We Took the Fall

07: Get A Grip

Scanning the menu quietly, Catalina peeked over at Fernando, not quite sure what to do. It was odd, being alone with Fernando, and it made Catalina feel a little awkward, something she hadn’t been around anyone in a while.

“You can speak, you know” Fernando chuckled gently, his brown eyes peeking over the top of his menu.

“I know” Catalina replied “I just didn’t quite know what to say” she added.

“How about we start with what you do for a living now?” Fernando quipped, sipping on his drink. It was a little awkward, they’d been together for almost half an hour and the only time that Catalina had spoken had been to confirm the drink order, but he hoped that they could relieve some of the tension. It was bound to make things easier if they could erase some of the awkwardness that had surrounded them since he’d arrived back in Spain.

Catalina nodded. “I work part time at a restaurant as a waitress and I teach at a local school” she explained softly.

“You went into teaching?” Fernando posed interestedly.

Catalina nodded. “It was what I always wanted to do” she noted, her hands nervously fiddling with the napkin which sat in her lap “I teach a class of 6 & 7 year olds and I absolutely love it” she added, a smile appearing on her face that Fernando marveled at. He had always liked it, Catalina’s smile was adorable, and he couldn’t help but admire it, especially when she was talking about something she was clearly passionate about.

“I am glad you got to do what you wanted to do” he enthused softly “When we were young, it used to be all you could talk about sometimes” he added.

Catalina shook her head. “That’s not true” she protested.

“It is” Fernando returned, grinning.

“Well, you used to talk about football all the time when we were kids so I guess that makes us even” she quipped.

Fernando chuckled. “That’s probably true. Truce?” he teased, playfully extending his hand.

Catalina took it, offering it a sharp shake, before she let out a little laugh, something which made Fernando smile once more. He liked the more relaxed side of her and he hoped he could see it a little more.

“So what about you?” Catalina posed “Why Milan only to move to Madrid?” she added.

Fernando sighed. “Things were bad after I left Liverpool” he admitted “I moved to Chelsea and was so fixated on scoring that it didn’t happen for months and when it did, it only marked the start of another drought. I stopped loving it, Lina, I stopped feeling the way I did about it when I was young and the arrival of Mourinho at Chelsea signaled the beginning of the end. I spent the first half of the season in Milan, which proved just as bad, but Madrid seemed like the right call” he mused earnestly, his eyes staring at his newly empty glass of wine.

Catalina tilted her head. “I am sorry, Nando” she mused kindly.

The striker waved a hand. “It’s not your problem” he smiled “You have other things to worry about, I am sure. What about a boyfriend, Lina?” he posed, trying to direct her attention away from himself.

Catalina’s cheeks warmed. “No boyfriend” she noted.

Fernando furrowed his brow. “You’re single?” he posed.

“Have been for a while” Catalina replied “A few flings, a guy from work that I went out with for a couple of months, but nothing overly serious since…”

“Since me” Fernando noted.

“Pathetic right?” Catalina quipped, a timid laugh falling out of her mouth in an attempt to cover her embarrassment.

“No” Fernando noted, shaking his head. “Until Alicia, I was the same” he admitted.

Catalina tilted her head, but opted not to push the issue, knowing that talking about their relationship was territory that they were best off staying out of. “You must be excited about the wedding” she noted, diverting her eyes to her lap.

Fernando shrugged. “I think Cia is more excited than me. I mean, I want to get married and everything, but the planning, that’s on her” he noted.

“Do you want it to be like that?” she posed.

“I don’t think I get a say” he returned “You know your sister, perhaps better than I do, but I think she is very determined to have things her way and precisely her way, which I am OK with. It’s more about her than it is about me” he admitted.

Catalina wanted to fight him on it, to tell him that he was entitled to voice an opinion and challenge Alicia, but she stopped herself. It wasn’t her place to meddle. “I am sure it will be perfect” she smiled politely.

Fernando nodded. “I think so too” he mused before he turned back to his menu, allowing a somewhat awkward silence to fall over them, something he could tell was going to be a recurring theme of their dinner.

“You didn’t do that” Catalina giggled as they padded up towards her home. It had been a nice night, even if it was a little awkward, and Catalina was pleased that they had done it. It made her more acutely aware of how closer they had been, even before they had started dating, and she had missed it.

“I swear that I did. Piqué spent nearly two days looking for the suitcase that we’d hidden. He had to buy entirely new underwear” Fernando grinned.

“That’s so mean” Catalina mused.

“It was his own fault. He did the shaving foam trick on Sergio when we were on the plane and hid my shoes. I had to walk through the airport in my socks” he protested.

Catalina shook her head. “You’re all idiots” she mused.

“I can’t fight you on that” Fernando mused as they stopped outside of her front door.

“I will see you around, Fernando” Catalina noted, her hand searching in her bag for her keys “It was fun” she added.

Fernando nodded his head and took a pace towards her, moving to press a kiss to her cheek. Catalina’s eyes closed at the touch, something which made Fernando smile a little against her skin. Admiring the innocent look that adorned her features, he switched sides and kissed the other cheek, earning a little intake of breath that his ears were just able to catch. Holding his lips to her cheek, he lightly brushed his nose against hers before his phone rang, causing him to jump, his forehead colliding slightly with Catalina’s which caused the blonde to pull away.

“You should go” she noted, her voice soft as she rubbed her forehead.

“Uh” Fernando stammered, his eyes noting Alicia’s name on the screen “Yeah, I should” he added quickly.

Catalina nodded her head before she turned on her heel, waving to him as she stepped into the house.

Fernando watched after her before he shook his head, wordlessly reminding himself to get a grip.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comments :)