She felt the pressure, and it was definitely intense. Sixteen years of her life spent training coupled with the expectation of fulfilling her mother's lost dreams was starting to take its toll on Brennan. She did love her mother and wanted to be the champion that Emily was never able to be in her lifetime.
"Aren't you tired of always having to live up to the Kmetko family dream?" Dylan asked his older sister. Dylan and Brennan were brother and sister, but their friendship was stronger than obligated family bonds. They always had each other's backs. Plus, Dylan never felt his mother was pushing him to be something else but himself. However, he knew that it was different for Brennan.
"I just want to make Mom proud of me. I want to prove I am able to win gold, and that it is was not a mistake for her to keep me." Brennan had no misconception about the circumstances around her birth. She knew Emily was well on her way to the Olympics when she discovered she was pregnant. Everyone in Emily's life had expected her to have an abortion, even Brennan's father.
Sixteen years earlier
"We can't have a baby. You are supposed to be going to Worlds and on to the Olympics next year."
"You are just saying that as a cop out. I saw you and Kaylie during your little performance. Just be honest with me, you want to be with her because it is easier. She is not knocked up and there is less responsibility."
"Clearly, pregnancy has turned you into a crazy person. Kaylie and I are just friends. I love you and I want to be with you, but you have told me time and time again that your career is the most important thing to you. I cannot let you throw away your dream for a stupid mistake we made one night."
"A stupid mistake? Being with me was a stupid mistake? I gave myself to you because I loved you. Of course, I was not trying to get pregnant, but it happened. I have been thinking that it happened for a reason. Maybe it is the universe telling us to just be together."
"I will not be part of the reason for you not going to the Olympics. I think eventually you will realize that keeping this baby is not the right thing to do, and I do not want you to resent it or me."
"Well I am sorry you feel that way," Emily could not control the tears from coming now. She sobbed as she exited Damon's apartment and did not see him again for four years.
"Do not be ridiculous, Bren. Mom has never regretted having you as a daughter. She is proud of you and all of your accomplishments. Besides, between you and me, Mom knows you are a better gymnast than she ever was."
"Whatever, Dylan. You are just saying that to make me feel better."
"Bren, Dylan, we need to get home for dinner. Your dad will wonder where we are."
"Mom, Dad will never wonder will we are. Please, we spend more time at the gym than we do at home," Dylan joked as he got in the back seat.
Emily noticed that her daughter was distracted the entire ride home. She knew that the impending Olympics and all the pressure were slowly eating away at the sixteen-year-old. Once they were home she pulled Brennan to the side to reassure her, "Honey, I know that you are worried about the Games, but everything will work out. Now let's go eat before it gets cold." She hugged her daughter and gave her a kiss on the forehead.
"Dad, how were the auditions for bands for next month's opening?" Dylan asked his father as they sat around the dinner table. Dylan was the spitting image of his father with the same blue-grey eyes and square tipped nose. Razor loved his son with everything he had. He loved that they shared a love of music and liked the same bands, but tonight he was worried about the preoccupied expression on Brennan's face.
Most of the time, Razor felt closer to his step-daughter than Dylan, because he chose her. It was not easy to step up to the plate and be a father to the baby of your former crush and ex-best friend, but he had no choice when Emily knocked on his door sixteen years ago. Not once had he ever regretted the decision. Over the years, he has tried to give Brennan a since of purpose and belonging. He knew that it was never easy on her trying to fulfill her mother's destiny. Razor just always wanted Brennan to feel like she did not always need to be perfect, not for him. He loved her as she was.
Sixteen years earlier
Emily lay in the hospital bed fast asleep. She was exhausted after 22 hours of labor and delivery. Gymnastics was a cake walk compared to giving birth.
Razor stood in the corner of the room holding a precious baby girl and rocking her in his arms. He had never expected to love this baby so much. Finally, the realization that he had fallen in love with this baby over the course of the past five months hit him like a ton of bricks.
"Brennan, I know you are not my flesh and blood, but I promise I will always be here for you. Your mother and you mean everything to me, and I will never let anyone or anything hurt you. You are my daughter, too."
Razor started singing a song to his baby girl. The soothing melody of the lullaby made Emily wake slowly. She watched as Razor swayed back and forth with Brennan in his arms. She had wanted for Damon to be the one bonding with his daughter, but now it was clear. Damon was not Brennan's dad, Razor was. He had earned the title over the past few months, and he also earned Emily's love. She had told him after the baby was born they could discuss their feelings for one another, because she did not want them to make rash decision because a baby was on the way. However, now she was sure of her feelings for Razor. Seeing him hold Brennan and hearing him sing to her, Emily knew she was in love with this man.
"Dad? Dad?" Brennan tried to get the attention of her distracted father.
"Dylan asked about the auditions."
"Oh, yes. Well they went alright. We did not hear any spectacular bands. I think Gus and I are going to fly to LA next week to hold auditions there. The bands here in Seattle are just not right for the sound we want for this new club. To change the subject, how was practice today?"
"Awesome. Mom helped me with my new dismount for bars today. I have three weeks to perfect it before we go to Melbourne."
Deep down, Brennan was terrified about being ready for Melbourne. She loved her mother and her coaching skills. The idea of disappointing her mom/coach was unbearable.