The muezzin was going at it again and it seemed like he was standing right outside the window.
Tom pulled the white, clean pillow over his head to shut out the singing but the pillow cover was stiff and it hurt his beaten face.
He tried to recall the moment he saw the bowl flying at him for the first time. He had ducked in surprise but then felt a fist on his cheek. Sasha had punched him right in the face. Suddenly there were Martina and Andrea who tried to tear Tom and Sasha apart, while at the same time shouting at him. Why did you do that? Why did you do it? It was then that it dawned on him that this had to do with his pictures.
But the pictures were gone. How did they know about it? His thoughts had been racing. Someone else was using them. Someone else was probably blackmailing the girls. He looked up to Sasha who was kicking and hitting blow after blow, to explain the delicate situation when the now empty punch bowl flew at him for the second time. Being held by Martina, he couldn’t dodge.
Why had he done it? Why?
Outside the door he could hear nurses walking along the corridor. He was looking for the button to call one of them in, as he needed a painkiller for his head. But he couldn’t find it and he felt too weak to yell for them. Moreover, his headache probably was caused as much from the bowl as from wracking his brain. Why had he done it? And why had it all gone wrong?
He wanted to do good. Yes, he really wanted to. But it had been wrong to pursue the idea without the consent of the players. But which of them would have agreed to support his idea? None, he was certain about it. He never wanted to do harm, and to think that some unknown person owned all the evidence and was clearly about to do some harm was terrifying. He had to speak to the players, not only Sasha, Martina and Andrea. There was also Amanda and Elise, who had not taken part in the fight, so they probably didn’t know about the pictures he had taken of them in Wimbledon. They needed to be warned. Yes, he had to prevent the worst and help them.
He sat up and leaned over to grab his jacket that was lying on the chair and get out his mobile, when there was a knock on the door. The door was opened and Tom straightened up ready to give the Turkish nurse a smile, when his heart stopped.
It really was him. Ted Curry was standing in the door, looking gorgeous and smiling at Tom like the British dork he was, even though no one ever had seemed to realize that except Tom. He had raised his left hand to wave at Tom.
“What are you doing here? How do you know I’m here?” Tom stared at his ex-lover. He must be dreaming. It took several hours to get from London to Istanbul. “How did you get here so fast?”
“Oh, I was already here,” Ted explained, stepping carefully into the room and looking for a place to sit down but the only chair in the room was occupied with Toms belongings.
Under the sheets, Tom moved his feet to the side, and understanding the gesture, Ted sat down at the bedside.
“I wanted to talk to you,” Ted began. “I flew here this morning to talk to you. There is something I need to tell you that is haunting my mind. And now all this happened and I’m afraid it’s all too late.” He buried his face in his hands.
“What are you talking about? It’s not too late!” Tom couldn’t believe what he had just heard. Ted was here to reconcile. He still wanted to be with Tom. “We can do that. And you were right about Thirty Love. I should have never done that.”
“But that’s exactly what I’m talking about. It’s too late because I lost the photos, I lost all the files and I’m afraid someone has them and is trying to blackmail the players. Amanda told me because Elise found one of the pictures you had taken of them in Wimbledon. Someone slipped it under her door in Luxembourg.” A silence occupied the room as broad as the Bosporus. Then Tom breathed in sharply.
“You stole my pictures?”
Ted nodded ashamed. “Yes, I did. I’m sorry. I was just so scared that you would go on with this idea.”
“And you lost them?” Again Ted nodded. His shoulders had sunk and he hung his head.
“You know you are a dork,” Tom said. Ted pressed his lips together. He nodded. Tom couldn’t help but feel a rush of warmth and love flowing through his veins. He reached out and grabbed Ted’s hand.
“Will you help me get them back?”
Ted looked up and again he nodded. But seeing the look in Tom’s eyes, he suddenly smiled and nodded even more. Yes, he would. Of course, he would. They were in this together. The smiled at each other like the two British dorks they were.