Cocky Striker is coming July 19th! Check out this little snippet!!
“I can’t believe this is your last year of college.” Mom cups my face in her hands. “My baby boy is all grown up.”
I roll my eyes and pull her into a hug. “I love you, you crazy woman.” She climbs in, and I kiss her cheek one more time before closing the door to my dad’s Land Cruiser.
She rolls down her window. “Study hard, try not to party too hard, and”—she drops her voice down to a whisper—“wear condoms.” Mom then gives me a goofy smile while rolling her window back up.
Dad chuckles from beside me. “Princess, you’re a nut.” He turns to me. His blue eyes that are identical to mine begin to shine bright. “You’ve made us so proud, bud. Make sure you live up your last year.”
“Why are you both getting all deep on me? Are you sick? Is Mom?” Fuck, I didn’t think about that. What if something’s wrong?
He laughs. “No, I promise. We’re both good. I’m just proud of you and how well you’ve done these past three years. I know you’re no angel, but your grades have always been excellent and your soccer game has always been on point. It makes us proud that you handle your business, but you’re having a good time too.”
Out of the two of them, Dad’s always been the more lenient one—maybe because he says I am just like him, or how he was when he was my age. He pulls me into a backslapping hug. “I love you, Son.”
I slap his back. “I love you too.”
As he walks around the front end, he announces, loudly, “Remember to wrap it up.” His booming laugh causes me to shake my head. Who am I kidding? Both of my parents are nuts.
My baby sister comes up, throwing her arms around me. Bree is my mom’s mini-me and is just as tiny as she is. She’s two years younger than I am, but we’ve always been close.
“Keep an eye on those crazy people who created us.” I kiss the top of her head.
She smiles up at me. “I’m gonna miss you.”
“You realize I’m only two and half hours away, right?”
“I know, but you’ll be busy with school and soccer. I guess I could always come visit. Check out your hot frat brothers.”
I shove her playfully. “They’re all dogs—stay away from them.” I open the back door for her. Bree giggles as she climbs in. She loves fucking with me. Truth is, she goes for guys who are the complete opposites of my brothers—they usually have beards, hang out at poetry readings, and are almost always vegan.
My family rolls down the windows as they begin to pull away. I shake my head as they all shout their goodbyes to me; my sister and mother wave like lunatics as they drive away.
“Chance, what’s up brother?” my buddy Jace crosses the street coming to me. We exchange the typical half handshake, half hug.
“Not much, man. I’m sure you saw the parentals just left. When did you get here?” We walk across the street and up to the doors of our frat house, Pi Beta Pi.
“Last night. I still can’t believe you’re not living here this year. It won’t be the same without you,” Jace says as we step inside.
“Yeah, I know, but I think it’s just better this way. I’m staying across the street so I’ll always be close.”
It was an easy decision, honestly, to move out of the house after last year. The guys are great, and they’re my brothers, but I’ve always lived with someone, and I’m honestly looking forward to having my own space.
Soccer practice starts tomorrow, and it’s kind of nice being on campus about a week before the other students arrive. Prior to classes it’s usually just the athletes and the marching band that are on campus.
Jace and I make the rounds saying hey to everyone. I don’t see my best friend/brother, Trey, yet and decide to walk back to my place. My apartment being across the street makes it feel like I still live at the house, but I have my privacy.
My Harley, my pride and joy, sits at the curb in front of the brick building, the sun shining down on her black paint and chrome. I got my love for riding from my dad. He helped me find her, fix her up, and get her running. It’s not unusual for him and me to hop on our bikes and ride for hours.
I dig my keys out of my shorts and let myself into my apartment. My mom and sister went to town decorating my little studio. It looks like a hotel suite with a kitchen. The whole place is decorated in grays, reds, and whites.
My queen-sized mattress is against the far wall with a nightstand next to it. The down comforter is a slate gray color with red and white plaid sheets. They put up a wooden folding screen next to my bed to hide it from view when necessary.
The place is almost too small for the sofa I got from my aunt and uncle when they got new furniture, but it’s so comfortable. My coffee table is the same colored wood as the screen. I’d describe it as a distressed grey.
The kitchen area is separated from the rest of the space by a breakfast bar that sits two barstools I bought used. Dad and I stripped and sanded them before refinishing them.
The big appliances came with the place, and I have a washer and dryer right down the hall. It’s not bad, and the money I made working for my dad this summer covered a good portion of my rent. My parents paid the rest because they knew it would be hard with soccer and then my studies to have a job.
Practice starts tomorrow morning, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve played soccer since I can remember or, as my dad tells it, as soon as I could walk. My dad played professional soccer in Australia. He was a bit famous for a while because of a poster that still had made him a lot of money.
It was in my blood to play the game. I’m the captain of the team and a center forward, or the main striker. I thought about going pro instead of finishing school, but my dad played one game before his career was over, and I wanted a career that was going to last longer than a soccer career would.
I’m majoring in business with a minor in marketing. My hope is to work in sports marketing with a sports team. This last year is going to be tough, but in the end it’ll be worth it when I’m working my dream job.
I know my dad was a little disappointed that I didn’t want to go into the landscape business with him. I enjoy working alongside him in the summer, but I don’t want to do that forever. I want to carve out my own path.
For dinner I heat up some leftovers Mom set me up with. I could go meet up with the guys and hit the bars—see what the girl situation is—but I have to be at the field at eight in the morning. Coming to the first practice of the year hungover or sleep deprived is not the impression I want to make.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to party as much as the next guy, but I’m all business when it comes to soccer.
“Chance, lead the boys in a warm-up drill,” Coach McLaughlin shouts before walking off the field.
I turn to face my teammates. We run through a kick drill, then lunges, followed by inside out/outside in. After that we split up into our groups. The other forwards and I start shooting drills.
By the time practice is over I’m lying on my back in the middle of the field. Trey, who has been my best friend since kindergarten and one of our goalkeepers, holds a hand out to me, helping me off the ground.
“What’s up, bro? When did you get in?”
We walk toward the gym and head into the locker room. “We were running late, so it was about eight-thirty before we got here. They basically unloaded my shit and left. My mattress is on the floor right now because I didn’t have time to put the frame together.”
“Your parents are crazier than mine.” I mean that in the most loving way. His mom and dad are my second mom and dad.
“I don’t know. You guys have that damn goat. We have a normal pet, a dog.” I shake my head and make my way to my locker.
I take a shower then throw on some basketball shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt. I throw my sunglasses on as I head back to my place. A group of cheerleaders wave as I walk by. “Ladies.”
A couple of them and I have gotten real acquainted with each other over the past three years. “Chance, you should totally call me.” Kylie or Kaylee is her name, I feel bad I can’t really remember what it is for sure, calls out.
“We’ll see, maybe. I’ll see you around.” I walk by and know they’re talking about me as I walk toward my apartment.
This is going to be an amazing fucking year, I can feel it.