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This, Nick Cappuano thought, is as good as it getsa cool, crisp autumn night at the ballpark with all his favorite people and the hometown D.C. Federals cruising toward a spot in their first-ever World Series. Going into the top of the ninth inning, the Feds were up two to one with three outs standing between them and the big show.
"I can't believe this is really happening," Scotty said. The twelve-year-old vibrated with excitement.
"Don't get ahead of yourself." As a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, Nick had learned to be realistic about these things. "We don't want to jinx them."
"All they need is three outs, and it's a done deal."
"Shhh," Nick said, cuffing the boy's chin and making him smile. He'd been living with them for two months now, the best two months of Nick's life. He and his wife Sam had filed formal adoption papers to make the boy an official member of the Cappuano family.
Speaking of the devil. His gorgeous wife made her way across the luxury skybox he'd collaborated with his close friend, retired Senator Graham O'Connor, to secure for the big game. With a water bottle in hand, Sam plopped down on Nick's lap, looping her arm around his shoulders.
"Having fun, babe?" Nick asked.
"So much fun. Freddie and Gonzo are already taking bets on the World Series."
"They shouldn't do that," Scotty said gravely. "Nick says they'll jinx the Feds."
"Can you even stand this?" Graham asked, grinning widely as he joined the Cappuanos. "It only took three seasons to make the World Series! And to think, last year, they were giving away tickets to fill seats."
"Tell him, Scotty," Nick said.
"You're going to jinx them."
Graham ruffled the boy's hair. "I'm liking our chances with Lind on the mound to close this thing out."
The Feds' lights-out closer, Rick Lind, was a big reason the team was sitting pretty in the top of the ninth inning in the seventh game of the National League Championship Series. The six-foot-six-inch pitcher's hundred-mile-an-hour fastball was a thing of pure beauty.
"If only the Sox had made it too, this would be even more exciting," Scotty said.
The Sox had flamed out of the pennant race in late September. "We have to take what we can get," Nick said.
Lind struck out the first two batters in the Giants' order with six sizzling fastballs the hitters never saw coming. Sam and Nick joined the rest of the ballpark by standing to cheer the home team.
"Holy cow," Scotty said, on his feet now that only three strikes stood between the Feds and the World Series. "This is the most exciting night of my entire life!" He paused, glanced at Nick and frowned.
"What?" Nick asked. The roar of the ballpark made it hard to hear, so he tipped his head closer to the boy.
"Your convention speech was way cooler and so was what happened afterward." That was the night Scotty told them that he'd like to live with them permanently, which ranked as one of the best moments in Nick's lifeand Sam's.
Smiling, Nick slung an arm around Scotty. "This is pretty darned cool too. It's okay to push it into first place."
Scotty shook his head. "It's a close second to that night."
"I'll give you that."