The Hitting Zone

Chapter 31 Meeting the Atkins 5

Chapter 31 Meeting the Atkins 5

I swallowed harder than normal. Zeke didn't hold back at all. Either I'm good and can stay, or if I flop, then I'm out. I thought the four from earlier today were intimidating, but they can't compare with the pressure Zeke emits.

"The coach will want to keep him." Noah crosses his arms in front of his chest.

"Okay, that's enough." Mr. Atkins declared. "Let's eat dinner before it gets cold. Noah, no sweets for a month. Respect your elders. Zeke, you're not the coach so you can't make decisions like this. I'll call the coach tonight and explain the circumstances. Dave and Kyle, I don't want to hear about you picking fights with strangers or 'psyching' them out."

Mr. Duncan looked impressed with the way all the boys settled down and started to focus on food instead of talking back. Mr. Atkins really took control and was swift with his decisions.

I put my focus on my plate. Mrs. Atkins filled the plate with Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, and carrots. I've never had a home-cooked dinner before. I was lucky to even find food in the cabinets. Even if they were rowdy, slightly scary, and overbearing, this family would be my dream to stay with.

"Are you nervous about school tomorrow?" Mr. Duncan turned to me to ask.

I glanced at Dave, a bit worried about what he said before.

Noah noticed. "Don't listen to Dave. I'll have your back. And if I can't solve it, we'll just tell mom. She's on the PTA." He saw my confusion. "It's the parent-teacher association. Basically she helps with fundraising and all that. If anyone's mean to us, she can tell the principal to expel them."

"It doesn't work like that, Noah." Mrs. Atkins corrected him. "I have no authority to get anyone expelled. But if you do have problems, Jake, you should let me or your counselor know immediately. The school doesn't tolerate bullying."

I nodded to show that I understood. The rest of dinner was filled with normal chatter and the occasional snarky remark. They talked about classes that we're going to be boring tomorrow and what homework needed to be done tonight. It felt like I was on a tv show where everything and everyone seemed perfect.

I felt a tinge of jealously, but quickly stuffed it down as I ate the perfect dinner Mrs. Atkins made. There's no point being jealous now that I got to live this life too. The past is the past.

After dinner, came dessert. More cookies. I saw Mr. Atkins frown, yet he didn't say anything. Noah was the only one who couldn't have any. Afterwards it was goodbye to Mr. Duncan, homework, showers, bed.

Mr. Duncan's goodbye was simple as he said he'd be back soon to check up on us. He also told me to keep my head up and to make sure I listen to Mary and Wayne. I nodded my consent and he was off.

Noah and I didn't have homework to do since we weren't the ones to miss any school. So after our showers, he gave me a rundown of what to expect tomorrow. After getting my class schedule from the office and meeting my counselor, I would follow Noah around since we have all classes together with the exception of math. But I would have that with the twins so I wouldn't be alone. Then after our last class together, we have baseball practice.

"The coach knows a lot about baseball. He'll see how good you are and keep you even though you don't know much about the game. The hard part will be finding you an appropriate position to play." He thought for a bit.

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