‹ Prequel: A Summer Romance

Forgive and Forget


Slowly waking up, Fernando stretched slightly and his eyes quickly fluttered open as he realised he wasn’t alone in the bed. Picking his head up, he smiled softly as he found Elina curled up next to him, her head only inches away from his and her familiar blonde spread out across the white pillowcase.

Shifting slightly, he reached out and gently brushed his thumb over her cheek as she continued sleeping. She looked like an angel...

Continuing to watch her, his smile grew slightly as he remembered how they’d ended up there. How he’d been sent home from training, how she’d picked him up and how they’d watched a movie, though clearly he wasn’t the only one who’d fallen asleep during it.

Watching her nose twitch slightly in her sleep, a tiny smile playing on the lips that were just as plump as he remembered them to be, he couldn’t help but noticing just how right it felt to have her so close to him again. During the year after their vacation on Menorca, he’d thought about telling her about his real career on a number of occasions, always chickening out because he was so sure it was going to cause her to remove herself completely from his life.

He’d known that he wouldn't be able to get over that. It was just three weeks and then a number of emails and letter, but he felt like he knew her better than he did most of the people in his life that weren't his family, or very old, close friends of his.

Love at first sight was something he’d never really contemplated, and if he thought about it he was pretty sure his answer would be that he didn't believe in it. Yet whenever he thought about the woman sleeping right next to him, that was the only thing that truly fit.

Three weeks on an island in the Mediterranean doesn’t allow you to fall in love any other way, three weeks don’t allow you time to find out every one of their flaws, or what makes them tick, but it is enough to just know. And he knew...

She was the one for him.

His train of thought being broken by the blonde woman stirring slightly in his arms, he noticed that she was about to wake up and not moving; he watched as those blue eyes of hers slowly fluttered open.

Stirring, Elina blinked a few times as she tried to wake up, only to gaze back into the brown eyes that were looking at her.

Wordlessly, she untangled her arms from the covers and reached up, gently running her thumb over his slightly pouty bottom lip. Feeling him gently pressing a kiss to the smooth pad of her thumb, she kept her gaze locked with his, silently wondering why she wasn’t pulling away. She’d come too far to give in to whatever it was that still existed between them now.

Watching her closely, he slowly moved forwards, giving her more than enough time to stop him is she wanted to. But she didn't and as her hand fell down onto the bed between them, he slowly brushed his lips against her slightly parted ones, his eyes fluttering close as he could have sworn he felt fireworks going off somewhere in the back of his mind.

Reaching up and cupping his cheek with hand, she readily allowed him to deepen the kiss as she tilted her head slightly, ignoring the little voice in the back of her head that was screaming at her to wake up, to stop what she was currently doing.

Fernando being the one who broke the kiss, she kept her eyes closed as she could feel his penetrating stare on her, causing her to blush softly.

“I can still make you blush,” he whispered softly as he brushed his finger over her warm cheek, feeling a bit surprised, but also a little proud as it meant that he still had some sort of hold on her.

“You always have,” she admitted under her breath as she opened her eyes and looked over at him. “I...you...we really shouldn’t,” she struggled to form coherent sentences as he looked at her with those brown eyes of his. Eyes that always revealed what he was thinking, or feeling, no matter how much he wanted to hide it.

“What?” he asked gently, slowly running his fingers through her hair.

“We can’t...I can’t,” she corrected herself as she looked at him, attempting to ignore the hurt that flash across his eyes.

“Why not?” he murmured, making no move to back away from her.

“I just can’t,” she insisted softly, hating the way it felt like a vice was being tightened around her heart as she was effectively shutting down whatever it was that was still between them.

“Why not?” he repeated the same question again, not liking the answer he was getting.

“Because I can’t,” she stated frankly. “I can’t be in a relationship with you,” she elaborated as she moved away from him and sat up in the bed.

“All because I didn't tell you that I play football for a living?” he asked disbelieving as he watched her turn her back towards him and move her legs over the edge of the bed.

“Because you lied to me,” she glared back at him over her shoulder before closing her eyes and taking a breath, reaching up and running her fingers through her dishevelled hair. “It’s not just that,” she admitted under her breath.

“Then what is it?” he questioned persistently as he too sat up in the bed.

“I just can’t,” she snapped at him. “Alright? I just can’t.”

“Will you ever tell me why?” he asked gently as he reached out and ran his hand down her back.

“I don't know if I can,” she admitted under her breath. “I'm not sure I trust you.”

Not sure of what he should say, he kept quiet as he watched her, unable to shake the urge to reach out and just wrap her in hug and never let her go again.

“So can we be friends at least?” he asked after a moment, knowing that now that she was back in his life, he wasn’t going to be able to let her leave.

“Yeah,” she smiled softly. “We can be friends,” she told him as she turned slightly to look back at him, irritated at the way her heart was practically singing at the prospect of having him in her life again. She hated herself for always having such low levels of self-discipline around him. “And that friendship should probably start with us getting to know each other.”

“I know you,” he insisted with a smile, like he did every time she claimed that they didn't.

“Trust me,” she stated as she stood from the bed and stretched slightly, revealing a sliver of still tanned skin between the top of her jeans and the hem of her t-shirt, including the very bottom of a tattoo he hadn't seen before. “You don't know me as well as you think you do.”

“Then I can’t wait to get to know you,” he said honestly, watching a slight blush spread across her cheeks once again.

“No one has ever been able to make me blush like you do,” she admitted reluctantly as she turned around whilst straightening her shirt, only to curse under her breath as her gaze landed on the clock on his bedside table. “Shit!”

“What is it?” he asked worriedly as he too moved to get out of the large bed.

“I'm late,” she stated frankly, running her fingers through her hair in an attempt to straighten it out and make it look at least presentable. “For work,” she elaborated as she saw the confused look in his eyes. “I open the cafe in thirty minutes, and before then I have to get home, and shower, and change and...” she trailed off, closing her eyes for a moment, attempting to get her mind sorted.

“Let me fix you something for breakfast and then I’ll drive you to work on my way to practise,” he announced as he quickly climbed out of bed, only to stumble slightly as his eagerness caused his foot to get tangled in the sheets.

“I have my car here,” she pointed out frankly, frowning slightly at him. “And I need to change my clothes anyway.”

“And my car is back at Melwood,” he nodded, running his fingers through his unruly hair that was standing up in whichever direction before walking over to where she’d stopped and grabbed her hand, tugging her out of the room and towards the stairs. “And I'm supposed to be picking up Xabi and Pepe today,” he groaned under his breath.

“You're carpooling?” she asked disbelieving, raising her eyebrows at him as she obediently followed him through the upstairs hall and down the stairs.

“As a matter a fact, yes, we do,” he shot her a smile over his shoulder.

“And I thought I’d heard everything,” she mumbled under her breath.

“I also need to get my car back home,” he pointed out. “Can’t you call a friend or something and ask if they can bring some clothes for you?”

“Shit!” she cursed as they stepped into the kitchen, startling him slightly and causing him to look at her strangely. “Simon,” she stated frankly as she the look. “He has no idea where I am, and I can’t remember if he has a ride to the Academy and...” she trailed off, running her fingers through her hair and tugging slightly on it. “Please don't let him have called our parents,” she prayed slightly.

“You need to calm down,” he told her with a somewhat amused smile as he moved about the kitchen.

“Excuse me?” she glared at him but still did as he wanted as he motioned towards the fridge.

“If this is how you usually react to stress,” he began, a smirk stretched across his lips as he pulled out two boxes of cereal from a cupboard and bowls from another, “then I'm not surprised that Simon thinks you need a vacation soon.”

“He said that to you?” she questioned, her tone giving away both the outrage and the surprise she was feeling at that statement.

“Not in those exact words, but the meaning is still the same,” he shrugged innocently as he placed the things on the table and went to get some spoons as she pulled the milk from the fridge and slowly moved towards the table that was large and made out of oak.

“He’s such a traitor,” she mumbled under her breath in disbelief that her own brother would sell her out like that. “Do you mind if I use your phone?” she asked as she sank down in one of the wooden chairs.

“No, go for it,” he shook his head once, sitting down on the chair across from her as she reached for the phone that was standing on the kitchen island.

Dialling the familiar number of her brother’s cell phone, she listened to the rings got through before, with a smile, assuring her brother that she was absolutely fine. He had been worried about her, after all she was the one who constantly reminded him that he needed to at least text her whenever he went against his plans, but thankfully he hadn't contacted their parents yet, he’d simply assumed that she’d stayed at Nikki’s place after this shopping trip. A shopping trip that never happened, her conscience reminded her but she ignored it and didn't correct him, didn't tell him she’d – accidentally – spent the night at Fernando’s house.

Assuring him that she was going to make sure he got to training on time, she hung up before sighing heavily, he was never going to let her live this down. Especially if he ever found out exactly where she’d spent the night....

“Was everything okay?” Fernando asked as she hung up and quickly began eating her cereal.

“Yeah,” Elina confirmed with a nod. “Except this will be going on my permanent record and whenever he does something without calling or texting, or simply telling me, he will drag this up and remind me of it,” she added with a dry smile.

“That’s brothers for you” he smiled knowingly.

“So I’ve come to learn,” she noted in agreement, for the first time in what felt like forever acknowledging the fact that the two boys she called her brothers in fact bore no actual relation to her.

“So, you should take my car,” he surprised her by saying.

“Why?” she questioned with a fleeting frown. “I have my own car here,” she needlessly reminded him; you could see it from the large windows behind her.

“Because I need to pick up Pepe and Xabi, and because from what Simon tells me, you work in the middle of the city,” he told her, having thought this through before opening his mouth. “I can pick him up on the way, the Academy is only a couple of hundred yards away, and this way you’ll get to work quicker.”

“And how would I get my car back at the end of the day?” she questioned, arching her brow slightly.

“You could both have dinner here, with me,” he suggested, not having thought this far, and hoping he wasn’t pushing his luck with her. “I can invite Pepe, Yolanda and Grecia too if it would make you more comfortable,” he added as he saw the look that flashed across her face.

Her mind going over any kind of flaw in his plan, trying to find something that could get her out of this, she came up with nothing. No matter how much she knew that spending more time with him was not the answer right then, she could find no reason why she shouldn’t go along with this.


Trying and failing at making her hair look at least slightly presentable, Elina pulled it up into a messy bun with a hair tie she found in the depths of her purse and sent a text to Nikki telling her that she would have to open by herself that morning. Pulling on her booties before shrugging on her coat, she grabbed her scarf and her bag from the chair where she’d left them the previous afternoon.

Reminding Fernando that she really had to get going, that she was already beyond late, she obediently followed him out through the door and over to the garage and thankfully the door she wasn’t parked in front of.

Waiting as he unlocked and opened the garage door; her eyes grew when he turned on the lights and she saw the car he was intending her to drive.

“Really?” she exclaimed as she turned to look at him. “Are you high or just crazy?”

“It’s the only other car I have here in Liverpool,” Fernando pointed out with a smile that was so innocent she knew he was loving her reaction.

“Do you want me to kill myself or...” she trailed off, glancing suspiciously at the silver car as it responded when he unlocked it using the remote on the key in his hand. “...or forever indebt myself to you?” she added dryly.

“It’s a car,” he told her as he walked over to where she was standing and slipped his arm around her waist. “It’s just a car,” he whispered just beside her ear.

“That, is not just a car,” she glared at him from the corner of her eye, motioning towards the sports car parked in the garage.

“So you want to be late?” he retorted, laughing softly at the dark look she sent him.

Groaning slightly as she knew that he was right, she unsuccessfully searched for a reason, any reason that she shouldn’t be allowed to drive a car like the one before her. Besides the obvious one; that she’d never done it before.

“No, but that is a Lamborghini,” she pointed out frankly. “And it cost more money than I think I’ve even earned in my entire life.”

“You’ll be fine,” he attempted to assure her. “Besides, it’s really easy to drive.”

“I hate you,” she stated frankly as she pulled her own keys from her coat pocket and held them out to him, sighing softly as he took them from her and placed the key to the car before them in her empty hand.

“If I end up dead, or permanently injured because of this,” she looked at him, “you are telling my mother what happened.”

“Okay,” he nodded, despite remembering her mother as someone he wasn’t sure he wanted to disappoint.

“Great,” she muttered before slowly walking towards the driver’s side door. Not only was it a sports car, but it was clearly bought in Spain, the Spanish licence plates were a dead giveaway, but so was the steering wheel. It was on the left side of the car, like she was used to from back home, but then she also drove on the right side when she was there, here she would have to drive it on the left...

Piece of cake...

“It looks intimidating, but it’s really easy to drive,” he tried to reassure her.

“Shut up,” she retorted immediately, without looking back at him, causing him to chuckle slightly thought he tried to muffle it as to not upset her any further.

Slowly approaching the door, she carefully reached out and opened it, jumping slightly in surprise as it opened upwards instead out outwards. Closing her eyes for a moment, she took a deep breath, “Couldn’t have warned me about that?”

“I thought you knew,” he smiled innocently, though his brown eyes shone with mischief that gave away his lie.

“Right,” she commented sarcastically as she sent him a look before as carefully as possibly tossing her bag into the passenger seat.

“Just call me if there’s any problem, and then come around here when you’re finished at work,” he told her, leaning slightly at the frame around the garage door.

“Sure,” she nodded slightly, having already agreed to dinner that night. He would be picking her brother up after training, using her car whilst Pepe drove Xabi in his and then he would, hopefully, be joining them for dinner with his wife and daughter. “I guess I’ll see you then,” she sent him one more look before figuratively squaring her shoulders and sliding in behind the wheel in the low car.

Closing the door, she revelled in the silence around her for a second before nervously running her fingers through her hair and taking a deep breath. Placing the key in the ignition, she easily started the car and allowed herself to appreciate the low rumble of the engine.

Making sure she could see out of the mirrors and that she wasn’t sitting too close nor too far away from the wheel, she buckled her seatbelt and carefully put the surprisingly large vehicle in motion, making a quick, silent prayer that she wouldn’t kill someone else, herself or crash the car as she rolled out of the garage and manoeuvred down the drive and out through the gates Fernando had already opened.

Breaking her concentration for only a second, she sent him a slight wave before driving down the calm neighbourhood roads towards the freeway.

A smile playing across her lips as she slowly began appreciating the quality of the car currently in her control, she couldn’t quite believe that he trusted her enough to drive what could only be one of his vehicular babies. Nor could she quite believe that she was actually driving a real Lamborghini...

Having literally jogged into the cafe once she made it to the mall in downtown, Elina had apologised profusely to Nikki for making her open herself before beginning to shed her coat and searched her locker for one of her uniform shirts. Finding a black one she’d quickly changed into it before cursing herself out for never leaving those sneakers in the locker and then grovelling to a very amused brunette to get to wear whatever shoes she left around for days like this one.

The price for wearing the lovely UGG-boots was having Nikki constantly teasing and probing her about the night she’d spent at Fernando’s house. And despite the fact that nothing had happened, and she repeatedly told her friend so, Nikki didn't quite believe her.

But she made it through their shift and changing back into her boots and her t-shirt, she shrugged on her coat and followed the brunette out through the door, saying goodbye to Andrea and Theresa who was working the afternoon shift before they left the cafe. Walking through the mall together, they chatted about the upcoming holidays and if they’d bought all their Christmas present or not before stepping out into the chilly December air.

Slowly crossing the large parking lot, heading in the direction of the part reserved for people working at the mall, Elina could feel herself getting a little nervous again. She wasn’t looking forwards to driving the silver sports car as much as she was dreading it, not to mention she wasn’t really looking forwards to the reaction she knew was going to come from her very vocal friend.

“Where’s your Audi?” Nikki questioned as she glanced around the place, not seeing the familiar silver SUV parked anywhere.

“Yeah, that,” Elina commented under her breath as they stopped in front of Nikki’s black Ford Focus. “See, I didn't really drive that today,” she added slowly, pulling the unfamiliar key from her pocket and unlocking the silver sports car parked some five spots away.

“Holy shit!” Nikki exclaimed as her frowned turned into a look of surprise upon seeing the car that responded to her friend’s action.

“It’s a long story,” Elina said softly as she watched her friend’s eyes grow in amazement as she slowly approached the car.

“It’s a story I want to hear, that’s for sure,” Nikki smiled as she stopped and turned to look at her friend. “He let you drive this?”

“When I picked him up yesterday his car was left behind at Melwood, and they’re carpooling and Simon had to get to the Academy and I was running late,” Elina mumbled quietly, not at all wanting to share this part of the story with her friend. Or actually she didn’t mind sharing it; she just didn't want to do it in a freezing car park where anyone could overhear them. “Simon and I are having dinner at his house tonight, some friends of his are probably stopping by as well,” she added as an afterthought.

“I’m so unbelievably jealous of you right now,” Nikki said seriously as she gave her friend another look before heading over to her own car. “But have fun, tonight I mean.”

“I’ll try,” Elina promised with a smile. “See you tomorrow,” she added as Nikki unlocked the Ford and she herself tossed her bag into the passenger seat of the Lamborghini and then slid into the driver’s seat.

Not at all as afraid of it as she’d been that morning, she easily started the car and slowly drove out of the parking lot, a slight smile spreading across her lips as she noticed people throwing both one and two curious glances at the Spanish registered sports car.
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