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

Shoulder to Shoulder

Twenty Eight

On the way back from the concert, the pair got off the Tube together, and they reached a turning. Going one way led to you to Juan’s apartment building and taking the other route would send you in the direction of Lila’s building. When they both took the latter turning, Lila stopped and cocked an eyebrow at Elena.

“Where are you going?” the blonde asked confusedly.

Elena looked around trying to figure out if she’d done anything out of the ordinary. “Going back to the flat…what are you doing?”

Lila took her friend’s shoulders and turned her around. “Aren’t you going back to your baby-daddy?”

A grin made it’s way onto Elena’s lips. “But, I still live with you.”

“Who are we kidding El? You’ve pretty much spent 70% of your time at his!” She kissed Elena on the cheek, bidding her goodbye. “I’ll speak to you tomorrow!”

With a promise to text Lila as soon as she got in, Elena left on the 5-minute walk back to Juan’s.


His flat was bathed in darkness when Elena entered it, she wasn’t sure if Juan was asleep or if he’d decided to go out, so she removed her shoes and tip-toed to his room.

With the light that came through the crack in the curtains, she saw a Juan shaped lump on the bed, so she guessed that he hadn’t ventured out. Silently, Elena changed into her pyjamas and got into bed.

As she slowly lowered herself onto the mattress, and got under the covers, Juan fidgeted in his sleep. She pressed a kiss to his hair before lying down properly. Almost instantaneously, Juan rolled over and laid an arm over Elena’s waist. His hand found her abdomen, safely keeping her in place. He shuffled closer to her, his nose pressing against the top of her spine, their bodies tangled comfortably together. In mere seconds, she was asleep.


“What are you doing?” Juan asked, running a hand through he sleep-mussed hair.

Elena took out the tinned tomatoes from her shopper and placed it on the floor. “Seeing as you told me Fernando was coming over today, I thought it might be a nice idea if we, y’know, fed him and his family?”

Juan looked down at the floor guiltily.

“Because when I looked in your cupboards,” Elena continued, opening one for emphasis. “There was nothing in there.”

He chuckled, “I was getting around to going food shopping!” He feebly defended himself.

“Don’t worry, baby. I’ve got you covered.” She ran a hand through his hair, as he leaned against the breakfast bar where she was putting the newly bought groceries. “I’m making Ragu, and meatballs for the kids just in case they don’t like that. And I bought some more shower gel for you, seeing as the one in your shower is empty.”

Juan looked impressed.

“What would you do without me?” she asked, walking off to put the aforementioned shower gel in the bathroom.

“I really don’t know,” Juan said quietly, well aware that Elena couldn’t hear him.

A few hours, and a cooking session later, there was a knock on Juan’s door. Elena was busy making the green salad to accompany the dinner, but she heard two little voices immediately.

‘Uncle Juan, look at what I did!’

‘Uncle Juan, I went to the zoo last week!’

‘Uncle Juan!’

The small voices were clearly ecstatic to be in Juan’s company again. As far as Elena knew, he hadn’t seen Fernando’s kids in a few weeks. When they all entered the kitchen, Juan had Leo on his hip, bouncing him up and down as he continued to tell Juan about his trip to the zoo.

Fernando greeted Elena with open arms and a kiss to each cheek, seeing as they’d met a handful of times before - though never in such a personal capacity, only after or before matches.

“This is Olalla,” Fernando introduced his wife, who also pulled Elena into a hug.

“It’s so nice to meet you,” the older woman spoke softly, but her gently accented voice still held a sure tone.

Fernando disappeared into the lounge, armed with a bag of toys for the children to play with, while Olalla and Juan staying in the kitchen with Elena.

After she had informed Fernando’s wife of what she was cooking, she asked a question. “Do you think it’ll be okay for the kids? It’s not spicy, just very tomato-y…”

“I’m sure it will be fine, it smells gorgeous,” Olalla said as Fernando re-entered the room.

“Should we tell them now?” Juan said under his breath as he stood next to Elena at the stove.

“Tell them what?”

“About the baby.” He said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Elena spun around, “You mean you haven’t told Fernando already?”

“I only told Oriol.”

In response, Elena hit him with the dishcloth. “You mean, you didn’t tell one of your best friends?”

“I’m an idiot, aren’t I?”

He didn’t even wait for Elena to respond, she just nodded.

“Fer, Olalla, we have some news.” Juan said, handing over glasses of limonata to the pair of them.

“Go on,” Fernando prompted.

“Elena’s pregnant!” Juan told them, still excited.

“Oh, Dios mío, es una noticia genial!” (“Oh my god, that’s brilliant news!”) Olalla exclaimed, jumping up to hug both of them. “Estoy tan feliz por ti!” (“I’m so happy for you!”)

Despite the fact that Elena had no idea what Olalla had said, from the tone of her voice and the huge smile on her face, Elena guessed she was happy for them.

Fernando congratulated them too, although he went about it in a much calmer manner than his wife. Juan, Fernando and Olalla all began quickly conversing in Spanish, and despite the fact that Juan had been teaching her some basics, Elena had no idea what they were saying.


After the meal had been eaten, the six all sat around the dinner table. The adults were chatting, whereas Nora and Leo were playing with the crayons that Elena had bought for them. She’d also purchased a paper tablecloth and told them to go crazy and draw all over it.

Nora was currently trying to draw everyone at the table – using only a purple crayon. So everyone turned out looking a little like Barney the dinosaur.

“Would you like me to do the washing up?” Fernando asked, beginning to stack up the empty plates.

“No, it’s fine.” Elena protested, but he insisted.

So Elena smacked Juan on the arm. “Well, you better help him by doing the drying!” Olalla laughed as Elena shooed him into the kitchen after Fernando.

Olalla got up to take Leo to the bathroom to wash off his hands and face. “The most surprising thing about having children is how quickly they can make a complete mess of themselves.” Elena chuckled as Olalla walked away. “I’m not joking, sometimes it takes less than 10 seconds!” She laughed, carrying her son.

Elena sat at the table and sipped her glass of water, watching Nora carry on drawing.

“Elena?” Nora asked.

“Yes Nora, sweetie.”

“Can I go outside?” Nora said, before adding on, “Please!” She looked around hoping that her mother hadn’t heard her nearly forget her manners.

“Of course!” Elena said, and Nora began shimmying out of her seat. “But-” she continued, making the toddler stop in her tracks. “Only if I can come with you?”

“Yay! Come on Elena!” Nora said, holding her hand out for Elena to take.

When they got on to the balcony, Elena picked Nora up, and rested the young girl on her hip. The day was warm, but with a humidity that created a sticky atmosphere. Luckily, the sky was clear of clouds, and from the flat you could see for miles across London.

“Can you see any places that you know?” she asked, and Nora shook her head, her pigtails swishing from side to side.

Elena extended her arm, pointing just across the river towards the football stadium. “That’s Stamford Bridge. That’s where your daddy and Uncle Juan play football. Do you like football?”

Again, Nora shook her head. “I only like watching Daddy, Uncle Juan and Uncle Sergio play. Everyone else is boring!” she declared.

Elena laughed when she felt a tug on her jeans. Looking down, she saw Leo standing by her, making grabby hands signalling that he wanted to be picked up too.

“How about you both sit on my lap?” Elena asked, sitting down on the chair that was just behind her. As soon as her bum hit the sit, the two children scrambled into her lap, one sitting on each knee.

They sat together and Elena pointed out more things that they could see from Juan’s balcony.

Inside, while washing the dishes, Juan and Fernando were speaking about the younger man’s significantly changed life.

“No puedo creer que Elena está embarazada,” (I can’t believe Elena is pregnant,”) Fernando told his friend.

Juan dried the plates as he spoke, “No puedo, no quiero decirle a nadie hasta que su primer trimestre fue de - por si acaso.” (“Neither can I, we didn't want to tell anyone until her first trimester was over - just in case.”)

He waited a moment before he spoke again. “Estoy emocionado, pero también estoy muy asustado - esto es una cosa que cambia la vida.” (“I’m excited, but I’m also really scared – this is such a life changing thing.”)

Fernando smiled; he remembered feeling like that after he learned that Olalla was pregnant with Nora. “No se preocupe. Usted siempre se sentirá preparado, incluso hasta el nacimiento del bebé - pero aprender tanto como le sea posible mientras está embarazada. Se aprende más después de que nazca el bebé, pero me sentí mucho mejor cuando tuve una idea de lo que estaba por venir. A pesar de que la realidad es más aterrador, también es más incredible.” (“Don’t worry. You’ll always feel unprepared, even until the baby is born - but learn as much as you can while she’s pregnant. You learn more after the baby is born, but I felt much better when I had an idea of what was coming. Even though the real thing is more terrifying, it’s also more incredible.”)
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