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Fiction

Zero still wonder where Jude was and what he is doing now.

He knows exactly where he has made a mistake, but he is not sure if he would have done it differently now after two months.

He tried, God witnessed him, took a cell phone several times to call or send the message, then he changed his mind and just dropped it down.

What he could offer Jude at all? A boy from orphanage with traumas which has not yet cured. Bad boy LA Devil. A lost boy who did not know what love was.

Then he would fall into bad days and do what he knew best. He slipped into the insignificant one night stand after which he would feel even worse.

He did not dare ask anyone where Jude was. Jude did not work in the club because he made it clear that he did not want to have any connections with him or Oscar.

Then Zero did not realize it very seriously, but now he sees that Jude really thought every word he said the last time they saw it.

Zero often remembered those when he was lying awake in his huge cold bed. He did not like that bed or that apartment. All this luxury never could have replaced the warmth and intimacy of Jude's small apartment.

As time passed, he became aware that what he and Jude had had was something special. Of course he was aware of it back then, but he did not know how to show it. He was afraid he would ruin everything, as he was at the end. Perhaps better before, than later, was a consoling thought, though he knew that it meant nothing.

Simply put, he could not stop thinking about Jude.

He did not like to feel like this. It's like he was captured. Where are the days when he could land anywhere and be with anyone, that absolutely does not mean anything to him?

So it was easier, painless and did not require any emotions.

Even worse, he knew he did not just feel that way. He hurt Jude too and for the first time in his life he was sorry. For the first time, someone else's feelings were more important than his own. Jude deserved somebody better, better than him.

Why did he so foolishly think that he would go unharmed through life? For the first time he realized that love was something palpable ... Love?

Is it possible that what they had was love?

How could he even know it, when he did not even know what it was all about?

Jude was ready to give it all. Whole yourself. Over time, Zero became aware of this. So why did he just let him go?

*

Actually, everything he has so far gained it did not matter to him. Neither glory nor money. Nothing was fulfilled him anymore. He has been less and less visited by glamorous entertainment, bringing less and less lovers, and spending more and more time in the gym or in training.

If so far been a lonely wolf in the team, now it just got worse. He did not want the company of these people. In a way he also blamed them for Jude leaving.

*

Every day he was thinking more about his departure. He had several bids and submitted a request to the board to move to the new club. Possible as far from LA.

There was no big dust or any problems with it. Since he spent only a year in LA even Oscar agreed.

On a day when a plane takes off, Zero does not even want to throw the last look on the city. On the town where he grew up, where he became a star, where he found love and lost it even faster.

He hoped to look forward erase all memories and sadness. Was he sought too much after all?


This time Zero went to the end. Namely, the club that will play now is in Europe, more precisely in Paris. Perhaps the "city of love" was not the best place to escape from love, but ... it was far enough.

It took him a few months to learn the language as much as he needed for now. He getting to know the new team and catching the rhythm slowly.

The bad voice followed him to this place, but it did not matter, now he was a new Zero.

Maybe it was because he was older, but here was more calm. From here he could look back on his life so far.

He had sinned a lot and could not blame unfortunate childhood for everything. Although Jude did not have a clue about it, he had a lot to do with new Zero's life. Here Zero felt it even more.

Paris was even more beautiful than they were talking. Certain consolation Zero would find in the tour of the city. That old-fashioned thing would calm his heedless nature. People were quite different on this continent. One thing was that there were no Stars here. It is rare if someone stops him on the street. People were really decent and unobtrusive.

Colleagues in the club were ready to help him, even though he was a stranger. Of them Zero had a lot to learn and was happy to absorb new experiences and knowledge.

He liked to hang out with them even outside the official time. Especially with one of his teammates and his family. Felix and his wife Lara had twins who had already attending school and worshiped Zero. Zero worsiped them too.

Sometimes it would be uncomfortable for him to spend that much time with them, but they all accepted him practically as a member of the family and assured him that it was all right.

He did not want to read or know anything about American basketball, even less about LA Devils. He broke all links with the past when he came here. The memory of Jude was still painful, but it lightly faded and the pain diminished to the bearable measure.

Felix and Lara tried to persuade him several times to get on date with one of their friends. Zero has firmly refused, even did not want to talk about it.

He met Noelle after nearly a year living in Paris. She was working in a small library near the stadium. Sometimes Zero had come to borrow a book or a dictionary. Over time they became friends. She was happy to help him learn French, explain their customs, recommend a new book, or a place worth visiting.

She studied in the USA at one time on student exchange and spoke English excellent. She was also a basketball fan. Still, most of all she saw how Zero was lost here and gladly helped him.

She liked Zero, but she estimated he was pulling some things out of the past, so she'd better not try anything.

Eventually she began to visit his friends with him. But on every question about their relationship, Zero just shaking his head.

Sex needs Zero satisfy with some randomly selected people who he met in a bar and never mentioned it. Anyway, that did not mean anything.

Time passed and Zero felt all the better in his new life. He contributed to the Club's successes, had friends and loved the city in which he now lived.

He thought he finally reached the balance and was pleased. Perhaps everything in life had its time and place. Maybe true love find just once in a lifetime, and he has missed his chance. So, let it be this way .


Life was again beautiful. Everything was going a normal course.

Noelle invited this weekend all to dinner. The friend she was studying with came to visit.

Zero loved socializing with his friends. He did not doubt that Noelle's friend would be just find. Maybe she meets them with him for some other reason. He hoped she found someone with whom would be happy.

He had some obligation before dinner. After that he would get some wine and come to help her if she needed it.

He had a strange feeling he could not get off all day. Especially when he got to Noelle's apartment.

There is no one else to come in yet. Zero offer her help, so set up a table. When the door bell rings, she asks him to open.

Zero is facing the kitchen, as Noelle tells him something when he opens the door, and still does not see who is it. When he heard "Good evening" he almost dropped glass from hand, that voice would recognize it anywhere ...

"Jude?" He turned to him, not believing with his own eyes. Jude smiles nervous. After a few long moments, he finally talks "Did I miss the apartment, did Noelle live here?" Zero gets into the apartment "You're not, she is in the kitchen" so let him in.

Felix and Lara arrive in the meantime. Jude and Zero are still in total shock but are trying to collect oneself.

Zero has never talked about the past. Now he has become aware that he will soon have to say something about the past. Noelle greeted all of them and presented Jude, and then both, Jude and Zero said they know each other from before .

Everyone looks surprised, so Jude briefly says he was a former Zero’s agent and how they had not seen since Zero left. He deliberately sought to reduce the amount of data, because Zero has obviously not mentioned him so far.

After that dinner usually passes in a pleasant gathering. Jude speaks about life in LA and wonder how they live here. All praise Noelle cooking.

Jude and Zero try to hide the tension as much as they can. It's been nearly two years since they were not seen. Zero secretly watched as Jude changed. Not only physically, but how it became more relaxed. From conversation he learned that he now worked as an advisor at a small sports school. He had nothing to do with LA Devils.

They both went to different sides. Zero knew nothing of Jude's private life, but he seemed happy.

This encounter was a strange combination of circumstances. Jude has shaken his world again, but Zero is constantly repeating himself that this is just one evening and that he can withstand.

That night Zero after a long time dreams of Jude again. Wake up at some time of night bathed in sweat. Jude said he stayed for a week and was aware that he would probably have to see him again.

He knows that his friends will have to tell the truth about the past. He was most are ashamed of what was a coward then. In addition, he is aware that the feelings toward Jude did not change.

He can not sleep, and today he has a very important game. What he should supposed to do this time? Perhaps it would be best to confront Jude and accept whatever he said. With these thoughts somehow he calms down and finally falls asleep again.


After the game, at Zero’s great surprise, Jude is waiting for him in front of the dressing room. "Hey" he says with a smile "can we talk?" Zero greeted him, still dull and of course agree.

They drive off to the nearby restaurant and order a drink.

"I still can not believe we met here" Jude nods. Zero looks at him "Life is full of surprises, but I'm really glad to see you again."

Jude looked satisfied "I hope did not allow too much asking for a drink?"

Zero shook his head "Why not? So we used to be friends ... " and then realize what Jude is thinking "Oh, so Noelle and I are just friends. I thought maybe you two were ... " so both laughed at the misunderstanding.

After that, they are a bit more relaxed and talk about everything, except their relationship. Zero calls him for another drink in his apartment, but Jude says he's tired, so Zero drives him to the hotel.

Actually, Jude thinks they do not have to go into something. Something that will hurt both of them.

Zero is slightly hurt but understands. Maybe Jude no longer feels anything. Maybe it's time for both of them to move on. They become new people in the meantime.

Jude long lying awake. Of course he remembered everything that was good and bad. Though he came to the other side of the world, it would not be fair to restrain Zero life again. It seemed to him that Zero was well and he wanted to stay that way.

The next couple of days Zero does not hear either Noelle or Jude. Maybe it's better this way. The only thing he would regret not to salute him before leave-taking.

But Noelle realizes that something happening. She and Jude spent time recalling the student days. She did not even mention Zero until the last day when called him again for dinner.

During the dinner, she tries both to include in conversation. See that both of them feel something and she will not let Jude just go away.

Noelle says she has to go to the library, but she'll be back soon. When the two of them stay alone, Jude suddenly asks "Why did you go so far?" Zero does not dare look at him because knows he will not be able to hide how he feels. Jude approached him and sat beside him "Zero ..." The way Jude spoke his name was enough for Zero to lean over and kiss him.

Anyway, if this is just a farewell kiss., Zero wants to feel it again. Jude replied, because he feels the same.

At the same time they both rose, Jude wrote a message to Noelle and they hurried to Zero's apartment. Barely shut the door when they begin to touch and kiss each other, grinningly looking for proximity. Nothing else matters just to join again. To be what they did not succeed then. Become one.

Noelle smiles when she sees her plan succeeded. She did a good job, because loves both of them. They deserve finally be happy again.

The next day Zero drive Jude at the airport. They kissed like people around them do not exist. Before departure Zero just whispered "come back" and heavy heart let him go.

For a month, he does not hear anything about Jude. Anyway, he are grateful for the opportunity they have received.

And then, one morning, Jude just appears at his door. First he thinks he dreams because he woke him, but when Jude embraced him, Zero whispered "I love you" and dragged him to bed. They just cling to each other. This was one of those perfect moments.

They spend all day in bed and appear at Noelle's door in the evening. She hugged both of them, and just says "finally."

Indeed, people do not say in vain that Paris is a city of love.

March 24, 2021 10:30

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