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"You just call out my name,
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running
To see you again
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there, yes I will
You've got a friend...."

You've Got a Friend ~ James Taylor

Meant to Be

Part VIII - Hope out of Sorrow

	Emily quickly got her skate guards on and rushed out of the 
rink, not stopping for anything.  She’d seen Marina’s worried look... 
she couldn’t stay any longer and have her coach ask her what was 
wrong.  Being so close to Mark, after last night, was too
unbearable... she’d been close to tears so many times in the three-
hour session.  She needed to get away, to be alone, to find a place 
where she could just let go.
	She hurried into the dressing room and shut the door.  She 
knew that she was the only one there, except for Kirsten, and she was 
still on the ice.  Em finally broke down, buried her head in her 
hands, and let the silent, painful tears come.  She cursed herself for
crying like this, again, but she just couldn’t help it.  She 
wouldn’t let herself cry as hard as she wanted to, though... she 
forced herself to stay silent, choking back her sobs.
	Suddenly the door opened and Kirsten entered the dressing 
room.  She quickly realized that Em was crying and stood there 
awkwardly, not knowing what to say.
	Em looked up and hastily tried to brush away her tears and 
act as if everything were okay.  But she knew it was too late.  
Kirsten already knew she was a mess.
	“I thought you guys would be skating for awhile yet,” she 
said shakily.
	“We... Lauren wanted us to take a break and come back this 
afternoon,” Kirsten replied quietly.  “I... I didn’t know you were in 
here, or...”
	“It’s okay,” Emily interrupted.  “It’s not your fault I’m a 
totally emotional freak right now.  It’s just that... Oh, God, I 
don’t know how to tell you this...”
	“You don’t have to,” Kirsten finally said, offering Em a 
tissue.  “I already know.”
	“You know?”  Em looked up in surprise.  “How?”
	“I... well...” she started tentatively.  “Mark told me last 
	“Oh.”  Emily winced at the sound of her partner’s name.  “So 
you know everything.  How everything is such a mess.  How we... how 
we aren’t...”  She trailed off and fiercely brushed away her tears.
	“Yeah,” Kirsten replied softly. “I’m sorry.  I... I don’t 
know what to say.”
	“I don’t know why I’m crying,” Em said bitterly.  “After all, 
I had some say in it.  We decided together that this couldn’t go on 
anymore... so why am I such a pathetic wreck?”
	Kirsten knew that Emily was talking more to herself that to 
her, and not having any idea how to respond, stayed silent.	
	“We were making ourselves miserable by staying together and 
fighting all the time,” Em continued.  “But now I’m even more 
miserable than I was then, and I don’t know what to do...”  She shook 
her head, trying to stop the tears from starting yet again.
	“So why don’t you tell him?” Kirsten suggested hesitantly.  
“I mean, if being apart is making you so miserable...”
	“I can’t.”  Em shook her head.  “I know he wasn’t happy.  We 
were fighting all the time.  And we’ve got to make it work, for the 
sake of our skating...”
	Kirsten was at the point where she wanted to shout in 
exasperation: “Can’t you see your skating is never gonna work 
out if you aren’t together?!”, but for Emily’s sake, she 
restrained herself.  She knew the poor girl wasn’t thinking logically 
at the moment, and knew that no amount of persuading was going to 
make her see the obvious truth.
	“Are you going to be okay?” she asked gently.
	“I don’t know.”  Em stared up at the ceiling.  “I mean, I 
know that when Michael and I broke up, it was really bad, for awhile, 
but this... this is different.”
	She thought back to that time over a year ago, when her 
relationship with her boyfriend of three years had fallen apart.  
She’d been a mess, crying all the time, not knowing how she was going 
to keep going.  She’d thought she’d lost her one chance at true 
love.  But back then, she’d had skating to help her through the tough 
times... skating and... Mark.  She’d been too naive then to know that 
while her partner had helped her get over the pain, he’d been 
patiently biding time until the right moment came... The time when 
her heart had healed and opened again, this time, for him...
	She sighed.  “It was easier, then,” she finally concluded.  
“In a way.  He was there for me, then...”
	“And now you feel like you’re all alone?” Kirsten asked.  
	Emily nodded tearfully.  “Without him, I am all 
alone.  Oh, God, I miss him so much already!”
	Seeing Em about to burst into tears again, Kirsten quickly 
wracked her brain for a note of optimism.  
	“You’re not all alone, Em,” she told her finally, 
knowing the message might not register with the distraught girl, but 
needing to say something encouraging.
	“I’ve got my friends?” Em asked, smiling wanly at Kirsten.
	“Definitely,” Kirsten said, returning the smile.  “It’ll be 
okay, Em... it really will.”
	“That’s what my sister told me,” Em replied.  Only I can’t 
believe it... yet.  Maybe you guys are right, though.”
	“Maybe we are,” she responded.  “It’s two against one.  
Besides, I’ve seen you guys together... we all have.  Everyone knows 
you guys were meant to be together.”
	“Yeah.”  Emily finally managed a genuine smile.  “And love 
always finds a way in the end, doesn’t it?”
	“I’m sure it does.”  Kirsten patted Emily on the back and 
handed her another tissue.  “I’m telling you... things will work out 
the way they’re supposed to in the end.  Just watch.”       

Onto Part IX...:OR
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