting in as I sat in the locker room before the day’s workout started. The night before I barely even rested all I was thinking about was Lana and our future. But this only gave me more fuel to go hard and to make my mark. I wanted her to have everything she deserved.
“Man, what you looking at?” Jay’Von said as he sat down beside me. “Damn you got a seed, young buck?!?! Oh shit?!?! Congrats man!” Jay’Von was talked loud to draw attention.
“Y’all listen up! My mans right here, Dre has a baby on the way. On the count of three let’s all say, DNA test!” He said as he burst into laughter. This nigga was trying to get into my head. But I was worried because I was about to do work. While he was sleeping, I was going to be working. I could tell the coaching staff was impressed with me so I wasn’t about to let up on the gas.
Training camp was a damn pressure cooker and people would try to break you. Jay’Von was in my ear every time before I ran a route. Back at Florida Tech I would’ve just fought his ass but I didn’t have that luxury here. I was dispensable he wasn’t, I had to humble myself. The first cut was coming next week and I refused to go home.
“You feeling better, Lana?” “I’m okay. Are you okay?” “I’m good. I just wish I could be with you right now.” “Babe, you doing what you gotta do.” “I know but you need me.” “I’m fine. You just make us proud out there on the field. I’ve been following the Cougar fan blogs and you’re the star of the camp, Dre.” “I’m just trying to eat, Lana. I’m not worried about a fan blog I’m worried about what Thames has to say.”
Two weeks later…
And just like that 15 dudes were gone and only 75 men were left to compete for 53 spots. I had been grinding in camp and it was paying off. I had even worked out one on one with the starting QB. But all I was thinking about was seeing Alana today. She was coming up here so we could look at some houses and hopefully sign a lease.
“You really think you getting my spot, huh?” “I’m just trying to get mine and may the best man win.” I said as I packed my duffle bag. “Nigga, this is just training camp. Your ass will get dusted in the league.” “Like I said I’m just trying to get mine.” “Whatever, nigga. You’ll never be me.” “That’s the goal.” “Fuck you nigga.” Jay’Von said as he pushed me. “Chill out, bruh.” “What you gon’ do bout it?” He said as he pushed me again. I snapped and punched him and a fight proceeded to break out. We were pulled apart by two of the defensive linemen.
Jay’Von wiped his bloody nose, “As soon as the GM hears about this your ass is as good as gone. You can’t punch the money!” I left the locker room and I was heated. I’d let him get the best of me and I’d put myself in jeopardy of losing my spot.
When I arrived at Alana’s hotel she was in her room waiting for me. Before I could speak she saw my face and asked me what happened. “A little scuffle, I’m good though.” “Drreee, nooo.” She said emphatically. “Are you okay though? Did you hurt yourself? Your hands? Your eyes?” She said as she ran her hands across my face. “I’m good, baby.” I said with a slight laugh. “Let me look at you though.”
She was wearing black leggings and a white slightly fitted t-shirt. I placed my hand to her slightly protruding belly and rubbed it. “How my babies doing?” I said as I pulled her down onto the bed with me and brought her closer to me. She placed her hand on top of mine and looked into my eyes. “They are getting big…quickly. I want to wait until my parents come up here for the first preseason game to tell them so we can do it together. But this is going to be hard to hide.” I reached down and lifted up her shirt and kissed her belly.
I kissed her on her neck and gently sucked on her flesh. She let out a moan as I reached into her underwear and touched her clit. I took off her leggings and panties then spread her legs so I could taste her. I softly kissed her inner thigh, making circles with my tongue. She tasted so sweet; I’d missed this.
My cell phone ringing interrupted us. When I looked at the number I realized it was someone calling from the team. “Lana, I gotta take this. Hol’ on.”“Hello.” “Good evening De’Andre, this is Coach Thames.” “Good evening, Coach Thames.” “Ummmm De’Andre, we need you to come back to the facility. Can you be here in 30 minutes? Bring your playbook.” I solemnly said, “Yessir.” I knew what that meant. I was being cut. Shit!
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