"Jayne I'm going to go down to the rink for a bit if that's alright," Chris announced the next morning. It was 9am and he was up and ready to go, he'd escaped the bed early while Jayne was still sleeping. He thought about just sneaking out and leaving her for good, but he really couldn't do it. He didn't want to wreck every chance he had with her, he still couldn't really get his head around what was happening; it was so surreal. It'd taken him and Jayne so long to get together, he didn't want to risk loosing their friendship as well as their love life. But every second he spent talking to Karen, he ended up more torn between the two of them. It was a huge decision and it wasn't something he could make his mind up over overnight, it was going to take time. And in that time he'd have Karen on one end trying to persuade him to move in with her, and god knows whatever else she had planned, and then there'd be Jayne on the other end, who was so perfect to him, she could do no wrong... It was an impossible choice. "Of course it's alright, since when do you ask permission from me to go out?" Jayne chuckled feeling curious again, but she didn't think anything of it really, she just brushed it away and decided it was nothing, she was looking too deeply into things. Chris drove off to the rink, slipping into his thought mode, it wasn't usually a good place to be. He'd fantasize about things he knew he could never have, and then think deeply about all sorts, sometimes he'd end up scaring himself through his own thought patterns. The sun shone through the window of the car, and he opened the window to let in the cool breeze, it was the middle of July and the UK was getting it's few weeks of summer. It didn't take long to get to the rink, they lived in Nottingham about a five minute's drive away. Taking his skates from the passenger seat beside him and hooking them over his shoulder, he climbed out the car and glanced at his watch as he approached the entrance. He had just over an hour before the rink opened to the public, that would be just enough time to clear his head a bit, and ring Karen. He tucked his phone into his left pocket and ignored it for a while, skating round effortlessly, switching from forwards to backwards and back again as he pleased. The rink was practically empty except a few other figure skaters, there was a couple practising routines and a few trying their hardest to nail their new jumps and spins they'd been confronted with. After skating around by himself for almost an hour, he was in a good enough mind set to speak to Karen, and maybe try and make a proper informed decision about exactly what he was going to do. He'd already decided he wanted to be with Karen, but it was just a case of how, and when, how he could possible build up enough courage to walk out and leave Jayne. It was going to be so hard. He'd decided that if him and Jayne were meant to be, it would've happened long before it did, they wouldn't have waited so long if it was meant to last. This is what he told himself over and over, as if it was going to be engraved into his mind. But he did still have the issue of how it was all going to unfold. He was still thinking about it as he tapped Karen's name in and dialled the number, still skating round as he did, and made his way over to the corner of the rink where he wouldn't be in anyone's way. He'd not lifted his head the whole time, he wanted to be ignored, not recognised. But now as he looked around he gave the skaters smiles and little waves as they went past where he was standing. "Karen? Hi! I'm at the rink," ... "Yes I'm okay, you?" They made small talk for about 10 minutes before it turned rapidly into a heart to heart. Chris took off again gradually picking up speed as he made his way around, not letting anyone able to listen to the conversation for more than a couple of seconds as they passed. "I just don't know what to do though Karen, I want you, I want to be with you badly, I want to see you again.. But I don't know how to do that to Jayne. We're Torvill and Dean for christ's sake, I'm not messing that up, for me or her, and the fans. I know it sounds stupid but its true, I don't want to throw anything way like that," he explained. Karen tried to understand, she really did. Part of her knew where he was coming from, she'd left Nicky all those years ago, and that wasn't easy, so she knew what he was going through. But Karen was only young in her situation, this was different, it needed more thought. "I'm sorry..." Karen apologised, she didn't really know what she was apologising for, everything she supposed. For going back into his life and wrecking his relationship? She didn't know what to say to him. "Look, Chris. This doesn't have to happen all at once in a big rush, it really doesn't have to be like that at all. We have time, it doesn't have to be quick. It doesn't even have to happen at all, much as I'd love it to, I can tell you're not finished with Jayne, you still love her, a lot. And not just as a skating partner." It was hard for Karen to get the words out, but she knew deep down it was the right thing to say. However much her heart wanted her to have that relationship, her head was telling her to slow down and give it a rest. "I do still love her..." Chris mused over the words for a few seconds before continuing. "But I love you too, oh my god this is so confusing... I just don't know what to do! Can I just have you both?" He laughed, trying to lighten the mood a little. There was silence for a few seconds while neither of them really knew what to say. Both their hearts were sinking, they were miles apart. Karen was sad and lonely, she had her girls but she needed a man in her life. Chris was happy in his relationship, but now all he could feel when he was with Jayne was guilt and all he could think about was Karen.

He couldn't stay on the phone much longer after that, it was time for him to leave the rink before it all got far too hectic with the large crowds of the public coming in to skate. He said goodbye to Karen and tucked his phone into his pocket before getting off the ice. He spent around 10 minutes cleaning the blades until they were shiny, tied the laces together and slung them over his shoulder again and made his way back to the car. The whole journey home he thought about Karen again, he had feelings he didn't know how to control, he didn't know to cope with it all and he hadn't a clue what to do, the one person he'd always shared all his problems with was Jayne, and clearly that couldn't happen this time. Before he got out the car he took the biggest deep breath, he had to wipe every inch of guilt and push it far, far away. It was harder than it seemed. But then he thought, well what if he didn't hide it? What if he just purposefully let Jayne find out? No. He couldn't do it, he couldn't do that to her. It was all too confusing, he had too many options and didn't know what to pick, it should have been so much simpler but it wasn't, it was an impossible choice. Slowly he got out the car, went inside the house to see Jayne looking through his camera again. He still needed time alone, so he went to go and spend some time in the mini gym in the back room, then went to take a shower. Jayne was suspicious, she could sense him becoming distant from her, and it wasn't like him. He'd not spoke to her since he got back from the rink, and she couldn't work out why. His phone was on the table, messages were coming through every 20 minutes or so, Jayne was very tempted to look, and maybe have a read through, but part of her was scared to. Scared of what she might find, did she really want to know what was on that phone? What was distracting Chris since he'd come back? She wasn't sure.

Chris soon realised he'd wasted enough time doing endless little jobs around the house, once he'd had a shower he'd done the hoovering and put some washing on, anything to distract himself so that he didn't have to be in the same room as Jayne for any long period of time. He wasn't sure if it was helping or just making everything worse, it just made him think more. Think more about what he wanted and he still didn't know, it was like he needed someone else to make the decision for him, which woman to go to,which one to leave, but no one could do that for him, he was going to have to do it himself, however long it took to make that choice. Avoiding Jayne wasn't helping anything because the longer he stayed away from her the more curious she became, they never avoided each other, never in the whole time they'd known each other. The fact they'd known each other so long made the whole situation that much more complicated, because it was so easy to see through the walls Chris was trying to build to block Jayne out from any kind of emotion he was portraying, it was getting harder and harder the more he thought about leaving her to be with Karen."Chris," Jayne said as he passed through the front room for about the tenth time, he was running out of pointless things to do and he'd have to just go and sit with her, because there simply wasn't anything left in the house to do, except sit, and chat, and maybe watch some tv. As soon as he heard her say his name he panicked and he wasn't even sure why, there was no real proof that she'd sussed him out, and there was no way that she knew for definite who the mystery woman was, if there was one, which she has suspicions of."What?" he asked, stopping for a second and turning around to face her."Why don't you just sit for a minute? You haven't sat down all day, what's wrong?" she asked getting a bit fed up with his ignorance now."Nothing's wrong," he said not very convincingly."There is, I know there is. I'm not stupid, I know when something isn't right, because you've not spoken to me since you got home, and that's not like you at all for a start. You're normally full of little stories, most of which are totally irrelevant and I don't particularly care about, but still, you're full of 'em. And I haven't heard one. I know something is wrong. I know something is bothering you. But I have absolutely no idea what, and it's starting to annoy me now, so if you don't tell me, I'm going to have to find out for myself."Chris tried to ignore Jayne but she just knew him far too well, and it was at times like this when it came as a disadvantage. He knew that he wasn't going to get away with just keeping quiet, but he'd no idea what to say, what was he going to tell her? The truth? That would never end well, but it was never going to end well, whenever the truth did eventually come out. Maybe it would be easier to just come out with it, then leave and be gone... but he just couldn't bring himself to do it! He'd thought it through in his head so many times over and over in different scenarios, but he was too afraid to make it happen for real."Chris. Sit." Jayne demanded, he looked over at her and tried to smile, but it wasn't really a smile at all, however hard he tried. He walked over to the sofa and sat at the other end of it, guilt filling his body, he was anxious and panicked, he didn't have any more excuses, not that he'd had any to begin with. He was stuck, stuck on the spot, like a rabbit in headlights, or something similar. He was screwed."Jayne... I... I.." he stumbled over his words, the words that weren't even there in the first place because he didn't have a clue what he was trying to say, he just opened his mouth, but nothing more came out. And now Jayne was certain he was hiding something and she was determined to find out what."What? What is it? Because it's really getting on my nerves now Chris, I want you to tell me what it is, you're obvioulsy hiding some massive secret now because I can tell, and you're stumbling over your words, so just come on, be out with it now!" she was more frustrated than angry, she'd never seen Chris look so guilty and confused before, another clue to the secret couldn't say anything, he just physically couldn't. He felt sick inside, but he didn't know what to do, Jayne was staring at him rather intimidatingly and there wasn't a lot he could do about it, except sit there, and he knew that he was going to have to confess to something, he just had to work out whether to tell the truth or lie, and it wasn't easy. He didn't want to tell the truth because their friendship would almost certainly be over in a few seconds, Jayne wasn't going to forgive him for this one. But he couldn't think of any lies to tell, so that was no good the horrid silence, Chris's phone began to vibrate and ring in his pocket, and he knew instantly it would be Karen. Now he was stuck even more, because either way, if he answered it or not, Jayne would want to know who it was and what they wanted, because that was what she was like, and normally Chris wouldn't care, he'd never hidden something like this before."Who is that?" Jayne snapped as soon as she heard the ringtone start."I don't know! It's in my bloody pocket!" Chris snapped back at her, and realised he'd no choice but to take the phone out of his pocket and see the call, so he slowly got it out, absolutely dreading the next few seconds, he didn't even get a chance to see it, Jayne snatched it out of his hands as his heart began to beat 's prediction was right, and a very confused look came over Jayne's face as she saw Karen's picture flashing up on Chris's phone, she didn't even recognise her at first, and took a few seconds to work out who it was, by which time Chris had his head in his hands, he didn't know what to do and still didn't know what he was going to say, he wondered if he'd have to say anything - Jayne didn't seem to be registering what she was seeing, or making any links.

"Karen..?" she eventually asked, as if she wasn't sure she was thinking about the right person."Yes... I'm so sorry Jayne," he said, apologising before he needed to, probably making things a lot worse than he needed to."Sorry? Sorry for what? Who is she, because I'm not sure I've got the right person? Is this Barber?" Chris nodded his head silently, not quite sure if he'd said too much. "How come you two've got speaking then? Have you seen her? Chris please say something, you're freaking me out!""Yes I saw her.. on my way back from America, she lives in Newcastle now. That's why I don't have many stories or photos," he explained in shame. Jayne was still linking bits of information that she was recieving, she hadn't yet jumped to any conclusions."Wait.." she said and took a deep breath. Why are you sorry for seeing her? Oh god, Chris, you didn't did you?" she said suddenly starting to realise possiblities. "How many times have you seen her? Why didn't you tell me, me and Karen used to be best friends back when we were competing, I was so sad when she left, and you've just got in touch with her and didn't think to tell me? What, were you worried she was a threat to me?" she demanded, not assuming anything, and not even thinking about what might have happened when Karen and Chris were together."Jayne please let me explain... I'm sorry I've been so distant since I got back, honestly I am. I've just been thinking everything over, and I mean everything. I don't know what to do." he started, still not sure how much he should be telling her."What? I'm just getting more and more suspicious now Chris, I want to know" she said. The phone had been ringing all that time because neither of them thought to answer or decline, Jayne still had the phone clutched in her hand, and Chris's call log was on display, with over 50 calls to and from Karen. Jayne looked down and saw it just as Chris was about to explain, but Jayne seeing that messed things up. "How many times have you been calling each other? Chris what's going on? What happened while you were away?" she then clicked onto his messages and began reading all the ones from Karen, she couldn't believe her eyes, she couldn't believe what was happening. Chris was HER blonde prince."I'm so, so, sorry..." he said again, but it wasn't going to help anything. "She found me on facebook a couple of months ago," he started."Months? Months? Are you telling me you've been sending these dirty texts to each other behind my back for months, and god knows what else when you were with each other, when I thought you were visiting your sons, who I'm not allowed to see. I thought you were with your family in America, across the sea, and really you were up north in the same country with Karen? And you actually let me believe that?" tears began to pour down her cheeks as she waited for Chris to attempt to explain himself, not sure what she was about to Jayne, we haven't been sending each other 'dirty texts' as you put it, for months. She found me on facebook and we were just catching up with each other, her marriage ended a while ago and she was telling me all about it, that was all.""And then you ended up in her bed?" Jayne was absolutely fuming, now she didn't know what to do, she thought about storming out but she didn't want Chris to win his way."It's not like that Jayne," he said trying to patch things up and calm her down, but it wasn't as easy as that."Oh really? How did it go then? Are you trying to tell me that you didn't sleep with her, and that I've just somehow jumped to some crazy conclusion, because it's not at all obviously from these texts?" she said sarcastically and thrusting the phone in his face, but not letting him have it back."Jayne, calm down honey?""Calm down! I'm sorry, you want me to calm down? You haven't even answered my question Chris. Did you sleep with Karen or not?"Chris knew the answer would just throw her off again and he didn't like where this was going at all. He knew he'd have had to face it at some point, it was one of the things he was always thinking about, but he didn't think he'd be facing it this soon. He'd been back in the country all of about 24 hours, a little more, and Jayne had already sussed him. Maybe she wouldn't have if Karen hadn't of phoned, but he couldn't be sheepishly nodded knowing it was the wrong decision to do so but she was going to find out sooner or later anyway so it seemed like the simplest decision to make. He was going to have to take the grief from her and he knew that, it didn't make much of a difference if he suffered it now or in three weeks time."Ok so, you were talking on facebook for months, probably arranged some kind of relationship on there, then went over to hers, while you were supposed to be spending time with your kids," the fact that Chris had had an affair in the time he was supposed to be spending with his kids was the part that annoyed her even more,"and then you slept with her, and had a fabulous time by the sounds of it?" she said glancing in the direction of his phone, "and have basically been having a relationship with her the whole time. When were you going to tell me? Or were you just going to let me find out like this anyway, was that your plan all along? Doesn't she know we're toegther? Because it seems a bit strange that she'd ring at this kind of time anyway, you'd think that she'd have a bit more sense, and wait until you told her you were out? No?"Chris was stuck for words again now, what even was there to say to that? There was nothing he could say that would make anything better, or change anything that Jayne had discovered, because it was all true, and she had the evidence right there in her hand. It was too soon, too soon for him to have let her find out, he'd have much rather have been in the relationship with Karen a good few months, or even weeks, not hours, a few days. Nothing was even official yet, not really. He hadn't made any final decisions yet, hence why he hadn't wanted Jayne to find out, and he hadn't told her. He would have told her eventually, it would have taken time and courage, but he would have done, at some knew he had nothing more to say, and she didn't like it. She was waiting for more of an explanation, or she thought she was. After her ranting she thought he might have something to add, or argue, or something. "I want you out." she said quietly. Neither of them moved, so she repeated herself. "OUT. I MEAN IT.""Take your ****ing phone and get out of this house, my house. Go on, go. Get out, and go find your princess." her words hurt, they were blunt. As Chris got up to move, she threw his phone at him and it hit him before falling to the floor, he grabbed his coat and picked the phone up from the floor and did as he was instructed, he left the house. Jayne's words were too intimidating to ignore, he'd never ignored her before in his life. She'd never shouted at him either. Chris had shouted at Jayne a few times while they were on the ice, but it had never been anything like had absolutely no idea where he was going to go, it was nearly 5pm and getting dark out, he got in his car and drove to the end of the road, the fact was he had no where to go... He didn't even feel like ringing Karen, not really. He wanted to be alone, he wanted things to go back to how they were before because he didn't know how to handle what was going on now. He drove around the smallish town for almost two hours before he decided to pick up the phone and call Karen, it took him that long to get into his head what had just happened, it was hard to comprehend with but it was true and he was going to have to accept it.

"Get yourself up here now, I can't have you just driving around the streets all night with no where to go," Karen decided firmly after Chris had eventually told her everything that had happened with him and Jayne, what she'd said, done, what he'd done, every little detail was now out in the open. "Are you sure?" He asked doubting her offer which seemed to kind for him to accept then. "Of course I'm bloody sure, I'm not going to leave you by yourself am I? And I do hope you're not driving now while talking to me..." "Ok thanks a bunch Karen, seriously thank you. Even if its just a few days, thanks, I love you. And no I'm not driving, I've pulled over. I guess I should go, got a long journey up? I'll ring you halfway," he said, a sheepish smile forming on his face. She cared about him and that's what he loved then, that when someone let him down she just automatically popped up to put a smile on his face. "You're very welcome, and it can be as long as you like, it doesn't matter how long or how short, we'll discuss it when we get that far eh? Love you too, take care, I'll speak to you soon." He put his phone back in the holder, realising he could talk to Karen all the way if he wanted and just have it on the loudspeaker setting so he didn't have to hold the phone, or use his handsfree. But then again maybe it would do him good to take some more time to clear his head. He decided to turn up the radio, and just drive, and concentrate. The time seemed to go much quicker than he thought, and as he entered Newcastle he dialled Karen's number. He didn't pull over because if he did the tiredness would suddenly hit him just like that and it'd be a struggle to actually make it to Karen's with his eyes open. He couldn't quite remember where to go, so he had to get directions from her, having a bit of a chat as well. He managed to take a couple of wrong turnings even with Karen directing him the whole way but he got there in the end and it didn't take him that he climbed out the car it felt strange not to have any luggage with him, he'd have to go back for some things once he knew what he was doing. Karen opened the door before he'd even got to the doorstep, she was waiting in the doorway with that gorgeous smile he loved on her face. It still didn't feel like they'd been apart again, and they were both so happy to see each other it wasn't quite believable. "I've missed you," she said flirtatiously and called him inside, putting the kettle on and directing him to take a seat and make himself at home. "I've missed you too, lots.. maybe a little too much?" "Chris." Karen said, her tone of voice suddenly becoming more serious. "I just want you to know I'm here for you if you want it, I'm not here to judge you or whatever, and I'm really so, so sorry about you and Jayne, I really am. I can't say she must think much of me at the moment.. We used to be good friends in the beginning? I guess things just pass... And some good things have to end so new things can begin right? I guess what I mean is I don't want either of us to be pressured into anything too quickly." She explained a bit nervously, it wasn't the easiest of things for her to looked her right in the eye before replying, he already trusted her totally, maybe it was a bad thing, maybe not, but it did genuinely feel like they'd known each other for years and been the best of friends the whole time, it was a slightly strange feeling but one he wouldn't mind getting used to. "Karen, I think I love you..." The words came out of his mouth before he could really stop them, he'd said it to her before on their weekend together and she'd said it back to him, but it didn't quite have the same meaning, it didn't mean love like he was having waves of then, it was just more of a casual phrase, 'I love you' they just said it like it didn't mean anything special. Karen was getting mixed emotions from him, she didn't know how serious he was and what he meant, or what he was implying, it just left them both sort of in a confused state and left an awkward silence lingering which neither of them seemed to know how to fill.