Life is Good Todaybywoodmanone©
There are no graphic sex scenes in this story.
All constructive comments and criticisms are welcome and appreciated. If you like the story; please let me know. If you didn't like the story please let me know why. Critiques will help me grow and become a better writer. Thanks for reading my work and ENJOY.
My inspiration for this story is the song "Toes in the Water" by the Zac Brown Band.
I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand
Life is good today. Life is good today.
Life is good today. Six years ago, I wouldn't have said or believed that statement. At that time I thought my life sucked and the world was a place I didn't care to be a part of. Things change with time and maturity. I'm 26 and like to think that I have learned some important things in the intervening years.
I'm sitting here with my toes in the water of the Pacific Ocean and my ass in the sand of a private beach on the island of Maui. As the sun sets I think back over the last six years of my life. Whatever it was before, Life is good today.
You have no idea what I'm talking about so let me explain and tell you my story.
The back ground for my story starts in my senior year in high school. Oh, I'm William Andrew Riley, better known as Drew. I was a better than average student, in fact I ranked second in my class and was offered an academic scholarship to the University of Missouri in Columbia.
It's a good thing because I would have never gotten a full ride scholarship because of my football skills. As a 6 feet and 180 pound tight end, I just didn't have the size or speed to be a top prospect for any school.
What I did posses was a lot of "want to". I ran very disciplined routes and had great hands; if the ball was catchable I would usually come down with it. I was also very good at blocking for running plays or protecting the quarter back.
Because of these skills, I was offered a partial football scholarship, and coupled with the academic one everything but spending money would be taken care of at college. These two offers made it possible for me to go to the University of Missouri.
I was very fortunate to get these scholarships because my parents couldn't afford to send me to U of M for all four years. My folks were and are great people and wanted to help as much as they could. But I had four younger siblings; twin brothers and twin sisters so there wasn't a lot of extra money.
I was the oldest of the five children. My brothers and I were planned; although, the folks hadn't planned on my brothers being twins. The twin girls that came next were sort of a surprise package. After my sisters were born, steps were taken. I don't know which one, but Mom or Dad was "fixed". No more surprises, Dad said the Riley clan was large enough.
Without the scholarships, my first two years of college would have been at a local junior college and maybe my parents would be able to help me with the last two years at UM. I planned to major in Computer Sciences specializing in Systems Analyzes. I didn't really fit the stereotype of a computer nerd, but that's what I was.
Even though I wasn't one of the starters on the team, I still "hung" with the most popular click of jocks, cheerleaders, and groupies. These groupies didn't care that much about football or athletics; they just wanted to be with the elite group of the school. Boy, as a group we were egotistical and spoiled!
I was "running" with Jackie Swanson, a voluptuous auburn haired beauty with huge green eyes. She wasn't a groupie or cheerleader but her infectious good nature and her Miss America looks garnered a place with the "in" crowd for her. Jackie was much more than a pretty face though; she was witty and intelligent.
To watch her walk across a room was a study of one of God's perfect works. Have you ever noticed that women, especially attractive ones, don't just walk? They sort of glide and I have no idea how they get their hips to move that way.
Jackie was a virgin when we met, but after our Senior Prom she lost that label. My fault, or good luck, however you want to look at it. In fairness to me, Jackie was a very willing participant in what we did. After that we were almost joined at the hip. We didn't make love all the time but we did enjoy each other several times. That summer after my senior year was the best two and a half months of my young life.
My dad is sort of cool, even though he can embarrass the hell out of me sometimes. Three or four days after the Senior Prom, he called me out to the garage as I was getting ready to go pick up Jackie.
He handed me a paper bag and told me not to be stupid or reckless and to think about my partner. As he left I looked into the bag and saw several packages of condoms. See, a cool guy but embarrassing.
Jackie and I never really discussed our relationship. It was enough that we were together and we both knew I would be leaving for school in the fall. We both sort of took it for granted that we would continue seeing each other and the future could take care of its self.
When I went to Columbia to start college, I left Jackie behind in St. Louis. Her mother was a single parent and she was a lot like my folks. She couldn't afford to send Jackie to a big college away from home because the room, board, and tuition were just too expensive. Jackie went to a local junior college and lived at home.
The University of Missouri at Columbia is about a two and a half hour drive from my home in St. Louis. So Jackie and I carried on a long distance relationship. I would come home every weekend after my last class on Friday and stay until early Monday morning. During my visits, Jackie and I would spend as much time together as possible.
We had weekend long dates, doing things and going everywhere together. Jackie and I tried to wear out the back seat of my car a few times or any other place that we could get some privacy. Not being together every day during the week made our weekends together special. It was like being on a date and on your best behavior all the time. We were enjoying our lives and each other. That is until football season started.
Once the season started, I didn't have a chance to get home very much. There were practices every day and games on Saturday. That left Sunday as the only day I could come home. The physical toll of practice all week and the games didn't leave me a lot of energy. I tried to get home at least half the weekends but it was a grind.
If we had an away game, I couldn't get home at all. After a home game, I would clean up, jump in my car and head for St. Louis. By the time I got to Jackie's place I was whipped. The two and half hour drive would give me time to come down off the high of the game and realize how tired I was. I wasn't the best date that night.
We tried to make up for it on Sunday, spending the whole day and most of the night together. I would leave for school on Monday morning getting there in time for my first class at 9:00. A few times Jackie would take the bus to Columbia and spend the weekend with me, but she was working to help pay for her education and couldn't get many weekends off.
Jackie and I began to drift apart after two years of our long distance romance. It wasn't that we didn't care for each other but we only saw each other at the most about 2 days out of each month for a period of five months. Few relationships could survive this and ours didn't make it.
I thought about quitting football, but Jackie wouldn't let me give up. She reminded me that I needed the football scholarship to complete my education. Jackie was a special person and was willing to sacrifice her happiness for my future.
We cared very much for each other, thought we loved each other, but we both needed to let go of the past and get on with our lives. Our last evening together was bitter sweet. We made love for what we were sure would be the last time, cried on each other's shoulders and said good bye the next morning.
Jackie and I decided not to spend the off season together. When football started again, it would just make our being apart that much harder. A clean break would be better for both of us, so we thought.
It was sort of ironic; six months later at the start of the new season I tore the ACL in my left knee and was out of football for good. The school had to honor my athletic scholarship as I was hurt in a game and all the medical expenses were taken care of, but I wouldn't be able to play again. My dad and mom were at the hospital during the operation on my knee to make sure I was okay.
We were talking about things back home and I asked about Jackie. She had kept in touch with my folks because they had sort of adopted Jackie while we were going together. My mom told me that Jackie was dating a nice young man and seemed to be happy.
Well damn, there goes my idea of stepping back into my relationship with Jackie. I had thought that without football that we could make our romance work until I graduated; I only had one more year before graduation. Men plan and the gods laugh. The gods are assholes.
After the operation I had an intense rehab on my knee, so I couldn't go home for over three months. Going home was sort of a moot point anyway because I couldn't drive. My parents would come up and see me every couple of weeks and we would talk about my sisters and brothers and things at home.
Of course I had to torture myself and ask about Jackie. Mom tried to change the subject but I kept coming back to Jackie. Finally Dad answered me and said that Jackie was still dating that same guy and it looked like things were getting serious between them.
The news didn't do much to help me keep positive during my rehab. My knee had healed and was as good as ever except I couldn't play football. My parents wanted me to come home for a visit as soon as I could but I decided to stay on campus. I was afraid I would see or hear about Jackie and her new man; I didn't want to face that.
Mom and Dad had known all along what I was just now beginning to realize; I loved Jackie. It wasn't being with a beautiful girl or the great sex we experienced together or being comfortable with her. I was in love with her and I had already lost her.
Every time we talked or they visited me, my dad told me that I should call Jackie and let her know how I feel, but I was afraid to. I guess I was afraid of her rejecting me. I know it isn't logical; if I called at least I had a shot at getting her back but if I didn't call I would never get her back. Just because I was an "A" student didn't mean that I was the sharpest tool in the shed. I never made the call.
My college career came to an end with my graduation in the top 1 per cent of my class. I wouldn't have any trouble getting a good paying job in my field. This prodigal son returned home to a surprise party staged by his family. It was a very nice welcome home and I enjoyed seeing my sisters, brothers and some of my old friends.
I was on the back porch catching a little quiet time and my dad came out to join me. He handed me a glass of Jack Daniels and sat down. "Drew, your mother invited Jackie to the party. I wanted to warn you that she would be here."
"Damn, what was Mom thinking? She knows how I feel and seeing Jackie will be like a knife in my gut."
"I know, but Jackie is our friend too and your mother thought that if you two saw each other that you might get back together or least get closure for your busted relationship. Anyway I wanted you to know up front that Jackie was coming."
"Thanks Dad, but I can't hang around," I told him.
"It's time for you to stop acting like a spoiled child. I've never seen anyone play football as hard as you do or work to overcome a problem like you do. But you're screwing the pooch concerning Jackie. You need to talk to her and let her know exactly how you feel. If you don't you'll regret it the rest of your life," Dad lectured me.
"Okay Dad, you made your point. I'll tell Jackie how I feel if she shows up and if she doesn't I'll call her."
"Oh you'll get a chance to tell her; she's sitting on the front porch talking to your sisters right now. Go say hello and take her for a walk. You guys need some privacy right now." My dad gave me a grim little smile and left me alone.
Well that's great, nothing like letting me know at the last minute I thought. If I put it off I would probably chicken out so I walked around the house to the front porch. As my dad said, Jackie was talking to my sisters.
I knew how pretty Jackie was but seeing her in person after so many months just took my breath away. She was laughing at something one of my sisters had said and when she saw me she stopped laughing and gave me a sad little smile.
Jackie came down off the porch and gave me a sisterly type hug. All I wanted to do was grab her and hang on forever. I suggested we take a walk and she agreed to go with me. The family home sat on over an acre of land and we walked to the back of the lot and sat on a couple of tree stumps.
She asked about my knee, how it happened, and about the rehab. Then we talked about other inconsequential subjects, both of us ignoring the 400 pound gorilla sitting between us. After a half an hour of chit chat, we knew that we had to address the subject of "us".
I hung my head for a moment then took Jackie's hand gently. "Jackie, I screwed up and I'm sorry. I realize that I love you and want to marry you. You should have come first and I should have quit football when I saw it was causing problems for us. Please, can we start again?"
Jackie sort of squeezed my hand and then released it. Her face was flushed with the emotions she was feeling and she took a deep breath before she answered me.
"Drew, I can't. You will always be in my heart, but I'm engaged to John Atkins." Jackie held out her left hand and showed me the ring. "When we broke it off, I sat at home for a few weeks hoping you would call me. I called you two or three times and left messages with your roommate, but you never returned my calls so I thought you didn't want to talk to me. John and I work together and he was very supportive and sympathetic to my feelings." She stopped to wipe the tears from her eyes.
"John and I started having coffee together and then we started going out. At first it was just as friends but we developed feelings for each other. He asked me to marry him last week and I accepted." Jackie finished with tears running down her cheeks.
I sat for a few seconds in shock; I knew she was dating this guy but I had no idea that it had gone this far. If I had made a couple of phone calls when my dad suggested it I might have stopped this romance between Jackie and John. Instead, I had lost any chance with her because I was such an ass.
"Jackie, I will always love you and want you to be happy," I said. I tried to keep the sense of loss out of my voice. Leaning over I kissed her on the cheek and then walked away. She called for me to come back but there was no way I was going to sit there and talk about her life without me in it.
I had to get away; I couldn't stay there and be around Jackie. My faithful car took me away to an old hangout of mine. The "Stay-a-While Inn" was really just a tavern but it had been one of my favorite places once I reached legal age. Well maybe even before I reached legal age, that's why it was one of my favorite places.
Sitting at the bar was Ken Johnson, one of my teammates from high school. Last I heard Ken had went to college here in St. Louis and got a degree in Business Administration. He was one of three guys sitting at a table and looked up as I came into the bar. With a big smile he ordered a shot and a beer for me.
I joined the three men at their table and Ken introduced me to his friends. Ken and I caught up with our lives since high school. I learned that Ken was going to Washington University for his MBA in the fall. But before starting school he was going to spend a week in Ensenada, Mexico relaxing, partying and preparing for the grind of the MBA program. We spent about two hours reconnecting and I got to know his friends, Jim and Bob.
"Hey Drew, come with us. You deserve some down time before you start looking for a job. All it would cost you would be spending money while you're there and not much of that," Ken said. He turned to his buddies and they nodded to indicate that they wouldn't mind me going along.
Ken continued, "One of the guys had to drop out and the fees are all non-refundable so his spot is just going to waste. Our trip is all inclusive so all the airfare, food, drinks, and rooms are already paid for. You should be able to get by for a couple of hundred dollars and the dollar goes a lot farther down there. What'da you say Drew? We're flying out tomorrow night, come with us pal."
I hesitated for about a minute before I said, "Yeah, why not? It will do me good to unwind for awhile. Sure I'll go with you guys." I answered Ken thinking that it would be a good way to forget about Jackie. I didn't have a fortune but I had managed to put some money away during college.
A word about finances here. The last game of my freshman year on the football team, I caught the winning T D pass against Texas A&M. I went up between two defenders and came down with the ball as time ran out. Needless to say I was a hero for a few days.
James R. Nelson, better known as Big Jim, was an alumnus of Missouri and a very wealthy one. My game winning catch gave him bragging rights over two of his business associates who were alumni of Texas A&M. He enjoyed being able to lord it over those two so much that he arranged a part time job for me.
I worked three nights a week for three hours a night and earned two hundred dollars a week. It wasn't a tough job; I checked basketballs and other equipment in and out to students using the gym. The first and last 15 minutes were busy but the rest of the time I was able to study for the next day's classes.
In spite of not being able to afford the overall cost of college, my folks sent me some money for personal use every month while I was in school. Since I had practice every afternoon, worked three evenings a week and had to study, I really didn't go out that much and I was able to save most of the money they sent and the money I earned at my "job". There were also a lot of perks to being on the football team. I ate at the training table with the team and my housing, books, and tuition were paid for as were all medical expenses. Except for pizza and beer I was almost living expense free.
My dad walked into the bar just as I made my decision. He looked around and then came to our table and sat down. "Your mother is worried about you. You ran off without saying anything and she sent me to look for you." Dad's voice held a note of disapproval.
"I'm sorry I worried her Dad, but she shouldn't have invited Jackie to the party. I was okay until I saw Jackie and then everything went to hell," I told him with a little heat.
Dad ordered another round for the table and himself. He suggested that we go home after that drink and I agreed. I didn't mind drinking but I really didn't want to nurse a hangover all the way to Mexico.
I beat Dad home and waited on the front porch for him; I wanted to tell him about my trip and why I was going. After a little discussion he agreed that it was a good idea. He told me not to worry about Mom that he would make her understand why I had to go. I don't know what he said to her but I never heard a word from her other than for me to be careful.
The next evening my parents dropped me off at the airport and I met up with the guys and boarded our plane. It was a little over a 4 hour flight and we started to party as soon as we were in the air. When we landed a shuttle from our hotel was there to pick us up. Drinks were provided on the shuttle and we continued the party we had started on the plane. By the time we reached our rooms we were feeling pretty good.