How to Score (On and Off the Pitch)

By Andrew Playle All Rights Reserved ©

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Chapter 26

Brian was spending more and more time away from home and in the London office. He usually stayed in hotels when he was in London rather than putting Bradley out. He had his own life now and wasn’t as reliant on his Dad which was fair enough. Brian would usually meet up with friends after work and enjoy a night down the pub or having a curry; anything was better than sitting in a hotel room feeling lonely.

He and Martine had had a huge argument recently about moving back. She had decided that she wanted to stay in Dunfermline as she had made a lot of friends there and also Sam had been offered a post when he graduated from university with a degree in Maths and starting a job teaching in Edinburgh. She didn’t want to leave Sam on his own.

The argument had culminated in Brian accusing her of carrying on her affairs behind his back and this was the real reason she wanted to stay. Martine finally admitted that she no longer loved him and yes, she was carrying on. They both broke down in tears and admitted defeat. They would seek a divorce as soon and as cleanly as possible.

Martine and Sam would stay in the house for now while Brian moved his belongings to London where he would rent a flat somewhere. Fortunately, money wasn’t going to be a problem once Bradley found out; he would have to explain to him what had happened and hope he could help out. He was coming home for a few days soon while the internationals were being played. They would explain it to him then.

As soon as Bradley arrived home, he could sense something was wrong. The atmosphere was frosty to say the least. Kisses and hugs were exchanged as he dumped his bags in the hall. It was good to be home for a while and see his family again. He and Sam had a lot to catch up on especially. He wanted to hear all about his new job teaching in Edinburgh and meet his new girlfriend, Kate.

Scotland were half way through their qualifying campaign and were sitting top of their group having won all five games so far. The upcoming game was against Moldova at home in a week’s time, then it would be time for a holiday.

Bradley unpacked some of his clothes and headed down the stairs for dinner. He was shocked to see his parents looking pale and tearful, and Sam just staring into space.

‘What’s up? Why are you looking so miserable?’ Bradley asked.

Brian was the first one to answer him. ‘Your mum and I have decided to separate. We’re sorry boys, but we just can’t carry on like this. It’s for the best. We will try to divorce as painlessly as possible so it doesn’t affect you too much. We realise this is difficult for you both, but there is no other way.’

There was a stunned silence in the room as the dinner put in front of them grew as cold as the atmosphere. Bradley couldn’t believe what he had just heard. They always seemed so close and never gave off any hints that their marriage would end like this. He had loads of friends whose parents divorced, so it wasn’t anything uncommon to go through this.

‘I don’t know what to say.’ Bradley whispered. ‘This has come at a really bad time for me. I’m supposed to be focused on the Moldova game at the weekend. I can’t believe how selfish you are both being.’

‘We’re being selfish?’ shouted Martine. ‘Is football that much more important to you than us? Don’t you think you’re being a bit selfish?’

‘I think we all need to calm down and deal with this like grown-ups.’ Sam interjected, trying to take the heat out of the conversation. ‘Bradley, these things happen in life, you must realise that. It doesn’t change anything for either of us; mum and dad still love us both.’

Bradley wasn’t happy. He rose from the table, went back to his room and packed his belongings before walking out of the house, slamming the door behind him. He thought about knocking on his friend Gary’s door as he badly needed someone to talk to, but at the last minute he continued walking past his house and on to the station where he boarded a train for Glasgow where he would check into a hotel for a couple of nights before he needed to get together with the Scotland team. He had a lot of thinking to do and had to get all the negativity and bad news out of his system. It was at times like this that he wished he was a drinker.

Back at his parents’ house, everyone was screaming at each other and shedding tears as it got emotional and personal. It was then that Sam found out that his mum had been carrying on a series of affairs which had led to their splitting up. He was apoplectic with rage.

‘No wonder Bradley walked out. I wish I had joined him now. Mum, how could you be such a slag? I’ll never forgive you for this!’ Sam spat.

‘Sam, there’s no need to call your mum names. What’s happened is partly my fault as well, but I won’t have you calling her a slag!’ Brian shouted back.

‘Well, let’s hope this doesn’t get into the news. This will kill Bradley, and me. Did you not think your actions would lead to something like this? What made you put cheap sex ahead of your family?’

Martine just sat at the table with tears running down her cheeks saying sorry every few seconds. Sam left the kitchen and went to his room. He needed to find Bradley and make sure he was alright. He tried calling him but it went straight to voicemail.

‘Brad? Please call me as soon as you get this message. We need to talk.’ But Bradley ignored his message, and all the subsequent ones left on his phone by Sam and his parents. He didn’t need any of them.

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