“Wow, Ryan. I can’t believe you won the boy’s trophy!” Ben was amazed.
“Ryan, you were amazing. Well done for winning the trophy.” said Kyle, one of his friends.
“Ryan! Ryan! I can’t think how you won that trophy. You used to be awful at running.” Joshua called sarcastically, from where he was chatting to Greg. “You truly are a good mate though,” Joshua tried to show he was only joking and being humorous. He clearly didn’t actually want to send ill wishes to Ryan.
Ryan was overwhelmed by all the people coming over to talk to him. He told Lori this and she decided it was time to go home. Sophie was becoming restless too so it was probably best to call to a day.
“Jack, Soph, Rose!” called Lori, “It’s time to go now.” She took hold of Sophie’s hand to draw her away from the long jump pit where she was attempting to make sandcastles.
“Coming” Jack called, dragging Rose along behind him, away from where she had been chatting to her friends. Rose had not taken part in the sports day because she had injured her ankle and couldn’t run. She didn’t feel that a skill for running coursed through her blood anyway so she knew she wasn’t missing out on any deserved fame.
They walked along the cobbled school path but just as they turned out of the gate, a man ran up from behind them and shouted out to Ryan.
“Ryan, Ryan Peterson,” he cried, uncertain of whether he had the right family. “I want to talk to you and your family!”
“Who are you?” Lori questioned, turning round to look at the man’s dark hair, tracksuit and shiny white trainers with blue crosses on.
“I am Timothy Hewitt. I train boys and girls in athletics at the local track, Lavender Lane Athletics Club. I only take the best, so my maximum is about fifteen children.” the man replied.
“I see” said Lori, “Why do you need to speak to Ryan?”
“I think he is extra special. I’ve seen him race twice today and his speed, technique, attitude, well, they all suggest that he was born to be a professional runner. I would like to train him and give him private lessons for his unusual talent. I believe that, under specialist supervision, he could become an international star,” Timothy Hewitt said.
Ryan, Sophie, Rose and Jack wandered around impatiently, sighing regularly, Lori noticed this, so she said, “Mr. Hewitt, you had better come to our house and discuss the issue. This is very serious, especially under the children’s circumstances.”
“Certainly. You may call me Tim instead of Mr. Hewitt if you wish.” Tim replied.
The seven of them strolled down the path, talking about Sports Day and discussing what type of tea they liked the best. They seemed to be getting along like old friends. Ryan ran on ahead as he found adult conversations boring. Rose came to join him a bit later on as she didn’t really care about tea either. Sophie was happy to walk along, drifting between her own thoughts and her daydreams, occasionally making comments about the adult conversation which she didn’t understand.
Eventually, they reached their house. Lori and Rose prepared a pot of tea, apple juice, freshly baked scones and strawberry jam to eat, while Tim discussed running training with Ryan and Jack. It wasn’t long before Paige appeared, having waked home from school.
“Ryan, how did it go?” Paige asked, giving Ryan a loving hug. Adoption had brought the children much closer together and they all cared about what each of the others was doing.
“I came first in the one hundred metres and I won the sprint at the end of the relay. It was really fun and,” Ryan motioned to where Tim was sitting, “this is Timothy Hewitt who is an athletics talent scout. He’s here to discuss athletics.”
“Wow, Ryan. That’s amazing. I’m so proud of you and pleased for you. Ah, my talented little brother!” Paige smiled at Ryan and went to the kitchen to hear all about it from Rose, Sophie and Lori.
“So……” began Tim, as he bit into a warm scone topped with strawberry jam, “I was wondering if I could train Ryan as I know he has star potential in running from seeing him run this afternoon and I believe he could go far in athletics, as I have already said. I could make him a star in the athletic world; he would earn hundreds of pounds a month. Not that this fact alone should prompt your decision.”
“Well,” Jack sounded uncertain, “Ryan starts a new school next term and we have a lot of things going on at the moment in our family life. Plus, we have to be careful because Ryan is not biologically our son. There will be more specific procedures for us to undertake than others in such a situation as this.”
“I’m sure there will be. I am, to be blunt, desperate to train Ryan and will happily support him in whatever way is required,” Jamie spoke up. “But Ryan could train in the mornings and attend school in the afternoons. My school is fully qualified you know. This would mean your details were only in one place for Ryan and wouldn’t be spread around the area at different institutions.”
“Your school?” Lori asked, looking shocked. She had thought Ryan would be attending Somerville High School next year, like his friends and his twin sister Rose.
“Yes, my school. I train children in athletics and have lessons going on at the same time. There are two teachers: Mrs. Chatsworth who specialises in English, Science, Drama and Music and Miss Moore who specialises in Maths, History, Geography, French and Art. Ryan will be able to learn everything he needs to know for the future at our school. We do allow the older children to attend a mainstream college during exam years if the parents wish. We like to keep our wards and their families happy.”
Tim looked at Ryan’s Mum and Dad, who were looking very puzzled. Ryan was just sitting there, sipping apple juice and stuffing himself with the very tasty scones which he hadn’t eaten for a very long time.
“Ryan, what do you think?” Lori came over to him and laid a hand on his shoulder. Ryan looked up at Mum, startled and then he looked across at Tim.
“I want to do it,” Ryan said after a while, “I don’t mind missing Somerville but I will miss not being with Ben. But I guess Rose will keep me updated about everything that is going on at Somerville.”
Everyone looked at each other. Jack was the first to speak.
“If that’s what Ryan wants to do, then we will say ‘Yes’. We aren’t really in a position to agree, what do you think Lori?”
Lori nodded her head, “No, I don’t think we are able to prevent Ryan doing this if it’s what he wants to do.”
Tim looked at Ryan.
“I’ll see you after the summer holiday, if that’s alright, then! I’ll send some more details in the post about the clothing Ryan will require and the times of terms and days. And if you need me to I can visit you again.”
Then Tim got up and Lori showed him out.
“We had better start sorting out. I must say, there’s a lot to take in after that conversation,” Lori sighed and began to clear the dishes away. Paige got up to help Lori, sensing that the air was buzzing with tension like electricity sizzling in a telephone wire.