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"Were you crying 'cause you didn't know
what would become of us
Were you so uncertain of my intentions
Looking back I can say 
I shed a few tears of my own
That's why I need you to tell me
Tell me once again how you cried..."

How You Cried ~ Melanie Doane

Meant to Be

Part X - Misunderstandings

	Life went on.  Life without sunshine, yes, but as the days 
went by, they began to learn how to look at each other without 
crying, how to hold hands without wincing, how to speak to each other 
without remembering.  They continued skating together every day, 
trying their best to make things seem the way they used to, but 
something was still missing.  Their hearts weren’t in it.  Though it 
had been almost three weeks since the breakup, there were still 
times... especially at night... when they’d be so emotionally drained 
from all the pretending that they had to break down.
	But the pain was a dull ache now, rather than a sharp pang 
that took over their every moment.  It was almost worse, somehow... 
the feeling pushed back to a spot that would never go away... each 
knowing how much they loved their partner, but thinking they’d never 
again be together.  Trying to smile, trying to be a team when they 
were longing to fall into each other’s arms once again...
	“It’s one, two, three, turn!”  They were on the ice 
practicing a portion of their original dance, and trying to get a 
particularly complicated footwork sequence down.  “What we’ve been 
doing is one, two three, then pausing, then the turn,” Em 
continued.  “That’s why we’re messing up.”
	“So it’s one, two, three...”  Mark took her hand and 
they went through the steps together.  “Okay.  I get it.”
	“Again?” Emily asked.  He nodded, and they went through the 
sequence for the second time.
	“One, two, three, turn!” they chanted in unison as 
they skated.  When they finished the pattern successfully, they 
laughed together.  But standing by the boards, Marina sighed.  It 
wasn’t the laughter she was used to hearing.  It was too forced... 
they were obviously trying too hard. 
	She decided the time had come to test them.  “We work on the 
freedance now?” she called out after they’d mastered the steps they’d 
been working on.
	They stopped and looked back at her.  “Sure,” Mark called 
back.  “Why not?”
	“The slow section?” Marina suggested, waiting for their 
reactions.  Now this would definitely tell her if the apparent 
reconciliation she’d seen over the past week was real.
	The partners immediately froze where they were and dropped 
hands.  Em turned her back on her partner and stared at the wall.
	“Why that part?” she asked in alarm. 
	“Why not?” their coach countered.
	“Well... I thought we had that part pretty much down,” Mark 
floundered.  “And we needed work on... uh... on...”
	“We have done every other section but this one in the 
last few days,” Marina pointed out.
	“But we can’t do that part!” Em exclaimed desperately, trying 
to think of an excuse.
	“And why we can’t, please tell me,” Marina replied 
calmly.
	“Because... because...”  Mark finally gave up.
	His partner saw him give in and a look of fear appeared in 
her eyes.  Things had just been getting better, but this could send 
everything crashing down all over again.  She cursed herself 
inwardly.  How had she expected to get through this without having to
skate romantic programs?  She’d just have to find a way...They 
would just have to find a way.
	And so the music came on, and they began to skate.  But in 
the story of their program, they couldn’t let themselves go.  They 
were meant to skate as lovers... before, it had been real to 
them.  Before, people would watch them and marvel at the tenderness, 
the passion and the romance of the program.  Before, it had been 
natural...
	They managed to make it through once, but what their coach 
saw them skate was not romance.  In their desperate attempt to erase 
all emotion, they hadn’t succeeded.  Anyone could see the pain, the 
confusion, the absolute longing they were going through in that one 
minute of skating.
	Marina closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
	“Enough,” she said softly, as they stopped at centre ice, 
looking away from each other.  “We will work more tomorrow.”
	Mark hurried off the ice in one direction, Em in the other.  
He slipped his skate guards on and struggled to regain control of 
himself.  Just when everything had been going okay, when he’d thought 
he could hide, his heart had betrayed him again.  He sat down and 
tried to collect his thoughts before... before it all started again, 
and the pain came rushing back.
	“Dave, hurry up!” a voice hollered.  Kirsten exited the 
dressing room and noticed Mark sitting there.
	“Uh oh,” she murmured to herself.  “Not again...”
	She walked over to him and sat down.  “You okay?” 
	He shook his head.  “Far from it.”
	“Is it... something to do with...”  Kirsten didn’t know how 
to put it tactfully.
	But luckily, she didn’t have to.  “What else?” Mark responded 
bitterly.  “I thought things were getting better... I thought maybe 
it was going to work out... but it was all an act.  And not even a 
good one.  I can’t even pretend I don’t love her.”
	She sighed.  “I should’ve said something.  I’ve been watching 
you guys... I’m sorry Mark, but you’re not a very good actor in this 
sense.”
	“I don’t know what to do,” he confessed.  “I thought I could 
do this, but I can’t.  I just can’t.”
	“Then tell her!” Kirsten exclaimed.  “You’ve got to 
talk to her!”
	“But she said we can’t go back to the way things used to be,” 
he told her, depressed.  “She thinks things are better this way.”
	“How do you know?” she retorted.  “She could be thinking the 
very same thing about you!”
	“Oh, I’m sure she’s not,” he responded.  “I mean, what if I 
told her everything, and she didn’t feel the same way?”
	“Well, it’s certainly not doing you any good sitting around 
here moping!” Kirsten said, exasperated.  “You’ve got to do 
something.  Talk to her!”
	Mark was silent for a long time.  “Okay,” he said finally.  
“Maybe I will.”
	“Maybe?” Kirsten repeated.
	“I will talk to her,” he said to himself firmly.
	“Now that’s better,” she replied, grinning.  Maybe 
they’d finally realize they weren’t meant to be apart...
	Mark got up, then turned back to Kirsten.  “I’m sorry I spent 
so much time bothering you with all this.”
	“Without me, you’d be lost,” she said with a smile.  “It’s 
worth a little time.”
	“Now I know what it’s like to have a little sister,” he 
laughed.  “Nosy, but always right.”
	“Am I always right?” she questioned.
	“Yeah,” he responded, then leaned over and hugged her.  As he 
drew away, he noticed Kirsten’s expression.  Her eyes were wise and 
glued to a figure in front of them.
	Mark turned and saw his partner looking at him and Kirsten, 
aghast.
	“I... I think she might’ve seen...” Kirsten whispered 
quickly.  “And gotten the wrong idea.  I know she’s seen us together 
over the last two weeks.  Oh, God.  This is so not good...”
	They both watched as Em stared, then turned and ran from the 
rink, clearly crying.
	“Oh, Lord.”  Kirsten couldn’t believe what was happening.  
“Oh, God.  I don’t believe this.”
	Mark, on the other hand, was just standing there frozen, 
staring after Emily.
	“For God’s sake, go after her!” Kirsten said, jumping up and 
giving him a push.  “Quick!  Go!”
	And with that, Mark ran as if his life depended on it.

Onto Part XI...:OR
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