Somewhere outside a muzzin called for prayer and Sasha checked her watch. The singing had woken her up at night and she couldn’t go back to sleep again. It wasn’t the jetlag this time. She had started worrying again about the picture and only three hours later she had fallen into a fitful sleep.
While lying awake she had made a decision and after getting up in the morning had called Jaro. He was in training in Great Britain but had promised to call her back as soon as he got out of the shower.
She checked her watch again. What time was it in Britain?
She walked to the window and looked outside. The Bosporus looked like a wide grey ocean, bleak and cold. Sasha shivered. When her telephone rang she jumped, but picked it up immediately.
“What was taking you so long,” she snapped, but then reminded herself that she needed Jaro.
“Listen,” she purred. “I told you about this photo print I received. I think I know who took it.”
Jaro was listening. When Sasha had told him about the picture he had not taken it seriously in the beginning but had understood that it could become an issue for himself, too. If Sasha ‘s gay rumors would surface again, rumors about himself were only a matter of time.
“I’m not hundred percent sure, however,” Sasha continued. “We need to follow him and find out.”
“We?” Sasha could hear Jaro smile.
“Well, I have to play some tennis, of course,” she grinned. “But after that I will help you!”
Over the last couple of months they had become good friends and confidants, respectful of their efforts in their respective sports. The marriage proposal had put Sasha off in the beginning, but she was willing to reconsider it.
“I’ll take the next flight to Istanbul,” Jaro offered. “Send me a picture of this guy, so I can study his face.”
Sasha agreed and hung up. During the player party last night she had taken a picture of Tom Richardson with her mobile and she forwarded it to Jaro immediately.
She checked her watch again. Only thirty minutes until she would meet her team for the pre-match practice session. Her racquet bag was already packed but she checked it another time.
Just when she was about to shoulder it, her phone rang again. It was Jaro.
“I’ve met this guy,” he blurted out. “When I visited you in Rome I went to this gay bar. And there he was. We had a little chat in the bathroom over some lotion?”
“You had a chat over some lotion?” Sasha was confused. “Is that some code for something gay guys do in public bathrooms?” Jaro laughed.
“No, he was actually being very nice,” he admitted thinking back to the encounter, but then he became serious. “He might have recognized me though.”
“I dare say you are right,” Sasha nodded gravely. “He is one of the media guys and he must have seen us around the tournament site or taken pictures of us during the party. So when he saw you in the gay club he must have come to the conclusion that there was something false about our relationship.” She sighed. There was no use in blaming Jaro for being incautious. Instead they had to do something.
“Don’t come to the hotel,” she said. “Come to the courts. We’ll meet after my match.”
They hung up and Sasha stuffed the phone into her pocket. She was late already. Picking up her bags she remembered something. She went back to the bedside and opened her travel case that lay on the floor next to the night stand. On top of her laptop was the brown envelope that caused so much disconcertment.
She grabbed it and put it into her racquet bag to later show it to Jaro.