Annika Sturm is German and has been living in England for over 10 years. Aside from working in marketing, she loves running, hanging out with her friends and has very recently started writing just for fun. As she is fascinated by football, she would love to see more open-mindedness towards homosexuality in sports in future.
This is the story of two boys, two friends, two professional footballers. One day they discover they have feelings for each other that go beyond just friendship. Suddenly the boys find themselves having to make difficult decisions with life-changing consequences. Together they embark on a tough journey against prejudice and discrimination. Can their affection for each other survive in the world of football?
This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of geographic facts and references of football teams and tournaments, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
For previous instalments (chapters 1 – 6) click here.
It was only just starting to get light when the plane took off from Hamburg airport heading towards Cologne. Alex sat in first class and watched the Elbe slowly disappear under the clouds. He was evidently recognised by his fans and was trying to give as many autographs as possible.
Once he had arrived, he called his agent and manager and explained that he could not come to training for the rest of the week as Tom would need his support and he had already flown to Cologne. They were outraged and his manager wasn’t looking forward to explaining his absence from training to the press. Alex committed to being back in Hamburg for the match on Saturday. He was aware that he caused problems at his club with such erratic behaviour but he didn’t care as long as Tom was going to be alright.
He decided to rent a car for the next few days. He chose the best and fastest model they had available and hit the motorway towards Dortmund. Tom had called in sick from training that morning in anticipation of the story breaking imminently. Alex headed straight to his new flat in the city centre. His heart was racing as he ran up the flights of stairs, all the way up to Tom’s penthouse suite. He rang the bell and knocked on the door as well.
Tom opened and stared at him before he fell into his arms. He hugged and squeezed Alex and pulled him into his flat, quickly closing the door behind them. ‘Hey,’ Alex stroked his cheeks and kissed him. Tom jumped and wrapped his legs around Alex’s hips as he kept hugging him. The boys couldn’t stop kissing each other.
Alex slowly carried his friend further into what he assumed would have to be the lounge and gently sat him down on the sofa. Tom studied his face as he softly ran his finger over his nose, mouth and cheeks. ‘You’re here,’ he whispered, ‘you’re really here. You’re crazy!’ He laughed and Alex hugged him again. ‘How are you?’ He asked him and gently stroked his hair. Tom smiled at him. ‘Better now,’ they looked into each other’s eyes, ‘you must be in so much trouble.’ Tom said and shook his head. ‘Oh, you know I’m used to it now. Sod them all.’ Alex grinned and Tom chuckled again.
Alex took a moment to look around. ‘Nice flat Mr Stiller.’ He whistled admiring the apartment. Tom followed his eyes. ‘Yeah,’ he sighed, ‘I was hoping I could show you under different circumstances.’ Alex nodded. ‘When is this story going to break?’ ‘Tomorrow I think,’ Tom cast his eyes down, ‘I’m frightened Alex.’ He said quietly. Alex pulled up his chin and kissed him lovingly. ‘Don’t be. I’m here now. I’ve told them I’ll stay till Saturday. I had to commit to be back for the match though.’ ‘You’re staying that long?’ Tom’s eyes lit up. Alex looked at him in surprise. ‘Of course you muppet. What do you think?’ Tom had to laugh again.
Alex looked at his friend and felt so madly in love with him, he couldn’t have found the words to describe his feelings even if he had tried to. ‘Tommy,’ he slowly let his hands slip under his friend’s jumper, ‘why don’t you give me a tour of your flat,’ he kissed him, ‘I’m particularly interested in the bedroom,’ he picked him up and carried him across the flat again and Tom put up a struggle giggling being carried around, ‘what have we got here?’, Alex said as he entered Tom’s bedroom, ‘this looks like just the room I’m after.’ He threw Tom onto the bed. His friend was chuckling with laughter and Alex lay down on top of him stroking his body. ‘It’s so good to see you.’ Tom said and beamed at him lovingly before he closed his eyes and let Alex tenderly kiss and stroke his worries away. Just for a moment that morning, Alex managed to make Tom forget about everything.
They had gently dozed off together and Alex jumped and sat up as he realised he’d been asleep. He looked around the bedroom and let himself fall back onto the cushion. It was such a beautiful room. Light and airy, the bed was huge and so comfortable. He stretched and turned towards Tom, who had his back to him as he was still asleep on his side. His gentle breathing made Alex smile. He kissed his shoulder and cheek and turned him towards him. ‘Alex.’ Tom mumbled half asleep still and put his arms around his neck. Alex kissed him gently and let his hands run up and down his naked back. Tom slowly opened his eyes and smiled at him sleepily.
‘Hey,’ Alex whispered, ‘are you feeling better now?’, he grinned cheekily and Tom slapped him against the chest, ‘ouch.’ Alex giggled. ‘What time is it?’ Tom stretched and wiped his eyes. ‘Almost 1 pm.’ ‘Ah dammit,’ Tom sighed, ‘I have to warn my family before this story breaks,’ his face turned serious, ‘they have no idea Alex. My dad will kill me.’ He gulped and closed his eyes. Alex nodded and stroked his hair. ‘Okay,’ he said, ‘let’s go then.’ Tom looked at him. ‘What?’ He forced a laugh. ‘I said let’s go. About time you introduce me to your parents as your boyfriend,’ he touched his nose, ‘don’t you think? I mean, we’re quite serious and all that.’ ‘Have you lost your mind completely now?’, Tom asked in disbelief. Alex grinned, ‘they’ll kill you. I come from the most catholic family, you know what they’re like,’ Tom shook his head, ‘with a bit of luck my brother may just hear me out. It’ll be messy Alex.’ Alex kissed him again. It was a long and gentle kiss. ‘I can do messy quite well myself now. Loads of practice over the last few weeks.’ Tom smiled shyly and held his friend’s head. ‘You’re crazy.’ ‘Yeah,’ Alex nodded, ‘crazy about you.’