As he walked in through the front door, Peter was greeted by the hearty smile lighting up the rugged face of his Uncle Ben. "Hey Pete," he said warmly. "How was your day?"
"S'okay," Peter mumbled. He really didn't want to get into it.
"Did you make the debate team?"
The way his nephew's face fell told Ben all he needed to know. "Don't worry about it, son. You've got your strengths as well as your weaknesses. It's up to you to find them. We have a responsibility to use our strengths and talents."
Peter rolled his eyes. Another lecture on responsibility and "you'll find your niche" was the last thing he needed right now. "Sure, Uncle Ben. I got a lotta homework, I'm gonna go do it now."
"Alright, Pete. We'll call you when May finishes dinner." As he watched his nephew climb the stairs with the slow pace of the downtrodden, Ben frowned. He really wanted Peter to do well. He knew it was only a matter of time before the boy blossomed into a happy, responsible young man, but the wait was hard on him. And it hurt May to think Peter might be unhappy. Fortunately, Peter was just as conscientious as his uncle about shielding his aunt from bad news and sad days.
As Peter shuffled into his room, he collapsed on the bed, slinging his backpack to the floor. His computer beeped - a Facebook instant message!
He groaned. Most of the time he bemoaned the fact that his guardians were too old-fashioned to allow him a personal cell phone instead of just a home PC, but now he didn't want anything to do with the outside world.
He flicked a gaze over at the screen.
Gwen Stacy: hey peter. dont feel bad, u just had an off day. theres another tryout in two weeks!
Peter groaned again.
Downstairs, May came out of the kitchen, armed with a spatula and clad in a cotton apron, to see her husband on the easy chair, TV off and book on the table beside him. "Dear, what's the matter?"
"Hmm? Oh, nothing, honey. Just thinking."
May put her hands on her hips. "Don't try to hide it from me, Ben. Peter had another bad day, didn't he?" Ben looked at her, surprised. May smirked. "I'm neither blind nor deaf as you two seem to think. Well, he'll perk up tomorrow. If I remember right, they're having the field trip to Empire State's science lab, and you know that's right up Peter's alley."
Ben smiled and patted his wife's hand. "You're right, dear. I should know better. And Pete will have a blast tomorrow; it'll be a day he'll never forget."