This is the last chapter to this story, so I thought I'd say a few things. I really hope you have enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. It was the first story I poured most of my true emotions into, and I hope that people got a message out of it. Please let me know what you think, and thank you so much for sharing this story with me. A writer can write all they want, but they write to share their story with a reader. =)
Julius walked into the room to see Gary lying in the hospital bed. A nurse was adding some more fluid to the I.V., the moment allowed for him to study Gary's injuries. Gary was banged up worse than his car, and for a moment Julius was amazed he was even alive. Julius wanted to cry and on the inside her was, however he knew that crying wasn't going to help Gary out. The nurse finally noticed him standing there and spoke to him softly, as if she hoped Gary wouldn't hear. "Only family members are allowed in here. Who let you in?" Julius looked down only to have Gary help him out. "Nurse, this is my brother. Can't you tell?" Julius' heart stopped the tears it wanted to shed, at Gary's words it tore open from happiness. This was his brother lying in a hospital bed; he was never going to walk again no matter what happened. Gary looked up from his bed and tried to smile at Julius.
"Hey Julius, you think this is bad? Just imagine what we would have been like at camp." Julius tried to smile as much as he could from what seemed like a joke. "Yeah, maybe I would have been the one in love with you instead of Summer then." Gary truly smiled this time and his laughed echoed down the hall. "Speaking of Summer how is she taking all this?" Julius looked down at his feet a little hesitant. "Your parents are happy with her, I think they blame her. She's stronger than a few of us, but she's crying. I've never seen her cry before in front of anyone, and she's worried about you." Gary looked out his hospital room window. "I had a car accident, it was my fault. Why do my parents continue to blame her?" Julius shook his head looking in the doorway of the room. "I don't know. You'd think they'd focus more on you than on her." Gary laughed. "Yeah right, you'd be wrong to think that."
Summer was sitting in the waiting room when Julius came out. He seemed happier, as if a burden had been taken from him. Julius walked up to her and crouched down a little hesitant. "Gary wants to see you. He asked me to tell you that, and he wants his parents to come with you." Summer looked up at Julius surprised and wiped away the few traces of tears still left on her face. Gary's parents went into the room and Summer took a deep breath before following. She saw Gary's father pull his wife close as she began to cry just looking at how badly injured Gary was. Gary saw her in the doorway and smiled a little at her for a moment. She tried to smile back but her tears found their way to her eyes, and she had to force herself not to let them out. Gary was a good judge of character and emotion; he read her instantly and opened his arms. Summer found herself crying against his chest as his arms held her tight to give her comfort and love.
Gary's parents looked at them and Gary's father found himself biting his tongue. Part of him wanted to scream at Summer to get away from his son, yet he saw the comfort she brought Gary. Something within him knew what Gary had asked the minute the three of them walked in the room. Gary's dad looked at Summer as she stood by Gary holding his hand. "You know if you want to see Gary, you can do so anytime you want to. I don't when, but if you'd forgive me we'd be happy to have you over for that dinner sometime." Summer wanted to smile but found it hard to. If Gary's parents had accepted her sooner perhaps she'd have prevented Gary from leaving. All her emotions rushed out of her before she knew they were even spoken. "Gary I'm so sorry! If I hadn't just sat there in the locker room I could have gone with you!" Gary held tighter onto Summer's hand and shook his head until she calmed down.
"Summer, if you had been with me we'd both be where I am now. I tried to avoid you when I left because I couldn't stand hurting you. I should have at least talked to you. We're just in a bad moment in our lives. Things have to get better, you taught me that." Summer found herself lying on the bed with Gary as much as possible. Deep down she knew he was right, but that still didn't help them out any. The end result was the same. Gary would never walk again, and he would never quite be the same in the end. The team was waiting out in the hall to come into the room, and Summer knew that there wouldn't be a private moment for Gary and her for quite awhile. Reluctantly, she kissed Gary on the cheek before standing next to the bed motioning the others that they could come in. It was odd how they had given the four of them all privacy, as if they understood that they needed a moment to listen to the silence between them.
The team by now had gotten Gary various gifts, probably as a get well type of thing. Julius thought that perhaps the others had done it to forget their own grief for awhile. It was always easier to concentrate on other things that people thought would help. Gary smiled as his coaches walked into the room and tried to change the feeling in the room. He was never one to feel sorry for himself, Gary was a strong person this simply allowed him to show it. There had been moments where Gary hadn't been a good guy off the football field. He couldn't help but think that hitting Summer hadn't been an accident. That he had been meant to hit her from the beginning of camp. She had changed his life forever, through good things and through the bad. Gary knew he had grown as an individual, and that he would always be thankful to the team.
The team was left only another day to grieve over what happened to Gary. If anything though, they were more determined to win the championship for him. There was no denying the air had a tension to it that couldn't be described. The teams were fighting for what seemed to be more important things, and football simply took a sideline view to it. They had to overcome race and their differences in order to become a truly unbeatable team. Their coach had demanded perfection, not only on the field but off it as well. It seemed all of them had learned one thing about life together that they all shared. It was hard work, and only dedication to each other could accomplish what they set out to do. As the team took the field they were united by color, the color of the football team. They heard their community cheering them on. A community that had once been divided by race now stood cheering on their team, their sons, and their very accomplishment to stand up and show them what they hadn't seen at first.
The game seemed to bring the worst out of people however, and it was hard to focus on at times. Summer saw however, that the team withstood the pressure. They had broken once under the pressure, and this time they knew not to give into it, but most importantly they knew to keep going. They cheered louder for their teammates than they ever had before. The team realized they fed off each other, and that if they didn't stand alone they were capable of great things. In the last minute of the game Rev scored the winning touchdown. Their team went crazy, and Summer knew that Gary was smiling as he watched the game footage from the hospital. The crowd ran from the bleachers finding certain players, and a few of the players ended up in the air. Summer laughed as Julius ran and hugged her, only to be followed by Richard, Sunshine, and Petey. They were doing more than simply celebrating a victory; they were celebrating all their accomplishments as a team.
The team gathered in Gary's hospital room after the game, it was a unanimous decision. Gary got the game ball, and he tried to give to Rev who quickly gave it back refusing to take it. Summer stood near the door simply watching the team for awhile. They were a mix of black and white, rich and poor, and all wearing the same colors. Summer smiled and went to Gary's side holding his hand, and Gary's mother smiled from the gesture. Gary's father watched from the corner not quite sure how to voice everything he felt, and Gary knew that it would take time. The thought made him smile, most of them were seniors, but he thought they had all the time in the world ahead of them. It wasn't that they'd always be together, but they did create lasting friendships and their bond as a team was unbreakable. Gary knew he wasn't supposed to, but he turned on a small radio in his room to the team's favorite station.
Rev was the first one to start the singing, but everyone soon joined in within the first three words. The singing echoed down the hall, and the hospital staff came to watch. They were a team in the history books, well at least for their school. The state had forced them to integrate, but they had chosen to succeed. It had all been a bunch of individual choices, and they all had different background. Still as a team they all had part of each other now. They all shared in the daily habits of an extraordinary football team. As graduation approached in their minds, they pushed it away and smiled. The song on the radio changed and Gary turned it down only enough so that it would echo in the background. He studied Summer and noticed she had truly changed. There were of course changes in her physical appearance. Her hair was still long, but still tied back by a ponytail, her leg was a little sore if she walked a long ways, and she had gained muscle.
Gary still saw though, what the human eye didn't see on the outside of a person, he saw how she had grown as an individual. She had trusted people he thought she never would, she had pushed herself, she had learned humility, and most of all she learned how to push people to be kind to one another. Gary knew that after all Summer had given him, he had given her a few things too. It went back to how the team shared something in common he supposed, how they all were each other's family. Coach Boone had told him once that once he left for camp he didn't have his family anymore. Gary recalled that Coach had told him he had his brothers on the team, and now he knew what he meant. Coach Boone hadn't told him that to humiliate him, he had said it to teach Gary a lesson. They truly all were brothers; they were united by the love of the game. Sometimes the love went deeper than a simple game, sometimes they wanted to share all life had to offer a group of friends.
Coach Boone looked at his football team and smiled. He had come to coach a team that played football with different rules and regulations. He had people there to help him, but the team had taught him as much as he had taught them. They were a sea of one color, Titan Football colors to be exact. He looked down at the floor before looking back up at his team. What they had done for the school was irreplaceable, yet what they had done for each other was even more valuable. Coach Boone had never been one for history or mythology, but he couldn't help but think of the team name. To the Greeks the Titans had been greater than their very gods. This team in front of him was exactly that to him now, they were greater than anything put in their path. They were stronger than what he had put them through, stronger than what society had put them through, and stronger than any differences. The room roared with one saying repeatedly. "We are the Titans, The mighty mighty Titans."