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When the phone rings for the third time Apolo gives in and answers it.

“Hello, Apolo here,” he says drowsily.

“You’re an asshole!” the voice shouts. He blinks in surprise, pulling the phone away from his ear to check the caller id. He smirks.

“Hello to you too, JR. To what do I owe this lovely phone call at 5 in the morning?” he asks, stretching his shoulders out, and flopping over onto his back. He stares up at the too white ceiling, feeling much more awake than before.

“You’re an asshole,” JR repeats, but he sounds more amused this time.

“Keep calling me that, and I’ll tell your mother on you. I do have Sue’s number if you’ll recall,” Apolo threatens.

“Oh, ha ha ha. You wouldn’t dare. I have way too much incriminating evidence on you for you to bring my mother into this. And it wouldn’t change anything. You’d still be an asshole,” he explains. Apolo yawns, loudly.

“5 am,” he repeats into the phone.

“I just saw the interview on Access Hollywood from yesterday,” JR starts to explain, but Apolo interrupts.

“Aww honey! You googled me!?” he says, voice going sweet and dramatic. JR scoffs.

“Don’t flatter yourself. Someone tweeted me a link! And don’t change the subject. You’re being mean! You’re making fangirls cry. Why can’t you just announce you’re coming back and be done with it?” JR asks. He expects Apolo to fire back an affirmative response, to make a joke about building tension and media exposure. But Apolo stays silent, and the longer he does the further JR’s heart drops. “Apolo?”

Apolo closes his eyes, taking a slow deep breath.

“Because I’m not sure that I am. I meant it when I said I was 50/50,” he replies. He hears JR let out a low breath.

“Oh,” JR replies. “I thought..” he trails off.

“It’s not you, JR,” Apolo replies. “I just have a lot of stuff going on. The show starts in a few weeks, and I’ve got a lot on my plate. I’m not sure I can drop it all and move to fucking Utah for the next year and a half. I’m not sure I want to.”

“I see. Ok. Well sorry to have bothered you,” JR says, and his voice sounds strange to Apolo’s ears.

“JR?” Apolo sits up in bed, flicking on the light. “JR?” he asks a second time.

“I should let you go. I was just calling to tell you to let your fans in on the decision. I didn’t realize you were being up front about not knowing. So I’ll let you get back to sleep. I have to get going anyway. Practice,” JR says quickly. “I’ll talk to you soon. Later.” And then he’s gone. Apolo ends the call, letting his hand flop back to the bed. He rolls over, burying his head in the pillow that sits unused beside his own. He breathes in deep and if he pretends hard enough he can almost convince himself that he can still smell JR’s shampoo lingering there. Fuck. He misses him. He misses them all, but especially JR.

He rolls back over and lets himself picture it.

Getting up early for practice. Spending hours in the weight room. Dry-land. Fucking stair exercises. The burn in his legs after a session on the ice.

He winces in remembered pain. But then he recalls the feel of the cold air rushing past his face, as he races in tight circles. The joy of a good lean. The adrenaline rush of crossing the finish line. Of winning. His heart starts to pump hard in his chest, and he smiles.

He climbs out of bed. He has time to decide, but either way he should really get to the gym. And if he does more leg presses than usual, he decides not to over-analyze why.