Clear Eyes Full Heart

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Chapter 7

The phone rang at six on Saturday morning. Drake opened up an eye and answered the phone. ” Hello?” he murmured. ” Hello, I’m looking for Drake Solace?” “That’d be me,” Drake said, sitting up. ” Whose on the phone?” Katrina asked sleepily. ” Hello Mister Solace I am William Stevens, and I’m with Virginia Tech. We’d like you to come down to visit our campus sometime; what do you say?” Drake rubbed his eyes and shook his head ” um, I’ll think about it.” ” Alright, I look forward to hearing from you; have a good day.” ” You too, sir. Thank you,” Drake said and hung up the phone. He laid back down and felt Katrina’s arm around his chest, ” so you gonna tell me who that was?” she murmured. ” All I am going to tell you is that recruiting season is here,” Drake said closing his eyes

Just then, the phone rang again. ” Tell them to go away,” Katrina said. ” Can’t do that, this is my future we’re talking about,” Drake said, answering the phone and getting out of bed, wearing only a T-shirt and boxers. ” Hello?” ” Hello, I’m looking for Drake Solace?” ” That’s me,” Drake said, noticing Katrina sitting up and folding her arms. ” Hello Mister Solace, my name is Kevin Bains, and I represent the University of Alabama. We would love for you to come by and visit us; we think you’d be an excellent fit for our school.” ” Alabama,” Drake asked, shocked a school he had been watching since he was just a kid would be calling him. ” Yes, sir, what do you say?” ” Uh... I dunno, can I get to back to once I’ve had some time to think?” ” Of course, take all the time you need.” ” Alright thank you, sir, have a good day.” ” You too sir and tell your coach that we here at Alabama are praying for him.” ” I will sir; thank you.”

Drake looked at Katrina ” that was Alabama,” he said. ” Honey, I think we should talk,” Katrina said. Drake held up his finger as the phone rang yet again. He answered it, ” hello?” ” Hello, is Drake Solace there?” ” Um, yes sir, speaking.” ” Ah good, how are you doing?” ” Good, good; how are you?” ” I’m fine. Drake, my name is Adam Brown, and I am calling you to invite you down to Auburn University for a visit.” ” Auburn huh?” Drake asked, ” I mean... can I have some time to think about it?” ” Of course.” ” Thank you, sir” ” No problem, have a good day.” Drake hung up the phone and turned back to his slightly agitated girlfriend. ” I’m sorry, you were saying?” ” I’m saying that before-” The phone rang again causing Katrina to throw her arms up in frustration. Drake answered the phone once more, ” hello?” ” Yes, may I speak to Drake Solace please?” ” That’d be me,” Drake said. ” Oh hello Mister Solace, how are you doing?” ” I’m doing fine. How are you?” ” I’m doing good. My name is Brent Reynolds, and on behalf of the University of Michigan, I would like to extend an offer for you to come down for a visit.” ” Michigan huh?”

" Nuh-uh,” Katrina said. ” No way, I am not moving to Michigan, you tell that man no.” ” Listen, can I have some time to think about it?” Drake asked. ” Of course, I look forward to hearing from you. Goodbye, son, have a good day.” ” You too, bye sir,” Drake said, hanging up the phone and looking at Katrina ” what do you have against Michigan?” ” You ever hear of Flint?” Katrina asked, rolling her eyes and got out of bed. She was putting on her robe when the phone rang again. ” Hello?” Drake asked, answering it. ” Yes, is Drake Solace there?” ” I’m Drake Solace,” Drake replied, watching Katrina walk out of the bedroom in a huff. ” Hello Mister Solace, I am Patrick Stevenson, and I am calling you on behalf of Portland University. How would you feel about a trip to see us?” ” ” Would you mind giving me some time to consider your offer?” ” Of course, take all the time you need.” ” Thank you.”

Drake walked to the kitchen to see Katrina giving him an annoyed look. ” What’s that for?” ” Hm, maybe because people won’t stop calling our house?” ” Well yeah, perhaps because colleges are interested in me Katrina. This is what I’ve worked for since I was a kid.” ” Oh yeah, really nice goal,” Katrina said. ” What exactly is your problem?” Drake asked, ” I thought you’d be happy.” Just then the phone rang again, but before Drake could answer it, Katrina unplugged it. Drake sighed and folded his arms ” I don’t know why you’re so angry.” ” Oh really? Maybe I don’t like people calling my house at six in the morning talking to my boyfriend and future father of my children and acting like they can just whisk him away by promising him things like, I don’t know!” Drake stared at her ” you knew this was coming. Look, this is my senior year, this is what I used to get up at five in the morning and train for two hours before school for. And if that upsets you, I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to be upset. This is the way it is.”

Just then Drake’s cell phone rang and Katrina gave him a death glare ” I swear if you answer that,” Drake checked the caller ID ” it’s your brother. Can I talk to your brother without you throwing a fit? Thank you madame” Drake said, voice oozing with sarcasm before answering his phone. ” Yeah?” ” Hey Drake, imagine my surprise, I thought you’d still be in bed wearing your tightie whites man. You’re never up this early.” ” Yeah well, I’ve been getting phone calls.” ” Ah, you too? Man, the world has been blowing up the King’s phone man. I’m heading to your place now; we got work to do.” ” What do you mean?” ” Do I have to spell everything out for you? We’re commodities man; we played like gods last night, no way we ain’t making that list. So I’m headed over, and we’re going to go for a seven-mile run then we’re hitting the gym.” ” Alright sounds good.”

Drake got in the shower, got dressed, and passed the time waiting for King by doing situps in the backyard. When King got to the house Katrina flung open the door, pointed to the backdoor, flipped it off, and stormed off. King exhaled as he walked to the backyard,” She’s pissed man.” ” Tell me something I don’t know,” Drake said. ” What’s her deal?” ” I dunno man, I think she just didn’t get enough sleep.” Just then Katrina walked to the door ” hey King, tell your idiot friend that if he can be bothered to think about anything but some stupid game for five seconds, we’re out of milk.” King raised an eyebrow as Katrina stormed off again ” damn. She’s furious at you Solace. You’re in the doghouse, my friend. If you need to crash someplace, you can come stay on my couch.” ” You’re very funny.” Out of the corner of his eye, Drake could see Katrina sharpening a knife. ” Oooooh,” King said, ” I haven’t seen her this pissed in a long time.” ” Is it bad that I’m even more attracted to her when she’s like this?” Drake asked. ” Dude, that’s, that’s just wrong,” King said. ” You know that’s my sister right?” ” You’re the one that advocated we get together in the first place," Drake reminded King. ” Still man.” ” Let’s just run.”

They went for a seven-mile run, hit the weights at the gym, and ran through their playbook before grabbing lunch. Drake checked his phone and grimaced, ” dude, she blew my phone up, and I haven’t gotten back to her.” ” Sure, you want to go home? I think you’ll be safer in a bomb shelter,” King said. ” It’ll be fine; once she’s calmed down, I’ll talk to her.” ” Better you than me.” ” So how’s Tasha dealing with all these phone calls?” King sat back ” my mom doesn’t get it. All I’ve been hearing is how I need to focus more on education and stop putting football first.” ” What you’d say?” Drake asked. ” I keep telling her that this is my dream; this is what I’ve always wanted.” ” Look, I mean no disrespect but Katrina and Tasha don’t seem to get it. We’re not just doing this for us; we’re doing it for them. You and I, we need to make it to the NFL.” ” You’re damn right we do. What they don’t understand is it ain’t about fame and women for us. We’re doing this because we have people who are going to depend on us. You and Katrina are tying down the knot, June right?” ” August. August first.” ” Exactly. And I’ve got my mom and Emily.” ” Speaking of which, when am I gonna get to meet her?” ” You’ll meet her soon enough Solace. This Sunday afternoon at the lawn party. After all, that’s when we find out where we place on the list. Speaking of which, can I get you to do me a favor?” ” What?” ” I need you to head to the store and pick a few things up for me.” ” Sure, I can do that.” ” I appreciate it, man.”

A few hours later, Drake was in the supermarket with Katrina. ” So you done being mad at me?” Drake asked. ” I suppose,” Katrina said. ” Ah, come on, please?” Drake asked, hugging her from behind. Katrina sighed but smiled, ” okay.” They finished shopping and were in line to check out when a middle-aged man walked over to them ” Mister Solace?” ” Uh, yes sir?” Drake asked. ” Luke Hardy. I represent Texas A&M.” ” Oh, it’s nice to meet you,” Drake said, shaking his hand. ” Nice to meet you too. I’ve been following your career ever since you were in JV and I said to myself that you were going to be something. Here, let me buy your groceries.” ” Oh no, it’s fine sir, I can get it.” ” Don’t be ridiculous; I’d be happy to buy groceries for one of the best Quarterbacks in the state.” ” Well, I appreciate it,” Drake said. Meanwhile, Katrina just rolled her eyes and walked off. Drake watched her go and mentally kicked himself, shit! ” Everything okay?” Luke asked. ” Oh, uh, yes sir, sorry.”

Sunday

King had the whole team over for his party Sunday afternoon, ESPN was cranked on full blast as Drake and King waited to see if they had made the list. Ever since Drake had run into Luke at the supermarket, Katrina had given him the cold shoulder. Finally, after what seemed like forever, Mark Davis appeared on the screen. ” Hey, Y’all turn it down!” King shouted. The house which had been louder a second ago became so quiet you could hear a pin drop. ” Hello I’m Mark Davis, and this is my top 50 seniors that college HAVE to sign!” The team waited breathlessly as Mark began to rattle off names, including Samson Myers at #34 and James Furgeson at #27. Finally, after what seemed like forever, Drake was named at #15, and King was named at #5. The team went wild and turned on the music as loud as it could. ” We’re gonna have colleges begging us to join them, baby!” King shouted and gave Drake a bro hug.

While the team celebrated, Katrina joined Tasha outside who was grilling ” hey mom.” ” Hey Katrina, how are you?” ” Good. You need any help?” ” No, I got it. I’ll tell you what, once this is over, your brother is cleaning all this up.” Katrina sighed, which caused Tasha to look at her ” something wrong?” ” What, no! Nothing.” ” Honey, I know when you’re lying,” Tasha said. Katrina sat at the picnic table and folded her arms ” these stupid recruiters won’t leave Drake alone. They’re calling him, they’re visiting him at our house, and he’s buying into it. He’s been acting different mom. King is just a knucklehead, I expect it from him, but Drake is acting like he’s some celebrity.”

Tasha sat down next to Katrina, ” have you told him it upsets you?” ” I’ve tried, but all he does is say I don’t understand.” Tasha gave her a look of sympathy ” I’m sorry. I know it’s rough, I’ve been trying to get King to focus more on what kind of education he’ll get, but all he thinks about is going to the NFL. And I think it’s because deep down all they want to do is take care of us and achieve their dreams. I know I’ll get through to King eventually but with Drake; It’s important you be patient with him. Remember unlike you and King; he didn’t get to have a childhood. I know Drake cares about you a lot.” ” I’m just... I’m just scared he’s going to get lost in how everyone treats him like he’s some god come to earth just because he plays football and leaves me behind.” ” I understand but remember. King and Drake said they’d let us have a say in what school they decide to go to. We just have to trust them. Again, I’ll get through to King. As for Drake, he’ll come around.” ” Mom, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. He has no clue. And it’s so hard seeing him try to make this work when he has no one to guide him.” Tasha sighed, ” Just remember, King had a father to guide him; Drake did not. Besides, there is someone who he’d listen to.”

On Friday morning, Drake was sitting through another boring calculus lecture, wishing school would end so he could work out some of his pre-game jitters. He was feeling more nervous than usual, practices hadn’t been the smoothest, and he had recruiters from big schools that were going to be there, schools that would help him get into the pros. And the fact he was one of the highest-ranked Quarterbacks in the nation didn’t help matters. Suddenly a message on the PA sounded ” Drake Solace and James Sawyer to the office, Drake Solace and James Sawyer to the office.” Drake stood up and grabbed his stuff and headed to the office. He met King halfway there who looked confused. ” Damn it King, what did you do?” ” I didn’t do anything! What’d you do?” ” Nothing!” They went to the office and were directed to the conference room where Tasha, Katrina, and Coach Miller and Coach Bud were waiting for them.

" Coach?” Drake asked, ” what’s going on?” ” Have a seat you two,” Coach Miller said. King and Drake did as instructed and looked around. Katrina spoke up, ” you two know why you’re here?” ” Because you guys missed seeing us because we’re awesome?” King asked. Katrina made a face, ” how about you take something besides football seriously for once?” Coach Bud took over ” Tasha and Katrina here are concerned about this recruiting mess and frankly so am I. You two have been acting stupid over this, Drake, I heard you cut Chemistry to meet with someone from Clemson?” ” No one cares about Chemistry. Besides, I’ve got an A in that class.” ” That doesn’t mean you can just blow it off. If you weren’t my only choice for Quarterback, I’d bench you for tonight.” Coach Bud said sternly. Tasha looked at King ” Now you know better; you were raised right James. If your father were still alive, you know he’d tell you the same.” ” Mom, I know what I’m doing.” ” Oh, do you?” ” Yeah.”

" Alright, what happens if you two get hurt?” Katrina asked. ” Not going to happen,” Drake said. ” But let’s just say it does, what then?” Drake sat back and thought about it, ” I suppose... I could always work the street corner.” King laughed and high fived Drake ” Y’all know my boy Drake here would make a great hooker!” ” That’s not funny,” Katrina said. ” Of course it is,” King said. ” We give him a short skirt and a nice little top, and I think he could make some money!” ” Will you two stop and take this seriously?!” Katrina yelled. Drake looked at her ” you’re asking us what if something happens, I don’t deal with what-ifs Katrina, you know that.” ” King, Drake, I think you two should listen to these two. You owe it to them to listen.” Coach Miller said. ” Fine, we’ll hear them out,” King said. Katrina sighed loudly, ” about time.” Tasha spoke up ” we just think that you boys are getting too much into this and we’re worried that you’ll let all this attention go to your heads. Now you boys do deserve it, you’re state champions after all, but we don’t you two to go overboard.”

" And we understand that it’s just-” ” Alright you wanna get real, let’s get real,” King said. ” Yeah, we’re loving this. We’re seniors; this is our year. We have schools like Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma, Alabama, Auburn, Flordia, schools that are going to make sure we go pro. So we are going to do what we need to make sure that happens.” ” What about Philadelphia State University?” Coach Miller asked. ” PSU?” Drake asked. ” They were in the National Championship last year. They’d help you go pro; they have at least seven members of their starting squads each year in the NFL draft,” Coach Miller said. ” They haven’t talked to us yet.” ” Besides, we’re holding out for USC,” King said. ” Alright let me tell you boys everything I know about the program they got there at USC,” Coach Miller said. ” They have the top Quarterback in the nation right now, Samuel Rollins who is only a Sophmore. Drake that means at least two years on the bench for you. Plus, his back-up has already mastered that offense so that’s another year, which means it’d be at least three years before you step foot on that turf. King, the same story, they’re stacked at Tailback right now. If you boys want to go pro, you need to give yourself a chance to be seen.”

" Look, Drake,” Katrina said, ” I know this is what you want and I’m behind you all the way, but you two need to quit being stupid.” ” You're stupid,” King said. ” I will cut you!” Drake chuckled ” alright we hear what you are saying. We’ll take it easy, alright?” ” One last thing you two,” Coach Miller said ” keep your heads on straight. Don’t give a verbal too soon. These recruiters are going to pressure you, don’t let them. You two have a lot of talent and have very bright futures ahead of you. Don’t listen to all these recruiters who promise you all these different things. You listen to the people who love you, who care about you and you listen to yourselves. Understand?” ” Yes sir.” ” Alright. Good luck tonight.”

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