19 Walking a fine line

Luxemburg. What a boring place. For the thousandth time, Carola Gnocchi looked outside the window of the small restaurant she was in and sighed loudly. She shouldn’t have been here at all. The Year End Championships started soon and she wanted to do her best there. She should be preparing for it right now. Instead she was stuck in the middle of nowhere. Such a small, insignificant tournament like Luxemburg ruined all her plans.
“What are you thinking about?”
Turning back her attention to the table she was sharing with Elise, Stephanie and Angela, the No. 1 shrugged.
“Istanbul. I should prepare for the Championship. But no, instead I am here because it is so close to my hometown and people expect me to win this little shitty tournament. No offense, girls. But if you had been selected for the Year End Championships, you would think alike.”

Nobody said anything. Their fellow German’s arrogance stirred up a deep discomfort in the rest of the group. What a stupid idea, Stephanie thought, to offer her to come along for lunch. Obviously Carola wasn’t only the No. 1 in tennis but a No. 1 party pooper as well.
“I think I will stick to monogamy,” Stephanie spoke into the silence. Her revelation had the promised effect. The girls looked up in wonder. “You know, for a try. Dating two guys at the same time is just awfully exhausting.”
It should do the trick, Stephanie thought. Not that she really had the intention to stop seeing her two favorite ATP players. As a matter of fact, she was even considering a third one. At least her remark got a reaction from Angela who, unconvinced, burst out laughing.
“Have you lost your mind? How can you say goodbye to such pieces of candy? You hit the lotto, honey, you should enjoy it until nothing’s left of them.”
Angela winked and took a sip of her soda as the whole table laughed lightly at her remark. Everyone was relieved Stephanie had given the conversation a turn.

“What about you, Angela? You spent quite some time with your Latin cutie, lately,” Carola chirped, unaware of the maneuver that was necessary due to her. “I mean, that’s what people say, of course. And people say a lot of things.”
Angela made a face and snorted.
“Rumors, rumors.”
A bit taken aback by the words, Angela glanced over at Carola but kept on smiling as if nothing had happened, as if nothing had been said. When Stephanie engaged in a mocking conversation about the advantages and disadvantages of dating fellow ATP players, Angela looked at Elise. Her friend had laughed, smiled and nodded as required. Not that she had seemed to force herself but it didn’t take a lot to notice that she had remained quiet too all along.

Whenever they all four met for dinner Elise would keep quiet about her relationship with Amanda, while the other girls would talk about their adventures or misfortunes with guys openly. By now Stephanie had gotten an inkling what all the changes in Elise meant and she couldn’t have cared less. If it wasn’t for Carola they could have openly talked about all their relationships.
Shaking her head at Elise, Angela apologized implicitly. They couldn’t go and allude to Amanda, here. Carola wasn’t supposed to know. Angela swallowed hard in spite of Elise rolling her eyes and smiling back at her. Knowing Elise and her exuberance, Angela felt it was not easy for her friend to hide her joy. And even though she was smiling at the other girls’ stories, her own situation wasn’t funny. But there was no other way, Angela thought. Or maybe there was? She looked at Elise who had joined in the conversation with Stephanie and Carola as if she had no story of her own to tell.