Chapter 39

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"Over here, Cris," Mari shouted and waved her hand when she saw her cousin.

The manager saw and walked towards her, passing by the friends and family members that came to see the competition. With difficulty, he was at Mari's side.

"Did you talk to him?" she asked, not even waiting for him to recover his breath.

"Yeah..."

Mari waited for him to go on, but Cris became quiet.

"So...? How was he?" the woman asked when she grew too impatient. "What did he say after you told him about his contract and the other swimmer?"

Cris let out a worried sigh.

"The same... I mean, when I told him, he seemed a little shocked, but it didn't look like it's gonna affect him today... He knows what he has to do..."

"Let's hope so," Mari said, drinking her soda without taking her eyes from her cousin. Then she narrowed her eyes. "What else happened?"

"What?" Cris looked at her, resisting his urge to look away. But when his cheeks warmed up, he knew he had failed.

"I can tell something else happened between you two. C'mon, little cousin, spill the beans."

Cris chuckled and flashed a smiled as he looked away. "Nothing much... we just kissed a little..."

And it was a great kiss, the manager thought, hoping he could keep that to himself for a little longer. That moment belongs only to us...

Mari grinned and nodded as she closed her eyes.

"And you wished it was more than just a kiss. I get it, little cousin. I totally get it. But, please, keep it in your skirt until later. When you two can break a bed."

"If there's something to celebrate later," the manager said in a low voice before he could stop himself.

"Ah, c'mon, Cris. Don't you go getting all depressed because of what Marco said," she said looking her cousin in the eyes. "Nelson only needs to show that he still has the potential to swim at a high level."

"I know..."

"You don't have the confidence he can?" Mari asked, her voice low and serious.

Cris bit his lips.

He believed in Nelson. All the confidence the swimmer had wasn't just for appearance. But part of him couldn't shake the fear of the worst outcome.

"I do believe in him... but what if anything bad happens?" he said, not looking Mari in the eyes. "Things don't always go the way we want... That guy that Marco's here to watch... he might win. I don't know..."

"Cris," Mari said and grew quiet as she waited for her cousin to look at her.

It took a while, but the manager finally turned in her direction.

"You're being too pessimistic. Don't just think about the worst case scenario. You've been by Nelson's side more than anyone. You told me that even though he still nowhere near what he used to be, he's getting better and faster."

"Yeah, but what if—"

"If there's someone faster? There could be. Even in a municipal tournament. But instead of worrying for something you can't change, think of something you can do," she said, interrupting him.

"Like what?"

"Like cheer for him. It's the only thing you can do for him right now."

Cris opened his mouth to reply. But instead of words, he let out a heavy sigh.

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