“I wish we could go upstairs to our hotel room now,” I whispered into Lara’s ear, knowing my suggestion was rhetorical. We were quite literally standing at the entrance of the ice rink waiting for the announcers to shock the world with our introduction.
“We agreed we were going to wait until after the free skate, so we don’t mess up our chemistry,” Lara whispered back.
“I’ve been waiting four years,” I grumbled playfully, my voice still at a whisper. No one except our immediate families and our coach knew what we had done that morning, but the world was about to find out.
We had ordered special costumes and changed into them last minute in order to keep our secret until the last possible second. Mine was black pants and a white shirt with a cummerbund and bowtie. Lara wore a white skating costume with a tight-fitting bodice, a skirt just slightly longer and fuller than most, and had a crown of white roses in her hair that wrapped around her messy bun in a way that made her look like a princess.
Our music was switched out at the last minute as well. The routine for our free skate was the same as what we’d practiced the previous day but instead of the generic music we’d used, tonight’s routine started with Pachelbel’s Canon in D played on piano and cello that segued into the original arrangement of Perfect by Ed Sheeran complete with lyrics to hammer the message to the crowd.
“Representing the United States of America,” the announcer started. Here goes nothing. An international announcement. “Jordan Basney and Lara Basney.”
As we skated onto the ice hand-in-hand the hesitant applause contained a shocked congratulations. Tonight was our wedding night, and we were sharing our wedding reception and first dance with the world. What else would you do in Milan, Italy, besides quietly elope with just a few friends and family in attendance.
When we’d started our second Olympic games, Lara was introduced for our short program with her maiden name. Now she was my wife and what better way to make that announcement than to have us introduced for our free skate with her married name.
After four years at Lara’s dream college—which I willingly attended in place of my originally planned dream college—we were back at the Olympics to claim the title that should have been ours all along. We were in the lead after our short program and all we needed for that gold medal was to skate a clean program tonight. How could we fail skating to a song called Perfect?
After exactly four minutes of the perfect wedding march transitioning into the perfect declaration of love, I ended our skate with a slight alteration from our practice routine. I slid from my sit spin onto one knee with Lara standing before me and whispered a question for her ears only, but not quite the question the crowd assumed I asked. “Will you take me upstairs now?”
Lara threw her head back and laughed, then called out a resounding, “Yes!” Then she pulled me off my knee and whispered. “After they put a gold medal on each of our necks at the medal ceremony.”
“Between now and then you need to slip one more ring of gold back onto your finger. Broke my heart watching you take that diamond off a few minutes after I’d placed it there.” From what I could tell, no one had noticed the gold band on my left hand that I’d brazenly worn all afternoon. We didn’t want Lara’s diamond to snag on her costume, so she’d locked it safely away until after our free skate.
Time to start the next four years as a married couple in preparation for her to take me to the Winter Games again, this time to defend our title.
(As always, feedback is greatly appreciated. -Julie)
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