Chapter 39 | A Test As Old As Time
𝐍 𝐎 𝐀 𝐇
Walking through USC campus, I make my way towards the sports center on campus where Coach’s office is located. People say hello as I walk past and I greet them back. Although some are strangers and only know me by my name from being well known as the quarterback for the football team. After finishing my last class of the day, coach had requested for me to come to his office to discuss something important. Even though the season is over, we still spend a good majority of time on the practice field and in the football gym to keep in shape and play for fun. Along with helping coach decide on the new freshman players that will join when we leave.
Knocking on the door of his office, he shouts for me to enter, and I walk in. Coach sits behind the desk and sitting opposite is a man.
“You wanted to see me, coach,” I offer, as I close the door behind me. They both stand up and as the man turns towards me, I recognize him as Bill Belichick, the head coach for the New England Patriots.
“Ah, Noah, yes. I hope we’re not disrupting your day. I know this is last minute,” Coach apologizes, and I shake my head.
“Nah, you’re good, I finished for the day.”
“Well, I’m sure you already know the head coach for the Patriots. Bill, this is Noah Jackson, star quarterback at USC,” Coach introduces, and I shake the hand of Belichick.
“Nice to meet you, Noah. I came down to watch a few of your games. Congratulations on winning the championship. I’m sure a lot of teams have expressed interest in you,” Bill says as we all sit down.
I nod. “A few, yeah. Chargers, cowboys, steelers.”
“Everyone always knew you’d be in high demand, the next Tom Brady people are saying. I’m going to cut to the chase, we’re interested in drafting you for our team. Now the draft is unpredictable, but we’d like you to come down to our stadium for a week and train with the team. Get a feel for it, see how you like it there.”
My eyes widen. “That would be awesome.”
“Great. Let’s make it happen then,” He says before we talk about when I can travel to Massachusetts working around my schedule. An hour later, I’m walking across campus to meet Ava when she comes out of her lecture. Seeing Liv and Ava walk out of their building and making their way to the parking lot, I run to catch up with them and I throw my arms around Ava’s neck from behind. Resulting in her jumping and turning to see me.
“You scared me,” She tells me and I laugh. “I thought your lecture ended hours ago?”
I move to her side, wrapping my arm around her shoulders as she hugs me. “It did but coach called me into his office to talk about something,” I say and she looks up at me, wondering what it is. “You’re so nosy.”
She pouts before Liv speaks up. “Is this how Nick and I look? If so, yikes. Nick is picking me up but he’s at the other parking lot. So I’ll see you guys later.”
Liv waves before heading off, and Ava turns to me. “Now will you tell me?”
“Apparently the New England Patriots are interested in me. They’ve won six super bowls.”
“Well, of course they’d want you, you’re amazing, but I am a little bias,” She says kissing me “I’m so proud of you.”
“They’re based in Massachusetts, they invited me up there one weekend to train with them.”
“That’s far away from L.A,” Ava says, and I nod my head. “Do you think they’ll draft you?” She asks, and I shrug.
“Honestly, I don’t know, I mean there are other teams that could beat them, it just depends on what happens during the draft, I don’t know where I’ll end up,” I say and she smiles sadly. “We’ll work it out. They said I can bring someone too. How would you feel about flying out with me for the week?”
“I can’t, I have assignments due in the next few days. But I can fly out at the weekend instead. We can think of this as a test of long distance,” She wraps her arms around my waist, looking up at me.
“The weekend it is then. It will be fine,” I reassure her, kissing her head and she nods, biting her lip. “Coming with me to my parents? I have to tell them about this.”
She nods her head, and we make our way to the parking lot.
As my family, Ava and I sit around the dining table, digging into the food my mom made, the conversation revolves around my upcoming trip to Massachusetts. Being away from my family for a week and then away from Ava for some time will be an example of what may happen if I’m drafted to another state. It isn’t like I’m worried about Ava and I breaking up. Long distance is hard though, especially with the three-hour time difference between the coasts, and our different schedules.
I run my hand over hers under the table. She has been quiet ever since I told her the news. I know she will support me and is extremely happy for me, but also worried about managing to keep contact with our schedules and the time differences.
“So, this trip, what’s it for?” Grandma asks. “You know I don’t understand all this football mumbo jumbo.”
“It’s just so I can train with the team, get an idea of what it would be like at the stadium and around the city if I got drafted for them, it’s supposed to make you feel more at ease,” I explain.
“Free trip I’m in! Where are my cases?” She asks. Standing up.
“Grandma, I only have one extra ticket and Ava is flying out in a couple days. You can come visit if I get drafted,” I say, and she smiles.
“This would be amazing for your career if you started out in the Patriots, they’ve won six Super Bowls which is the most anyone has won. Beside the Steelers but they’ve won the same amount, and the Patriots won the last one,” Liam explains and I nod. “I expect free game tickets.”
We all laugh before carrying on with our dinner. Once finished and we help tidy up, Ava and I say goodbye before heading back to my apartment. Heading into my bedroom and preparing for bed, Ava is lied in it as I walk out of the bathroom and I climb in next to her.
“You’re quiet,” I observe as I bring her into my arms, and she rests her head on my chest.
“Just thinking, long distance can be hard. I don’t mean in terms of trust I mean like the time differences, and then our different schedules.”
I sigh. “Yeah, I know. It won’t be easy. Think of these next few days as a test.”
“I’m proud of you. I don’t want you to think I’m not, I’m just a little scared of the distance and what it could do to us,” She voices her thoughts and I hold her tighter.
We lay in silence for a few moments before she lifts her head up, looking down at me as her blonde hair falls down the side acting as a barrier as she leans down to kiss me as if reassurance that we’ll be ok. She cuddles back into my side, and I kiss her head as she drifts off to sleep.