‹ Prequel: A Summer Romance

Forgive and Forget


“I am seriously not built for this,” Tanya Hiller groaned from where she was splayed out her stomach on the wooden floor in the gym where they’d just gone through an intensive cardio-workout. A workout that had left the whole group out-of-breath and feeling a bit like they were ready to die considering the pain they were currently in.

“You think I am?” Elina questioned from a foot or three to the left where she was sprawled out on her back, one knee bent and one arm resting on her flat stomach, as she lolled her head to the side to look over at her.

“You're not wheezing like you're on your deathbed,” Tanya retorted as she reluctantly picked up her head and turned it to the side so that she could give her friend a pointed look.

“Don't be such a dramatic,” Elina laughed softly, only to regret it the following moment when it felt like her ribs were going to explode. “This is the last time I'm picking Advanced over the Medium intensity one,” she moaned in pain.

“I’ll be feeling this one for days,” Tanya announced as Elina reluctantly pushed herself up in a sitting position, groaning slightly as her abdominal muscles protested loudly.

“I'm with you there,” Elina stated before, using every last ounce of strength in her body to haul herself onto her feet. “Now get up,” she ordered her friend with a laugh, holding out her hand to help the red-head who groaned loudly as she rolled onto her bag.

“I hate you for this,” Tanya complained as she allowed the other woman to pull her onto her feet.

“I may have been the one to pick this particular class, but you were the one who agreed to come along, all on your own,” Elina pointed out with a smile as she took a swig from her water bottle. A see-through bottle with a bright white Liverpool crest on it, also one she’d stolen from her brother a couple of weeks earlier.

“I hate me more,” Tanya furrowed her nose as they slowly moved through the large room and down the hall towards the locker rooms, a trickle of other women, some equally as exhausted and some who were far too peppy for their own good passing them by.

“If I sit down to remove my shoes, I'm not going to be able to get up again,” Elina stated frankly as she reached up and ran her fingers through her hair that had once been pulled into a tight ponytail.

“This was a bad, bad idea,” Tanya announced as she pushed the door to the locker room open and the two of them disappeared inside of the light room with a number of unassigned locker’s and oak benches as well as newly renovated showers and saunas.

Having spent some 30 minutes relaxing in the sauna and then showering as well as getting dressed again, albeit in very lazy sweats and sneakers, the two women were getting ready to leave as Tanya’s phone rang. To give her privacy, Elina busied herself with gathering all her things and placing them in her duffle bag before quickly applying some mascara to her lashes as she tried to not listen to her friend’s conversation.

The two of them had met within her first two weeks in the city when they joined the same gym at the same time and found themselves uncertain where to being, what classes to take and they had ended up bonding over that. Now they met up and tried something new at least once a week, whilst also attending one spinning-class together along with two, to three yoga-classes every week. They were both busy people and neither of them actually enjoyed working out, so having a fried to push you and hold your hand was amazing.

Well, Elina actually did enjoy working out, when it came to running, outside, or doing it in the form of a sport, she had after all played both basketball and volleyball as she grew up, but actual cardio and strength-training had always bored her to tears.

Hearing Tanya’s phone call ending in a string of curse words, she turned around just in time to see the red-head literally throw her phone into her purse.

“Everything alright?” Elina asked softly she dropped her sneakers onto the floor and stuck her sock-clad feet into them.

“Yeah,” Tanya sighed heavily, running her fingers through her hair. “It’s just Kayden’s dad, he’s being a complete ass.”

“I know a couple of those,” Elina smiled softly as she pulled her still damp hair into a messy bun at the back of her head and then proceeded to put her feet up on the bench and loosely tied her shoe-laces.

“Don't we all,” Tanya noted as she zipped up her back. “You ready to go?” she asked as the blonde woman shrugged on her maroon coloured down vest on top of her sweatshirt.

“Yeah, let’s get out of here,” Elina nodded, grabbing the long strap on her bag and swinging it onto her shoulder before closing her locker and leading the way out through the locker-room, the two of them falling into step once they reached the bright reception area, sunlight shining in through the large glass-windows. “You want to go grab something to eat?” she asked as she pushed one of the front-doors open. “I'm starving.”

“I wouldn't say no to food,” Tanya replied with a smile as they walking out into the street that was busy with Sunday shoppers.

“Great, I know the perfect place,” Elina smiled as she lead the way through the streets and towards the lunch-restaurant some five blocks away that she’d stumbled upon her very first week in the city when she’d gotten a bit lost. Of course, she usually didn't include that part whenever she told the story of how she found it.

Chatting about everyday stuff, how they were doing, if something exciting had happened on their jobs or anything that came up really, they soon reached the restaurant was relatively secluded but still inviting and they walked inside. Taking a seat at one of the tall tables, they quickly ordered their food and both agreeing on water, Elina shrugged off her vest and draped it over the chair next to her where she’d already dropped her bag.

“So what’s up with Kayden’s dad?” she wondered carefully, knowing that her friend and her baby-daddy didn't exactly have a good relationship. They’d been teenagers when they had Kayden and it obviously hadn't been under ideal circumstances, that was now six years ago and the relationship hadn't exactly improved over the years.

“He thinks he’s paying too much in child support considering how often Kayden is at his place and the court doesn’t agree with him, so he’s taking that out on me, accusing me of being greedy and wanting more than I need,” Tanya revealed with a heavy sigh. “He’s also insists on constantly introducing Kayden to the women he’s dating, and I don't mind if they are in a serious relationship, but he’s introduced him to seven women this year alone,” she pointed out.

“Not cool,” Elina shook her head slightly. She’d grown up with a single mother and no present father for years till her mother had met Eric and then she’d been in her teens already, but her mother still waited months till she introduced them.

“I know,” Tanya smiled dejectedly. “But I can’t do anything about it. If I say something, he accuses me of being jealous and if I point out that I want what’s best for our son, he gets pissed at me for weeks because me saying that is apparently equal to me accusing him of being a bad father.”

“Wow,” Elina said softly. “Was he always like this or has it come with age?” she asked with tiny traces of a smile across her lips.

“Age, definitely with age,” Tanya smiled back at her. “He was actually pretty laid back and cool back then, but considering the fact that I was a teenager, I'm pretty sure that it was his slightly reckless side that drew me in.”

“Been there,” Elina agreed as a waiter came out with their food. “Only thankfully I didn't get pregnant,” she added as an afterthought, not mentioning the fact that her boyfriend with a bad boy streak had never actually gotten to have sex with her.

“Trust me, be very thankful for that,” Tanya told her. “I mean, I love Kayden above everything and I would never not want him here, but if I could do things differently, I would have insisted on that condom more than I did,” she admitted softly. “It’s tough raising a kid, especially when you're a teenager and you don’t have a steady job, but I love him. He’s my baby.”

“Hopefully I’ll get to experience that some day in the future,” Elina smiled softly, not having any thought of children for at least a few more years.

“You're too hot not to,” Tanya stated simply, causing her friend to choke slightly on her food. “I mean, genes like that have to be passed on.”

“Switching subject right now,” Elina blushed softly as she ducked her head and dug into her chicken and pasta dish.

“So what are you doing this weekend?” Tanya asked after laughing softly at her friend’s reaction to her compliment. “Are you going to go on that date?”

“I honestly don’t know,” Elina admitted softly. “I mean, I'm thinking about it. But I'm not sure that a banker is really the kind of guy I want to date.”

“He’s good looking, that’s qualification enough,” Tanya reasoned, noticing the strange look that passed over her friend’s startling blue eyes. “What is it?”

“Nothing,” Elina replied immediately, almost startling her friend. “It’s nothing, I just…” she trailed off. “It’s nothing,” she insisted. “And I don’t want to date someone just based on their looks,” she steered the conversation back to her might-be date that upcoming weekend. She’d thought she recognized one of the men that walked into the restaurant but she had been mistaken.

“And you're about the only woman on this planet to say that,” Tanya pointed out as she reached for her drink and took a sip, only to choke slightly as someone walked by them. Someone she recognized a little too well.

Someone who Elina really didn’t want to see.

“Hola,” the tall, blonde striker greeted the equally as blonde woman with a slight smile as he walked past the table with two guys neither of the women recognized.

“Hola,” Elina found herself saying as she forced a smile to her lips. There was one thing blatantly dismissing him in private, or when only his friends or her brother was around, and a total different when they were both in public. First of all, she wasn’t all that keen on people finding out that she actually had a past with the famed El Niño, and she certainly didn’t want the wrong people to find out about it and proceed to cook up their own ludicrous ideas about what it might mean.

Thankfully for her, after the short greeting he continued further into the restaurant with the guys she guessed were his friends, only when she looked up from her plate, she found her friend looking at her strangely.

“What was that?” Tanya questioned confused.

“It’s a long story,” Elina deflected simply.

“I got time,” Tanya rebutted immediately.

“My brother trains at Melwood sometimes,” Elina said slowly, not wanting to tell her the truth. She trusted the red-headed woman, just not with that part of her life. “He and Fernando have gotten to know each other a bit,” she treaded carefully. “I’ve met him a handful of times.”

“Right,” Tanya nodded slowly before clearing her throat slightly. “So what about this date then?”

No other time had Elina been so thankful for having been asked out by a boring banker…
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