How to Score (On and Off the Pitch)

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Chapter 14

Brian Gardner sat in his favourite chair with a large Chardonnay in one hand, even though it was only 11am in LA, and a cigarette in the other watching the football. He should have gone into work today but told them he didn’t feel that good so he would be working from home. After seeing Germany and Slovenia slug out a goalless draw he wondered why he had bothered. The only games that interested him now were Scotland and England’s. Even then, he wasn’t that bothered about England as they were usually disappointing and he had a big downer on his mother country lately. England, well specifically London, had let him down, he had bad memories of the place what with his broken marriage and failed job, now he could add Lucy being there to that list.

He had turned it over in his mind time and again. Both break-ups were down to him and there was nothing he could do about it. He tried phoning the old strip club in London where they first met to see if she had gone back to her old job, but nobody there had heard of her. She had only left less than a year ago and already she was forgotten.

Brian now had a choice. Was he going to straighten himself out and make an effort without the aid of booze or was he about to tread the same path he had inadvertently forced his ex-wife to go down? There was only one right way to go, although the idea of being a bum in LA did have its appeal, he had to get over Lucy, get over Martine, and concentrate on his job. At least he would be able to take other women to his company’s functions and events without feeling guilty. And if anything happened after the event, well, so much the better. He was a free man now and he intended to make the most out of it.

Knowing it was pointless trying to phone Bradley for the next few weeks, he picked up the phone and called Sam’s number. After exchanging niceties, Sam asked how Lucy was. Brian had to tell him the whole story without breaking down.

‘It just wasn’t working out between us, Sam. Since the shooting, she didn’t want to go anywhere and had become a bit of a recluse. I came home from a night out and there she was, gone. Just a note on the bed for me. I guess it was meant to be. She’ll be back in London somewhere now and I wish her well. It was fun while it lasted. How’s your mum doing now? Is she still off the sauce?’

‘She’s doing really well. She has a nice boyfriend and she’s just sold the house and is moving to Spain to be nearer him. We like him. He’s good for her.’ Sam explained.

Brian felt a pang of jealousy rip through him. Okay, they had been divorced for a while now and he had been living with Lucy, but it still hurt when you hear news like that.

‘That’s good to hear. I hope they are happy together. Pass on my best wishes when you speak to her.’ Brian told him through gritted teeth. ‘So, who is this new boyfriend?’ He heard himself asking without trying to sound too interested.

‘His name is Carlos; he’s a widower and looks after Bradley’s villa in Spain. He’s the one who organised Christmas for us all this year. Really nice bloke.’ Sam replied.

The rest of the conversation was played out in the background as Brian digested the news that his ex-wife was shacked up with a Spaniard much older than her and that she had sold the family home.

An hour later, they had run out of things to talk about and as it was getting late in Edinburgh, they ended the call. Brian poured himself another glass and stepped on to his balcony to survey the glorious view in front of him over the city of Los Angeles.

Boy, did he feel like he was a million miles away from his old life now. Perhaps it was time for a visit to Spain. Just to see Bradley and his new villa, of course. Nothing more.

He went back to the TV and watched the football highlights again. Not that there were too many.

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