Second Chance

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Disowned by his family, forced to take care of his Dementia stricken aunt, Drake Solace must fight to earn the respect of the Easthaven Correctional Panthers and try and guide them to a State Championship. As he struggles he is met with adversity. Can Drake handle the weight or will he crumble?

Drama / Other
Neil Lakeman
5.0 2 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

" Good morning, Easthaven football fans! This is Deacon Paul, the minister of Easthaven football. Today is the day we all look forward to here in Easthaven, Texas. Our beloved Easthaven Timberwolves and the more disreputable Easthaven Correctional Panthers will have tryouts this week, better known as Hellfire and Brimstone week. Where the weak get cut, and the strong get the privilege of playing for one of the two mighty Easthaven football teams."

Drake Solace sat on his bed as he listened to the radio. The early morning sun was glaring through his window, bathing his room in light. He was tying up his cleats when he heard a knock on his bedroom door.

“ Come in,” he said in his thick Celtic Irish accent.

His aunt slowly pushed open his bedroom door. Standing at 5ft 7 the elderly pale-skinned woman had a narrow face with a square jaw, a hooked nose, ears that stick out, bony cheeks and small lips. She had thick dark eyebrows. Her black hair hung loosely. She had weak arms, a slender torso, and short legs.

“ Drake? Drake honey, you better get going.”

Drake looked at his aunt, “ I’m moving Susan.”

She smiled at him ” You’re going to enjoy Easthaven Correctional much more than Easthaven High. It’ll be a good fit for you after what happened.”

Drake nodded and stood up ” I’ll be back soon. Don’t forget to take your meds” he said. Susan nodded and left. Drake grabbed his keys off his dresser and took one last look at himself in the mirror.

He had a round face with a square jaw, a small nose, small ears and thin lips. His hazel eyes stared back at him and he has thin eyebrows. His short brown hair was nearly combed. He made sure he had what he needed and headed out to his Buick Park Avenue. Drake took one last look at his aunt’s run-down two-bedroom home, enjoying the chilly August morning before getting into his car and driving away.

" Coming back to lead the EasthavenTimberwolves is number three nationally ranked Quarterback Lance Solace. Now, this is his senior year with every top school in the nation looking to recruit him. I’m curious to hear what you people think; let’s go to the phones. Caller number one, you’re on the air; what do you have?” Deacon Paul asked on the car radio.

A gruff man’s voice answered,” Hey Paul, how ya doing? Now there’s no question that Lance is headed to the NFL one day but doesn’t he have a younger brother who is headed to that hellhole Easthaven Correctional?”

" You must mean former Timberwolf backup quarterback Drake Solace. Yes, he got busted this past winter with breaking and entering and will be going to Easthaven Correctional this year. Which should make the annual tune-up game between the Panthers and Timberwolves more interesting than usual. That game will take place-”

Drake stopped his car and got out. He slowly made his way to the locker room and noticed a line of other teenage guys. He quietly got in line and waited to get weighed on the scale. When it was his turn, he nodded a greeting to a middle-aged African-American man who appeared to be the head coach. He had a long face with a square jaw, a small nose, and puffy lips. His light blue eyes were deep set and he had thin eyebrows.

" You’re a new face here. What’s your name?” He said.

" Drake Solace,” he replied as another coach adjusted the scale.

“ 207,” The other coach said. The coach looked down at the clipboard he was holding and made a note.

“ What position you want to go out for?”

Drake waited a moment ” Uh, I played quarterback last year, so I guess that will do.”

The coach looked up at him

“ QB, huh? We’ll see about that. I’m Coach Miller. Good luck; you’ll need it.”

Drake gasped for air as he and the rest of the team ran up and down the stadium stands a few moments later.

“ Come on, boys, I ain’t got all day!” Coach Miller barked. The stair running was followed by running through the tires and other basic football drills. This continued for a while before Drake was led away with two other guys and was given a football. He started lobbing passes towards receivers running random patterns after two hours of drills and conditioning.

Coach Miller had the team gather around at the end of the two hour tryout.

“ Alright boys, that’s enough for today. I want you back here same time all week. Trust me when I say that not everyone is going to make it to become a Panther. I want you to go home tonight and ask yourself if you want this. If you really want this. If you don’t, that’s fine, no reason to be ashamed. I don’t want you wasting my time, and I don’t want to waste yours. Trust me, gentlemen, by the end of the week, I’m going to know who wants this or not”.

The next morning Drake stood in front of the Easthaven Correctional High School doors, waiting for a guard to search him and give him the okay to go on in. When it was his turn, a guard asked him for his ID. When Drake presented it to him, the guard waved him through. Drake noticed that the hallways were a total zoo; students fought and shoved to get somewhere. Drake hurried to his homeroom, where he was greeted by an older woman who seemed tired.

She looked at him wearily as he entered the classroom.

“ And who are you?” she asked.

" Uh, I’m Drake Solace.”

The teacher raised an eyebrow.

“ Oh yes, I’ve been expecting you. You’re late, but I’ll excuse it this time. I’m Miss Hawk. I couldn’t help but notice you’ve got an accent. Where are you from?”

" Belfast Ireland,” Drake answered, looking around the class.

From the back of the classroom, Drake noticed he was intensely stared at by a even 6 foot brown-eyed olive skinned Latina. She had a round face with a square jaw, well formed nose and small lips. Her long flowing black hair was shoulder length. Something about that stare made Drake feel like he was a fly in a spider’s web. ”

“ Well, take a seat anywhere you like,” Ms. Hawk said.

Drake nodded and took a seat in the back, aware of the eyes trailing him the whole time. The rest of the day went by in a hurry, and before Drake knew it, it was lunchtime. After getting his food, Drake sat at an empty table and was about to dig in when someone sat next to him. Drake jumped a little and looked to see the Latina from before.

“ I think you’re lost,” he said.

" No, I’m right where I want to be,” she said in an Australian accent ” So what’s your story? ”Drake was a little put off.

” I ain’t got a story,” he said.

" Bull,” the Latina said, staring at him. Everyone in this place has got one.”

" Really? What’s yours, then?” Drake asked.

" I asked you first, Leprechaun.”

Drake was taken aback. Who was this girl, and what did she want?! Drake didn’t get the chance to say anything before he was violently thrown from his seat. He scrambled up to see the Latina holding back a massive white guy with a scar over his right eye. He was massive, standing at 6ft 8. He had a triangular face with a rounded jaw, a large nose, and angled lips. His brown eyes were small and narrow.

His mousey brown hair, tipped with shades of dark brown, was short, straight and he had a goatee.

“ You talking to my girl?!” He yelled at Drake.

Drake’s first instinct was to start throwing punches but decided talking would be the better option.

“ She sat my table and started talking to me.”

The guy didn’t like that as he pushed the Latina out of the way and began to advance on Drake, who readied himself for a fight. However, before either boy could throw a punch, a 6ft 2 Native American male stepped between them, hands held up in a petition for mercy.

He had a wide face, a hooked nose, small lips, and his brown eyes were large. His hair was black, short, curly, and styled with a fade. His upper lip was pierced.

“ Oscar Oscar, chill out, man. My sis was just talking to him. No harm done.” The guy angrily looked at him.

“ Whatever. I see him doing it again; he’s dead,” he said, storming away. Drake aimed a middle finger salute at his back. Dick.

" All right, people show’s over!” The Native American shouted to the crowd that had gathered.

The crowd groaned, clearly hoping to see a fight but started to break up.

“ Hey Katrina, how bout you tell your man to cool it on the ’roids,” the Native American said.

" Screw you, King!” the Latina snapped and walked away. The Native American looked at Drake.

“ Sorry about that man. Oscar just gets heated sometimes, but he’s good people. My name’s James, but everyone calls me King. And that girl you just saw is my adopted sister, Katrina.”Drake shook his extended hand.

“ Name’s Drake. I saw you on the field yesterday.”

" Yep. I play Running Back and Middle Linebacker. You’re going out for QB, right?”

" I am,” Drake replied,” I’m nervous, truth be told. My competition outshined me during our last tryout. ”

" You weren’t that bad from what I saw. Just keep at it,” King said, then looked at the watch on his wrist. ” I’ll see you on the field. Good luck out there.”

Drake spent the rest of the week going to class and tryouts. Friday after the final tryout, everyone was gathered around Coach Miller.

“This weekend, I’ll be calling all of you to inform you if you made the team or not. Get some rest, cause if you made the team, you’re gonna need it.”

Drake had his eyes closed, enjoying the spray of the hat water in the shower. Loud rock music was blasting throughout the locker room. The rest of the team were either showering, dressing, or just hanging out; no one seemed to be in a hurry to go home. The last tryout had been extra brutal, with ten more suicides for a finale. Once Drake finished his shower, he dried off with his towel and dressed. He decided to drive around before heading home; he hadn’t made any friends since changing schools. In fact, the incident in the cafeteria was the most interaction he had with another student.

Drake drove through the outskirts of Easthaven, T Powell blasting through the car stereo. This was a favorite pastime of Drake’s, driving around on the deserted roads around the city of Easthaven, just thinking while listening to music. He knew he should be doing his Biology and Geometry homework, but he was reluctant to do so. Both were subjects he hated with every fiber of his being. He could just use Google for the Biology homework so that would be less of a chore than Geometry, a subject Drake was convinced was, in fact, a whole other language he was incapable of understanding. That homework would be an hour-long endeavor, if not more.

Once the sun started to set, Drake decided to head home; it was almost time for the first New Orleans Saints’ game of the NFL season. Perhaps he and his aunt Susan could watch the game together, order a pizza and maybe some wings. He and his aunt were avid Saints fans. Drake met his aunt Susan when his mom married his step-dad, and he was getting to know his side of the family. When he met Susan, the two had clicked and bonded over their mutual love for the Saints. Drake still had the videotape of Super Bowl 44 when the Saints had won their first, and presently only, Lombardi Trophy when they were able to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17. Drake parked in the driveway, looking forward to his night. His optimism evaporated when he noticed three men from across the street after he got out of his car.

They were eyeing him down, dressed like street thugs. Drake knew the side of the city he lived in had a serious gang problem. In fact, two gangs were currently in a dispute over the neighborhood he lived in. One was the Death Riders, who claimed the colors black, gold, and red. Their rivals were the Easthaven Mafia, who claimed the colors blue, white and green. As Drake saw one of them reach for his waistband, his eyes never leaving Drake’s did the Ireland native remember he was wearing a Saints jersey. Oh shit! Drake thought as he took cover behind his open car door.

Suddenly he heard a gunshot and swore loudly in Celtic. Glass shattered around him as more gunshots filled the air. Drake reached under his driver’s seat and grabbed the Glock he kept in his car for this very reason. The first lesson he had learned when he moved in with his aunt was to keep a weapon nearby at all times. He returned fire whenever he was able to, aiming for their knees or shoulder. His goal was to wound, not kill.

" Ah! Son of a!” Drake suddenly yelled as he dropped behind the other side of his car again. His right hand felt like he had burnt it; the burning sensation soon had a stinging sensation. When Drake checked on it, he saw blood oozing as if he had badly scrapped it. Just a graze. That was too close.

Drake tensed when he heard sirens. The three people ran off, and Drake leaned his head against the car and heaved a sigh of relief. He stood up to face the cops who were walking towards his car, guns drawn.

“ Officers,” he said, holding his hands up after making sure he left the gun on the ground.

“Are you okay?!” one of the cops asked.

" Yes sir. I’m very grateful you’re here. Drake said, slightly trembling. The adrenaline that had flooded through his body was receding, being replaced with the realization he almost died.

" What’s your name?” asked the cop’s female partner.

" Drake Solace, ma’am.”

" What happened here?” the first cop asked.

" I was shot at by three men I’m pretty sure were gang-related,” Drake said. As Drake answered more of the cops’ questions, he offered up a silent prayer of thanks that he was unharmed other than his hand. And that he was left-handed.

" Were you shot Drake?” the female cop asked.

" Shot no but I was grazed,” Drake said, showing the officers his hand.

The cops looked at his hand, then the male cop spoke.

“ We’ll take you in, get you patched up. You got a record Solace?”

Drake nodded, ” yes, sir, I do.”

The male cop went back to the cop car for a few moments as Drake described his attackers to the female cop to the best of his ability. The male cop came back.

“ You own a gun Solace?”

" Yes, sir,” Drake said, feeling a pit open in his stomach. He knew where this was going, and it wasn’t anywhere near good. The police looked at each other then back at him.

” Okay. Come with us sir. We’ll have officers remain here with your aunt for the time being.

Drake nodded and followed the cops, wincing when he heard his aunt’s wails from inside the house. A surge of anger coursed through his body. He wasn’t as concerned with him as he was his aunt. She was in no condition to be disturbed with matters such as these. As the cop car drove away from his house, Drake found himself praying again. Praying that the men who had done this got what they deserved.

Drake sat in the hospital as he looked at his bandaged hand. He was waiting for the cops that had brought him there to come back and most likely to jail for violating his probation for owning a gun.

“ Drake! Drake, you okay?”

He looked up to see Coach Miller hurrying towards him.

“ Hey coach, the cops managed to get ahold of you, huh?”

" Yes they did. I was hoping to have a movie night with my family, but when they told me what happened, I decided this had to be taken care of. How are you?” Coach Miller asked, sitting next to him. Drake sighed.

“ A little rattled. And to make this night even worse, Seattle kicked a field goal in the waning seconds of the game to beat my boys 34-33 tonight. I’m more upset about that than anything. Other than that, I’m okay.”

" Coach, can I speak with you?” a cop asked. Coach Miller nodded and patted Drake on the shoulder before following the cop. The officer looked at Coach Miller.

“ I’m afraid I’m going to have to take him in. He violated his probation.”

" Now wait, hold on,” Coach Miller said ” Now I understand he was on probation, but he was attacked. What was he supposed to do, let himself get killed?” The cop sighed.

“ I don’t want to have to take him in. I understand the situation he was in; I’m in it nearly every day. But the law is the law, and he’s not the only one of your guys going to jail tonight.” Coach Miller frowned.

“ What do you mean?” The cop looked down at a notepad in his hand.

“ Paul Owens and Joe Hook got picked up for armed robbery a few hours ago.” Coach Miller groaned.

“ Great! Those two were my Quarterbacks! If you take Solace, I don’t have a QB this season. Has the kid made mistakes? Course he has. But he’s a good kid. He shows up on time, he does whatever I ask of him, and he hasn’t given the school any problems either. All I’m asking is to give the kid another chance.”The cop stared at Coach Miller.

“ Okay. Just let him know this is the very last chance he gets, and the only reason I’m giving it to him is that this was self-defense.”

" I will. Thank you, officer,” Coach Miller said in relief. The two shook hands then went back over to the nervous Drake.

" Mister Solace, we’re going to overlook you violated your probation. You can thank your coach. Have a good night.”

" Thank you so much, sir!” Drake said in relief. The cop nodded and walked away, leaving Drake and Coach Miller to talk. ” Thanks, Coach.”

" Come with me,” he said. Drake nodded and followed him, thanking God yet again under his breath. The two exited the hospital got in Coach Miller’s car. They both kept silent as Coach Miller started driving.

“ How’s your hand?” Coach Miller asked him after several minutes.

" It’s okay,” Drake replied.

Coach Miller stopped at a small diner called Lil’ Mae’s.

“ Let’s go; I want to talk to you.”

Drake nodded and followed him inside.

“ Sir, I don’t have money to pay for this so-”

" Don’t worry about it, I’ll pay your bill,” Coach Miller said.

Drake nodded and sat across from the coach. After they ordered and got their food, Coach Miller stared at Drake.

“ Trey and Joe got locked up. I got no Quarterback now. You’re all I got, but before I trust you, I need you to tell me about yourself. I know this wasn’t your fault, but I need to know if your gang-related or if this is gonna happen again.”

Drake picked at his food, not feeling hungry. He didn’t like talking about his past; he tried to pretend it didn’t exist. Still, he owed Coach Miller a lot already.

“ Okay, so, me and my brother were born in Belfast, Ireland. I don’t remember too much about it because we were just little kids when we immigrated here. We moved after my old man was murdered and came here to Easthaven. It was here that me and my brother started playing football, and my mom met Brian Solace, our stepdad.

Life pretty much sucked after that. My stepdad he’s God’s gift to the world. My mom and step-dad always preferred my brother over me due to his athletic skill. You probably heard of my brother. That insufferable prick, Lance Solace. He's the all-star quarterback of the Timberwolves everyone in this city loves." Drake said, venom entering his voice.

" Then I got myself in trouble for breaking and entering. I had nowhere to go once I was released. I wasn't welcome at home but luckily my aunt took me in. I'm eighteen now, I know I'm old for a junior but I had to repeat the seventh grade once. So there you go, there's my story."

Coach Miller was silent for a moment.

“ I’m sorry to hear that. Why’d you do it?”

Drake tensed. This was the part he hated. He fought to keep his voice steady.

“ That is easily the biggest mistake of my life. It was in the winter of my Freshman year. I was hanging out with a few guys. We wanted beer, but of course, we couldn’t buy it. So one of the guys directed us to a house that he said always had some, and the owners were never home. So we went there.

Except the homeowners were home on this night. We surprised them, and one of the guys had a gun. He shot them both while I just stood there and watched. They didn’t make it. The others ran away, but I didn’t. The cops found me failing to do CPR on them, and I was arrested on the spot. I regret it to this day, and I doubt I’ll ever be able to look myself in the mirror again.

I was offered a deal. If I testified against the others I was with; I would only have to spend the remainder of my Freshman year and my entire Sophomore year in Jun Hall. It was a deal I was happy to take. I was released last May."

Coach Miller looked down and didn't say a word for a while. When he spoke again, he lifted his head and looked Drake in the eye.

“ You made a mistake, and it’s crucial you understand that. I appreciate your honesty; therefore, I’ll respond in kind and be honest with you. Initially, you did not make the team. But now, I need you. You’re all I got for a quarterback. Can I trust you?" Drake nodded.

“ Yes sir.”

" If I let you on the team, you need to agree to a few conditions. Number one, you need to maintain a 2.5 Grade Point Average. You will attend each of your classes. You will not get in trouble with the law, and on game day, you will wear a jacket and tie. Do you accept?"

" I do, sir," Drake said.

" Good. Welcome to the team, son."

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Further Recommendations

Heather: I loved this story line. I can’t wait to read the other books with this series. I do agree that it could have lore detail about gaining trust and such but it was a great read.

kessosiyoma3: I would recommend it to my girlfriend..we both loves reading novels and she also introduced some that she had read to me…I’m glad I came across yours 1st.

Josie Really: Loved it. Confused by the end

monicamcurry: I love the story but we are just left hanging. Where is the rest of the story?

LiquidGold: Really good! Love football! Thank you for sharing! 💞💞💞

mayra: I like the narrative and all but the author really needed to make the protagonist a little more resentful towards her husband he did treat her really bad isn the beginning but in stead here love grew for him or at least we could of read her POV but even so I'm enjoying it.

trishbertram09: Can’t wait to read the next one.

Columbine Pirouette: Sweet and charming novel! It was a pleasure reading it. 👍👍

burnt2: Really easy read from start to finish. I was hooked and couldn’t put it down until the end. Looking forward to the second instalment.

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g0dDesZ0LiT3: I absolutely love, love, LOVE, this story!!! It had me laughing, raging, tearing up and saying “aaaawww!” …. Did I mention that I LOVE THIS STORY?!! Goodness me, the author, Kristifer Ann deserves more recognition for her work!!!This is an ingenious script of hope, brutality, survival, struggle, ...

Nicola: Wow wow wow.. fantastic.. story lines.. and plot twists. I love it

maggiev8mv: My favorite yet!!! You are developing well am looking forward to continuing to follow your journey. Thanks for sharing your talent

maggiev8mv: I enjoyed this story. You keep the pace going and added lots of plot twists.Only criticism would be there are places more detail would enhance the story. But that's just my opinion. I'm off to read the next story. Thank you for sharing

maggiev8mv: I enjoyed book 1, book 2 freaking loved it. A tad predictable, but the writing style and storytelling skills made up for it. Thank you for sharing your story!!! Now Book 3!!

Peter: Good story line very good characters all round, well done fights, good but ot mushy love story. The author seems to be Good.

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