19 Walking a fine line

“You’re on a roll, kiddo,” Angela said with a grin. She was standing in the hotel room door and waved her hand with two bottles of soda.
“She was just a qualifier,” Elise shrugged but couldn’t help smiling. She really was on a roll and if she could make the quarter final here, she would be back in the Top 20.
“You double-bageled her.”
“She’ll get over it,” Elise grinned.
Angela whistled and sat down on the bedside. “I like your new attitude.”
She handed the soda to Elise who settled down on a chair. Elise had changed so much over the summer that it made Angela smile to think of the timid girl she had visited in her hotel room in spring and had asked her about boys and eventually about girls.

“How is Amanda?”
Elise smiled. She loved talking about the Australian and Angela was one of the few people she could talk to.
“Good. Preparing for Istanbul.”
“Will you go, too?”
“Yes,” Elise answered. She paused. A thought was circling in her mind. “I just got to be careful not to draw too much attention.”
“If you keep on playing like that, you’ll have a good excuse next year to be at the Year End Championships,” Angela said calmly. Elise nodded, but not convinced.
“We just have to keep a low profile,” she continued.
“Is it worrying you?” Angela looked at her friend who only shrugged and looked at her soda bottle.
“No.” But then she sat back and took a sip. “I’m ok with it. All my friends know by now, my family knows, and they are all ok with it. But I think there’s already a lot of talk about us, and it’s worrying Amanda.”

Amanda was older and she probably knew much better than Elise how the tour worked in these matters. Perhaps she had good reason to be worried.
“Yes, everyone knows about you two.” Angela revealed. ” Players, staff. They talk about it a lot.”
The confirmation didn’t cheer Elise up.
“Elise, would you ever consider making it public?”
Elise looked at her friend in surprise.
“No,” she stammered. “It’s not possible. Not until we retire.”
“Others have done it,” Angela remarked but regretted it almost immediately. Monica Jordan’s infamous coming-out was probably not very motivational for Elise. Looking into Elise’s face she realized that her friend was thinking about Monica as well but was surprised to see her suddenly laugh.

“I should order a red dress. Just in case I get to a Grand Slam final anytime soon and feel the need to declare my love for Amanda,” Elise said grinning. Angela cracked up. The thought was so absurd that she almost fell off her the bed laughing. It was even more absurd to believe that Monica had pulled such a stunt, she thought. Elise was right. It was not possible. Not anymore. Times had changed and the red dress on a Wimbledon Centre Court was only a childhood memory.
“It’s not a bad thing,” Elise mumbled into Angela’s laughter. Her friend leaned forward. Elise had said it so quietly, she wasn’t sure if it was a question or a statement.
“It’s a good thing to love someone, right?”
Angela smiled over to her friend, but the graveness of Elise made her sad.
“Yes,” she answered. “Yes, it is.”
“I don’t want to make it public. I don’t want us to be the talk of the town. But I don’t want to lie about it either.”
Angela nodded. This sounded like a task even harder than winning a Golden Slam.