Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. I only the own the situation in which I have put them in.
The football game that night was to start at six o'clock. Perry decided that they should leave at four since Silver Creek, which was where the game was being hosted, was about an hour and a half away. He said he wanted to get there in enough time to buy tickets and pick out a good seat.
At first, Brooke had been nervous about going, even despite the fact that Perry had invited Josh out to eat. When her grandparents would ask her why, she would merely shake her head and simply explain that it was just a bad idea. Then during lunch, her cell phone had rung. Immediately the gloomy face that she had been sporting all day vanished completely, and she talked to Josh for two hours. The only reason she stopped then was when Perry had gotten aggravated hearing where their conversation was heading, (I love you, I miss you, and everything else Perry thought was inappropriate for teenagers) and ordered her to hang up.
"You'll see him tonight," Perry explained, seeing the hurt and slightly annoyed look on Brooke's face.
The twinkle then came back into her eyes at this thought; she shrugged, and said, "Alright. Just promise me you'll be on your best behavior, Pappy. I love you too much to disown you right now."
Before Perry could comment, Della walked up behind him, hugged his middle and answered, "Don't worry, Brooke. Pappy will be on his best behavior. Isn't that right, dear?"
With the tone of her voice, Perry knew he had no choice. Brooke seemed to be satisfied with her grandmother's guarantee, smiled, and went upstairs to start freshening up since they were leaving in a couple of hours.
At four thirty, Perry, Della, and Brooke were all piled in the car and heading towards Silver Creek High School. Brooke had been animated enough while she had been getting ready, but as they got ever closer to Silver Creek, she had become silent.
Perry stole a couple of quick glances back at her in his rearview mirror, and looked worriedly over at Della to make sure Brooke was alright. Every time Perry would look at her, Della would glance back over her shoulder for a second, and then nod to Perry that all was well.
When they pulled into the stadium parking lot at the school, Brooke spoke for the first time since they had left, "Pappy, maybe we should go home."
Perry cut the engine, turned in his seat to look at her, and asked, "Why, Bunny, are you not feeling well?"
"Yeah, that's it," Brooke answered with a hint of relief in her voice, "not well at all. We should leave."
Perry exhaled sharply to show her his frustration. Brooke simply looked at him before she sighed as well and said frustrated, "Alright, fine, I'm okay."
Perry nodded and got out of the car. Della winked to her in encouragement, and the two women also got out of the car. When Brooke had shut her door, Perry came up behind her and put an arm around her shoulders. She peered up at him, and he said gently, "I know you're worried, Brooke. You have to trust me that nothing will happen…at least to you or Mimi."
He smiled encouragingly just like Della had in the car. She sighed, defeated, and whispered, "Alright, I just have this feeling is all."
Perry didn't seem to hear her, and he started to walk to the gate with her being forced by his side.
Once they had purchased their tickets, Perry guided Brooke to a seat that in was in the middle of the stadium, but towards their school. Brooke glanced nervously around her until she saw some of her girlfriends from school and told Perry, "Pappy, a couple of my friends are here, and I'm going to go talk to them for a minute. I'll be right back."
"Alright, sweetheart," Perry complied, watching her smile for the first time since they'd left the house, "just be careful!"
"I will," Brooke answered, and hurried down to her group of friends.
Perry and Della looked at each other and smiled.
Brooke didn't return for a while, and when Perry searched for her among her friends, who were hanging out together about ten bleachers below them, he didn't see her. He expressed his concern to Della, and when she couldn't find her either, Perry grew panicky.
"Darling, I'm sure she is fine," Della reassured him. "She might have gone to the concession stand or restroom."
Perry nodded, but a minute later he stood up and explained to Della that he was hungry, and asked if she wanted anything.
"Not right now," Della told him with a slight edge to her voice, which meant she saw straight through him as if her were invisible.
Perry headed down the bleachers, and went down a ramp to get to the concession stands which were built inside the front of the stadium. There were a couple of people at each stand, but none of them were Brooke. He then walked to the restrooms which were located on the other side of the stadium along its side.
When Perry turned the corner, he saw, and heard, her in a clear argument with her brother.
"So the real reason you came was for Josh, not me?" Eli asked, clearly angered by the thought.
"Pappy wants to meet him," Brooke argued back, "and of course he hasn't ever seen you in a football game because you never invite him to anything."
Eli was silent for a second which gave Brooke more than enough opportunity to continue, "And he also wanted to know who Josh is, which you seemed to have figured out the moment you saw me."
At that, Eli boiled with anger again and said through clenched teeth, "You know, you're a real pain in my ass. Maybe Josh doesn't wanna see you because we're concentrating on a game here."
Brooke merely shrugged her brother's insult off and replied, "I could say the same for you, Eli. But, as a matter of fact, Josh does want to see me because he called me today asking if I was coming to you see you guys. When I told him we were, and would probably invite him to dinner, he was ecstatic."
Perry took in a sharp intake of air as he saw the look on his grandson's face. Now he knew what Brooke had meant earlier about being in the car with him. He was absolutely pissed.
With his hands balled into fists, Eli asked in a dangerous whisper, "I guess I should congratulate you for suckering Pop and Gram into this relationship that won't last long."
"That reminds me," Brooke said, narrowing her eyes and flexing her own fists trying to keep her anger level, "why do you keep telling me that this 'relationship won't last'? Right now it's going great…what are you going to do to it?"
Eli raised an eyebrow and said almost too innocently, "I won't have to do a thing. I just get to sit back and watch you and Josh destroy each other, and now that you've got Pop involved it will be a more interesting show to watch."
"Why do you keep including Pappy in this," Brooke asked, and Perry could hear her losing her grip on keeping her temper under control. "Pappy only knows that I'm dating Josh. He's not going to be there for our dates and whatever else."
Eli's grin was, in Perry's opinion, evil, and he could tell that Brooke thought so too as he said, "Let's just say that Pop will probably be the one you run to when you get destroyed. Then I'll be there with my friend again talking about you probably."
Perry saw Brooke's knuckles turn white as she balled her hands tightly into fists and asked, "What is wrong with you, Eli? Why are you acting this way over Josh, because this seems like more than you just wanting your friend back?"
Perry's cry of warning was too late, and he watched horrified as Eli picked Brooke up by the front of her shirt, and slammed her up against the brick wall of the stadium. Perry heard the air leave her lungs and something crack, and as he raced towards her and Eli, another figure bolted out of the locker room, and tackled Eli to the ground almost taking Brooke with them.
She was lying face down in the grass and dirt, and as Perry reached for her, he looked at the fight that was going on a few feet in front of them.
Eli was fighting with a boy of about equal height and weight it seemed. The other boy had shaggy dark brown hair, a tan complexion, and a look on his face that could kill.
As Perry knelt down beside Brooke and picked her up since she was so light, another person rushed from the visitor's locker room. From the way this gentleman was dressed, and how about three more men of the same apparel came out behind him, Perry concluded that these were some of the coaches.
Together the coaches separated the two fighting players and shouted up above everyone else, "What's going on here!"
The dark haired boy spoke through gritted teeth, "Drake here attacked his sister, Coach!"
The boy pointed to Perry's arms, and the coach turned wide eyed to see Brooke lying there. The coach's eyes narrowed after a few seconds of stunned staring, and turned to Eli and shouted, "I don't know what you were thinking, son. You have disgraced the good name of your fellow players, your team, and the coaches! From this game onward until I think you've learned your lesson, you are benched!"
Eli stared with his mouth open as the other boy rushed over to Perry. He looked down at Brooke's unconscious figure and asked softly, "Is she alright, sir?"
About that time, Brooke stirred in his arms. She opened her eyes and said a little slurred, "Yeah…Josh…I'm fine…."
Both Perry and Josh exhaled at the same time. Perry gave a curt nod to Josh and Josh did the same. Josh then ran into the locker room with two of the coaches and a sullen but angry looking Eli in tow who didn't look at nor say anything to Perry or Brooke as he passed. Who Perry guessed was the Head Coach stayed behind.
"If you want we can get a Trainer to look at her," he offered, probably feeling responsible for his player's wild attack.
Perry nodded his thanks, and the coach disappeared around the corner to the home locker room. When they were alone, Perry peered anxiously down at Brooke and asked, "Bunny, are you alright?"
"I saw what happened," Perry continued.
He could tell that Brooke was trying to lift her head to see him, but it was difficult for her. When she couldn't, she asked, "We are quite a show, huh?"
Perry wasn't amused by her attempt at humor and Brooke knew that so she kept silent. He looked down at her again when he felt something warm on his arm. Slightly uncomfortable Perry asked, "Can I set you down for a second?"
Brooke slowly nodded and gasped in pain. Perry gently set her on her feet where she swayed dangerously. Perry didn't let go of her for fear she would fall, and saw that what had been warm on his arm was blood where Brooke's head had rested. Scared and anxious, Perry gently turned her around to where he could see the back of her head. Her hair was matted with blood, and when he thought back to the fight, he remembered hearing a sickening crack, and he now knew what it had been.
About that time, the Head Coach came around the corner with the Trainer close behind. Once the Trainer saw Brooke, he quickly set to work on her head wound. While he was doing this, Perry called Della on her cell phone and told her what had happened. Within a minute, Della was by Perry's side, wearing the same look of distress. Ten minutes later the Trainer told the Masons that their granddaughter would be fine, and that even though her wound didn't need stitches from what he could tell, her head was still very tender and for them to watch if it got worse. Perry and Della nodded and rushed over to where Brooke was sitting on a chair.
Perry knelt down and asked her gently, "Sweetheart, how are you feeling?"
Brooke blinked a few times and said barely audible, "Good…I just have bad double vision right now. The Trainer said it would go away soon…I hope."
Perry nodded and hugged her. He sighed deeply as he let go of Brooke and said, "I'm so sorry this happened to you, baby girl. I should've been there."
At this, Brooke looked up, frowning slightly from trying to focus on just one Perry. She slightly shook her head and asked, "What would you have done? No, Pappy, you're fine. I shouldn't have argued with him like that. Now he has another thing to be mad at me about."
"What?" Perry asked, taking one of her small hands in his larger one.
"I got him benched," Brooke explained, placing her other hand on the back of her head. "My guess is he's not happy about that at all."
Before Perry could say a word, the football team ran out of their locker room. As the players ran by, they stared at the Masons, and then one football player stopped and knelt beside Brooke and Perry too.
"How are you doing, Brooke?" Josh asked through his helmet.
Brooke gave him a weak smile, and then she looked up and saw Eli walking slowly behind the rest of the team. When Perry saw him, he stood and glared at Eli like Brooke had never seen him do before. Eli looked at him, then Della, then finally to Brooke and Josh. Eli snorted, and then walked away without as much as a backwards glance.
Brooke stared at Josh worriedly, and Josh explained, "Ever since the team found out what happened, Eli hasn't exactly been in anyone's good graces. They're all happy that you're okay though."
"Which I owe you my thanks," Perry said in a deep, authoritative voice, as if to declare dominance. "If it hadn't been for you, the situation could have gotten worse."
"You were right there, sir," Josh explained, blushing somewhat from Perry's praise. "You could have stopped him just as easily as I did."
"Well, I'm old, Josh," Perry said, smiling ruefully at the thought.
Josh didn't say anything more as he turned to Brooke and asked, "If you're not staying, I completely understand. Actually, I hope you'll go home and rest."
When Brooke gave him the look that she normally reserved for Perry, he said, "How about I drop by tonight and see you. Are you going to be at your parents?"
"No, she's staying with us," Perry interjected. "Brooke can text you our address tonight when you get home. Perhaps you will join us for dinner?"
Josh smiled and said, "That sounds great! I'll be there."
With one last look at Brooke, he bade them all goodbye and ran out onto the field with the rest of his team.
"Well, young ladies," Perry addressed both his wife and granddaughter, "I think it's time we went home."
Della nodded, and Perry picked Brooke up. With her head resting against Perry's chest she mumbled, barely loud enough for only Perry to hear, "Maybe next time I have a bad feeling about something, you'll believe me."