To say Esteban was frustrated was a bit of an understatement. It seemed life hated him, and there were 2 words he could put it down to.
It wasn't as if they weren't friends, it was that Esteban wanted to be so much more. But Pierre, he’d already found an Italian girlfriend, who had everything Esteban didn't have, including the man of his dreams.
He envied Caterina, she was prettier than he’d ever be, body of a supermodel. How Pierre ended up dating her was a mystery to Esteban, and he took a strong disliking to the Italian brunette, wishing that somehow it would be him holding Pierre close instead of her.
It was never like he and Pierre were particularly close, however they weren't mortal enemies either. Growing up on the French karting circuit meant they grew up alongside each other, but they didn't get too much time to talk. However, feelings got involved from Esteban's side, soon after Pierre’s F1 debut, and he’d fallen too deep by the time Pierre revealed he was dating Caterina.
Cannes Film Festival was a frustrating time for Esteban, for Pierre thought it would be the perfect opportunity to bring his girlfriend along. Thankfully there were other people in the group he could talk to, but the fact remained that Pierre was just a few metres away from him, with the girl he envied the most. He tried to sneak the occasional glances at Pierre, when nobody in the group was looking, however each time he looked, Pierre was preoccupied by his girlfriend, showing her various signs of affection.
It wasn't like Esteban could exactly ignore the fact he was at Cannes, his management told him he had to post on social media. But that didn't mean he had to post photos including Pierre’s girlfriend. Thankfully the photo was large enough so that he could crop the photo square, and nothing would look too suspicious.
But for Pierre, this was a stab in the back. He’d been nothing but nice to Esteban, and now the other Frenchman was cropping him from photos, a gesture of dislike or hatred. Pierre didn't really want to fight the Frenchman, far from that, in fact he'd been harbouring feelings for Esteban since the start of the season, but if Esteban wasn't going to play nice, he wasn't either.
Finding the exact photo circulating around the media, Pierre opened his Instagram, preparing the photo to be posted. However, like Esteban did, he cropped it, this time so his fellow driver was missing. It hurt him to crop the Force India driver out, but after what Esteban did, it was his only option.
Media attention heightened after this incident, the pair regretting even making the cropped photographs public. Esteban didn't want people to think he hated Pierre, because it wasn't true. The media were blowing things out of proportion in his opinion, and the last thing he wanted was for their friendship, if they could even call it that anymore, to be ruined by the journalists, unknowing of the real story at hand.
The tension had raised after Monaco, the press mentioning the story to them at every opportunity, something they both wanted to ignore, but knew they couldn't. Roland Garros just escalated things further, social media clearly suggesting the pair kept as much distance, on the day they attended, Esteban alone, Pierre with his girlfriend. Eventually, it got too much for Pierre, and he messaged Esteban, desperate for closure on why this had happened over the last month or so.
'We need to talk’ was all the message said, sent to Esteban’s Instagram, due to the fact he’d never actually got the Frenchman’s number yet.
'you still in Paris?’ was the reply, knowing that they had both attended the tennis, but unaware if he’d stayed in the city.
‘yeah, guessing you are too?’ Pierre asked again, preparing for if he were to meet Esteban that night.
'yep, still here. Meet for a drink to catch up at bar 228 at 9?’ Esteban asked, knowing Pierre had been once before, and it looked nice.
‘Sounds good. See you then Este.’
“So, what did you really want to talk about?” Esteban sighed, sitting down at the table for 2, sipping the orange coloured cocktail he’d just ordered from the bar.
“Well, you know, the media situation, and all the instagram cropping, and supposed feud. What’s going on with it.” Pierre spit out, point blank.
“You want the truth?” Esteban all but choked out, not quite ready for spilling the truth, despite Pierre wanting to hear it.
“That’s the least I expect, Esteban.” he replied, giving the Force India driver a stern look, edging him to confess.
“So, it’s not because of you that I cropped the picture. It’s because of your girlfriend.” Esteban shyly mumbled back, paying more attention to his drink than to the Frenchman sat opposite him.
“Why would yo… oh. You’re jealous of her?” the Toro Rosso driver questioned, taking one of Esteban’s hands in his, seeing the pink in his cheeks become more prominent as he slowly nodded. “It’s okay if you’re jealous you know. I just wish you’d have told me sooner, to stop the media.”
“But I don’t think you understand why. She has the one thing I wanted, she has you, and I don’t, and that’s what I wanted, and still want, the most.” Esteban blushed further, spilling his heart out to his fellow driver.
“I guess I should say I like you too, and I’m sorry it came to this before we confessed.” Pierre smiled back, letting out a little laugh.
“She knows.” Pierre cut him off, causing both of them to smile of relief.
“Puis-je t’embrasser?” Esteban asked shyly, waiting for Pierre to reply. He hoped he hadn’t blown his chance, but the spark in Pierre’s blue eyes gave it all away. Slowly, he leant in, tangling one hand in Esteban’s hair, and the other hand on his cheek. Their lips met for a split second, before breaking apart, expressions mirrored as shy but ecstatic smiles.
“I’m glad we did that!” Pierre whispered breathlessly, taking one of Esteban’s hands and entwining it with his.
“Even if it took us way too long!” Esteban replied, before kissing Pierre again, finally in the hold of his lover.