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

Shoulder to Shoulder


The first month or so that Elena was in Norwich passed quickly. She slid effortlessly back into university life, enjoying her lectures and catching up with some of her friends. Despite how sad she been when she’d left London she rapidly remembered why she enjoyed uni so much. Her course suited her perfectly, and the area was so nice.

“Buenas noches, ¿cómo estás?” (“Good evening, how are you?”) Susie asked as she walked into the kitchen. Susie would often speak to her housemates in Spanish; so much so that they were used to it and she’d taught them all basic responses.

“Estoy bien gracias.” (“I’m good thank you”) Elena replied moving out of Susie’s way so that she could get something out of the cupboard.

Elena stirred the pasta sauce that was currently heating up on the stove. As she did so, her phone buzzed indicating that she had a new message; Juan had sent her a picture of his dinner. It showed a large steak with a piece missing; involuntarily Elena’s mouth began to water. Life as a student meant that pasta was a staple, and nothing too adventurous could be eaten in an effort to conserve what little money she had. She sent him back an image of her bowl of freshly cooked pasta captioned I think yours probably tastes better ☹

They texted back and forth nearly constantly, silly little messages about the goings on in their day. Elena had grown fond of his picture messages, which could range from showing whatever he was eating to one of his teammates (most notably David Luiz) doing something stupid. Whereas hers would also sometimes be of her meals, but more often she would take pictures of the work she was doing, and she’d also become very good at taking sly pictures of her lecturers, giving them amusing captions and sending them to Juan.

It was the middle of October and it was getting to a point in the semester where Elena’s work was piling up and her deadlines started approaching. Seeing as it was her final year and she was aiming to get a first, she worked herself ragged. There was rarely a moment when one of her housemates wouldn’t find her hunched over a textbook with a highlighter taking detailed notes.

The only time she’d really tear herself away from her work was to talk to her family or Juan on the phone. Although this would typically occur once a day and they wouldn’t chat for too long. Another time she would take off was if Chelsea were playing a match, she’d always watch regardless of whether Juan was in the starting XI or not. She enjoyed watching the games and loved it when Chelsea won.

Although at the point, there wouldn’t be any Chelsea matches for two weeks due to an international break wherein teams would take a break from their domestic leagues and play matches representing their country. Unfortunately, Elena found out that Juan had not been selected for the Spain squad.

“I’m a bit upset, but it’s Vicente’s choice. I’m just happy that Fernando got called up – he deserves it.” Juan had told her on the phone. She found it incredible that in a time where he had all the right in the world to be upset (he’d been playing some of the best football of his career), he chose to be encouraging of his friend.

Friday night came and Lila knocked on Elena’s door. “Do you want to come out tonight? We’re going to do a bit of a club crawl.” The blonde offered her friend.

“No, I’m alright thanks Lil, I’ve still got a few things I have to go over.” Elena said, tying her curls up haphazardly on top of her head.

“Suit yourself El, you need to give yourself a break – you work harder than everyone I know combined.” Lila said before leaving the room.

An hour or so later, Lila, Rachel and Millie all left the house, intending on getting some pre-drinks at a pub down the road.

“Susie?” Elena called into the house, thinking everyone had gone out, but she heard shuffling upstairs.

The chestnut haired girl came downstairs, blowing her box fringe out of her face. “’Sup Elena?”

“Oh, I didn’t know you were still here, I thought you were going out with the rest of the girls?”

Susie shook her head. “Nope, Dan’s coming over in a minute and we’re going out for a late dinner,” she informed Elena, talking about her boyfriend of three years. “I’m gonna go and have a shower, and then as soon as Dan gets here I’m going to leave so I might not see you. If I don’t, have fun tonight – don’t spend all your time studying!”

“Okay, I’ll try!” Elena called back, smiling at her friend’s attempt to stop her working. She knew she shouldn’t work so much, but it was just for one more year, and all the work could be the difference between a first and second-class degree.

Not long after, she heard Susie call out a goodbye and then the door closing seconds later. It only took three minutes before there was knocking at the door, Elena guessed that Susie had forgotten her keys again. Elena was sure that Susie forgot her keys more often than she remembered them.

When she got to the door, and began opening it, Elena was already berating her housemate. “Sue, what have I told you about reme-” she stopping talking mid-sentence when she realised that it wasn’t Susie there, it wasn’t Susie at all.

“Hola,” he said, waving sheepishly.

She catapulted herself into his arms, “Juan,” she breathed out.

After she’d brought him inside, she asked, “What are you doing here?”

“Since it’s the international break, Robbie” Chelsea’s manager, “gave all those who weren’t away a few days off.”

“I’m so glad you’re here.” She said honestly.

They passed the next few hours by watching a repeat of that evening’s instalment of The X Factor and sharing a Domino’s pizza. Elena rested her head on Juan’s shoulder and shuffled, moving herself closer to him. A yawn escaped her lips and Juan smoothed down her hair.

“Are you tired?” he asked.

She didn’t even reply, she just nodded against the soft material of his t-shirt. He moved and stood up, offering his hand to her. Reluctant to move from her comfortable spot, she curled up into a ball, and whined lightly.

“Come on,” he encouraged, pulling her up from the sofa; he made the move to go to her bedroom before he realised he had no idea where he was going. She chuckled and slowly moved up the stairs and into her room.

Elena lay down on the bed and slipped off her slippers, and then took off her jumper to reveal a green bra. She fell to the bed, as she lay looking at the ceiling, she shimmied off her red leggings. Sitting up, she threw her clothes onto a chair at the far side of the room, next to which Juan was standing as he placed his neatly folded jeans and t-shirt on it.

Opening her arms, Juan walked into them and she hugged him around the waist. She left herself fall backwards, and took Juan with her. As he hovered over her, he kissed up her neck slowly, she ran her hands down his bare back and rested them on the dimples at the base of his spine.

Her legs widened, allowing him to rest in between them. Things got very heated between the two and one thing led to another, it didn’t take long before both were calling out in pleasure. Elena suddenly became very glad that all of her housemates were out.

Surprisingly early the next morning, Elena and Juan were awake, and being the attentive boyfriend that he was, Juan offered to make breakfast for the pair. Not even trying to dissuade him, Elena waiting in the front room while Juan made omelettes in the kitchen.

“Morning,” bid Susie’s boyfriend Dan groggily. He rubbed his eyes sleepily as he made him way into the kitchen.

Minutes later, he returned to the front room, still clearly tired. “Why is Juan Mata in your kitchen?” he asked confusedly.

Elena didn’t have the chance to answer because Juan walked back into the room with two plates, and as he handed Elena hers, he kissed her on the cheek. Dan’s eyes widened in realisation, and he scurried out of the room.

“It’s a secret!” Elena called after him.

Juan swallowed some of his breakfast. “It is? Why?”

“Well, um…”

“You’re not ashamed to be with me are you?” his eye held a hint of sadness that felt like a stab to the chest for Elena – she wasn’t ashamed of him, not at all.

“No, I’m definitely not. I’m just…a bit worried about what others might think. Whenever footballers get new girlfriends, everyone assumes that they’re with them for money. I don’t want people to think that about me, and I certainly wouldn’t want them to think that’s why you’d go out with someone.” She justified herself.

“Do your parents know about me?” he asked, pushing his plate onto the coffee table.

“Sort of. They know you exist, but they don’t actually know you’re you.”

“Well, personally, I’d like to meet them.” he said, looking down at his hands in his lap.

She placed her hand in his. “I want you to meet them. Do you want to do it today?” Elena asked, grabbing her phone, ready to text her mum.

He nodded in response and picked up his plate again.

Elena sent her mum a text asking if she could come over that day. Her replied quickly, saying that it was fine.

Do you mind if I bring my boyfriend? Elena asked.

Her mum replied just as swiftly the second time. Of course, the more the merrier! x

“There we go,” Elena smiled, showing Juan the text. “I’m really sorry if I upset you.” She rested her head on his shoulder and hugged him.

“It’s okay,” he kissed her softly, right as Susie walked into the room.

“Juan?” she said, rather seriously, sitting right in front of him.

“Hi,” he smiled, slightly worried at what she was going to do.

“Soy Susie, compañero de casa de Elena.” (“I'm Susie, Elena's housemate.”) She shook his hand a bit too formally, Elena realised that this was the interrogation he’d have to go through to be deemed worthy by her friends.

“Encantado de conocerte, soy Juan, el novio de Elena.” (“Nice to meet you, I'm Juan, Elena's boyfriend.”)

“He oído que eres un jugador de fútbol?” (“I hear you're a footballer?”) Elena didn’t speak Spanish, so she had no idea what the two were talking about.

“Sí, yo juego para el Chelsea,” (“Yes, I play for Chelsea,”) he was actually quite amused at how protective her friend was being. And at initially hearing her American accent, he was surprised to hear her fluency in Spanish.

“Sólo tengo algunas otras preguntas. Usted no va a doler Elena, ¿verdad? Vas a cuidar de ella? Asegúrese de que ella siempre está bien?” (“I only have a few other questions. You're not going to hurt Elena, are you? You'll care for her? Make sure she's always okay?”)

Juan nodded at each question, confirming that he wouldn’t hurt Elena, that he would indeed care for her and make sure that’s she’s always okay.

Elena noted that Susie seemed happy with whatever Juan had said to her.

“Bueno, entonces estás de acuerdo conmigo. Gusto en conocerlo, Juan.” (“Well then you're okay with me. Nice to meet you Juan.”) She shook his hand and then left the room, winking at Elena on the way out. Though the young woman was absolutely clueless as to what had just taken place right in front of her.
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I did all of the translations on Google Translate, so I don't expect them to be perfect!