Bears Know Best
Part 24 of 28
Edited by Carla Ann
Thirteen year-old Taylor Landt’s step-mother believes that he should be the next great football player for the high school he’ll be attending in the fall. Having a dad who is an accomplished professional linebacker, and growing up surrounded by professional football coaches and players should all but guarantee his ability to dominate on the field. Unfortunately he hates playing football, and knows his height and build will never allow him to be successful at the sport. Faced with an obsessive step-mother who ignores his obvious talents in other areas but instead thinks he is a blight on his father’s reputation, Taylor does the unthinkable and moves to Ohio to live with his mother who abandoned their family and left him with his father eight years ago.
Soon after his arrival, Taylor discovers there’s more to his inability to follow in his fathers’ footsteps than just his height. Will it be possible for him to make friends in a new town in the middle of nowhere outside the shadow of his dad's fame? Will Taylor be able to finally make peace with his mother who abandoned them all those years ago? And how long can he keep his secrets to himself?
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The Legal Stuff: Bears Know Best © 2012 By Tiffany Shar
This is a work of fiction. Names, Characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2012 By Tiffany Shar. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.
Like the first three books I posted here on BigCloset, I will be posting a full copy here on BigCloset. I will be posting it up in 28 installments. The book has a total of 35 chapters and a short epilogue. The full version should be completely posted by September. For those that cannot wait however, I have an e-book version of the full book available from Lulu.com as of today. You may find it at My Store. My assumption is that the majority of my readers would be more interested in this edition of the book rather than a hardback or paperback. There are two types of eBooks available depending on how you wish to read it. One is the ePub format that you should be able to load on any e-reader (you may need an additional app, but I believe all will read it), and the other is a standard PDF formatted file. I believe the PDF is the best way to read it on a computer screen personally. If you enjoy this work perhaps you will consider supporting me by purchasing it ($8.95 for the eBook formatted files).
Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy reading Bears Know Best!
Due to the way that these next couple chapters fit together I’m going to post one today, and another tomorrow like I did last weekend. I just wanted to make everyone aware of that at the beginning of this chapter so you don’t miss out on a part!
Chapter 30: Game Day
THE NEXT MORNING I spit a strand of hair out of my mouth as knocking on my door woke me up. “Time to wake up Taylor,” I heard from the other side of the door. It was Rachel’s voice, so I wasn’t overly pleased to hear it.
“Ugh,” I said and thought about turning my face back into my pillow, but couldn’t bring myself to do so. I sat up and pushed my hair back before calling out, “Okay, I’m up…”
I looked over at a very girly clock that looked like flowers coming out of a flowerpot sitting next to my bed. It was eight in the morning, and I figured we had about an hour before Dad headed to the stadium. He was always early to the games so he could get properly stretched, warmed-up, see the trainer, etc. before the game. I went to my closet and suddenly figured out that my old jersey that I used to wear with Dad’s number on it wasn’t in the closet anymore! I went through the drawers and found that all that was in there were overly juvenile panties, training bras, shorts, and jeans. Nowhere could I find that jersey, and I hadn’t taken it to Conneaut with me.
I was just about to give up after one more search of the closet when I noticed a pink jersey sitting on a hanger. It was more my size than the old one which had hung about my knees, and was in pink. ‘No wonder I hadn’t seen it before…’ I thought to myself. ‘Probably more Rachel’s doing, but I do like it better.’
I found a pair of my shorts and a white blouse to wear underneath it in my suitcase. There was no way I was touching the wardrobe in the room that I felt like Rachel honestly wanted me to wear! ‘Something is really off about her,’ I thought to myself again as I showered. ‘Of course something has been very off about her since about a month after she moved in with us!’
I dried my hair and went to extra care to make my hair style as perfect as the last day it had been styled professionally. I figured it would be inevitable I would run into my old nemesis and others I had known from before. I still had no clue how I was going to handle that one. I had little doubt that everyone would think I was really transgendered or something and I didn’t really think that was going to go over well.
I was almost shaking as I pulled on my bra, pulled my blouse over it, my shorts, and the jersey on top. I was actually surprised by how cute I looked at that moment. ‘I look like I’m ten or less still, but I do look like a girl and I’m cute,’ I thought the last couple things just to spite the worried part of me.
Alyssa just about ran into me as I opened my door to go down for breakfast. “That bed is so comfy!” she told me.
I smiled at her, “Dad found that mattress company somewhere when he was traveling and bought them for all of the beds in the house.”
“Cool,” she said and linked her arm with mine. “I like the jersey,” she told me. The back of course had ‘LANDT’ in big bold letters, along with Dad’s number, fifty-six.
“Thanks, but I can’t take credit for it. My old one isn’t in my room anymore… Rachel must have swapped them.”
“Well, that’s at least one thing you can wear out of there without being mocked too badly,” she said with a smile. We both practically skipped to the table, where we found Breanna already there with a bowl of cereal in front of her. As Alyssa and I poured our own bowls of cereal Danielle walked in.
“Morning,” Breanna called to her brightly.
“How are you such a morning person?” Danielle asked not completely cranky. I knew the feeling.
She shrugged, “This is sleeping in for me, my little sister usually wakes me up and annoys me at least a couple hours earlier so she can watch cartoons and play.”
“We should have had Taylor wake you up this morning then?” Alyssa joked.
“What are you trying to say?” I asked grumpily.
They all laughed and giggled. I saw the newspaper Dad had left out and noticed the sports section was all about the game today. There was even a picture of Dad from a training session in one part of the page. They were talking about hopes of the team having a strong defense this year to match an equally strong offensive line. If I hadn’t grown up around it I was pretty certain my eyes would have glazed over with all of the talk.
We were all just finishing up with our bowls when Rachel walked in. She was dressed in a light blue dress with a flower print. Something about the design of it though gave it away as being an expensive designer dress. “You girls ready for a fun day out?”
“Yeah,” Alyssa, Danielle, and Breanna said enthusiastically. I was still nervous about her bizarre behavior and just smiled at her.
“Well, Jake’s going to head to the Stadium in a few minutes, but I thought we could all go get our nails done before we head there ourselves.”
‘Get our nails done, before a football game?’ I thought semi-incredulously. ‘Not that I would mind…’ I thought. I had just had them done a week ago though, it was crazy to think about the amount of money that had been spent on my nails this summer!
“Okay!” I heard Danielle exclaim about it though.
“Just our nails?” I asked, almost surprised.
“I figure we’ll do each other’s hair for tonight,” she told me with a smile.
“Oh right, tonight,” I said. “Where are we going again?”
She named off the name of a very upscale restaurant that would be an experience for the other three to go to. Dad had been there, but neither Rachel nor I had been there before. The food and service was supposed to be the best in Atlanta, maybe one of the better places in the country… but I knew she wanted to go just to show off, not the food. Once again she proved to me she cared more about my father as an object more than as a person.
“So do you like the new jersey?” She asked me.
I smiled at her, “It is cute,” I admitted.
“I figured it would be better for you than the old one. This way maybe we can convince your Dad’s teammates and families that you were just going through an extreme tomboy phase…”
So this was all about appearances for her. I sighed, “Maybe.”
It wasn’t long before I heard Dad climbing down the stairs, dressed in slacks, a button down shirt, and a tie. Most people would think it weird for him to dress like that, but he had explained it to me that it came from his time in junior high and high school football. The coaches there always made them dress up on game days, and he did the same to go to the locker room still to that day. It was his way of honoring his coaches that had done so much for him as a kid.
“Good luck,” I told him as I gave him a hug.
“Thanks Princess,” he said with a smile. He’d really latched onto that nickname. “I’ll see you after the game,” he told me. “I don’t think it would be a great idea to come into the locker room now,” he added quietly. I blushed as I realized that as a girl I shouldn’t have ever been going in there with him before the game like I used to.
“You’re probably right,” I whispered back to him. “Does anyone know anything?”
He nodded, “A few people, but nothing specific. I think you’ll be fine, if not feel free to call me on the box phone.”
I smiled at him, “I have my friends with me. I’ll be fine.”
“Rachel should be there too,” he told me.
“She’s going to the game?”
“She said something about wanting to keep an eye on you.”
I groaned, “Well, good luck.” I gave him another smile and a hug and he walked out to the car. The girls also wished him good luck as he passed by them.
“Well, are you girls ready?” Rachel asked when he’d driven off.
We all said ‘yes’ and went to grab our purses. I left Julie on my pillow, sitting back to watch my door. I really was amused that her eyes opened and closed as she was laid down. I wasn’t going to take her to the game today though! My purse was soon in my hands, complete with a charged iPhone, and I headed downstairs to get into the car with the rest of the girls.
“So where are we getting our nails done?” I asked Rachel curiously.
She named the part of town that the salon was in, and I instantly knew it was probably going to cost more there than at my normal place with Mom. ‘She sure is spending a lot of money this weekend,’ I thought. ‘Certainly more than she has ever spent on me before…’ It seemed like she drove for a good half-hour through the growing lines of Saturday morning traffic until she got to the salon. It was an upscale establishment that I felt like I should have been dressed nicer for.
“Good afternoon Mrs. Landt,” a lady at the front desk said to Rachel, “and good afternoon ladies,” she added towards us.
“Hi,” I heard us all say at once.
“You’re here for pedicures and manicures?” the lady confirmed with Rachel.
“Yes we are,” Rachel answered. She spoke with her in a whisper that I couldn’t quite hear for several minutes before we were led back to some very comfortable chairs that they used for nails.
“Don’t I get a choice?” I asked as the lady began working on my toes.
“Your mother told us what you wanted done,” the girl said, suddenly embarrassed.
“My mother?” I asked annoyed and shook my head. “What did she say I wanted done?”
“Well…” she explained and even the girliest girl part of me wanted to puke from sugar overload.
‘What do I do?’ I asked myself. ‘Go along with it,’ a voice answered with a sigh.
“Go ahead,” I responded.
I watched as a cotton candy pink nail polish was used as a base, and purple and white flowers and hearts sprang up from the base of my nails to the tips. They were pretty, but something about the colors just screamed ‘little’ girl, as opposed to sophisticated teenager. Maybe if I had more height I wouldn’t mind, but it seemed like something that made me look even younger.
While all of this was going on I started to feel a bit cramped, and I remembered it was how I felt the day before I woke up to my first period… ‘Great, I have to deal with Rachel and I’m going to be extra emotional.’ I thought to myself. ‘Aren’t these things supposed to be monthly?’
I remembered Mom and the doctor talking about this not being necessarily the case right at the start though, so I vowed to be a good girl and get the nails done with so I could go put a pad in my panties. Luckily I had two in my purse, but I wasn’t sure if that would be enough for the rest of the trip… I had thought I’d have another week or so, so I hadn’t even thought to pack extra in my suitcase. ‘Maybe Alyssa or someone else brought some extras…’ I hoped.
The lady that was doing my nails soon told me, “There you go sweetheart, what do you think?”
I lied, “I love them. They’re just what I wanted!” She smiled at least, such a lie was okay in that case.
“I’m glad dear.” She told me.
“Do you have a restroom?”
“Back there,” she said pointing.
“Thanks!” I said, grabbing my purse and swiftly moving into the small bathroom.
I pulled my panties off and noticed a drop of blood on my panties. ‘Crap!’ I thought to myself and quickly took care of matters and put my pad in my panties. Alyssa noticed I was a bit down about something as I joined her to wait for Rachel and the other two girls to be finished.
“I thought the time of the month was supposed to be timely…” I said quietly.
“Oh.” She said. “Did you bring stuff?”
“I brought two in my purse, but I didn’t bring anything else down here… I thought I’d have another week.” I blushed.
“It happens Taylor... I have a couple in my purse if you need them before we go back to your house. My mom insisted I bring a box in my suitcase just in case for me.” She blushed a little bit too.
“You’re a life saver!” I told her with a smile.
“What are best friends for?” She asked with a smile.
She earned a hug for that, and I turned to see the others coming out too. I liked Alyssa and Breanna’s nails the best out of the four of us. Danielle’s were almost as over the top sweet as mine, but hers would have been less embarrassing too. For what it was worth the other girls loved mine and assured me they were ‘cute!’ Rachel claimed they were exactly that she had in mind when she asked for them to design them that way.
I was nervous as we drove towards the stadium then. ‘Ricky will probably be there…’ I thought nervously biting my lip.
“What’s wrong?” Alyssa whispered next to me.
“I’m just nervous, this is the first time any of the people who grew up knowing me are going to see me…”
“Oh.” She said, understanding completely. “And it’s that time too…”
I nodded, trying not to burst into tears. ‘Stupid hormones…’ I raged at my body. “Yeah, talk about timing,” I said while forcing a smile.
When all was said and done I found a bottle of water in the cooler Rachel had packed in the car and took a Midol Alyssa had to help with the cramps I was beginning to feel. Rachel in the meantime navigated her way through the growing stadium traffic to a parking lot reserved for the team and guests. “Can I help you Ma’am?” a guard asked at a gate.
“I’m Jake Landt’s wife, here’s our pass,” she told him and showed him a plastic pass that got us in through the gate whenever we wanted.
“Okay Ma’am, enjoy the game.” He said.
I couldn’t help but note the fact she once again claimed to be Jake Landt’s wife, as if that was her only hold to existence. ‘Is that why she’s being so over the top nice this weekend? Trying to save their marriage?’ I wondered.
Rachel parked the car in a visitor’s space and I led the way through the maze of corridor’s that led to the box we would be sitting in. The girls followed closely beside and behind me, but Rachel seemed to be content to stay a few paces back. “Oh my God, this is so exciting!” Danielle said.
I smiled at her, “For me it’s only exciting because you all are here.”
The four of us came to an elevator being guarded by a guard. “Passes?” he asked.
I reached into my purse and pulled out my pass that Dad had slipped me the previous night. The guard looked at it, looked at me, and said, “Okay Ms. Landt, enjoy the game. Tell your father good luck if you see him.”
“Will do!” I said with a smile.
The elevator had an older gentleman acting as an operator on it who looked at me funny for a second before saying, “I’m glad to see that you’re dressing a bit more lady like now Taylor!”
I blushed, I figured Jim would recognize me. “Thanks Jim,” I told him. “Just going up to the suite,” I smiled at him. He had always been a neat grandfatherly figure to the kids that came through here. I’d seen him be hard as nails though to people trying to sneak up to where they weren’t supposed to be too!
“Sounds good little lady,” he smiled at me and moved us up to the correct floor.
“Thanks Jim,” I said as we walked out.
“No problem Taylor. Have a good time!”
“That went well,” I muttered to Alyssa.
“Yeah, if everyone just thinks you were a tomboy the whole time…” She suggested.
Well, it was the truth, but I wouldn’t have chosen that life if I had a way to do it over. ‘I hope Ricky isn’t here at this game…’ I thought nervously. ‘He was a jerk to me before; I can only imagine what he’ll be like now.’
The door to the suite showed up before I could think much more though, and I led my friends in after waving my pass at another guard. Rachel was right behind us at that point, so when the club owner was standing with a drink not far from the entrance he noticed her, “Hi Rachel!”
“How are you doing?” She asked him politely and shook his hand.
“I’m doing well.” He looked at the four of us for a moment before settling his eyes on me, “And how are you doing Taylor?” He asked.
“I’m doing well,” I told him with a smile.
“Don’t I get a hug?” He asked in a grandfatherly voice.
I went up and hugged him and he whispered, “Your dad told me about everything you’ve been through in the last few months. You’re a very brave young lady, and if anyone gives you any problems let me know!”
“Thanks,” I told him with a smile that was much more genuine now.
“You’re very welcome.” He answered, “Now Taylor, who are these gorgeous young ladies?” His eyes twinkled, and I remembered why all of the players and the community loved this owner.
“Well, this is Alyssa, Danielle, and Breanna,” I said to him. “This is Mr. Kantry, the owner of the team.”
I swear the girls eyes went even more wide as he shook each of their hands. “Well, I need to go make an appearance downstairs, I’ll see you all again in a little bit I’m sure.”
There was a buffet of snacks and sodas setup in the room, and the girls and I found a set of seats at the bottom row next to the opening. The view was skewed since the suite wasn’t centered on the Fifty Yard-Line, but it still offered a good view of the teams warming up down on the field. “This is awesome!!!” Danielle exclaimed.
“I can’t believe you’ve grown up like this,” Breanna shook her head.
“Well, not like this,” I said motioning to the pink jersey and they all snickered. “Hey, do you want to go hit the team store real quick so we can get you appropriately clothed?” I said to them with a smile.
“Oh, I don’t know that my dad will let me walk in with anything from here,” Danielle joked.
“You can give it to him to throw darts at or something,” I said with a smile, “at least as long as it doesn’t have my Dad’s picture on it!”
They laughed and we agreed to walk down together and Rachel was kind enough to promise to save our seats. Jim once again ran the elevator and we went into a merchandise store on the main level that was slowly getting packed in. “We came in the easy way, didn’t we?” Alyssa asked as she caught a glimpse of the parking lot lines.
I nodded, “I wouldn’t know what to do if I had to come in from over there,” I admitted.
We found each of them a pink jersey like mine, all with my dad’s number on it. “You know, it’s a little strange to think of that number being in pink on a little girl like that,” a big typical sports fan guy chuckled. “Jake Landt is like the opposite of that…”
We all giggled as we walked out of the store. “So why didn’t you help him put his foot in his mouth and tell him who you are?” Breanna asked.
I shook my head, “Trust me, not worth it.” I paused, “I honestly wouldn’t have told you all if I didn’t think we might become such close friends. The seats are nice, the people are nice, but obsessed fans are not worth the trouble.”
We were back upstairs and sitting around when I heard a voice that I had hoped I wouldn’t. And, of course Rachel and most of the adults had left for whatever reasons. “Who let all of the girls into our seats Mom?” I heard Ricky say. His voice was deeper than the last time I’d heard it, but it was still his. I gripped Alyssa’s hand as if to say don’t turn around.
“Those aren’t our seats Ricky, you know very well we’re all family members up here, and you take what you want when you get here,” She shook her head. The jerk wasn’t content though, and he came up to look at us from the side. Fortunately I was in the middle of the row of cushioned seats, but he still seemed to quickly recognize me.
“Well I’ll be,” he said while guffawing, “I guess we know that you really are a fag now Taylor.”
I expected something like that from him, what I didn’t expect was him to double over so quickly from Breanna acting decidedly unladylike and punching him in the nuts. “Go away asshole,” she said quietly. “Taylor is our friend, and she is a girl, just like you’ll become if you keep this up.”
“Mom!!!!” I heard him cry out loudly and heard her rushing into the room.
“What’s wrong baby?” she asked in a condescending voice that I think his friends would have made fun of him for her using towards him.
“That girl just punched me in the nads!”
“Why would she do such a thing?” I heard another voice, Mr. Kantry’s ask.
Breanna stood up, “I’m sorry sir, but he just started picking on Taylor and causing problems. He was being a bully and needed to be taken down a notch.” I couldn’t believe how strong she was in her voice.
“Is this true?” He asked Ricky, ignoring the complaints from his mother that he would never do anything like that.
Mr. Kantry had a set of eyes that could bore through to the soul. I think that was part of how he had been so successful in his business dealings, and been able to obtain the wealth to own a team.
“No it’s not, she’s lying,” he tried to say.
Mr. Kantry looked over at us though, and said, “No, they’re not. Young lady, please don’t beat up on any more miscreants like this one… I will have to ask you to leave if you do,” he told Breanna.
She nodded politely, “Yes sir, sorry sir.”
“In the meantime, Ricky, you’re not starting off this season any better than you did last season. I think you need to go watch the game from another spot this year.” He looked at his mother, “Tell Jim to take you guys to the main floor and I’ll have Melanie get you some season tickets for the area next to the press box. Ricky, you’re not welcome in this suite again this season.”
I shuddered a bit at that myself… that was like being banished from your family, and I was sure there weren’t many things worse that he could have done to him.
I watched Ricky huff and puff towards his mom, but they both knew there would be repercussions for his dad and them if they didn’t take the out. Without anything else being said they left. Mr. Kantry returned shortly after he escorted them out, “Sorry about that Taylor,” he told me.
I shrugged, “I would be lying if I didn’t see it coming from him.”
“Like father, like son, huh?” he asked me with a shake of his head.
I looked at him, and realized that there wasn’t a bone in his body that was fooled by the idea that Ricky’s father was any better. He looked over at Breanna, “I see you can take care of yourself quite nicely little lady,” he smiled as he said that.
She blushed, “My dad made me take some self-defense classes when I was younger. That may not really count as self-defense though,” she said semi-worriedly.
“It most certainly did,” he countered. “Well, it’s about time for kick-off, I hope it’s a good game. Your dad seems to be playing even better this season in practices than last year,” he said to me.
“He seems to get better each season,” I acknowledged.
“It’ll be a shame whenever he decides to retire… maybe we’ll get to the big game this year and he can get a ring.”
“You think that’s likely this year?”
He shrugged as he sat down next to me, “We beefed up the offense this year, so with him being a key player in the defense we might.”
“Cool,” I said with a smile.
He didn’t have much more time to talk though, because they did the coin toss and began the game. The various halts for commercials really surprised the other girls, as they’d never been to a professional game. “I can’t believe they just stopped!” Alyssa said.
“The commercials are what pay for the game!” Mr. Kantry said with a smile.
Dad played for the first quarter, and managed a sack early in the second quarter before the coach pulled him off to avoid having him injured. The score for our team went skyrocketing early, even with the second string and rookie players taking the field. “I think this looks good,” Mr. Kantry said with a smile as the two-minute warning commercial break took place. I watched him stand up and move away to leave for the field. “Want to come down to the field with me ladies?”
I looked at my friends and Rachel who had taken a seat behind us. “Go ahead if you want girls, I’ll catch up with you when you’re done seeing everyone.”
I politely said, “Okay, thanks Rachel!”
Mr. Kantry led us down the elevator, and through some back passages that I knew well from growing up around the stadium. We made it to the field with a bit under a minute to play, and the ball was grounded to let the clock run out. I watched as Dad congratulated his teammates, and they went to shake hands with the opposing team. Only when he returned did I make it a point to push in to let him know we were there.
“Hey Taylor,” he said while picking me up and giving me a hug. “Did you girls enjoy the game?” he asked as he sat me down and looked at the other three.
“Uh-huh,” I heard from the three of them and I grinned. Dad was big on his own, but when you added the pads to his girth he seemed much larger. I think he guessed the same, because I noticed his grin grow larger. The quarterback, who was a good friend of his, was just walking up to him.
“Good game Jake,” he said.
Dad shrugged, “Neither of us even played that much,” he smiled.
“True!” he replied. “We’ll get plenty of playing time in another month though!” He assured him. “So who are these beautiful ladies?” he asked.
“These are Taylor’s friends, Alyssa, Breanna, and Danielle,” Dad introduced to him.
“So you finally are out of the tomboy phase, Taylor?” he asked.
I blushed and nodded, “Something like that.”
“Good to see,” he told me with a smile. “Well Jake, see you at practice Monday.”
Dad nodded, “See you,” he looked down at us. “Well, as soon as I get showered I’ll head home and then we can go eat?” He suggested.
We all nodded and after another hug and telling him congrats again, I found our way back upstairs to the suite where Rachel looked ready to leave. “Ready girls?”
“I need to hit the bathroom really quick,” I said as I thought about how long it had been since I’d checked on my pad and was a little worried about a leak.
“I do too,” Alyssa said knowingly.
Rachel stayed behind while the four of us went to the bathroom and I once again bummed another pad, and in the nick of time it seemed. “Ugh,” I griped as I washed my hands. “That is so disgusting…” I complained.
The girls just laughed at me, “You’ll get used to it,” Breanna assured me and gave me a hug.
“I hope so,” I said as we walked out of the bathroom.
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