Author's Note: I've changed up some character names. Joseph is now Michael. The more I wrote and the more I thought about it, the more I realized his name didn't quite fit his personality. Also, if you have any feedback or criticism, please leave a comment and let me know. Grammar and spelling aren't at the top of my list right now, but plot lines and character analysis are. If you have an suggestions or just want to let me know what you like and don't like, feel free to comment. Thanks! Enjoy.
Michael watched from the backseat in a mixture of shock and awe as a herd of deer leapt across the road in front of the Jeep. He couldn’t believe Jessica had managed to miss all of them. The Jeep’s speed had slowed to a crawl now, and he could see that Jessica was visibly shaking.
“Oh this is INSANE. Why can’t I get a break today?” Jessica shouted. She took a few deep breaths and each time she let them out she forced herself to calm down a bit. She refused to let her nerves show much longer. Today’s emotional assault was quickly draining her already limited patience with the world, and she wasn’t about to let it totally break her down.
“Are you okay?” Michael spat out quickly, running his words together. He was more frazzled by the deer than Jessica had been.
“For the last time, I am FINE. Please stop asking me that,” Jessica snapped back through gritted teeth. She was tired of reassuring him that she was fine, and she sighed for what seemed like the thousandth time today. A nagging thought in the back of her mind told her that she should apologize for snapping at him again, but she ignored it. She started to ask him to either come back into the front seat or at least buckle up if he was going to stay in the back because he was making her a bit nervous, especially after almost sending him through the windshield a few minutes earlier but she was cut off by a rather loud chorus of some overplayed mainstream song that she wished she had never heard of emanating from Michael’s cell phone. He either didn’t hear her or chose to ignore her as he glance at the caller ID and then flipped the phone open to answer it.
“Hey Jake, what’s up?......No, we’re not at the coffee shop anymore, why?......Oh, seriously man? Why would you do that? I got a ride somewhere, you should have called me before you left.”
Jessica could only imagine what the other end of the conversation was like. Judging by what Michael was saying she guessed that Jake, who she vaguely remembered was his brother, had showed up at Rob’s place to pick Michael up only to find the place shut down for the day and the parking lot probably empty. She hated eavesdropping on phone conversations, but there was really no way around it since she was the only other person in the car.
“Well, just hold on a second. Let me figure something out.” He pulled the phone away from his ear, and pressed his thumb over the mouth piece.
“Let me guess,” Jessica started in before he could explain anything. “Jake showed up at Rob’s place expecting you to still be there waiting for a ride, and now you want to know if I’ll drive you back there so you can go home.”
“One out of two isn’t bad, I guess. Almost. He showed up at the coffee shop, but I’m not going to ask you to take me back there.”
“Good, because we’ll be at my house in approximately seven minutes and I’m not turning around now.”
“Would you stop being so snippy and just listen to me for a second? I know it’s already an awkward situation and a lot to ask of you, but would it be okay if Jake came over too? He was staying at our grandparent’s house and they lost power so they packed up and they’re driving upstate to our aunt and uncle’s house tonight. And our parents are out of town, and he doesn’t have a spare key so he can’t really go home.”
Jessica thought about it for a few seconds. She had never met Jake, and before today didn’t know Michael existed. It’s not really going to hurt anything if he does. You’ve pretty much skipped over most of the awkward first date scenarios in the last few hours with Michael so there isn’t much left to make things really uncomfortable. And you could use the company, and maybe the extra help, if the power goes out. Plus it’ll keep the dogs occupied for a while, anyway.
“Um, yeah. I guess that’s fine.”
“Great,” he said and put the phone back up to his ear. “Jake?...Yeah, that’ll be fine. Start heading east on Main Street toward the park. Take a left -”
“Wait. What kind of car does he drive?” Jessica broke in, and Michael over looked at her.
“A truck that’s about the size of your tank here. Why?”
“Never mind. If it was something small I would have told him to take another route because this road hasn’t been driven on except for us, but he’ll be fine.”
“Right. Jake? Yeah. Sorry. So take a left when you get to the end of Main Street and follow the road through the park.”
“Tell him to watch out for deer,” Jessica interjected again.
“Oh. Yeah. Make sure you keep an eye out for deer, I guess. Call me when you’re almost through the park, okay? See ya then.” He hung up the phone as they pulled up to the stop light at the end of the park road and Jessica eased down on the brake as they got closer to the intersection’s red light. They stopped at the red light and Jessica turned around to Michael in the back seat again, who had discovered the bag of books Jessica had bought earlier today during the break between her morning classes.
“Can you do me a favor? I don’t care if you stay in the back seat, but either way I want you to put your seat belt on. If we have another deer incident and you end up through the windshield, that’s your fault and not mine.”
“Technically, I don’t have to. There’s no law that says back seat passengers have to have a seat belt on.” Michael said, contradicting his statement as he latched the seatbelt around his waist.
“I don’t care what the law is, you’re in my car so you abide by my rules. I say I want your seat belt on, so put it on unless you want to walk the rest of the way.” She twisted back around to the front and waited rather impatiently for the light to turn green. She was starting to regret offering to let Michael come with her, but wasn’t about to leave him stranded anywhere. I hope Jake is more manageable than he is. I don’t think I can take two of them. Realizing that they had never successfully hooked up her iPod, she yanked the auxiliary cable out of its port on the dashboard and punched the CD button with her index finger. It was pointless to try to mess with the iPod now, as they’d be home in a few minutes. She relaxed a bit when the familiar, soothing strains of music started to fill the empty silence in the car.
“On an ocean full of gravel,
In the middle of the night.
We were all there together,
All dressed up in the headlights
Of the little blue pick up with the stereo loud
We danced to the music of the band from the bar
And we knew, we knew.
We knew this was the start
This was the start of the fall.”
“This guy is really into the depressing kind of stuff, isn’t he?” Michael observed rather unnecessarily from the back seat. Jessica glanced up to look in her rearview mirror at him, only to see that he was absently flipping through one of the books she had bought earlier that day.
“So what if it is? We just went over this. My car, my rules, my music,” she retorted. She was starting to get sick of his downer attitude and criticism. There wasn’t any reason for it, and she was starting to wish she had taken him back to the coffee shop with his brother.
“I’m just saying. He has a pretty bleak outlook on things, and everything has been about love. There’s more to the world than that,” he said.
“Look, does it really matter? We’ll be in my driveway in roughly 30 seconds and then you won’t have to listen to it anymore. While we’re being blunt, if you’re going to be like this all night we’re going to have problems. I don’t take well to annoying people,” she said as she slowed down to turn into the winding driveway. Her response seemed to work to shut him up, as he didn’t spit back an attempt at a witty remark, but instead continued to lazily flip through another book. She was quickly becoming unimpressed with Michael. He had come across as pretty reasonable earlier today and the jab at Twilight when she was clearing off the car had eased her mind a bit more, but it seemed that the more they drove the worse he got. He’s starting to prove that he’s a decent match for Vanessa. Apparently I was wrong about that. She had momentarily forgotten about the small dip at the end of the driveway and had to jab at the gas pedal to get through it, but thankfully that was the only problem she encountered as she made her way up to the house. The driveway was nearly a quarter of a mile long, which in the city seemed like an unnecessary length but out on the edges of town was a fairly common occurrence. Jessica, for one, was extremely happy to live this far out in the country, and by the park. When she had lived in LA they lived on the outer edges of the center of the city, which meant that while they weren’t crammed into a tiny apartment or studio loft they still didn’t have a ton of room outside. Sure, their property had been one of the biggest lots in their area, but compared to her aunt’s house that she lived in now it was quite small. One day a few years ago while she was incredibly bored, she had done the math to figure out that approximately twelve and a half of her old property would fit on her aunt’s lot.
She hit the large button on the garage door opener attached to her visor with her thumb as they pulled up to the edge of the house. Normally she would park in the garage, but with the possibility of losing power later due to the continuous storm she would rather dig the car out of the snow instead of getting it stuck in the garage and having to deal with the fiasco that would entail manually detaching the opening contraption from the door in order to accomplish anything. Pulling up so there was about four feet between her front bumper and where the door would be when it closed she put the car in park and turned the engine off. The last few bars of the song that Michael had labeled as ‘hopelessly depressing’ a few moments ago faded out as she opened the door, unbuckled her seat belt, and slid out into the ever falling snow.
“Woah.” She had to grab the still open door to steady herself as to not fall face first into the drift that had gathered at the edge of the garage. Apparently the snow had accumulated a lot more out here because she drift she was now standing in was up to her knees, as opposed to the ones back at Rob’s place that were between ankle and mid-calf height. That’s going to be fun later, she thought as she eyed the gigantic snow plow attached to their lawn mower that was parked in the corner of the garage, even though she would probably wait until morning to even start to make an attempt at clearing off the driveway. Struggling a bit with walking she worked her way to the back door to collect her stuff when she heard a soft thud and some muffled cursing coming from the opposite side of the car.
“By the way,” she called over the car, “the snow is a lot deeper out here.”
“Thanks. I actually managed to figure that one out for myself, strangely enough.” Michael appeared in front of her as he opened the door on his side of the car. She just shrugged as he gave her a slightly dirty look. That’s what you get for being an insufferable jerk, I suppose. She was a big believer in karma, and she just hoped something didn’t come back to haunt her from her mental commentary today. She reached in and pulled her bag toward her before picking it up and hitching it over her shoulder. It felt a lot heavier than it had when they had left Rob’s place, but she decided to chalk that up to the fact that all of its weight was on the shoulder she had used to bust open the doors earlier. She hadn’t realized how sore her shoulder actually was until just now. Still clutching her keys in her hand, she made her way around the front of the car and into the garage. Michael followed behind her to the small set of steps that lead up from the garage into the house. Even though the heat had been on the entire way home, her hands were still freezing and she kept up today’s theme of fumbling with the keys as she tried to find the right one to open the door that lead into the house.
“What’s the point of locking the door if the garage is closed?” he interjected from behind her.
“Because the back door to the garage doesn’t lock most of the time,” she said as she rolled her eyes for what seemed like the hundredth time that day and jerked her head toward the back corner of the garage where the aforementioned door was. She finally found the right key and shoved it into the lock with a bit more force than was really required and twisted it. She was relieved when it turned without sticking, and before she pushed it open she turned around to issue a quick warning to Michael.
“Just so you know, the dogs are probably going to bust out of the door as soon as I open, so you might want to stand to the side unless you want to get knocked over,” she said and barely gave him a second to get out of the way before she easily popped the door open with her hip. Just as she had warned would happen, all four of her dogs burst through the doorway before she even had the door half open. Three of the four completely skipped the stairs as they leapt down to get out of the house. The fourth, who was also the smallest being a corgi with short little legs, had to hit a few of the steps as she bounded after the rest. “Come on. If you get inside before they realize you’re here you’ll probably be safer. They tend to be a bit calmer about new people once they’re actually in the house.”
Michael scaled the set of four steps in two strides and squeezed past Jessica into the house. She shut the door behind them and flicked one of the light switches that was on the wall next to the door revealing the slightly cluttered mud room they were now standing in. She pulled off her shoes so she didn’t track snow and mud through the rest of the house, and Michael followed suit. He started to set them on the ground by the door but Jessica stopped him before he even got close to the ground.
“I wouldn’t do that. I can bet at least one of the dogs will make off with one, or both, of your shoes if you leave them there and you’ll never get them back. You can put them and the rest of your stuff in my room if you want, it’ll be safer there.”
“Okay,” he said elongating the word, and sounding as if he didn’t believe what she was saying.
“Just trust me,” she said over her shoulder as she walked past the open linen cabinet and disappeared around the corner into the kitchen which lead to the main part of the house. Michael followed her lead again, but was a bit too slow and rounded the corner too late to see where she had gone next.
“Jessica?” he called through the silent house. Instead of a verbal response he heard a thud from some where over his head, and he realized that he hadn’t noticed until now that the house had multiple stories. He had been too wrapped up in flipping through the bag of books that had been in Jessica’s back seat when they pulled up to the house to notice anything about the house itself. While he had been pondering the idea of where she had wandered off to, Jessica had silently re-appeared behind him and didn’t bother to make her presence known. She took the opportunity to let him stand there, still confused as she walked back around through the kitchen so she could properly re-appear in front of him. She might have been slightly annoyed with him, but that didn’t mean she was going to purposely, or even unintentionally, scare him. She had a habit of moving silently even when she didn’t try to, especially when she didn’t have shoes on. Her aunt Sarah claimed she was part ninja, but didn’t know where she got it from because both of her parents were the loudest people she knew when it came to walking.
“Hey,” she said as she came around a corner at the front of the house. “Come with me, you can put your stuff upstairs. I have to call Rob and Sarah to let them know we got home fine, but go ahead and make yourself comfortable in the living room or library if you want.”
Michael followed her through the hallway that connected the kitchen to the front foyer, taking a second to observe his surroundings. The house was huge, there was no doubt about that. It probably could easily rival some of the houses on the North end of town where some of the more wealthy families lived, like Vanessa’s family. There was a massive staircase at the back of the fairly large entrance hall that they started to climb, and Michael continued to take in his surroundings. Jessica’s family definitely had a lot of money, that was quite obvious from the sheer size of the house and property, and it was only emphasized by the elaborate, and slightly eccentric, decor that adorned nearly every spare square inch of wall and table space. The more he looked around as the neared the second floor, the more amazed he was that Jessica was as down-to-earth as she was. He had spent his fair share of time with Vanessa’s family and friends of Vanessa’s that probably had underground dragon guarded vaults filled with money, and they were absolutely clueless about the world around them and people who didn’t have as much money as they did.
“Here we go,” Jessica said, bringing him back to reality. “Go ahead and put whatever you don’t want the dogs to get ahold of in here. They won’t bother your books or anything but your shoes, coat, and keys are fair game if they find them.” She opened the door in front of her to reveal a bedroom that rivaled the front entrance hall in both size and decor. At a quick glance, Michael guessed her room was roughly the size of the entire coffee shop they had been at earlier. There was a king-sized four poster canopy bed centered on the wall to his right flanked by two enormous bookshelves that were packed to capacity with everything from used textbooks to hard cover copies of new release books. He set his shoes down on the ground just inside the door and discovered that what looked like wall-to-wall carpeting at first glance was actually an area rug that covered most of the floor on the front half of the room, leaving about 8 inches between the edge of the rug and the wall. He balled up his coat and dropped it down next to his shoes before bending down to set his bag down with his growing pile of stuff. Jessica had crossed the room and was perched on the edge of a desk that had a few more piles of well-worn books spaced around the edges with the phone base cradled in her lap, receiver in hand as she quickly punched in the number.
“Hey Rob, it’s Jessica.” Her voice carried across the room in a soft whisper. He couldn’t tell if she was just speaking quietly or if the acoustics in the room were just really bad. “Yeah, we’re fine. No problems here just yet......Yeah, the power is still on......No, I haven’t checked that yet......Well, I’m going to call Sarah first, and then double check the generator just to be safe......Yeah. It should be fine...” Michael let her voice fade out as he continued to dig through his bag for various supplies. He stood up as she hung up the phone and hopped off the desk.
“Alright. Ready?” she asked as she crossed the room, stopping just short of the door.
“Yeah. You said my bag and books will be okay with the dogs if I take it back downstairs, right?”
“Absolutely. They know not to touch books of any kind, and they’ve never given us any issues with backpacks or anything like that.”
“Okay good. I’m just gonna take the whole bag back downstairs then. I’ve got a lot of stuff to work on in my portfolio, and it’d just be easier to have everything down there and not have to run back and forth up the stairs every time I need something.”
“Sounds good. There’s a couple of pretty big tables in the library, you can take over one of those if you want. I think we still have the studio table Sarah used to use set up in there too, if you want that instead,” she said as she walked out of the room ahead of him. She waited just outside for him to follow her out before she reached back and closed the door behind them. As they walked back down the hallway toward the staircase Michael did a quick mental tally of the doors in front of them and came up with a total of 7, not counting the ones behind them down the other end of the hallway. He still couldn’t get over how much the house reminded him of the obscenely large houses in Vanessa’s neighborhood but at the same time felt like it was a cozy townhouse nestled on one of the side streets in the center of town. Half-way down the staircase Michael’s phone started to ring again.
“It’s Jake,” he said to Jessica, who was quite aware of who it was even without looking at the phone. “Hey Jake. Where you at?”
It took a lot of self control for Jessica to not visibly cringe at that last statement. Doesn’t anyone speak in complete sentences anymore? For the love of -
“Alright, he’s through the park. What now?” Michael asked with the phone still pressed to his ear.
“Here, let me talk to him,” she said as she stopped on the stairs and turned around to reach for the phone. Michael handed it to her, and she brought it up to her ear.
“Hey Jake, this is Jessica. Are you still at the first intersection at the edge of the park?”
“Yeah, I’m sitting at the light still. What next?” came the unfamiliar voice through the receiver. It caught her a bit off guard. Since they were brothers, she expected Jake to sound a lot like Michael: a bit whiney and argumentative.
“O - okay,” she stuttered, trying to regain a bit of composure. “I would almost bet there haven’t been any other cars on the road leading out here, so you can probably just follow the tire tracks all the way here. Go straight through the light you’re at now, and then turn right at the next intersection, which is Sarasota and Prince Street. You’ll be turning on to Prince.”
“Straight, then right on Prince. Okay,” he repeated the directions back to her.
“Once you turn right, my street is about a mile from the light. You wont hit any more lights after you turn, so keep an eye out for it. It’s Carson Lane that you’re looking for, it will be on the left side of the road.”
“Left onto Carson Lane. Got it.”
“After that, just follow the road. I’m almost ninety eight percent sure that no one else on my street has left or come home since we got here, so just follow the tire tracks. If you need it, the house number is 693. There’s a giant navy blue Jeep in the driveway, you’ll see it from the road. It should only take you about 5 or 6 minutes to get here from the intersection you’re at now.”
“693, follow the tracks. Anything else?”
“No, I think that’s it. I don’t know if Michael told you but we do have four dogs. If I can’t get them inside before you get here, don’t worry about them when you pull in. They won’t get in your way, and they’re really friendly.”
“No problem, I love dogs. Alright then. See you guys in a few minutes.”
“See you!” She hung up the phone and handed it back to Michael. “Alright, he’ll be here soon. I’m going to go try to get those idiots inside before he gets here. The library is through those doors right there, make yourself at home.” She pointed to a set of ornate wooden doors to the left of the staircase as they reached the main floor again. Michael looked over to where she pointed and his jaw nearly dropped. Completely baffled at the sight before him, and entirely perplexed as to how he didn’t see the doors when they had passed through the foyer the first time. He stood there, just staring at the massive doors in front of him.
The library itself was a separate wing of the house, taking up the entire side that it was on for all three stories. The doors that flanked the entrance were a dark mahogany color with antiqued gold hardware, including everything from the hinges and the door handles to the studs that highlighted the intricate carvings that ran the entire length of the door. Inside, the first floor was more of a typical study or den than it was a library. There were two giant meeting tables, one on either end of the room, both complete with a set of ten chairs around the perimeter. All of the wood work and furnishings were the same dark mahogany with gold hardware that the doors were, even down to the bookcases and stairway banisters. Both the front and back walls had mirror image floor to ceiling windows on the first two floors, and a wide window on the third floor that stretched the entire width of the wing instead of running floor to ceiling. Jessica’s Aunt Sarah had wanted the windows on the third floor to be floor to ceiling as well, but no matter what she did she couldn’t get the contractors who built the house to budge because of safety restrictions. So instead she settled on windows that were two and a half feet from both the floor and ceiling but ran the entire length of the wall instead, allowing for wonderful seating areas on both ends. There were two over sized arm chairs that were on either side of a matching over sized couch, all of which were facing the window. The remaining two walls on the top floor of the library had a few scattered bookshelves lined with small leather bound books. Jessica’s Aunt Sarah collected journals, and this is where she kept them. Some of them were her own, and a good portion of them were from members of her family. Sarah had gotten Jessica to start journaling when she had moved to this side of the country and it was a task that quickly became more of a necessity than anything else for her. Jessica had her own bookshelf situated in the corner, right next to the window, of which the top two and a half shelves were completely full of journals of hers that she had accumulated and filled over the past six years. They ranged from the cute, spiral bound notebooks that were always the constant craze of teenage girls to thickly bound leather editions that rivaled the multiple sets of encyclopedias that were housed down on the first floor. The bottom shelf was filled as well, but instead of journals it was packed with Jessica’s writing. She had volumes of short stories and poetry, and her parents had insisted on getting bound copies of her novels made, even though they weren’t technically published anywhere, so she not only had her finished drafts collected in three ring binders, but a plain hard cover copy of each as well. The second floor of the library was where they kept all of what Jessica’s Aunt Sarah referred to as ‘recreational books’. The walls were lined with with rows and rows and rows of books ranging from the latest installment by James Patterson to cracked and yellowed copies of Chaucer. There was no real rhyme or reason to the way Sarah kept things organized on this floor. Some shelves were kept in alphabetical order, some were sorted by series and some were sorted by collections. For the most part she kept books by the one author in the same general area, although there were always exceptions to the rule. The main floor was where they kept what Jessica considered research books. They had at least four full sets of encyclopedias, a complete set of both biographies and autobiographies of the first 42 presidents and vice presidents, biographies and autobiographies of all of their favorite authors, records and maps of all of the National parks across the country, and atlases detailing every square foot of countries from Italy to Japan to Peru and everything in between. On the wall opposite from the doors leading into the library from the entrance hall was a gigantic wood burning brick fireplace that stretched from floor to ceiling on the first level with an oversized leather sofa and tapestry like floor rug in front of it.
“Hold on, before you go in there let me disable the alarm,” Jessica said as Michael started to move toward the massive doors. She pulled open a small hidden door to the right of the library entrance and tapped in the code she had memorized. She closed the small door and it virtually disappeared into the wall again. There was a loud click that sounded like it came from inside the doors themselves, followed by a series of three short beeps and two longer ones which let her know that the alarm was finally disabled. “Okay, go ahead. Sorry, I almost forgot about that.”
“You guys are pretty serious about your books, aren’t you?” Michael remarked. “I mean, you don’t have an alarm system on the rest of the house but you do for the library?”
“Wait until you see the inside. You’ll understand why,” she said, and moved in front of him to open the doors. Jessica was insanely proud of their library, and she usually made a point to make sure that everyone that came over saw it at least once. Taking advantage of the fact that Michael was quite obviously impressed with the house so far she turned both door handles and pushed both of the doors open at the same time, allowing for an overly dramatic reveal of the contents inside. She stepped over the threshold and turned around to face him. “Here it is. Take your pick of tables. The front one usually gets more light, and I think the studio table is tucked behind the bookshelf to the right of the front window. Make yourself comfortable, I have to get the dogs in before Jake gets here.”
“O...okay...” Michael said, letting his words trail off. He was literally speechless and awe struck at the sight before him. He took a few steps inside and just stood there, taking in everything around him. He was so enthralled with the library that he didn’t notice Jessica walk up beside him and stand with him.
“Pretty impressive, isn’t it?” She said softly which cause Michael to jump as she startled him. She laughed a bit at that. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you. I’m going to go get something to drink before I get started on my portfolio, do you want anything?”
“Uh, water. Water would be good for now, thanks,” he said as he turned to his left to look at her as he said that.
“Okay,” she said, and before she could continue she was interrupted by the dogs barking and running through the house to the front window in the living room which was across the entrance hall from the library.
“I’ll take that as a sign that Jake is here,” she said and turned around and quickly walked to the front door. She cracked it open to see what the commotion outside was, and watched as an enormous black pick up truck turning into the driveway. She shoved her feet into a pair of boots that were sitting by the front door and stepped outside to greet the new comer as he pulled up behind her Jeep. Making sure to close the door behind her so the dogs didn’t follow her outside, she carefully walked down the steps that lead to the sidewalk and made her way toward the driveway. She hadn’t bothered to put a coat on this time since she figured she would only be outside for a minute or so, but she was regretting it already because the wind had picked up a bit and it was quite chilly. She folded her arms across her chest and hunched her shoulders a bit as she picked up the pace and hurried to the end of the sidewalk. The driver’s side door opened and she could see someone step down out of it.
“Watch out for the snow bank on that side! The snow’s pretty deep over there” she called over the truck as she walked around the front of it. A hand reached out around the edge of the door and grabbed it to swing it shut, revealing Jake standing knee deep in the snow.
“You must be Jessica,” he said as she came around the front corner of the truck. He had a back pack slung over one shoulder and one hand shoved in his coat pocket and was the exact opposite of what Jessica expected him to be. Even though Michael was basically a poster child for a typical art student, she expected Jake to have a bit of a family resemblance at first glance but there was none. While Michael had shaggy black hair that was always in his eyes, Jake had longer light brown hair seemed to easily be swept out of his face with a quick flick of his head. Jake stood about a head taller than Michael did, Jessica guessed about six feet to Michael’s five and a half feet, and was built like he was made to play every sport you could imagine while Michael looked like a strong wind would send him flying through the air. He held out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Jake.”