This is set around 2.17 – Emily's left for LA and Kaylie is still trying to work her way back into the team. This will mainly be Emily centric to start with but all the other girls will get their moment to shine (or not).
Chapter 1: Tears
Emily Kmetko gripped the edge of her seat tightly. The bus ride was making her nauseous, but then everything was doing that. The gymnast's fingernails were bitten to a quick and her eyes were red and puffy. She had no idea what she was doing: she didn't know if it was the right thing – all she knew was that she couldn't take her life any more. Kaylie Cruz had kissed Damon, or Damon had kissed Kaylie. She wasn't sure which was worse but that had been the final straw – how could she possibly stay in the town where her boyfriend who she loved more than life had cheated on her after he got her pregnant.
Emily looked down at her abdomen the tiny little person inside her had caused so much trouble but she couldn't bear the thought of an abortion. Her Mum had been in an even worse situation than she had and at seventeen but she had stuck through it and done her best for Emily and Brian. Emily's childhood had been hard but she knew she was luckier than Kaylie or Lauren: at least her Mum loved her and Emily wouldn't trade Chloe for the world. Her phone started to ring again – it had been doing it all afternoon. Payson, Kaylie and Damon kept ringing her. It was Payson this time. Emily didn't know what to think about Payson, she was Emily's best friend and closest ally but she couldn't face talking to her. Payson had her whole life ahead of her to achieve her dreams and Emily had nothing. With a sigh Emily pressed 'ignore call' and put her phone back in her bag. She stared out the window: the sooner she got to LA the better.
Chloe never thought she'd ever see the day where she enjoyed working at a strip club, but being at home was so hard now that any distraction was welcome. At least here she didn't have to see any of the Rock parents or Sasha – she hated to see the pity and contempt on their faces. Sure Emily had made a mistake but that didn't mean people had to rub her face in it ever time she saw them. She sighed and carried out the tray of drinks she had been assigned. When she reached the table she saw a very familiar face
Steve Tanner, a recently engaged man, turned around quickly, looking very guilty. Chloe gave him the evils. She couldn't believe how immoral Steve was.
"Hey there yourself. What brings you here?"
"Oh just business, you know: we were thinking of buying this place." He said.
Chloe raised an eyebrow "oh honey we dated remember and I can tell when you're lying a mile off."
Steve looked petrified. "Please, Chloe – don't tell Summer."
Chloe glared at him for a while. She wasn't usually a manipulative person but she knew that having power over Steve could be useful. "We'll see Steve." She said as she put the drinks on the table "we will see."
Steve Tanner watched her walk away with a very nervous look on his face.
The bus ride had taken forever but Emily was finally in LA, wearily she got off the bus where she saw her godmother Margi waiting for her. Just seeing Margi made Emily smile: the woman had a heart of gold and was one of the strongest people Emily knew.
"Margi!" She yelled as she went to hug her godmother.
"Oh honey" Margi said as she put her arms around Emily. Chloe had told her everything but she'd decided to wait until Emily was ready to tell her what was going on.
The drive home was almost silent – Emily was a quiet girl and she was tired and her godmother knew she didn't like to be disturbed when she was in that sort of mood. Eventually they reached Margi's house. It was a big house, almost a mansion: Margi had come from a poor family like Chloe but in her years as a social worker she had had a lot of money left to her in wills, so she'd designed and built this house. She didn't use it selfishly though: she fostered children and she'd always let any of her friends know that they were welcome to stay any time. The house was three stories high and had a swimming pool, tennis courts and a home gym.
"Well here we are M"
"Wow Margi you've done the place up so well!" Emily had only seen it when it was still only half built. "I've always dreamed of owning a place like this" she said sadly.
"And you will sugar, one day." Margi said confidently. "You're the most determined girl I've met and you can have anything you want."
A tear rolled down Emily's cheek. "No I won't I'll never be an Olympian, I don't know how to tell you this." She said tearfully.
Margi lent over and held Emily's hand tightly. "You know you can tell me anything M – and you know I'll always be on your side."
Her kind words just made Emily cry harder "I'm pregnant. I'm a failure."
"No, don't you dare say that about yourself, girl. I won't have that sort of negative talk under my roof."
Emily smiled at Margi's attitude "you're still as tough as ever."
"And you know it. But M you are tough too and we're going to pull through this."
"Thanks Margi that means so much." Margi's words touched Emily. She was the first person who didn't treat Emily like a failure for getting pregnant and seeing the baby like a problem. A detour, sure but hearing those words sparked Emily's old determination. Her life was not over at all. She wasn't sure what she was going to be now that she couldn't do gymnastics but she certainly was not going to be a door mat. She was going to take the world head on.
Emily smiled at Margi "you're right Margi – that world is my oyster."
Lauren checked her watch impatiently. She was at Spruce Juice sitting by herself. She hated looking like a loner; it made her feel like everyone else was watching her. To top it all off she was stressed about the world team – Kelly Parker had taken Emily's spot and Kaylie still had to battle it out with two other girls before she could earn a place on the team. Lauren really wanted Kaylie to get on, she didn't think she'd be able to cope if Parker and her cronies outnumbered the Rock girls and Kelly was made captain. After what seemed like forever her friend finally arrived.
"Oh my God what took you so long?"
"Chill out Lauren I got caught in traffic." Darby said as she came over to kiss Lauren on the cheek. "So babes tell me how's the Rock going?" Darby did not miss coaching there at all: Sasha had been right, she was far too inexperienced to take on such a stubborn group of girls.
"Not too bad – but guess what Emily's pregnant!" Lauren said, enjoying divulging gossip. Although she'd come to regard Emily as almost a friend in the past few months she still felt insecure – and always felt better if she could bring someone else down.
"Emily Kmetko?" Darby asked incredulously.
"Duh – how many other Emilys do we know?" Lauren said pettily.
"The poor girl" Darby muttered very quietly.
"Hello! Darby, it's her own fault. We all knew she was never focused and it was only a matter of time."
"Lo! Don't be so harsh it could happen to anyone."
"Whatever, why are you so uptight anyway?" Lauren said before quickly moving on to talking about some new guy she had a crush on.
Darby ignored the talk about Max and said "so do you know where Emily is?"
"Who cares – what do think about Max doesn't he sound dreamy?"
"Yeah sure Lo, so do you know where Emily is?"
"I don't know why you care so much but she went to LA to visit her godmother. Her name's Margi Jones, apparently she's like some famous social worker so Emily will fit right in with the other drop kicks she takes in."
Darby made a mental note of that information "you're so rough Lo, now keep telling me about Max."
Darby and Lauren talked for a while before Darby had to rush of to take one of her private students. Although her time at the Rock had been a complete failure it had raised her publicity and she'd had offers from all over the place.
When Darby left Lauren got a phone call. "Hello"
"Lauren it's Ellen Beals here how are you?"
"Fine thanks Miss Beals" Lauren replied sycophantically.
"So how was your lunch with Darby?"
"How did you know about that?"
"Your father – not that it's any of your business"
Lauren rolled her eyes and mouthed 'bitch' into the phone "well the lunch was nice."
"Did you tell her about Emily?"
"Yeah I did – is that ok, it's not like a secret or anything is it?"
"No not at all, in fact the more people know about it the better. It should be a warning to all gymnasts wanting to do well not to go around sleeping with guys."
"Yeah totally" Lauren replied guiltily.
"Anyway I was just calling to check in Lauren. Keep up the good work with your training: I expect to see very good things from you in future, with your determination and loyalty to the NGO you are certainly an asset to this sport and to your country."
"Thanks Miss Beals" Lauren said in her girliest voice.
As soon as she'd got home from her private lesson Darby had googled Margi Jones and found her address. She wasn't about to let Emily give up on her dream and Darby knew that she was probably the only person who could help her.
Darby's phone rang "hello"
"Darby it's Ellen Beals"
"Ellen" Darby said coldly. This didn't bode well.
"I don't want you going near Emily Kmetko."
"And why would I do that?" Darby asked, deliberately playing coy. She was going to make Ellen work for this.
"Don't be stupid. Just because you managed to have a baby and come back does not mean Emily will be able to do the same. For one you had two years before the Olympics to train and for another Emily doesn't have nearly as much mental toughness as you. She's a convicted thief and she consistently disobeyed the rules."
Darby rolled her eyes. She should have known this was coming "I don't remember you thinking I had any mental toughness at all Ellen."
"Well times change, but you're the exception and it's best for everyone that you just let her go off and pursue her mediocre life that she should have pursued all along."
Darby decided that it was best that Ellen be put firmly off the scent. "Don't worry Ellen – I totally agree with you, Emily has no mental toughness at all. I trained her remember and she's not worth the effort." She said as she crossed her fingers behind her back "I promise I won't contact her, why would I? I have my own students to coach."
"Well that is a relief." Ellen said, although she wasn't entirely convinced.
"Bye Ellen, it was a pleasure as always." Darby said sarcastically and hung up. After Ellen's spiel there was no way Darby wasn't going to help Emily: it was just a matter of finding the right time. She opened Google Maps and tried to figure out the best route of getting to Margi Jones's house.
A/N there's the first chapter, it was a bit short b/c it was just there to set the scene. But don't worry there's about to be a lot more drama. Think Damon + Emily finally figuring everything out. The rest of the Rock girls make appearances as they get closer to worlds.
Let me know what you think and thanks for reading! xx