Sara's quiet evening with girlfriend turns into orgy.
"Let me give it a try," Bill suggested, tapping Dan on the shoulder with his mitt. "Now, Alex, just take a deep breath, okay? Relax. Now this time, I want you to try swinging a little less hard. Just a nice and easy, level swing. Got it?"
Alex nodded. The next pitch sailed across the plate and Alex finally met the ball with the barrel of the bat, sending a line drive into the outfield.
"You're a miracle worker!" Dan exclaimed, shaking his head.
"Nah, it's just that he was pulling his head out of the box," Bill responded. "I see kids do it all the time. They swing so hard, they pull their head away from their body. By the time they finish their swing, they're looking down the third base line. You can't see what you can't hit."
After tossing a few more pitches, Bill asked Matt if he wanted to take a turn on the mound. Perhaps in an effort to impress his new neighbor, Matt threw his first pitch with a little too much velocity. Alex tried to turn away from it, but there wasn't enough time, and it hit him squarely in the center of his back.
Dan rushed to the plate, followed closely by Bill and Matt. Alex lay in the dirt, writhing in pain. His eyes welled with tears, but he bravely fought to maintain his composure.
"I'm sorry, Alex!" Matt shouted. "I didn't mean it!"
"I know you didn't, Matt," Dan reassured him as he rubbed his son's back. "You got a hell of an arm, there!"
"Yeah, but he chose the wrong time to show it off," Bill said, glaring at his son.
"You'll be okay," Dan reassured his son. "Just be tough. Shake it off and get back up there."
"Nuh-uh," Alex said. "I'm all done."
"Okay," Dan said, "I guess you earned a little break."
As Alex hobbled toward the bench, Bill pulled Dan aside. "It's none of my business, but I think he should get back in the box for at least one more pitch. It's like falling off a bicycle. You don't want him to be scared of stepping in that box again."
Dan looked to his son sitting on the bench with his head in his hands. "He'll be okay. He's a tough kid."
Following the practice session, Bill drove his new neighbors back to their house. As Dan was exiting the vehicle, Bill told him, "If you're gonna be my assistant coach in the fall, we should have a little 'coaching session' at the bar sometime. You know, to develop a practice plan."
"Coaching session," Dan repeated with a laugh. "Sure thing. That sounds great." He then glanced at his cellphone. "Actually, how about we grab a bite to eat now? Denise probably won't be home for another hour, and I could use a cold beer or two. The kids can order a pizza."
"Sounds like a plan!" Bill said. "Hop back in!"
Sitting across a table at the bar and grill, Bill explained his coaching philosophy to Dan over an order of buffalo wings and a couple of draft beers.
"So we really are going to talk about coaching at this coaching session," Dan said with a smirk.
Bill laughed. "Nah, we can talk about anything you want. How do you like the neighborhood so far?"
"It's great. The people are very friendly, and the weather couldn't be nicer."
"But..." Bill said, leaning back in his chair. Dan gave him a quizzical look. "I sense a 'but' is coming my way."
"Okay, but I'm not too happy with our new lifestyle," Dan admitted. "I don't like playing house husband. It's emasculating. I used to be the breadwinner in our house, and now I'm playing Suzy Homemaker. And Denise...well, she just seems like a different person out here. I hardly recognize her anymore."
"What do you mean?"
"Ever since she got this job, she started acting differently. She's confident and assertive, she's dressing and looking sexier than ever..."
"That sounds terrible," Bill said with a smirk.
"No, it's good, don't get me wrong," Dan responded. "It's just that...I don't know. I feel like I'm losing her or something. Like we're moving in separate directions. Hell, she's going away next weekend with some guy."
Bill raised an eyebrow.
"No, it's not like that," Dan add