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Old April 13th, 2006, 09:29 AM
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Andrew Part 7: Version 2


It was 6:30 am the day after the first football practice of the season. Andrew woke up as his alarm went off and got out of bed. He walked into his bathroom to shower and brush his teeth. He looked in the mirror and saw a huge muscular jock staring back at him.
“I am no longer just big; I am huge!” Andrew said to himself.
When he finally came down for breakfast, he found his parents and Sarah already sitting down at the table.
“Good morning Andrew,” his father Chad said. “Have you thought about how you are going to handle all the attention at school today?”
“What attention?” asked Andrew, confused by his father’s statement.
“Look at this,” replied his mother Susan. She held up the morning paper and read the headline: “Football Star Lifts a Car!”
“Let me see that,” Andrew insisted, grabbing the paper out of her hand. He read the whole front page article and grinned. “I guess I made quite an impression, didn’t I?”
“Yes you did son,” Chad agreed. “You have made an even bigger impression than I did when I got into college on my football scholarship.”
“Hey, that’s right, you were pretty famous for football too, when you were my age,” Andrew realized. “You were the big man at O.D. thirty years ago.”
“I wasn’t exactly famous,” Chad protested. “It would be more accurate to say I was known for my football skills. Now I’m known for my work in the sports industry.”
“What kind of work?” Andrew asked, curious to find out.
“I’ll tell you later,” Chad replied. “Something tells me that I’ll soon have a good reason to. Now, how much do you weigh today?”
“325 pounds of rock-hard muscle!” Andrew replied, grinning and flexing his 30 inch biceps. “I’m even bigger than you now!”
“About 100 pounds bigger,” Chad realized. “You will command a lot more attention at school than I did because of your great size. Your great strength will help as well.”
“Yeah, it helped me blast through the defensive line in practice!” Andrew laughed. “I dragged four guys down the field after me as I scored a touchdown!”
“Very good son,” Chad commended him. “Once I get all the transitions sorted out at the company, I’ll come watch your football games.”
“I appreciate that Dad,” Andrew said. “It would be great if you got to see the final results of your work, wouldn’t it?”
“What do you mean?” Chad asked Andrew, a flicker of what looked like guilt flashing across his face.
“You helped me get my start in weight training about seven years ago,” Andrew replied. He noticed his father’s look of guilt and was determined to have a serious talk with his father later about how he got to be so strong. “Don’t you remember how small I was when you first started training me?”
“Ah yes, I remember now,” Chad realized. “I’m sorry; I’m just shocked at how big you are now. If you get any bigger, people may get scared of you!”
“You should have thought of that before you injected me with the weight lifting bug!” Andrew reminded him, putting special emphasis on the word ‘injected.’ “All the supplements you fed me helped me become a muscle monster too! But I must admit it is a little unsettling to put on fifty pounds in two months. I hope it’s over soon, or I’ll start scaring myself!”
“I don’t think you have much chance of doing that,” Chad protested.
“Why do you say that?” Andrew asked him.
“You’re supposed to be a fearless athlete,” Chad reminded him. “That means you should be scared of nothing.”
“Does that mean I get scared by a gust of wind?” Andrew teased him, grinning.
“Very funny son,” Chad chuckled. “I guess I should have chosen my words more carefully. I meant to say that you’re not supposed to be scared of anything. I should have realized you would catch onto my unintentional joke, knowing how smart you are.”
“I am only so smart because you and Mom took so much time tutoring me when I was young,” Andrew protested. “Thanks a lot for that. I’m sure we’ll all soon enjoy the benefits of that academic dedication as well.”
“I’m glad you appreciate our help,” Chad realized. “Just remember; we showed you the path, but you decided to walk down it. It’s not just our hard work that got you to this point, but yours as well.”
Andrew realized that his father must have played a part in his enhancement, when his father used the words 'our hard work.' Knowing that his mother had never really become involved in his strength training, he knew his father was talking about someone else. Andrew decided that he would be very interested in knowing who that other person was, though he had a good idea who it might be. He decided that he would wait for the right moment to get his father to tell him.
“I won’t forget,” Andrew assured him. “Thank you for reminding me.”
“You’re welcome,” Chad said. “Now, I think it’s time you got to school. After your newspaper article, you’ll have quite a reception waiting for you when you get there.”
“I’ll wait outside for you Sarah,” Andrew said to his sister.
“Okay big brother,” Sarah responded, grinning. “Just can’t resist the urge to protect us ‘mere mortals’ can you?”
“That wasn’t what I was thinking,” Andrew protested. “But now that you mention it, I guess that would be a great way to show off my strength without scaring anyone.”
“Good plan son,” his mother Susan approved. “That would be a great idea. Now that you are much stronger than the ordinary human, use your great strength to help others whenever you get the chance. Then people will be too grateful to be scared of you.”
“Thanks Mom,” Andrew said, heading outside. “See you later Dad!”
Andrew headed outside and just stood there for a few moments, wondering how his life would change now that he had superhuman strength.
“Hey sis,” he greeted Sarah as she came outside with her school bag. “Going to pick up your boyfriend?”
“How did you know I could do that?” Sarah asked him, shocked that he knew her true strength. “Did Chris tell you that?”
“I didn’t know that,” Andrew protested. “But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. You are a hockey player after all!”
“How did you become so smart, tricking me into revealing my true strength like that?” Sarah asked him, grinning.
“That wasn’t my intention at all,” Andrew protested. “I just asked if you were going to pick up Chris, in your car. I had no idea that you could pick him up in the literal sense as well!”
“Ah, my mistake,” Sarah realized. “Sorry about that.”
“That’s okay,” Andrew assured her. “I actually appreciated your mistake, thinking I was smart enough to know things like that. I’m glad you don’t think I’m just a football player. You realize I actually have a brain as well.”
“It would be pretty hard to play football without one,” Sarah reminded him. “Doesn’t football require a lot of quick thinking, not just muscles?”
“Hey you’re right,” Andrew realized. “I hadn’t thought of that,” he added, as Sarah got in her car. “Maybe I’m not as smart as you think I am.”
“I think you’ll surprise us with how smart you are!” Sarah shouted as she drove off. “Have a good day at school Andrew!”
“Bye Sarah!” Andrew shouted back, waving as she drove down the road out of sight.
I guess she doesn’t know I was showing off at Fitness Depot last night, he thought to himself, as he drove off to Carrie’s house. That’s good, I was a little embarrassed by how I acted; just like a typical jock. I should try harder to give jocks a good name, especially since I’m so much stronger than the normal jock! Maybe then I can keep people from being scared of me.
At Carrie’s house, Andrew found her waiting outside for him.
“There’s The Football Star,” Carrie greeted him, grinning.
“Aww stop it,” Andrew begged her, embarrassed by her attention, as he always was. “You’re embarrassing me!”
“You think it’s bad now?” Carrie asked him. “Just wait until you see the reception waiting for you at school! I bet everyone who saw the news last night will mob you today.”
“You’re probably right,” Andrew realized. “It was quite an honour being named Athlete of the Week,” he added. “I’ll try not to let the attention go to my head.”
“I think you may have let it go to your head last night,” Carrie reminded him. “Steve told me how you were showing off last night at Fitness Depot.”
“I’m sorry about that,” Andrew apologized, as he opened her door for her. “I’ll apologize when I see him at school.”
“Good idea,” Carrie agreed, as Andrew got into the car. “You are no longer a normal human anymore. You seem to forget you are a great deal stronger now.”
“I can assure you, I have not forgotten,” Andrew declared, as he started the car and backed down the driveway. “I will probably get more reminders of my great strength when we get to school.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened,” Carrie agreed, as they headed for Laclie Street. “You will have to learn how to handle the attention without letting it go to your head. I’ll be here to help you if you need me.”
“Of course I need you,” Andrew reminded her. “Who was there at every football game, cheering me on when my parents couldn’t make it? You.”
“Don’t forget that little man!” Carrie snapped, grinning to let Andrew know she was kidding. “I’m the boss of you, and you’d better not forget that either!”
“Oh I’m scared now,” Andrew sneered, draping a huge arm over her shoulder. “But seriously, how should I handle the attention anyway?”
“I think you should just smile quietly and acknowledge the attention others give you,” Carrie suggested. “Don’t use your strength to intimidate others, or people may think you’re just a big dumb jock. Be a smart jock, treating others with respect. Then they’ll respect you in return, instead of fearing you. The college recruiters probably want confidence, but not arrogance. Just keep that in mind next time and you should be fine.”
“Sounds like good advice,” Andrew realized, reaching over to hold her hand gently. “Thanks a lot for helping me out. I’m glad you’re here to keep me grounded. Thank you.”
“Anything to help The Football Star,” Carrie said, grinning at him. “Or should I call you The Car Lifter now?”
“Oh no you don’t!” Andrew ordered her. “The more people who know that, the worse the attention will get!”
“I think you’re forgetting the reach of the news coverage,” Carrie reminded him. “I think the A-Channel signal reaches into the USA as well. If you wanted Miami to notice you, I think you may have succeeded.”
“I hope so,” Andrew declared. “Even with my scholarships, university will be expensive enough in the United States! But getting into my dad’s college should give me an Alumni Discount. That will help out significantly.”
“Hey, good thinking Andrew,” Carrie said approvingly. “I see you’ve been doing your research. Let’s hope all your dreams come true.”
“If you marry me after college, I’m sure they will,” Andrew said, squeezing her hand gently and smiling softly.
“Stop that!” Carrie yelled, wiping her eyes, but smiling as well. “You’re always trying to make me cry with that mushy stuff!”
“That’s what you get for walking into a trap like that,” Andrew informed her. He was unable to keep a big grin off his face, pleased that he could melt Carrie’s heart with words alone. “I can always make you cry by flattering you! Don’t forget that!”
“Oh I won’t,” Carrie assured him. “I’ll have to work hard to find a way to make you cry as well. Then we’ll be even.”
“Good luck with that,” Andrew sneered. “I don’t cry very often!”
“No, you just cry when people remind you of your athletic abilities,” Carrie teased him. “Steve told me about that as well!”
“That little rat!” Andrew shouted in fury. “I’ll get him for this!”
“That’s not necessary,” Carrie assured him, shocked at how quickly Andrew had become angry. “Steve also told me that the guys still look up to you as a football hero, even after last night. In fact, your embarrassment about your abilities proves that you’ll never be a bully! All anyone has to do is remind you of your athletic skills and your heart melts! Then the raging lion becomes a tender-hearted kitten!”
“I guess you’re right,” Andrew realized, taking a deep breath to calm down. “I’m sorry I got so mad; I’m not feeling like myself today.”
“It can’t be easy to go from normal football player to superhuman football hero in just one day,” Carrie realized. “I guess I should stop reminding you of your abilities if it embarrasses you so much. Constant reminders must make it harder for you to deal with your new role in life. I’m sorry about getting swept up in the Andrew Fever as well. But you have to stop getting angry so quickly! If you don’t, people will start getting scared of you! And then you really will be in trouble!”
Andrew thought about that as they drove the rest of the way to school.
At school, Andrew parked the car and helped Carrie out. Carrie hugged Andrew gently for a moment, feeling very safe in his huge muscular arms.
“I really appreciate what you said,” he told her. “I’m glad you’re not scared of me, and that you remind me when I’ve crossed the line. Thank you.”
“I’m glad you appreciate my help,” Carrie thanked him. “You haven’t forgotten all the people who got you to this point in your life.”
“I’m sure I won’t forget; not with you here to remind me,” Andrew realized. He opened the back door of the car and took out his football jacket. “Time to see if this fits, after the 50 pounds of muscle I put on this summer!”
“Do you really think it will fit?” Carrie asked him. “You may be too big for it now!”
“Only one way to find out,” Andrew declared, putting his arms in the sleeves. He pulled the jacket over his shoulders and found out he couldn’t zip it up. “The seams are strained across my shoulders, even with the jacket unzipped!” he realized.
“You’ll need to get a size larger then,” Carrie decided. “That one certainly doesn’t hide your muscles anymore. Look at the biceps bulging through the sleeves, even with your arms hanging straight!”
“I can’t hang my arms straight anymore!” Andrew corrected her. “My lats push them out too much! But these guns can break through any material so that’s okay!” He flexed his bicep and heard tiny rips from his sleeve seams. He looked down and saw that the seams had torn. “Oops,” Andrew said, lowering his arm again. “I guess I will have to get fitted for a 3XL jacket, if they can find one.”
“You did that on purpose didn’t you?” Carrie accused him, grinning. “You just couldn’t resist trying to flex out of your jacket, could you?”
“I guess not,” Andrew agreed, relieved that his sleeve had not torn completely. “Are you ready to go in now?”
“Sure I am, big guy,” Carrie agreed. “Lead the way.”
Andrew smiled quietly and led the way across the parking lot, holding her hand gently. Once they got to the corner door, he stood beside it and said, “Look inside and tell me how many people are in the hall.”
“There’s a whole crowd there!” Carrie informed him. “Everyone is holding a copy of the morning paper, with you as the cover story!”
“I was afraid of that,” Andrew sighed. “I really didn’t want to reveal my true strength to the whole community yesterday.”
“It’s too late for regrets,” Carrie reminded him. “You’re a superhuman football star now! Just relax and enjoy it! Don’t forget that I’ll be right here beside you.”
“I’m glad you’re here to help me through this,” Andrew reminded her, smiling quietly and holding her hand gently. He opened the door for her and led Carrie through. “There you go, you can lead the way into the crowd of Andrew admirers.”
“Oh thanks a lot!” Carrie laughed. “Trying to hide behind me would only work better if you were nine inches shorter!”
Andrew realized how right she was when everyone in the hall saw them and started clapping. Andrew grinned as he saw all the people holding up the paper, which had his picture on the front page. Andrew was embarrassed, but happy that he did not have to hide his true strength anymore. His grin faltered however, when he saw some people holding pens out to him, even some teammates.
“What’s this?” he asked Ralph, who was holding out a pen as well. “What’s going on man?”
“Could you autograph my paper for me?” Ralph asked Andrew cautiously, holding out his paper as well.
Andrew couldn’t hide the look of shock on his face, and he looked down at Carrie for help. Carrie nodded to encourage him, as if to say ‘Go ahead, make them happy.’ Andrew grinned and looked down at Ralph again.
“Sure, I’ll sign your paper for you man,” he assured Ralph, taking the pen from him. He signed the front page, handed the pen back, and asked: “Anyone else need an autograph today? Don’t be shy.”
Encouraged by Ralph’s success, and Andrew’s willingness to sign autographs, the rest of the crowd gradually came forward and handed their papers to Andrew. Andrew smiled quietly, basking in the admiration of his teammates, and growing more comfortable in his role as a sports star. He shook hands and gave his teammates high-fives as he approached the end of the line. Then he found himself facing Steve Peterson.
“Sorry about how I was at Fitness Depot last night,” Andrew apologized. “I hope I didn’t scare you too much.”
“Actually you did,” Steve admitted, though it galled him to do so. “But you can make up for it now by signing my paper.” He grabbed a pen from Connor and said: “Here you go.” He handed the paper and pen to Andrew and added: “I hope you’re enjoying your new life as a sports star.”
“Oh not to worry, I am,” Andrew assured him, amazed that all his teammates looked up to him as a hero, even though he had physically towered over most of them for years. “I’ll just make sure to let everyone know how much I appreciate their support. That’s why I’m willing to sign autographs; it lets everyone know that without their support I would never have come this far. Thanks a lot everyone.”
When he saw everyone smiling with gratitude, Andrew knew he had found the right balance between Andrew the Jock and Andrew the Person.
“Flex for us big guy!” a big guy in the back yelled to Andrew.
“Sure Darrell,” Andrew agreed. “I’ll flex for everyone if that’s what they want. How about it everyone: want to see the big man flex his muscles?”
“Yeah Andrew!” the football players yelled. “Flex! Flex! Flex!” they yelled, starting a chant that the whole crowd picked up.
“Okay, okay guys!” Andrew pleaded with them, holding up his hands to calm them down. “I’ll do it! Just let me get out of…this….jacket!” Andrew grunted with the effort as he finally got his arms out of the almost skintight sleeves. “Wow! I didn’t know the jacket was that tight on me! I guess I will have to get a 3XL one soon!”
Andrew lifted his arms and flexed his huge 30 inch biceps, drawing gasps of amazement from the crowd of football players and other students. Everyone marveled at the rock hard masses of muscle and the large veins running down each arm. Then the crowd dispersed as the warning bell rang.
“That was amazing,” Andrew said to Carrie, as they headed off to their separate classes. “Everyone wanted my autograph just because I bench-pressed a car?”
“I don’t think you realize what an amazing feat of strength that was,” Carrie informed him. “Remember how excited you were when you lifted the car? That’s because you knew that no one else could do that!”
“I guess you’re right,” Andrew realized, kissing her goodbye, as they reached his classroom. “See you at lunch.”
“Bye Andrew,” Carrie said, waving as she headed down the hall to her classroom.
Andrew smiled quietly to himself and walked into his Physics class, prepared to use his brain instead of his muscles. He was pleased at the amazed looks everyone gave him, having heard about his unintentional strength test the day before. Even the teacher looked impressed. Andrew grinned and sat down near Steve, Connor, and Ralph.
“Hey, what’s up guys?” he greeted them. “Having a good day?”
“I think the whole school is having a good day thanks to you,” Ralph informed Andrew. When Andrew looked confused, he added, “You’ll win us the Provincial High School Championship this year, with your amazing power!”
“Thanks a lot guys,” Andrew mumbled, embarrassed by the attention. “I really appreciate your support. I hope you know that.”
“Yes we do,” Connor assured him, holding up his signed paper. “You took the time to sign autographs, letting everyone know that their attention helped you get to where you are today.”
“Okay guys, time to start the class,” the teacher informed them. “Since you like to talk about Andrew’s power so much, how about we incorporate it into the lesson?”
“What do you mean?” Andrew asked, astonished that his teachers were getting swept up in ‘Andrew Fever’ as well.
“We can use Physics to determine how much force you applied to move the huge mass of the car,” Mr. Peters reminded him. “How about you come up to the board and work out the problem for us.” He held out the chalk until Andrew came up from the back of the class and took it from him. “Show us how smart you are, Mr. Pearson.”
“I’ll do my best,” Andrew assured him.
He then proceeded to amaze the class with his skill in Physics, even though personally he thought he could do better. As he looked across the class, with Mr. Peterson looking over the problem behind him, Andrew noticed a small guy in the front with brown hair and brown eyes staring up at him with a look of awe. Andrew smiled at him; sure that he had seen the guy before, looking at him from across the library. The kid looked down, embarrassed that Andrew had seen him staring. Andrew frowned as he tried to remember the kid’s name, determined to find him in the library during Spare next period.
“Looks like you got the problem right Andrew,” Mr. Peters announced from behind him. Andrew turned around and saw a big checkmark on the board next to the solved problem. “And you thought that Physics was your worst subject! Not today Mr. Pearson. Good work. What do you think everyone? Did Andrew do a good job?”
The whole class clapped and chanted Andrew’s name. Andrew was amazed that even his teachers were getting caught up in the Andrew Fever Phenomenon. Andrew grinned and waved, and then headed back to his seat, returning the high-fives his teammates gave him. Andrew sat down in his seat, opened his textbook and hoped the class would forget about him for a little while.
During the rest of the class, he got his wish, as Mr. Peters called other students up to the board to solve some more problems. Andrew finally learned the name of the kid who had been staring at him in the front row: Mike Stevenson. He decided to get to know the kid better, having a strange feeling that they had something in common besides Physics.
At the end of class, Andrew was mobbed by all the students who wanted him to sign their papers. He recognized Mike in the crowd, but when he noticed Mike was hesitant to speak, he just smiled and handed the signed paper back to him. Then everyone headed out of the classroom, but Mr. Peters asked Andrew to stay for a moment.
“What can I do for you sir?” Andrew asked him.
“I didn’t want the rest of the class to see me ask, but could you sign my copy of the paper as well?” Mr. Peters asked Andrew.
“Sure, why not?” Andrew agreed. “You helped me realize I’m not as bad at Physics as I thought, so I owe you. Thanks a lot, sir.” He signed the paper and handed it back. “I really appreciated your help, sir.”
“Glad I could help, Mr. Pearson,” Mr. Peters said, taking back the signed paper and putting it in his desk drawer.
“There’s just one thing I’m confused about though,” Andrew said to him.
“What’s that, Andrew?” Mr. Peters asked him, standing up so Andrew wouldn’t tower over him so much.
“If you didn’t want everyone to know you’re swept up in Andrew Fever, why did you use my strength test as a Physics problem?”
“I guess there’s no fooling you,” Mr. Peters realized. “You’re exactly right, now that I think about it. You’re really a lot smarter than you give yourself credit for, Andrew.”
“Thank you very much sir,” Andrew said quietly. “It’s really nice of you to say that. I really appreciate it.”
“I’m glad you do,” Mr. Peters told him. “And you don’t have to call me sir. Tom will do outside the classroom.”
“But we’re still standing inside the classroom,” Andrew reminded him, grinning to let Mr. Peters know he was just showing off a little.
“If I say ‘when the class is over’, will you let it go?” Mr. Peters asked him, grinning back at Andrew. “I should have realized you can talk circles around all of us if we let you! Now, I think we’ve had enough of this for today. Mr. Roe wants to speak to you.”
“Why do you think that?” Andrew asked, confused by the sudden change in topic. “Are you psychic or something?”
“No, he’s standing right behind you with your name on the folder he’s holding,” Mr. Peters replied. “Turn around and see for yourself.”
Andrew turned around and saw Mr. Roe, the Principal, standing in the doorway of the classroom.
“Oh hey there Mr. Roe,” Andrew greeted him. “What can I do for you, sir? And how long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough to see how smart you really are,” Mr. Roe replied. “It will make what I have to tell you more accurate. I’d appreciate it if you could come see me in my office for a moment.”
“Sure, why not,” Andrew agreed. “See you later, Mr. Peters.”
“My name’s Tom, Andrew,” Mr. Peters reminded him. “I’m sure Larry won’t mind you calling me by my first name.”
“Not at all,” Mr. Roe confirmed. “Now, let’s get going Andrew.”
“Okay,” Andrew agreed, following him down the hall. “Am I in trouble?” he asked Mr. Roe, never having been called to the Principal’s Office very often. “What did I do, hurt someone accidentally during practice last night?”
“No need to worry about that, Andrew,” Mr. Roe assured him, leading Andrew down to his office. “You controlled your strength quite well last night, using just enough to astonish everyone. Frankly I was amazed as well, especially after I saw the news story at 6 pm last night.”
“I’m glad I made a good impression,” Andrew said, as they reached the office. “A bit earlier than I wanted to, but I guess it’s a good thing that my enhancement is out in the open now. That way everyone knows I am not on drugs. Marge told me my adrenal gland is just in overdrive.”
“You’re about to find out the results of your enhancement,” Mr. Roe informed him. “Sit down in my office please; I’ll be right there.”
He stepped behind the receptionist’s desk and asked her to hold all his telephone calls. He also got Andrew’s academic and athletic files from her, and then headed back to his office: where Andrew was waiting for him.
“Okay Andrew, let’s get right to it,” he said, closing the door behind him.
“Certainly,” Andrew agreed, as Mr. Roe sat down behind the desk. “So, what’s up sir?”
“The entire morale of the school, thanks to you,” Mr. Roe informed him. “Everyone’s convinced we will win the Provincial High School Championship this season, thanks to your performance in practice yesterday.”
“Well, that’s very flattering,” Andrew said, a bit embarrassed by the attention. “That does seem like an awful lot to put on my shoulders, however.”
“I think your shoulders are wide enough to carry the hopes of the entire school,” Mr. Roe assured him. “If lifting a car is any indication, you can carry anything on those wide shoulders of yours!”
“Three feet wide man!” Andrew bragged; feeling more relaxed now that Mr. Roe was flattering him. “Pretty awesome isn’t it?”
“Awesome enough to catch the attention of your father’s alma mater,” Mr. Roe informed him, handing the letter over to Andrew. “See for yourself.”
Andrew read the letter slowly, noting the words’ phenomenal athlete” and ‘scholarship’ mentioned a few times. Then he looked up at Mr. Roe in astonishment.
“This letter was written by the Dean of Admissions of the University of Miami,” he said slowly. “They’re going to extend me a full athletic scholarship before they’ve even see me play?”
“This is not the first footage they’ve seen of your great strength,” Mr. Roe informed Andrew. “Coach Everson has been sending them footage since you first joined the team three years ago. Once they knew that you had no trouble balancing classes, football, and work, they had no reason to wait any longer to send you the scholarship application forms. Especially after the news footage of the car lifting reached them. Here are the forms, Andrew.”
“You said forms,” Andrew realized, as he looked over the papers. “And now I see why. One of the forms is an academic scholarship form. And what’s this one: the Alumni Discount application?”
“Since your father is a graduate of that school, you, as his son, will get an Alumni Discount if you fill out this form,” Mr. Roe informed him. “I’m sure Coach Everson can help you with all the details. But you shouldn’t have any trouble affording your University education now.”
Andrew sat quietly in his seat, in shock from the news. Mr. Roe came around the desk and shook his hand.
“You’re a credit to our school Andrew,” he informed him. “Congratulations. Now, go out there and make us proud.”
“I’ll do my best sir,” Andrew assured him, barely able to talk because he was so happy. “I won’t let you down. This is a great honour.”
“You deserve it Andrew,” Mr. Roe told him. “You’ve done all the work these past few years, and now these forms are the results of your efforts. I believe you can call me Larry Andrew. You have certainly earned it, and lot more! If you keep up your academic performance, you may even graduate Valedictorian, as well as Player of the Year!”
“Well that would be great,” Andrew said, smiling at the thought. “Is there anything else? I really should get to the library and get some studying done. But with all this good news, I’m not sure I can concentrate!”
“There’s just one other thing before you go,” Mr. Roe told him, reaching into his desk drawer as Andrew stood up. He pulled out the morning paper and handed it over to Andrew. “Would you mind signing my paper please?”
“Oh no, not you too!” Andrew groaned, smiling with embarrassment. “I already signed about a hundred papers this morning!”
“I wouldn’t doubt it, given the size of the crowd I saw waiting for you,” Mr. Roe agreed. “I was going to ask them to disperse, but when they told me they were waiting for you, I let them stay. I’m guilty of wanting an autograph as well, so I understood their feelings perfectly.”
“I didn’t know I had that much influence,” Andrew said, signing Mr. Roe’s paper carefully. “I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but when will the attention end? It’s getting embarrassing!”
“That’s the price of fame,” Mr. Roe reminded him. “After all, it is the attention of the fans and the news coverage that got Miami to notice you! Without the support of the fans, you might not be holding the keys to your financial security in your hands.”
“I hadn’t thought about that,” Andrew realized, looking down at the letter and the forms. “You’re exactly right, Mr. Roe. Oops, I meant Larry.”
“That’s okay Andrew,” Mr. Roe assured him, taking his signed paper back. “Thank you very much. You’re dismissed. Have a good day.”
“Thank you sir,” Andrew said, beaming with pride.
He left the Principal’s Office, so happy he couldn’t think straight. He held the papers Mr. Roe had given him as if they were bars of gold. He read them repeatedly as he wandered down the hall towards the library, barely noticing everyone staring at him with pride in their eyes.
In the library, Andrew sat down at a desk near the back, hoping to be left alone so that he could study. He opened a textbook and tried to study, but he couldn’t concentrate. So he just put his head down on the wood and basked in the glory that his achievements had brought him. This had the side effect of making it look like he was asleep. So when Mike Stevenson came up to Andrew to talk to him, he decided to pass right by so that he wouldn’t disturb Andrew.
I’ll talk to Andrew later, when he’s not busy, Mike thought to himself. I just have to pick the right moment. Maybe I’ll try at lunch, and I have an idea how I can do it.
When the warning bell rang to signal the start of lunch, Andrew woke up. He noticed the library was empty, but saw many newspapers on the desk, each with a student’s name on it. He also saw an X under his picture.
Maybe the autograph seekers thought I was asleep so they just put these papers on the desk, Andrew thought to himself. I guess I did doze off after all!
At lunch, Andrew took the signed papers and gave them back to the students who had left them on his desk. He knew what they looked like, from seeing them around the cafeteria for the past several years.
“Thanks Andrew,” Mike Stevenson said when Andrew handed him back the signed paper. “I didn’t want to wake you; I thought you were asleep.”
“I was, at least for the latter part of Spare,” Andrew said to him. “Thanks a lot for respecting my privacy like that. But that was a neat way to start talking to me, leaving your paper for me to sign. Next time though, don’t be so shy; just come up and say hello. I may be really big and strong, but I’m also a gentle jock.”
“I’ll try to remember that,” Mike said. “You certainly made a good first impression today, totally changing my image of jocks. See you when the games start!”
Andrew waved as he headed back to his table, pleased that he had managed to make a good first impression with Mike.
Andrew sat down at the table with the rest of the team members. He kept quiet about Mr. Roe’s news, but couldn’t stop grinning.
“Looks like someone has a fan,” Steve said, noticing Mike still sneaking glances over at their table. He waved to catch Mike’s attention but Mike looked down, embarrassed to be caught staring. Steve smirked and added: “Did you know that Mike over there is the only one who has come to every game and practice?”
“It’s great to be appreciated,” Andrew said, hoping that Mike would come over and talk to all the guys. “Hopefully he will come over sometime and talk to all of us.”
“That would be crossing quite a social line,” Steve reminded him. “Jocks and smart kids don’t usually have a lot in common.”
“I’m a smart kid as well!” Andrew stated. “Does that mean I have no place at this table? Is that the point you are trying to make?”
“No man!” Steve assured him. “I just don’t get why you’re going out of your way to be so nice to Mike! He’s always staring at you when you’re not looking! I think he’s stalking you man!”
“I think it’s more likely he wants some weight training advice,” Andrew realized. “I’ve helped other smart kids with that before.”
“Oh yeah!” Steve agreed. “You’re probably right! That provincial trophy will be ours this year, especially now that you have become a car lifter! Maybe then, everyone will line up to get as big and strong as you!”
He grinned at Andrew and Andrew grinned back, really happy to be admired as a football star.
This is just the beginning Steve, Andrew thought to himself. You haven’t seen anything yet!

Here is the address on my web site:
Sean Lackie
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