Disclaimer: I do not own make It or Break it. I did not write the series or star in it. Seriously I'm just a bored Canadian...
Warnings: AU, language, evil plots, bunnies and whatever else I feel like throwing in.
Payson woke up early as she always did, packed her gym bag and left. But not to The Rock- a new place. A place she had only been once before. A place that she hoped would become her new home, now that Sasha was no longer her coach. She made sure to leave her Rock sweater at home, it wouldn't have a place where she was going, and just had on a plain green hoodie and shorts over her leo.
When she walked into the gym, she could tell that the place had undergone a small renovation. Most of the equipment had been upgraded, there was a banner with Kelly Parkers name hanging on the wall, and more light. It was nice. It wasn't The Rock, but it was nice.
She could hear the noise level descend as the gymnasts noticed her. Small whisperings of 'Is that Payson Keeler?', 'What's Keeler doing here?', 'Do you think Keeler came to steal back Marty?'. She ignored them as she walked forward, looking for Marty. She spotted him just as the whispers of her presence hit him. His back straightened up, he stopped in the middle of a sentence, and then he slowly turned around and there she was.
A soft smile broke out across his face, and Payson recognized it as the same smile he gave her whenever she mastered a new skill. A warmth in her chest that she didn't know was missing returned, and she smiled back.
"Hey Marty. Can we talk?" She asked.
"Payson...of course, let's go to my office." Payson nodded and followed her old coach's lead. From the corner of her eye, she could see Kelly Parker slowly sneaking closer to them, but she ignored the girl.
In the office, Marty took his seat, and Payson sat in the comfortable squishy chair that was in the corner.
"What are you doing here Payson?"
"I want you to be my coach again." Payson stated simply.
Marty shot her a surprised look. "But... I thought Sasha was back..."
"He is, but I want you to be my coach. When I first went to The Rock it was because I knew that you would be able to lead me to the Olympics. When you left, I let your words that day here in Denver Elite drive me, but after awhile I realized that you didn't mean them. That you only said them so I wouldn't quit. Then Sasha came into the picture and I worked hard. I needed him before to help me get to this point but now I think I have outgrown him. Marty, I want you to hold to the promise you made four years ago and get me to the Olympics." Payson explained.
"You outgrew Sasha Belov?" Marty said slowly, trying to slowly process the statement.
"Yes. He needs to focus his time on the other three now, and I need you. Please Marty, will you be my coach again?" Payson wasn't one for pleading but she needed Marty.
"Of course I will. I missed you Payson." Marty said softly without any hesitation. "But I think you need to explain this to me a little more."
Payson smiled at him. "Thank you. What do you want to know about?"
"I want to hear your exact reasons for leaving The Rock." Marty stated firmly.
"I..." Payson needed a moment. "When I went to Snagov to get Sasha to come back, I realized something important. "
"And that was..."
Payson stared Sasha down as she stood in front of him. The Romanian man was refusing to back down, but so was Payson.
"Payson, you need to get to Hungary." Sasha said with a gentle voice.
"Not until you go with me." Payson demanded.
"Payson, you know why I had to leave. I was hurting you and the others!"
"No you weren't. Those are just excuses. You tried to help Kaylie, you even went to her parents but they didn't listen. You tried your best with her. How were you supposed to stop Emily from being arrested? It's not like she stole while at The Rock. It's her own fault for not calling an ambulance, or asking others for money. And Lauren...no one knows what goes on in Laurens head, but we're pretty sure it involves little devils and a big dark castle. She was that way before you arrived. You're not God, Sasha. You are our coach and we need you. I need you." Payson vehemently told the stubborn man in front of her.
"Payson... even if I went back, things wouldn't be the same and you know it. I could never be the same coach you expect because of what happened. You don't need me Payson."
Payson looked away from him for the first time. She knew what he was saying. It was the same thought that went through her head every time she thought about him leaving. She had made him leave because she had kissed him. She had ruined everything not only for herself, but for her teammates as well. "Then don't come back for me. Go back to The Rock and help train Emily, Kaylie, and Lauren and I will leave. I will go somewhere else so you can focus on them, and not worry about me suddenly kissing you again, or ruining your career."
Payson saw Summer enter the bar and she knew it was time to go. Digging into her pocket, she pulled out the gold medal Sasha had once given her, and placed it lightly down on the bar top. She hesitated on letting it go, but she knew she needed to pull her hand away. It was time to start over again, and this time she wouldn't rely on Sasha to achieve her goals. "I don't need this anymore Sasha. Good bye." She softly spoke as she rose from her seat and walked out.
Marty stared at her with a considering look. "I need an assurance that you won't leave and go back to Sasha when things are more...calm between you two."
"Marty, you are the coach I want to take me to the Olympics. I promise." Payson pushed all the sincerity she could into her words.
"But one last question before we leave this office and I officially become your coach again." Marty said quickly.
"Why did you never kiss me?" Payson gave an embarrassed cough at the question. She could tell Marty was only teasing thanks to his sly little grin and sparkling eyes, but she felt like she needed to answer him.
"Because you only have three gold medals. I have standards Marty." She said lightly. She gave him a wink and quickly left the office and a loudly laughing Marty behind.
When Marty finally calmed himself down, he left his office to see Payson standing beside the door waiting for him, and a gym full of athletes looking to him for answers. It was rare for them to see Marty laugh or even smile, so he could guess that quite a few rumours were flying around.
"Listen up!" he called. "If you don't already know, this is Payson Keeler." Marty placed a hand on Payson's shoulder and pushed her forward slightly. "From today on she will be training here. I want you to welcome her, and make her feel included."
Payson could see the little devious thoughts running through the heads of the Denver Elite athletes. She kept her face blank. She was prepared for a little uphill battle, after all, she remembers how it was when she first joined The Rock and Kaylie and Lauren had tried to ice her out. One medal worthy floor routine later and she had ensured her place there. But this gym also had Kelly Parker.
"Keeler actually left that little hovel of a gym in Boulder? What happened? Did your old man boyfriend break up with you when he returned?" Kelly's voice cut through the air. "You know Marty won't fall for your little charms Keeler." She tacked on.
Payson just stared her in the eye without saying anything.
"Nothing to say? Really? What if we don't want you here Keeler? I'm sure parents would be concerned about having a little tramp near their impressionable children." Kelly tried again. She got a few laughs but nothing serious.
"Kelly." Marty said harshly, a heavy overtone of anger in his voice.
"Sorry Marty. I'm just looking out for the welfare of the gym." Kelly tried to say in an innocent voice.
Payson decided to speak up. "Kelly, are you concerned for the children or your own position as number one? It's okay to be scared of no longer being the best; you don't need to hide behind 10 year olds and childish taunts."
"I think that's enough cattiness for today girls. Come Payson let's get you settled into a locker than I want to see you do a full rotation." Marty said. Payson nodded and followed her new coach. It was time to start anew.
Lauren Tanner considered herself someone in the know. When she saw a chance to gather more information to herself, she dove in and took it. So when she had the chance, she had approached Kelly Parker's mini devil Tessa Grande to spread her information web further. It wasn't hard to convince the girl that assisting Lauren was in her best interests, considering her 'mentor' Kelly Parker didn't even realize that girl was from the same gym. She finally got her connection into the Denver Elite Gym, so that she could always be on top of Kelly Parker. She knew she wasn't as talented as Payson, and didn't have that All American Sweetheart smile like Kaylie, but what she did have, was inside information.
Her day had started out as well as it could, when she needed to be at the gym early, and start another training regime because Sasha finally came back. She wasn't surprised to see that she wasn't the first to arrive. What was surprising was the lack of Payson. Lauren ignored a small niggling feeling she had about it, and decided to spend her time picking on Emily. Without Princess Cruz and Perfect Payson around it gave her a rare moment to get under the Pizza girl's skin.
"Hello Emily." Lauren said sweetly as she stepped up beside the brunette. "Are you excited to start training with Sasha again?"
Emily gave her a weird look. "It will be nice to have a decent coach again. What are you up to Lauren?"
"Nothing... I'm just curious, I remember how devastated you were when Sasha left. Now that he's back you should be happy and excited right?"
"Yes, where are you going with this Lauren?" Emily asked cautiously.
"Oh no where... merely making conversation." Lauren tried to wave away all suspicion. "But while the subject is on the table, you're not going to try and pull a Payson and kiss Sasha are you? I think this gym has one too many scandals already, don't you agree? But wait... aren't you too busy sucking face with that band boy. No, I remember now, you left band boy and ran away with his best friend. Wow Emily, you do get around. Mother like daughter I guess."
"Lauren..." Emily sighed.
"I'm just saying."
"Payson will be upset if she hears you mentioning that again. And I didn't have anything going on with Razor. Honestly Lauren, just let it go." Emily said.
"Well lucky for me Payson isn't here yet. But I noticed you didn't say anything in defense of your mother... are you too embarrassed or did I hit the nail on the head?" Lauren smirked.
"Gather round girls!" Sasha called from his balcony. Lauren sighed when her fun ended. Following a highly agitated Emily, Lauren stood in front of Sasha, one hip jutted out, and hands on her waist. "I would like to apologize for leaving you before, but now I am back and I hope that we can get back to work, and make you the best gymnasts you can be."
Lauren felt her cell vibrate in her sweatpants pocket. Sneaking it out, Lauren opened the message from Tessa, and gasped.
"I have some unfortunate news to share with you all-" Sasha started saying.
"Payson went to Denver Elite!" Lauren shrieked.
"Well yes, that was what I was about to share with everyone, Thank you Lauren, but I will ask that you keep all phones off the floor." Sasha sent her a stern glare. Not in least bit chastised, Lauren replaced her cell and focused all her attention on Sasha. "Payson Keeler has decided that she will continue her gymnastics training at another facility. Her presence is a huge loss to this gym, but we can't let that distract us. "
"So she just left? Without a word to anyone?" Emily spoke up.
"Well, no... Payson spoke about it to our parents awhile ago." Becca Keeler spoke up from the back of the group.
"So Payson ditches and you're still here?" Lauren snapped at the younger girl.
"Just because Payson no longer felt like she had a place here, does not mean Becca doesn't either. Nothing changes, now get back to practice." Sasha commanded, stopping any further comments.
As the girls dispersed, Lauren stayed in place. When Sasha finally focused on her she spoke, "Why did Payson leave?" She asked.
"Payson had her reasons and we should respect that." Sasha said levelly but Lauren saw how his grip on the railing tightened.
"And you had nothing to do with it? What was said in Snagov after Emily and I left?" Lauren demanded.
"Lauren, I don't need to answer you. Instead of asking me questions, you should be practicing your bars routine. It's your weakest apparatus and will cost you a chance at qualifying for all around. Get to work." As the group started dispersing Sasha called out. "Emily, can I see you in my office please?"
Lauren refused to back down, and held her position until Sasha's eyes were back on her. "You two have a little lovers spat and we all suffer." Lauren had to get the last word in. She turned and walked towards the beam in spite. The only good thing she saw in this whole mess was that she was now the number one girl at The Rock.
"That was great Payson." Marty complimented as Payson left the floor after her routine. The man had looked impressed the entire time, and seemed to be in a bit of daze from it all. "I didn't know you had artistic in you..."
"Me either, but Sasha saw it. Can you help my artistic style?" Payson asked.
"Yeah I have a few ideas to add to the routine already, just to get the DOD up... but come on I want to see you on beam next." Marty muttered as he worked on his clipboard. He had the look of a little kid at the playground.
"Marty..." Payson started.
Her new coach looked up and gave her a considering look. "Payson, I know it will be weird working together again, and I know I'm not Sasha but I want to help you make your Olympic dream come true. Today will be a complete evaluation of your skills and then I will put together a program for you tonight. Remember what I said when you first came to The Rock?"
Payson paused to think for a moment. "You said today is the starting line, but tomorrow is the race."
"Exactly. And I'll be with you straight to the finish line." Marty told her in a gentle voice.
Payson gave her coach a small smile, "Together til the end?"
"The end Payson, until the end."
Payson took a deep breath and approached the beam. She didn't have any more worries about working with Marty. He was still the passionate and gold medal coach she had before. She knew Marty, and he would help her until she begged for him to stop, and then some.
"Already sucking up to the coach with little inside jokes and quotes, I see." Kelly's voiced invaded Payson's mind as she chalked up.
"Parker, always a pleasure."
"I know Keeler, you are awed by my presence but just know that this isn't The Rock. You may have been the Queen there but here I rule and no one will make you feel welcome here if I don't want them to."
"Parker, I am not here to win a popularity contest. I want to win at the Olympics, and as far as I am concerned me being here is beneficial to both of us." Payson said.
"How do you figure Keeler?"
"In my eyes you are my biggest competition," Payson saw Kelly straighten up at that comment. "Me being here means I get to study everything you do. See where your strengths are, see your weaknesses, and base my new routines and moves off what you can do, and what I can do to beat them. The same can be said for you. You get to study everything I do, and don't deny that you didn't think the same thing. I was injured but I came back and I will always be your biggest obstacle to Olympic gold."
"Don't get cocky Keeler. From what I have seen today, you are hardly back on top or my biggest rival. You land one routine with a higher DOD than mine, and I might consider looking for you on my radar." Kelly stated firmly before she turned and left.
"Always a pleasure Parker... Always a pleasure." Payson mumbled.
"Payson get on the beam now!" Marty demanded.
"Yes Marty." Payson shot back as she approached the apparatus.
"Emily have you thought about what you will do with the baby?" Sasha asked immediately.
"Sasha, I don't understand why we're even having this conversation. There is nothing to talk about. I can train as usual. And now that we have lost Payson, I need to really up my game so that The Rock is still seen as one of the best gyms in America." Emily rushed out, refusing to meet Sasha's eye.
"Payson leaving doesn't change the fact that you need to make a choice about this baby. If you go through with this, than your Olympic career ends now. If you don't you can continue on your way, but it's no one's choice but your own." Sasha explained gently.
"What would you have me do Sasha?" Emily asked desperately.
"I can't tell you what to do. You need to decide for yourself and soon."
Emily took a few moments to think, looking out the window down to the gymnasts practicing. "I wish I could talk to Payson about this. She's so...mature she would know what to do." Emily whispered.
Sasha sighed, and ran his fingers through his hair. "If Payson were here she would tell you to give up the baby because nothing is more important than Olympic gold." Sasha's voice had a fond edge to, and his eyes softened as he talked about his former star athlete.
Emily felt a rush of anger go through her body. "Of course she would. She wouldn't understand at all what I'm going through, or how hard this is on me, and you don't either. Even after she's left all you care about is Payson! There are other gymnasts here Sasha, not just her!" Emily yelled, venting her anger and self-pity.
"No! Payson probably had the right idea running away to Marty. Marty promised me that he would get me to the Olympics and left. You said the same thing and you left. But at least Marty stayed in one place after he went, instead of bouncing all over like you do. Marty would understand and let me keep this baby and train to reach the Olympics." Emily was breathing heavily after she screamed.
"Marty would agree with me." Sasha stated. "If you don't believe me, ask him." He picked up the phone, and pressed a number on speed dial. He switched over to speaker phone, and Emily could hear the phone ring.
"Hello this is Denver Elite," a cheery voice rang through the room "my name is Alice, how can I help you today?"
"Hello, could I speak to Marty Walsh please?" Sasha asked in a pleasant tone.
"I'm sorry sir, but Coach Walsh is busy right now, if you could leave a message, I'm sure Coach Walsh will get back to you soon." The woman went over the practiced speech without a hitch.
"Tell him this is Sasha Belov, and I am sure he will be eager to answer the call." Sasha stated.
"One moment sir." The line clicked and some classical music streamed through.
"What are you doing Sasha?" Emily demanded.
"Well you said Marty would understand so I am giving you a chance to talk to him."
"I didn't mean for you-" but she was cut off.
"Belov! I thought you would sulk for a few days about losing Payson before you called me." Marty taunted through the phone, his voice full of mirth.
"Oh I plan to mope Marty, but that's not why I'm calling right now. I have another gymnast that seems to prefer your opinion over mine." Sasha said, barely keeping the slight bitterness out of his voice.
"Another? They're dropping like flies away from you."
"Yes yes, enjoy this moment now Marty, because come World's I will have the last laugh."
"So what's up?" Marty asked. "I just have Payson going through all her routines, and I don't think leaving her alone with Kelly on the prowl is the best idea right now."
"Emily here has a few things she would like to ask you." Sasha stared directly at Emily and raised an eyebrow in challenge.
"Hey Marty..." Emily said shyly.
"Emily, how are you?" Marty's voice gained some sincerity, but Sasha knew it was no one near as affectionate as he used with Payson. A small ball of jealously formed in Sasha's stomach at the thought.
"Um... I'm doing okay. Just Sasha won't let me train."
Sasha scoffed. "You're blaming me for this?"
"What's wrong?" Marty asked.
"Nothing, nothing, we're just having a small argument." Emily said quickly.
"I don't think so Emily. Tell him the truth. You're the one who said he would understand." Sasha said sternly.
"I get it Sasha, you win. Now can we leave Marty out of this?" Emily asked.
"No. Tell him." Sasha refused to back down.
"Someone just tell me." Marty said in exasperation.
Emily bit her lip and looked away, her entire body screaming that she was going to be stubborn about this issue. Sasha sighed and decided to bite the bullet. "Emily is pregnant and thinks she can have the baby and still train for the Olympics."
Marty sucked in a breath on the other end of the line."Oh..." Emily merely glared at Sasha. "Emily... it's not that easy. When you are pregnant your body changes. After you have the baby your body will be too different, and you won't be prepared for the Olympics. It's a hard choice to make but you can't have both. You will need to choose one of the other. I'm sorry, but that's the reality of the situation." Marty explained.
"Just like I told you Emily. You can't have it all." Sasha spoke more softly than he had all day to her.
"I don't need to listen to either of you." Emily bit out harshly before she fled the office.
"I'm sorry for dragging you into this Marty, but she insisted that you would better understand her than I would." Sasha explained.
"That's a tough situation to be in Sasha. I feel for you man." Marty said compassionately.
"Mmm...so how's Payson doing?" Sasha asked, needing to get his mind off Emily and her bag of issues.
"Good good. She really has come back fighting, and more talented than before. I already have a few ideas to adjust her routines for worlds." Marty explained.
"Yeah, she's a scarily talented gymnast. Just don't push her too much. Her back may be healed but you never know what could happen, and you know Payson and her high pain tolerance won't say anything..." Sasha trailed off, feeling like a worried father.
"She is doing fine, and I will keep a close eye on her. Calm down Belov. She's even handling Kelly well. I need to buy you a drink Sasha. Not just for getting Payson back into the sport, but for also doing something to drive her back to me. I really owe you buddy."
"Arse..." Sasha replied. Marty's loud barking laugh rang through the phone, and Sasha couldn't help the small smile that formed.
"I need to go, but call me soon for that drink."
"Soon mate, no worries." Sasha ended the call and dropped into his chair. His gym really was falling apart and he needed to do something soon to help fix it.
Payson watched Marty stepped away to take a call from Sasha. She hoped they wouldn't get into a fight. Her thoughts were broken when she felt a heavy hand land on her shoulder. Looking over she couldn't stop herself from rolling her eyes at the sight of Carter Anderson.
"Hey Carter." She said.
"Payson, never thought you would end up here."
"Yes well, I needed a change of scenery." Payson said lightly.
"Oh, I thought you finally got tired of all that drama and left. You were always so focused I'm surprised you lasted that long there." Carter said with a half smile that she had seen him use on Kaylie and Lauren multiple times.
"My mental discipline is high enough that what goes on around me doesn't affect my performance. I needed a new coach that could work more exclusively with me, and Sasha no longer qualified since he needs to concentrate on the other girls now. Speaking of focus, shouldn't you be training Carter?" Payson asked sweetly. Hoping he understood her desire to end this conversation.
"Yeah, I get ya Payson. I'll back away, and leave you to the two wolves waiting to jump on you from the shadows." Carter responded.
"Two wolves? I know Kelly..."
"Ah, how quickly you forget. I believe Nicky Russo has been itching to get a moment of your time since you stepped into the gym this morning."
Payson groaned. "I thought he went to Texas."
"He did...for a training vacation. He flew down checked out a few gyms, but none seemed to fit so he came back. Looks like he made the right choice." Carter said with a wink before he stepped back and left. Payson considered reaching out to grab and pull him back but didn't. That would make it look like she didn't want to see Nicky...she didn't but she didn't want others to know that.
"Payson..." A deep mystified voice called her.
"Nicky." Payson said with some fake cheer. "I didn't know you still trained here."
Nicky Russo stepped in front of her with a beaming smile. "Well I considered leaving but decided against it. I'm so happy to see you back training. I always knew you would make a great come back."
"Well it wasn't an easy journey, I can tell you that much." Payson said nervously. She didn't know that to talk about with Nicky. Nicky nervously shuffled his feet, and looked around the gym, clearly looking for something to talk about.
"This is one of the saddest things I have ever seen, and I saw that documentary about baby birds jumping out of the nest and to their deaths." Kelly Parker piped up to join the very awkward conversation.
"Parker, do you wait around for the first chance to jump in and make me miserable?"Payson asked, although she was secretly grateful towards the girl.
"Please Keeler, you are not that special. I was just looking for Nicky here to talk about our dinner plans for tonight. I hardly noticed your presence."
"Right, because I'm not even on your radar." Payson responded.
"Exactly, Keeler, Glad you understand." Kelly said as she gave that innocent smile and head tilt she was famous for.
"Okay Payson, Vault next." Marty called as he re-entered the gym.
"Yes Marty!" Payson called before addressing Kelly. "Just watch Parker."
Payson moved towards the end of the runway, casually stretching her arms as she walked. She chalked up her feet, and then mentally prepared herself. She ran through the vault in her head, nailing each separate skill of the vault she was attempting. When she pictured herself landing perfectly, Payson opened her eyes and ran.
Payson performed a round off, she felt her hands touch the spring board, and transitioned into a back handspring off the horse, her body flew through the air as she twisted it around two and half times, and landed. Payson couldn't keep that smile off her face as she revelled in the feeling of a perfect Amanar. Turning towards a gaping Kelly Parker, Payson smirked "Blip, blip, blip." She taunted the girl, before stepping off the landing mat.
"Are you serious? Payson really left for Denver?" Kaylie asked in shock. She had just settled down for a recording session with Damon when Lauren had called her and all but screeched the news through the phone. "I didn't think Payson would ever leave The Rock."
"Well she did, and now I'm number one at The Rock. It's about time I got more of Sasha's attention, so that I can be the best gymnast in the world." Lauren said with a bored tone.
"Lauren, that's not important right now. One of our friends left without saying anything to either of us. We need to talk to Payson about this." Kaylie explained.
"Is everything okay Kaylie?" Damon asked, as he stepped out of the recording booth with a frown.
"Oh is that pizza boy I hear? Are you getting it on with Emily's boyfriend while she's here training? Kaylie I didn't know you were like that." Lauren mocked.
"Lauren it's not what you think. He's using my mom's recording studio to finish his record; I'm doing it as a favour to Emily." Kaylie gave Damon an apologetic look, "But we were talking about Payson. We should go visit her tonight when she gets home, and talk about this."
"What's up with Payson?" Damon asked.
"Lauren I will call you later." Kaylie said before she hung up, not letting the bitchy blonde get anything in. "Payson left The Rock and transferred to Denver Elite this morning. No one saw this coming, so apparently the entire gym was shocked when Sasha announced it this morning."
"Wow... from what Emily has said about the girl she didn't seem the type to leave like that. Maybe she had a good reason." Damon tried to reason.
"She better." Kaylie said with a harsh voice. "We have been friends for years and she just takes off and doesn't tell me? I mean I get not telling Lauren, but I thought we were closer than that. Sasha just came back so I don't get why she would leave. She was so adamant about Sasha being the only coach for her and now she's running back to Marty? What is going on?" Kaylie let out a frustrated sigh as she gripped her phone tightly.
"I don't know if I can answer any of that, but what I can do is distract you." Damon had a sly smile on his face as she stepped closer to Kaylie.
Kaylie lifted her eyes and gave him a flirty smile. "Oh? And how do you think plan to do that?"
Damon rested his hands on either side of Kaylie's chair and leaned down close to her face. When he was barely an inch away from her lips, she smirked. "Through singing, now let's get recording." Damon gave her a wink and pulled back, and walked away easily, leaving a flustered gymnast behind.
"Was that vault supposed to impress me Keeler?" Kelly asked as she stepped up to the chalk bucket.
"Hmm..." Payson tightened her grips, before grabbing some more chalk. "No it wasn't Parker." Payson blew the excess chalk off her grips and turned towards the uneven bars. "It was supposed to scare you, just like this routine." Payson sent her rival a confident smirk, and stepped up to the low bar.
"You know I would prefer you two to play nice." Marty said beside her.
"I know, and you might get your wish after this." Payson jumped with a full turn and kip onto the low bar.
Payson spotted Kelly watching her intently from the side, but she returned her focus to the bars, and blocked everything else out. She felt her body go light, and then she was flying through the air, transitioning from the low bar to the high, and swinging around and up into a handstand. She let out a deep breath and then fell forward, letting her body swing around floating as she performed several moves, flying from high to low and back, catch and releases, pirouettes, and then finally readying for the dismount. A stretched 2 ½ twist with a clean landing and she was done.
"Not bad Payson... not bad at all." Marty commented. "wash up and you're done for the day."
"Thanks Marty." Payson was slightly out of breath but she managed a smile for her coach.
"I thought you lost that dismount when you hurt your back?" Kelly stated as she slithered up to Payson sides.
"I thought I did too." Payson admitted.
"But you just performed it."
"Yes, for the first time since my accident."
Kelly paused."You mean that was your first attempt at it?"
Payson smiled at her. "Yes and I think it went quite well."
Kelly narrowed her eyes as if studying Payson through a microscope. "You seem older Keeler, like you grew up or something."
Payson let out a small laugh at that. "I feel like I grew up."
Kelly hummed before she started walking away. "I bet that happened in Snagov. You looked different when you got to Hungary and now I know why. Welcome to Denver Keeler."
Payson's smile got wider. She knew it. A few good routines and Kelly accepted her. Payson lightly jogged over to her bag and picked it up, ready to shower and go home for the day. Tomorrow she would drive back here, and start all over again, because she was sure Kelly would forgot that small moment of friendliness between them.
Overall...it was an interesting first day.