Nelson still had no idea how he would face Cris after everything. But even so, despite they only know each other for a few days, it was strange to him not hearing his manager's voice the first thing in the morning. The last couple days he called me... and managed to calm me down... ah damn... how am I gonna face him?
Even if it were Sunday, the swimmer woke at the same time and did his mourning workout. But this time, he brought his phone with him, checking the screen every few minutes. It's not like I'm expecting a call from him, he thought. If there's no work, there's no reason for him to do that... Even if we're friends, it's not like we're... He shook his head to dismiss the idea and moved his legs faster.
After he finished, he headed back to the boys' dormitory, took a shower and went to the cafeteria. But he couldn't concentrate at all on his food; he kept looking around, hoping to find the, by now, too familiar face that helped him too much over the past few days.
"Good morning, Nelson," a cute and full of energy voice called his name.
The swimmer widened his eyes and held his breath for a moment. No matter if it was awkward for him or not, he wanted to see Cris. He wanted to talk to him, to have fun with him, to work with him, he wanted to aim for the top with his manager. After what felt too long, Nelson turned his head in the direction of the voice.
Cris had a bright smile as he waved at the swimmer with one hand and balanced the tray with is breakfast with the other.
"M-m-morning," the other stuttered, waving his hand and smiling awkwardly at his manager, his cheeks red.
Cris laughed as walked over to the table. He sat in front of Nelson, still smiling. "If you keep acting like that, there's no way I can stop laughing at your reaction."
Nelson looked at that face for a moment before a tiny smile appeared on his face. Despite everything, just being around him is fun, he realized. "You're right. I'll give a try." He nodded and turned to his food.
Despite the silence, it wasn't an awkward one. With the relief of knowing things were okay between them, Nelson realized how starved he was. Now that I think about it, I haven't eaten anything since...
"So, about yesterday..."
The moment Cris spoke, it all happened at once. The swimmer blushed, choked on his food, widened his eyes and knocked over his glass, spilling his milk all over the table. The manager didn't even try to hide his enjoyment, laughing again as he helped dried the drink with the napkins.
"I told you there's no need to make it awkward. Unless you like making me laugh like this. In that case, thanks," he said, his grin getting bigger.
Cris picked up another paper napkin and reached out to clean a bit of food on Nelson's chin. That made the swimmer blush a bit more, but he kept quiet and averted his eyes, letting his manager do as he pleased.
"And when I said yesterday, I wasn't talking about our little pleasure time inside the locker room. That is unless you wanted my mouth again. In that case, just tell me where and when."
Nelson choked on his food again and looked around to make sure no one was listening. That only made Cris laugh again. I shouldn't drop my guard while having a mean with him, the swimmer thought, drinking what was left of his milk to clear his throat.
"Glad you're having fun. Too bad that is at my expenses," he said in a hoarse voice.
"Oh, come on. It's not my fault," he said, shaking his head. "You're the one who keeps acting like I did something unspeakable to you."
"And what you'd call... that," he dropped his voice in the last word, his cheeks getting red again.
"All I did was give you a little reward. For your complete recovery and our game." Cris showed a big smile that it made hard for Nelson to get mad. Then he changed his expression, almost as if he was hurt. "Or are you saying you didn't like it?"
The swimmer looked down at his food as if it was the most interesting in the world. "I didn't... dislike it..." he mumbled without raising his eyes. But on the next second, he sneaked a peek at Cris.
The manager had a bright smile. Then he folded his arms and nodded. "Of course, I already knew. There's no way a guy would say I'm bad at ora—"
"Not so loud!" Nelson whispered in a hushed voice, reaching out his hand to shut Cris and glancing around desperately.
Under his hands, Nelson could tell that his words only made the manager's smile grow. As the swimmer looked around again to make sure no one as paying attention to them, Cris liked the fingers covering his mouth.
The swimmer widened his eyes and pulled his hand back right away, his face an alarming shade of red. "Will you stop making me embarrassed?" he begged in the same hushed whisper.
"No chance," Cris said with a genuine smile. "You're the one who should try to stop making your reactions so fun. But even then, I doubt I'll stop teasing you."
Nelson took a deep breath and opened his mouth to reply, but gave up midway under that expression. He let out a sigh of defeat and shook his head. "Fine. I'll try to do that," he said in a tired voice. The morning barely began and I'm already exhausted, he thought, trying to focus on the rest of his meal.
"But you know it's not my fault, right? You should learn to listen until the end before reacting in a funny way." Nelson looked at him in disbelief at the manager's fake innocent expression. "What I was gonna say about yesterday is that the staff has decided to apply something new to your recovery."
That picked Nelson interest. Suddenly the Cris that liked to make fun of him was gone, replaced by Cris, the manager. "What is it?"
"Have you ever heard of Scrum?" The swimmer shook his head. "It's sort like a system to optimize a team. To accomplish double under the same time or even in less."
"Okay... and what's that got to do with me?" Nelson asked, his face showing he didn't get the correlation.
"I'm getting there. Yesterday I created a group chat with all the staff of the MD working with you. Every morning they'll say what they've planned for you and will inform the other how you reacted to the day's treatment. This way they can a more interactive plan."
"That sounds... interesting..."
"I hope so. I have no idea if it'll make any difference, but right now, we need to do anything to speed up your recovery. Even if it's just a day earlier, it can make a difference."
Nelson was speechless as he looked at that face.
That girly face that belonged to a boy and could be both cool and cute. That face that could both show a sly smile and became serious when was about helping Nelson. Before he knew, his heart thumped a little louder. The swimmer ignored that with a shake of his head.
"Thanks... I'd have never thought about that scrum thing..."
Cris smiled at him. The genuine gentle and full of joy one. "It's my job. As your manager and friend."
Only as friend and manager...?
"What do you have planned for today?" Cris changed the topic suddenly.
Nelson thought about it for a second. "Nothing much. I hadn't planned anything in particular. Maybe a little workout and then..."
Cris raised a finger and brought to Nelson's lips. He then showed his mischievous smile.
"How about going with me to an interesting place to do something fun?"
Nelson became cautious with those words. But even so, he was interested. No matter the situation, anything was more fun with Cris around.
With the manager's finger still on his lips, the swimmer nodded.
YOU ARE READING
The Swimmer and the ManagerRomance
The Prado Maranhão Aquatic Sport Club, a place where those who aim at the top of the water sports gather. Nelson, once called the future of Brazil's swim, is near the end of his recovery after a serious accident that almost costed his life. But with...