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Turning Circles

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The formal part of class had ended, Miss Lee would let the girls have ten minutes of free skating to cool down, but Kate stayed in the middle of the ice working on her figures.

At the sound of May Roberts laugh, Kate looked up to see that a game of tag had broken out. Kate looked back down at the etchings in the ice, wishing she could be part of the fun.

Kate finished the figure and turned to the boards. “Oh my god!”

Rick Tuttle was talking with Miss Lee and Nancy, Kate's Au Pair. THE Rick Tuttle!!!

Kate stood, shocked, as Miss Lee called her to come to the boards.

A tingle washed over her and settled in her tummy, May and the other girls were looking at her now, it was the most exciting moment in her nine year old life!

Kate stepped off the ice and onto the rubber matting.

“This is Kate.” Miss Lee said. “Kate, say hello to Mr. Tuttle.”

“Ah...” Kate took a gulp off air and tried to get her mouth to work, “Hello.”

Rick Tuttle nodded to her then turned to Nancy, “Boy, do we have our work cut out for us.”

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“This is the Olympics, Kate!”

The harsh voice of Rick Tuttle cut through the rink.

“What do you think this is, Kate? Junior Pairs '82?”

“No. As I recall in '82 you were still humiliating me in privet.”

Rick and Kate had always been like this, a clash of wills, yelling at each other for hours.

“Maybe that's because you were still listening.”

Brain wished Rick would yell at him. Odd, but Rick yelled at Kate was because Rick watched Kate. Always Kate, only Kate.

“Rick, this is impossible.”

Rick glanced at him for a second... then yelled at Kate.

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“What are we doing? Why am I doing this?” The words echoed in Jack's head as he stared at the box. Had it been Kate's dream or his greed that had brought them to this, to a room with an empty box.

“That god damned glass box is empty for one reason. We can't find a go-to guy.”
Was that what Jack had become, the go-to guy? A dream maker?

Marie had been his only dream, the one thing he had wanted above everything else. If only she were here now.

From its shelf, the box mocked him.

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They had done it. Some how they had gotten over the past and moved on.

How she had flown. Flown so beautifully.

The first time he had seen Kate skate there had been a tugging within him. Then there had been the phone call from Jack and that tugging returned.

The day he had seen a tape of Doug there had been a thump in his chest. When Doug said he would give it a try the thumping set up a steady beat.

But now...

Anton thought his heart might burst from the joy of it.

How she had flown.

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He should, by all rights, hate Doug. Every time the kiss was replayed on TV that hate should grow.

But he loved Kate, and she loved Doug, so in the end he couldn't.

For what reason, anyway?

Because of Doug Kate had grown, had forced herself to mature in ways he hadn't even thought were even possible.

She had taken risks because of Doug.

She had become a woman because of Doug.

And that was a very telling thing. He loved the girl Kate was, while Doug loved the woman she could be.

How could Hale hate Doug for that?

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Doug looked at the letter, ran a finger over the Red Wings logo.

“What are you gonna do? You gonna fight me? Are you gonna fight the world? Are you gonna fight everybody?”

Walt's words rang through his head. Fight the world...

Doug looked out over the yard full of broken down cars, the chain link fence with dead leave piled at the bottom, the railroad tracks where all day long freight trains pulled dull colored boxes.

“You gonna fight the world?”

He had. Doug had fought against this world with all he had.

He fought and he had lost.

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Over the loudspeaker Kate heard her name being announced. Brian put his hand on her back and give her a small push. “A dark rink,” she thought, “just a spotlight on Brian and I, no one else in the world.”

And then they were skating.

Think of the stroking, it's just crossovers, simple.

Brian's hands at her waist, pushing her up into the press and then she was flying. But it was too high, too fast. The world around Kate was always moving, forcing her along and it was just too much.

Why did they push her to fly higher?

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In even the worst storm there is a spot of calm in the center.

“You wanna know what happened? Ask the Ice Queen!”

“Where was I? I was baby-sitting!”

“You god-damned son of a bitch!”

In the middle of all the anger that stormed through was Kate.

Kate who had failed to be the perfect daughter to Jack

Kate who had failed to be the perfect student to Anton.

Kate who had failed to be the perfect partner to Doug.

Dear god, Doug.

This had been his last chance and she had just thrown it away.

“He's right.”

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Why'd you stay with me?”

 

The question rang in Doug's mind as he walked along the empty street.

 

Sure there was some lust at the start but that had faded, replaced with...

 

Why'd you stay with me?”

 

Doug thought of the early morning runs, of Kate singing out “toe pick” over and over again, the countless hours on the ice, the games of shoot out, the way he and Kate just stood silently together after the long program.

 

Why'd you stay with me?”

 

The sun began its slow climb into the sky, it's rays reaching out to warm Doug's face at the same time as the smell of new bread and hot coffee reached his nose. Doug walked into the cafe and took a seat.

 

A women came over to take his order and he somehow managed to ask for a coffee.

 

The bell over the door rang and Doug turned his head to see a young couple – obviously in love – sit down a few tables over.

 

Why'd you stay with me?”

 

Why had he stayed? Doug took a sip of his coffee and admitted to himself, he stayed because in the middle of it, he had fallen in love.