Here’s this week’s Cris and Nelson. It’s the first official day of them as Swimmer and Manager.
Hope you enjoy the chapter.
The Swimmer and The Manager 12
For the second day in a row, Nelson woke before the alarm rang. He stayed in bed and turned around, staring at his phone on the nightstand, waiting for the usual ringtone.
As the minutes passed, a smile crossed his lips. I’m cured, he thought, savoring the words. He placed both hands on his face and laughed. “I’m cured,” he said aloud, his smile growing.
I can finally go back. Back into the pools, to the world where I belong. The thought seemed somewhat surreal for the swimmer. All the pain, all those days when I could barely move and wanted to give up… when I just wanted it to end it all… everything is behind now. Now I’ll I need, all I have to rely on is my own hard work, he thought, opening and closing his hands.
The moment the alarm rang, his hand flew to get the phone and turned it off in just seconds. He stood up at once, washed his face in the bathroom and changed into his workout clothes. It feels somewhat different from yesterday, Nelson thought as he looked at his reflection.
After jogging, I’ll go eat something and then… what? He stopped as he put on his shoes and stared at nothing. I don’t have physiotherapy anymore…
Sometime after he took off the cast on both legs, his everyday life was pretty much same. Nelson would wake up, work on the warm-ups and exercises the physiotherapist had given him, eat breakfast, go to physiotherapy all morning, eat lunch and then spend the afternoon on different treatments depending on the day.
As he got better and started to move without the need of a cane, the physiotherapist began adding a few exercises. The morning light jogging, a few pushups and crunch ups here and there and then half hour on the bike. All while taking it easy, as the doctor insisted in reminding. But now that I think about it, all that was also to make sure my physical form didn’t go to the trash. I was starting to fat up. What would Cris say if he saw those pics? Nelson wondered, laughing.
But soon he stopped laughing, the smile vanishing from his lips. Today is truly a different day. I don’t have physiotherapy anymore… Instead of happy, he felt the anxiety filling him. What should I do? Talk with my couch is a given, but what else? How about the personal trainer? He’ll need to make a new routine for me, right? I also need to check up the next competitions. Since my rank is so low, I’ll probably have to start competing at state level again. Or even at municipal level…
Nelson shook his head. That doesn’t matter at all… Even if I have to get back at the municipal level, as long as I can swim, as long as there’s a way, I’ll reach the top again. All I need is time. Yes, with time… But do I have that? My contract expires next year. How many competitions do I have until then?
He tried counting on his fingers, but he had forgotten. Damn it. He picked up his phone and started searching it. As Nelson’s mind worked more and more, the anxiety grew. His breathing became fast and short and his heart beat faster as he waited both the Brazil’s and Pernambuco’s water sports federations to load.
But before he could check the future competitions, his phone rang with a call. Who could it be at this hour? Despite the cold room, he cleaned the sweat from his face before answering. “Hello?” he said in a dry hoarse.
“I knew you’d be up. What’s up with that voice? Are you pretending to be Batman so early?” a drowsy and familiar voice joked on the other side. Then the person let out a big yawn. “I had a strong suspicion, but now I’m sure. You really are one of those weird people who can and actually like waking up early.”
Nelson opened his mouth, but instead of words, he let out a chuckled. With a few jokes, he already made all my anxiety go away, the swimmer thought, smiling. “Hey, Cris. To what do I owe the pleasure? Perhaps you’re calling to say you gonna jog with me again? I thought it was a once in a lifetime deal, but I’ll gladly accept your company.” As he said the words, Nelson realized he really meant those words. Everything’s more fun with him around.
“And it was. There’s no way I can wake up early to jog twice in a row. Maybe in a decade,” he said in a serious voice. Then his tone changed to the playful one. “That’s like winning the Cris lottery twice. And you don’t need that, since you already have me all to yourself. But if you wanna be greedy, I don’t mind.”
“That’s too bad.” Nelson laughed before he realized. Even without seeing, I know he has that cute sly smile, the swimmer thought, not realizing his own smile. “Then could you please tell me why are you up and calling me at this hour?”
“Let me come up with an excuse.” Despite his words, Cris used a serious tone. He hummed loudly, as if he was truly thinking about it. “It’d be too gay if I said I wanted to hear your voice the first thing in the morning?”
“I think it’d be a lie. But I’d be flattered and with my ego way up. We know each other for like two days, but I can tell you’d never wake at this hour for something like this.”
“Hmm… You’re more right than wrong, so I’ll give you some points.” Cris chuckled and yawned at the same time. “Before I end up sleeping again, I wanna ask how’s your schedule for today.”
Nelson gulped, all the happy mood gone in an instant. “I have jogging right now, but after that I… I’m free.”
He managed to control himself. For a moment he was about to say ‘I don’t know what to do’, but changed in mid-sentence. Cris would help me with those feelings, the swimmer knew. Actually, he’d help but also make fun of me.
“Wrong answer,” Cris said in the playful tone again. “And your punishment for getting the wrong answer is a busy schedule for the rest of the day. You’re no longer free. Wait, that seems a lot more wrong when I say it aloud.”
Cris mumbled the last part more to himself than to Nelson. But it was loud enough for the swimmer to hear and crack a smile.
“Busy schedule? With what?”
“After you filled your six pack, you have a physical exam. You know, to check out if you’re still hot, I mean, in shape,” Cris pretended to cough and fixed his words. “After that, you have an appointment with a personal trainer and a nutritionist.”
“Nutritionist? I thought all the food in the cafeteria was already made for a balanced diet.”
“Yes, but I think you need a specific diet to get back in shape. I set up an appointment with my uncle just in case. I mean, the board was lenient with you until now because of your situation, but they’ll probably won’t let you eat all those cakes anymore. So better safe than sorry.”
“Wait, they knew about the cakes…?” Nelson showed a yellow smile. “Guess you’re right… better safe than sorry.”
“But wait, there’s more. Your busy morning isn’t over yet,” Cris said as if announcing some big news. “To close up the morning, you’ll have a talk with your coach.”
Those words lit Nelson’s face. “Really? Then I’ll—”
“Before you get your hopes up, I must say that you probably won’t be jumping into a pool today,” Cris said in a low voice, all the playful tone gone. “The coach wants to talk and check up on you, but he told me he’ll only let you in the pool after seeing your physical condition.” He kept quiet, waiting for Nelson’s reaction.
The swimmer pressed his lips, letting his manager’s words sunk for a while before speaking. “Even though I’m cured, I still can’t get back into the water…”
“You’re shocked, right?” The playful tone was back at once. “I’m too. One of the things I’ve been waiting ever since I was assigned as your manager was to see you shirtless, I mean, training after so long.”
Nelson opened his mouth and then let out a laugh despite how he felt. “You never let me feel down, huh? You always know what to say to make me laugh.”
“It’s the mark of a good manager,” Cris said in a bright voice. “It’s even in the manager’s handbook.”
“Is that so?” Nelson tried to show his disbelief while smiling.
“Yeah. To clear the athlete’s mind so that he or she can focus on the sport.”
“Then let me tell you’re doing a great job. Please, keep this up.”
“Yay. Then I’ll ask for a raise.” Even without seeing, Nelson could imagine Cris lying on his bed with his eyes closed and a smile on his lips.
“You should. If anyone asks, I’ll say you’re having a great start,” Nelson said truthfully. Then he decided to follow up on Cris’ joke. “By the way, I never heard of a manager’s handbook. What else is in it?”
“Oh, there’s a lot. You’ll see with time. But,” suddenly Cris lowered his tone of voice. A tone that Nelson knew it was accompanied by the sly smile, “all the really fun stuffs are in the secret handbook.”
“What kind of fun?”
“The kind of fun I offered yesterday.”
“Yesterday?” Nelson thought for a moment. When he understood, he felt a reaction down there and blushed.
“Did you get hard?” Cris said in the sly tone. “My offer is always on. Whenever you ask, I’ll get down on my knees and my mouth is yours.”
“I… I… ah…” Nelson gulped as his member got harder and harder. “Are you… for real…?”
“I’m serious.” Suddenly Cris laughed. “The offer is true, but I’ll stop bringing it up. Though I really want to, I promised myself that I’d stop tempting you.”
“Is that so?” Nelson didn’t know if he felt happy or sad for that.
“Besides, I’m already getting hard with the idea. If I keep talking, I won’t get back to sleep without relieving myself.”
“Is… that so…?” Nelson tried, but all he could think now was Cris relieving himself. What the hell am I thinking?
“Changing the topic.” Cris did the favor of taking the swimmer’s mind off the picture. “There’s one more thing, Nelson.”
“Why do you sound serious all the sudden? It’s like I’m in trouble,” he tried joking.
“The club… my dad wants to set up an interview for you.”
“An interview?” Nelson breathed out slowly. It sounds so surreal now… as if it something from another world. “That’s… It’s been so long since the last time… I think it was after I started the physiotherapy… then wanted to show how the prodigy was recovery and all, but they lost interest after that…”
“Yeah…” Cris dropped his voice to a serious whisper. “They’ll probably bring up touchy subjects… that you may not be ready to talk about…
“If you’re not ready, I’ll talk with dad. I can make him back down,” Cris added quickly.
“No, I…” Nelson bit his lips and took a deep breath. “Thanks for looking out for me. But I have to deal with that in the future. I mean, since my goal is the top and get the gold medal in Rio 2016, I need to overcome these things.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes,” Nelson said in a strong voice. “Set up the interview.”
“Okay then, I’ll keep it on your schedule.” Cris gave another yawn. “I think that’s all the morning schedule. I’ll join you for breakfast and give you the afternoon’s schedule. After I get some sleep.”
“Ok,” Nelson said. But then, when Cris was about to finish the call, the words came out of him, “Thanks for worrying about me. I know you’re doing your job and all, but your help has been… thanks for everything.”
“No need for that. I told you I’ll help you reach the top. Bye.”
Nelson couldn’t stop smiling at Cris’ words even after he hung up.
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