Payson sighed as she reached her bedroom. Finally. She'd had an exhausting day. Sasha had decided she was ready to make the National Gymnastics Committee reconsider their decision to let her onto the team. At first, she was hesitant, but Sasha's unwavering faith convinced her that he was right. She was ready; and it was proven today when they put her on the team for Worlds by a special vote.

It was like she was in a dream. She floated through the moments immediately after the trials. All the congratulations she received went in one ear and out the other as she searched for Sasha; she needed to see him and thank him for everything.

After speaking to Dmitri Belov, he told her that Sasha had left. What troubled her more, was Dmitri had said Sasha appeared to be a mess. Payson couldn't fathom why; his girls had made the team, despite Ellen Beals' meddling. He should be ecstatic; he should be celebrating with them, but he was nowhere to be found. She found her parents almost straight away, and asked them if it would be okay if they went home early. She wanted to get out of here, it wasn't quite as fun when she couldn't celebrate with the person she wanted to.

They made it home within the hour. Driving past The Rock, Sasha's trailer looked unattended; his car was gone, so he obviously wasn't back from the trials yet.

Payson entered her room in a daze. She couldn't stop thinking about how amazing this all was. She was back. She was really back. And she had Sasha to thank for it. As she was lost in thoughts of Sasha, she was suddenly pulled back to reality when she noticed a letter sitting on her desk. Her name was written on the front, and as Payson opened the letter, she had a feeling this wasn't going to be good news.

Dearest Payson,

I'm writing this to you before we go to the Worlds trials, because I want you to know that I knew all along how wonderful you were going to be in front of the committee. I wanted you to know that I've had faith in you all along.

After today, I am sure that you will have proved them all wrong. You are an amazing gymnast; you have come so far since your accident, and sometimes I can't figure out how you did it. You had such focus, and once you set your mind to it, you could achieve anything.

That is part of the reason you are the one I am leaving this letter for. I hope you'll be able to understand why I have made the decision to leave.

You and the other girls will be better off without me. I have faith that you will be able to work with my father and continue in your quest for Olympic Gold. You will succeed Payson, and I believe you will be able to become an even better artistic gymnast than you already are.

I told you something on my first day training you at The Rock. I don't think you'll remember, so I'm going to say it again. You are a beautiful young woman, Payson Keeler. Let that shine through and you will show the world that you are the champion I always knew you were.

We'll meet again, I promise you that.

Love always,

Sasha

Tears gathered in her eyes as she read, and before she knew it she was throwing it in her bag and packing a suitcase; regular clothes and leotards, just in case. As she was about to close her bag, she looked over to her bed, and as a last-minute decision, decided to pack her leprechaun toy for luck. It was a well-kept secret, she secretly believed in leprechauns as a child. Despite growing older, she still had a fondness for them. Her mother found this incredibly amusing of late, for some reason.

The last thing Payson grabbed was the picture she had of Sasha winning his Olympic gold medal. She had always kept it tucked into her mirror, but she felt she would need it with her when she left. Payson didn't have a plan exactly, but she knew she wasn't going to let him leave, and if she had to follow him, she would.

Payson closed the door to her room, and seeing her parents watching TV, decided to be vague and hope that they would be distracted enough not to realise how ridiculous her excuse for disappearing was. "Mom, Dad?"

"Yeah, Pay?" Kim asks, barely turning away from the TV.

"I was wondering if you'd mind if I went on a little trip? I just got a call from Andrea Conway; she wanted to invite me to go train with her for a bit at her gym. With Sasha leaving today, I just need to get away. Is it okay if I go?" Payson didn't really believe her parents were going to go for it, but she had to try something. She couldn't have them knowing where she was really going.

"Well, are you sure you're going to be okay by yourself? I can go with you if you want?"

"No! I mean, no, that's fine. I'll be fine by myself. You stay here with Becca."

"Well, alright. Be sure to call when you can. We'll miss you. Do you know how long you're going to stay for?"

Now, Payson wasn't sure what to say, she wasn't sure how long this was going to take. "Well, I was thinking at least a few weeks. I don't really know whether I'm going to like it there, so I could be back in a few days if it doesn't go well. But I'll be sure to call you and let you know what it's like. Do you want me to take Dad's car so you can still take Becca to the gym?"

"Good thinking, Pay. You know, you should probably get going. If you leave now, you'll make it well before dark."

As she was leaving, Payson gave her Mom a hug, holding on for a moment longer than she usually did. She hated not knowing when she'd next have the chance to do so again. Kim gave her a confused smile, but let go and continued watching the TV as Payson started backing out of the driveway.


I hope you enjoyed it. Reviews are appreciated :)

I have the entire story planned out, so I know exactly where I'm going with it and what's going to happen. I figure I'll add in little extras every now and then if I get stuck, but I'll get it all on here eventually :)