With the Olympic Games over, the competition for Dalia's heart begins.
Dalia was forced to give up Adam the guy of her dreams to pursue a skating career with her gorgeous partner Ryan. Now that the Olympics are over and Canada's favourite couple has returned, there's nothing stopping Adam from reclaiming the love of his life, except Ryan of course!
Paparazzi are all over the airport trying to capture photos of Olympic athletes as they board their flights. Ryan and I seem the most sought after, so he makes sure he never leaves my side. His protection of me is charming, but I grant interviews regardless of his valiant efforts at fending off the reporters.
Ryan is dressed handsomely in a black suit and tie. I chose comfort over style and wear the new Canadian Olympic Team outfits given to us when we qualified.
We check our luggage and board our plane. The brunette stewardess directs Ryan and me to our seats. He hoists my carry-on bag overhead before letting me take the window seat. The pilot and attendants do their spiel and the plane takes off.
Ryan’s dark eyes bore into mine, “Are you ready to listen?” His hand covers mine and he speaks quietly ensuring that other passengers wouldn’t be eavesdropping. His tone is unmistakably firm in nature. He is alpha male since the beginning with me, forcing me to break up with Adam just to skate with him. He insists there is no room for relationships while training for the Olympics; they are a ‘distraction.’
“Do I have a choice?” I hiss.
“No,” he orders. “We have to make our relationship right.”
“You’re mistaken, there is no relationship,” I clarify.
Coach Hicks said that while we were in the public eye we had to sell ourselves as a couple. It would win the hearts of our audience and increase our chances of winning. So we did it, and we’ve won. The only people who are wise to us are our so called best friends and our parents.
“We’ve already won so our charade of being a couple can end now,” I inform him sliding my hand out from underneath his.
“We’re more than that, and you know it,” He says firmly.
“You’re sorely mistaken about being in love with me if you can sleep with my best friend. Do you have any idea how betrayed I feel?”
“She convinced me that you weren’t over Adam yet saying something about a ‘golden’ rule you had. She told me you staked a permanent claim over him. I heard you talking to Tara in the kitchen about him and then saw you in bed with him later that night. What did you expect me to believe?”
“We didn’t DO anything. Why wouldn’t you confirm your suspicions rather than fall into her arms?”
“She was believable and I was angry at you for having feelings for him. Sierra and I were only together one time, and I was wasted.”
“Let’s not forget the one night stand you had with that other girl in the car. Was it passionate the way it was with us?”
“Don’t compare that to what we have,” he pleads. “Every time I’m with someone, I close my eyes wishing they are you,” he says poignantly.
“That makes me feel better,” I say sarcastically. “Sierra didn’t tell you that she was pregnant with your baby?” I ask.
“No, she told Jeremy it was his.”
“Jesus, I even pleaded with her to keep it,” I say more to myself.
Ryan tips my chin up forcing me to look at him, “I didn’t know the baby was mine, until it was already aborted,” he explains.
“You still hid it from me after that, when you did know.”
“It was too late to save the baby, but I still had a chance of saving us.”
“You think there’s a chance of saving us?” I say speculatively. “So what are you saying?” he asks.
“There has to be an US to save.”
“There is an 'us', you’re just not willing to acknowledge it,” he argues.
His hand slips behind my neck pressing me firmly into him as his lips cover mine. He is too strong for me to pull away from him so; I surrender to his kiss and the touch of his hand, making me melt into him.
We disembark at 8:00 p.m. Toronto time, to find the media waiting and fans cheering for us inside the terminal. Ryan stands protectively by my side while people were clamouring to get photographs and autographs of us. More condolence cards and flowers are handed to me from people of all ages, it’s touching.
I find myself counting down the minutes to be alone so I can grieve for dad. We hail a cab and instruct the driver to take us back to my house. Ryan’s mother Sara has taken his car home for him after the funeral.
We pull up in the driveway, and I notice the house is dark. Unlocking the door I call out, “Mom!” and wait for her to answer.
Ryan steps passed me asking, “Do you want me to put your bag in your room?”
“Please,” I answer.
I turned the light on for him and watch as he goes upstairs.
“I’m in here,” mom calls back. Her voice sounds like it is coming from the basement. I go downstairs and find her going through boxes I’ve never seen before.
“What are you doing mom?”
Practically tripping over a box, she comes barreling over to greet me, “Congratulations Dalia! I’m so proud of you!”
“I’m just packing away some of your dad’s belongings to donate. It’s so hard seeing his stuff everywhere I turn.”
“Do you need help?”
“No thanks, I’m almost done. Let me tape up this box and come upstairs. I want to congratulate Ryan. Is he here? I have some messages the two of you need to hear.”
“He’s here; he just brought my luggage to my room.”
“Great!” mom says walking to the stairs.
We go up to find Ryan standing at the front door. Mom walks over to him giving him a hug, “Congratulations Ryan! Your mom and I are so proud of you. We watched you skate both of your programs together.”
“Thanks Mrs. Middleton,” he says releasing her.
“Stay for a minute, are you guys hungry?”
We looked at each other and shrugged, “No mom, we ate on the plane.”
“Good,” she says more to herself. “I have messages I want you guys to listen to. You have major decisions to make and I’d prefer you to make them sooner rather than later.” She walks briskly to the answering machine and hits play. She put it on speaker and increases the volume:
“Dalia Middleton? This is John Banks calling, I am a sports agent, and I would like to represent you and Ryan Kennedy. Please give me a call. XXX-XXX-XXXX”
“Dalia Middleton? This is Sophie Anderson from Stars on Ice. Could you or your agent please give us a call at your earliest convenience? My number is: XXX-XXX-XXXX”
“Dalia Middleton? This is Keith Yewchuk from Disney on Ice. Could you or your agent please give us a call at your earliest convenience? My number is: XXX-XXX-XXXX.”
“Dalia Middleton? This is the University of Toronto, after reviewing your application we would like to extend to you a fully paid athletic scholarship. Please call us at your earliest convenience XXX-XXX-XXXX.”
“Dalia Middleton? This is the University of London, Ontario, after reviewing your application we would like to offer you an athletic scholarship. Please call us at your earliest convenience.”
When we finished listening to the messages, Ryan and I look at each other in amazement over how quickly people are responding to our win, we never imagined having all these doors open for us.
Mom smiles at us, “I warned your friends that you would be really tired, but they insisted on waiting for you at Tara’s. You can either take your dads car, or I can drive you to Ryan’s to get his if you want.”
I’m not in the mood to go out but I can’t not show up. I look at Ryan, “Can you drive dad’s car?”
“Sure, I’ll just call my mother and let her know we landed safely.”
He strolls off to another room so mom and I can talk.
“You looked beautiful on the ice Honey.”
“Now listen,” she says. “I want you and Ryan to take your time and chose what you want to do with the next few years of your life wisely.” It hasn’t dawned on me that after the Olympics, decisions about my future will be shared with Ryan. “Whatever you select, I will support you.”
“Aunt Rosalind asked me if I want to come live with her in Florida.”
“You said?” I ask mom.
“Yes,” she answers immediately. “I’m going to apply for a transfer at work.”
“Do you think you’ll get it?”
“They’re always looking to transfer people out. You’re more than welcome to apply to the University of Florida and join us. I just thought you wouldn’t want to leave your friends.”
“It’s all a little overwhelming for me,” I admitted.
“Undoubtedly, I’ve already had a few days to think about what I want to do. You’ll probably need the same.”
“I haven’t even had a chance to be alone yet,” I complain.
“You’ll have plenty of time when the dust settles. Take it from me; its better to keep busy.”
“Please don’t base your decisions around me. I’m going to be okay,” mom reassures me.
“Are you sure about that?” I ask concerned.
“100%” she sounds stronger than I’ve given her credit for.
“No matter what you choose, I’ll make sure you are settled comfortably before I leave,” she says.
“Will you be okay if I go to Tara’s tonight?”
“Of course, Honey, stop worrying about me. Sara’s been a great friend, and Aunt Rosalind has been calling me every day. Really, I’m going to be okay.”
“Will you wait up?”
“No curfew tonight,” she says with a tired smile, “I’m just glad you’re home.”
Ryan comes back to us, “Are you ready?”
“Yes,” I answer reaching for dad’s keys. The thought of getting into his car saddens me and drives mom’s point across that everything around here reminds her of dad.
“Are you sure you are up for this,” Ryan asks.
“I’m sure,” I try convincing him.