How to Score (On and Off the Pitch)

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Chapter 16

‘Congratulations Bradley! You were fantastic! Those Germans couldn’t cope with you, haha!’ Barry Tennant greeted Bradley as soon as he walked through the front door, not giving Jessie a chance to get near him first.

‘Thanks, Barry, but the whole team did their bit. Couldn’t have done it without them. It feels great though!’ Bradley replied as he grabbed Jessie and hugged her tight, smothering her in kisses. He had missed her so much after three weeks apart and he had looked forward to getting back to their villa for some well-earned rest together.

After dropping Barry and Sheila off at Barcelona’s El Prat airport the next day, Jessie and Bradley got packed ready for their break. They only had two weeks before he had to report back for training with Barcelona although he was excused from some of the pre-season friendlies due to his extended participation in the Euros along with one or two other players who made it to the latter stages.

The club had arranged for them to travel down to Malaga on the club’s jet so they wouldn’t face getting mobbed at the airports. Such was the price of fame, especially when you had just won the biggest club prize and national prize in Europe. Next stop, the World Cup and Jimmy Anderson was already preparing for that one in two years’ time.

When they finally arrived at Malaga airport, Carlos and Martine were there to greet them with more hugs and kisses. They chatted excitedly all the way back to Mijas with Bradley reliving every moment of the final and Martine telling them how much she was enjoying her new life in Spain.

Once they arrived at the villa, Carlos helped them with their bags and opened the door for them. It was great to be back, thought Bradley. He had missed this place terribly and couldn’t wait to jump in the pool with Jessie.

After a cup of tea and some tapas that Carlos had prepared, Martine left with him to head back to her apartment nearby. They would be able to meet up a lot over the next couple of weeks, which was good as Bradley hadn’t spent any real time with his mum in ages. It was now time to catch up.

Once they had gone, Bradley picked Jessie up and carried her through to their bedroom giggling.

‘Come on Bradley, we’ve got unpacking to do first.’ She laughed.

‘Later. First things first. I haven’t seen you for weeks, I need a cuddle!’ He replied as he threw her playfully on the bed and started to remove his clothes. Jessie followed suit and it wasn’t long before they were locked together naked, kissing passionately like they had not seen each other for ages. Which they hadn’t.

Martine and Carlos had gone back to her apartment and while he was making some coffee, she went and sat on the balcony to admire the view. She had fallen in love with this place because of the panoramic vistas across the nearby mountains where the sun would creep over early in the mornings. It was so peaceful and beautiful she wondered why she had never done this before.

The fact that she could now share her life with dear, kind Carlos was a bonus. They had become very close and she thought she might be falling in love with him, hoping it was reciprocal. He was good for her; he kept an eye on her drinking, although that wasn’t a problem anymore, and he looked after her. He was a gentleman in all respects. She had found her soulmate.

As Carlos brought the tray of freshly made coffee on to the balcony, Martine smiled at him.

‘Thank you, Carlos. Thank you for everything.’

‘You are welcome, Martine. I like to make you happy.’

‘Then you can make me really happy if you take me to my bedroom.’ She teased.

Carlos blushed slightly and smiled at Martine.

‘As you wish, beautiful lady.’ Carlos replied, gently taking her by the hand and leading Martine to her bedroom, as instructed. He hadn’t made love since his dear wife died years ago and he was still faithful to her memory, never expecting his circumstances would change for the better like this. What would Maria think? He decided that Maria would be happy for him. Happy that he had found new love with someone who cares for him. He took Martine in his arms and kissed her full on the lips before laying her gently onto her bed and making passionate love to her.

Afterwards, they just lay on the bed holding hands and gazing at each other lovingly. They were smitten like teenagers and they were both happy with that. Carlos had a great body for someone of his age and knew how to please a woman. Martine had never enjoyed the sex as much as she did with Carlos. He was a gentleman in many ways.

Carlos was equally happy, although he still had a pang of guilt when he remembered Maria. She had been the only woman he had ever slept with and he had been her only lover as well, such was the tradition in their day. He couldn’t understand the promiscuousness of today’s youngsters. Sex was about loving someone special and sharing pleasure with each other. He knew Martine had been married and had enjoyed sex with other men during and after her marriage disintegrated, but he understood her reasons why.

He knew his darling wife would forgive him for finding happiness at his time of life, she had been unselfish like that. Now, at fifty-nine years old, he was benefitting from his lifestyle choices. Apart from a bit of grey in his hair, which made him look distinguished apparently, he was in great condition for his age.

Could he have a future with Martine? He didn’t see why not. Okay, she was over ten years younger than him, but they seemed to have clicked so well at Christmas that he wondered if fate had brought them together. Although he wasn’t looking for another woman in his life, he felt that it was love at first sight when they met. He could tell Martine had felt the same way.

They showered and dressed before Carlos wished her a good night and walked back to his apartment in Mijas. She had begged him to stay but he thought it a bit improper just yet. Maybe next time, he told her as he waved goodnight.

On his way back home, he wondered how Bradley would feel if he and his mother became a couple. He seemed to be happy with it so far, but he didn’t know if he wanted them to take the relationship further. Bradley and Jessie were a lovely couple, much in love, and such nice people, not like some footballers he had met. Then he wondered about Bradley’s father. Martine’s ex-husband. How would he feel about it? He was aware that he had gone to live in Los Angeles with his girlfriend who he understood had been an exotic dancer in London when they met. Hardly the sort of lady Carlos would get on with, he thought, but then each to their own.

He wondered if they would ever meet one day. Surely his father would want to come and spend some time with Bradley soon. He knew he would, especially if they were as close as he thought. Bradley would tell Carlos all about the times his father came to watch him play football when he was young, in all weathers. How he had encouraged and supported him through his career. It was strange to him that they hadn’t seen each other since Bradley was in Los Angeles for the World Cup two years ago. It wasn’t that difficult or expensive to get a flight from LA to Madrid.

By the time he had reached his apartment, he had unearthed many questions that would be raised if he and Martine continued their relationship. He was frightened of none of them and had nothing to hide.

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