Celebrity. So many options. Open doors.
And some firmly closed. It will take a brave man…perhaps I’ll write his story one day.
The new tattoo looked good. The font impressive and still clear enough to read every syllable. He was so glad he’d kept his skin clear, waiting for this chance. This message.
The word he’d hated when being Beckham was all important. Couldn’t just be mid-field. Had to be good on the left, the right, in fucking defence. But then the word that had defined his career and now it would define him. He wasn’t a number. Wasn’t a position. Ask any fucking pundit. Ask his first crush. This was what he was in every sense of the word.
The crap he’d taken to get here. Ten years since he’d debuted for the first team. Eight since his first cap. Fifteen years of saying and doing nothing. Of planning. Of silence and loneliness in the middle of a crowd of seventy five thousand.
It wasn’t just the word. It could easily be interpreted as just that. A homage to a glorious career, now entering the closing chapters. Not quite at the Come Dancing stage, but definitely the quiet negotiations for a final three years at the top, then a quiet trip to LA or the JFL or wherever was paying the money by then. Or perhaps not.
It was the placement. Slung low across his stomach, just kissable above the flat elastic of his Versace skivvies. His stylist had loved it when he brought up the idea at the shoot last month. The script chosen to complement a brand he knew would stay with him.
The call had come through late last night. Probably seconds after a flustered HR girl had seen the proofs from the latest magazine shoot. A week to the pre-season camp. Transfer window still open.
No club manager got upset about new ink, which meant he knew what it meant.
No real person lost their job over a non-visible tattoo.
No footballer should be afraid of losing thousands of fans, or having shirts burnt or letter peeled. Of tweets or newspapers or chants from the terraces. And he wasn’t. Not afraid anymore.
He wouldn’t lose his job. Wouldn’t be forced into a transfer. The interviews were lined up. His team was fully onside with Attitude on speed dial.
Still alone though. He would still be alone bar a quick, quiet, well-paid fuck. But perhaps there would be a proper opportunity now. After all, he was not as alone now as when he first planned this.
Fifteen fucking years to get here. From the moment he first knew the word fit.
Waiting for Lions on his shirt. To roar and make men proud. To be someone people respected.
Now he was in a position to respect himself.