“What the heck was that all about?” Our coach, Lyss Boucher, hissed through a fake smile. She handed us our skate guards at the edge of the ice rink and guided us toward the booth where we’d wait to hear our scores.
Also displaying a fake smile, Jordan replied using techniques a ventriloquist would appreciate. “You asked us to connect in a way that required a water hose to pry us apart. Remember?”
“I didn’t expect you to undress her with your eyes and make out with her in front of thousands of people.”
“Hundreds,” Jordan corrected, glancing around the half full arena. Social distancing changed everything for indoor events.
“Have you forgotten the Olympics are televised all over the world?” Coach asked through a strained smile.
“Have you forgotten that we probably just skated the performance of our lives and we’ll probably be in first place after the short program?” Jordan asked.
“Have you both forgotten that we’re still on camera?” I asked. “They’re recording everything we’re saying so let’s just focus on our scores.”
We all shuffled into the staging area where someone handed us each a water bottle and we sat close to one another, breathing heavy from the exertion of our performance and breathless from the heady kiss we’d just experienced.
How was I supposed to deal with this? Jordan had kissed me! No more tiptoeing around our relationship. No more allowing our chemistry to be merely part of our choreography. Jordan had just publicly declared—literally to the world—that his feelings for me ran much deeper than that of a skating partner and best friend. Now what?
Jordan’s hand rested on my knee in a similar manner as what he’d done for years, but this suddenly meant more than merely comforting me or connecting with me.
My gaze rested on his hand, and I gulped. He must have noticed my discomfort because he whispered, “Is this okay?”
“Um… yeah,” I stammered. “We should probably talk later, huh?”
“Let’s get our scores first.” He patted my knee then pulled his hand away. I missed his touch immediately.
Great. This was what people had warned us about. We’d crossed a line that would either make or break us as a pairs figure skating partnership. If we could have just hung on through the Olympics, then we could have gone home, and everything would have been normal. Safe. Boring. Yet here we were with this awkward silence hanging between us and a million people watching to see what we’d do next.
What would we do next?
What did I want us to do next? We were seniors in high school. Everything was about to change. We hadn’t specifically discussed plans beyond the Olympics. Would we continue to skate together? How? Jordan had been accepted to his dream college and I’d been accepted to mine. Did that mean we were done after this? We’d move on? Go our separate ways?
Suddenly my dream to attend college didn’t seem as important as finding a way to continue our progress with skating. But maybe Jordan didn’t like me that way. Maybe he was just jealous of my fledgling relationships with Thomas and Gil. Maybe he was just exerting his dominance and flexing his muscles in front of other guys competing for my attention. No, that kiss was real. Jordan was in love with me. Now what?
(As always, feedback is greatly appreciated. -Julie)
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