ONE MAN ONE WOMAN
Fandom: German National team
Pairing: Klinsmann/Loew, various
Disclaimer: I still don't know people mentioned in this story and I still hope it isn't true. The plot is still only my fantasy
Summary: life between two matches.
Author's notes, previous chapters and music here
Timeline for the series is here
One Man One Woman
She takes a step closer, uncertain if she even should be here - he didn't call. The bus is towering above them, like a big untamed animal, growling angrily - the motor is already on.
Players are walking silently, heads bowed. She takes another step towards them, into the circle of light.
First drops of rain are falling from the sky. She doesn't have an umbrella with her, left it in the car - but she won't need it anyway. The rain was threatening to start since the beginning of the match and still hasn't started.
In her gold-colored coat she should be easy to notice as she stands here, on the pavement, in the light of a street lamps, but they are not looking. Bastian is not looking - he's walking alone, his back rigid. All alone, as if others are afraid to touch him even by accident, like he has some contagious disease. Miro is not looking - he's talking on the phone, voice soft and almost tender. Micha is not looking, angrily storming into the bus. Tim notices her and tries to smile - the smile doesn't come out right, and he climbs the bus steps quickly, hiding behind the walls.
Some of them are talking, even laughing.
She takes another step. Headlights blind her for a second.
Jogi appears as if out of nowhere. He's tense - she notices it even from here. Tense and composed, but there is something slightly off… As if he's unsure of himself but doesn't want to admit it even in his mind, but still can't help it.
A brief flashback, a memory - young, handsome, he's reaching for her hand to put a small box - a ring - into it...
She gently touches the sleeve of his jacket with two fingers as he passes her.
He whirls around, eyes bright, alert, on the defense, and he wonders if he has recognized her.
- What are you doing here? - Harsh, almost angry - or maybe annoyed? - words, but his voice is so low that she knows - people around, even Flick who's smirked understandingly and walked two steps away from them, don't hear a word.
- I just wanted to know how you are doing. - Her hand is still lying on his arm.
He shakes his head.
- I'm fine, love.
He isn't. But she's grateful for his attempt at pretending.
She knows that he's hurt and worried, and tired too, and she would have wanted that he allowed her to be close, to help... But he won't. For him it is easier this way.
- Good luck, love. - And she kisses him softly on the cheek, just a touch of lips to the skin. He won't allow more before his players and his co-workers.
- Don't worry, love. - His attempt at smiling is much more successful then Tim's before, but could he fool her? Her, the woman that loves him, that lived with him long enough and watched him closely enough to really know him? Maybe he thinks he can.
- Don't worry, - he repeats, looking in her eyes. - It'll be ok.
She doesn't answer, just moves her hand to sweep away the little feather that somehow got plastered to his sleeve, and he's walking away already.
She moves back, and the bus door closes with a quiet 'whooooshh'. The big car starts the maneuver.
And she turns away and walks to a parking lot alone.
When she hears his voice, her first thought is that her ears are playing tricks on her. After all, in the noise of the bar it is easy to mishear...
But... But it's his voice, she knows.
And slowly turns around.
He is sitting two tables away from her. She can see his back, a phone he is holding close to his ear, his fingers absently touching the rim of the cup. An empty glass is standing at the edge of the table - he was drinking, so early in the day.
She is looking at him. Almost half a year, and here he is, back, as close as he can be... There are some coincidences that are much more bizarre than any fiction can be.
She can't take her eyes off the dark-blue scarf he is wearing around his neck.
He puts his phone down meanwhile and still doesn’t take the cup. The phone is new and the scarf is new.
She shakes herself out of this small revere and stands up. Clicking of her heels is like a thunder in her own ears, and she's forgotten to put on the pendant she likes the most, and her blouse is maybe a bit too bright for this skirt, and she should have painted her lips once more...
- Hello, Lothar, - she sits down on the empty chair at his table. He stands up in greeting - gesture of politeness - and the surprised look on his face disappears in a matter of seconds.
- Marijana, - he smiles.
Silence. She has no idea what to say, and he's in no hurry to speak, obviously waiting for her to begin.
His face is drawn. He's either hadn't slept properly or maybe worried about something. Or maybe...
- You look tired, - her voice is almost tender.
He smiles again.
- We've lost, you know.
She nods. But it's not that, it's not about the team, she is sure. She's seen Lothar this way, not often, but sometimes - and never could understand why is he suddenly looking so out of sorts...
- He's not here. - It's not a question, but a realization, and understanding too... This she wishes she’s never understood.
He simply nods. Just a curt gesture. As if it's not worth talking about.
She could have hated him for it.
For giving himself out so completely to another, for marrying her despite it, for loving her - but not loving enough, for making her love him...
Maybe she could have asked him to come back, and maybe he would have returned - they were a happy couple after all. But she can't.
He looks at her intently, and she suddenly notices that she's gripping a fork - tightly enough to bend it.
She puts the poor guiltless piece of silverware down. His eyes don't leave her hands for a second.
- I'm sorry.
That's all he says.
She suddenly wants to slap him across the face.
He dares to say it to her. She loves him, and he has nothing to say but 'I'm sorry'...
The shadow falls across the table, and she jerks her head up - just to see Hansi Flick standing right in front of her. She didn't hear his footsteps, like he's appeared out of the thin air. He has this scary ability...
Lothar reaches out to shake Flick's hand, but still looks at her. He is a little uncomfortable, if he ever is, but maybe relieved because this unnecessary attempt at talking has come to an end thanks to Flick. Maybe he’s meeting here with his current lover – is Hansi as foolish as she is?
She shakes her head slightly. No. Probably not.
But she stands up, and as Lothar is standing up too, she kisses him on the cheek. Just a soft touch of lips, a kiss given to a friend.
Straightens up and smiles brightly at both men. Notices the corner of Flick’s lips twitch – he’s trying to hide the smirk. As if she cares.
- Good luck, - it’s to Lothar. And she is sincere in her wish.
- And to you, - answers he after a short pause.
Nothing more to say.
She waves and walks away, leaving them to their coffee and conversations. Her back is straight, and her stilettos are drumming out a steady rhythm over the floor tiles as she walks towards the exit, smile still on her face.
Maybe she will cry. But it will be later.
The air is filled with scents of freshly baked bread, marzipan and cinnamon. Baskets with cakes and long loafs in the shop-windows, flowers blossoming in a big pot before the entrance, and German flag is flying above the owner’s name – very well-known name.
Mischievous smile appears on her face. Girls can say whatever they want about diets, but she is going to commit a crime against her figure and buy herself something sweet and tasty and enjoy it. And after all, she won’t forgive herself if she doesn’t visit the famous bakery, who knows when she’ll happen upon this place again.
The bell rings when she opens the door, and tall man in jeans and white apron over the white t-shirt who is carrying the big tray loaded with buns smiles at her before disappearing at the back of the shop.
The air inside is conditioned, pleasant. Elderly woman behind the counter greets her warmly, her eyes smiling from behind big round glasses.
She is alone here – not surprising, at this time of day. Choosing is a hard task, and the paper bag is already filled with delicious looking things – and she’s surprised that it costs much less than she imagined looking at this pile.
The bell rings again as she puts the change back into her wallet, signaling the arriving of another customer, and she turns at the sound. Young woman with two small children enters the shop.
She takes her bag from the counter and freezes, noticing the movement at her right – the man is walking between the shelves, and she thinks that she knows him…
- Bernd? – She calls softly.
The man turns his head and yes – even though she’s seen him only once, for maybe a minute, she recognizes him instantly. Bernd.
He’s moving forward, obviously wondering who has called him by the name – and she realizes that she’s a coward. Because she runs away.
Almost runs. Children are almost yelling, choosing their sweets, women are laughing, and nobody notices her when she walks quickly towards the door, barely keeping herself from running. And only when the door closes behind her and aroma of jasmine feels her nostrils, she allows herself to breathe again.
It was a stupid thing to do, she knows. But what was stupid – to call or to run?
She takes a bite off the chocolate bun to calm herself. It tastes wonderfully.
The day is wonderful.
And now she understands why his face seemed familiar to her.
She takes another bite.