"Celebrate we will Because life is short but sweet for certain We're climbing two by two To be sure these days continue These things we cannot change..." Two Step ~ Dave Matthews Band
Kirsten was worried. She’d gotten to the rink early that morning, hoping to find out what had happened with Emily and Mark, but although they’d been scheduled to be on the ice half an hour before her and Dave, they were nowhere to be seen. She paced back and forth, wondering. Dave finally showed up and watched in amusement as his partner walked back and forth by the boards. “Hey!” His greeting snapped her out of her daze. “What in the world is up with you now?” “They’re not here!” Kirsten exclaimed fretfully. “Who?” Dave quickly figured out who she was talking about. “Oh, you mean the tortured young lovers of Verona?” His partner looked at him in exasperation. “Dave, we all know you have a degree in English Lit - you don’t have to remind us every second of the day.” “Okay, so Em and Mark aren’t here,” he conceded. “So what?” “They were supposed to be here half an hour ago!” she explained. “And they’re not. This could be very bad...” “Or very good,” Dave finished with a laugh. “Knowing those two, I’d go for the second option.” Kirsten managed to smile at that. “You think?” “From what you told me about yesterday... well...” Dave thought about it for a minute. “Maybe they finally figured things out. I kept on saying that all they had to do was open their mouths and talk to each other...” “But just think of what could’ve happened!” his partner moaned. “What if he went after her, and she wouldn’t listen to him? Or what if she did listen, but didn’t believe him? What if they’re both at home crying right now?” “What if they’re together right now?” Dave countered. “Think of all the times last year when they were late to practice. What do you think they were doing?” Kirsten laughed. “I don’t want to know.” Then she frowned. “But that was then. This is now...” “You’re really getting yourself worked up over them,” he pointed out. “I think they’re old enough to take care of themselves, don’t you?” Kirsten shook her head. “Dave, you don’t know them like I do quite yet. When those two are messed up, they’re messed up. They need all the help they can get.” “Kirsten! Dave!” The two partners turned to see their coach, Lauren, waiting for them. “Get on the ice! No more chatting! There’s work to be done!” The partners exchanged an amused glance and decided to obey. No use getting Lauren mad and having another problem to deal with. About an hour into their session, Dave looked up and noticed two people enter the rink. He grinned widely and nudged his partner. “Kirsten, look!” She followed his gaze to see Emily and Mark walking in together, his arm around her shoulders, her head resting against his shoulder. Kirsten gaped for a second. “Yay!” she finally whispered happily to her partner, doing a little dance of joy. They watched as Em said something to her partner and they laughed together. When Mark leaned over and kissed Em, Kirsten and Dave smiled at each other. “Romeo and Juliet are alive and well,” Dave concluded. He turned to Kirsten. “Good work, Cupid.” Kirsten rolled her eyes and dealt her partner a playful whack. Then she noticed Marina, who’d been patiently waiting for her students for over an hour, watching Em and Mark as well, and smiling. “I think Marina’s noticed, too,” she told Dave. “She looks relieved.” “Well, I would be, too,” he replied. “I mean, if I had to coach those two when they were going through emotional trauma, I would pray for them to get back to normal.” “If I’d had to coach them over the past few weeks, I might’ve ended up in a mental institution!” his partner told him. “Romeo and Juliet will do that to you.” Dave laughed. Then he took a deep breath and looked at his partner seriously. “Speaking of Romeo and Juliet...” he began tentatively. “The Shakespeare Festival is coming to town, and they’re doing King Lear. I’ve got tickets. Would you... uh... would you like to go with me, maybe?” Kirsten smiled. She knew why her partner was suddenly so awkward. She’d been waiting for this for quite awhile now... “As a partner, or as a date?” she teased. “Well, um, sort of...” Dave skated in a circle, then came back to her. “As a date.” “Why?” she questioned, trying not to laugh. “Do you want to find out the effects of Dance Team Romance Syndrome first hand?” “No,” he responded. “I want to see if it’ll pass us by. Will you come?” She looked up at him and smiled. “Oh, Dave... of course I will.” He let out a breath he’d obviously been holding in anticipation. “Do you know how long I’ve wanted to ask you that?” This time, she had to laugh. “Yes,” she answered amid laughter. “You are such a chicken, Dave Follert. You should’ve known I’d say yes anyways. Don’t you know me well enough by now?” While Kirsten and Dave were taking the first steps into a new relationship, Emily and Mark were taking their first steps back into one they thought they’d lost forever. For the first time in weeks, they came to the rink wanting to skate... to skate together... to find the magic they thought they’d lost. “C’mon, Mark!” Em called, stepping onto the ice. She held out her hand and her partner let her help him out. They smiled at each other for the countless time and laughed for no reason. Their coach smiled over them from where she stood. It was so nice to hear her kids’ laughter echo through the rink once again, and to see the smiles, not just on their faces, but in their eyes, as they chased each other across the ice. “I just realized something,” Mark told his partner as they circled the rink hand in hand. “What?” she asked, looking up at him. “I realized why this wasn’t working,” he explained. “Skating together when we weren’t together. It’s because this has become part of it now... when I’m skating, half the reason I love it is because I’m with you.” “Oh, Mark,” he responded, her eyes shining. “I always knew we were meant to skate together, but I didn’t know what that meant until now. This is the way things were meant to be. Us, together, on ice, skating...” “And off the ice, together,” he finished for her. “It all goes together now.” “The way things were meant to be,” she repeated softly. “The way it’s always going to be.” “Always,” he promised, gazing down at her. “Now let’s go tell Marina we want to skate the slow section,” she said, laughing. “Let’s show her what we can really do.” “Let’s go!” he agreed, and laughing, they went.
Onto the Epilogue...:OR
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