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"Listen to my nervous laughter
Sunken deep inside my heart
My lips are dry, I'm teary eyed 
For you my love...
And you know me, oh you know me more than anyone
When I hear your voice 
Everything I've done disappears from memory
Oh, my darling come and save me,
Tell me I'm the one you're dreaming of
Tell me that you love me too..."

Wishing That ~ Jann Arden

Meant to Be

Part IX - Worth It?

	A week went by... a week that the partners just barely 
managed to survive.  Every day, they woke up feeling desperately 
alone, not wanting to go and face each other, hoping... hoping that 
things would get easier.  Things were supposed to get easier,
but they didn’t.  Every day, the pain kept coming.  Every day, the 
memories haunted them.  Every day, they’d force themselves to keep 
going, to go to the rink to skate, to stay alive... but then they’d 
see each other, and it was like dying all over again.
	No matter how hard they tried, it wouldn’t go away.  The 
tears kept falling.  The heart-wrenching lumps still occupied their 
throats when they tried to speak to each other. They still couldn’t 
look at each other fully, because they both knew the look in their 
eyes would give them away in a second.  The harder they struggled to 
make it seem like nothing was wrong, the harder things became, and 
the more people worried about them - people like Marina, Dave, and 
Kirsten.
	Emily and Mark were on the ice, working on their freedance 
once again... or at least trying to work on it.  They had 
accomplished next to nothing over the past week.  How could they, 
working as two separate people rather than as a team?  How could they 
progress in a sport that was all about expression, emotion and heart 
when their hearts were broken?  How could they work together when 
they couldn’t even look at each other without wanting to break 
down and cry?
	Marina watched them as they listlessly went through the 
motions and sighed.  Watching them over the past week had been enough 
to make any coach want to cry with them.  But she knew she had to be 
strong, for them... She motioned for them to come over to her.
	They came, the way they’d come all week, shadows of the Emily 
and Mark she was used to working with.  They usually skated over to 
her together, laughing about something or the other, teasing 
each other, hand in hand... but not in the past week.  They came 
slowly, listlessly, in total disinterest, as far away from each other 
as they could possibly be on the same rink.  Like they’d done every 
day since the breakup, they stopped on opposite sides of their coach 
and avoided each other.
	Marina looked at them and shook her head.  “Come in 
front of me,” she ordered.
	The partners skated warily over to face her, but stayed at 
least a foot apart.
	Their coach gave them a look, got up, walked out onto the 
ice, and physically pushed Em closer to her partner.  Emily looked up 
in surprise, then hurriedly tried to move back away from Mark.
	But Marina wouldn’t let her.  She went over to Mark, took his 
hand, and placed it in Em’s.
	She and Mark realized what their coach was doing and tried to 
pull away, but  Marina was firm.
	“Now, I will go away, and you will talk,” she 
commanded.
	The partners stood there, staring at the ice.
	“You will talk,” Marina repeated.  “Together.”  
And with that, she left.
	The second she left, Emily’s eyes fell downwards to their 
joint hands.  Oh, God... sure, they’d had to hold hands to practice 
all week, but now... All she could think about was all the times 
they’d held hands off the ice, before.  All the ways his hands 
had touched her...  She shut her eyes, trying to block the thoughts, 
and wrenched her hand away.
	They awkwardly stood there, not knowing what to do, or say.  
They’d barely spoken a word since that night, nothing but the most 
essential directions necessary to keep skating.  Silence hung in the 
air between them.
	Finally he spoke.  “Em, I...” he began in a barely audible 
voice.  It was the first time he’d actually addressed her since... 
since it had happened.  “I... this is... It’s...”
	“Hard?” she suggested in a bare whisper.
	He nodded.  “It’s awful,” he admitted.  “But... it’ll 
get easier... we haven’t really given this a chance...”
	“And we can’t go back to... to...”  She didn’t want to say 
it.  “To the way things used to be.  We’d just end up fighting 
again...”  She was trying her best to rationalize things, but it 
wasn’t working.
	His heart sunk.  She didn’t want to go back to the way things 
used to be... meaning she didn’t want them to go back to being 
together, he concluded.  She thought things were better this way, so 
he’d just have to learn to deal with it... to keep going...
	“Yeah,” he replied, taking a deep breath.  “I guess things 
are better this way.”
	Her hope plummetted right to the soles of her skates.  He 
thought things were better this way.  He didn’t want to be with her 
anymore.  Maybe he was right, she tried to convince herself.  Maybe 
she just needed more time...
	“So we keep going?” she asked quietly.
	“Not like this,” he responded, doing his best to push back 
the pain.  “We have to get back to being a team, Em.”
	Being a team... Both partners were crying inwardly at the 
thought.  How could they go back to being a team when they wanted so 
much more?
	But she knew he was right.  She had to get over it.  They 
weren’t going to be together anymore.  She had to accept it...
	“Back to being friends,” she murmured dazedly.  “Not like 
this... we can’t go on like this.”
	“Exactly,” he agreed, not knowing how he was agreeing with 
her when his heart was screaming no.  “For the sake of our skating.”
	“That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?” she questioned, 
somewhat sadly.
	“Mostly,” he replied, feeling like crying all over again.  
But he wouldn’t... it was time to get on with life.  “Ready to skate 
again?”
	She nodded and hesitantly took his hand.  For a long moment, 
both partners looked down at their joint hands.
	And above all, they wondered... Was it worth it?


Onto Part X...:OR
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