I am so so so so so so so so so so so very sorry that it has taken me this long to post the next chapter.
Did I mention I was sorry?
I had my concussion and now it turns out I have post-concussive syndrome and I had finals and moved out of college for the summer and back home, so life has been a little crazy to say the least.
Anyway, thanks for sticking by me guys, it means a lot. So here is the next chapter.
Also, I was going through this story and the one before if, How to Bring her Back, and changed a few things. That doll Olivia had when she was little that reminded her of Mackenzie is now named Lily, and the lady who kidnapped Mackenzie is now named Miranda. Sorry for any confusion.
So, read on. This chapter focuses mostly on Mackenzie, as someone said they would like to see more of her and so here is her stage time!
"Jordan, let's go." Jess yelled up the stairs.
Mackenzie threw a few more pieces of clothing into her bag and zipped it up quick. Then she grabbed her skating costumes; which included her new long pale yellow dress with blue sash for her Anastasia number, and put them all in her dress bag.
Mackenzie was late, she knew this, but was all the yelling really necessary. They did have two new additions to the house. It was 4:06am and they were supposed to have left at 4am. Six minutes shouldn't make that much of a difference, especially since their flight doesn't leave until 7:05am. Mackenzie and three other girls from her skating team had qualified to skate in a national competition in Colorado Springs. Since the babies had just come home from the hospital a few days earlier, neither Olivia nor Alex could make the trip so Jess had agreed. And the fact that she was the agent assigned to their case and Mackenzie was leaving the safety of her home and city, and could not be left unprotected.
Mackenzie zipped the dress bag, grabbed the Anastasia crown and put it in her skating bag, zipped that and then dashed into the twins room to say good bye to her parents.
"I told you to pack yesterday." Olivia said.
"I know." Mackenzie replied as she dropped her things at the door and entered the room. Alex and Olivia were each in a rocking chair by the middle of the back wall with two nightstands between them and a crib to the outside of each. To the right were the swings, which book-ended the changing table, and to the left was the armoire and bookcase, with one five-drawer chest to the left side of the door and the other to the right. In the middle of the room was the rug that matched the bedding, rosebuds, butterflies and dragonflies and all.
But then the focal points of the room, apart from the adorable babies, were their names above the cribs. Above the left crib in big pale pink blocks with green detailing, roses, butterflies and dragonflies was the name 'Ava' with two butterflies on each side of her name. Above the other crib, on the right, in big pale green blocks with pink detailing, roses, butterflies and dragonflies was the name 'Emily' sandwiched in-between two large dragonflies.
She quickly looked out the window on the other side of Emily's crib. Jess was walking from her car back to the house.
"Better hurry up." Alex instructed.
"I know, but it's so early." Mackenzie whined. She got a look from both of her mothers. It was only four am and they had already been up three times with the girls. "You two wanted these babies, so don't complain to me about being up with them every five minutes." She sidestepped just in time to miss the bear Olivia threw in her direction. "Nice example you're setting." She went over to Alex and kissed little Ava on the head, then she went to Olivia and did the same to Emily.
"Okay, so I will be with Jess at all times and not go anywhere beside the arena or the hotel and not talk to anyone I don't know . . . "Mackenzie listed off. "Am I missing anything?"
"Have fun." Olivia added.
Mackenzie laughed and hugged each of her mothers.
"And you're going to be late…" Olivia warned
"And I'm going."
Colorado Springs Hotel
Day 1 - 10pm
After arriving in Colorado Springs, Jess, Mackenzie, the coach, Chelsea Ross, and the rest of the girls went immediately to the arena for their ice time. Then Coach had them spend several hours in the gym before finally getting sick of the complaining and going to the hotel.
After much convincing, Mackenzie was able to get the coach and other girls to go down to the pool for a little swimming so that Jess could check out the rooms. She got a txt from Jess 45 minutes later saying they could come back up, so they left the pool and dropped Dylan, Lucy and Anna off at their room, Coach walked with Mackenzie to her room before turning back toward her own.
"Mackenzie, is everything alright at home?"
Mackenzie switched her bag to the other arm and looked at the floor in front of her. "Everything's fine. Why?"
"You just haven't been yourself lately. You've been distracted, not on your game . . . not like yourself."
"Things have been a little crazy with the babies and everything."
"That's not what I mean."
Mackenzie stopped outside her door and turned to Coach. "I broke up with my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago. He was pressuring me to do things that I'm not ready for." She took a deep breath. "Something happened to me before we moved to Wyoming, and it has made me . . . not able to do a lot of things. He didn't get that."
Chelsea leaned in and gave Mackenzie a hug. "Then you are better off without him."
"Some guys just don't get that the person they're dating may have different wants than they do." She took a step away from the door then turned back. "He didn't have anything to do with those bruises you had did he?"
"Of course not." She answered a little too quickly. "I told you, that was from falling at practice."
"Do your parents know about this?"
Mackenzie shook her head. "They've been really busy lately. With Mama's complicated pregnancy and the babies being born early and the problems Emily had when she was first born. They've got a lot they're dealing with."
"Well if you ever need to talk I'm here."
"Thanks Coach, but you don't have to worry. Tomorrow I'll bring it. The ice and getting that first place trophy will be the only things on my mind."
Coach laughed. "I would hope so. Get a good night sleep. I'll see you bright and early."
Mackenzie closed the door and collapsed against it.
"Long day?" Jess asked.
Mackenzie walked over to the bed and tossed herself down on it. She was asleep in a matter of seconds; mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted.
About mid-way through the day the girls were done with their practice time so they were back at the hotel relaxing and waiting for the first rounds of competitions to begin in a few hours.
Mackenzie had just finished her shower and Jess was sitting on her bed working on some paperwork. "What's all that?"
"That," Jess began. "Are your sisters' real birth certificates. When they were born, they were given ones with your mothers' fake names and they themselves had to take the last names, but I need to make sure they have real ones to use when you guys get out."
Mackenzie nodded and sat down on her bed.
"What's the first one's full name?"
Mackenzie put the towel she had been using to dry her hair and turned to Jess. "The first one?"
"Yeah, the first one?"
"Yeah, that one."
"Ava Carolina." Mackenzie answered. "Caroline after Mom's aunt who practically raised her because her mother was too much of a mess to do so herself."
"What about the other one."
Mackenzie laughed. "Emily Sophia. Sophia after Mama's mother."
Jess scribbles some things down. "Now, what are they planning to use for their last names? Is it going to just be Cabot, or some kind of hyphenated version? Or something totally different all together?"
"No, they're using Cabot-Benson, just like mine."
Jess asked her a bunch of other questions and had everything filled in sealed into a manila envelope that she would hand deliver to whoever it was who was in charge of that sort of thing. Mackenzie dressed in the bathroom and then came out so Jess could French braid her hair. As Jess was braiding her hair Mackenzie took a photograph out of her bag. It was of her and the twins, the day they were released from the hospital. The babies were each in cute little pink dresses that turned into pink-camp print on the bottom, on the skirt part of the dresses. Mackenzie had one baby on each side of her lap, and on the side of the dress closest to the outside of each baby and up on their chests, was an adorable little camo butterfly with flowers around it. On the other side of the top of the dress that wasn't taken up by the butterfly ensemble, was a little phrase that says 'I'm kind of a packaged deal.'
Then, of course Alex had put bows in what little hair they had and finished the outfit off with little pink sandals. Mackenzie was wearing pink-camo capri pants and a pink halter-top to match the babies perfectly. Even Lexie and Willow were there and had the same
pink-camo print on their collars. It had been an unusually warm day that day and Alex and Olivia had been eager to get out and do their own little photo shoot.
She handed the picture to Jess. "For your successes pile."
Broadmoor Skating Club
The first round of competitions hadn't been going well so far. Already, Lucy and Anna had fallen during their routines and Dylan had just barely missed landing on her backside herself. Mackenzie was making some last minute adjustments before it was her time on the ice. For her first number she was doing her Anastasia number. Jess helped her add some more glitter to her hair and touch-up her make-up, then Dylan skated off the ice and it was Mackenzie's turn.
Everyone was nervous watching her out on the ice. You could cut the tension among the team with a knife. Because the team hadn't done well so far, all their hopes were pinned on Mackenzie. If she didn't get a high enough score, the whole team would be out of the competition.
"From Alexandria, Wyoming is Jordan Taylor-Costa skating for Alexandria High school."
As the music came through the speakers and Mackenzie began her routine, all motion ceased.
It was a tense three and a half minutes, but when Mackenzie came off the ice she was engulfed in a sea of hugs and praises. She had skated flawlessly, not missing one beat. Hopefully that was enough to keep the school in the competition.
Mackenzie's routine had been enough to save the team from leaving, but just barely. And now with Lucy unable to skate because of her ankle, there was a lot of pressure on Mackenzie and the other two girls. Today, Mackenzie was skating first so she got dressed at the hotel so that she was ready when they got there and she could watch some of the people before her.
When it was her turn to be on deck, Chelsea and Jess brought her over to the gate and Chelsea have her a quick pep-talk while Jess made sure everything with her costume was in place. The costume was new. Jess had just given it to her a few hours earlier. It was for her tribal dance and was made of greens and reds and oranges and browns. It was a beautiful dress, and came at the perfect time because the airline had lost the bag that had that costume in it. Jess secured Mackenzie's arm band and headband. Then she was good to go.
After a somewhat rocky start, Mackenzie found her stride and skated with everything she had. When she was first announced and the music started playing, she could have swore she saw Serena Southerlyn in the audience, but when she looked up a second time she was gone. So she chalked it up to nervousness and went on with her routine.
A few, long drawn out minutes later and Mackenzie was off the ice watching Anna skate and then Dylan. Everyone had done very well today, much better than yesterday where they needed Mackenzie to carry the whole team. Everyone held their own today. After hanging around to watch everyone who had made the second round skate, and hearing the judges, it was determined that Mackenzie was the only one who had made it to the final round.
The last and final round of competitions. There was the semi-final round, in which there were ten girls competing and then the final round in which there would only be four. Mackenzie hadn't eaten anything since the morning before, she was so nervous. This was a national competition, with skaters from all over the US and she was chosen to be in the top 10. Her school needed her to make it to the final round and place well. If she placed in the top 3, her school will be given a lot more funding that it was in desperate need of. Not to mention that no one else in her team had made it, so it was all up to her.
As per rules, all skaters had to come dressed and ready to skate so that they could watch everyone else do their routines. Mackenzie came dressed in her light pink short dress for her classical number. Jess had tried to get Mackenzie's hair up in a tight bun, but whatever she did Mackenzie flipped out on. It was too loose, it wasn't centered, it wasn't high enough. Mackenzie didn't deal well with stress, so to avoid flipping out on her herself, Jess let her teammates and coach help her with her hair and calm her down.
She went on in the 6th slot and just barely missed landing on her face, but she turned that fall into a flip and the judges may not have even noticed . . . hopefully.
After watching the rest of the group, it was time for a lunch break and waiting around for the judges' scores to see who made the top 4 and has to get on the ice to practice before the finals later that night. Mackenzie couldn't even get herself to eat some of the fruit from the fruit cup Jess had gotten for her. "You've got to eat." But Mackenzie's eyes were glued to the screen above, waiting for the names of the top 4.
Mackenzie was woken up sometime later by Dylan, Anna and Lucy wondering where she had been and why she wasn't in costume.
"What costume?" She asked sleepily.
"Your costume for the finals." Lucy answered.
"You made it Jordan!" Anna exclaimed.
Mackenzie jumped up and ran to the changing room faster than she had ever ran in her entire life.
Broadmoor Skating Club
Mackenzie was last out of the four finalists, so she had plenty of time to get ready and calm herself down.
"Jordan, you can do this." Chelsea told her. "This is what you've been training for for the past two years."
"And before that." Mackenzie added under her breath. No one knew she had skated at her old school. They just thought she was some sort of skating prodigy.
This routine was her most daring yet. She was wearing a mostly black halter outfit with jewels and velvet covering collar, bodice, and short shorts – if you could call it a skirt. Then a bright, crimson red covered the chest and little of the back. The girls all helped her take her hair down, put it half-up half-down and curl it till it into an explosion of waves and curls. Then they all helped put on bold make-up and cover her with glitter. Hopefully her Moulin Rouge number would get her in the top 3.
She just barely made it to the gate in time, but quickly composed herself and skated smoothly to the center of the ice.
"Currently placing in third place is Jordan Makenna Taylor-Costa from Alexandria High School, Wyoming."
The music started off with a slow, soothing beat and Mackenzie began skating similarly to how she did in her classical number, but then the music sped up and changed entirely and so did the skating. She added flips and jumps and lutzs and loops and skated with every fiber of her being. She did her final combination and landed perfectly in the center of the ring. She took her bow and exited the ice, nearly collapsing into her team's arms. They quickly got some water with electrolytes in her and waited for the judges' ruiling.
Mackenzie went to the bathroom to splash some water on her face and came out a few minutes later.
"You look pretty good for being dead."
Mackenzie heard the voice and a chill ran up her spine. What was she supposed to do?
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