‹ Prequel: A Summer Romance

Forgive and Forget


Shifting slightly in the airplane seat, Elina sighed softly as she realised that the more she moved, the more uncomfortable she got. She’d flown for too many hours in her life to count, and she didn't mind it, she even liked it at times, but she was tall – for being a girl at least – and she had long legs. It was the makings of an uncomfortable flight.

Reaching up and running her fingers through her long hair, she pulled the earphones from her ears and shut off her iPod as she glanced over at Simon who was looking unusually relaxed.

He, just like she, had flown all through his childhood, but as she could clearly remember from their last vacation, he didn't like flying. As they were flying to the States a year earlier he’d been bouncing up and down with nerves, looking as if he was expecting the plane to fall out of the sky at any given moment.

“You're awfully quiet over there,” she commented evenly. “I thought you didn't like flying.

“I don't, I'm just too nervous to think about the fact that we’re in a metal tube several thousand feet into the air,” he stated frankly, glancing up from the magazine he’d been reading. “So tell me again, what’s happening when we get there?”

Looking at him for a moment, studying him, she shifted slightly in her seat, “Someone from the club is picking us up,” she stated as she mentally went over the information she’d been sent over email.

His tryout before the summer had been a complete success and he’d been asked to join their academy. It had been an offer too good to refuse, which was why they were now flying away from their home and towards the British city her favourite football team called home. “They’ll show us around a bit and then take us to the hotel.”

“Right,” he nodded once.

Not having to ask if he was nervous, she didn't say anything more as the seatbelt sign lit up and a ding from the speakers stopped most of the conversations around them.

“We are approaching The John Lennon Airport and we’ll be landing within approximately five minutes,” one of the flight attendants’ voice could be heard through the intercom. “So if you could please make sure that all chairs and tray tables as in the upright and locked position and that all of your carryon luggage is safely stored in the overhead compartments or under the chair in front of you,” she continued in that much to chirpy tone they all seemed to be blessed – or maybe it was cursed – with. “The weather at our destination is sunny and the temperature at the airport is around 23 degrees. All of us whose been working on this flight would like you thank you for flying British Airways and we hope that we’ll see you soon again,” she added. “Have a nice stay in Liverpool.”

An hour after they touched down at the airport, Elina found herself sitting in the backseat of a black SUV as Simon was riding shotgun and seemed to be having a very in-depth conversation with the guy who was in his early twenties and who’d introduced himself as Tommy, one of the assistant coaches at the academy.

Ignoring the conversation she could only guess was about something she wasn't really all that interested in, she glanced out through the tinted windows, watching the streets passing by outside. She’d been in the city twice before and she’d been down in London a number of times and she loved everything about it.

The large vehicle slowing to a stop at a red-light, her blue eyes flickered across the window of the shop on the corner. It was a supporter shop, with bright red Liverpool jerseys hanging on display in the window. The usual suspects were there; Gerrard, Carragher, Alonso...the names printed in white block lettering across the back of the shirts.

But there was another one, clearly having been placed where it would get the most exposure.

The name on the back was all too familiar to her.



“You're joking,” Johanna stated dryly as she looked over at her blonde friend as they were stretched out on their towels on the beach, enjoying the sun shining down on them. “You're actually moving out that soon?”

“Yes, we’re really leaving that soon,” Elina half-smiled as she continued scanning the headlines in the newspaper spread out before her as she was lying on her stomach, legs stretched out and toes digging into the cool sand.

Her baby brother’s move to Liverpool had been made official some three weeks earlier and she’d been dreading telling the woman who’d been her best friend since they were in kindergarten that she would be doing her big sister duty and would be moving out with him. And that they were moving before the month of August was over...

She may have been living on the other side of the globe for some nine months ever year for the past two years, working as a travel guide, but she knew that her friend wouldn't be happy with her for leaving so soon. Usually they spent a lot of time together during the summer, especially during the later parts as it was the only time they really had time to hang out. She leaving in the middle of August, with no plans of returning before June...yeah, that wasn't going to go over very well with her friend.

And she clearly hadn't been wrong.

“You can’t,” Johanna stated frankly. “We’ve barely spent any time together.”

“I have to do this,” Elina reminded her softly. “This is Simon’s dream,” she pointed out to the friend who’d always been there, especially when her mother had first met her step-father and she suddenly found herself becoming an older step-sister to a pair of brothers.

“I'm going to miss you,” Johanna whined.

“Yeah, well, I'm going to miss you too,” Elina smiled as she turned her head and looked over at her friend. “And this isn't across the world, it’s Liverpool,” she pointed out frankly. “It’s a three hour plane ride.”

“I know,” Johanna continued sulking, pouting slightly which only caused her oldest friend to laugh at her. “So when exactly are you leaving? I mean, we have to have a party send you off for real this time,” she stated frankly.

“The 14th,” Elina revealed as she looked back at the paper and turned the page. “We have to get settled and all that before the academy officially opens for the season,” she revealed as her blue eyes travelled across the headlines, only to feel like her blood was draining from her head as she took in the bold words.

“Are you okay?” Johanna questioned a moment later, realising that her friend wasn't answering her. Seeing the look across the blonde’s face, she leaned closer and craned her neck to be able to catch what her friend was reading.

’Liverpool targets Atleti skipper’,” she read out loud. “’The English Premier League club has signed the Atletico Madrid captain, 23-year-old Fernando Torres.’ Oh, he’s cute,” she noted as she saw the large picture of the player dressed in a red and white striped jersey.

“Huh?” Elina shook herself out of her trance to look at her friend, just then realizing that she’d disappeared for a moment.

“I said that he was cute,” Johanna repeated, watching her friend closely. “Are you sure you're okay? You seem a little out of it,” she noted softly.

“I'm fine,” Elina replied quickly, a little too quickly.

Observing her friend in silence, Johanna decided to not say anything. She knew her friend as well as she knew herself, and she would spill when she felt like it, if there was anything to spill that was.

“Well, I can’t really blame you,” Johanna played it off. “I mean, he is hot,” she looked back at the picture in the paper, not noticing the blush that spread across her friend’s already pink-tinged cheeks.

“I guess,” Elina replied under her breath as uncountable memories she’d through she’d managed to lock away in a sort of Pandora’s Box in the back of her mind washed over her all at once.

Ending up spending several more hours on the beach, Elina dropped Johanna off at her apartment downtown before returning back home to the villa where they had all moved just a handful of months after her mother and step-father had gotten engaged back in 2001.

Parking her mother’s car outside the garage, she locked the vehicle and jogged across the gravel driveway. Pulling open one of the double doors, she slipped inside the large house and quickly jogged upstairs, to her bedroom.

It was a room that had changed a lot during the years, going from plain white to an obnoxious shade of pink when she was a young teenager, to a pale green when she got older and lastly to a dark blue once she remodelled in just a year earlier, making it more of a bedroom than a teenage-girl room.

Dropping her things on the floor right inside the door, she sank down by her small desk and locked onto her computer. Sighing softly, she ran her fingers through her blonde hair as she silently debated whether or not she wanted to know. Know if the article was true, that her life was taking yet another unexpected turn...

Opening the same page she’d been on a number of times before, she had to swallow hard as she saw the biggest headline. The one announcing Fernando Torres’ transfer to the club...

Reluctantly clicking on the link, she read about how the Scouse club had managed to secure El Niño’s signature as well as what the player himself thought about leaving sunny, warm Madrid for rainy England.

Suddenly the idea of moving to Liverpool to help Simon adjust seemed a lot less appealing than it had just the same morning....


Tearing her gaze away from the name that seemed to be haunting her as of late, Elina shifted slightly in the leather backseat and unconsciously reached up to her neck, only to come up empty handed. The necklace she’d been wearing, that she usually fiddled with whenever she got nervous, wasn't there any longer. It hadn't been for a long time, but she just couldn’t seem to shake the habit to reach for it anyway.

The car moving once again, she closed her eyes as she leaned her head back against the headrest. Her life was shaping up a lot differently than she’d expected it to.

And sitting there, watching as they drove through the busy streets of Liverpool, she could only hope that her fears wouldn't be coming true.

She could only hope that her past wasn't going to come back, hope that she wouldn't have to run into him.

Hope that she would never have to see him again...
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Elina - present day

Elina - flashback