Authors: PJ Chase
Tyler Webster had a storied career at Juniper Flats High School. He only lost four times in the entire three years he was a starter. He threw for over three hundred yards on ten different occasions. And he broke nearly every offensive record at the school. But what made Tyler such a star quarterback wasn't just his canon for an arm. A lot of quarterbacks could throw deep routes. It was what Tyler could do with his legs as well that made him such a threat.
Tyler had all the intangibles. The guy was an absolute phenom. A local legend at Juniper Flats High. But his star was about to rise even further than that.
With such an illustrious career, most people would find it hard to pick out just one stand out game. For Tyler though, it was easy. Juniper Flats was playing Stockland Prep. It was predicted to be a tight game. A defensive showdown. The kind of game where a last second field goal would make all the difference. The coaching staff had prepared the team all week for a nail biter.
The story on the field however was a completely different story. It ended up being the kind of night where Tyler could do no wrong. Every pass he threw seemed to get caught. No matter if it was a busted play, an overthrown ball, or even a pass tipped at the line--it didn't matter. His receivers caught everything. It was an incredible night. The success was effortless. As if the football Gods were smiling down on Tyler. He'd never had a game like that before.
Tyler ended up throwing for over three hundred and fifty yards that night. And what was predicted to be a close game ended up being a huge blow out for Juniper Flats. Tyler and the rest of his team were even able to pull off a trick play for a touchdown. It would go down as a night that Tyler would never forget. One for the record books.
Six Months Later
"That's what it's like dating me?" Maureen Stanton asked, not entirely happy to have her relationship compared to a football game.
Tyler and Maureen had been dating for months, and Maureen was just made about Tyler. They'd grown up only a couple of blocks away. Maureen first met Tyler in third grade and had harbored a secret crush on him ever since. She was beginning to think it was all one-sided, then at the start of their senior year of high school, Tyler finally asked Maureen out. They had been inseparable ever since.
It was amazing to think that Maureen had bagged such an undisputed hunk. There was so much to swoon over. The man was in peak physical shape. Tyler was the kind of eye candy that made women weak in the knees. A tall, muscular, wonder. Not to mention he had abs to spare. If that wasn't enough, Tyler also had a dynamite smile and the deepest blue eyes Maureen ever seen.
Some days Maureen couldn't believe how lucky she was. Tyler could have any girl he wanted at Juniper Flats High, yet he'd picked Maureen. Now six months into their relationship, they were still in that puppy dog stage of their relationship.
Tyler had taken Maureen up to make out point for some heavy necking. And while Maureen loved getting the windows steamy with Tyler, every once in a while she wanted to come up for air and take stock of their feelings. So for Tyler to use a football game as a metaphor for their relationship was hardly the romance Maureen was looking for.
"I don't think you understand," Tyler replied.
"Clearly," Maureen said.
"That wasn't just a football game. See, everything that night went right. It was all effortless and filled with great surprises. And even when it seemed like things might get difficult, they managed to work out anyway. And that's what it's like being with you--having everything go right as well," Tyler explained.
"Oh my God. That's so sweet," Maureen admitted.
"No. What's sweet are your lips," Tyler said.
Tyler then gazed into Maureen's eyes and gave her a deep kiss.
"Wow, that was delicious," Maureen replied.
"Sorry to side track the conversation," Tyler said. "I just couldn't resist."
"Hey, if you're going to keep kissing me like that, you can side track the conversation anytime you want," Maureen replied.
"Well, in that case, I wouldn't mind an encore," Tyler said.
Tyler then gave Maureen another show stopping kiss.
"You know what's amazing is that you still kiss me as passionately now as when we first starting going out," Maureen pointed out.
"That's because I love you," Tyler said.
This time Maureen was the one that couldn't resist Tyler's lips.
"I love you too," Maureen replied.
"It's amazing. Every day I think there's no way things can get any better. But they always do," Tyler revealed.
Maureen could have melted right then and there.
While Maureen and Tyler's relationship was flourishing, The Armadillos football team meanwhile had fallen on hard times. The glory days seemed to be over for the Texan University faithful. The team saw a slow but steady slip in performance every year until mediocrity had set in. A lot of coaches Brett Stanton's age would have just retired. But Brett didn't want to just fade away. He wanted to go out on top. He wanted one last taste of victory. But having the will didn't always mean being able to get the wins. The Armadillos had just come off of a disappointing six and six season. It was a hard thing for the diehard fans to grapple with, especially since the Dillos were only seven years removed from a perfect season.
A few good recruiting classes could turn everything around though. In Brett Stanton's mind, the glory days could return. And getting Tyler in an Armadillo’s uniform was part of that. Brett figured he had the inside track to get Tyler to come to Texan University, not just because Tyler had grown up in Juniper Flats, but also because his daughter happened to be dating Tyler.
Maureen didn't want to think about football though. She just wanted to bask in her relationship. That made for awkward talk at the dinner table.
Then again, Brett had made a promise to his wife that he wouldn't bring his work home. That he wouldn't talk about football when away from the stadium. That dinner at home was family time. Brett didn't always live up to his promise though.
"Big day coming up," Brett said, with Isabel and Maureen at the dinner table.
Maureen knew exactly what her father was hinting at, and she wanted no part of it. Tyler had been recruited by over a dozen elite football programs and had been offered a full ride at every one. But as yet, Tyler hadn't made his choice yet.
"Dad please," Maureen insisted, wanting to talk about anything else.
"Please what? I was just about to ask how things were going with Tyler is all," Brett explained.
"Dad, I thought you promised never to talk about football at the table," Maureen said.
Isabel then chimed in. "You did honey."
"Who says I'm talking about football? But now that you've brought football up, it would be great if Tyler would let you know his plans for the future. I mean, once Garrett Jones graduates in a year, I'll have an open spot at quarterback," Brett said.
Isabel then glared at her husband. "Honey, what are you doing?"
Maureen meanwhile felt like she was caught in an emotional tug of war between her father and her boyfriend. She didn't want to think about any of that. She just wanted to be left to bask in her relationship.
"I can't handle this," Maureen insisted. She then turned to Isabel. "Mom, can I be excused?"
"Of course honey," Isabel said.
As Maureen got up and headed to her room, Isabel shook her head in disbelief at Brett.
"That's why we don't talk about football at the table," Isabel insisted.
Tyler always met Maureen at his parking spot after school. Always--until that Tuesday. That afternoon Maureen arrived at Tyler's spot to find it completely empty. She didn't know what to make of it. Tyler was the most reliable person she knew. Plus, he hadn't texted her that he was leaving school in a hurry.
Maureen knew something must have happened. But what? Was it some kind of emergency? When Tyler didn't pick up his phone or return Maureen's texts, she started to worry. She didn't want to just stand around though. Instead Maureen headed over to Tyler's house looking for answers. Instead she just ended up with more questions.
"Sorry Maureen. I haven't seen him," Tyler's Mom said, at her front door. "I actually thought he was with you."
"I wish," Maureen replied.
"Wow. I have no idea where he could be," Tyler's Mom said.
"That doesn't make me feel good," Maureen replied.
"I know what you mean," Tyler's Mom said.
"Anyway, I have to go to work but let me know if you hear from him," Maureen replied.
Maureen couldn't get any work done at the foundation that day. She was too worried. She still hadn't heard a peep back from Tyler. Where could he possibly be?
Finally, when Maureen had worked herself into a frenzy, Tyler walked through the front door of the foundation.
"Oh thank God," Maureen said, giving Tyler a hug. "I was worried about you."
"Yeah. I'm sorry about that. I didn't mean to bolt without letting you know like that," Tyler said.
"What happened?" Maureen wondered.
"Well, I have some amazing news," Tyler admitted.
Maureen was totally confused. "About what?"
"I had this incredible meeting today that just came out of the blue," Tyler said. "It changed everything."
Maureen had not seen Tyler this excited in a long time. She had to know what was up.
"Well, don't keep me in suspense. What happened?" Maureen asked.
Just then Tyler noticed a couple of Maureen's co-workers peering over their cubicles, poking in on his conversation.
"You know what? This is the kind of thing that needs to be said in private," Tyler insisted.
"Really? You're seriously going to build me up this much then leave me hanging?" Maureen asked.
"Only until you get off of work," Tyler said.
"Well, I can take a break," Maureen insisted.
"This is bigger than something we can talk about on a break," Tyler said.
Maureen groaned. "I can't believe you're teasing me like this."
"Don't worry. I'll meet you in the parking lot when you get off," Tyler said.
Maureen couldn't get any work done for the rest of her shift. It was a complete waste. Her mind was just on fire with the possibilities. The time could not have ticked by any slower. But finally Maureen's shift came to an end eventually and she met up with Tyler in the parking lot.
Tyler then took Maureen up to make out point to give her the news.
"So, tell me," Maureen insisted, completely worked into a tizzy.
Tyler then took a deep breath. "I've told you how much I love you, right?"
"Tyler, quit stalling. You know I hate surprises," Maureen said.
"Here's the thing. I need you to know how much I love you before I tell you the news," Tyler explained.
"Of course I love you. Now tell me," Maureen insisted.
Tyler then tense up. His hands got sweaty as Tyler tried to find the right words.
"I want you to come to LA with me," Tyler said.
Maureen had no advance warning of what was on Tyler's mind, but it definitely wasn't that. Maureen looked like she had been run over by a truck. Of all the cities in the world, Maureen had never considered going to Los Angeles even on vacation, no less to live. Not to mention Tyler had never even brought up LA before. But Tyler was all business. There was no hint of joking in his voice.
Maureen didn't know what to say. But she didn't want to leave Tyler hanging. Still, all she could muster was a furrow of her brows.
"What?" Maureen said, as confused as ever.
"LA. You know, Los Angeles. Well, LA University to be exact. They offered me a scholarship with a guarantee that I could start next year," Tyler explained.
"But I thought you were going to stay here and take the scholarship that my dad offered to play for the Armadillos," Maureen reasoned.
"You mean ride the bench for a year--or more," Tyler said.
"Tyler, my dad loves you. He wouldn't have offered you a scholarship otherwise," Maureen said.
"Maureen, don't get me wrong. I'd love to be an Armadillo. But unfortunately, quarterback is the one position your father has locked up. I mean with Garrett Jones ahead of me, I could be holding the clipboard on the sideline for a year before I got any taste of the actin. But at LAU, I'd be under center immediately. They're the only school to offer me the starting position right away. That's where I was earlier, talking to Coach Timmins," Tyler explained.
"But Tyler, I grew up here. My family is here. And my dad is the head coach for God's sake. I'm expected to go to Texan University," Maureen argued.
"Look, your sister didn't go," Tyler said.
"You mean Alyssa? The one that my dad still hasn't forgiven? The one he still doesn't talk to? Why would I want that?" Maureen asked.