Chapter 36

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"Is this the right place?" Mari asked when she parked the car in the school parking lot.

"Yeah, it is," Cris answered without checking anything; he had already memorized the address.

Despite the lack of tournament atmosphere at the school, the manager felt his stomach tighten a knot. I'm so nervous, he thought, trying to ignore the feeling.

But it was hard with his cousin by his side. Cris couldn't help to notice her legs wouldn't stay still. Then he realized his legs were the same

"Stop that," he said, grabbing her knee to make her stop. "It's making me more nervous."

"But I can't help. I'm so excited," she said, moving her legs despite the hand.

Cris gave up and sighed as he pulled his hand back. He looked at the direction of the building that looked like a gym and took a deep breath. Why am I feeling like nervous? Today's gonna be easy for Nelson... Yeah, it should... there's nothing to worry...

Despite her excitement, Mari noticed Cris' mood change.

"Oh, c'mon, little cousin. There's no need for you to be like this. Instead, be like me! I'm all hyped up for this competition!" she said with a huge smile.

The manager could tell. It wasn't just her legs that couldn't stay still; her hands too.

Despite everything, Cris couldn't help but get influenced by that smile.

"Yeah... You're right!" the manager said, smiling too.

"You shouldn't be surprised by that now, little cousin. But instead of thinking how much nervous you are, think what's Nelson feeling."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, he was used to big indoor pools with bleachers and a crowd cheering. From that to a high school pool is a little... a great fall, to be honest. It might affect him psychologically more than you can imagine."

Cris fell silent for a moment. "That's true... but he'll overcome that. I'm sure."

"Are you, little cousin? Despite being local, it's his first competition. It might put more pressure than he believes. Especially if he's thinking that it's gonna be a walk in the park."

"Since when you're such an expert about competitions? When was the last time you came to watch a swimming competition?" Cris asked, the disbelief plain on his face as he stared at his cousin.

Mari hummed as she tried to remember.

"I have no idea. I think maybe it was back when my brother swam."

"Three years ago? For real?" Cris raised an eyebrow. "Then why are you suddenly acting like an expert?"

"Because there are high stakes involved," she said with an unusually serious expression as she got out of the car.

Cris could tell there was something stupid coming up, so he kept quiet.

"After this, I'm hoping my little cousin will get rammed from behind so hard he won't be able to walk tomorrow," Mari said with a straight face he got out of the car.

"How can with that face?" Cris asked in an empty face.

"Because it's my deepest with at the moment. Oh, c'mon, little cousin. Are you gonna seriously tell me you don't expect the same?"

Cris blushed and tried to stop his smile with no success as they walked on the school grounds. "I can't say that..."

"Ha! I knew it!" Mari shouted in triumph. "You almost have as much expectations as me for this."

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