Bored. Not tired. 11pm. No work tomorrow.
Swiping through Tinder. Kill some time until I’m tired.
Meh. Yes. Okay. Meh. Meh. Meh. Yes. Okay. Meh.
I hope she asks me out tomorrow. Otherwise I’ve no idea.
Meh. Yes. Okay. Meh. Spanish name: Super Like. Meh. Okay. Yes.
This film is bad.
Super Like matched.
She’s actually beautiful.
Do you have a Spanish accent?
Yes. Ecuadorian. Visiting.
Message in Spanish.
Do you need a guide for the weekend?
Haha yes
Okay we can organise it
I’m with my cousin and friend drinking wine in the kitchen. What are you doing?
Nothing important
Come round if you want [Address]
Bit dodgy that surely. Google Maps. Really expensive rich area. Got to be a joke. Don’t really want to go to a stranger’s house anyway.
Are you going out?
No. My cousin doesn’t like to go out. He is kind of famous here
Ecuadorian? Famous?
Don’t tell me it’s Antonio Valencia or something mad
Lol. It is Antonio Valencia. We are cousins. Are you a fan of Manchester?
Yes
I want to believe her.
Where did you learn Spanish?
I taught myself
More messaging. I message Mari. He doesn’t believe it.
I want to believe her. She uses South American Spanish. And that is a rich area. Valencia is a bit random for a joke.
Don’t go
Come with me
No. It’s a joke
I’m going to go check it out. Nothing else to do
Keep me updated
Okay

20 minute drive. Ferrari blasts past me on the motorway. 12pm.
Huge houses. Mansions. Expensive cars. Electric security gates. Found it. The lights off. Can’t see past gate and wall though. Mansion.
Park up around the corner.
Wonder if someone will report strange man waiting on the road at midnight. Rich area. Police would be here in seconds.
What do I do?
Tell her to meet you at the gate but stay in your car.
Okay. If I die I die
Battery low. 3%. How much do I need to phone 999?
Come to the door in fifteen minutes?
Sure.
Wait around the corner for fifteen minutes. Doors locked. Engine on.
Pull up across the road. Engine on. Handbrake disengaged. Foot poised over accelerator.
I’m here
Electric gates begin to open.
Fuck fuck fuck.

Darkness. Small woman appears at gate.
Seems the right size and shape.
Darkness. Tall man stood behind her. He’s dark skinned.
Valencia?
Engine off. I get out of my car. Car door half open though.
Michael?
Yes
Man walks back behind gate.
I think it’s him. This is real.
Shut the car door. Slowly begin to walk around. Loud Spanish conversation. I don’t understand. Electric gates begin to close.
They’ve had me. What a wind up. Ah well. Stitched up by Valencia.
I smile to myself. Slowly walk back around to the driver’s side. Half of the gate stays open a little.
Inviting. Tempt me there and then shut it. Not falling for it. But kind of want to.
Female voice. Michael?
Yes?
Come
Am I okay?
Yes yes. Hi, I’m Belén
I’m Michael. It’s nice to meet you
One or two kisses for Ecuador? She can lead.
She kisses me on the cheek.
One.
Walks me to the open door. Man holding it open. It is Antonio Valencia.
Hola, soy Michael
Reggaeton music playing inside the house.
Hola, Antonio
That’s Antonio Valencia
Bueno
Leads me to the kitchen.
Huge. Beautiful. Shiny. So clean.
I cannot believe you came. Why?
Your story was interesting. If you had asked to meet me in a pub I would have said yes.
I like that you didn’t make a big deal of Antonio
That’s probably the last thing he would want.
Blonde woman already there. Elizabeth. Or Liz. English. Blackburn.
Do you want a red wine?
That’s actually Antonio Valencia. Can’t tell him I don’t drink. Might be disrespectful.
Please
He knows I need to drive home. Is this an invite to stay? No stools left.
I stand at the table with them. Valencia brings a piano stool from another room. All laugh.
Keep phone in my pocket. Don’t want him thinking I’m telling people.
General conversation. Mostly in English.
Valencia speaks little English. His house. Need to speak some Spanish.
Erratic Spanish conversation. Me and Belén translate for Liz.
And what do you do?
I own a medicine company in Ecuador. We sell medicine to the government and hospitals
She shows me pictures of her buildings. Her house. Her beach house.
It’s a mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s not a beach house.
It’s one in the morning! It’s Antonio’s birthday!
Do I tell them? Wallet is in the car so I can’t prove it. Why not.
You’re joking it’s my birthday too
Serious?
High fives and cheers.
That’s actually Antonio Valencia high fiving me sharing our birthday
We should go to town to celebrate. Where can we go?
The only place is Black Dog Ballroom but I don’t think it’s a good idea for Antonio
He shakes his head. Negative Spanish words.
Okay we will stay here
More conversation. About music. About my job. About normal things.
Antonio, put Despacito on
Do you like this song?
Yes
Antonio do you dance?
It’s hard not saying Antonio Valencia or just Valencia.
No
Why
Nervous smile
Liz gets up and two steps but can’t coax him
Belén, do you dance?
Yes but I am not going to.
Do I dance with Liz to show I’m relaxed? No. Can’t be a nuisance here.
Antonio dances four beats and sits down. Smiling. Uncomfortable. Belén won’t dance.
I used to go out with Jefferson Montero
Ye?
He has a girlfriend but we have been going out for a long time
Okay
Why am I here then? I don’t get this now.
I was meant to see him a few days ago but he fainted at training and was in the hospital with his girlfriend so I couldn’t go. He’s very jealous. Like all Ecuadorean men. He always rings me even when I am in Ecuador asking where I am and what I am doing
That’s strange
Shows me pictures of them together.
Yes. He thinks he possesses me. He wanted a serious relationship but I wanted a fling. He doesn’t understand that
She is hiding feelings in her eyes.
I can tell you like him though
Yes. But we should not be together. My friends say he is a little monkey. I am from a very rich family and he is poor. And dark skin. He’s ugly. I’d never be with a football player because they’re players. He’s very possessive
Why don’t you ignore him then?
I don’t know
You should sort that out
I know
Antonio speaks quickly in Spanish to Belén. Secrets.
Come. I will give you a tour of the house
Living room. She struggles with all the buttons for the lights. I find the right one.
Masseuse table. Thigh injury. Folded up table tennis table. Huge settee.
Antonio wanted time with her so he asked me to take you somewhere else. This is the gym
Big mirrors. State of the art equipment. Motivational print outs.
The back door is locked but I wish I could show you the garden. It is huge
She sits on the settee.
I’m not Montero.
I sit a space away. So comfortable.
What’s that beeping noise?
The alarm. It is on all day and night. There are cameras everywhere
Okay
More conversation about Montero.
She definitely has feelings. I don’t know why she wants me here. Not worth flirting with her. Happy to chat though.
Conversation about beauty. Differences with England.
She is beautiful. Big Spanish eyes, flawless skin, high cheek bones, smiley, looks good dressed down.
Antonio is a good looking man
You think
Ye
In Ecuador he is ugly. He is the most famous person in Ecuador but he is ugly
And Montero?
Ugly
Why
He is dark skinned. Uneducated. He is poor. His nose is-. And he is short
Poor? He has been a Premiership footballer for years.
In England he is above average. Even if he wasn’t famous, he would get a lot of attention.
He is ugly. He knows he is
Wow. Where do you think you are in England, in terms of being beautiful?
In Ecuador I am probably eight out of ten. If I was taller people have said I could enter Ms Ecuador
I believe her. She isn’t joking. She is stunning.
You would be an easy nine. You have big eyes, nice smile and you’re a nice person
In Ecuador you would be a seven. You are tall, light skinned, European and educated
European makes a difference? I’m from a working class part of Manchester.
So your parents would prefer me to Montero er Jefferson?
Yes
Laughs
Seven isn’t far away from eight. But this is England. Here she’s a nine and I’m a five or six in honesty.
Valencia walks past the door naked. Completely naked.
That’s actually Antonio Valencia. Wait. That was barely ten minutes. No noises either.
Oh my God! Antonio! I’m so sorry, he just doesn’t care
Maybe she gave him a blowjob. Not sure why he’d need to be fully naked for that though.
It’s alright
She turns pink. He walks back to the kitchen still naked. I don’t see anything.
He split up with his wife last week
There are pictures of them together right next to me with their son.
Ah okay
Liz walks past quickly. Dressed. He walks in. Dressed. Sits on the settee.
That’s Antontio Valencia. He isn’t giving anything away.
More English and Spanish conversation. Normal things. I offer to teach him English as a joke. I know he doesn’t want to learn.
I am going to bed now. I have training tomorrow
Buenas noches. Happy birthday
Tight hand shake.
Happy birthday. Buenas noches
That’s Antonio Valencia. He’s not bothered about leaving us alone.
More conversation in English and Spanish. She talks about Princess Diana and the Queen.
My mother just messaged me. It is 11pm there. There is a six hour difference
5am here then. Doesn’t seem like she’s going to ask me to stay. I need to go. Not outstay my welcome.
It is late. I have to walk my dog in a few hours
I will let you out
She opens the door. It is getting light. Birds singing.
Haven’t done this in a while.
She struggles with the fob and the buttons. Points it at the gates.
Do I kiss her goodnight? No. I’m not Montero.
The garage opens. Almost hits the front of a BMW. She closes it. Finds the right button.
Belén, if you want tomorrow I will show you around Manchester. Places Antonio cannot show you
That sounds good. I am at the training ground tomorrow with Pogba and De Gea. I will message you after that
Take care
I kiss her cheek. She kisses mine.
Battery dead. I can remember my way home though.

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