Sorry it's taken so long I wanted to upload it before but for some reason it wouldn't let me!
"Someone's chirpy today," smirked Lauren to nobody in particular as she wandered into the gym, her eyes glancing over the laughing figure of Payson Keeler at already at the water fountain with Kaylie.
The two girls waved her over, Kaylie meeting her with a bemused gaze as Payson was still spluttering, grinning into her cup.
"I really have no idea what's so funny," Kaylie hesitated, smiling with absolute confusion, "this one's just in an odd mood I think."
"Whatever," deadpanned Lauren, grabbing her arm and leading her away, "listen…"
Payson watched her two friends walk away, biting into the plastic rim of her cup with a broad grin. She passed an excited glance upwards to Sasha's office, trying to suppress a nervous titter of laughter. She didn't know what this was, the bubbling effervescent laughter and joy that seemed to converge in her heart, radiating through her smile and eyes. She understood it was something she had never experienced before and as her soft gaze alighted upon a certain person's similarly bright smile from across the room, the summersaults twirling in her stomach seemed to confirm that it was a four letter word she had never though of or employed until now.
A bemused look crossed Sasha's expression from across the room, his eyes widened into large, naive swirls of blue that Payson knew so well, and she couldn't help a large grin spread across her face.
"Payson Keeler smiling," commented a surprised voice, "how rare."
Carter dropped down to the water fountain beside her, casually grabbing a cup from the holder.
"Oh come on," retorted Payson, trying to quickly wipe the involuntary smile off her face, "it's not that unusual."
"Well these days," continued Carter, moving closer to let another gymnast in to the fountain, "we all seem to forget to enjoy ourselves. "
"You better be careful though, " Carter whispered, dropping his voice and leaning in very close so that his breath tickled her ear.
He gave a wicked smile.
"You don't want Sasha catching you smiling," he joked, "or he'll think your thinking or something other than gymnastics."
Oh she was thinking of something else alright. The absolute irony of Carter's words made Payson stifle a snort and across the room, as if alerted by his name, Sasha's shadow turned sharply towards them.
He hadn't meant to yell but somehow his voice came out rougher, more aggressive and threatening as he saw the boy drawing closer to her and murmur something in her ear.
"What are you doing? Back to practice! "
Still that roar, that anger that seemed to reverberate round the room. Sasha couldn't seem to control it, something jarring in his heart which was pouring forth an aggression towards this boy that he had never imagined he could have felt. He was conscious of the startled gymnasts eyes as he strode towards the water fountain which Carter hurriedly scuttled away from.
"What was that? " hissed Payson as he moved closer towards her, anxious eyes flitting around the room to see if anyone was watching them. Thankfully they were too engrossed in working hard.
"What? " Sasha stared at her blankly, some of the heat which had rushed to his brain cooling as he found himself alone with her.
Feeling the wandering eyes of Lauren Tanner on them, Sasha abruptly moved past her. Payson looked around her a little exasperated, wide eyes confused before moving back to the beam.
It couldn't' have been more than an hour before practice usually ended when, returning from some paperwork in his office, Sasha spied the familiar tracksuits of Denver moving through the gym below. He moved through the door and onto the adjoining balcony, surprised to see the jovial face of Nicky Russo being accosted by a rather eager Lauren tanner who had literally tumbled off the beam to greet him as he hovered in the doorway. Sasha gave a low laugh to himself and was about to give Nicky a few minutes before telling him to watch quietly from the sidelines if he stay before he saw a purple flash across the room which made his jaw tighten.
Payson dismounted from the vault which happened to be near Nicky's uncomfortable dealings with Lauren and his eyes flashed a familiar 'hello' as she passed by. For the sake of friendship, and to disentangle him from the Tanner trap, she came closer.
"Hey," he said, moving out of Lauren's way to give her an awkward wave.
"What are you doing here? " Payson asked, frowning.
"I was just-"
Something loud and aggressive from above made him startle. Sasha Belov was storming down the stairs with a set grim expression, gesturing wildly to the room in general.
"I'm afraid this is a closed practice Nicky," he began, trying to control some coursing emotion which had until now lain dormant within him.
"I won't have you distracting my gymnasts! "
There it was, that unknown emotion exploding out of him so that he vented his fury at poor Nicky Russo who4s only crime was addressing the one girl who held some part of his heart in her delicate hands.
Sasha's face flushed at the distress and confusion of Nicky's face as he backed out of the gym. He couldn't look at Payson's large burning eyes as he ducked back towards his office. It has been a long time since he had lost control of his emotions like that.
She knew he was hiding in his office, no doubt ashamed of his outburst, but she waited until the gym finally emptied itself to slowly mount the stairs.
"I think you have some explaining to do…"
Payson stopped in the open doorway, hands on her hips as she fixed him with a gaze that wasn't without mirth.
Sasha sighed, dropping his pen onto his desk and moving towards her.
"I have no idea, I just for some reason couldn't stand seeing you even talking to them-" he ventured slowly.
Payson smiled. For some reason she just wanted to laugh at his downhearted expression.
"Listen," Sasha ventured moving closer, "how about dinner? "
"Mmm, how grown up. "
"I'll cook. "
"You mean you'll try to… "
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