A sheet of chafed ice is dangerous territory for many people in unfortunate situations. Cold weather and precipitation could allow it to form on tarmac roads winding all over the globe, creating hazards for any walking or driving along to their next destination. With limited grip and unfamiliarity comes disaster, leading to very few identifying this physical water state as an opportunity for glory. The ones that do seek out the right equipment and a controlled environment can shift what was a death wish to be their playground.
The two perfecting their craft tonight are Johnny Grant and Tara Collins. The duo work on timing, technique and flair for the final time before the flight. Stress is at an all-time high for them, both being first time Olympians, even without a stadium full of fans ready to cheer or jeer.
One pair of eyes belonging to the janitor, Samuel Barnes, ganders at center ice. He often breaks with a snack and watches the skater's mastered routines, which only get more difficult as they progress through the program. Despite that, he never saw a moment where the two looked overwhelmed or out of sync. Even after studying their movements for months he's left in awe of their unwavering performances, and more importantly of how the dance finds all of the best angles for Tara's gorgeousness.
Her jet black hair accents the rest of her long, slim frame. Samuel admires how it fans out and swishes about when she rapidly turns. Sadly, the rest of the world will never receive that experience when she arrives on the big stage, as she'll pack it into an updo at the main event. Despite her looks being so tantalizing, the feature most appealing to wandering eyes is her elite coordination. Her flawless contortions are unmatched by her partner, yet together they still find a balance.
In a lot of ways, Samuel sees himself out on the rink with them, as if they are all on a standard dance floor. They add a heavy quantity of spinning, pirouetting, and wear those ice skates, but a lot of the concepts can easily be compared to ballet. Growing up in Florida, Samuel's chances to learn how to skate were nonexistent. His focus zeroed in on basketball, but dancing always caught his casual interest. That intrigue is noticeably askew from pure wonder today.
As he gazes, a whisper in the back of his mind senses the incoming disaster for Johnny. The gut feeling that he isn't as graceful or strong compounds. Samuel can't act on it, because how is a completely inexperienced skater supposed to tell two qualified Olympians that they shouldn't do the final stunt of their set?
Instead, he remains glued to his seat at the top of Section 3. His eyes bulge as Johnny collapses underneath Tara. They occasionally slip up, but Samuel instinctively knew a fall of that nature is evidence of far worse, perhaps an achilles tear. After calling for medical assistance, he rushes down to the ice.
Tara holds her injured partner's hand as tight as her brain clutches onto her dreams of competing at the winter games. They both cry in each other's arms, their vision fading away. Samuel not only helps Johnny off the ice, but drives him to the hospital. Hours later, he and Tara receive the diagnosis.
The woman instantly deflates and holds her chest. Breathing increases in difficulty as she crumbles into a chair. She quivers, only able to muster a single word. "No."
The repeating is hard for the janitor to hear, but for some reason he finds a lingering purpose to stick around as support for Tara. Samuel offers her water and a pillow to snuggle with, all while she withers away. Another hour elapses and Johnny appears from the double doors with a boot in a wheelchair. His mate springs to life to greet and comfort him, but they fail to exchange words.
Samuel drops Johnny off first. He witnesses the final goodbye between the two and patiently waits for the woman to return. When Tara does, she gets in the front passenger seat.
"Where to?" asks Samuel.
"My car at the arena," drones Tara.
"I can't even begin to imagine how you feel right now, but if you need anything just know I am here," he states.
She takes a few moments to calm down, then shifts forward. Samuel's eyes on the road prevent him from seeing a spark of hope flash in Tara's eye. The idea is strong enough to question, "You said you enjoy dancing right? Have you ever skated?"
He chuckles when responding, "Okay maybe not that. I've tried twice. Never got further than a few inches before hitting the deck."
Despite such an answer, she presses, "Samuel, you said anything."
"I regret my words already," he teases.
"You wouldn't even try?" She grasps his arm a little and pleads, "Come on, think about it. If you’re any good, you can go to the Olympics with me. A ridiculous opportunity and story to tell your friends for the rest of your life."
"I don't exactly have the cash to spare to drop everything for a month." He pauses before listing, "Rent needs to be paid, car payment, car insurance, the works. I am already living paycheck to paycheck."
Tara pours on, "The flights and hotels are paid for, food at the games is paid for, and if we win a medal, there is a prize bonus of a couple grand."
"Big if for someone who hasn't ever skated before," Samuel reasons.
Desperation sets in for Tara and she blurts, "I'll pay your bills for two months."
Samuel hits the brakes hard and the car squeals to a halt. He puts out his arm to hold Tara back close to the seat. He just got cut off by an obviously drunk driver in a pickup truck. "What in the hell?" he asks before registering what she said, repeating the same question.
"Did you hear me? Or were you too occupied with that idiot?" inquires Tara.
"This is a lot for me, Tara," says Samuel.
"I know, but I've seen you up there on your breaks. I know how much you've seen of the routines, and nobody else has been so attentive, and the flight leaves in two days, and I all of that work will be for nothing," she hyperventilates, "and I don't think I can do it again without going, and-"
"Okay, okay, Tara," interjects Samuel. "I'll give it a try. Just… Please chill out. You're making me nervous."
"You mean it?" she excitedly asks.
"If it will help you cope? Yes," he confirms, and resumes the trip back to the arena.
In no time, Samuel's first skate sinks into the ice. He uses Tara's arm along with the wall for balancing.
"Careful now. Have you ever been on roller skates, or in-line skates, or skiis?" Tara quizzes Samuel.
He denies, "None of the above, sadly."
"I'm okay with that. Have you ever been told that someone completely unfamiliar with a task is easier to teach because they lack any history and bad habits with it?"
"All the time, Tara. That's honestly one of the only reasons I am letting this happen."
"Don't be like that," she snaps back at Samuel, and gives him a soft, playful slap to the head.
"Hey! You're going to make me fall!"
"Are you afraid of that?"
Samuel responds to such a question with a quick, "Yes!" Except, Tara sees his mind go to work, to really consider if he possesses such a fear. "Actually, on second thought, no."
"That's a good first step. I can't have you afraid. Yes, what Johnny experienced can also repeat itself and you can get really hurt, but that is a risk with any sport."
He nods and the next half hour is largely Tara coaching Samuel through the basics of moving around. How to stop, how to turn, how to spin.
"Samuel, you may think I am crazy, but I already see you becoming better than Johnny."
He shakes his head and breathes out through his nose before his reply, "Tara, how on Earth am I supposed to believe that?"
She shrugs and continues the lessons until the wee hours, where Samuel grows too exhausted to continue. They retire to the locker room and return the borrowed skates.
"I'm not lying, Samuel. I really believe you can compete," she discloses.
Meanwhile, the janitor requires additional convincing. "Tara, I just learned how to skate. How am I supposed to learn four entire routines before next Tuesday?"
His point of view is valid, but this could not dissuade Tara. "Technically you only need to learn one by then. We can touch up the others in the days leading up," she suggests.
Samuel pulls away and walks toward a wall. He stretches his arms straight up before resting his hands one atop the other on his head, twisting side to side. Tara approaches from behind, extending a gentle hand to rub his back counter-clockwise. She looks up to him with big eyes. He doesn't flinch, or ask for her to cease. Her will burns bright and true, an unkillable urge to battle with the other contesting dancers.
It's this passion that escapes her and into Samuel's back. As convoluted and abnormal as this is, this moment is surprisingly calm, and learning how to do all of this with a woman as inspiring as her is proving hard to pass up.
"I'll be with you the entire time. Reminding you what step we are on, drawing the primary attention of the crowd and judges. In fact, you may find it very easy to simply focus on me." She lets her caressing hand slide around slower and firmer. "Can you at the very least imagine yourself out there, on center ice, wearing a matching outfit with me? We'd be so close for 80 percent of the dances, eyes locked to each other, as you hold my lower back and hand. You'd spin me around so much, getting a view only a few have had the chance to before. You're the lucky one that gets to view me at my best, who skates with me on a day I'll never forget."
Tara notices now that Samuel's eyes are shut, but that could mean many things. Is he asleep? Or is he relaxing and daydreaming the events she depicts? There's only one way to uncover the mystery. She needs him to speak.
"Samuel, do you see it? Do you see me in that sparkling dress?"
"I do. You're impeccable on the ice, Tara," he monotonously replies, but for some reason that lack of tone didn't bring curious thoughts to the slender skater.
She instead is elated, and sustains the moment, the conception of what she wishes for the future. Her words carry heavy emphasis and meaning as she dictates, "I see you there with me, the surprise and heartwarming story. So many are questioning how something like this could be possible. I see someone dedicated and willing to help. It's not a competition to you, is it? This experience is much less stressful because no expectations are set upon you. Win or lose, you're simply there to support me, a girl with hopes and dreams as big as this universe."
Tara can feel tension evaporating from Samuel's muscles as she continues on. Her soothing words paint a pretty picture of possibility and acceptance. Despite her efforts, one worry of a troubling future outcome lingers for Samuel. He divulges, "You can't be the one that takes all of the blame for a bad performance, Tara. Promise me you won't stress yourself out and hurt yourself."
"I'm not going to get hurt, I'll have to slow down, re-learn the transitions and adjust to the way you skate."
"No, not that. I don't want your confidence and happiness to die, Tara."
Not expecting such a line of thought from him, she stutters, "I'm- I'm sorry?"
He reiterates, "I don't want you to be so stressed out and upset after a loss that you can't recover and be who you've always been. Confident and happy."
"Okay," she agrees.
They go separate ways that night, and return to the arena the following day. In the locker room, Tara walks Samuel through the entire first routine on foot. He knows what to do, but the order is never consistent when he tries to recall it on his own.
Despite his struggles, she leads him out to center ice, and the first song begins. "Maybe if we do it out here, and you see me performing each action, it will help you get into a rhythm."
"Let's do it."
Just like Tara recommended, he focuses solely on her. She's not in the uniform yet, but he could still imagine what she would look like in a few days. Surprisingly, he finds himself naturally in line and on queue with her. Samuel's dancing instincts and long history observing Johnny's moves are the primary driver of his actions. He stares at her eyes, her hair, the way she sways and spins all around the ice, and he never has to think about what move is next. His body performs it all for him.
The dream is coming true for Samuel exactly as Tara proposed earlier that morning. He is so wrapped up in watching her that his surroundings are irrelevant. He is so focused on helping and learning from her that his own reactions to her words are instant. As time goes on, the bond strengthens, and her smile grows brighter. Every jump, twirl and stride is performed with absent-minded precision.
The beat of the music is only accompanied by Tara's counting. "One… two… three… four… One… two… three… four…" That's all dancing is. That's all figure skating is. Samuel grasps onto her voice and keeps with the pace. Even when they need to separate for a couple measures, her voice still reaches his mind. Returning to her is always a splendid feeling. She's a blast of fresh air, enthusiastic and stunning to all onlookers except Samuel who easily matches her spirited display.
All things come to an end, and Tara startles Samuel with a big kiss to the lips. Her hands both around the back of his neck, and she encroaches. He doesn't just feel her hands, there's also a ribbon-like band wrapping around and a little heavy in the front. She pulls away, then raises a golden medallion up to her mouth, biting the edge and looking to her left. Samuel turns and notices the crowd in the stands all are applauding and hollering for the few still on ice. He gets goosebumps and can't even hear himself ask, "What the hell just happened?"
Tara hugs her partner and rocks back and forth gently, unable to answer as she is overcome with joy. His daydream didn't feel nearly as good, mainly because he hadn't felt anything. The petite dancer with enough leverage to persuade him to trek across the world and join her on her journey to winning gold is in his grasp. Nothing before this moment felt as correct. This lingering thought persists all through the celebration dinner, and the rest of their days at the games.
Two days to go before returning home, and a large party for medalists breaks out in one of the hotels. Tara tugs Samuel along for the ride. "May I have this dance?" she asks as their feet hit the dance floor.
If the ice is Tara's domain, then the hardwood is Samuel's kingdom. His secondary passion for dancing and music is one of many reasons why he could learn their routines so easily. In his younger days he spent many hours at dance clubs, often taking over as the center of attention. This time his instinct is far different, as Tara is at his side. "Isn't the guy supposed to ask?"
"Since when have we been conventional?"
He smirks and accepts her offer to dance, "Maybe this next dance can be?"
"I'll think about it," Tara replies with a little wink. As they get to the desired position amongst the mosh pit, she takes his hand in a similar fashion to what Samuel experienced for over a week. She finds his line of sight with her own, and asks, "How has this been for you? Are you having fun?"
"I'll be honest, I don't really recall anything between our first real practice and the medal ceremony. The rest has been so fast paced and exciting, I don't even know how we looked out on ice." He pauses and reassesses that thought, then admits, "Okay, I actually know what you looked like, but that's about it."
"Really? Well, how about we review it tonight? Or, I can simply tell you what I saw. Your choice."
"I can't have both?"
She scrunches her nose and smirks. After a little giggle she rolls her eyes and reluctantly narrates, "In our first practice, I noticed you responding very well to a calm, steady count. One… two… three… four…"
As she does it again, Samuel realizes he naturally begins the initial steps of routine number three, easily his favorite to perform. "I recall you doing that."
"Not only did you become more fluid and less nervous, but you always had this distinct look on your face." Her left forearm comes to rest on his shoulder, her hand dangling free as they embrace each other casually. "I discovered that even when we were getting food, or wherever else besides on ice, I could start that count again and you would look so pleased."
Tara continues when Samuel doesn't even attempt to cut her off. "Nobody has ever looked at me in the ways you have in the past week. I have no idea how many words would apply to how you felt. I mostly saw content and joy. Usually someone who finds themself enraptured by me is much more charged with arousal and erotic thoughts but, not you. Samuel, what do you see when you look at me?"
"Dedication, passion and honesty. You sought after such lofty goals, but were never going to be denied because you never let an obstacle get in your way." Before she can open her mouth to rebut his in depth analysis, he swiftly applies a single finger over her lips. "Wait, I'm not done. You fell so many times, probably several times more than I witnessed from my seat, but always got up stronger. You saw the darkness, the omen of future failure and basically told them to take a hike. I won't say I've never thought of how pretty you are, but that's only part of what makes you whole."
"You really think I am whole?"
"If you don't feel that way, how can I show you the truth?"
"By kissing me."
He drifts toward her, leaning in slowly and tipping his head to the right. Samuel's lips lock to hers for no longer than five seconds. Remnants of the memory of Tara's earlier kiss on the podium invade his immediate thoughts. She may not be nearly as excited or happy, but he feels an equivalent amount of energy surging out of her.
Samuel wants to avoid pushing his luck, but his chin is cupped by his partner preventing him from leaving the close quarters enclosure. Tara's opposite hand reaches back to the base of his head, and her thumb lovingly draws circles. She pours herself into Samuel, who finds himself confirming the words spoken just before. This woman before him is complete, and has so much room to share herself. Tara lacks a need for being with Samuel, or any man, but what she wants is far better.
The two budding lovers swap saliva and wade all around the dance floor. Their hearts thump along to the beat serenading the occasion. Samuel's hands never grow too frisky, still handling his lovely partner with tenderness and care.
Several songs come and leave before Tara counts once more. "One… two… three… four…"
One blink, Samuel feels himself gliding away with Tara. Their eyes are stuck on each other, the connection between them is soldered and possibly unbreakable as long as her conducting persists. "One… two… three… four…"
Two blinks, Samuel is led into Tara's sanctuary. There's so much symbolism to this moment. This serves as a right of passage into her life, her happiness, and her control. "One… two… three… four…"
Three blinks, Samuel's hands unzip the back of her dress. All the way down, and his mental defenses come apart as quickly as her naked body is revealed. "One… two… three… four…"
Four blinks, Samuel stands before Tara as nude as a newborn baby, taking in his new world just as easily. He learns from all experiences and can't find fault with her loving exploits. "One… two… three… four…"
"One… two… three… four…" Four times, the number of orgasms Samuel is brought to. Each time shooting another load straight into her tight cunt.
"One… two… three… four…" Four times, Samuel is sent down to Tara's wet crotch to worship her sexy pussy. He brings her to climax each time and leaves her clean and satisfied.
"One… two… three… four…" Four times, the average daily lovemaking sessions they conduct over the next year.
"One… two… three… four…" The dance consumes Samuel's spirit, keeping him entranced and pleased.
"One… two… three… four…"