FLASHBACK!

"Mark." I started, ready to take the plunge. I had never done this before, and my hands were close to shaking. I could feel sweat beading on my forehead, despite the cold.

"Mark, I like you. A lot. Hell, I might even love you. You've made these last few days amazing, better than anything I could have imagined. You introduced me to a sport I adore, you helped me come out of my shell, and you were a great friend. I love spending time with you, and I can't imagine being away from you."

I could see the hope starting to light up his eyes, and that was when I knew I was a real bitch.

"So that's why we can't be together." I finished, dead serious. My heart was pounding, waiting for his response.

At first, he just blinked, processing what I had said. I could tell when my words really hit him, because his face sunk. It was like watching somebody kick a puppy. He stammered, attempting to formulate a sentence.

"But...why?" He sounded so desperate and pathetic, and I had to turn away to stop myself from cracking and enveloping him in a big hug.

"Mark, think about it. You're soon going off to Sochi to compete in the freaking Olympics. I'm in high school, studying biology and chemistry and eating lunch in my teacher's classroom because I have no real friends. We're from two completely different worlds filled with completely different people. There is no way we can work. You're too busy, and I don't want to be the anchor holding you down. I want you to go and do what you really love, and be successful. I don't want you thinking about me." My eyes stayed facing the ground, terrified to see his reaction.

His reply was broken, just above a whisper. "But...I love you Liz."

Finally, a tear trickled down my cheek. I pulled my hood up and began turning away. "I'm sorry Mark, I really am."

And with those final words, I turned my back on Mark McMorris and ran back to my room to sob for 24 hours, until we finally checked out and began our journey back home, into the real world. That was the last time I talked to Mark. No phone calls, texts, nothing. There had only been silence between us.

END OF FLASHBACK

So standing alone in the Sochi parking lot, I knew how Mark must have felt. Abandoned, lonely, hopeless, brokenhearted. I thought about going back to where we came, and calling a taxi to come take me to the airport, to pretend this big mistake never happened. However, my heart won out. I knew there was only one guy worth all of these struggles and all of the pain. Mark was worth the entire world to me. So, I flipped my hair, took a deep breath, and ran off after him.

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