I’m still on the team, too. They haven’t cut me yet. There was a preseason game last Saturday night and I got to play in the last part of the third and all of the fourth quarter. I only caught a single pass but was tackled before I could make it into the end zone.
Not bad for my first official time playing for the 49ers.
The whole Drew and Sydney affair has been the talk of the locker room. They say women like to gossip? Pretty much every locker room I’ve spent time in over the years has been full of speculation and rumors. They don’t talk about the scandal in front of Drew for fear of pissing him off, but they’re all whispering about it. Except for me.
I’m the only one who knows the truth.
Drew called me first thing this morning and asked if I’d come over for lunch at their house today. Said he wanted to talk to me about something. I figure it has to do with the team, so of course I said yes. I know some of the other guys are irritated with and jealous of my friendship with Drew. I can’t help it that I’ve known him for so many years, that he practically treats me like family.
And I’m not stupid. I will take advantage of every bit of information Drew feeds me—and he feeds me a lot. He wants to help. I willingly accept that help any and every chance I get.
The moment I enter the Callahan house, though, I realize whatever we’re going to talk about has nothing to do with football. Drew takes me to the kitchen, where Autumn is sitting at the counter eating and Fable and Sydney appear to be making lunch. Drew gets us both a beer and hands the bottle over before grabbing his own, snapping off the cap and taking a long drink.
“We need to talk to you,” he says after he swallows, his voice deadly serious, as is his expression.
I’m a little taken aback by his dire tone. And the way he pushed the beer on me. He’s not a big drinker, especially before the season starts. And neither am I. I don’t bother opening the one he gave me either. I don’t want it.
“What about?” I ask warily.
“Oh, don’t scare him, Drew.” Fable comes to stand beside her husband, a welcoming smile on her face. She looks a lot better compared to the last time I saw her. “We have a—proposition for you.”
I glance over at Sydney, who’s still standing behind the kitchen counter. She looks as lost as I feel, so I’m guessing she has no idea what they’re talking about either. “What sort of proposition?”
“You want to have some lunch first, and then we’ll discuss it?” Fable suggests brightly.
“Maybe we should discuss it now.” I’m not one for prolonging conversations. When someone tells you, “we need to talk,” it’s usually bad news. I’d rather get it out right away. No use waiting.
Drew and Fable look at each other before they turn their attention onto me. “Okay, let’s talk now then,” Drew says easily. “You ready, Sydney?”
“Yeah.” Her shaky voice makes me turn and study her closely. Her eyes are wide and unblinking and she looks petrified.
How the hell is she involved in this conversation?
All four of us go to the small table in the breakfast nook. Drew and Fable sit across from Sydney and me, and it almost feels like they’re our parents about to rip into us for our bad behavior.
Sounds crazy, I know, but my imagination is wandering.
“We know this is going to sound odd, but please hear us out,” Fable starts. “We came up with an idea to distract the media, and it involves both of you.”
We both say nothing and Fable takes that as her cue to keep talking.
“Everyone keeps talking about Drew and the ‘Naughty Nanny’. “ She even adds air quotes. “Now, the four of us know the stories aren’t true. We were there that night, and we all know what really happened. We want to keep the fainting incident out of the public eye, because first, it’s no one’s business what happens to me, and second…” Her voice drifts and her eyes start to shine. Like she might burst into tears at any moment.
Ah, hell. I hope she’s not going to give us bad news.
Drew rests his hand over his wife’s before he turns his attention to us and says, “Fable is pregnant again. Her doctor thinks that’s why she fainted.”
Wow. Another baby. That’s unexpected. “But this is good news, right?” I watch them carefully, noting the worry in both of their gazes.
“It’s great news,” Drew says as he looks over at Fable. “We’re thrilled. But Fable’s pregnancy with Jacob wasn’t the easiest, especially near the end. She had some minor problems and her doctor warned her they could become worse if she gets pregnant again. She’s going to need to take it easy with this pregnancy. We don’t want her to end up on bed rest. Or worse, in the hospital.”
“So how do we come into this? How can we help?” Sydney asks, her eyes wide. She seems a little stunned at the pregnancy announcement so I’m figuring she didn’t know.
“Well, Fable is going to take it easy these next couple of weeks and stay close to home. And while we appreciate all that you do—”
Sydney doesn’t even let Drew finish his sentence. “You’re firing me, aren’t you.” She’s not asking, she’s stating what she thinks is the obvious. Then she lays her head down on the table, burying her face against her arms.
If she starts crying, I’m going to lose it.
“We’re not firing you,” Fable says, her voice gentle. “I definitely need you around, especially right now. But I have another task for you as well.”