Status: Active, updates may be very slow though, but bare with me

Shoulder to Shoulder

Twenty One

“Do you mind?” he asked, as his head rested on her thigh.

She shook her head, causing her curls to fly around. “No, go on.”

He lifted up the thin material of her t-shirt and after pressing a kiss to the skin of her stomach; Juan rested his chin on the top of her thigh. Despite the fact that Elena only had the smallest of bumps (it was hardly noticeable, she hadn’t even had to start buying maternity clothes yet), it didn’t deter Juan from talking to her stomach all the time.

“Hi there baby. It’s me, Papa.” He cooed to her abdomen, thumb rubbing softly just under her belly button.

Elena listened to him chatting to the baby (she was only two months pregnant, was it a baby yet? Or was it still just a foetus?) and smiled at him. She ran her hand through his hair, and turned her attention to the TV while he carried on filling in the baby on his day.

The football season was almost over, save for one home game against Everton. Seeing as though she hadn’t seen Lila in a few days, she and Juan had decided to invite her over for dinner. Lila complained that regardless of the fact that she and Elena actually lived together, that Elena spent more time at Juan’s apartment. Which was true, but Elena only came over whenever Juan was home, because a lot of the time he was away with the team.

Lila had been excited at the offer of dinner at Juan’s because she’d never been there before, and she wondered what a footballer’s apartment really looked like. On a slightly more covert operation, Elena and Juan had also invited Oriol over for dinner too. Originally they’d invited Fernando and his family too, but they already had other commitments and couldn’t make it. Though it actually played into their hands, as the couple had thought it a good idea to try and get Oriol and Lila together.


“So, I just slice it and then put it into the bowl?” Juan asked incredulously staring at the cucumber like it was going to come to life and bite him.

Elena couldn’t believe he was asking such remedial questions. “Yes, Juan.” Patronisation dripped from her every syllable. “Just cut it up and put it in the bowl. And then cut these,” she held a punnet of vine tomatoes out to him, “in half and put them in the bowl as well.” He nodded, taking his duty as Official Salad Maker very seriously.

Stifling a smile, Elena watched him cut up a few tomatoes before turning away and checking on the pasta she was cooking. Upon Juan’s request, Elena was cooking Creamy Pork and Mushroom Tagliatelle.

It wasn’t long before the doorbell rang and Lila arrived. Juan was put on drink duty, quickly offering Lila a beverage as she sat down at the counter that overlooked the kitchen.

“Where’s Oriol?” Elena asked under her breath, smoothing down her top, as Juan reached past her to get a glass.

“I have no idea, the man only lives downstairs, yet he still manages to be late. I’ll text him.” Juan divulged as her poured Lila’s wine.

“Is no one else having a drink?” Lila asked, when she looked around and realised that the other pair didn’t have any wine.

Elena didn’t even respond, she just pointed at her stomach and Lila immediately understood that she couldn’t drink because of her pregnancy; she rolled her eyes that she forgot.

“Well, I’ve decided not to drink through Elena’s pregnancy either.” He stated, which drew a look of surprise from both women.

Elena bumped his hip with hers. “Is that true?” she asked as it was news to her, to which he nodded. “Isn’t that nice of you?” she kissed the tip of his nose and went to strain the pasta.

As she swirled the pasta around in the colander, the doorbell rang again. Juan scampered off to answer it, leaving the two women alone. “Who’s that?” Lila said, nodding her head in the direction of the door.

“It’s Juan’s teammate, Oriol. He’s one of his closest friends.” Elena explained, stirring the sauce on the hob.

Lila nodded in understanding as the two men entered. Oriol greeted Elena, and Juan introduced him to Lila.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He said taking her hand and giving her a kiss on the cheek.

Lila’s eyes glittered as she looked at him. Juan looked almost smug as he made eye contact with Elena.

Dinner went down a treat, and around the dinner table the four sat and talked. Juan rested his arm around the back of Elena’s chair and absentmindedly ran his fingers up and down her arm.

“Let me clear this up.” Elena said, picking up plates from the table and stacking them up.

Juan also got up and began helping. When Lila went to pick up the bowl containing the bread Juan took it from her and told her to sit down. Moments later he returned to the room and topped up both her and Oriol’s glasses.

When they were in the kitchen clearing away, Juan and Elena listened out to see if their guests were talking. Much to their delight, Lila and Oriol were chatting like old friends.

“I think it might be working,” Elena said gleefully.

Juan nodded in agreement. “I’m pretty sure Ori has a soft spot for her.” He went on to explain that as Oriol was quite a shy person, when he liked a girl, he tended to look down at his hands quite a bit. Which is something he’d been doing all evening.

A couple of hours later, Lila and Oriol both made the move to leave for their respective homes. After bidding goodbye, the two left the apartment. But just as Lila was crossing the threshold into the hallway, Elena pulled her back in.

“So?” Elena asked expectantly.

“So what?” Lila looked confused at her friend.

“Oriol…?” Elena prompted.

Immediately a blush crept up Lila’s cheeks. “He’s nice, a really sweet guy. Why, what did you do?”

Elena grinned mischievously. “Nothing. Goodnight Lila.” And all but pushed her friend out of the apartment.

Back in the kitchen where Juan was washing up the glasses that they’d just been using, Elena leaned against the counter. “I think it might work, she totally thought he was really cute and sweet.”

“Good, I know he liked her too.” Little did they both know, but Oriol and Lila had swapped numbers and were already texting back and forth, despite only leaving Juan’s apartment less than 10 minutes beforehand.