Parting of the Ways Part 14- Like A Football

This part ran longer than I thought so it was best to cut it in half. Sorry if it's boring but there's a bit of setup for Part 115 and Part 16/Part 17

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The military foursome were going to miss out on their fall semesters, with Scott barely returning in time to start his first semester in late January. The group staying in Winnisimmet were saddened to see the four heading west leave. It would be the first time since 8th grade that the group had been separated for any length of time, not counting that summer. It was the start of the group becoming their own people, but for the 14 it was still a tough revelation to them.

Jaimie and Miles Finn were joined by their boyfriend and girlfriend Rick Samuels and Christina Connors for the two hour drive west to UMass-Amherst. The four drove in two cars, they figured it best to have an option in case one car was out of service or being used by one of them. It made them into targets for vultures who wanted rides everywhere but it was a link to home making them have to visit on the weekends unless there was something very important preventing them from going.

The foursome had a big problem right as they arrived. Rick and Miles were supposed to be roomed together at their request but last minute changes required several shuffles of roommates forcing them to room with others. Miles was put in with a football player playing on a scholarship while Rick was put in with a 13 year old boy genius.

Mitch Gibson was a decent guy who just wanted to play football. He was a defensive back and had to work hard to rise in the depth charts to see any kind of action and get noticed. He would have preferred to room with another football player but with an odd number of players that year it wasn't possible.

By contrast, Sydney Powers was trying to lay low and not get noticed by anyone. He was a child prodigy in the field of engineering with several patents to his name before the age of 12. He chose the school to get away from his vicious family, with his stepfather constantly harassing him for being better than him in every way possible except sports and sex.

Thankfully for the ladies Christina and Jaimie were rooming together. There was no way around it, Valerie Finn had ensured that their request to room together was followed through and with John Finn holding the purse strings to dozens of scholarships as well as Jaimie's own scholarships their demand was followed through. Money talked more than politics and complaints from parents, they had as much right to room together as any other student who requested it.

Jaimie's situation was well known to the university. They had kept a close eye on the goings-on at Salem State University and what happened with the Finns attending there and were not about to upset John nor Jaimie's close friend, the governor. She and Christina were given a regular room like all incoming female freshman and treated just as any other, albeit with a few knowing Jaimie's secret.

Jaimie being post-operative wasn't supposed to cause any issues as her vagina had healed wonderfully and she looked like every other young lady "down there" to the point that even her best friends couldn't tell that there had been a "birth defect" there just two months before. Christina gave her privacy at times when she was dilating but Jaimie had done it so often that Christina had not even bothered anymore to leave the room as it was second nature and unless Jaimie winced in pain from lack of lubrication or trying to force it inside too quickly you never noticed it. It still upset her to see Jaimie still not fully accepting of her body, but at least it would improve with time.

Their fellow dormmates were for the most part oblivious to Jaimie's past and treated her like anyone else. Her and Rick being such a close item was cause for a lot of chatter as the usual catty girls would think that he was too hot for her or that she was easy pickings to break up. Christina would get the same reaction, with the whispers about the two being so close to the point of possibly being closet lesbians being flung around quite a bit, much to their annoyance and the guys' amusement.

There were of course some who would put a damper on their good start. A few days into their semester one of their rival cheerleaders learned that Jaimie was living there and let it slip that she wasn't a real girl. The few who believed it tried their hardest to get a glimpse of her penis and at least one tried to confront Jaimie about the rumor directly and in front of a crowd.

Jaimie ignored it until she was backed into a corner and forced to call out for help. The girls who were forcing her to answer the accusations were told off by others on their floor, with Christina demanding to know why they cared so much about what was inside Jaimie's panties as she had never done a thing to them. The girls were left to answer the question but only could mumble about keeping their dorm pure from people who didn't belong there, causing another argument about just who belonged there and sparking a war of words as it came off as both homophobic and racist without the girls realizing it.

The duo complained to the resident adviser but were given the brush off as it was deemed to be nothing. When the girls tried to drag Jaimie into one of their rooms leading to Jaimie fighting back she ignored it again, telling the girls to not get caught. It was pointless to complain, it was clear that the RA was not going to stop them and didn't care if Jaimie got hurt or the girls broke the rules and the law.

Jaimie was kept under constant watch by the girls in her dorm. No matter where she went someone would follow her to try to get a peek at her. It got to the point that she couldn't sit down to pee without someone trying to peer over the stall door causing her to shriek in fright and run off in shame.

Christina fared no better. She was constantly followed, with the girls following her trying hard to catch her kissing another girl or boy. Miles ignored it for much of the time until he saw one of the girls trying to get a guy to corner Christina so she was forced into a date with him just to "save" her from Jaimie.

Miles confronted the girl, who had actually had her eyes on Miles since she had first seen him. He was disgusted, telling her angrily "Christina and I are engaged to be married, as is my SISTER Jaimie and her BOYFRIEND Rick Samuels. Leave her alone, or I'll have the police file stalking charges against you on both mine and Christina's behalf."

Christina fared worse than Miles. The boy was insistent, going at her until he got her to a darkened doorway. When he tried to stroke her breasts and kiss her she kneed him in the groin and kicked his shin, causing him to keel over in pain while she ran off into Miles' arms, with the angry Miles ready to strike back to protect his fiance should the jerk try anything further.

The guy tried to call the police and blame Miles for the assault. His story fell apart as his only witness admitted to not seeing it then in an effort to protect herself said it was his idea to go after Miles and Christina. The truth was even worse for him as Christina pressed charge, with the guy being arrested and within a day suspended with intent to expel by the school.

Miles returned to his dorm angry after dropping off the upset Christina in the arms of the concerned Jaimie. Mitch wasn't looking any better, having told him about his team losing their punter due to a screw-up while joking around on the practice field trying to help the new kicker learn punting. Miles asked if they had someone to take over, getting a nod but also a complaint that the new guy wasn't that powerful and his punts were woefully inaccurate for them to practice returns, he was actually the one responsible for the punter getting hurt in the first place.

Miles was torn. He wanted to help them out but he didn't want to be dragged back into the sport. He was a great punter who had several school records but wasn't passionate enough about the sport to play.

Mitch looked over his schedule and marked off several losses for the team. They had no shot at a bowl game that year now, and were looking at ending up winless. It was tough for them, they only needed something more to make them a better team and that was better field position thanks to punting.

Miles finally had enough wallowing and told him he'd work with him and the other receivers to get them prepared. He had nothing else to do, his classes were easy that semester and he had a jump start thanks to his employment as an assistant auditor and high school accounting and finance classes. It was better than sitting in his room thinking about how the ladies were continuously getting harassed.

The practice field was full as the special teams coach tried to work with the new punter, Ray Ventura, to get him to kick with more power and accuracy. Ray really didn't listen, he knew the job was his to keep no matter what. That was true, until he saw who was with his teammates causing him to swear out loud in anger getting the coach's attention.

Miles didn't know Ray but Ray seemed to know him, he simply worked with Mitch and the others who wanted to work with him. Miles hadn't lost a step, in fact his kicking was dead-on and just as powerful as they needed. His kicks caught the attention of the coach who told Ray to hit the showers while he talked with the new guy.

As he got closer Miles apologized to the coach for encroaching and would leave but he was quickly told to kick some more as he was just what they needed. Miles tried to decline, citing not having played in almost four years but was told "you are the best damn punter out there and for someone who is rusty you are great. The loser we have can't kick, he's a place kicker not a punter and a 2nd rate one at that. He's only on the team because his parents paid for some new equipment for us."

Miles was forced to accept, he didn't want to upset Mitch and the guys who hung around with him were not so bad. The coach outfitted Miles and told Ray that he wasn't needed any longer. He took great pride in telling Ray that, if only because his screw-up had put Miles there in the first place.

When Miles returned back to the dorms Rick had a big grin as he saw Miles with the school-issued sports bag filled with his new workout clothes. Miles shook his head, complaining "I didn't want to do it but they were desperate. I know this will blow up in my face, there's always someone who wants to take us down a peg especially with Jaimie's transition. I can already figure out who it will be, that Ray Ventura guy was giving me the stink eye the whole time I was out there."

That last part was said with their roommates unknowingly hearing. Mitch asked about it, getting a timid "my sister is transgender, she was born a boy and had her final surgery to remove her last remaining bits of male flesh this past June. There are a lot of people who hate her because of who she is and what she had between her legs. To them no matter how much of a woman she is inside and outside doesn't matter, what she had removed matters more. It'll hurt the team when the news comes out that I'm related to her, someone will use it against me to get me kicked off. I just know it'll be Ray."

Sydney had a dour look on his face. Rick took the kid outside to talk with him but he wouldn't say anything to Rick directly. Rick did add "you probably didn't know about girls like my girlfriend. It's alright, if you don't want anything to do with her that's fine. But please be respectful of her."

The boy didn't say anything further. He was thinking long and hard about something which Rick didn't want to prod him about. Sydney was a good person at heart, albeit very naive about life outside of the world of academia and science.

Rick and Sydney had developed a bond, with Rick acting like his big brother in lieu of his real family. The two never talked about their loved ones, but Rick got the sense that Sydney was glad to be away from them and on his own. He managed to get some little bits of data about the boy being a prodigy in engineering and chemistry who was forced to attend the school as a compromise with the state over his care and well-being but he hated it there.

There was something off about Sydney but the two didn't have a chance to talk about it as they were now starting to get into the groove of college life. Rick was becoming popular among the guys and was invited to several parties while his roommate kept to himself and avoided the limelight of knowing Rick. Rick could understand why he did it, it was tough to get to know him with the age difference between everyone and he was intimidated by the larger guys making him feel inadequate.

Jaimie and Christina kept an eye on Sydney while Rick was out at the parties. He was fine with the ladies, with Jaimie joking that he reminded her of herself at the same age. That caused Sydney to look upset and clam up, holing up in his room without interacting with anyone for the next day.

Miles kept busy as the team and he worked together to improve their kicking game. He was better than the old kickers, with the injured punter knowing that his time with the team was all but over. Miles was good, so good that he was working with the first team and was being considered for kickoffs.

His rival, Ray, was angered by this possibility. Ray was a decent placekicker, he could kick 50 yard field goals easily. His bane was always his punting, he thought he needed to be an all around player to get noticed by professional teams or better colleges. Miles changed that, he had no shot of showing his versatility if he was only going to be used sparingly by the team.

The head coach just took the recommendation of his assistant and had Miles start the next game for them. They had him checked out by the NCAA for any possible trouble and was cleared quickly. He was adamant that they not treat him any differently because if they did they would be accused of wrongdoing even if it was pure garbage.

Their first game was that weekend, at home against a second tier Division 1 college. Christina gave him a good luck kiss before he left for the stadium with Jaimie, Rick, and Sydney joining the students in the stands to watch the game. Jaimie silently hoped that he was going to do better in his first game in college than he did in his first game in high school while also hoping that nobody did anything to her while she watched the game.

Miles was nervous but he kept his anxiety in check as he listened to the game plan and did his best to keep from trying to help the team out. The assistant coaches were paid to do that, not him. He had to remind himself that this wasn't high school and what he thought no longer mattered to anyone. He followed along, noting that a few plays were doomed to failure while ones that are going to work were buried in the playbook to be forgotten and unused.

He stretched with his teammates and worked with the assigned graduate assistant to get his legs in top form. It was odd but he endured the sensations, he knew his body and this was just going overboard. He asked that they back off of him, he was going to rip something.

When they refused he stopped, got up, and told them that he wasn't going to ruin his legs due to their trying to get noticed by the coaches. He wasn't alone as the longsnapper told them to back off, it was pushing his muscles too far too fast. Miles knew his body, he knew what to stretch and when to stop.

The team got an early 10 point lead and held the other team to punts. In the 2nd quarter Miles got into the game as UMass was stopped at their own 20 and needed to punt. Miles ran in, handled a ball that was slightly off target, and booted the punt 60 yards downfield to the opponent's 30-yard line. It was so nicely places that the only thing the receiver could do was call for a fair catch but didn't have the time to do so necessitating a scramble away from the onrushing gunners costing the team an extra 10 yards of field positon.

Miles' next attempt came 5 minutes later from the 25. He booted it a solid 55 yards but this time the receiver tried to field it only to have it bounce out of his hands and land at the feet of one of the gunners allowing UMass to recover the muffed punt for a 1st down at the 30. He didn't react to it, he did everything on instinct with the kick being somewhat off center for him.

In the 2nd half, UMass was pinned deep in their end and required Miles to boot the ball as far and hard as he could to give them breathing room. His kick was one that would make the news nationwide as it went a solid 80 yards from the back of the end zone and took a UMass bounce, dribbling another five yards as the returner tried to chase after it. Unfortunately for him, he couldn't handle the ball and when he finally recovered it the ball after battling a UMass gunner he was downed at his own 10-yard line leading to a safety on the next play giving UMass two points and the ball back.

UMass held on for a 29-24 victory. Miles' kick actually was the deciding factor as he enabled the team to score on the ensuing possession giving them the lead. He was the star of the game but he was also put under the spotlight as the school wanted him to conduct interviews with the media before being allowed to leave the stadium.

Miles answered the questions asked of him but couldn't or wouldn't answer anything that would upset his team or make the opposing team look bad. He was humble and gracious, telling the reporters that he was only there because his roommate asked him to join the team to help them out of a jam. He came off as a rube, homely, and even naive but he was far from it as the coaches were happy to point out.

Miles expected trouble and told his parents that something was going to happen because of the jealousy of some and the usual attempts to knock the family down once people realized that he was not just someone named Finn but rather part of the infamous family. His hunch was right as Ray let it slip that he was the brother of a "tranny freak" and he wasn't all he claimed to be as his family wasn't his real family.

The school tried to put out the fires that Ray caused but it was hard to do as Jaimie was all over the media as being transgender and Miles was right there by her side as her brother. It was tough to do with Miles being a Finn and heavy hitters looking out for him from the state and alumni association. The final word was that if it came to be a choice between him and the school's image Miles would be sacrificed for the greater good of the school despite who he had supporting him and what they would do to the school.

At the same time, the NCAA were trying to investigate Miles. The losing team lodged a complaint that Miles was an ineligible player as he wasn't known to anyone before that day and there was little to no background on him available from the school. They were inclined to agree, despite them being notified days before that he was a walk-on and had him cleared by them first.

The school was divided over Miles. There were many who knew about his connection to Jaimie and who were disgusted with him over associating with someone like her. The vast majority didn't care or were supportive of Jaimie to the point of readying protests if he was kicked off the team because of her.

The school chose to play it safe and do nothing. If they supported Miles they would alienate certain donors. If they went against him they risked upsetting his major supporters. The best course of action was to let the NCAA do their investigation and lay blame on Miles or give him praise for his victory, either way they would be on the winning side regardless of the outcome.

The media started to sniff around about Miles' past. They had interviewed several people who knew him and who were not afraid to badmouth him over Jaimie. The story was more than they had hoped for, they were seeing Emmy Awards and Pulitzer Prizes for showcasing Miles and his family.

The school forced Miles to talk with several national networks. He refused but had them threaten him with suspension from school and possible expulsion for whatever reason they could think up. Miles called their bluffs, with the director of communications showing him the warning to do the interviews or he'd be suspended for conduct against the school.

Miles kept a copy of that warning then told them that he was agreeing only because he was forced to. The media pretended not to hear that part. Fox Sports went after his family history, hoping to play up the orphan who found a loving family in the arms of a rich couple. It wasn't far from the truth, but it wasn't the whole truth either. They tried to make his story into another "Blindside" but he held firm that it wasn't anything like that and wouldn't explain further.

Miles was quick to point out that he was placed with them because there were no willing foster families in the region. His future parents were asked as a last ditch effort to keep him safe and over time they had become a family to him to the point that he was loved as if their own. It was made all the more touching as he pointed out how he knew his family already, he just hadn't known them personally.

The ESPN reporters tried to play up his father's criminal past, hoping to make him into a martyr for drug dealing families. Miles angrily told them how his birth father was scum and refused to talk about him and further. He outright refused to cooperate with them once their line of questioning became belligerent and insinuated that his adoptive father may have orchestrated his birth father's death due to his connection to the man who actually ordered his death- his father's brother Roland Finn.

Miles walked out, telling the college that he was not going to do any more interviews and if they had a problem with it speak to his lawyers. He called his grandparents and asked them to handle the media from now on, he was sick of the questions and they knew as much as he did and more. If they didn't like their answers they would have to deal with it because he was finished with them.

Later that day after speaking with an outraged major shareholder of their parent company's stocks the ESPN reporter was recalled, with a new one being assigned who was more interested in asking about him as an athlete than as a person off the field. He was subtle and gleaned answers from Miles that went further into his life than his colleagues had been able to get. Miles came off as a sympathetic person who played because he was needed and who wanted to help out as much as he could especially on the field with play correction and suggestions than actually kicking the ball.

This bit of information was well known in Massachusetts as Miles had been sought by many schools for his ability to improve teams just by observing. He stayed true to his school and didn't play beyond spot starts in place of the injured punter, always working to make improvements when on the field with his teammates knowing to listen to him as much as their coaches. Footage from the school and from the state championship game the Winnisimmet High team played in during his junior year showed him by the coaches' sides and drawing up plays proving his value.

Miles was the talk of the nation for several days as his personal life hit the airwaves. The sports networks didn't bother with him being related to Jaimie, it was toxic to touch and would result in the networks getting protested and reporters booted from stadiums and arenas. They were happy to talk about the unnoticed skills of some youngsters who simply learned the game. This led to comparisons to great coaches who themselves barely played beyond high school and who turned into Hall of Fame coaches including the infamous New England Patriots coach.

By Saturday, Miles was forgotten as a major upset caused UMass's lackluster performance to go unnoticed. Miles made six punts, none of which were noteworthy but all of which were helpful as the team held off scores and were able to utilize the ensuing punts to their advantage. He was the leading punter in the country after two games, with an average that was worthy of NFL attention.

Te NCAA was still investigating Miles despite his background coming up clear. The investigator, Terry Cox, had a hard-on for taking down Miles especially after he humiliated his alma mater in his first game. He was too squeaky-clean, in fact all dirt was on others except Miles. This was not possible, the boy had to have had something going on that he could use against Miles to get rid of him.

Terry finally hit pay dirt by linking Miles to Juan Alvarez, a known agent who was frequently seen with Miles on social media. He had no clue what their true relationship was, all that he cared about was that he was an agent and Miles being around him meant that he was not an amateur thus he had no right to play for his college let alone beat his alma mater.

The fact that Miles was being investigated got revealed to the media who immediately went with the story about his life and his family. He had a lot of people pulling for him and actually had the producers of the investigative shows give him a fair shake as nothing was coming up to support the allegations. The producers were going for the truth, there was no actual need for an investigation as Miles' life was not hard to uncover and shown to be squeaky clean with every angle covered by valid reasoning that the NCAA could not deny.

Jaimie's prominence was noted, as was Miles' family's wealth. They went fully into the story about Juan and his ties to Miles, but what was told was a far different story than what was alleged. Miles was portrayed as an exceptional student and mentor to others with a family who were famous for their help for others in need especially those who were abused and abandoned by all others.

Miles' work as an investigator was showcased, as his accolades from the British government and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were given a lot of time. His role in helping bring down Harry Smith, his uncle's brother, then exposing Lucius Long and his bilking of his wife's bank accounts and subsequent fraud against his company, then taking out several small-time frauds over the summer while helping his employer only added fuel that Miles was a gifted analyst. He had the backing of prominent people including the governor, who added a statement of support for Miles with admonishment of the NCAA for believing proven falsehoods.

The report went further to attack the claims about Miles and Juan. Juan's actual name was revealed to be now Juan Reagan as he chose to simply take his wife's name upon their marriage. The fact that he now lived directly behind Miles and his own son and daughter were close friends of Miles' younger siblings added further dose of fuel. What nailed it was Miles being one of several dozen teenagers employed by Juan's organization, one that his own father had actually worked for in the past and whose founder was a close family friend, helped show that Miles had a normal relationship with Juan as a senior mentor that Juan would use to help the most troubled kids.

Juan's role as an agent wasn't denied. He made no attempt to hide his employment as an agent of a few young professional baseball players as well as his employment by Miguel Toro, star Red Sox pitcher. Juan was happy to point out that he and Miles talked about sports frequently and that Miles was one of the people who would work out schedules for when kids in their program would be rewarded with trips to see the Red Sox play from Miguel's private box.

Juan was asked about Miles talking to him about compensation, to which Juan smiled and explained "he was concerned that the guys weren't planning for their future. They signed contracts early but had no fallback plans nor plans for obtaining their degrees. His boss showed them how much to put away from their contracts and how much to live on so they didn't blow their money before they retired. His boss, who is a certified financial planner in addition to an accountant, ensured the player were ready for when they could no longer play with Miles helping find them college courses to attend."

Juan answered every question in full with Miguel Toro verifying Miles' role in helping the players plan ahead with a few of the Red Sox players hiring him to check their finances ahead of signing their new contracts. He never asked for or accepted a penny and never talked about contracts outside of the offices, he was all business and protected their privacy especially when he found what some of the guys had been spending large sums of money on.

Miguel's teammates each told the same story, with Miles portrayed as a young kid eager to please his boss. She and he worked hard, with the players paying her for the services. Miles was working, it was all done during normal business hours and above the board.

The more the producers and reporters investigated Miles, the more complex he turned out to be. He was not the normal athlete, he played sports for fun and exercise instead of competition. He was a great help to others but had endured years of hardship to get where he was. He had family with money but he kept to himself and tried hard to live a life of his own.

Questions about Jaimie were asked as her own story was catching the eyes of others. The network found coverage of her life through local and national affiliates with much of it matching Miles' life but over a longer period of time. Her gender change was only part of the story, her family's creation was a big story in and of itself that was making things more intriguing and gave the NCAA a glimpse at just who they were trying to screw around with.



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