Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 9

Republisher’s Note: And this is the end of what I have for Once in a Lifetime. I hope you took the author’s advice and enjoyed it. 🙂

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Thanks for the wonderful and much appreciated feedback. Enjoy!

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 9

“Bend your knees to get some more height.” Michelle was trying hard to concentrate on what she was supposed to be doing and follow her coach’s advice but her concentration was not there and she found herself slipping on the cold hard ice instead of landing gracefully on one foot. Gathering herself she cast a quick glance at the coach and prepared to finish the run-through of her program like she always did in practice.

“Get off the ice!” the coach called a mixture of worry and impatience in his tone.

Giving him a confused look she does what he says and skates to the boards.

“You are here, but your mind isn’t and until I have your full attention, I don’t want you back on this ice, the last thing we need is an injury,” he lectured. “I’m not sure what is going on with you Michelle but your qualifying round is tomorrow and you have yet to put together one complete program since we got here. We have an hour of ice time left for this session, you can use that to deal with whatever is on your mind and use the evening session to practice or you can use half this session to skate, it’s up to you but I want 100% concentration when you step back on this ice, clear?”

Nodding Michelle made her way up to the bleachers and into her mother’s waiting arms.

“What’s the matter sweetie? What or should I ask who is on your mind?”

“It’s nothing.”

“Nothing, huh? Does nothing wear a leather jacket and answers to the name Danny Santos?” she inquired gently.

Momentarily stunned her mother knew what was on her mind she nods.

“How did you know?” she asked quietly

“I’m your mother, it’s my job to know.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Michelle shrugged, “There’s nothing to talk about.”

Looking at her daughter gaze absently at the ice Maureen knew nothing really meant a lot. Looking at her daughter with concern she put a comforting hand on thin shoulder, “So let’s talk about nothing.”

After a long silence Michelle looked up at her mother her voice so low her mother almost didn’t hear, “I like him, Mom—a lot.”

“I know you do sweetie, but I also know that’s not the reason you are so sad.”

“I told him I didn’t want our relationship to change although later I told him I wanted it to, he probably just thinks I’m some little kid who can’t make up her mind.”

“Why do you think he thinks that?” Maureen asked gently.

“Because since Pilar’s party he has pretty much ignored me.”

Maureen wrapped an arm around her daughter and pulled her close. “Come here baby.”

“Mom, I’m not a baby.”

Smiling she hugged her little girl. “You will always be my baby. You know, not too long ago you and Danny were fighting over toys and now you two are trying to figure out relationships. Michelle, I’m not thrilled at the thought of my 13 year old getting into a relationship, but I’d be lying if I say that I didn’t see this coming with you two, but Michelle…”

“Mom, Danny and I are not going to run off to Vegas and get married or anything. A relationship to me, is talking to Danny, walking to school with him, holding hands, going to the movies, hanging out with friends and maybe an occasional kiss—or not,” she quickly added laughing.

Maureen looked at her daughter with a mixture of pride and amusement in her eyes. “You better be kidding. I don’t think your dad is ready for you to grow up just yet.”

“The truth is, we just want to spend time together that’s all.”

“I’m so proud of you, do you know that?” Maureen asked seriously.

“I know.”

“You and Danny are going to be okay, he is probably just a bit confused, like you are.”

Michelle crossed her arms stubbornly a small smile on her face she playfully whined, “Yeah, but does he have to ignore me.”

Maureen laughed, giving her daughter a quick hug “You better hurry, you still have 30 minutes of practice left.”
—————————————————————————————————–
Michelle could hear the loud cheers from the crowd as she went through her program mentally backstage. She was lucky enough to draw the last position in two consecutive big competitions. Most skaters loved skating last because the judges tend not to save scores.

“One more skater and then you are on,” her coach reminded unnecessarily. Since having that talk with her mother, her practices had improved and she was able to concentrate on her jumps. With all the reporters, and video cameras constantly in her face she had very little time to think of anything but skating. Going into the World Championships as the youngest national champion ever, Michelle knew the media would be focused on her, but she didn’t know how intense that focus would be, everything she did found its way in the newspaper. It was hard to forget all the expectations heaped on her shoulders and she was more than a bit nervous about her upcoming free skate. The cell phone in her gym bag her parents had gotten her in case of an emergency rang and she reached for it, knowing exactly who it was on the other end.

“Hey, Danny.”

“Don’t tell me you are psychic on top of everything else,” Danny teased.

Michelle laughed, “Let’s just say, I know you very well.”

“I just saw you on television and you looked a bit nervous.”

“You’re watching?”

“Of course I’m watching, what else would I be doing? They aired a clip of you walking into the arena.”

“Are you kidding me? I’m sure people were just dying to see me walk into an arena.”

“Aww you don’t like being a celebrity?” she could hear the laughter in his voice and couldn’t help but smile despite her nerves.

“Have a camera follow you around all day and see how you like it.”

“Michelle?”

“Hmm.”

“I miss you.”

“I miss you, too.”

“Hey, you have nothing to be nervous about that girl is missing every jump.”

She smiled at his effort to calm her,” Sure Danny, that’s why the crowds cheering so loudly.”

“They are Figure Skating fans they have that polite reputation to maintain.”

“Thanks Danny.”

“For what?”

“For knowing I was a bit nervous, for being there. For being you.”

“Just go out there and show them how a real champ skates.”
———————————————————————————————————–
Exhausted Michelle threw her bags on the floor and flopped down on the sofa in the spacious living room.

“I’m going to do nothing but sleep for the next two weeks,” she vowed.

Maureen laughed, “Just a little glad to be home I see.”

“Are you kidding me, if I never see another hotel room it will be too soon.”

The past two weeks seemed like a blur of activities to Michelle. Her nervousness faded as soon as she stepped on the ice and much sooner than she wanted it to, the free skate of her life ended. After the medal ceremony, she politely spoke to one reporter after another, skated in an exhibition the following day, and got on an airplane headed for New York that afternoon. New York was a lot of fun even the interviews were fun. Los Angeles was next up, so were more interviews, photo shoots and even a few commercials and finally it was home to Springfield, school, friends and Danny, but not before a parade in her honor.

“So, pretty heady stuff for a teenager huh?” Ed asked

“Hmm?” Michelle asked tiredly.

“Parades, photo shoots, commercials…”

“Dad, are you worried this will all go to my head?”

“Just a little bit.”

“Don’t, I know that there is probably another little girl training everyday in a cold ice rink somewhere and next year she will probably jump a little higher, skate a little faster, have better spirals, better footwork and better spins than I do and she will get the medals and the interviews and parades. I know this won’t last forever and I don’t want it too. I’ll be fine when it ends. If I didn’t win the gold medal two weeks ago, I’d be okay, because I’d still have my family and my friends. Although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like some of the perks, like not waiting in line to get on rides at Disney World and free tickets to the Oscars,” she giggled. “I can go, can’t I Dad?”

“Not if it’s a school night.”

“Daddddddd.”

“I’m kidding kiddo, of course you can.”
———————————————————————————————————-
With Worlds being the last big competition of the season Michelle had a lot of time to do the things she liked doing, pool parties, sleepovers, even homework. Her skating schedule had diminished a great deal and she was able to spend the extra time with Danny.

“Hey, ready to go?” Danny asked.

Breaking away from the group of friends standing in the entrance to the mall Pilar listened in on their conversation,

“Where are you two going?”

“To catch a movie,” Michelle said a bit guiltily, throwing her friend a pleading look.

“Do I have to remind you that you told your parents you were going to the mall with Niki and me?”

“I know I did and I was, but I thought Danny was going fishing with your dad and Mick, but they cancelled at the last minute. Pilar, I haven’t spend any time with him since….”

“…..yesterday when you ditched us to go to the basketball game—- with him.”

“Look Pilar, the movie is only an hour and fifteen minutes long I promise I will help Michelle track you guys down after it’s over and you can do all the shopping and makeovers you want,” Danny said trying to convince his little sister.

“You really want to go to some stuffy Movie theater, don’t you? Here’s the deal hand over a $20 and you two can go to lunch after your movie.” She kidded.

“Hmmm Michelle if your dating Danny is this profiting to me, I will be able to afford that computer game Mama won’t buy me in two weeks,” Pilar joked, surprised that her brother was willing to pay her off. “Seriously, have fun you guys, and Danny,” she said before walking away “…I would really like to have my friend back once in a while.”

“I’m really sorry, Pilar.” Michelle apologized for the fifth time. “Sleepover next week just us girls?”

Laughing Pilar grabbed Niki’s hand and walked in the opposite direction, “You’re on. Come on Nik, help me look for a ‘No Dannys Allowed’ sign for my door next week.”
————————————————————————————————————

“I really hated doing that to them,” Michelle said as they found their seats in the dark theater.

“Doing what?”

“Ditching them.”

“You didn’t ditch them, you are still going shopping with them after the movie.”

“Yeah, but we were suppose to spend the whole day shopping and Pilar is right this isn’t the first time I have left them hanging to go and do something with you.”

“You really feel guilty don’t you?”

“Just a little.”

“If we hurry we can probably catch them before they begin shopping,” he offered.

Michelle pouted, “But I wanna stay here with you.”

“I thought you wanted to go with them,” Danny laughed.

“I do, but I also want to be here. Why does it always have to be one thing or another?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, for instance if I want to win the Olympics I have to devote 99% of my time to skating, I can’t do both school and skating full time although I would love to do both. I hate being tutored. I barely even know my classmates because I go to school for two hours a day for two weeks every other month. But I can’t imagine giving up skating to go to school full time. I love skating too much to do that. I can’t be here with you and there with Pilar and Niki, although I enjoy spending time with you and spending time with them.”

“In other words why can’t you be superwoman?” he smiled.

“Yeah, why?”

“For what it’s worth I like Michelle Bauer a whole lot better than superwoman. Seriously though, Michelle, you don’t have to be everything to everyone. I love spending time with you, but I don’t want to monopolize all your time, so if you ever feel like I’m suffocating you tell me.”

Taking his hands in hers she forced him to look at her, “If I had 24 hours to do what ever I wanted with, I’d spend 23 of them with you. Danny, you are not monopolizing my time or suffocating me. Every minute I spend with you seems like one minute to little.”

“What would you do with that 1 hour?”

“hmmm?”

“You said you’d spend 23 hours with me if you had 24 hours to do whatever you liked.”

“Hmm, probably think about you.”

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