“I am so glad that we avoided Cherry Tree, tonight. It is like everyone goes there and you almost feel like you are having dinner in the players’ lounge. At least here, it is quieter. And more intimate.”
Putting an end to her French muttering, Agathe abandoned to contemplate over her menu only to smile at Elise who sat in front of her. Next to Amanda. The French player turned her head around to stare at her friend and doubles partner Monica who had cleared her voice, as if to get the attention of the table.
“So, Cincinnati here we go,” Monica announced. “With the Open coming up, how are you two feeling about it? How are you managing to reconcile your professional life and the personal one? It is never easy, especially at the beginning, isn’t it?”
Amanda grinned at Elise. Surely Agathe and Monica had planned to take advantage of the meal to inquire about their pet project – Amanda and Elise. Knowing Monica, Amanda hadn’t expected any subtlety in the first place, but she could sense Elise swallowing.
“It’s fine. We are fine,” they said in unison. Agathe and Monica looked at each other, immediately reading the simultaneous answer correctly. Elise and Amanda looked down at the tablecloth.
“Have you told your parents already?” Agathe asked Elise calmly.
When parents were players’ coaches, it always tended to make relationships more complicated. Gay relationships, on top of all, for Elise. Nervously, the French-German player grabbed her napkin and began to draw invisible circles on it.
“It takes time, you know, to find the right moment to come up with the best way to say what I have to say,” she explained stuttering. “So, I am working on it.” Elise glanced over to Amanda, who gave her an affirmative nod.
“Little by little, step by step,” Agathe said touching Elise’s arm. “I know your father. And I remember when I told him about me. I know, it’s going to be different when it’s your own child and not just a player you coach but there is no reason for it not to go well. Don’t be worried.”
Elise swallowed hard and briefly nodded to Agathe. It was nice of her friend to buoy her up, but she had tried so often to bring up the topic with her parents and every time she had failed. She had no clue how to create the “right moment” or if there ever was a good moment to tell her parents that she had been lying to them about so many things for almost two month now.
“I’m not worried,” she finally said. Elise was grateful when the waiter arrived and they ordered their food. She didn’t want to think about the big step she had to take sooner or later.
Relaxing next to Amanda she remembered something she wanted to ask Monica.
“Do you know anything about Task Tennis,” Elise addressed the older player.
“What?” Elise couldn’t tell from Monica’s face whether she was surprised or taken aback.
“Well, you know, Tennis Nurse,” she said uneasily. Perhaps she shouldn’t have mentioned it. A sudden thought came to her mind. Maybe Monica had been part of the group of eight players. Elise thought it was probably not wise to tell Monica about Morgana’s research.
“I read an older novel,” she lied awkwardly. “There was a reference to that game. I thought you knew more about it? It sounds like good fun.”
Elise noticed that Agathe and Monica exchanged a quick glance.
“Yes,” Monica answered with a shrug. “I read that too back in the days. But why do you think I know more about it? It’s ficticious.”
“Is it?” Elise said as casually as possible, knowing she was walking on thin ice. “I heard there might be some truth in it.”
But Monica kept a sphinx-like expression and laughed instead of answering Elise’s question. When the appetizer was served the conversation went on to doubles and tactics.