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brothers Andrew's Recruiting Summer Chapter 4: Meeting The Parents

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* FINALLY FINISHED *

This Chapter is the very first one with NONE of the JP story in it at all, but I will fill a gap in Chapter 21: between JP and Matt's workout at JP's house and heading to the park to meet Andrew and his friends.

Once JP and Matt were done playing football with Andrew, Mike and Carrie, they decided to get changed before having supper at JP's house with his parents and Matt's mom.

"Matt and I brought a change of clothes with us," JP said, as he and Matt held up their backpacks. "But I'm guessing that you three left your good clothes back at your hotel."

"Yes we did JP," Andrew said, "But I brought a Washington Area map with me so that we could find our way here from our hotel." He unfolded the map on his truck hood and pointed to the pink line that went along the roads from the Comfort Inn Pentagon City to Burke Lake Park. He handed JP a pink highlighter and added, "All you have to do now JP is trace the route from here to your house on the map."

"Why did you choose a pink highlighter to mark the map with Andrew?" JP asked him with a slight frown.

"It's the only colour that wasn't already on the map, so it will stand out," Andrew replied. "I didn't pick that colour to make a crack at you and Matt, if that's what you're thinking."

"Actually I was for an instant Andrew," JP conceded, lowering his eyes to the map to hide his embarrassment at being wrong. Then he looked back up at Andrew and added, "I'm sorry about that man."

"Don't you know me better than that JP?" Andrew asked him with a hurt look on his face. "I'd never make fun of someone else's choice of partners! I'm not your brother Ryan you know!"

"Yeah I do know that Andrew, but I'm just really nervous about anyone else finding out about me and Matt," JP revealed in a very soft voice. Andrew leaned closer to make sure he could hear everything JP was about to say. As he continued tracing the route to his house and filled in the address, he added, "With all the people who have found out today: Matt's mom, you and Carrie, I don't know how much longer we can keep the secret from getting out."

"Well don't worry JP, I won't tell anyone: certainly not your parents at dinner tonight," Andrew promised him. "You can trust me like a brother; I hope you know that."

"I do Andrew," JP assured him, breathing a big sigh of relief. He set down the highlighter after he finished tracing the route to his house: which was in the subdivision north of the park. "Now, onto a different subject Andrew." His big friend nodded in agreement and stood up to his full height. "As you can see from the map Andrew, my house is in the triangle formed by Burke Lake Road, the Fairfax County Parkway and Ox Road."

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"I have eyes JP!" Andrew teased him.

JP looked up from the map and grinned as he saw Andrew smiling at him. "You know Andrew, even with the map highlighted, you might have a hard time finding my house without my help. Why don't Matt and I follow you guys back to your hotel in his car. Then all you'll have to do is follow me back to my house."

"Good idea man," Andrew agreed, looking at his watch. "It's 3 pm now; what time are your parents expecting us for supper?"

"5:30," JP replied. "Let's go back to your hotel where we can all get changed. Then Matt and I can show you three around the Springfield Mall and our other favourite hangouts before we head back to my house for supper."

"Good ideas JP," Andrew said. "Let's go," he added, folding up the map and opening the driver's door of his truck.

Carrie got into the passenger seat and Mike got into the back seat. Everyone closed their doors and wound down their windows.

JP stood beside Andrew's window and said, "You lead the way to your hotel Andrew; I'll be right behind you." Andrew smirked at his choice of words. "I didn't mean it that way Andrew!" JP chuckled, feeling his face turn red with embarrassment. "But I'll expect you to be right behind me when we leave your hotel!"

"Funny man JP, but I'm a giver, not a taker!" Andrew laughed, hoping to ease JP's embarrassment. His ploy worked as he saw the redness fade from JP's face. "Let's see if you can keep up with me," Andrew bragged, proving that JP wasn't the only one who could use double meanings.

JP laughed as he headed to his car and Andrew started his engine. Once JP and Matt got into his car, Andrew pulled out of the parking lot and onto Ox Road. He turned right onto Burke Lake Road and headed northeast towards the intersection with Braddock Road. JP stayed right behind him as they headed northeast, passing a few houses on their left side.

"I just thought of something Andrew," Carrie said suddenly.

Andrew looked over at her briefly and saw her looking very thoughtful. He waited for a few seconds for her to speak and then prompted her, "Well don't keep it to yourself Carrie, unless it's something I shouldn't know."

"It is something you should know, but JP forgot to tell us," Carrie said.

"What's that?" Andrew asked her.

"JP never told us if his parents know we're coming for supper or how much they know about us," Carrie replied.

"I'm sure he asked them if we could come over for supper, but you're right: we don't know what he told them about us," Andrew realized. "I wonder if JP let them know that he thinks of me as his honorary big brother."

"I don't know Andrew, but we should ask him when we get back to our hotel," Carrie decided.

After about ten minutes, Andrew turned right onto Braddock Road and headed east towards the Capitol Beltway: specifically Interstate 495.

"Hey JP, Andrew's taking Braddock Road towards the Beltway: a route we know very well," Matt said.

"Yeah and he seems to know where he's going, probably because he highlighted the route from his hotel to the park," JP informed him. "He's probably back-tracking." He noticed Matt looking confused, so he elaborated, "He's retracing his route back to his hotel."

Matt nodded in understanding as JP mentally kicked himself for forgetting that his boyfriend wasn't a genius like him.

After another couple of minutes, the ramps of the Capitol Beltway came into view and Andrew took the southbound ramp of Exit 54B onto I-495.

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"Now we head south to Exit 57, which we will take onto Interstate 395 northbound," Carrie informed him, looking down at the map in her lap.

"Thanks Carrie," Andrew said, keeping his eyes on the interstate traffic as he carefully merged with it. "This traffic is really heavy; it's worse than driving on the 401 in Toronto!"

"Don't tell me that you're nervous Andrew!" Carrie teased him, trying to put him at ease. "You can flatten linebackers effortlessly in football games! Is my huge muscular man scared of a few little cars that he could probably overturn with no effort at all?"

"Ok Carrie, I know what you're doing, and it's working," Andrew laughed. "Thank you for helping me relax; I'll have to reward you for that later."

"How about we shower together back at the hotel and you can show me how grateful you are," Carrie suggested with a sexy smile.

"Okay Carrie, but don't distract me too much with sex talk on this busy highway," Andrew ordered her. He smirked as he noticed her staring at his crotch and then swiftly caught her hand as she reached for the waistband of his gym shorts. "Don't even think about giving me Road Head Carrie; it would be too dangerous in this traffic!" Mike burst out laughing from the backseat and Andrew glared at him in the rear view mirror. "Shut up man; you're not helping!"

"It's your fault for speaking your thoughts Andrew, when you should have kept them inside your head!" Mike chuckled.

Carrie burst out laughing at his choice of words and Andrew finally cracked a smile: realizing that they had teamed up to make him relax.

"Okay guys, it worked: I'm relaxed now," Andrew assured them. "Are you happy now?"

"I'll only be happy when I can feel the soft touch of my big man in the shower," Carrie informed him.

"You won't have long to wait for that Carrie, as long as you keep your eyes on the road so that we don't miss our exit," Andrew reminded her.

Carrie smiled as she looked back at the road and imagined all the fun she and Andrew would have in their hotel shower later.

Once JP's car and Andrew's truck got to the intersection of I-495 and I-395, they turned onto I-395 and took it northeast towards Alexandria, passing the Landmark Mall and skirting the northern Edge of the city. They finally reached Andrew's hotel at the Glebe Road exit and pulled into the parking lot.

"There now, that wasn't so bad, was it?" Andrew asked as he got out of his truck.

"Whatever you say 'Mr Scott,'" JP laughed, recognizing Andrew's quote from Relics: a Star Trek Next Generation Episode. "So, now that we're here which rooms should Matt and I shower and get changed in?"

"Mike's room," Andrew replied. "Carrie and I are going to have fun together alone in our hotel room." He glanced over at Carrie with a suggestive smirk, and she returned it with one of her own. Then Andrew turned back to JP and said, "Let's go upstairs now and we'll meet in the lobby in half an hour."

JP nodded in agreement as he and Matt followed Andrew into the lobby and up the stairs to his room.

"Were you afraid that our combined weight would be too much for the elevator Andrew?" JP asked him with a joking grin.

"No JP!" Andrew laughed. "I just figured that star athletes like us don't take the elevator. That's something lazy people would do!"

JP laughed as Mike opened the door and waved to Andrew as he and Matt followed Mike inside.

"Alone at last Carrie," Andrew said, picking Carrie up effortlessly and taking her into his room. He closed the door with his free hand and began kissing Carrie softly as they headed into the bathroom.

"I hope you're going to do more than kiss me Big Man," Carrie teased him with a sexy smile.

"I'll hug you as well Carrie," Andrew promised her.

"I want you to fondle me," Carrie ordered him.

"Maybe later Carrie; I don't want to risk hurting you and the shower is going to be awfully slippery once it's all wet," Andrew reminded her, turning it on.

"And so will you Andrew; I'll make sure of that!" Carrie chuckled.

"Well then, you'd better start right now Carrie," Andrew decided, making sure the bathroom door was closed. He smirked as Carrie struggled to take off his skintight t-shirt. "What's the matter Carrie: is my t-shirt too tight for you to get off?"

"Yes it is Andrew, so I'll let you do it," Carrie chuckled, as Andrew peeled off his t-shirt. "I'll have to figure out some other way to make you happy."

"I certainly will be if you keep doing what you're doing Carrie," Andrew assured her, as she began fondling his massive pecs and eight-pack abs.

"You mean if I keep doing you," Carrie suggested with a sexy smirk as her soft hands continued to explore his massive muscles.

"I don't think that would be a good idea Carrie, at least not until we're both legally consenting adults," Andrew said seriously. Carrie nodded in agreement, not knowing the real reason Andrew was reluctant to have sex with her: he was afraid he would hurt her with his great size and strength. "I'll just keep massaging your massive muscles Big Man."

"Yeah Carrie, you've waited since this morning to worship my massive muscles, haven't you?" Andrew asked her with a cocky smirk.

"Yeah I have Big Man," Carrie replied, closing her eyes in pleasure as Andrew gently massaged her face and neck. She quivered in anticipation as Andrew bent down and gently kissed her. As his massive arms came gently around her slender frame, Carrie felt tears running down her face. "I love you so much Andrew, and it only grows deeper the more intimate we become!"

"Well don't worry Carrie, I'll make sure it gets better each time," Andrew promised her, gently wiping her tears of happiness off her face.

"I look forward to it Andrew, and it will be great when we go all the way: hopefully before Christmas," Carrie hoped.

Andrew smiled and nodded: feeling nervous about having sex with Carrie for the first time, but only because he was afraid that he would accidentally hurt her with his great strength. Knowing how irresistible his massive muscles were for her, Andrew no longer had any doubts about performing up to and beyond Carrie's expectations.

For the next 20 minutes, Andrew and Carrie fondled, hugged and kissed as they had their shower. Then they got changed into their clothes for dinner. They made sure they had their ID and US money and then stepped out into the hallway, locking the door behind them.

"Oh, no one to meet us," Andrew said, as he noticed that the other three were not out of their hotel room yet.

"Good, that means they aren't ready yet, so we were still able to beat them even though we had fun with each other in the shower," Carrie said.

"Yeah, but they had to take their showers one at a time," Andrew realized. "That means it took twice as long."

"Don't you mean three times as long Andrew?" Carrie corrected him. Andrew shook his head with a slight smile and Carrie nodded in sudden understanding, realizing that JP and Matt had probably taken their shower together. "Sorry about my mistake Andrew."

"No problem Carrie," Andrew assured her. "Now I'm going to see if they're ready."

But he didn't get the chance; as soon as he stepped up to the room next door, the door opened and JP stepped out.

"Hey Andrew, I see you and Carrie are all ready for dinner," he said.

"Yes we are JP; are you and Matt ready to lead us to the Springfield Mall?" Andrew asked him.

"Yes Andrew, but I was hoping I could ride alone with you," JP requested. "I'd like to prepare you for the reception you'll face at my parents house. Matt can follow us with Carrie and Mike in my car."

"That's fine with me JP," Andrew agreed, after Carrie nodded in approval. "Let's go."

As they walked down the hall to the elevator, Carrie smiled at Andrew, very happy that she had such a great boyfriend. JP led them to the elevator, and the doors opened as they approached. A crowd of people got off the elevator and then the five teenagers stepped inside. Andrew pressed the lobby button and the elevator doors closed.

After the doors closed and the elevator began to descend, Mike said to JP, "My older brother's name is Matt."

"That's good Mike; what does he do?" JP asked him.

"He's in the Infantry in the Canadian Army," Mike replied proudly. "He's one of Andrew's instructors during his reserve weekends."

JP nodded as the elevator stopped and the doors opened to reveal the hotel lobby. As he led the way across the lobby to the front doors, he said, "We'll make the Springfield Mall our first stop," he added, looking down at Andrew's map.

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"Will we see any of your friends there JP?" Andrew asked.

"No I don't think so Andrew," JP replied. "I never see much of them during the summer." He pushed open the front door and led everyone outside. "See you at my house Matt and be careful driving my car."

"I will JP," Matt promised him, waving goodbye.

"Since you commented on my car when I arrived at the park earlier, you won't have any trouble finding it in the parking lot JP," Andrew said.

JP nodded and tried to figure out how to tell Andrew what he had noticed without making his huge friend mad. Once they got to Andrew's truck, JP took a deep breath and said, "I have something to tell you Andrew, but I don't know how you'll react."

"Then you'd better tell me now, before we get in the truck JP," Andrew warned him. "That way, you won't be trapped in a confined space with me if you make me mad."

"OK Andrew: here goes," JP said, screwing up his courage. "Basically, when you were bragging about the fun you were going to have with Carrie in your hotel room, you were acting just like Ryan does."

"Again with your brother JP," Andrew sighed in exasperation. He opened his truck door and added, "I really hope I get to meet him, considering how obsessed with him you are. From what you've told me, he sounds a lot like some teammates of mine who are arrogant jocks."

"Ryan used to be on the wrestling team with me before he focused only on football," JP said as Andrew started the truck. "Now he has a full ride to Virginia Tech."

"Are you proud of him for that?" Andrew asked him as they pulled out of the parking lot.

"I would be if he wasn't such an arrogant prick about it!" JP snapped. "He took off a summer road trip without even telling our parents where he was going! They just hope that he makes it to Tech in time for the first football practice."

"You know, since he's an incoming Freshman, he'll probably be Red-shirted," Andrew informed him. He noticed JP grinning and added, "That should knock his ego down a notch or two."

JP's grin widened as he realized that Andrew had once again found a way to make him feel better. Then he suddenly realized something else. "Hey Andrew, does that mean that you won't get any playing time in your freshman college season either?"

"I will get some playing time if we win the Provincial Championship this fall JP," Andrew predicted with a cocky smirk. "However, we'll have to wait to see how much playing time the football coaches at Ohio State offer me." He noticed JP's grin turn into an excited smile at the mention of the school he wanted to go to for college wrestling. "Consider my recruiting visits this summer practice for yours next summer JP," Andrew advised him. "By bringing you along with me, you'll be on the radar of the college wrestling coaches and maybe they'll come see some of your matches this fall. Make sure you wear your varsity wrestling jacket on my recruiting visits and bring your District Finalist medal as well."

"I will Andrew," JP promised his big friend, really happy that Andrew was preparing him early for his college career. "After supper, I'll get my jacket and medal out of my room for the road trip that starts tomorrow. Did you bring your football jacket with you Andrew?"

"Yeah man, it's in the back of the truck in my gym bag," Andrew replied with a smug grin. "I'll probably wear it at the mall; it should be cool enough in there."

"Good, then we can see how close in colour scheme they are," JP said, suddenly remembering that Andrew's school colours were blue and white just like his.

As they approached the Capitol Beltway, Andrew said, "There's a question I've been meaning to ask you JP."

"You want to know how much my parents know about you," JP guessed. When Andrew nodded, JP added, "You also want to know if I got their permission to go on your recruiting visits with you."

"And what is the answer to those two questions JP?" Andrew asked him with a big grin.

"I'll tell you right now Andrew," JP replied. "We should be at the Springfield Mall by the time I'm done."

Andrew nodded at him to go ahead and JP began speaking.

=================================================================================================================================================

A few hours before, JP and Matt had gone over to JP's house for their daily morning workout in JP's basement gym. Then they went upstairs to shower and change for lunch with JP's parents. They came downstairs to find JP's parents finishing the lunch preparations in the kitchen.

"Good morning JP," his mom Maureen greeted him. "Did you and Matt have fun last night at the National Mall?"

"Yes we did Mom, though there was one unpleasant incident that had a positive outcome."

"What happened son?" his dad Paul asked him, as his wife ushered them into the dining room for lunch.

"A big college guy and his friend were sexual harassing Chrissy so I intervened," JP replied as he sat down at the dining room table. He noticed his dad's face clouding with rage so he hurried on with the story. "One of the big guys wanted to fight me, so when he went to punch me I twisted his arm behind his back, put him in a choke hold and threw him to the ground. Chrissy thanked me after they ran away and then we suddenly noticed two huge guys approaching us. I was about to fight them too, but Chrissy told me that they had been approaching to help her out before I got there. I thanked the huge guys for being ready to help Chrissy out and then Matt and I introduced ourselves to them. We got to know them better throughout the evening and they watched the fireworks with us later, after introducing us to their friend Carrie of course."

"And what are the names of these two huge heroes?" JP's dad asked him with a big grin.

"Andrew Pearson and Mike Stevenson," JP replied with a proud grin.

"Andrew Pearson: the YouTube High School Football Star from Orillia, Ontario, Canada?" JP's mom asked in astonishment.

"That's what I asked and Andrew confirmed it," JP replied. He turned to his dad and added, "He's a really great guy Dad and I got to know him quite well in the half hour before the fireworks started." After telling his parents everything he and Andrew had talked about, he showed them the pictures and videos he had taken of Andrew the night before. Then he concluded the story by saying, "I told Andrew that I'd ask you two if he could come over for dinner tonight with his friends to meet you and Matt's mom."

"Well considering all that you've told us about him, that sounds like a great idea son," Maureen said, as they continued eating lunch. She looked over at Paul, who nodded in agreement, and added, "He sounds like a great role model for you and I'm glad that his success hasn't gone to his head."

"It sounds to me like Andrew could teach your brother Ryan a thing or two about what being a big brother is all about," Paul said with pride in his eyes. "We'd be honored to have a famous Canadian high school football star eat dinner with us tonight." JP grinned, knowing that those words were high praise indeed coming from his dad. "Did you say that Andrew and his friends are going on recruiting visits throughout the Mid-West this week?"

"Yeah Dad, but I guess I forgot to tell you what Andrew offered to do for me and Matt," JP realized.

"Did Andrew offer to take you two on his recruiting visits with him?" Paul guessed with a glowing grin of pride. JP nodded and Paul shouted, "I knew it! Andrew is indeed the role model you need right now and he's thought of everything to help you secure your college wrestling career!"

"You sound more excited about it than I am Dad!" JP teased him.

"I am excited JP; Andrew's going to help your college wrestling dreams come true," Paul predicted. "He's really filling the role of the big brother very well so far. We'll have to talk to him over supper of course, but I can't think of anyone I'd rather have looking after you than Andrew Pearson."

"I don't need anyone to look after me Dad, not after I took down that punk who was bugging Chrissy last night!" JP informed his dad with a glare. He flexed his biceps and snarled, "I can take care of myself and anyone who cares to test that theory is going to regret it!"

"I should have chosen my words more carefully son, but so should you," Paul warned him with a frown. "I hope you don't try to start anything with Andrew; judging by his size, he could crush you like a paper cup!"

"And Ryan too!" JP predicted with a cocky smirk.

"Stop it son!" Maureen shouted angrily. "Ryan may have been acting like a jerk for the last few years but he's still your brother. He might need you one day, so don't turn your back on him now."

Mrs. Maloney had no idea how prophetic those words were, but in a couple of years they would all find out.

"Okay Mom, I understand," JP said, mostly to placate her because he couldn't imagine a future where he and Ryan would ever be close again. "I'll think about what you said and try to think of Ryan as my brother and not my rival."

"Good for you son," Paul commended him. "But speaking of rivals, both you and Andrew lost your respective championships last season, didn't you?"

"Yeah Dad, but why are you bringing that up now?" JP asked.

"Maybe during your road trip this week, you and Andrew can mentor each other on how to win your respective championships this season," Paul replied. "I could also give you two some tips during supper tonight."

"Good idea Dad," JP said sheepishly, looking down at his plate as he finished his lunch. "I'll tell your ideas to Andrew when I see him at Burke Lake Park this afternoon."

"Good for you son: you're including him in your workouts," Paul said approvingly. "After supper you should show Andrew your basement weight room and the wrestling room at school."

"More good ideas Dad," JP agreed, as he and Matt stood up from the table. "Can Matt and I head over to the park now to meet Andrew and his friends?"

"As soon as you call your mother Matt," Maureen replied, standing up to collect the lunch dishes. "Invite her over for supper and you can tell her all about meeting Andrew and his friends last night."

Matt nodded and went into the living room to make the call. His mom agreed to come over to JP's house for supper that night and told him, rather hesitantly, to have fun with JP and his new friends in the park that afternoon.

Then Matt and JP said goodbye to JP's parents and headed over to Burke Lake Park to go running with Andrew and his friends.

=============================================================================================================================================

"Good story JP," Andrew commended him, as they pulled into the Springfield Mall parking lot. "Well, here we are at the Springfield Mall."

The 2006 sign below is only one year after my story takes place: July 2005. 

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"I have eyes Andrew!" JP teased him, throwing Andrew's earlier line back in his face and pointing to the mall sign. Andrew grinned at him and then noticed JP's car pull up beside them with Matt, Carrie and Mike inside. "Hey Matt, I see you made it okay."

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"Yes I did JP; so what will we do in the mall for the next hour or so?" Matt asked him.

"We'll just walk around and stretch from our workout this morning and our jogging this afternoon," JP replied. Then he got out of Andrew's truck and turned around to see Andrew putting on his blue and white ODCVI Varsity football jacket.

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"And now I know what Andrew's going to do: show off his jock status to all the people on the mall."

"Yeah JP, I have to give into the jock image sometime so it might as well be right now," Andrew informed him with a cocky smirk. He locked his truck and added, "I'm ready if you are JP."

"Yeah I am Andrew," JP said, following Andrew to the nearest mall entrance. Andrew led the way into the mall and headed for the food court, once he checked the directory to find out where it was. "Supper's not for a couple of hours Andrew."

"Yeah I know, but I haven't eaten since lunch so I'm starving man," Andrew informed him. "These huge muscles need constant fuel to stay well maintained."

"I can understand that man, but no one could miss how well maintained your huge muscles are. There should be a Five Guys in the food court."

Once they got to the food court they realized that there was no Five Guys there.

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"It looks like you made a mistake JP: there's no Five Guys here," Mike said.

"Thank you Captain Obvious," JP snapped. "I don't suppose you can tell me where the nearest Five Guys is?"

"You're the one who lives in this area JP; you tell us," Mike dared him, not letting JP know that he knew the answer.

"Right across the Interstate on Old Keene Mill Road," JP suddenly remembered. "Let's go: I'll show you guys my favourite restaurant."

"And then I can return the favour if you ever come up to Orillia," Andrew offered.

Everyone nodded in agreement and then retraced their steps back to their cars. As they walked, JP realized that there was something different about Andrew, but he couldn't put his finger on it. His huge friend seemed taller than he had been before their visit to he hotel, and there was a nagging sound that JP had constantly heard since they had entered the mall.

JP slowed, lost in thought, and then looked ahead at Andrew. He finally noticed the source of the nagging sound he had heard.

"You're wearing cowboy boots Andrew: that's why you're suddenly taller," JP realized.

"Am I?" Andrew asked, looking down. "Oh yeah I am. But then I've always worn cowboy boots since Grade Five, so I didn't even notice. I only wear shoes when I have to dress up, work out or play sports. And the reason that I'm noticeably taller is because the heels on my boots are three inches, not the normal inch and a half. So I stand 6 foot 10 with my boots on: making me the same height as the Undertaker. So I may have to duck my head to get into your house."

"Don't worry about it Andrew; you look really cool and tough," JP commended him. "It's no wonder everyone we've passed has stared at you in awe and fear!"

"Don't forget about yourself JP; you attract a lot of attention as well," Andrew reminded him.

"Yeah I noticed that yesterday at the National Mall and on the train," JP said, suddenly looking embarrassed.

"Don't feel embarrassed JP; it comes with the territory of being a top athlete," Andrew informed him. "Just wait until the interviews start!"

"You've had interviews Andrew?" JP asked him in astonishment.

"Yeah man, I was Athlete of the Week on VR News at the end of the last football season," Andrew replied with a smug grin. "Then the college recruiting visits started a few months ago."

"Which schools did you visit this spring Andrew?" JP asked him, as they reached Andrew's truck.

"Penn State, West Virginia, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Florida and Miami," Andrew replied, his smug grin morphing into a cocky smile. "But those were Junior Day visits, held during March Break. I was one of only 50 high school junior athletes at those events." They got into Andrew's truck and he started it. "The first visits to the schools just for me start tomorrow when we visit Ohio State."

"You mean The Ohio State," JP corrected him as they pulled out of the parking lot. Andrew smiled and nodded; realizing that of course JP would know the proper name of the school he wanted to wrestle at during his college years. "What other schools are we visiting this week Andrew?"

"Notre Dame and the University of Michigan," Andrew replied, pleased that he would be able to visit three US Football schools that week. "I would have visited Michigan State as well, but they don't offer tours of their football stadium. An Unofficial Visit isn't much good without being able to tour the stadium where I might play college football one day."

As they drove across the bridge over the Interstate, JP asked, "Will we spend one night at each school Andrew?"

"That's the plan JP, but I'll have to check Mapquest to be sure," Andrew replied. "From what I remember though, the first leg of the trip takes us to Ohio State in six and a half hours. We'll pass halfway between Pittsburgh and Morgantown on Interstate 70 westbound."

"And I'm guessing that the schedule is more flexible since we're driving," JP guessed, as they stopped at the red light at the west end of the bridge.

Andrew nodded in agreement as the light turned green and they were able to turn left before the oncoming traffic started moving. Andrew parked his truck in front of the Five Guys restaurant and waited for Matt to pull up beside him in JP's dark green Geo Prism.

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Then everyone went into the restaurant and lined up behind an older couple until it was time to order their food.

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The guys at the counter soon took their order, staring at JP in awe and Andrew in fear. Andrew felt exasperated that he got the same reaction everywhere he went but he was also relieved that JP was diverting some of the attention off of him.

As they waited to pick up their order, Andrew sent Mike to pick a table for them with Matt and Carrie. Then he turned back to JP and noticed him glancing warily around the restaurant.

"What is it JP; what has you so nervous?" Andrew asked, though he could guess.

"I'm making sure no one from school is in here," JP replied. "I'm really popular there, even more so now than my brother, and since we have a supper timing to meet, I don't want there to be any more delays." He smirked as Andrew grinned at his use of a military phrase. "Just a phrase I picked up from my dad Andrew."

Andrew nodded with a smile and hen turned back to the counter to pick up their order. JP breathed a sigh of relief: pleased that Andrew hadn't figured out that JP didn't want anyone from school telling Ryan about his new friend Andrew. But his hopes were dashed as he turned towards their table and noticed a huge familiar figure coming through the front door.

"Oh no," JP groaned in dismay; not pleased at all to see his brother's former teammate on the football team. "Let's get to our table Andrew, before he sees us."

"Who are you talking about JP?" Anew asked, as they reached their table.

"It's Tyler Backton: Ryan's teammate on the football team," JP replied, putting a hand to his forehead in dismay as they sat down. "Of all the people I didn't want to see today, he's the one who could tell Ryan all about you!"

"Maybe if he tells Ryan that I took over his role as your big brother, it will shame Ryan into reclaiming it," Andrew suggested hopefully. "Don't worry JP; I'll stand up and hopefully my size will scare Ryan once he hears about it."

He stood up, revealing himself and drawing Tyler's attention. Tyler's eyes widened in astonishment at Andrew's size and he carefully approached JP's table.

"Hey JP, who's your big friend?" Tyler asked hesitantly once he has stopped beside JP's table.

"It's huge friend actually, and his name is Andrew Pearson," JP replied, standing up from the table.

Andrew stepped forward to shake Tyler's hand, towering over him even though Tyler stood 6 foot 3 and weighed 275 pounds. Tyler had to conceal a wince at the strength in Andrew's grip, guessing that JP's huge friend could bench a lot more than 400 pounds.

"Good to meet you Tyler," Andrew said. "You used to play high school football with JP's older brother Ryan, didn't you?"

"Yeah this is my senior year coming up so it's my last chance to impress Penn State enough to get a full football scholarship."

"Then we have something in common: we both want to earn a full ride from the NCAA," Anew informed him. "I hope to get into Miami but depending on how the recruiting visits go, I could be persuaded to stay closer to home: like Ohio State perhaps."

Andrew glanced significantly at JP as he finished speaking, who took it as a cue to say goodbye to Tyler. "It was good seeing you Tyler but we have a dinner timing to meet. I'll say hi to Ryan for you when I see him again and I'll see you at the wrestling camp in six weeks."

"Sure JP; see you later," Tyler said agreeably. He nodded at Andrew and added, "Nice meeting you man."

"You too Tyler," Andrew said, giving him a big grin. "See you later." Tyler nodded and headed out of the restaurant with his take-out order. Once he was gone, Andrew turned to JP and said, "There now, that wasn't much of a delay, was it JP?"

JP shook his head and grinned: pleased that Andrew had once again found a way to make him feel better.

Half an hour later, as they were driving to JP's house, JP said, "I have a very important question to ask you Andrew."

"What is it Big Guy?" Andrew asked him, glancing over at him with a small grin.

"What's it like to be you?" JP asked, looking over at Andrew with great respect in his eyes.

"What do you mean JP?" Andrew asked, even though he had an idea.

"You're admired and respected by everyone, even my friends, you're a god on the football field and lots of NCAA schools want you to join their football teams. How have you stayed so humble even though you've been a super jock for years?"

"Super jock: that's a good one JP," Andrew said with a smirk. He noticed his smaller friend looking at him seriously, waiting earnestly for an answer. "It hasn't been easy not to let all the attention go to my head for the past seven years. But once I took care of the bully in Grade Five, everyone admired and respected me for being their hero. I couldn't bear to disappoint them, so I had to play the role of the humble big guy."

"So you're just pretending to be humble Andrew?" JP asked, looking disappointed.

"At first I was, but then it became my natural state," Andrew informed him. "I had a rough time when my Grandpa died almost a year ago and I gave into the cocky jock role to cover it up. But when I got suspended from the team and then we lost the Provincial Championship, it put things in perspective and I returned to my humble and gentle nature. Also, everyone wanted to learn how I got so big and strong so I gradually became a mentor for the small guys: training them to become football players like me in high school."

JP grinned: pleased that his image of Andrew as a gentle giant had not been tarnished. "It sounds like you've made nothing but good decisions in your life man."

"I know it seems that way now, but 2004 was quite frankly a 'Year of Hell' for me," Andrew informed him with a frown.

"That was the title of a two-part Voyager episode in November 1997," JP suddenly realized.

"Yeah, but unlike the crew of Voyager, the events were not erased by a magic reset button so I have to live with those memories for the rest of my life," Andrew said seriously. "I was allowed to play the final two games of last season and I didn't let my emotions get the better of me even when we lost the Provincial Championship. Coach Everson noticed my newfound maturity and helped me get invites to Junior Days here in the States a few months ago. And now I'm going on my first Unofficial Visits to schools in the Midwest."

"Are you bringing Mike along, just like me, to help him get exposure to the college coaches?" JP asked him, astonished at Andrew's story of maturity discovery.

"Yeah man, he was my first protege: I taught him everything he knows," Andrew replied proudly. "I want to help him realize his college football dreams. Unless the college coaches ban me from bringing anyone else along on my recruiting visits, I'll make sure the limelight shines on all my proteges."

JP nodded, pleased with Andrew's explanation, and then just glanced occasionally at his huge friend in awe during the rest of the drive to his house. Andrew noticed and smiled quietly to himself: pleased that he inspired such admiration from a famous athlete like JP Maloney.

Once they arrived at JP's house, Andrew got out of his truck and took a few deep breaths to calm his nerves.

"It's okay Andrew, I told my parents nothing but good things about you," JP assured him, as Matt pulled up in JP's car.

"You lead the way into your house with Matt JP," Andrew ordered him. "I'll follow with Carrie and Mike."

JP nodded and led the way to the front porch. As he climbed the front steps, the front door opened and JP's parents stepped out.

"Hello son, how are you?" JP's dad asked him.

"I'm fine Dad: I had a great day with my friends," JP replied. He motioned behind him and added, "I'd like you to meet my new friend Andrew Pearson."

Mr. Maloney, who rarely had an emotional reaction to anything, widened his eyes in astonishment at how huge and muscular Andrew was. JP, on the other hand, grinned at how much bigger and more muscular Andrew was than his big brother Ryan.

"I'm very pleased to meet you Andrew," Mr. Maloney said, revealing his admiration for Andrew by using his first name right away. He stepped forward and shook Andrew's hand eagerly, who remembered to be gentle so that he wouldn't crush Mr. Maloney's hand. "JP has told me and my wife all about you."

"All good things I hope, but I guess we'll find out once you invite me inside," Andrew said.

"Yes you will, come on in Andrew," JP's mom said, ushering everyone into the house. She shook his hand once they were inside and added, "Welcome to the Maloney house Andrew."

"Thank you Mrs. Maloney," Andrew said, taking off his boots.

"You're welcome Andrew, but please call me Maureen," Mrs. Maloney ordered him.

"And call me Paul," Mr. Maloney added.

As everyone took off their shoes, Matt's mom stepped out from the living room.

"This is Mrs. Anderson: Matt's mom," Maureen said, as Andrew and his friends stepped forward to shake her hand.

"I'm very pleased to meet all of you," Mrs. Anderson said as they all stepped into the living room across from the kitchen.

"So Andrew, JP tells me that you can bench-press more than 500 pounds," Paul said once they were all sitting down.

"More like 700 pounds actually, but who's counting?" Andrew asked with a smug grin. His grin faded as he noticed everyone staring at him with a mix of awe and fear. "If you have enough weight plates in your basement gym, I'd be glad to demonstrate," he offered.

"We should have enough plates downstairs," Paul assured him. "After all, JP here benches over 300 pounds," he added, smiling proudly at his son. "Let's go downstairs and find out."

Andrew and his friends followed the Maloney's downstairs to the basement weight room: where Ryan and then JP had turned themselves into the gods of Central High School. While Mike and Carrie stared at all the machines and weights with astonishment, Andrew didn't seem surprised.

"You don't seem surprised like your two friends to see an entire gym down here Andrew," Paul said.

"I have one in my basement at home Sir and it looks a lot like this," Andrew informed him.

"Call me Paul Andrew," Mr. Maloney advised him.

"Because it's time for a rhyme Paul?" Andrew asked him with a smug grin.

"Very funny Andrew!" Paul laughed, as JP added extra weight plates to the bench-press to bring it up to 700 pounds.

"Twice as much as I bench but I'll get there one day," JP predicted.

"First you have to win the State Championship JP," Paul reminded him with a frown.

"Yes Dad, I will," JP assured him, putting the locking pins in place. "But before any of that happens, we have to see if Andrew can truly bench 700 pounds or if he was exaggerating."

"Hey JP, don't talk about me like I'm not in the gym!" Andrew ordered him. He flexed his massive biceps with a cocky smirk and added, "Last time I checked, I was in the gym!"

"There's no way anyone could miss you, considering how big and muscular you are!" JP assured him.

"Let's see how effective these huge muscles are in the gym!" Andrew shouted in excitement, laying down on the bench. "Get your cameras ready everyone!"

Andrew grabbed the loaded bar as JP lowered it into his hands. Then he lowered it to his chest and pushed it up fairly easily, causing his friends to look amazed at his awesome strength. Since JP was serving as his spotter, though he really didn't need one, Mike was free to capture Andrew's massive strength using the video mode on his digital camera. Mike, like everyone else, watched with amazement as Andrew benched 700 pounds easily, making it look almost effortless.

Andrew raised the bar for the tenth and final rep, letting JP put it back on the brackets.

"Good job Andrew," JP congratulated him. "How do you feel?"

"It felt easier than it did last week," Andrew replied with a big grin. "I didn't even break a sweat this time. Do you have any more weight plates so that I can try again for my maximum of 800 pounds?"

"No I don't Andrew," JP replied, his eyes wide with fear and amazement at Andrew's awesome strength.

"Too bad JP," Andrew said, sitting up from the weight bench. "I guess I'll have to see if the gym at Ohio State has enough weight plates to challenge me."

"Yes, when you take JP and Matt there," Paul said. He looked at his watch and added, "It's time we got dinner started, so we'll go upstairs now. Mike, you come upstairs with us so that you can email that video to the colleges you and Andrew will visit this week."

"I'd like to stay down here with Andrew until dinner's ready," JP said. "I have something to show him that I think he'd like to see." Matt glanced over at JP as he headed upstairs and JP nodded, confirming that he was going to show Andrew The Wall.

"See you upstairs later for dinner Andrew," Carrie said, standing on her toes to give him a kiss.

Andrew bent down to meet her soft lips, kissing her softly. He folded his massive arms around her gently as he breathed in the fruity aroma of her perfume. "See you soon Carrie," he said, stroking her face softly as he drew back from her soft lips.

JP grinned as he saw the gentle smile on Andrew's face as Carrie walked upstairs. "You really love her, don't you Andrew?" JP asked his huge friend.

"Yeah man, in fact, I hope we get married before we go to college," Andrew replied. He turned to JP, saw him smiling, and realized that he was probably thinking of Matt. "Now JP, enough about me; what did you want to show me?"

"What I call 'The Wall' Andrew," JP replied, leading him to a door in the far left corner of the basement. "I've only shown this to Matt, so I hope you realize how much I trust you that I'm letting you see it too."

"I understand JP," Andrew assured him. "Let's see what this 'Wall' looks like," he added, as they stopped in front of the door.

JP grinned and opened the door, turning on the light so that Andrew could see the contents of the room for himself.

As Andrew looked around the back room, his eyes widened as he saw the pictures of JP's progress from a skinny kid to a muscular jock.

"You look surprised Andrew," JP said with a smug grin. "Don't you have pictures of your progress at home?"

"Just in a photo album, not all over two walls JP," Andrew said with a slight frown of disapproval. JP seemed to twitch at the words 'Photo Album' and Andrew noticed. "What is it Big Guy?" he asked softly.

"I have something else to show you Andrew," JP replied. "Again, this is something I've shown only one other person: Matt."

Andrew watched as JP walked over to a cabinet in the far corner of the back room. He opened a drawer and pulled out a photo album: the same one he had shown Matt after their visit with Matt's dad.

"Are those more pictures of you JP?" Andrew asked with a big grin.

"No Andrew, these are pictures of my brother," JP replied seriously. He opened the album and showed Andrew the pictures of his big brother Ryan: from when he was a fat kid in Grade Five to when he became a high school jock. "When Ryan was a fat kid he was always nice to me and I idolized him: following him around everywhere. He was the perfect big brother back then."

"So what happened JP?" Andrew asked him gently, as they looked through more pages of the album.

"As he got leaner and more muscular, he began to pull away from me, especially once high school started and he made the football team," JP replied. "Once he became a jock, he no longer had time for me."

"Then who taught you how to work out when you got to high school?" Andrew asked with a confused look on his face.

"Actually Ryan did, but only because I begged him to," JP replied sadly. "He didn't offer to do it; I had to bug him until he gave in. Then he told me that if I worked out a bit, perhaps even joined the wrestling team he was on, I wouldn't get picked on at school. You might not believe this Andrew, but I was barely 100 pounds two years ago."

"I know, I can see the pictures JP," Andrew reminded him, pointing to the left side of the first wall.

"Yeah that's true," JP realized. "Anyway, Ryan became my personal trainer and workout partner almost two years ago and he helped me become what I am today."

"So what happened JP?" Andrew asked, figuring that they would soon get to the heart of the matter. "What happened between the two of you that turned you from workout partners into rivals?"

"I really don't know Andrew," JP replied, looking down at his feet.

"Are you sure JP?" Andrew asked him seriously, handing back the photo album. "You never gloated when you began to catch up to his size and strength? You never made fun of him when he got stuck on a weight-lifting plateau or put on a few pounds of fat?"

JP's jaw dropped in astonishment at Andrew's insight but then his face fell as the full impact of his big friend's words hit him.

"Oh no," he whispered, sitting down on the bench with his chin in his hands. "It's all my fault Andrew: I pushed Ryan away by doing everything you described during my last workout with him three months ago! Instead of encouraging him when he got stuck at 325 on the bench-press for three months, I gloated that I was only a few dozen pounds behind him. I rubbed my success in his face instead of thanking him for helping me get to where I am today!"

"I'm afraid so JP, but you're not the only one to make those mistakes," Andrew assured him. "I did the same thing with Steve almost seven years ago, even though he never trained me. I certainly didn't think about our friendship when I gloated about suddenly being bigger and stronger than he was when we started Grade Five!"

"You were only ten years old Andrew; you probably didn't know any better," JP assured him. "But I on the other hand was already 16 years old three months ago and I still made fun of Ryan!"

"Don't feel too bad JP; at least you still spent time with him all these years," Andrew reminded him. JP's face brightened with a small smile as he realized that Andrew was right. "I, on the other hand, completely neglected Steve the summer before Grade Five, even though we had been best friends since Nursery School! And then to make matters worse, once I got bigger than he was, I just gloated about it instead of helping him get as big and strong as I was! I also spent more time with my new protege Mike instead of Steve and then our friendship ended in a big shouting match that Christmas."

"And how did you regain your friendship with Steve?" JP asked, hoping that he could get an idea on how to repair his relationship with Ryan. But his hopes were dashed when Andrew replied, "I never did repair my friendship with Steve JP or he would be here with us right now. Instead, I've spent the last seven years being his rival on the football field, even though we're on the Offensive Line together!" He noticed the look of defeat in JP's eyes and suddenly thought of something that could cheer him up. "But you have a couple things going for you that I never had JP."

"What's that Andrew?" JP asked, a glimmer of hope returning to his eyes.

"You and Ryan are brothers," Andrew replied, as JP put the album back in the cabinet drawer and closed it. "And as you said, you last worked out together only three months ago, which means that you continued spending time with Ryan even when he didn't want to."

"That's three things Andrew," JP teased him, ushering him out of the back room. As he closed the door, he gave Andrew a cocky smirk and added, "I thought a smart guy like you would know how to count!"

"Very funny JP!" Andrew laughed, as he followed his smaller friend across the gym to the bench-press. "The point I'm trying to make is: you didn't give up on your relationship with Ryan like I did with Steve. I know Ryan's away right now on his pre-college road trip, but when he gets back, you should try to fix your relationship with him before it's too late."

"It's already too late Andrew!" JP snapped in exasperation. "Ryan ran off on his road trip without saying goodbye to me or our dad! We don't even know if he'll be back for Thanksgiving, which is four and a half months away here in America! He'll probably have forgotten about me by then! And if you haven't fixed your friendship with Steve, what makes you think I can fix my relationship with Ryan?"

"It's only been there months since you last spent time together, not seven years like it has been with me and Steve," Andrew reminded him, trying to keep his smaller friend calm. "Also, don't forget that he's your brother JP. Family ties don't usually get broken; they just get frayed. I have confidence in you JP; you're not the quitting type. You know, the next time Ryan is home for a while, perhaps during Christmas Break, I should come down here so that I can see both of you. Maybe if Ryan sees our brotherly relationship, it will inspire him to regain what he's lost by turning away from you."

"Or he'll figure that he's been replaced and resent me even more," JP huffed, feeling worse not better.

"I guess I'm not the best example on this matter JP; I can't even follow my own advice!" Andrew finally realized. JP nodded in agreement, wondering when his big friend would stop talking about Ryan. "After all, I've never had a brother and I haven't shown any willingness over the past seven years to patch things up with Steve. I just replaced him with my first protege Mike Stevenson: the guy for whom I originally neglected him! I think when I get home this summer, I'll try, somehow, to make up with Steve. After all, we'll only have one last year of high school together and then we may never see each other again! I can only hope that you try to repair your relationship with Ryan when you see him again. I would hate for you to have to live with the regret of a failed relationship for seven years like I've had to do."

"Sure Andrew, whatever you say," JP said dismissively, getting really tired of being lectured by his huge friend. "And maybe Hell will freeze over while I wait for Ryan to become my Big Brother again!"

"You'll have to make it happen JP; you can't wait for it," Andrew advised him, trying not to get mad at JP's impatience. "Once you're as big as he is, he won't be able to ignore you anymore! He'll have to talk to you then and maybe he'll be proud of you for a change instead of jealous!"

"You're right Andrew," JP realized, relieved that his huge muscular friend wasn't mad at him. "I'll try to fix our relationship the next time I see him, if he gives me the chance that is!"

"That's all I can ask JP, but remember: you don't have to do all the work," Andrew suddenly realized. "Ryan has to want to be your Big Brother again or you'll never regain your relationship with him. I only hope it doesn't take something happening to one of you for the other to realize just how important you are to each other." Andrew had no idea how prophetic that statement was, but he did realize that he was scaring JP when he saw a glimmer of tears in his eyes. "Sorry for scaring you like that JP; I guess I'm not doing a very good job of cheering you up, am I?"

"No you're not Andrew," JP replied: both truthfully and bravely considering how huge and muscular his big friend truly was. Andrew glared at him and JP hastily added, "But I guess you can't be good at everything, can you Big Guy?"

Before Andrew could reply, the basement door opened and JP's dad started down the basement steps.

"Dinner's ready you two," he said. "Come upstairs and get washed up." As Andrew and JP followed him up the basement steps, he asked, "What were you two talking about down here? It sounded rather heated."

"We were talking about Ryan," JP replied through gritted teeth as he clenched his fists in fury. "I can't believe that he didn't even say goodbye to us before he left!"

"Neither can your mother and I," Paul agreed. Then he added, "But I guess we shouldn't be surprised; he's barely acknowledged us during the last four years!"

"I'm here Mr. Maloney," Andrew said quickly, hoping to head off another rant about Ryan. "I'd be glad to fill the 'big brother' role for JP."

"Thank you Andrew," Paul said gratefully. "That's exactly why we're trusting you to take good care of JP during your upcoming Mid-West Recruiting Visits." He noticed JP glaring at him and hastily added, "Not that JP needs to be taken care of; he proved that last night when he took care of that jerk who was bugging Chrissy!"

JP grinned proudly and then his father's previous sentence penetrated his consciousness. He turned from the sink, where he was washing his hands, and asked his dad excitedly, "Did you say that Andrew will be taking care of me during the recruiting visits?" His dad nodded with a small grin. "You mean I can go with my new friend Andrew on his road trip?"

"Yes JP, but first clean up the water you splashed on the floor in your excitement," Paul ordered him with a chuckle. JP's face turned red with embarrassment as he grinned sheepishly and grabbed some paper towels. Paul turned back to Andrew and said, "I'm placing a lot of trust in you Andrew: to keep JP safe during this road trip. Can you do that for me?"

"For us Paul," Maureen corrected him with a frown. "JP's our son, not just yours."

"Of course dear," Paul said hastily. "I didn't mean to forget about you: I just misspoke."

"Okay Paul," Maureen said. She handed him some plates and added, "You can make it up to me by setting the table."

"I'll help him Mom," JP offered, anxious to spend some time with Matt.

"Good idea son, that will give me a chance to talk privately with Andrew for a couple of minutes," Maureen decided.

Andrew looked surprised, but he stayed quiet while JP and his dad left the kitchen with the plates and cutlery. Then he turned to JP's mom and asked her, "What did you want to talk about Mrs Maloney?"

"Call me Maureen Andrew," Mrs Maloney said. Andrew nodded and Mrs Maloney continued by saying, "I just want you to know how much Paul and I appreciate you being there for JP."

"Especially since Ryan hasn't been," Andrew interjected. "JP told me all about that downstairs while you guys were cooking dinner."

"Yes Andrew, Ryan hasn't been there for his brother like you have, both last night and today. JP told me at lunch all that you talked about last night and how similar you two are, considering all that you've both gone through over the last few years."

"Yes I was surprised myself at how similar we are," Andrew agreed. "But I'm glad to help JP get a head start on his college wrestling hopes by taking him with me to Ohio State."

"I have complete confidence in your ability to look after JP on these upcoming Unofficial Recruiting Visits of yours," Maureen informed him proudly.

"Thank you very much Mrs Maloney," Andrew said gratefully. "I'll make sure to justify your faith in me by keeping JP safe. But from what I saw last night, JP doesn't need protection from anyone!"

"Yes, being a District Finalist in wrestling does have its advantages when dealing with college guys on the prowl," Maureen agreed. "Have you ever had to use force to scare people away from Carrie?"

"Only the force of my voice," Andrew replied with a smug grin. "One of the advantages of being huge and insanely strong is that anyone who wants to start trouble is scared away with just a look!"

"Good for you Andrew; now that you are in the middle of college football recruiting, any fighting you're involved in could derail that entire train ride!"

"Thanks for that insight Mrs Maloney," Andrew said, as the oven timer went off. As she took the food out of the oven, he added, "I find it very gratifying to be a big brother for JP, just like I did in previous years for my football proteges, who are now my teammates."

"That's good to hear Andrew," Maureen said, setting the food on the large breadboard. "I'm glad you've had a lot of practice being a mentor. Now let's go into the dining room for dinner; everyone's waiting for us."

Andrew nodded and helped her bring the food into the dining room. Then they sat down at the table, where everyone else was already seated. They said grace and began eating.

"So Andrew, have you and your friends mapped out a travel plan for your NCAA Road Trip?" Mr Maloney asked.

"Yes Sir," Andrew replied. "I have the map book in my truck; I can show it to you after supper."

"Good idea Andrew, because if you're taking the route I'm thinking of, I have another idea."

"I can remember the route Sir," Andrew said. "It will take us to Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Michigan."

"That confirms that my idea will work, but I'll tell you what it is after supper when we look at your map book," Mr Maloney decided. Andrew nodded in agreement and Paul added, "So Andrew, do you realize what an amazing coincidence it was that you and JP were in the National Mall at the same time last night?"

"Yes Sir I do," Andrew agreed. "But I also realize that this was the only summer I could do it. Last summer I was Basic Reserves Training and next summer I will be preparing for my freshman season of college football. But I must say, when I saw JP on the train, I knew that I recognized him from somewhere. Then once my friends and I got back from our tour of the National Mall, we used his bright blue tank top as a reference point to find our spot on the lawn again. Then I remembered where I had seen him before: on the front page of the sports section of the Washington Post." He noticed JP's friends and family smiling with pride at the memory of the day JP had been interviewed. "I was trying to figure out how to introduce myself to your son when those two big college guys started bugging Chrissy. I was about to intervene to protect her, but JP got there first and helped her out. Then I was able to introduce myself to him, once he noticed me of course."

"You're impossible to miss Andrew," Paul said proudly, referencing Andrew's huge muscles. Andrew smiled quietly as Paul added, "JP told me all about how you were ready to help Chrissy before he got there." He thought for a moment and then said, "I might as well tell you my idea now, while you get yourself a second helping."

"What do you mean Sir?" Andrew asked innocently, after he swallowed his last mouthful of food.

"You cleaned your plate Andrew and so did Mike," Paul replied with a big grin. "Raise your hand if you want seconds."

"How about I flex my arm instead," Andrew decided. He flexed his massive arm with a cocky smirk and added, "Both my huge arms need lots of fuel to get even bigger!"

Everyone around the table laughed at Andrew's cocky attitude, which reminded them that he was a jock, not just an athlete.

"I think your ego is just as big as your arms Andrew," JP teased his huge friend.

Andrew grinned at his smaller friend and then realized he'd better get the conversation back on track. "What was your idea Mr Maloney?" he asked, as he got himself a second helping.

"Call me Paul Andrew; I told you that when you first got here," Paul said. He waited for Andrew to nod in agreement and then added, "Ann Arbor is a lot closer to Orillia than it is to Washington DC."

"Yes it is Paul," Andrew agreed, grinning as he guessed where JP's dad was going with this.

"Good, then since we've hosted you tonight, how about you and your family return the favour once your Unofficial Visits are complete?"

"Are you serious Dad?" JP shouted in excitement before Andrew could reply. "I get to meet Andrew's family and friends and perhaps see where he has achieved glory on the gridiron?"

"If Andrew and his parents agree," Paul reminded him. He looked over at Andrew, who nodded in agreement. "Good, then all we need to do is get your parents on Skype after dinner and ask them." He looked over at Andrew and asked, "Are they home?"

"Yes Paul; they're making plans for me to visit some Canadian football schools," Andrew replied.

"Good, then it's all settled," Paul decided. "Let's finish our dinner and then we can Skype your parents and see if they're on board with my idea."

Everyone nodded in agreement and followed his suggestion. Then, after dinner, Andrew used his laptop to get his dad on Skype so that he could introduce his parents to his new friend JP Maloney and his family.

"Hey Dad," Andrew said once Chad's face appeared on the screen.

"Hello son," Chad said, grinning at his son. "How is your Washington trip going?"

"It's going quite well Dad," Andrew replied. "In fact, I met some new friends and their parents." He took a few minutes to tell his dad about the events of the previous evening and that afternoon. "What do you think Dad?"

"I think you've made a great new friend," Chad said with a proud smile on his face. "But you forgot to tell me his name."

"I didn't forget, I held back his name deliberately," Andrew informed him with a smug grin. He motioned JP to step into view of the laptop screen and added, "I think you'll recognize him."

JP stepped in front of the laptop screen as Andrew stepped back. Chad's smile widened as he said, "You're JP Maloney!"

"Yes I am Sir," JP said, surprised that Andrew's dad recognized him. "How did you recognize me?"

"I took a business trip down there last week and I noticed your article in the sports section of the Washington Post," Chad replied. "It was the part about you starting a middle school wrestling camp that caught my eye actually."

"Why was that Sir?" JP asked, not noticing Andrew stepping into the living room to speak with JP's parents.

"Andrew has been a mentor himself: his first mentor was Mike actually," Chad informed him. "Then he mentored Mike's older brother Mark. The next year, he mentored the current Starting Quarterback and Wide Receiver on the OD Varsity Football Team. You stick with Andrew and he'll show you how to be a good mentor for your future protege Nick."

"I will Sir," JP promised him.

"You don't have to call me Sir, JP," Chad informed him.

"Okay Mr Pearson," JP said agreeably.

"That will do for now," Chad said. "Now, did Andrew call me on Skype just to introduce you to me or did he have another reason?"

"There is another reason, but I should let Andrew tell you what it is, after you meet my parents of course." JP motioned his mom and dad over to Andrew's laptop and they introduced themselves to Andrew's dad and mom. "My parents had an idea Mr Pearson," JP said. "I'll just get Andrew so that he can hear it too."

JP went into the living room to get Andrew while Paul and Maureen talked for a bit with Chad.

"Your son is a really great young man Chad," Maureen said. "He has really taken JP under his wing in the absence of JP's older brother Ryan."

"Yes I know that very well and he has been a great young man for many years," Chad agreed proudly. "Did Andrew tell you how he has mentored a few of his friends over the years and helped them become football players?"

"Yes I believe he mentioned that," Paul said. He looked up and noticed Andrew and JP coming back into the den. "Explain your idea to your dad Andrew."

"Actually it was your idea Sir," Andrew reminded him with a smug grin.

"You're right, it was Andrew," Paul realized. "Okay Mr Pearson, here's my idea: since Andrew's last recruiting visit is near Detroit, he could go right to Orillia from there with JP."

"So that we can host you and your family in return for you hosting our son right now," Chad realized. He turned to his wife Susan and asked, "What do you think dear?"

"That sounds like a good idea," Susan agreed. "We have lots of room if you count the guest room and the pullout couches."

"Good then it's all settled," Paul decided. "We'll keep in touch so that you can let us know when Andrew leaves Ann Arbor. Then my wife and I will start the journey to Orillia, which we will be able to reach in one day from here. Then we can all meet at your house."

"That sounds good to me," Chad said. "See you all in a few days. Be sure to call me once you've crossed the border Andrew."

"I will Dad," Andrew promised, waving goodbye to Chad. "See you later."

"Goodbye son: enjoy your recruiting visits," Chad said.

Once the Skype connection had been broken, Paul turned to Andrew and said, "There now, it's all settled Andrew: once you and JP cross the border into Canada, he can call us so that we can start our journey to meet you in Orillia the next day."

"Would a text message be more convenient Sir?" Andrew asked. "That way, JP won't get any international calling charges on his phone bill and neither will you."

"That's a very good idea Andrew," Paul commended him. "Thank you for suggesting it." He turned to JP and said, "Now how about you and Matt take Andrew and his friends over to the high school so that he can see the football field and the wrestling room."

"Good idea Dad," JP agreed. "But how will we get into the wrestling room? I don't have a key."

"But Coach Graves does and he'll be expecting you," Paul informed him. "Once you told us about Andrew during lunch, I knew that it would be a good idea to show him where you have achieved glory on the wrestling mat. So I called Coach Graves and told him my idea. Since he had some work to do for August's Wrestling Camp, he said that he would bring it to his office in the high school after supper. I told him you would meet him there at 7:30."

"Okay Dad, I'll go get ready now," JP said, heading for the stairs.

"Good idea JP," Paul agreed. "Your mom and I will stay down here to entertain your guests."

"Thanks Dad, since I can't do that all the time!" JP joked, heading upstairs.

"Don't forget your wrestling jacket JP!" Andrew shouted.

JP grinned and nodded, pleased that Andrew had thought of everything.

As JP turned the corner out of sight, Maureen turned to Andrew and asked, "Why did you tell JP to bring his jacket? It's really hot outside."

"It was my idea to help raise his profile for the recruiting visits," Andrew replied. "It makes sense for him to make sure it still fits. He's pretty muscular you know."

"That's an understatement Andrew, especially when referring to you," Mrs Anderson said with raised eyebrows.

"Thank you Mrs Anderson," Andrew said. "But I think I should get my jacket out of my truck to make sure it fits. I'll be right back."

Andrew headed outside to his car and JP's parents took that opportunity to get their digital camera. Once Andrew came back inside with his football jacket on, he found his friends and their parents waiting for him in the living room.

"What's going on here?" Andrew asked with a smile.

"Just a group shot before you go, now that both you and JP have your jackets on," Paul replied, holding up his digital camera.

"You mean all three of us," Andrew said with a cocky grin, as he held up Mike's football jacket.

Paul grinned at Andrew's cocky attitude as Mike put on his football jacket. Then Paul set the timer on the camera, placed it on the mantle, and stepped back so that he would be in the picture with everyone else. Everyone grinned as the camera flashed and then stepped up to the mantle to see what the photo looked like on the screen.

Once everyone had voiced their approval of the group picture, JP said, "We'd better get going Dad, so Matt and I can show Andrew and his friends the high school wrestling room."

"Actually JP, you and Andrew go ahead," Matt said. JP turned to look at him in surprise and Matt added, "I want to stay here with Mike and Carrie."

Andrew turned around to see Mike and Carrie nodding in agreement. Mike saw his look of astonishment and said, "Don't look so shocked Andrew: you must realize that the dynamics of this friendship were set last night when you spent half an hour alone with JP."

Andrew nodded in sudden understanding and Paul said, "Besides Andrew, while you and JP are talking with Coach Graves, I can show your friends JP's wrestling videos." JP looked suddenly embarrassed, hoping that his dad wouldn't show the footage of the District Final match that JP had lost four months before. Paul noticed his son's sad look and decided to cheer him up. "If you lend me your digital camera son, I can upload the video you took last night of Andrew to YouTube."

JP handed over his camera and grinned at the thought of helping raise Andrew's profile for the NCAA. He watched as Andrew slapped Mike on the back and hugged Carrie goodbye.

"I'm ready to go now JP," Andrew said as JP opened the front door.

"Good, so am I Andrew, so let's go," JP said, heading outside.

Andrew waved goodbye to JP's parents and Matt's mom, before following his friend outside to the driveway.

"Should we take your car or my truck?" Andrew asked once he reached the driveway where JP was waiting.

"We should take your truck Andrew, it looks cooler," JP replied.

"Especially when I turn on the under lights," Andrew said with a cocky smirk.

"You must be a fan of the Fast and Furious movies," JP realized.

"Especially 2Fast 2Furious," Andrew said with a big grin as they got into his truck.

"Because it takes place in Miami right?" JP guessed.

"Gee, someone's a genius, as far as stating the obvious!" Andrew laughed as they backed out of the driveway.

"Shut up man!" JP laughed as they drove down the street.

"Just try and make me JP, if you've got the guts that is!" Andrew dared him with a cocky smirk.

Andrew and JP continued laughing and joking as they drove to Central High School, enjoying the freedom to act like jocks without worrying what their friends thought.

Meanwhile, back at JP's house, Andrew's friends and JP's parents said goodbye to Matt's mom, who was heading home. Matt promised her that he would stop by to say goodbye the next morning, since JP's parents had granted permission for him to stay over.

"After all Matt, Andrew only knows the way to this house, not your house," JP's mom reminded him. "That's why your mom brought an overnight bag for you when she came over for dinner."

Matt's mom didn't reveal the real reason she was letting Matt stay over at JP's house that night: she needed some space from her son after the bombshell he had dropped on her that morning.

Andrew and JP soon reached the high school and parked by the gate in the fence surrounding the football field.

The school below in Fairfax County is probably what the author of the JP stories based Central High School on. And of course the team name in the JP Story is the Spartans, not the Wildcats.

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"Are you ready to go inside Andrew?"JP asked as he got out of the truck.

"As soon as I get something," Andrew replied. He got out and opened up his truck's tailgate. Then he reached into his gym bag and pulled out his old Miami Hurricanes football. Then he closed the tailgate. "See JP, just a little accessory to complete my jock image."

"You mean your Super Jock image Andrew," JP corrected him with a smug grin.

"Your words JP and I agree with them," Andrew said with a big grin. "Let's go into the school and meet your wrestling coach. Then you can show me the wrestling room where you have achieved athletic glory on the wrestling mat."

JP grinned back at his huge friend and led the way into the school for the chat with Coach Graves.

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As Andrew followed him down the hall to the wrestling room, JP smiled to himself as he realized that he would be mentoring a dozen kids there in wrestling in about six weeks time.

"What do you think Andrew?" JP asked as they stepped into the wrestling room.

"Most impressive JP," Andrew replied, looking around at all the pictures and newspaper articles on the wall. His eyes widened as he realized that most of the pictures and articles were of JP. "Someone's certainly popular in this school," he remarked, making the understatement of the year.

"He should be, he's the first District Finalist we've had in over a decade," a deep voice said from behind them. Andrew and JP turned around to see a burly man in his 40s walking towards them. "I'm Coach Graves: the Head Coach of the District Finalist Central High Spartans Varsity Wrestling Team."

"Pleased to meet you Coach," Andrew said, holding out his right hand. Coach Graves shook it firmly, only wincing a little bit from the strength of Andrew's iron grip. "I'm Andrew Pearson: Starting Center for the District Champion ODCVI Blues Varsity Football Team."

"District Champion sounds a lot more impressive than District Finalist," Coach Graves realized, causing JP to look down at his feet in shame. Graves noticed and quickly apologized to his Star Wrestler. "Sorry about that JP, but it's true. You're good, but obviously not as good as Andrew here."

"I'll do better this season Coach," JP promised with a scary look of determination on his face. "This time I won't just win the District Title but I'll be the State Champion as well!"

"I'm sure you will JP," Graves agreed, pleased at how determined his Star Wrestler was to succeed. His cell phone suddenly rang from his shirt pocket. "Sorry guys, but I have to take this call: I've been expecting it." He took out his flip phone opened it up, pressed the green phone button to accept the call and listened intently. "Okay, I'll send him right out." He ended the call and turned to Andrew. "There's someone important waiting for you on the 50 yard line of the football field Andrew."

"Okay Coach, I'll head out there now and then I'll meet you and JP back in here," Andrew decided.

"We'll meet you out there Andrew," Graves said. "JP and I have a few things to work on for the Lincoln Middle School Wrestling Camp in six weeks."

Andrew nodded in agreement and waved to JP as he headed out of the wrestling room. As he walked down the hall towards the stairs, he wondered who could be waiting for him in the middle of the football field: which he could see from the second floor window.

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Once Andrew exited the building and skirted the stands, he saw a big man in his 40s standing in the middle of the field. As he got closer, he noticed that the big guy was wearing a Central High Spartans Football t-shirt.

"Hello Andrew, I'm Coach Palmer: the Head Coach of the Central High Spartans Varsity Football Team."

"Pleased to meet you Coach," Andrew said excitedly, shaking his hand firmly. He noticed Coach Palmer massaging his sore hand and smirked as he added, "As you already know, I'm Andrew Pearson: Starting Center for the Orillia District Varsity Football Team."

"I'm very pleased to meet you Andrew and there's someone else who would like to meet you: over the phone anyway."

He picked up his cell phone and sent a quick text message that consisted of only two words: 'He's here.'

"Who did you just send that text message to Coach?" Andrew asked curiously.

"You'll find out in about 30 seconds Andrew," Coach Palmer promised him. Sure enough, within 30 seconds, his cell phone rang. "Hello, is that you?" he asked. He listened closely to the answer and nodded his head in satisfaction. "Good, thanks for calling back so quickly." He listened a bit more and added, "Sure I'll let you speak to him, since that is the reason I wanted you to call me in the first place. Just a second." He handed his cell phone to Andrew and said, "It's for you."

"Thanks Coach," Andrew said, taking the cell phone and holding it up to his ear. "Hello?"

"Are you Andrew Pearson?" a deep and confident voice asked from the other end of the line.

"Yes I am," Andrew replied, feeling a little uneasy that the mystery caller knew his name. "Who is this?"

"This is Ryan Maloney," the caller replied.

*********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

And that, after two months, is the end of Andrew's Recruiting Summer Chapter 4. Please let me know what you thought of my first attempt at a cliffhanger ending.

*********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Coming soon:

- Andrew finds out why JP's older brother called him

- Andrew takes JP and Matt on his Ohio State Recruiting Visit.

Edited by sl97aq
Pictures added, Andrew had a truck not a car, and other corrections were made.
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sl97aq

Thank you for 500 views, even though the chapter is not finished yet.

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sl97aq

Thank you everyone for another (almost) 200 views in 24 hours.

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sl97aq

Thanks again, this time for bringing me past 1000 views. That's a first, in the 12 years I have been posting on this forum and the old one!

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Hanugumo

Thanks again, this time for bringing me past 1000 views. That's a first, in the 12 years I have been posting on this forum and the old one!

Congrats!! 8D

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sl97aq

It was a race, but I managed to get this chapter finished, finally, before it got to 1500 views. Let me know what you think of the surprise cliffhanger ending, which I just thought of a few hours ago.

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sl97aq

Thank you for 2000 views: a new record. And this chapter still holds the Old record for views: 1500.

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sl97aq

Thank you for 2500 views. This post still holds the 2000 view record for me as well, at least for now.

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sl97aq

Thank you for over 2700 views.

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sl97aq

Thank you for over 3000 views: a new record for my stories. I finally finished Andrew's Training Chapter 8.

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