Seth was up with the sun on Friday morning. The rest of the house was amazingly quiet, something he wasn't used to. The hazy light of morning suggested that there were clouds outside, which he had worried and stewed over for days now. Lifting the curtain, he peeked out the window to see what the weather was doing. It had rained lightly overnight, and there was still a smattering of raindrops on the window. The grass was damp, which was nothing new for Forks. Thankfully, it wasn't too wet, and the grass would be dry soon.
He dropped the curtain and gathered his things to head to the shower. Very carefully, he tiptoed down the hall and into the bathroom to get ready, trying hard not to wake anyone else. If his sisters got up, he was doomed. Two bathrooms and four kids didn't add up, especially when two of them were girls. Emily's makeup had found a spot in the bathroom he had tried to commandeer as the boys', and it wasn't uncommon for curling irons, straighteners and blow dryers to take up every available outlet.
Closing the door most of the way, he found the light switch and turned it on, pushing the door shut the rest of the way once he could see. A quick shower was just the thing he needed to calm his nerves.
Today was a big day.
Every time he thought about the big game today, his stomach ached and his head swam. This was the Regional Championship game, and it was his senior year. Coach had already told him that there would be at least four college recruiters at the game, and probably more. He'd already applied to every college in the state, and several outside of Washington, and had to make a decision soon about where he would go. Playing ball would sweeten the college experience tremendously.
But, the recruiter that he wanted most to impress was the one from Arizona State. His heart was set on going there, and his acceptance letter was hidden in his top drawer. He hadn't broken the news to his mother - yet. His dad had been really great when he told him that ASU was where he wanted to go, even if he quietly wiped a tear from under his eye as he walked out of the room, turning to remind him that he would have to tell Bella soon.
Bryce hadn't broken the news that he was applying to out-of-state schools to either of his parents, Aunt Rose and Uncle Emmett. They were going to be upset with him - more for his secrecy, than for the idea that he might go to school far from home.
Seth wondered what the odds were of both cousins being recruited to the same college, especially ASU. There was nobody he liked to play baseball with as much as Bryce. He'd been pitching to him since Pee Wees. They made a great team. While other catchers complained that Seth's fast ball was too much, Bryce caught nearly every one. They had never played on a team alone, they'd always been together, and for most of their lives, their dads had coached them.
He was toweling his long hair, thinking about college and the game, when he heard a soft rapping on the door. Wondering who was up, he turned the knob and looked out through the crack.
Hannah looked up at him. "Sethy, why are you up so early?" Her brown eyes were still sleepy.
He reached over and ruffled her auburn hair and she protested and shifted away from his hand.
"I have a lot to do today, kid. And you should still be in bed."
When her eyes opened wide and her bottom lip puckered out, Seth knew he was done for. "What do you want, Hannah?"
"I want you to get me some cereal and eat breakfast with me." She smiled at him and batted her eyelashes.
Seth groaned. "I'll be late. Can't you get your own cereal?"
Hannah reached out and grabbed his hand, twining her fingers with his. "I can, but then I won't get to eat with you."
"Fine," he grumbled. "But we have to hurry."
Rushing around the kitchen, he grabbed the cereal and bowls while Hannah got spoons out of the drawer. She sat in the chair next to his.
"You're going to win today, Sethy. I know you are." Her head rested on his arm, and he couldn't resist tugging on one of the ringlets that flowed onto the table. Hannah always knew when he was upset, so he really shouldn't be surprised that she was up this morning. She was pretty intuitive for a nine year old.
"Thanks. I hope we win, but…"
"What's the matter?"
Seth reached over and tickled her, making her giggle. "Nothing. I just need to get going. I'm really glad I got to have breakfast with my favorite little girl in the world."
When he had rinsed his bowl and put away the cereal, he hurried past her to finish getting ready, stopping long enough to mess her hair again and drop a kiss onto the top of her head. She smiled up at him and waved as he walked out of the room.
Picking up his backpack and keys, he hurried to the front door, determined to get moving so that he wouldn't be late.
There was somewhere he needed to go before school.
"Seth, where are you going so early?" his mom asked.
He turned to look at her. She stood in the hallway with three-year old Will on her hip, rocking gently back and forth. Will's fingers were wrapped in her hair, and he had his thumb in his mouth.
"I wanted to do a couple of things before school."
She nodded and smiled knowingly. "Okay. Be careful. Oh, and good luck. We'll be at the field, cheering you on."
Seth walked to her and wrapped his arms around her and Will. "I love you, Mom."
"I love you, too." Bella reached out and touched his cheek. "You're all grown up now," she said quietly, and Seth was pretty sure he saw tears forming in her eyes.
The drive to the cemetery wasn't long, but it seemed to take forever this morning. It was the place he went when he was trying to think about things. His dad had the tree house or the meadow, and he'd been to both, but since his Grandpa Billy died, the cemetery was the place he turned to when he needed some peace.
The clock on the dashboard inched dangerously close to the time that he had to be leaving to go to school.
Parking on the side of the dirt road, Seth climbed out of the car and walked to the familiar headstones. There were three now - Jake, Sarah and Billy.
"Hi, Daddy. Hi, Grandpa," he said as he sat on the grass between the two graves. "Today is the Regional Championship game. I'm the starting pitcher and there are going to be college recruiters there. There's a lot riding on this game. I really want to go to Arizona State, and their guy will be at the game, but I'm afraid Mom will throw a fit if I tell her I want to move that far away."
He sat quietly for a while, listening to the wind coming in off of the ocean. The smell of the water was soothing.
"I'm a little bit scared. Dad says I'll do fine. He and Uncle Emmett have been helping the coaches. I think they're driving them a little crazy." Seth chuckled. "But, our team has really benefitted from the extra help. The younger guys want them to keep helping next year."
His hand ran through his hair, a habit he'd picked up from Edward over the years. "I can't believe this is it for high school. I'm not really sure if I'm ready to graduate and move. How did you do it, Daddy? How did Grandpa feel when you told him you were leaving Forks?"
Seth took a deep breath. "There's also a girl…she's pretty, and smart. I like her a lot. We've gone out a few times. She's a cheerleader. Already has a scholarship to UCLA."
When it came down to it, this was one of the biggest things that was eating at him today. Breann would be moving to California, and he wasn't sure where he would be. They probably wouldn't last long as a couple if they lived in different states.
Looking at his cell phone, he realized that he was running out of time.
"I have to go. If I'm late to school, Coach will kill me." He stood and wiped the dirt and grass off of his pants. "I wish you could be at the game, but Mom always tells me you watch when I play. I think I'm counting on that."
Before leaving, he touched each headstone, rubbing the names. It had become his tradition. He always wondered a little how his life would look if his dad hadn't died when he was two. There was no point in brooding, though. Edward had been a great dad, and he was sure Jake would approve of how he'd raised him.
The sun had been shining brightly for the game, and Seth was pitching his seventh inning. The score was tied at three, and with only one out, his team desperately needed to shut down their opponents.
Seth had the batter down two strikes, and he threw his curve, hoping to blow one past him. This batter had seen his curve before, though, and he connected with it. The ball popped up, and sailed toward first base. Jack moved to the right and grabbed it out of the air for an out, quickly turning to touch the runner who was trying to get back to first base - a single-handed double play.
His teammates all slapped Jack's back as they entered the dugout.
Seth bumped knuckles with him as he grabbed his helmet. He was batting second this inning, and he needed to take a few practice swings.
Bryce approached the plate ahead of him, and watched the first strike go by.
"Cullen, get it together. Swing at the good ones," his coach yelled.
Emmett called from the sidelines, "Get the next one Bryce. It's all yours!"
Seth prepared to take a practice swing to time the pitcher as he released his next pitch. He watched in amazement as Bryce swung, and solidly hit the ball. It flew above the head of the third baseman and the left fielder, smacking the fence and rolling to a stop a few feet in front of it. It was a stand-up triple.
When he approached the plate, Seth saw his Dad give him a thumbs-up, before playing with the brim of his baseball cap. Edward was nervous for him. For some reason, that thought made Seth loosen up and laugh.
As he turned back to step into the batter's box, he saw a flash of blonde hair that he would recognize anywhere. Breann was watching. He swallowed the lump in his throat and stepped up to the plate.
The first pitch was high and outside, and he watched it go past.
"Ball one," the umpire yelled.
The next ball was right down the middle, and Seth could see it perfectly. He swung and felt the bat hum in his hands, ringing out as the ball hit the sweet spot. This one was going over the fence.
Five to three was the final score, and Seth felt like a hero. His team cheered him on, high fives all around. They were still celebrating when his coach tapped him on the shoulder.
"Seth, this is Albert Robertson. He's the recruiter for Arizona State." He turned to the man standing behind him. "Albert, this is Seth Black."
Seth reached out and shook hands.
"It's nice to meet you, young man. I hear you're interested in Arizona State. I think we'll be talking a lot in the near future."
"Sweet!" Seth shouted.
A voice behind him made Seth jump. "Hi, I'm Bella Cullen, Seth's mother. "
Edward introduced himself, as well, and Emmett came over to see who they were talking to. When he heard, he shook the man's hand and said, "My son would love to chat with you."
Seth looked at him in shock.
"Oh, come on, Seth. I know how you two are always dreaming of playing college ball together…in Arizona. I may not look it, but I'm actually pretty insightful." He laughed.
"Who is your son?" Albert asked.
Emmett pointed at Bryce. "Seth's cousin, Bryce Cullen."
Before he knew it, his Grandpa Charlie and Grandpa Carlisle were involved in the conversation. Grandma Esme sat on the bleachers, looking tired. Thankfully, she'd been healthy enough to watch his games this season. Will was asleep on her lap.
Seth was listening to the adults talk about the merits of Arizona State when he felt a small hand slip into his. Breann had come to stand with the crowd around him.
"Looks like you might just get what you wanted." She smiled sadly. "It's going to be hard, isn't it?"
"Everything will work out the way it's supposed to," she said. She reached into her purse and pulled out a small package. "I'm finally answering."
She handed him the box and he opened the lid and pulled out a paper, which he quickly unfolded. Yes, I'll go with you to Senior Ball was written in her loopy handwriting.
Without thinking, he leaned over and kissed her softly.
"Sethy has a girlfriend," he heard Hannah say.
Emily giggled. "I figured something was up, he's actually been combing that unruly mop of hair."
Seth took her teasing with a smile.
Today was a good day. He'd won the big game, having his best game of the year, he'd talked to the recruiter from Arizona State, who was now speaking with his parents about the possibility of a scholarship for him and one for Bryce, and Breann had agreed to go to Senior Ball with him. He was surrounded by all of the people he loved, and who loved him, seen and unseen.
He had no idea what would happen in the next year, but for now, everything was perfect.
This outtake was written for the Fandom for Tsunami. It was so much fun to revisit Seth.
I hope you enjoy.