Here’s chapter 31 of The swimmer and the manager.
Hope you enjoy this chapter.
The Swimmer and The Manager 31
Despite his utter embarrassment, Nelson couldn’t stop smiling.
After Cris’ special good luck kiss, the swimmer’s mind had trouble to work again. When he came to himself, he had left his manager in the bedroom and was in the cafeteria, lining up to get breakfast.
Nelson was so distracted he didn’t even notice what he had put on his plate. After he swiped his club card, he looked down and pressed his lips, trying and failing to suppress a laugh. Of course… Bananas, he thought with a strange smile.
As he looked around for a seat, a hand waved at him in the sea of athletes from various water sports.
“Morning, sleeping beauty,” Marcelo said, flashing a strange smile as Nelson walked towards him.
“Hey,” he answered in a low voice.
“How about last night? You’re so lucky, my friend.” Marcelo asked in a forced high-pitched voice.
Nelson almost dropped the tray on the table. He looked at his best friend’s grinning face. No… there’s no way he knows what… happened just now between Cris and me…
“W-what are you talking…?” Nelson asked, failing to keep his voice normal. Damn it…
“What else? Last night’s party. It was, wasn’t it? I mean, I knew Cris was cool and all, but to think he was that skill at video games too. I tell you might friend, you got the whole package.”
Nelson choked on the eggs. He smashed his fist on his chest while drinking the milk.
“Take it easy, my friend. There’s no need to eat those eggs so fast. They’re not going anywhere,” Marcelo said, smiling.
“You’re a real comedian, you know that?”
“What did I do?” Marcelo showed a puzzled expression that Nelson knew right away it was fake.
Nelson took a deep breath and let go of his anger, to Marcelo’s disappointment.
“By the way, that’s a lot of bananas for breakfast,” his friend commented casually. “Eggs and bananas for breakfast, huh? I wonder if that means something…” He placed a hand on his chin and hummed loudly.
Nelson wanted to both laugh and smack his friend.
“Stop that, dude,” he said, glancing around to make sure no one was listening in their conversation. “I know what you wanna say, but it’s not like I’m…”
“Gay? Oh, c’mon, Nelson,” Marcelo spoke in a low and normal voice now. “You’re in love with a guy. If that doesn’t make you the G word, I don’t know what it does.”
Nelson stared down at his food. “Cris… he’s not just a guy… he’s a guy but… I don’t know…”
“Cris is a guy. And you like him. No matter how much you say, that won’t change.”
“Guess you’re right… for a change… I just never thought I’d fall for a guy and become…” Nelson pressed his lips, struggling to say the word.
Marcelo sighed. “I told you before and I’ll say it again. There’s nothing wrong with being who you are. I’m not gonna throw a party because of that. But I won’t shun you nor gather people to pray for your sinful soul either. No matter who you like, you’re my friend and rival that can’t beat me.”
Those words made Nelson chuckle. “You’re an idiot. You’re right, but still an idiot. Guess I’ve been overthinking this.”
“You, overthinking things? Oh, no. Alert the press. This is the first time.” Marcelo lashed out his sarcasm as he rolled his eyes.
Nelson shook his head as he laughed. “I’ll say it again. You’re an idiot best friend who enjoys embarrassing himself too much. But somehow you can make me feel better about this. Treating me like usual.”
“You’re the idiot if you have to think that,” Marcelo said, pointing the fork at Nelson. “I’m treating you the same ‘cause you are the same guy. My best friend who’s slower than me in the pools. The only difference is that you fell in love with Cris.”
“Are you still drunk from last night? I’m only slower for now. When I was at my best, you could never beat me,” Nelson said, taking the last bite out of the eggs.
“I think the accident messed your memories too, my friend. The last time I checked, I was winning. By far. ”
“And now I’m sure you’re still drunk if you ever remember beating me. Enjoy being ahead for now, ‘cause I’m coming back. When I do, there’ll be nothing that can stop me to get that gold medal.”
Marcelo laughed, shook his head and stood up with his empty tray. “Yes, you’re coming back. Just hurry up, ‘cause I’m tired of waiting for you.”
He held his fist towards Nelson with a serious face.
The swimmer smiled for a moment. Then he showed a determinate expression and bumped his fist with his friends.
After Marcelo put the tray above the trash can, he came back to the table.
“I know your head’s full with this thing between you and Cris but remember what’s at stake today. I want us to compete for Brazil in the World championship next year and in the Olympics under the same club.”
“I promise we will. And we’ll win.” Nelson said, smiling to his friend.
“Good. That’s the face of my friend and rival.” Marcelo smiled as leaned back. But before he left, he grabbed one of the bananas from Nelson’s plate. “You don’t need that many bananas, do you? Don’t worry, I’ll eat sideways,” he said before walking away.
Nelson was still shaking his head while chuckling after his friend left. He’s an idiot, but a good one. He made me remember that it’s not only Cris who’s supporting me… For me and for them too, I’ll give my best today, the swimmer thought before finishing the rest of his breakfast.
When there were only the bananas left, he peeled them with a strange smile. But when he was about to eat, he remembered Cris and his face became red. After a moment of hesitation, he ate the fruits in the normal way.
I’m the idiot here, the swimmer thought with a sheepish smile after he finished most of the fruits. I am in love with Cris. I wanna do many things with him. But today, my mind needs to enter competition mode. Focus only on swimming for now, Nelson said to himself, going back to his room.
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