Chapter 18

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A sense of uneasiness bubbled in her, settling in the pit of her stomach as he glided smoothly onto the ice.

When he flowed gracefully, moving to the sorrowful music, she was shocked, her expression blank as her eyes watched on.

For a moment, she'd thought that maybe, maybe, he'd learnt how to skate nicely just to impress her.

But when she watched figure skating competitions, none of them held a candle to him.

He was one of a kind.

So this is the real Yuzuru.

She looked on in numbness, not sure how to react.

She was a little annoyed.

But truthfully, she felt a little hurt, because she felt like he didn't trust her.

It felt like the Yuzuru Hanyu that she met in the hospital ward was a fake.

He was hiding, all along.

She knew nothing about him, about his life.

She didn't know who he truly was.

Maybe the colours that he brought into her life were nothing but an artificial facade.

Her eyes were glued to him, his serious expression as he launched himself into the air, landing with the grace that only a champion could achieve.

She was begging silently for the performance to go on forever, because she didn't know how to react to all this.

All...this.

When the music came to a dreaded stop, his arms in a perfect pose, her legs froze, and her mouth felt dry, her tongue like sandpaper.

He skated over, a bright smile on his face.

No.

No, no.

She took an instinctive step behind, then another.

The smile was instantly wiped off his face, replaced by a worried frown.

He stretched out his hand, his skinny arm hidden by the handsome white sleeves of his costume.

"Em, let me explain," he said.

She didn't want to hear him explain.

She was confused, tired, hurt, and she didn't know how to react.

"I'm sorry, I just can't."

So she ran.

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Nam was convinced that Em would be shocked, happy, overjoyed that Yuzu was actually, a world-class figure skater for whom thousands of girls would burn their hair just to be with him.

So the moment the programme ended, he jogged down to the rink, half expecting them to be kissing already.

What he did not expect was the fact that Em took off, running into the chilly night and Yuzu, hurriedly getting off the ice without his blade guards.

He caught Yuzu, steadying him as he pushed indignantly, trying to chase after the girl who was gone.

"Bro, you have to stay here, your blades will be ruined," he said, trying to get Yuzu to stay where he was.

He struggled even more, pushing harder against him.

"Screw my blades, I need to go after her," his angry voice cracked, his struggling getting weaker.

"You spent your whole life skating. Your mother worked hard to get these blades for you. Are you going to ruin them for a girl who doesn't even appreciate your actions? This is not the Hanyu-senpai I know. Now man up, take off your skates and clean them. I'll go after her." Nam ordered, pushing Yuzu to the benches, poking him with the familiar green and purple blade guards.

His grip slackened, his voice cracking as he mumbled "I need to get her back" repeatedly, as if chanting a mantra would help.

Nam, too, ran off into the night, determined to help his best friend, and he swore he could hear a soft "arigato" from his friend behind.

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The moment he took a step into the cold Toronto night, he regretted it.

Hell, the wind was cold and it cut like daggers against his cheeks.

We were supposed to get Yuzu and Em to reunite and go for a warm dinner at Macy's, not me chasing after her in this weather.

Nam jogged along the streets, looking for any signs of the girl in the blue dress who broke his best friend's heart.

It took him less than a minute to find her, walk-jogging on Avenue 6.

"Em?" He called, trying to jog up to her.

She froze, and broke out in a sprint.

"Hey!" Nam exploded, his long legs working to bring him closer to her.

"Emerson Cole!" He caught her skinny arm, tightening his grip such that she couldn't run any further.

"Do you have any idea what he's done for you? He's my best friend, and you changed his life. He was afraid that you wouldn't like him for who he was, so he never mentioned anything about his sport, and this is how you repay him? He went back to training just one week after the surgery just to show you his programme, while bearing the pain of his wound because he loves you. Just for you, Emerson Cole, just for a girl. If this how you want to hurt him, I swear I will keep you away from my best friend."

Nam felt slightly guilty for being so harsh, but the guilt was entirely erased when he remembered how Yuzu worked like a mule to ensure a clean programme, how he winced after practice, limping as he went home each day. For a girl who didn't appreciate his efforts.

Em's voice cracked, and she pulled away.

"I'm sorry."

And she ran again, and this time, Nam didn't go after her.

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