I looked everywhere.

There were flashes and people and reporters.... it was horrible.

Ledecky stuttered. She was also confused at what she did.

"Oh my God, I am so sorry... I don't know what came over me..." she whispered.

I pushed the press away and ran. Ledecky followed me.

"Kayli please! Hey wait!!!!!"

I ran and ran. I bumped into someone. It was Nathan. I didn't know what to say, so I looked at him nervously and ran away, hiding tears.

I slammed the door to the locker room and knelt down and started to cry.

Why did I have to risk it all? Why did I have to lose it all? Why??!!!!

I didn't feel good at all. I hated this. Why was I such an attention whore? Why the heck did I want the camera, the glitz, the glam... WHY DID I WANT THAT SO BADLY?!!!

I wept and took my googles off my head. I stared at it. It was my lucky ones since 4 years ago when I started competitive swimming.

It was with me all this time. But suddenly I felt so much anger towards it. I screamed and threw it against the wall.


I whirled around. In front of me was THE Michael Phelps. He wasn't dressed in his swim garb as usual. He wore a Team USA hoodie and jeans.

I rubbed my eyes to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing. Then I hastily wiped the tears away.

"Whhhat are yyyou doing hhhere-"

"Do you really think you can do this alone? Come on, let's talk."

"What do YOU know," I said sarcastically.

Michael laughed at this. "What do I know? Well, I know this. I lost it all on my way to fame, that's what."

I turned to face him. "What do you mean?"

He smirked. "The dope scandal? The womanizing habits? The whole 'I go for the gold AND the green thing? The whole 'Lochte's my worst enemy' crap? I know exactly what you're going through."

I didn't say anything.

Michael continued.

"Listen... I can help. You're not alone. I'm here for you. You can't face this alone and you know it."

"Yes I can," I said defiantly.

"You're a strong girl," Michael chuckled. "But you can't let arrogance blind you. Not like what it did to me."


"Fame DESTROYED me Kayli. I WANTED to retire. I WANTED to get away from this hellhole called THE MEDIA."

"You're too famous not to," I answered bleakly.

"I know," he said. "And I realize that's my own fault."

"It's too late for me."

"True," Michael shrugged. "But you can still face it. WE can face it... together."

I looked at Michael.

"You really mean that? No bull?"

He smiled and winked. "No bull."

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