though, Rory slammed on the brakes and pulled off a perfect roll dodge. The big kid sailed past Rory with an angry grunt as he tried to command his large frame to do the impossible. Rory closed on the goal, moving to his left as he went. He faked once and froze the goalie and then again as he closed the gap. His feet were dancing along the edge of the crease. He faked low to get the goalie to bite and then the stick snapped around the back of his head, the ball arching softly through the air to the opposite side of the crease, where one of his teammates snatched it and snapped it into the open net.
“Sweet!” Jack yelled.
“Yeah,” Nash agreed with some relief. “Your brother shouldn’t even be in there right now.” Nash looked farther down the sideline in search of his wife. She was standing about twenty yards away talking to two of the other mothers. She smiled at her husband and pointed at him. The other two mothers turned and waved at Nash. They were smiling and nodding as Maggie whispered something to them. Nash cringed. He was not used to all this attention. From the moment he had arrived at the field, people had been talking and pointing.
“Dad,” Jack said, as he looked up, “are you famous?”
The comment hit Nash like a slap in the face. He felt himself getting angry, but told himself to take a deep breath. It wasn’t Jack’s fault. He was only ten. “No, Jack, I’m not famous.”
“Well . . . you kind of are. Your photo was on the front page of the paper this morning and you were all over the news last night.”
“Just because you get your picture in the paper doesn’t mean you’re famous.”
“That’s not what my friend Scott said.”
“I really don’t want to talk about it, Jack. I’m not famous, all right?”
Maggie walked up just in time. She slid her arms around his waist and gave him a big hug. “You’re quite the topic around here.”
“Oh . . . God . . .” he moaned.
“Why can’t you just relax and enjoy it?”
“Because it’s not who I am. I haven’t changed. I’m the same guy who’s been going to these games for I don’t even know how many years. The only thing that’s changed is everyone’s perception of me.”
“A perception that’s based on the truth. These people now know who you work for and what you’ve been doing, and I have to tell you,” Maggie said as she lowered her voice, “some of these ladies, like Stacy and Claudia, it’s a huge turn-on for them. Very sexy that I’m married to a spy.”
“I heard that,” Jack said without taking his eyes off the field. “Gross.”
Maggie grabbed him and pulled him in for a group hug. A second later the whistle blew and the game was over. As the two teams lined up to shake hands, Nash began looking around the park for his daughter.
“Not sure.” Maggie looked toward the playground. “There she is— pushing Charlie in the swing.”
Nash watched her push the green bucket that her baby brother was in. He felt a pang of anxiety and asked, “Do I have to let her drive home?”
“Yes,” Maggie said.
“She’s not very good. I mean, don’t get me wrong . . . she’s a great kid, but she can’t drive.”
“Michael, she just got her permit this morning. Do you expect her to be a great driver on her first day?”
“I don’t expect her to be perfect, but . . .”
“She sucks, Mom,” Jack said.
Maggie grabbed his cheeks. “Oh . . . Jack, sometimes, I swear.”
“Mom,” Jack said while shaking free of her grip, “I’m not saying she’s stupid or a bad person. I’m just telling you the truth. She’s a bad driver.”
“Well, maybe you and your father can walk home.”
Jack took a step back to get out of his mom’s range and said, “Can we, Dad? Do you know how funny that would be . . .”
“Jack Nash.” Maggie reached for him, but he was too quick. He scampered onto the field in search of his brother. “He takes after you,” she said to her husband.