Do you want to be Neymar?
Messi wanted to step back but Neymar caught his shirt and Messi stayed, their eyes met again.
"Did you really think that?" Ney whispered, stunned. "You really thought you no longer had the right to visit me?"
Messi swallowed, the first sign of an emotion other than anger. "I thought you didn't want that." He hesitated, then went on, "I wouldn't lie."
No he wouldn't. Of course he wouldn't. Neymar felt sick, his knees weakened, his stomach swelled with nausea. "I have to sit down."
Messi immediately helped him slide down the door with one arm around Neymar's shoulder and prop him up until he was sitting on the floor, leaning against the front door. Messi knelt next to Neymar. "Would you like some water?", He asked quietly, his head bent to Ney and was about to get up to get something.
Ney shook his head and held onto Messi's shirt. Messi waited, still kneeling in silence, his face in shadow. Neymar concentrated on his breathing and tried to take heart. Finally he took a deep breath and plunged into it.
"I - I'm sorry." His fingers tightened on Messi's shirt, twisting and hopelessly crumpling it up. He looked down and was unable to meet Leo's expression head-on. "I've never ... I haven't thought."
Messi shook his head. "You never do." The words were harsh, but his tone less pronounced.
"I think - I think it was too embarrassing -"
Messi put a hand on Ney's chest and silenced him. "We don't have to talk about that."
"But we'll do it," said Neymar seriously and blushed despite himself. "I mean, we don't have to talk about it exactly, but I shouldn't have avoided you. I was so ... embarrassed, so humiliated that I thought I had no choice but to avoid you forever. "
Messi was silent, his expression still a little uncomfortable, but his hand had stayed on Ney's chest, warm and anchored and more reassuring than threatening. He just waited, and his silence was more reassuring than if he had actually spoken. There was ney courage. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a second before opening them again.
“But you should have done it - I wanted you so badly in the hospital. I needed you. ”His voice was caught and he looked down, embarrassed. There was no reaction from Messi other than that his thumb moved only once to Neymar's chest, a warm slap against Ney's sweater. “I was very ... I was scared. I wish you had come A - but I understand why you didn't. "
Ney finally looked up and his throat ached with emotion. "I'm so sorry for everything. I screwed it up."
Messi's hand eventually fell away. It made Neymar a little cold, actually physically cold.
Messi sat against the wall to Neymar's right, at right angles to him, and bumped his knees against the wall. He sighed deeply and then started talking. He looked exhausted. "Ney, I can't make friends easily, but I did it with you. I only use Snapchat because of you. Dani tried to get me to download it forever, but I only did it for you. I find friends for life and that goes for you too.
But you have to use your words. You can't do that anymore. We are adults now. We're in college. You have to believe in me and Dani, you have to believe in yourself. We're friends for life - it's time you understood. "
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