Eugene trains us everyday and ensures that Edward and I become more comfortable with each other. And after a few months, Eugene became happy with what he is seeing.
"Good job Edward and Marydale! Team Philippines is doing really great." he says proudly.
As much as Edward and I built our partnership on ice, our friendship also grew. We know each other on a much deeper level and became the best of friends in such a short period of time. During our days off, we talk about everything and nothing such as the time when we got separated when he migrated here in Canada.
Also, Edward toured me around Toronto. We have been to the CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium, Casa Loma, and Nathan Philip Square.
On days that we practice, we go to training together and leave together. It has been five months that we are like this, and tonight is not different from those nights.
As we got back to the hotel, Edward grabs my hand and the same electricity starts to flow throughout my body and I begin to wonder if these feelings will ever fade away.
We walk in silence and for some odd reason, it feels comfortable. As we got to my door, I grab my card key and tap it. I turn around to say goodbye but Edward's face is too close, only half an inch away.
"Edward" I gasp.
"Maymay" he breathes as he turns the knob of my door. Both of his hands are on either side of my door frame as he stares intently into my eyes.
It seems that neither of us want to break whatever connection we have at this moment. So, we just stand there; not moving. Only the sound of our heavy breathing filling the air--as if we are communicating through our eyes, a language only Edward and I can understand.
"Maymay, I have a question." he says after a while.
"Ask" I breathe out.
"Can I uhm, spend the night with you? I just wanna hold you in my arms tonight. " he asks.
Instead of answering, I push my door wider and hold it open for Edward. He looks at me questioningly, but after I nod, he walks through it, grabs my hand and walks to bed.
As I wake up the next morning with Edward beside me, I can't help but just stare at his angelic face. He looks so peaceful and just as when I am about to reach for his face, he smiles and playfully wrestles with me.
"Edward, we have to get up, Eugene will have our heads off if we are late" I warn.
"Right, let's get ready." he says as he puts his shirt back on, "Uhm May?" he calls.
"Yes?" I answer.
He takes my hand and lifts my head by cupping my chin, "Thank you for letting me spend the night with you"
"To be honest, I don't know why I said yes. I have never, you know?" I look at him.
"I know" he grins.
"Hey, stop grinning" I tell him as I hit him lightly, "Just that Edward, I don't want anything to change between us, okay? We have to keep our heads in the game and bring home the gold." I smile.
"Of course, though I feel like I already hit gold" he grins again.
My face suddenly feels warm and I couldn't look at him. "Hey, I was just joking May. We will get ready now, okay? Then train like beasts because the competition is only a month away." he says as he kisses my cheek before running away to the door. "I'll get you when I'm ready" he yells from the outside.
I just shake my head and though I am staring at the evidence on the white sheets of my bed right now, for some odd reason, I don't feel any regret. If anything, I just feel a stronger connection with Edward now which could be beneficial for our competition.
This week has been nothing but crazy hectic, we train all day up to the wee hours of the night. Edward has been nothing but a gentleman as well, though we still refuse to give whatever we have a title.
He once said that if I fall, he falls. But am I actually starting to fall?
I am now back at the airport, though this time with the whole team. We are flying to Korea, where the Winter Olympics will take place this year. We came here a few days before competition to get a feel of the environment and the other competitors. Though none of us can step on the ice arena yet, we are going to have a small meet and greet tonight to make acquaintances with the other competitors.
"I don't know why they say it's making acquaintances when it's pretty clear that everyone's intention is to check out the competition" I tell Edward on our way to the event.
"Just relax May, I am pretty sure that the most they'll be checking out is you" he tell me, trying to lighten the mood as I have been tense the whole time.
"Thanks partner" I tell him as I squeeze his hand. When I was about to pull back my hand, he just holds it tighter and I just let him.
We walk in the hall hand in hand which is not unusual for pair figure skaters, but for Edward and I, it is something much more different, something much deeper. A mutual understanding between Edward and I. But apparently, since it's viewed as a norm, that didn't stop all the other female figure skaters to flirt with him. I suddenly feel so annoyed so I pulled out of Edward's grip and head to the bar.
"A glass of champagne please? Actually, something stronger?" I request to the bartender.
Just as when I am about to take my shot, Edward grabs it from my hand and puts it down to the bar.
"What are you doing Marydale?" he asks, his eyes look angry.
"None of your business Edward" I answer back, mirroring the anger in his voice.
"Your business is my business!" he warns in a quiet but deadly voice.
"And why is that?" I ask, challenging him.
"Because we are partners Maymay" he answers back, his voice gentle now. "Now calm down, okay? After this whole thing, we'll talk, okay?" and I nod. "I'll be back, I just have to talk to Eugene.. and Maymay, just champagne and limit yourself to two flutes, please?" he requests.
"Yes Edward" I sigh, feeling a little bit better now.
After a few moments, I start to feel the urge to use the washroom when all of a sudden I could hear Edward's voice coming from inside a room so I decide to listen in. Edward seems to be talking to Eugene, being around them for nearly six months makes me certain about this.
"You're doing a good job Edward. I certainly feel the connection and the trust between you two. Keep at it, okay? We are going for gold again this year. We need the sponsors too and the huge fan base MayWard now have." Eugene tells him.
"I am starting to feel guilty Eugene. This is not right. Maymay is such a good person" Edward answers back and I suddenly start to the feel the urge to run away from here.
Luckily, the hall is in the same hotel we are staying in, so I run to the elevators and just as when I reach my floor, my phone starts to ring. I compose myself first before answering seeing it's Edward on the other line.
"Hello? Yeah Edward.. My head hurts and since our competition is tomorrow, I just want to rest... No, no.. stay there. We at least need a representative there. Yes, I'll be okay. See you early tomorrow.. Bye" I end my call with Edward.
I enter my hotel room and let the tears fall.
"Edward just used me, and for what? The gold medal? To be the world champion again? And what makes it worse is that I am starting to feel something for him and I thought he did too. If I fall, he falls? BULLSHIT! He made me feel so special. Was that all just a lie? A connivance between Eugene and Edward?" I cry. After crying for what seems like hours, I compose myself in the washroom and stare at myself in front of the mirror.
"Maymay, you have come this far. Do your best in the competition tomorrow and then you will get another long break from all of this, okay? And if Edward can act, you'll show him that you can act better. You didn't come this far to only come this far. You want the Gold too." I smile at my reflection, though my smile didn't quite reach my eyes. But I have decided to give my all for our competition tomorrow and with that in mind, I head to my bed and cry myself to sleep.
The next day, I put on my game face. We are now preparing for our short program and I set aside my personal issues for now. Something that I seem to have forgotten for the past months.
"You ready May?" he asks and I nod. I smile so sweetly at him, though his eyes look questioning.
"Are you nervous?" he asks.
"A little bit. Are you?" I ask him back.
"Come.. I just need to calm myself down" he asks as he leads me to the dressing room. As soon as we walk in, he pushes me against the door and kisses my lips gently, passionately and with so much care. Though I don't want to respond, my heart tells me differently. So I kiss him back with so much love.
"Did it help? Cause it definitely helped me." he smiles and I nod. As we walk hand in hand from the dressing room, I can feel my tears start to pool in the corner of my eyes.
"You two are next!" Eugene yells at us as we walk back to them.
"We can do this." Edward encourages me and I smile back. This moment is all about the fruit of our work and training for the past months, for what I have been working for my whole life.
"We will give our best." I tell him as I smile.
Announcer: Gold in the single ladies and single male disciplines in the last Winter Olympics, Marydale Entrata and Edward Barber.
The announcer introduces us and we glide in the middle of the ice arena, hand in hand.
Look at this tandem. This unlikely pair is now ready for their debut here on ice as partners. Let's see what else they got besides their undeniable chemistry of course.
Everybody in the arena are cheering for us, and we can hear the people chanting, "MAYWARD, MAYWARD, MAYWARD". Edward squeezes my hand as we take our position in the middle of the ice. The music begins to play, and I take a deep breath and so does Edward.
Look at how synchronize they move, and now for their first jump. They open with their synchronized triple toe loops, followed by a triple twist lift. And now a synchronized triple salchow, followed by a throw triple salchow, and with a great landing from Entrata and the pair are ending with a pair combination spin. Good job Philippines.
Edward pulls me in for a hug and kisses my forehead when the music ended. The crowd is now louder than before as they cheer us on. As we wait for our score, Edward holds my hand and I tighten my grip around his, the nerves peaking up once again.
The Filipinos are very happy with their performance which garnered a score of 87.1, moving them on with the free skate. Ranking them first in the short program standing. Congratulations Philippines.
Edward and I hug each other, both so emotional as we cry from joy and all the overwhelming emotions we are feeling at the moment.
The long program is scheduled for tomorrow so Eugene tells us that we have the rest of the day to do whatever we want. We could either take a break or practice more.
I opt for more practice but Edward says we deserve a break first and then we can practice later on. After a few more convincing from Edward and Denise, I gave in.
I head straight to my room, and before I could close my door, Edward calls my name, "Can I rest with you?" he asks.
No longer in the mood to argue, I just let him in. I lay on my bed and he hugs me from behind as he buries his face into my hair.
"You did well today May. You never fail to amaze me" he whispers into my ear. After he said those words, the tears I have been trying to hold in start to race down my cheeks. All my emotions coming out all at once. My entire body shakes as I sob.
"Hey, why are you crying baby?" he asks, his voice gentle. If I am going to based everything on how Edward treats me, it's still so hard to believe that all those, and even these are just acts for him.
"Edward, another question." I tell him as I sit on the bed, facing him. He nods as he wipes my tears from my face. "Was it all just an act for you?" I ask.
"What is?" he asks in confusion.
"These" I raise my hands in the air, gesturing our surrounding.
"Explain May" he pleads.
"The other night, I heard you talking to Eugene." I start to tell him the story of my eavesdropping. As I went on, he starts to look so guilty and sad.
"You heard that, huh?" He asks, his voice shaky and I nod. "What else did you hear May?" he asks.
"That you feel guilty, and then I left. At that moment, it felt like I heard enough" And my tears begin to fall again.
"Since Eugene talked me into that whole acting thing, I already felt guilty. And in the beginning, that was probably the only emotion I was feeling towards you. But I am not a bad person May, I never even lied to you. It's just that Eugene got in my head, but nothing about what I did with you were fake. They were all true." he explains.
"But how do I know you're not just saying that?" I ask.
"You don't, that's the thing. But please believe me Maymay, in the past six months, I have been nothing but true to you." he apologizes as I see his angelic face with tears as well.
"Edward, next question." I grab his hands.
"Ask Maymay." he answers.
"What is the truth? Remember, we can't lie with the questions game. I will listen but I only want the truth" I ask.
"The truth is, I have never expected to feel this way towards you. When you reminded me of my six year self, I remember how I used to bully you and I think I may have a crush on you then, and as a six year old, I hated the idea. So, I just bullied you, some sort of defense mechanism I guess. And now, actually getting to know you for the past six months, I think I may have fallen for you Maymay. I don't want to say anything yet until after the competition but you want the truth, so here it is. Maymay, I may have actually fallen in love with you" he confesses, "that's it, that's the truth.
"You, you love me?" I stutter.
"Yes. I don't exactly know when it all started but I always want to be around you, be with you, invade your every thoughts, get to know you more and more everyday, kiss your lips every chance I get, and get lost in your eyes all the time. I don't want to scare you off May, so no rush, I will wait" he answers truthfully which sounds like a promise.
And for some reason, I believe him. I guess that's life, you just have to take the risk. I couldn't say it back yet because somehow my heart is still guarded, so I just pull him in for a hug, "thank you" I say to him.
And he kisses me and hugs me as I rest on his chest.
The next day, for the final competition of the long program, Edward and I are always beside each other--occasionally offering each other words of encouragement.
Announcer: And now, we have Marydale Entrata and Edward Barber back on ice. This pair has proven to all of us that they are truly oozing with chemistry, and it shows on ice. Individually, they are already the best but as a pair, they are phenomenal.
The whole crowd goes wild with their cheers, "MAYWARD, MAYWARD, MAYWARD!"
Edward and I are holding each other's hand as we skate together to the middle of the ice rink.
"Edward?" I call him.
"Yes??" he asks.
"If you fall, I fall." I smile at him and he smiles back.
We start with facing each other, and as the music begins, we glide on the ice side by side.
The pair are gliding smoothly on the ice side by side, and now they start with a triple twist, and wow, great catch from Barber. And now a side by side triple salchow. Wow, and now a synchronization with their double toe, followed by a triple toe. Side by side spins, the unison is definitely there, changed to a forward camel spin.
Look at the crowd going wild, I'm sure they can feel the chemistry between these two as well. And a twist throw, a triple loop, amazing landing by Entrata once again. These two own the ice, who would've known? Another throw coming up, a salchow. Nice landing!
And now a one arm lift by Barber, AMAZING! Only 24 seconds left, now a pair camel spin. BEAUTIFUL PHILIPPINES!" the announcer finishes.
"Edward?" I call his name after our performance. Despite the crowd, he heard me. He skates towards me as he smiles.
"Yes May?" he asks as he carries me, and spins me around the ice and the crowd is now wilder, cheering us on.
"Remember what you said when we were at the lake?" I ask.
"I said a lot of things May" he answers back.
"You said, If I fall, you fall. If you fall, I fall" I remind him.
"But I didn't let you fall, did I? I caught you every time, in every throw, I caught you Maymay" he states in a panic tone.
"I know, relax will you?" I ask him. I caress his cheek, "What you should've said is, if you fall, I'll catch you" I grab his face with both of my hands, "But this time, let me do the catching." I smile as I kiss him on ice, in front of the whole world to see.
"Oh, and I love you too" I smile after we kiss.
10 years later...
"Mom, look at my triple toe loop" Anne calls from the rink.
"You're doing very well Anne" I smile at her.
"Love, here's Gabrielle, it took her forever in picking her outfit for this recital" Edward smiles at me.
"You ready baby?" I ask Gabrielle.
"I am born to be on ice Mommy. Just like you and daddy" she beams at us.
"Then go and show all of us what you got baby, make mom and dad proud" Edward tells Gabrielle as he puts his arm over my shoulder.
Gabrielle skates towards her sister and they practice their jumps and spins together before their very first recital.
"Remember when that was us love?" Edward asks me.
"How can I forget love?" I kiss his cheeks as he tighten his arms around me.
"What are we gonna call our new blessing on the way?" he asks as he rubs my tummy.
"Since the doctor said she is a she, I'm thinking Andrea Lois." I tell him.
"Beautiful name, just as beautiful as my wife" he kisses me, "I love you so much Mrs. Barber".
"I love you Mr. Barber" I rest my head on his shoulder as we watch our little angels skate on ice.