“No way,” Mari said, stopping the fork midway to her open mouth. “For real?”
“Yeah,” Cris said.
His cousin surprised expression was funny, but even before he shared the news about him and Nelson, the manager was already smiling from ear to ear.
“Way to go, little cousin,” she said, sharing his joy.
“Thanks.” The manager’s smile grew even more.
Cris turned to his food, but instead of eating, he played with his food. All he wanted to do was to race across the cafeteria and tell everyone that he and Nelson were together.
“But let’s be fair for a second here,” Mari said, finally eating the food on the fork. Then she pointed it towards her cousin. “It was about time. I mean, everybody was tired of waiting for you two to hook up. And I mean everybody.”
“Shut up. I’m not listening to you. No matter what you say, I’m too happy to care.” Cris hummed as he ate the eggs. “Wait. What do you mean everybody was tired of waiting? Does anyone else other than you and Marcelo know about us?”
I never told anyone… and there’s no way Nelson would’ve told anyone other than his best friend. Marcelo could’ve said something, but I doubt it…
Mari scoffed and showed her fake shocked expression.
“You’re kidding, right? Please, tell me that you’re kidding.”
“Just say it…”
“I can’t believe, little cousin. You really have been way up in cloud nine with Nelson to not have noticed.”
Cris sighed. At once he felt that conversation was on he didn’t want to have. Not right now, when he was still too happy about how things worked out with him and his swimmer. His heart still thumped louder when he remembered how Nelson came back just to give him an amazing kiss.
And yet his curiosity was bigger. Why am I like this…?
“Again, just say it, Mari. Because if you just wanna tease me, then I’ll just ignore you and be happy.”
“Alright, alright, I’ll tell you. Just don’t turn into one of those guys who can only think about their boyfriends and forget about their cousins,” Mari said. Then she leaned forward as she flashed a mischievous smile. “If you think you and Nelson are a secret, guess again. You two are a very interesting topic among the girls.”
Cris’s mouth hanged open. But the next second, he was smiling again. So everyone knows about us…
For one hand, he loved the idea. Cris was as open as he could about his sexuality.
For the other hand, he was afraid it might be too much for Nelson.
But either way, it’s gonna be okay. Cris simply knew.
“Is that so?” he said, pretending the news wasn’t a surprise to him.
“Stop pretending that you already knew. You might be good at that with your boyfriend, but not with me.
“Fine,” Cris said, blushing at the mention of the word boyfriend.
That’s what me and Nelson are now… The idea alone was enough to make him want to laugh out of joy.
“Then, I’ll tell you the whole thing, cousin of mine. At first, there were a lot of girls jealous because they had lost a great catch to you,” Mari said, too happy about sharing the gossip. “But when that passed, they became interested in where were you two in the relationship. There was even a pool to see when you two would finally hook up.”
“No way…” Cris’ cheeks became a bit redder as he covered his smile with both hands. “I didn’t hear a thing about this…”
“Yeah… I think it was ‘cause you were too busy falling in love with Nelson to notice us here at the ground. But I don’t know. Who am I to say?” Mari said, raising her hands. But the next moment, she let out a dry chuckle. “And I lost the pool, by the way. Thanks for that. Not that you care about your cousin’s wallet.”
“What? You were in it?”
“Of course. There was no way I wouldn’t. And I thought I’d win easily… I was sure you two would’ve hooked up by now. But no. All you did was suck his cock. Thanks for keeping your relationship pure,” she said, not skimping on her sarcasm as she raised a thumb for him.
Cris decided to ignore his cousin sarcasm.
“You’re welcome, Mari,” he said with a bright smile. But then he looked down as his cheeks reddened again. “But being serious. I’m kinda glad we didn’t hook up right away. If we had, maybe I wouldn’t have fallen in love with him…”
“Yeah, I know that… And I love hearing about other people’s love, by the way… it makes me so happy…”
“I know you do. Thanks for listening to me. When I want to talk and when I don’t.” Cris beamed at his cousin. Mari sighed and smiled too. But then he stopped, his face losing some of its colors. “Hey, when you say everybody knows… d-does… dad know too…?”
“That you’re gay? Yeah, I think he was suspicious ever since you brought home your first boyfriend. But I think uncle was sure when he caught you two naked in your bedroom.”
“Stop reminding me that…”
Even though it had happened years ago, the memory was still too embarrassing.
“No way. You getting caught with your boyfriend’s dick in your mouth is still one of the best Christmas memory I have.”
Cris blushed as he shook his head.
“Putting that aside. That’s not what I mean when I ask if dad knows…”
“I know what you mean, cousin. And no, I don’t think he knows about close you and your swimmer have grown in the last few months.”
“Good… that’s good…”
The manager sighed in relief and got back to his now cold breakfast.
“It wouldn’t make any difference, Cris,” Mari said in low and unusually serious voice. “He’s not gonna mad because you’re happy.”
“I know that, but…” Cris pressed his lips as he tried to find the right words to express what he was feeling. “It’s not that I’m happy, it’s because I’m…”
“Because you’re in love with a swimmer from the club,” Mari finished the sentence for his cousin.
“Yeah…” The manager lowered his eyes. “It’s not the first time this happens…”
“Last time was different. Uncle got mad because he thought you were fooling around instead of doing your job. That swimmer’s results were too pathetic for a member of our club.”
“Yeah, I know that but–”
“But when uncle found out the truth, he was mad at the swimmer for yelling and blaming you. He even ended the contract right away when the guy called you nasty names,” Mari reminded Cris. “No matter how harsh he is on you about your future, that’s proof that uncle will protect you no matter the situation.”
“Yeah, I guess… no, you’re right.”
Cris couldn’t help but remembered how angry his father was when that swimmer yelled at the manager.
“That’s right I am. Believe in me when I say this; this time you’re in love with Nelson. As long as your relationship doesn’t get in the way of his results, uncle won’t get mad.”
Cris sighed and when he looked at his cousin again, he was smiling for real. “Thanks for reminding me this, Mari.”
“You’re welcome, cousin.” Mari flashed a huge and sincere smile. “I’m always here to listen to your gay love stories.”
Cris let out a weak chuckle. “You know you can just call it love stories, right?”
“Yeah, I do,” she said, taking another bite of her sausage. “But for some reason, it doesn’t have the same flare.”
The manager chuckled again. “Right…”
“C’mon, little cousin. Now that the serious talk is over, let’s get to the real deal.”
Mari swallowed the rest of her breakfast and put the tray aside. Then she placed her elbows on the table and crossed her fingers.
“Then, Cris. Please, share with your cousin here how do you plan to celebrate with Nelson today. What are all the naughty and kinky ideas that are in your head?” she asked, forcing a deep voice.
The manager blushed and looked around to make sure no one was listening. Then, when he realized what he was doing, he laughed. I’m acting just like Nelson, Cris thought. And he didn’t hate the idea.
“Oya? Are you, by any chance, embarrassed to be overheard?” Mari asked in an even deeper voice, shaking her head at the same time. “That cannot be true.”
“Yeah, it is. But it’s more for Nelson. I don’t think he’s ready to have people knowing about what I plan to do with him later.”
Mari flashed a sly smile as she nodded in approval. “Nice. I bet he’s gonna get more tired with you today than with the competition.”
Cris shared the same sly smile as his cousin. “I’m gonna make sure of that. He’ll be more out of air under the sheet than under the water.”
They looked at each other and laughed at the same time.
“That’s hot, little cousin. I wanna hear all the details later.”
“No way. I’m a gentleman. I don’t suck and tell.”
“Oh, really? You wanna do that to me, Cris? Me, who’s been listening to all your ramblings about Nelson ever since you met him. Wait, scratch that. I started hearing about him even before you met him. So now that you two are finally gonna fool around naked under the sheets, you’re not gonna tell me?”
Cris knew it would be useless to resist his cousin. He never could, ever since they were kids. But if Nelson hears about this, he’s gonna get so embarrassed… not that I wouldn’t like to see that…
As Cris mulled over, Mari leaned back on her seat.
“Okay, little cousin. Fine. Don’t tell me anything,” she said in her normal tone that somehow seemed more intimidating than usual. “I’m just gonna sit around picture all the kinky things you and Nelson are gonna do later. But since I have a poor imagination, I’ll have to ask the girls for a little help.”
The manager pressed his lips to suppress a smile. I knew it… I can never win against Mari…
“Fine… I’ll give you the details tomorrow… If I can walk, that is,” he added with a sly smile.
Mari nodded in approval again. “Nice, little cousin. Make sure to stock up on lotion.”
“I always do.”
As the cousins laughed together, Mari stood up.
“I’m gonna get some milk. Do you want some? Oh, wait. Nelson already gave you some today,” she said with a sly smile as she walked away.
Cris shook his head and then finished the rest of his half-eaten breakfast.
“You’re done?” Mari asked when she was back. “Good. Then let’s get going already.”
“To see your boyfriend swimming, of course,” Mari said, her voice indicating it should be obvious. “What else?”
“You’re going too?” Cris couldn’t hide his surprise.
“Yeah, of course. There’s no way I’m gonna miss something this important in my little cousin’ gay relationship. I’ll probably be the person cheering the most. Well, second. There’s no way I’m gonna beat you.”
Cris smiled. “Then let’s go!”