I sighed. “It’s like a match made in heaven.”
“They also have a dog. I know you like dogs.”
The last time I even mentioned the word 'dog' to her was when I was 10. Every 10 year old boy likes dogs. “Awesome.”
Again she ignored my comment, “So, I want you to be good, okay? Be nice to them. I want the best for you, and I think you could live here for a long time, but you have to be on your best behavior. It’s only a year before you turn eighteen. I want your last year in the system to be your best, but that’s only going to happen if you stay out of trouble.” I knew she was right.
I didn’t say anything for the rest of the trip. About an hour later, Carroll shouted with excitement, “Welcome to Kingsland!” I looked out the window. It was a small town with only one stop light. We passed a diner, a small grocery store, and about eighteen different collectable plate stores. I mentally groaned. We turned down a street called Peach. We stopped in front of a small one story house.
Carroll smiled, “Yeah, isn’t it cheery?”
“Oh, yeah.” I muttered sarcastically. This is hell.
We got out of the car and headed up the concrete walkway. Carroll rang the door bell while I stood behind her. A few minutes later a man answered the door. Carroll gave him a big smile, “Hey, Mr. Westcott.”
“It’s nice to see you again, Mrs. Sanders.” He stuck out his hand which she gladly took. “Well, come on in. Jane went to the store to pick up some things we forgot to get.”
Carroll strode forward into the house and I trailed behind her. We stopped in the small living room, just big enough to fit an arm chair, a couch, and an outdated entertainment center. Paul turned and smiled at me, “You must be Beckham.”
“He likes to be called Beck.” Carroll politely corrected him.
He smiled in response. “Well, Beck, Janie and I have been looking forward to your arrival. We got your bedroom all set up and everything.”
Paul Westcott was probably 45 years old. His light brown, almost blonde, hair was starting to grey slightly, and wrinkles started to appear around his hazel eyes. He was of medium build, not one of those fat old farts you’d typically expect from a football coach. I could tell the smile he wore was genuine. He was wearing a maroon collard shirt with the words Heritage Football stitched on the upper left in gold and dark wash jeans. “Do you like dogs, Beck?”
Carroll rolled her eyes and responded for me, “He likes dogs.”
I couldn’t stand the awkward small talk any longer. “I’m going to get my stuff.” I turned and headed outside back towards the car. I grabbed the black bags filled with my garbage and headed back inside. Once I reached the house, Paul directed me to the spare bedroom. I threw my stuff down on the floor at the foot of the bed.
The room looked like it belonged to the baby of the NFL and NASCAR. There were posters of every car known to man and its driver sprawled across the walls. The bed spread had the different logos of the NFL teams. On the dresser there was a football helmet signed by players from the Dallas Cowboys. There were different books on the shelves, held up by racecar book ends. It hurt my eyes to look at it all.
“Well, Beckham. I have to go.” Carroll gave me a good-bye hug, one that I didn’t give back and whispered in my ear, “remember what I said in the car.” She then smiled and left the house, leaving me alone with Paul Westcott.
A few minutes after we stood there awkwardly in silence, Paul broke the ice. “You don’t talk much do you?”
I shrugged, “got nothing to say.”
Paul nodded in understanding. “Do you like football?”
I shrugged. I never really watched it. Sports weren't really my thing.
“What do you like?” I didn’t respond. “Do you like to read? Jane likes to read, we have some great books if you want to read.”
I nodded, acknowledging what he said.
“Are you hungry?”
I shook my head and sat down on the bed.
“Is the bed comfortable enough? Do-.”
He gave me a puzzling look. “What are you talking about?”
“Nine. Just counting how many questions until you hit twenty.”
He got the hint that I wanted to be alone and left the room. I go up and started unloading my things into the drawers of the dresser. I placed my books and CDs on empty spaces on the self. It was the same routine as every other time I had to switch families. It didn’t take me long to organize my stuff, seeing as I didn’t have very much of it. After I was finished I put a paperback into my jacket pocket and headed out.
|Drew Roy||as Beckham O'Neil|
|Aaron Eckhart||as Paul Westcott|
|Diane Lane||as Jane Westcott|
|Austin Butler||as Tyler Locke|
|Alexandria Deberry||as Lacy Evans|
|Willa Holland||as Emmerson Stevens|
|Chris Pine||as Craig Stevens|