Friday, August 16, 2013

Sergei POV Scene - The Talk


This Sergei POV scene finds him in a much better emotional state than the last one :) Big spoilers in this one, so I'll leave some extra spoiler space if you haven't read LIFE ON THE EDGE yet!

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This scene is another one that's not in the book. It takes place during 2002 Nationals. If you recall, Emily and Sergei attended a cocktail party (separately since they couldn't be seen as a couple in public) at the end of the event, and then Emily left with Aubrey to let loose at the competitors' party. This scene shows where Sergei spent his time before drunk Emily showed up at his hotel room :)

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I left the cocktail party still going strong and went down to the hotel lobby, squeezing past the skaters headed to the competitors’ party. Emily was hopefully already there, safely away from Viktor. When he’d approached her at the reception, I’d had to use every ounce of self-control not to step in and tear him apart. If I saw him near her again, he wouldn’t be so lucky.
In the midst of the skaters buzzing through the lobby, Emily’s dad sat with his laptop, quietly typing. I’d been wanting to talk to him one-on-one without Emily's mom around, so I quickly took advantage of the opportunity.
“Doing some work, Jim?”
“Trying to catch up on email. The internet’s faster down here.” He looked up from the screen. “Party over already?”
“Not yet. I was just ready to relax a little.”
“I don’t blame you. You’ve had a rough couple of weeks.”
“Yeah, it’s been pretty crazy.” I anxiously shoved my hands in and out of my pockets. “Are you really busy or do you have a few minutes? There’s something I’d like to talk to you about.”
“I can take a break.” He clicked a few keys and shut the laptop. “Why don’t we get a drink next door?”
We walked to the neighboring sports bar, and I chose an isolated corner booth. I couldn’t have anyone overhearing our conversation. We made small talk until our beers arrived, and I took a long sip as I readied to make my speech.
“So, what’s on your mind?” Jim asked.
I set down my glass. Jim was so different from my own father. Patient, even-tempered, easy to talk to. I was much more comfortable around him even though I’d only known him a few years. But my tie suddenly felt very tight around my neck. I’d never had to talk to him about a matter this important.
“I wanted to speak to you during the holidays, but obviously my plans were all changed. You’ve been very supportive of Emily and me, our relationship, from the beginning, and I can’t thank you enough for that. I hope you’ll be just as supportive when I ask…” I sat up straighter and cleared my throat. “I want to ask Emily to marry me, and I’d very much like to have your blessing.”
Jim peered at me over his wire-rimmed glasses and slowly scratched his chin. “Marriage is a big step.”
“It is. But I know Emily is my future, and I hope she’s ready to take that step with me.”
“There are still some uncertainties with your situation. If Em and Chris don’t win gold at the Olympics, I imagine they’ll skate four more years. What would happen with the federation? You’d have to go public with your relationship if you plan on getting married.”
I'd anticipated receiving these kinds of concerns from him, and I'd had lots of time to think about them during my time in Moscow.
“I would talk to the federation and explain everything. If Em and I are engaged, they’d have to see the seriousness of our relationship. There wouldn't be any reason for them not to support us.”
“Well, logically there wouldn't, but we both know they don't always do things that make sense. What if they say you have to make a choice – that you can’t be both Em’s coach and her husband?”
“I’d do everything in my power to keep them from making that kind of demand, but if it reached that point, there’s no question what I’d do. I’d find a new coach for Em and Chris. Because not being with Emily…” I shook my head. “That’s not an option.”
Jim took a drink and gave me another pensive look. Was he thinking of more obstacles that might arise?
“Do you want to get married right away?” he asked.
“I’d marry Em tomorrow, but I’m sure she wants a traditional big wedding. And I want her to have everything she’s ever dreamed of.”
He smiled a little. “I don’t know if I’m ready to think about walking my little girl down the aisle.”
“This was probably the last thing you expected to discuss tonight.”
“That’s for sure.” He chuckled and drained more of his beer. “But being serious, all I’ve wanted for Emily is for her to be happy, to find someone who treats her with respect and like a true partner in life. And I’ve seen you do all those things. Even with the nature of your working relationship, being her coach... it hasn't been an issue off the ice between you. You've proven you can handle both roles. You’ve proven you can be trusted with her heart.”
I swelled with emotion and could only tip my head slightly to him. “It means a lot to me to hear you say that.”
He was quiet as his blue eyes sharpened with intensity. “Do you promise to always be there for her? To be the person she can depend on the most?”
I nodded more vigorously. “She’s everything to me. I will be there for her and love her and protect her every day for the rest of my life if she’ll have me.”
“Well, I think she’s going to give you a positive answer.” Jim paused and then extended his hand toward me. “And I would be proud to have you as part of our family.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat as I firmly shook his hand. “Thank you, Jim.”
“When are you going to propose?”
“Soon after we get home. I’ve had the ring since before I went to Russia. I wanted to do it on New Year’s Eve.”
“You know I have to tell Laura about this.”
There was a reason I hadn’t gone to both Em’s parents to ask for a blessing. I fully expected her mother to say she was too young to get married and we hadn’t been together long enough. I didn’t want her influencing Em’s decision.
“Yeah, about that…” I rubbed the back of my neck. “Can you give me a week to propose first? I’m afraid she’ll call Em and blow the whole thing.”
“Are you saying my wife acts first and thinks later?” He smiled.
My voice stuck as I hesitated to answer.
Jim laughed. “Don’t worry. I’ll hold off on telling her. Just let me know when I have the okay.”
I grinned. “Thanks, I really appreciate it.”
Now I just had to ask Em the big question. Nervous energy gripped me just thinking about it. I knew how she felt about me, and we'd talked vaguely about our future together, but what if she wasn’t ready to make this commitment?

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4 comments:

  1. I love Sergei and Jim's friendship!

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    Replies
    1. :) I think Sergei is so grateful for it!

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  2. I can totally see Sergei giving the old "I have no opinion" face when Jim asked that last question.

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