Categories > Original > Drama0 Reviews
[Soccer Fic] Juan Mata decides it's time for freedom.
Juan knew it was time. Time to be honest, to tell the truth. He’d always believed that was impossible to be both openly gay and a professional footballer, having had it drummed into him by the few people that knew, but recently, the Spaniard had grown to have a different outlook. He could see himself telling his family, telling his teammates, and the prospect of that was exciting, but predominantly terrifying.
He sat up and climbed half heartedly out of his bed, his brain chanting “Today you will tell them,” at him like a mantra. He knew how wrong it could go, but he couldn’t resist. As soon as training was finished, he’d find as many board members as possible. His agent was aware of what Juan had planned, and was concerned as to whether Juan would have a job after the cat was out of the bag.
The Spaniard climbed into his car and drove to training, his hands shaking against his steering wheel. Training sped by quicker than Juan had wanted and, before long, he was sat in front of almost the entire senior Chelsea FC board. Doubts crept into his mind as he realised that he had no idea what he was going to say.
“I need to tell you all something. I understand that this will most definitely affect my career, but I feel that I need to be honest. I-I’m... I date men.”
They hadn’t said much, but what they had said hadn’t been negative. Quite the opposite, in fact. They’d discussed coming out to the rest of the team, something that interested Juan greatly. Telling the public had also been discussed, but that was rather impractical, and he knew that.
He decided to tell his closest friends first, inviting Fernando, Oriol, César and David to his house that evening. He attempted to cook paella, but burnt it as he was so nervous (his lack of culinary skills had nothing to with that at all, or so he insisted) so, instead, he raced around the house, busying himself with small pointless jobs to try and ease his nerves. When Fernando turned up, Juan had to use all of his will to prevent himself from telling Fernando to leave. He made small talk with his friends as he waited for the others to arrive, and, once everyone was sitting in the living room, Juan spoke up.
“I need to tell you all something,”
“What, geezer?” David asked. César choked out a laugh at David’s statement, but quickly became silent when the Brazilian glared at him and said, “Shut up, Dave.” The room erupted into laughter, but Juan remained silent. Fernando noticed this and frowned.
“Juan, what’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry, I never should’ve-” Juan began.
“I’m sure it’s not that bad,” Oriol spoke kindly, with a small smile on his face.
“It is. It is,” Juan whispered, rubbing his hands together.
“Come on, hombre, you can tell us,” César’s face had lost its smile and he too was now looking in Juan’s directing, frowning. Juan lifted his hands to his face and mumbled against them.
“Umgay,” he mumbled, his voice muffled by his hands. His friends wore identical looks of confusion across their faces.
“Can you say that again, please?” Fernando asked, knowing that whatever his fellow Spaniard had said was not something he was used to saying. He could see that Juan was uncomfortable. Juan removed his hands from his face.
“I’m gay,” he spoke rapidly, before covering his face with his hands, hiding. The other men shared various silent glances of surprise, before Fernando approached Juan and forced the other man’s hands away.
“We’re your friends, Juan. You liking men has nothing to do with our friendship. If you really wanted to, you could date a flying elephant. I wouldn’t care,”
“You should date Dumbo!” César grinned. His smile was infectious and Juan felt the corners of his mouth turn upwards into a smile.
“I’m fine with that, Juan. It doesn’t bother me,” Oriol said, standing up and ruffling Juan’s hair with his left hand.
“Let’s party, geezers!” David said, laughing.
He told the rest of the team the next day, with his friends ready to fight on Juan’s side if something went wrong. It didn’t, though. All of those teammates, the ones that he’d expected to be homophobic... They weren’t. “It was just a joke, I didn’t mean it,” and “Sorry if I offended you” spilled from player’s lips as they hugged Juan. There were a few, obviously, that were uncertain – “Did you stare at my cock in the dressing room?” – but the majority seemed to be so proud of Juan.
He left training with a smile on his face.
He made up his decision that night. He called up his agent and asked if another meeting with the club could be arranged. A few days later, the Spaniard found himself sitting in front of the Chelsea board members again, discussing the best ways to come out publicly. They were surprised, of course, since he’d been reluctant to even think about the topic only days before, but the look of determination in Juan’s eyes let them know that he wanted this. He needed it.
A week later, he found himself preparing for a press conference. Nervously, he waited to go out. Was he really about to do this? Was he really about to sit in front of a bunch of people and tell them his deepest, darkest secret? Could he do this? What if it went wrong? What if the fans hated him? What if he fucked up everything for good?
As soon as he stepped out in front of everybody, he felt naked. He felt like a performer in a circus, only paid for people to laugh at.
Juan, whose thoughts were still flying around his head at ridiculous speeds, sat down in front of the reporters. With both hope and fear etched onto his young features, he opened his mouth and spoke. He was finally free.