How to Score (On and Off the Pitch)

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Chapter 42

‘Last call for Air India flight to New Delhi now boarding at Gate 56’ came the announcement in the departures lounge at Heathrow. Drew and Deepak gathered their belongings and set off for the gate after spending a lot of time in the Duty Free shops buying up souvenirs of their trip to take home.

‘Come on then. Let’s go home Deepak.’ Drew told his grandson.

‘I’ll be back soon though.’ Deepak laughed.

It had been a hugely successful trip for both of them in different ways. Deepak was about to try his luck at being a professional footballer and Drew had met his new family for the first time. They had promised to stay in touch and as Drew was likely to be spending some time in Scotland seeing his grandson play, he looked forward to seeing them regularly. His ex-girlfriend’s husband was apparently not happy after Archie had paid for them all to stay overnight in the hotel in Dundee that night, but Drew didn’t care. He was their real dad and grandad and there was nothing he could do to change that. He hoped he would come round eventually, but if he didn’t, well that would be his problem.

They settled in their seats and strapped themselves in before the plane hurtled down the runway and into the air heading for New Delhi. Drew noticed Deepak was very quiet and asked why.

‘I love it in Britain.’ He told his grandad. ‘It’s so different to India. Full of green areas and clean air. I can’t wait to get back, but I will have to bring some foods from home. I’m not sure I could get used to eating what they eat.’ He smiled.

‘You’ll be okay. Have you any idea how many Indian restaurants and Asian grocers there are in Britain? Thousands of them. You won’t go hungry. It’s the weather you need to get used to. It’s not always this sunny and warm, especially in winter.’ Drew warned him.

Eight hours later, they were approaching New Delhi airport and Deepak was looking out of the window at the slums and brown earth with a glum expression on his face.

‘Don’t worry, you’ll soon be heading back to Scotland Deepak.’ Drew reassured him.

‘I know grandad. How long will the visa process take? The new season starts in five weeks and I want to be there for it.’

‘Who knows? It’s a bureaucratic system but having a Scottish grandfather should help speed it along. I hope so anyway.’

They felt the wheels hitting the runway twenty minutes early and whilst Drew was happy to be back, he knew Deepak wasn’t. He was very quiet as they collected their bags and walked to the car park where his grandad’s car was sitting, not saying another word until they arrived home in Jaipur a few hours later.

Deepak cheered up when he saw his mum and grandma who were waiting outside their house to greet them. He told them all about his adventure in Scotland and how he was going to be the best Indian footballer in history, which wasn’t difficult to be honest.

Drew just sat at the table listening to his grandson’s excited chatter and drank a cup of proper tea. His mother was obviously upset when he told her he would be moving to Scotland as soon as his paperwork had been done, so he hugged her and told her she must go and see him in Scotland when he plays. He could afford it now he was earning some money and he made her promise to bring lots of Indian sweets and spices with her which made her smile a little.

His grandad debated whether to tell his wife about his other family or not. He had told Deepak not to say anything as his grandma might not be too happy. It was their secret, but Drew knew it would slip out at some point. His wife was very clever like that; never missed a trick, so he knew he would have to explain to her at some point. He had to choose his moment carefully.

When he checked his computer for emails, he found there were a few from Archie back in Scotland. He was pleased that things had worked out with his ex and that they would keep in contact, and he mentioned that things were progressing with the visa and they should have a result in the next couple of weeks as they had a good lawyer on the case paid for by Hearts.

He thought it best to delete those emails in case his wife saw them. Pouring himself another cup of tea, he proceeded to reply to Archie telling him they had got home safely and thanking him for everything he had done.

Archie was pleased with himself. Very pleased. He had done Drew a favour by setting up that meeting with his family, and he now had another promising client on his books. Not that he needed any, Bradley’s business paid him well over the years and he had no desire to become one of those mega-agents who manage players and rip off clubs for a huge fee whenever their clients moved clubs. No, he was happy with his lot thank you. His investment manager friend was looking after Bradley’s accumulating fortune and he was reaping the benefit of that as well.

He also had the advantage of being able to pop over to Bradley’s villa in Mijas whenever he wanted, which he was about to do in a few days’ time to discuss a number of things and to get his signature on some paperwork. Visiting Bradley and Jessie there was like staying with family, better than family actually. His family weren’t particularly close; he had a brother who he spoke to once every six months and both his parents had passed on, so to him, Bradley was like the son he never had. He was nearly sixty now and the chance of having children of his own had long gone. It wasn’t that he never wanted kids, just never found the right mother for them.

It was also nice that he got on well with Bradley’s family, even his dad who could be a bit controversial at times. He snapped out of his reverie when his phone rang. It was Bradley, so he clicked on the green button and greeted him like he would a son.

‘Hey Bradley, what’s happening? How’s London?’

‘London was lovely until last night. We had a great time seeing the sights and the weather wasn’t bad either.’ Bradley told him.

‘So what happened last night that took the edge off it? Did you see your dad?’

Bradley told him all about the incident at the bistro and how disappointed he was that his dad was still attracting trouble. He had found out later that the two thugs who were responsible got arrested by the Police after they left, and he understood that it probably wasn’t his dad’s fault at the end of the day, but it was just typical of him.

Archie told him not to worry, calm down and have a safe flight home, he would be with them in a couple of days and he would see what he could find out from his contacts.

It sounded to Archie that Brian had just been doing the right thing and got unlucky that they chose the one night when Bradley and Jessie were eating there to cause trouble; they didn’t sound like the sharpest knives in the drawer; it would have been obvious who had done it by the sound of it. Still, it had unsettled Bradley and ruined their weekend in London which was a pity.

By the time Bradley and Jessie landed at Malaga airport, his mood had improved and he was starting to feel just a bit of sympathy towards his dad. Let it all cool down for a few days and maybe he would give his dad a call.

Carlos was waiting for them at the airport as usual and filled them in on all the news while he had been away. Jessie’s parents were still there and they had met up with Carlos and Martine most nights, either in town or at the villa. Bradley told him all about their great time in London and how he was looking forward to a couple of weeks of doing nothing before he had to report for pre-season training for another gruelling nine months with a World Cup at the end of it.

Martine, Barry and Sharon were all waiting for their kids to arrive so they could spend some quality time with them, preferably out by the pool in the glorious sunshine, where they heard all about India, London and Deepak.

They sat out by the pool well into the night as it remained warm and romantic. Bradley was glad to get home, travelling was nice, but there was no place like home, as the saying goes. He did enough travelling all over Spain and Europe playing football. Whilst he had seen some fantastic places, he still felt like Mijas was the place he liked best. Even better than Dunfermline where he had grown up.

Eventually, they all called it a night and Barry and Sharon headed for their room and Carlos and Martine walked back to her apartment nearby, leaving Bradley and Jessie to tidy up and fall into bed, exhausted but happy once again.

He couldn’t wait until Archie got there and updated him on all his news; about Brian, and Deepak. He had heard the trial went well, now he wanted all the rest of the story, he thought as he drifted off to sleep with his arm over Jessie who was already fast asleep.

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