"Mr. Harrison….Mr. Harrison… Mr. Harrison, your table is ready"
The hostess sounded more than just a little irritated with Alex, and who could blame her? The poor girl had scrambled to move him to a table where he wouldn't have to watch the TV, and now she couldn't get his attention away from it to try and seat him again. She finally was able to lead him to his table and put the menus down without a word, not even bothering to ask if he needed anything while he waited.
When Zach was more than his usual couple of minutes late to dinner, Alex knew that he too had been watching the competition. He wondered if Zach had the same range of emotions watching it that he himself had. Alex had almost gotten used to it. He had the same feeling five years ago watching Jackie coach Zach and Alexandra to victory, Now, it was no longer Zach going for gold with Alexandra, and that had to effect him in some way.
Alex waved Zach over to the table, as he took a Michelob Light out of the bucket for him.
"Long time, no see. How was Vegas?"
Zach accepted the beer as he proceeded to tell Alex about all the excitement the lights, casinos, and crowd brought. And how glad he was to be back home. Sure, he loved being behind the scenes of hot, new athletes, but after a couple of weeks of it, he needed a break. Especially when he remembers what it was like to be those guys. He probably wouldn't have been able to make it through his first few months of his job if Alex hadn't been such a great friend. Alex had lived the same story as Zach, if not more dramatic. At least Zach and Alexandra had realized they couldn't survive as a couple off the ice before there were vows involved.
"So, did you catch Nationals this weekend" Zach figured he might as well go ahead and get the elephant in the room out there.
"Tried not to, but then I got mesmerized."
"Yeah, they were really something out there. I'm actually glad that Alexandra found someone to keep skating with. She deserves it"
"I can't decide how I feel about Jackie getting success again. I just don't understand how she can get back out there for others, but she couldn't do it for us."
"I told you man, when I approached her years ago about coaching us, she didn't seem too keen on it. I think it may have helped her heal to see others doing what she felt she couldn't. I have no real answer for you, though. Sorry."
Neither really wanted to continue talking about ice skating, so they ordered and turned the conversation to business. Both continued to think back on it, though.
Thousands of miles away, Hannah threw open the apartment door and angrily marched to her closet. She started pulling out shoes, hair ribbons, and uniforms. How could she have been so stupid?
Almost three years ago, Hannah had pushed her skates and glitter costumes to the back of her closet and made room for poms' and polyester skirts. Now, as she threw all of her cheerleading gear into a trash bag, she reached to pull her ice skating bag from its corner. She held it tight and let the tears fall.
Just when Hannah had gotten the taste of success in skating, her world fell apart. Her father had passed away the week after she had earned her place at Nationals. She was placed in the care of Doug, Walter's younger brother, and his wife Kate. Unfortunately, soon after she went to live with them, their daughter suffered a major injury that soon started to destroy her marriage. It was all too much for the Dorsey family as a whole and Hannah had to escape.
The week before Nationals, Hannah packed her bags and returned home, leaving only a note for her family. She enrolled at Minnesota State. She continued to ice skate in her spare time, but it hurt too much to be on the ice, knowing what she had missed out on. Instead, she immersed herself in college, joining a sorority and taking up cheerleading. Her aunt and uncle continued to try and talk her into returning to the rink until the day they died.
She had gone skating at the family rink the weekend of her uncle's funeral and was surprised to discover that the pain skating had once brought was replaced with a longing to be part of it again. Unfortunately, she had taken too much time off as an individual to compete at that level again. After her cousin's divorce, she knew her heart couldn't take another disappointment from the ice and swore off couples. She has left with no choice but to continue thinking about what might have been and return to the world of cheerleading.
And now, it, too, had broken her heart. Well, maybe not exactly cheerleading itself, but it is what led her to the source of this agony.
The team and cheerleaders were out celebrating the end of season. Hannah had only been on the squad for a couple of years and wasn't as sentimental about it all being over as the rest of the seniors were. As the girls all sat around and discussed how different things had become since their freshman year, Hannah escaped to go get a glass of wine. When a male voice behind in told the bartender to put it on his tab, she turned around to give him a piece of her mind. Instead, she caught herself just staring in awe. She and Jackson spent the rest of the night talking and were inseparable the rest of the school year. They had even decided to stay in school an extra year together so that Jackson could play out his eligibility. Luckily, Hannah was able to cheer again, giving them even more time together. Hannah just knew he was going to propose during graduation.
Well, she at least thought that until about an hour ago.
She walked in to her cheer coach's office to drop off a thank you gift she had gotten her and say goodbye. She didn't expect her to be at graduation for the graduate students since Hannah was the only one on the squad. It was after hours, so she was not surprised when no one was there. She was just going to leave it on the desk and jot a quick note. She was just about to sign her name when Jackson exited the coach's storage closet, wearing only his boxers. Coach Talbot walked out wearing not much more. Hannah just starred and took of running, not listening as they both begged her to come back.
Apparently heartbreak wasn't limited to the world of ice skating – it was everywhere you were willing to give your heart. So Hannah did the only thing she knew how to do – she packed and left, leaving only a note for her roommate with the remainder of the rent.