Welcome to the Mating Game Blog Hop! I'm one of a number of blogs participating in the contest, and my fictional couple Emily and Sergei from the EDGE series will be playing the game together. First, let me introduce you to them....
Emily is a competitive pairs figure skater with Olympic dreams, and Sergei is her young Russian coach. Their story starts in LIFE ON THE EDGE and continues in EDGE OF THE PAST. They're very excited to play the Mating Game today and are ready to face the questions posed by our blog hop hosts! I'll be stepping in to conduct the interview :)
Question #1: Tell us about a memorable experience you shared together.
Emily and Sergei give each other thoughtful looks. "Hmm... there was that night in Tokyo..." Sergei says with a slow grin.
"I think we should keep that to ourselves." Emily smiles.
Sergei leans in close to her. "You don't want to tell everyone how we broke the rules?"
Her pulse quickens as Sergei's warm breath whispers against her ear. She sees me watching them and sits up straighter. "Maybe we should stick to a skating-related memorable experience. We've had a few of those."
Sergei nods. "Nationals in Boston was definitely one."
Emily turns to me. "I was crazy nervous because I was competing in my hometown, and I was all over the place with adrenaline. But Sergei calmed me down before Chris and I went out to skate. He knew all the right things to say, just like he always does." She squeezes Sergei's bicep, and he beams at her.
"I was so proud of her. She and Chris were under so much pressure, and she channeled all that nervous energy and embraced the moment. She was absolutely on fire." Sergei locks his deep blue eyes on Emily's. "I'll never forget how beautiful you looked in that white dress. When you came off the ice and I hugged you, I didn't want to let you go."
Both Emily and I melt into our chairs. I study my notes and remind myself I'm supposed to be professional in hosting the game. On to the next question!
Question #2: What would you do if the one you wanted was terrified of their feelings and pushed you away?
"We've sorta been down that road," Emily says, her voice dropping. "Sergei and I got so close, and then all of a sudden everything was so messed up, and I didn't think he'd ever admit how he felt about me. I didn't know what to do, how to get him out of my head."
Sergei reaches for Emily's hand and gently grasps it. "Pushing Em away was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Because of our situation, I thought I had to do it to protect her. But seeing her every day and not being able to be with her..." He shakes his head. "It was torture."
The troubling memories are reflected on both Emily and Sergei's faces. I want to get them smiling again, so I quickly refer to my notes for the next question.
Question #3: What is one of the roadblocks standing in the way of you getting together?
"Well, it looks like you're happily together." I smile. "So, why don't you tell me about a roadblock you've overcome?"
Emily laughs and looks at Sergei. "Which one should we tackle? My mom? The skating federation? Your past?"
"The federation was the first one we had to overcome." Sergei faces me. "In other countries, you see coaches hooking up with skaters like it's no big deal, but the U.S. Skating Federation has a completely different view on the situation."
Emily adds, "They want to protect their skaters from a relationship where the coach might abuse his or her power. It's totally understandable, but not everything is black and white, and our situation proves we know how to handle that balance of power and make a relationship work."
"You can tell we've had to answer this question a few times," Sergei says with a chuckle.
I peer at him over my clipboard. "I'd like to hear about your past and how that's affected you as a couple. I bet that's a juicy story."
Sergei's jaw tenses, and Emily throws a nervous glance in his direction. "It's probably best not to get into that right now."
I'm even more intrigued, but I don't want to push and have them clam up for the rest of the game. The next question looks more light and fun, so I breathe easier.
Question #4: How would you describe the other person using only one word at a time?
"You want to start?" Sergei asks Emily.
She gives him a big grin. "Hot."
He lets out a loud laugh. "That's the first thing you think of?"
"I'm covering the on-the-surface stuff first."
"Well, in that case, my first answer is gorgeous."
Emily turns to me. "I told you he knows all the right things to say."
"I have another one," Sergei says. "Competitive."
"Creative," Emily replies.
Sergei smiles and kisses the back of Emily's hand. "Sweet."
Her gaze travels slowly over his face, zeroing in on his mouth. "Ditto."
They seem to have forgotten I exist, and I'm afraid they might start making out at any moment. I clear my throat and jump to the next question.
Question #5: What was the first thing you noticed about each other?
"Oh, his eyes. For sure," Emily says. "First time we met, I walk into the rink, so nervous because I'm meeting this new coach and trying to start a new career in pairs, and I see Sergei... and he smiles at me, and I feel like I could just drown in his eyes. I couldn't stop staring at them. They were so crystal blue, like an ocean in paradise."
Sergei's cheeks turn a light shade of pink, and Emily leans against his side. "He's not too comfortable with gushy compliments."
Sergei laughs. "Let's see how you do with those."
"Bring 'em on." She grins.
He stares at her a few moments and then licks his lips. "When I met Em, I noticed everything about her. How her smile made her eyes even brighter. The way she fiddled with her necklace because she was nervous. How she looked at the ice like she couldn't wait to get out there. But most of all, she had this warmth about her, this energy that drew me in and convinced me I had to work with her. Best decision I've ever made in my life."
What do you think - are Emily and Sergei pretty compatible? Hop around and meet all the other couples! You can find a list of the participating blogs here!