“Oh yes, I would give the credit to Rafa for sure. Visiting him in Mallorca, training at his academy and spending time with him certainly gave a boost to my season.” Grigor was going on and on.
“So what are your plans after the ATP win? You need some well-deserved vacation right?” The journalist was asking.
“Of course!” Grigor was smiling. “And Mallorca is just the place! I was so sad when Rafa pulled out. Now I cannot wait to go see him. I had such a great time with him last time I was there and I can’t wait to celebrate with him!”
Roger cursed and switched off the television. He didn’t know why but it was absolutely maddening for him to hear Grigor go on and on about Rafa. It was one thing that he had lost to Goffin and had given up his hopes on the ATP finals trophy, he was disappointed but thought he would be able to compose himself and move on. Then Grigor had won it, he was not exactly fond of Grigor, again the reasons still not very clear to him, but he could still bear it. But now Grigor gushing on about Rafa, how Rafa was to be praised for his success, his desire to see Rafa again, now THAT was driving him mad and he wasn’t exactly sure why. He knew Grigor had spent time at Rafa’s academy, training with Rafa and spent time on Rafa’s yacht, fishing, golfing and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. So it was natural for him to expect to go back there again. Roger just wasn’t sure why the thought of him spending his vacation with Rafa annoyed him. Well fine, if Rafa wants that, so be it.
He drove away any lingering thoughts about Rafa from the back of his mind. When he lost to Goffin, Rafa had texted him. Roger was perhaps expecting a call so was not too happy with the text had not replied to it. Rafa had followed up with a call and left a message. But Roger in one of his sullen moods after defeat had not bothered to call back. And after that there were no further calls or texts from Rafa. And Roger with a deep seated urge to punish himself, did not attempt to communicate further.
Maybe now Rafa is too busy texting or calling Grigor, thought Roger with a grimace. Then they would have a nice time in Mallorca again, he thought, not trying to understand why that gave rise to an aching feeling in his heart.
He was interrupted out of his chain of thoughts by his phone ringing. To his surprise he saw that it was Rafa. After a moment’s deliberation, he answered.
“Hola Rogi. How are you?”
“Doing ok.” Roger said grimly. “Moving on after the ATP semifinal.”
“Yes, sorry to hear about it Rogi. But you had a great season. We both did right? I was sorry to miss out too but couldn’t be helped.”
“True. How’s the knee?”
“Getting better. Feeling well rested.”
“That’s nice. Well I hope to see you at Australian open. So meantime hope you have a good rest and a good vacation”
“Yes Rogi. I do intend to have a great vacation, it might be one of the best I ever will have.”. Rafa was smiling and Roger felt another aching pain in his heart.
“I am sure it will be great Rafa. After all, Grigor will be celebrating his ATP win with you.” He couldn’t resist the biting tone in his voice.
“I meant to say you will have a great vacation because Grigor is coming there right. And you guys had a great time last time he was there, so I guess the same for this time.”
“So I hope you have a great time and good rest and I hope to see you next year” Roger cut him off. Somehow the words ‘next year’ seemed so far, far away.
“Wait Rogi..” Rafa was trying to say something but Roger had already hung up on him.
Roger threw his phone down and turned away, so many emotions ravaging his brain, without him exactly knowing why. Why was is so maddening that Grigor will get to spend his vacation with Rafa, why was it so maddening that Grigor and Rafa would spend so much time in each other’s company? And the truth suddenly came crashing down on him..he couldn’t bear anyone but HIMSELF spending time with Rafa, he couldn’t bear anyone but HIMSELF enjoying Rafa’s company, doing things together with Rafa, like fishing, golfing, things that Rafa loved. It drove him mad to see that another man would get to have all that and that he could do nothing about it.
Roger buried his head in his hands and tried to collect his thoughts. Since when he had become so possessive about Rafa? Was it from the Laver Cup? Where they had spent three days together but those three days were among the most beautiful days of his life? Rafa was with him all the time and he prized that time as a precious thing. They had something special between them, an invisible bond that had only gotten stronger as time went by and now he felt that he wanted to be with Rafa more and more and now to see another man get what he wanted, was driving him crazy.
His phone was ringing again which he ignored. Then it beeped, there was a text from Rafa.
“Rogi, please call me. Need to talk to you. Please”
He gritted his teeth but made the call.
“Listen Rogi. Why did you hang up on me?” Rafa was pouting, that Roger could tell. He usually found it adorable, now it was adding to his irritation.
“Well there was nothing more to talk about right. So I just wanted to wish you a great vacation” He bitterly put emphasis on the ‘great’ part.
“Well if you hang up on me Rogi, that’s not gonna happen.”
“Sorry I don’t get you Rafa.”
“I mean I really want to have a great vacation but how will I have it if the person I want to spend it with hangs up on me?” There was a pouting tone again.
It took a minute or two for Roger to grasp what Rafa was implying.
“What do you mean Rafa? Surely you don’t say..”
“I want to spend my vacation with YOU, Rogi!! That’s why I call you.”
“Yes, why you mention Grigor? What does he have to do with all this?” Rafa appeared confused.
“Isn’t he coming there to celebrate his win with you? That’s what he said during the interview.”
Roger could feel Rafa giving a dismissive shrug. His tone was amused.
“I never asked him. I don’t know from where he got the idea. I want to invite you Rogi.”
Roger was probably dumbstruck and quiet for a little too long.
“Well you are silent. So if you don’t want to, then maybe I will invite Grigor” Rafa’s voice had a sly tone.
“No..no..wait. Yes, I would love to..I would really love to Rafa” Roger spoke in a hurry.
He could feel Rafa smiling.
“Yes thank you Rogi”
“Why are you thanking me Rafa? I should thank you! I cannot wait to come there and see you!” Roger was never feeling happier.
“Rogi I am thanking you because now I know I will really have a great vacation!”
And Roger colored and blushed. He knew he was now going to have a great vacation too.