‹ Prequel: A Summer Romance

Forgive and Forget


Having rolled out of bed not too long ago, Elina was still dressed in her pyjamas that consisted of short shorts and a simple tank top, her hair pulled into a messy bun on the top of her head as she sat on the chair by her desk, slowly clicking her way through the numerous photos that were saved on her laptop.

There were photos from her travels, from high school, from her time working in Thailand, from dances, and games and tournaments, anything and everything.

Licking her lips, she lingered on the album containing the photos from her backpacking trip through Europe two years earlier. Specifically on the photos from her time in Paris.

It was her idea to make a stop there as they headed down towards Spain, having come straight from Germany after the World Cup. They were supposed to stay for a couple of days, see the typical touristy stuff and maybe a few other, lesser known treats, but when they time came to leave, she just wasn’t ready.

She’d always pictured Paris as the city of love, where you go on weekend trips with your boyfriend and maybe on your honeymoon, but all she saw was the sadness of it. It was a beautiful city, stunning architecture wherever you looked and people were friendly and it was inviting, but the whole place had such an air of melancholy that she just couldn’t leave it.

Not after just finding out that what she thought was the perfect summer romance, her very own fairytale, wasn’t real. That it was all just a very good lie...

She’d stayed behind for close to three weeks as her friends and her cousin continued south, passing through Nice and Bordeaux before going for Madrid, Malaga, Alicante and continuing up the coast up to Barcelona. Then Monaco awaited and she’d met up with them in the train station, ready to take on Italy.

Leaving the French capital, it had honestly felt like she left the betrayal behind, like it was her very own cleansing spot, where she’d got rid of all the disappointment and the betrayal she’d felt when she learned of Fernando Torres’ true identity.

And it had continued to feel like that till almost exactly a year earlier when she opened the newspaper and found a familiar face staring back at her. Till she’d run into him at the Melwood Training grounds and all that resentment, and betrayal and hurt had come back full-force. Along with all the unresolved feelings that had lingered long after they’d stopped communicating...

Sighing as she closed the picture of herself flanked by her cousin and one of their friends in front of the Eiffel tower, she closed the lid on the computer and leaned back in her chair as she pulled up one of her legs on the seat and ran her fingers through her messy hair.

She’d been home for two weeks already and sometimes it felt like she never even left.

Currently she was alone in the large house as her mother and Eric was away shopping and Johan had taken Simon to hang out with some friends at the beach. Personally she’d spent the morning in bed after having gone out with her friends the previous evening, and getting a little too drunk. Her hangover wasn’t too bad, but she had no desire to go out just yet considering that the sun would most likely cause her headache to flare back up again.

After leaving Fernando’s house that afternoon, she’d gone to Nikki’s place like she’d promised but had left as soon as she could and went back home to the place she’d been sharing with her youngest brother. She hated that she was the reason for someone hurting in the way she could see that Fernando had been hurting when he uttered those words.

Getting up from the chair she wandered out of the bedroom and skipped down the stairs before wandering into the large living room where French doors were leading out into the backyard where she’d spent many of the days since she returned back home.

But that wasn’t where she was going, instead she walked over to the wall that was covered with bookcases and stopping before one of them, she reached out and ran her finger over the familiar backs of the scrapbooks that document all the years of her life. They had grown exponentially in numbers since her mother had begun dating Eric and so many more things happened in their lives.

Stopping at a maroon coloured one, she pulled it from its place and sinking down in one of the beige, overstuffed couches, she pulled up her bare legs and made herself comfortable as she took in the picture of the cover of the book and lightly traced her finger over the swirly script that said ‘Menorca 2004’.

It was her mother that had started the tradition of making scrapbooks to showcase all the big and small events in life when she’d been expecting her and it had continued ever since. Sometimes she hated having things to remember certain events by, other times she loved it.

Slowly flipping through the pages, looking at the mementos and the memorabilia along with all the pictures that were fastened in the book, she couldn’t help but smile slightly. The vacation was more than the first time she met Fernando, more than the vacation where she lost her virginity to someone who might as well have been a stranger, it was the first vacation they took as a family. The first time they went somewhere together without practically killing each other...

Stopping at the photo of her together with Simon and Johan on the beach one of their last days there, she told herself that she had to remember that life went on no matter what happened between her and Fernando.

Only it wasn’t that easy.

He’s weaselled his way back into her heart and this time she wasn’t so sure if she was going to be able to be able to expel him like she had the last time.

Turning the page, she couldn’t help but smile as she came across a photo her mother had taken one day when Fernando had come by the hotel and they’d all been hanging out by the pool, goofing off and just having a nice time. They were in the pool with her brothers and he’d caught her off-guard, stealing a kiss from her...

He was in numerous other pictures from that vacation and she couldn’t help but remember the way she’d trusted him back then.

It wasn’t the feelings that were the problem.

She knew he had feelings for her, and despite what he might think her feelings for him were at least as strong as his were for her, if not stronger.

Trust was the bad guy. She’d trusted him back then, it was obvious in the pictures she was looking at, but he’d broken that trust when he lied to her. It was such a little thing, that he was student, but it was still a lie. And some people might have forgiven and forgotten that by now, but she... she just couldn’t.

She wasn’t built like that.

Sighing, she reached up and gently touched her fingers to her plump lips. She could still feel the last kiss he’d given her, before she left his house the night of the banquet.

Closing the book and placing it on the antique coffee table, she leaned against the back of the couch, looking out in the backyard as her mind was working overtime.

She couldn’t ignore the fact that he’d lied to her, but at the same time she couldn’t ignore the way he made her feel, all the things they’d done and talked about...

Loving someone was both the easiest and the hardest thing you could do. It was embracing something so beautiful, something that had the ability to make you feel whole, complete. But it was also terrifying, it was opening yourself up to the possibility of getting hurt, it was exposing yourself to someone else, someone who had the ability to crush you in one blow.

It was trusting that that someone wouldn't do such a thing....

Licking her lips, she closed her eyes for a moment.

“I want you, all of you, but I can’t wait forever. So you have a choice to make.”

The words he’d said had been playing on her mind on and off ever since she walked out of his house that afternoon, but she’d never really wanted to think about them. Because thinking about them meant that she would have to do something. She would have to decide something she wasn’t even sure of.

It should have been the easiest choice she made in her life. That’s what love is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be hard and sometimes painful, but it was also supposed to be the easiest choice you ever made.

Biting her lower lip, straight white teeth contrasting against the naturally pink flesh, she realised that she knew what she had to do.

She realised she’d known it all along....
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