Another oneshot. I couldn't help myself. Please tell me what you think. I think this is kind of a weird subject, but it's stuck in my head, and I had to put it out there.
SIX YEARS AGO:
Jack snuck through the house, even though she knew it was empty. Alex and Ian were out for the afternoon; Ian was probably feeling guilty for being gone for almost a month. But Alex was quick to forgive, as always. It might take Jack a little longer though. But never mind that. The point was they would be gone for almost the whole day.
Long enough for Jack to indulge.
She pulled a beer from the back of the fridge, where she had hid it only a few days before. It was as American as she could find. Jack wasn't a big fan of the brown sludge, but it was a special occasion. The American felt slightly guilty sneaking around the house like this, but it couldn't be helped. Today was her day.
She plopped on the living room couch, settled in, and turned on the television. She wondered how she had gotten hooked.
The law student blamed her father.
Every year until she was five, she would be locked in her room for a whole day. Her father's friends came over, bringing food and beer, laughing loudly. The men would nod at their wives as the two genders went their separate ways. The men gathered around the big screen TV, laughing loudly, smoking, eating and drinking. Her mother disappeared with the other wives, laughing loudly, smoking (don't tell your dad, Jack, he thinks I quit) eating, and drinking. Jack would be holed up in her room almost all day until everyone had gone.
But when she was five, Jack had decided she wanted to see what all the fuss was about. She walked over to the hallway, next to the stairs that looked over the living room. She settled down, her legs and arms tucked into the rails, and swung them as she watched her dad. Their eyes were glued to the television some kind of program on.
A whistle blew and large men suddenly started attacking each other. The men started cheering loudly, joining the cheers coming from the box. The camera zoomed out to show various men in helmets running all over a field covered with white lines.
The view zoomed to one of these men throwing a badly shaped brown ball. Another man jumped high in the air, catching the ball. Jack's eyes widened. He tucked the ball under his arm and started running. The five-year-old could feel the anticipation in the air. The cheers became louder, more energized.
"He's going to make it!" The people on the TV yelled.
"GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" The people in the living room yelled.
Jack clutched the rails with excitement. She didn't know what was happening, but it exited her. She clapped happily along with everyone else.
Then, the man on the television with the funny clothes, tripped. No. He didn't trip, he was tackled!
Jack yelled in indignation. How dare them!
Her father and his friends seemed to share her sentiment, yelling at the man in the TV, yelling at the men who tackled him, yelling at each other, swearing, and stamping Mom's nice carpet.
The din quieted as all the men in funny clothes lined up to face each other. Jack's father got up to grab another beer, and spied Jack. She pulled back. She was going to be in trouble!
But her father just laughed. "Jacinta!" Jack had winced at her name. She didn't like her name, but it was the only one she knew.
She slowly stood up and walked down the stairs, dreading her punishment. Maybe her father was laughing because he was drank that funny tasting brown stuff. Dad always acted kind of weird when he drank too many of those. She looked up at her father, towering over her.
But he only scooped her up into his arms and brought her into the fray of his friends. They greeted her, rubbing her head, pinching her cheeks. She was half terrified, and another half of her wanted to bite them.
"Guys. We have a little fan in our midst. How about we show her the game huh?" Her father grinned, looking handsome, even though he had some funny streaks of make-up on each cheek.
They roared their approval.
Since then she had been hooked. She had earned her name, Jack, since Jacinta was just a weird name. She had tasted beer, smoked a little, and been dubbed 'one of the guys'.
So every Super Bowl Sunday, Jack put on her jersey and ran down to greet the guys. She was hooked on American football.
Since she had come to England, she hadn't been able to follow her teams, The New England Patriots, and the Washington Redskins. But this year, she had found a grainy channel that announced it would play this year's Super Bowl. Jack couldn't resist. The Patriots were playing the accursed Cowboys. She had to watch.
She had been nervous to mention this to Ian. Jack had lived with him and adorable Alex for a year, but she still didn't want to be branded a 'hick American' as a girl at school had called her when she had first come to the country. But Ian had announced he was pulling Alex out of school for a day, to spend some time with him.
Jack had grinned and run off to plan her day. Complete with Doritos and a beer. Just like it was with Dad. She could imagine him and his buddies arranged around her, their musky bodies pressing in from all sides, their breaths thick and heavy from cheering too much. It was perfect. The TV was too small, the channel grainy, but it was still a reminder of home.
So with each touchdown for the Patriots, she cheered. When the Cowboys won, she yelled and cursed and screamed at the team, yelled at her team to pick up the slack. She was consumed, the fans in the TV along with her.
Alex bounced happily down the sidewalk beside his uncle. Not only had he had gotten pulled out of school, Ian had spent the whole day with him. They had rock climbed, and then Ian had agreed to play football with the boy. It was a good. His hair was messy, and he was dirty and knackered, but his face glowed. Ian was a good man.
About a house away from his own, Ian froze. Alex stopped, confused. Then he heard it. Yells were coming from inside his house. Jack!
He locked gazes with Ian and as one; they bounded towards and into the house. For a second Alex thought his uncle was going to kick the door in, but he had it unlocked so fast it was just as if he had kicked the door in.
The yells were becoming more distinguishable now. Ian ran to the door of the living room and skidded to a stop. Alex grabbed the door frame to keep from sliding into Ian and stopped. Jack wasn't in trouble. She was yelling at the television! He cocked his head, confused.
"YOU IDIOT! THAT WAS A COMPLETE OFFSIDE! CAN'T YOU SEE IT?! WHAT ARE YOU BLIND?! ARGH!" She clutched her red hair, then shook her head, plopping back on the couch. Alex was confused.
Ian chuckled. Jack jumped up, whirling on them.
"Ian! Alex!" Her eyes widened. "I thought you guys weren't going to be home until later."
"It is later Jack." Ian grinned.
"Oh. Hi." She blushed.
"What's that?" Alex gestured towards the television.
Jack smiled. "American football."
Alex walked into the room. "It doesn't look like football."
"It's a different sport."
Cheers erupted from the television, causing Jack to turn.
Alex sat down on the couch and Jack joined him.
"The other team scored."
"Oh. What are the rules?"
Jack smiled down at the kid. "How about you go get changed and I'll explain it to you later."
Alex nodded and ran upstairs to change. Ian chuckled again and slowly sat down next to Jack.
"Football? I never knew you were a fan."
Jack nodded, glad that Ian had not insulted her. She had always felt kind of small around him, as if he had seen much more and done much more than she could imagine. It was constantly annoying, but she had learned to live it. But it didn't mean she didn't feel it. Like now.
"It was a family tradition. I haven't been able to keep up with it, but…" She trailed off, feeling silly now.
"But?" Ian prodded her.
"But the Patriots were playing in the Super Bowl. I couldn't miss that," she quickly said.
Jack's eyes followed the action on the TV. Her eyes widened as she watched the wide receiver ran towards the goal post, getting closer and closer to a touchdown.
Ian watched her, smiling as she leaned forward, her green eyes riveted on the screen. A lock of hair fell onto her face, but she didn't notice. She clenched her fists, silently cheering on the player on the screen. Ian knew she was embarrassed that they had caught her yelling like a madm-…woman.
He flicked his eyes to the screen. The player was going to make it! So close!
"TOUCHDOOOOOOOOOOOOOWN!" The announcer bellowed.
"Yes!" Jack jumped up and pumped her fist in the air.
The crowd roared, Jack jumped, Ian grinned, Alex ran down and joined the celebration.
During the remainder of the game, Alex was versed on the ways of American football. The correct way to roar. None of that 'yay' crap. You had to growl.
Ian cocked an eyebrow, amused nonetheless. But Jack was adamant. Alex nodded and roared every time the Patriots made a touchdown. Jack beamed, while Ian just soaked it in. After his last mission, this was a nice change.
Jack caught his eye and smiled dazzlingly. Ian grinned.
The Patriots won.
Alex was tired. He had slaved over his homework all weekend and he just wanted to rest. Jack was worried. He had been down in the dumps ever since he got back from his last mission. He seemed happy when Sabina was around, but when she had left for the last time, he seemed to sink deeper into depression.
Jack had no clue what to do. She flipped though the channels on the television, not really seeing anything. Cheering caught her attention and she flipped back a couple of channels. Her eyes widened and her face brightened.
"Alex! Alex, come here!"
Alex sighed and trudged over to the living room. She seemed so happy…
"Look!" Like an over-exited toddler she pointed at the telly.
Alex looked past her, flicked his eyes over the picture and was about to say something and walk away but it grabbed his attention. Realization dawned on him.
The Super Bowl. Every year, Jack had watched it, Alex along with her. Ian watched most of the time, standing in the door, chuckling. It was a time when they were together. Happy.
"H-how did you…?"
Jack shook her head. "It was just on! Do you wanna watch it?"
Alex looked at Jack, her face still aglow.
"Yes!" He jumped onto the couch, suddenly happy. The Patriots were playing. They scored, and Jack and Alex roared. Ian chuckled from the doorway.
Alex and Jack froze. They looked at each other.
She heard it, it was on her face.
He heard it, it was on his face.
They whirled towards the door, but there was no one there. But they could both swear Ian was in the room.
Another touchdown. Nothing.
Most people would have brushed it off, saying it was a trick of the mind. But it wasn't. Ian had been there. They traded bittersweet smiles and sat back. Contented. Roaring. Cheering. Jumping. Screaming.
The Patriots won.
Ha, I don't even like football…
So this was a bit fluffier than I am used to, so if you hate it don't be afraid to review. (grins) And if you like it, well how can I know unless you press that little button…