Chapter Twenty

As Belle walked down to her partner’s room for the first time in a week, she thought about the previous seven days and everything that had happened since. For the first time in ages, she’d managed to avoid both her partner and her boyfriend, and though she was horribly lonely, at least she’d managed to keep things going without it getting worse.

The day in Calgary had been the darkest. After the night with Jason, she’d felt so horrible she’d hadn’t know how she was going to make it through the day. She’d spent most of the day shut up in her room, except for the time that night when she’d gone downfor dinner and had run into Colin... and told him she couldn’t spend time with him because she was going shopping with Elizabeth.

In fact, what she’d really done was gone to see her partner, who’d told her how he’d run into Colin that morning when he’d left her room, and the strange exchange they’d had. She’d been so scared that he was on to her that she’d told Jason not to speak to heroff-ice for the rest of the week, and for the first time, they’d managed to stick to their vow.

Not speaking off ice had taken its toll on ice... she knew that the next day at practice she’d been a mess, and had hurried off the ice right after they’d run through their Romantic Schlock program. She’d cursed herself for blushing, cursed herself for letting emotions take over her skating, but she couldn’t help it. Emotions weren’t just taking over skating, they were taking over her entire life.

That night, she’d brushed Colin off without even an explanation. She knew she wasn’t helping things, but she couldn’t bear to pretend when her heart was so twisted... she knew another night of pretending with Colin would be too much for her. She wasalready so precariously close to the edge. She knew that if she took one more step, she would crack. And she couldn’t risk it, even if not taking that step meant an even greater risk...

Then, a few minutes ago, the call had come. She’d been sitting in her room trying to write in her journal when the phone had rung, and she’d heard her partner’s voice... a voice that seemed so strange after not hearing anything more than “Hi” and skatinginstructions for the last week. She thought back to the phone call ...

“Jay?” She’d been so surprised to hear his voice. She knew her tone had softened. It had only been a week, but she’d missed him horribly. And she was so lonely...

“Belle, I’m glad you’re there,” he’d said with a sigh of relief. “I thought you might be out...”

“Yeah, I’m up here. Wing-Yee’s out again,” she’d replied, wondering why he was calling after seven days of silence.

“You’ve got to come down here.” His tone had been serious.

“I can’t come down there,” she’d responded. “You know I can’t.”

“You have to,” he’d insisted.

“Jason, why?” She’d started to worry then.

“You just have to,” he’d repeated.

“What is it?” she’d pressed.

“I want to talk to you, Belle.” She’d heard him sigh. “I’ve got to tell you something.”

“But if you want to talk to me, why can’t you tell me now?” she’d asked, afraid of what might happen if they came face to face in private once again.

“It’s important,” he’d said. “I can’t... not on the phone.”

“Oh. Okay.” She’d bit her lip, growing frightened at his insistence. “I... I’ll be down... soon.”

And now was soon, and she was walking down the hallway towards his room as fast as she could, wondering what it was he couldn’t tell her on the phone, what it was that was so important, what it was that she’d just had to lie to Colin about again...

She was scared. She was more than just scared - she was terrified. What if he said... She didn’t want to think about it. She wouldn’t think about what he could say... she would go and hear him before driving herself crazy wondering.

She stopped at his door and took a deep breath. So many times she’d stood at his door and waited... what would this time bring?

Onto Chapter 21
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