Zlatan was alone in his hotel room. Kevin had asked if he wanted him to stay, but Zlatan wanted to be alone. He couldn’t believe what had just happened. After the first match in Milan he’d really thought they could do that, that they could win over Barcelona and maybe, just maybe, win the Champions League. But once again they were out. They’d lost and Barcelona had merely let them see the ball. When Nocerino had score his goal, hope had shone bright in his heart. They’d made it. Even if for a few minutes they’d made it. And then that penalty. And then his team had lost it, they weren’t able to do anything and Barcelona had scored another goal. And then they hadn’t seen the ball at all. He knew that they weren’t even remotely as strong as Barcelona, but hey when he played with them he’d thought that Inter wasn’t as strong as them, and still they’d lost. Which, honestly, was kind of ironic. He’d left Inter to win the Champion, he’d gone to Barcelona believing that with them he could win the competition, they were the strongest team in Europe, after all. And yet he’d been wrong. His old team had defeated his new team and once again he was out. His old team had won the Champion, Inter had won and what was worst Inter had kicked out his team, had kicked out Barcelona. Again he was out. And last year….they’d lost again. And not against one of the biggest European team, no, they’d lost against Tottenham. And this year…. Only the thought of the last match broke his heart. They’d lost. God they’d lost. He’d lost again. He was a looser. He was starting to believe that what they said was true. He wasn’t able to be important in Champion, he wasn’t the champion he thought to be. Or maybe he was cursed. Usually he didn’t believe in those thing, he thought that people who believed in magic was pretty stupid. But when he thought back at those last years he started to believe that maybe, just maybe, magic existed and somehow someone had cursed him. if you think about this, well, it kind of have sense. He played in one of the strongest team in Italy, they’d won two championships and everyone thought that they could win the Champions League. But he didn’t believed that, so he left. He’d chosen the strongest team in Europe, everyone thought that Barcelona was the better team in the world, they’d just won everything. So he’d left Inter, he’d forced Helena and their babies to change city, they moved in Spain and he really thought that he could win, he had to win, he had to make his family proud of himself. But he’d failed. His old team had kicked his new one out from the Champion. Unbelievable. When they’d started to say that he was cursed, that he was the cause why Barcelona had lost, he had laughed. It was impossible. They were unlucky but in football things like that happens, right? Yeah right. But then again two years later he was alone in his hotel room, with his heart broken because he was out. So maybe they were right. Maybe he was cursed. After all he was used to have everything he wanted, at least in football, but he couldn’t have this only little thing. With a sigh he lied on his bed. Helena had already called, she’d said that they were proud of him, that she knew he was disappointed but they were proud. He loved her because she always knew how to make him feel better. But today…well today nothing could make him feel better. He closed his eyes, he just wanted to sleep and forget the match. But as soon as he closed his eyes pictures of the match started to flicker in his mind. He opened his eyes and cursed. Maybe he’d been wrong refusing Kevin’s offer, maybe, after all, being alone that night wasn’t a good idea. Then out of the blue someone knocked at his door. He stood up, he was sure Kevin or someone else on the team had decided to drop by and see if he was still alive. But when he opened the door he found Geri leaning on the jamb, with a little sad smile on his lips.
- Hey- Gerard said.
Zlatan stared at him for a long moment. Last time he’d seen Gerarad after being kicked out from that competition they’d slept together. Back then he’d thought that it would have been a one night thing. He liked Geri, always had, he was good looking and everyone with eyes would like him. Gerard had come to him and offered himself and he’d taken him, because he’d wanted him. Even if he loved Jose’ and even if he knew that Geri loved Fabgregas he’d taken what his friend had offered. Problem was that they had started a relationship. They’d met several times after that and Zlatan had come to care about him. He loved Helena because she’d helped him become what he was, he loved Jose’ because he was so like him, he knew exactly what Zlatan wanted and what he needed, Jose’ got him in a way that was impossible to Helena. So they loved them. In a certain way he loved Geri too. He was attractive and fun and was able to cheer him up with few words. Jose’ had never tried to cheer him up, he wasn’t a fun guy, when they were together they talked about football, about how much Zlatan wanted to win the Champions, about their family and for the most of the time they had sex. Life with Helena was full of family’s duty, when he was with her he was usually busy solving his children’s problems or playing with them. With Gerard everything was easy like breathing, there weren’t any problems, any duty, any commitment, they were just two guys who had fun together and sometimes happened to sleep together. At least that was true at the beginning. Than Gerard had become one of the few people Zlatan cared about. He had come to trust the man, he’d started to tell him his secrets and to care about him, about his health and his happiness. It wasn’t love. He didn’t love him as much as he loved Jose’ and Helena, but he cared about him, he trusted him. And Zlatan didn’t give his trust and his affection easily.
- You’re here to make fun of me?- Zlatan asked bitterly. After all this months of silence he wasn’t in the mood to have this conversation now.
- No!- Gerard said hurt. – I’m here to see how you are.-
Zlatan laughed, but there wasn’t any joy in it.
- So, let me see if I get this straight. Now you pretend to care about me? About how I fell?-
Gerard looked slightly guilty. He knew he’d done everything wrong with Zlatan. At the beginning of their relationship he didn’t feel anything strong for the me, he was just attracted by him, it was just sex. But the more he stayed with him the more he liked the Sweden. Before he knew it he found himself caring for Zlatan. When he realized how much he cared about Zlatan Gerard started feeling guilty. He was cheating on Cesc. Well honestly he’d started cheating on him long time ago, but now it wasn’t just a physical thing anymore, now feelings were involved. With Shakira wasn’t like that. She was smart and funny, they were good together, but she was just a cover, she was barely a friend for him. So when Cesc came to play with Barcelona Gerard broke up with Zlatan. He’d said to him that he didn’t want to see him again, not even as a friend, that what they had was just a physical thing and that he’d never cared about him. Zlatan had just turned and walked away. When in winter Gerard had come to Milan to play against Milan in Champions Zlatan had barely acknowledged his presence in the field. Shortly after the break up Gerard had regretted the way he’d handled the situation, he missed Zlatan. He’s tried several times to talk with Zlatan, to apologize, but he knew how hard the Sweden was with the people who had betrayed him, so he never said anything. But when today he’d seen Zlatan’s expression his heart broke for his friend. So he decided to go and try. He wanted him back, if as a friend or as a lover was up to Zlatan.
- Can I come in? People will start to wonder if someone sees me here.- he said.
Zlatan stared at him for a long moment and Gerard almost lost his hope. But then Zlatan stepped away and let in him.
- Thanks.- Gerad said.
Zlatan nodded and sat on the bed, as far from Geri as he could.
- Seriously, what are you doing here? Why you’re not with Fabregas? You should go and celebrate with your team. –
- I wanted to check on you. I was worried.- Gerard said.
- Sure, now, seriously what do you want?-
- Look, Zlatan, I’m serious. I care about you.-
Once again Zlatan laughed bitterly.
- Yeah, do you? Sorry if I don’t believe you. Not long ago you said that you didn’t care about me, that what we had was just sex.-
Gerard didn’t say anything, he was looking for the right words. After a while Zlatan stood up.
- You can go, now, Geri. You’ve seen that I didn’t try to kill myself, you can go to your boyfriend.- he said, but Gerard didn’t move. – Geri? I’m serious. Just go. I’m not in the mood for this now.-
Gerard stood and went close to the other man.
- I fucked up. I’m sorry. I felt guilty and I though that push you out of my life was the only way I could make up with Cesc. I thought I was doing the right thing. I was wrong. I miss you. I’m sorry.- he said and then leaned in and kissed Zlatan, and Zlatan kissed him back.
- What was that?- he asked when they parted.
- I think that was a kiss.-
- Funny. Why did you kiss me?-
- Because I wanted to. Because I miss you. Zlatan…look… we can be friends or lovers, everything you want. But please forgive me.-
Zlatan smiled sadly. He wasn’t an easy person to deal with and he knew that. He didn’t give second chances, when someone broke his trust, that person was out of his life for good, especially If he did that without a reason. When last year Josè had broke up with him he had his reason. Zlatan didn’t understand those reason but he knew what they were. It’s not that he wasn’t loyal to a team, because he was. When he played for a team he gave everything he had and when he left part of the team stayed in his heart. Inter was special. At the beginning it had been hard, but he’d found real friends there, so he always hoped that they could reach good results. But he’d left them, probably he’d made a mistake, but he’d made his own choices and he had to live with them. When things with Barcelona started to go bad he’d hoped he could come back to Inter, but when he’d realized he couldn’t, he’d looked for another team in Italy. And at that point Milan, Juventus, Rome, Lazio was the same, he didn’t care. He wanted to come back in Italy and he took his chance. Josè, on the other hand, still loved Inter like it was his own team, he liked to say that he would come back sooner or later and he’d taken his choice to play with Milan as a betrayal. Zlatan could get that. And anyway Josè hadn’t stopped to care about him. After they came back together Zlatan had found out that when they didn’t talk to each other, Josè had called Dejan and Marco and sometimes even Helena to know how he was. So it was almost easy to forgive Josè and restart they relationship. Things with Geri were different. He’d pushed him away and forgot he even exist. He’d never called, never asked how he was, when they met in September he’d acted like they didn’t know each other, like they’d never played together.
- You fucked up pretty bad here, Geri. You can’t just come here and tell that you care about me. You can’t just come here and kiss me. You really think this is enough?- Zlatan said.
- I apologized and I begged you to forgive me.- Geri said.
- No. – Zlatan said. – You didn’t beg. –
- Would it help?- Gerard asked.
Zlatan shook his head with a smile.
- Probably not. But it could be fun if you wanna try.- he said.
Geri leaned in and kissed him again. Zlatan didn’t push away.
- Stop it, Geri. I’m serious. You can’t just come here and kiss me. Doesn’t work that way.- Zlatan said when they parted.
- Ok, ok. – Gerad said and then he sat on a chair in the room.
- Geri!- Zlatan said, he was getting angry.
- What?- the other man asked with a smile. – I’m not kissing you, but I’m not going to go either. I’m going to stay here and help a friend through a very depressing moment. Because I care about him.-
- What about Fabregas?- Zlatan asked.
- Cesc is celebrating with the others. He’ll probably end up drunk on Dani’s couch. He won’t even notice that I’m not there.- Geri said with a shrug.
- There’s no way I can make you leave, right?- Zlatan asked with a sigh.
- Nope.- Gerard said.
Zlatan shook his head and threw himself on the bed. He didn’t want to be alone that night, he wanted to be with someone he loved. Josè and Helena were too far away, but Geri was right here.
- Okay fine. Come here.- he said.
Gerad smiled and joined him on the bed. They laid together in silence for a while, their shoulder touching. After a while Zlatan sighed again and then hugged Geri.
- I missed you too.- he said before kissing him. – But this….this isn’t enough. It doesn’t fix everything. You’ll have to regain my trust. It won’t be easy.-
Gerard nodded and smiled.
- I know. But it’s a start, right?-
- Yeah. – Zlatan said while his lover made himself comfortable in his embrace.
They stayed quiet for a while.
- So……- Zlatan said – Do you thing I’m cursed?-