"Good isn't she?" A voice came from behind Kim. She turned around and saw it was Chase Wills. He had a big smile on his face.
"She's amazing." Kimberly answered him.
"I heard she's been training since she was able to walk. Her mother's a coach in Denver Colorado. Must be hard growing up with a mother that is a coach." Chase said.
"Definitely. I haven't been here long but I get so nervous just watching her." Kim admitted.
"Yeah well don't worry about her, she makes everyone nervous. Even the coach I think." Chase said with a smile.
Kim couldn't help but laugh.
"Ahem. Don't you two think you should be practicing?" Coach Schmidt asked from behind them.
"Yes coach. We were just about to start now right Kimberly?" Chase asked.
"Right." Kim agreed. They both walked over to the mats and started stretching. After a few minutes Coach Schmidt made an announcement.
"The USGF has asked us to put on an exhibition in two weeks. I feel you are all ready for this. It won't be a competition, but it will be a way to show everyone what you're made of." Coach Schmidt said. "Now are there any questions?" There were none. Everyone went back to his or her individual workouts.
"Wow an exhibition. Those are enough to get noticed for the Pan Globals. I can't wait." Chase told Kim before he walked over to the rings.
Kimberly stretched some more before going to the mats to practice her floor routine. She had just finished one layout when she heard a thump. Kim stopped immediately and turned around.
There lying on the mat below the Balance Beam was Thea. Kimberly rushed over to her but Chase pulled her back. "Let Coach Schmidt look at Thea."
"Did you see what happened Chase?" Kim asked him
"Not really. I heard a thump and saw her on the floor. She must have slipped."
"I got hurt falling off the beam once. I hope Thea's all right." Kim said worriedly.
"Call an ambulance!" Coach Schmidt called to one of his assistants Jade Walker. Jade ran over to the office and made the phone call. She came back a couple of minutes later.
"They'll be here shortly!"
Thea came to. "Oh my head. Coach?"
"Just relax Thea. An ambulance is on its way." He informed her.
"I'm fine Coach I swear! I just slipped off the beam." Thea said to him. She lay there and waited however.
Ten minutes later the ambulance arrived and took Thea to the hospital. Coach Schmidt rode along with her. Practice ended after that.
"Wow I hope she's all right." Kim said.
"I hope so too. Kim I know this probably is a bad time to ask you this. But I was wondering do you want to get something to eat with me? I know you told Cora that you had a boyfriend and I understand if you don't want to. But how about just as friends?" Chase asked her.
"Sure." Kim answered him. 'There's nothing wrong with going as friends right?' Kim thought.
They walked to the cafe that was across the street and each ordered a salad. They talked about gymnastics for awhile.
"So what's your boyfriend like?" Chase asked taking a sip of his water.
"His name's Tommy Oliver. He's really into martial arts and is really good at it. He's such a caring person too. He's really shy though. He was the one who persuaded me to come to Florida. I wasn't too happy about the idea of being away from him. I miss him a lot. How about you Chase, do you have a girlfriend?"
"No one in particular." Chase said. "I did date a few girls back home in Kentucky though."
The waitress walked over to give them their check. "You know what? You two make a cute couple." She said with a smile.
Kim and Chase laughed. "We're just friends." Kimberly informed her with a smile.
At the gym the next day Kim was shocked to see Thea back on the beam. "Hey Thea." She called.
"Oh hi Kim." She said jumping off the beam.
"You okay?" Kim asked.
"Yep. It was nothing serious. I was given some pain medicine and they said nothing about staying off the beam."
"Well that's good to hear." Kim went back to working on her floor exercise. The coach walked over to her and gave her some advice and told her she was doing fine. She smiled and went on with her practice. When she was on the uneven bars she ripped her palm. She walked back to the dressing room to bandage her hand when she saw Thea sitting on a bench. She waved and walked over to the first aid kit. She turned around and saw Thea taking some pills.
"Those the Pain Pills you were talking about?"
"Yeah. Oh Kim. Look at your hand! You ripped it?" Kim nodded. "Here take some of these. I use them for that too."
"You mean this isn't the first time you've taken pain pills?" Kim asked.
"This is a sport. Most athletes take them you know. I injured my foot some years ago and I just refill the bottle. Don't act so surprised. It was my mother's idea." Thea informed her screwing the cap back on her bottled water. "Don't tell the coach though please?"
"Thea it's not healthy to be taking so many pain pills! You could injure yourself more or kill yourself you know." Kim said.
"Kim it won't happen to me. That just happens to the athlete's that aren't careful." Thea said.
"Just be careful okay? Please say you'll try to quit taking them." Kim said.
"I'll try." Thea said.
After bandaging her hand Kim walked back out to the training facility's main room to continue her practice.
A week later in the apartment that Kimberly shared with fellow gymnast Alison Williams, Kim picked up the phone.
The phone rang for awhile before she heard a familiar voice answer. "Hello?"
"Mrs. Oliver? This is Kimberly!"
"Oh hi Kim! How are you?"
"Great thanks for asking. Is Tommy there." Kim asked.
"He sure is hold on while I go get him."
A couple of minutes later Tommy picked up the phone. "Kim?"
"Tommy I'm glad I caught you. I haven't called you in a few days I know. Coach Schmidt has been getting us ready for an exhibition in four days. So how are things in good old Angel Grove?"
"Hectic as usual. Zedd and Rita have been keeping us really busy. As it is I was just soaking my ankle. I hurt it kicking Goldar but I'll be fine tomorrow I'm sure. That's why it took me so long getting to the phone. I'm glad you called though. I've really missed you."
"I miss you too. I'm sorry about your ankle. I was wondering if I could get some advice from you." Kimberly asked.
"Shoot." Tommy said.
"Well here goes. There's a gymnast here that is taking pain pills. I didn't think it was that big of a deal because she hurt herself on the beam a few days ago. Then she told me she's been taking them for years. I think she's addicted to them. I told her she should get help but she won't listen. What should I do?" Kim asked.
"Wow. That sounds like a big problem. It's a tough call. If you think she's in a lot of danger tell Coach Schmidt. If not wait a few days. I heard that many athletes have trouble because they get addicted to pain pills."
"I know I read it somewhere too. Thanks for trying Tommy. I'll let you go soak your ankle."
"I'm sorry I couldn't be more help Kim. I love you." Tommy said.
"Love you too! Good night."
Kim hung up the phone. And sat back thinking.
The night of the exhibition, Coach Schmidt stood there giving everyone a pep talk. "This isn't a competition so have fun out there. Show them what you can do."
Kim was the third one up on the balance beam and felt she did a good job. The audience gave Kim warm applause.
She sat back and watched Alison perform. She silently rooted for her roommate. Alison did an almost perfect routine. Next up was Thea. Thea did hers so well Kim saw the audience stand up and gave her a standing ovation.
Thea gave a great performance the whole night. Kim messed up on her floor exercises when one foot stepped out of bounds but other then that she thought she did a great job. Chase did the best of the guys.
Everyone was in high spirits back in the locker rooms. One of the officials from USGF walked into the room.
"Ladies I have to say that was one fine exhibition. We can't wait to see you all at the Pan Globals trials. Good luck." She said and left.
"Wow did you hear that?" Alison said.
"Yeah Al. I'm so excited. You going out with the others later?" Kim asked.
"I heard Chase was asking about if you were." Alison said with a sly smile.
"Alison you know I've got a boyfriend. So does Chase." Kim said. Something inside of her was happy to hear that.
Thea walked over to Kim and Alison. "Good job you guys. I'm going back to my apartment so I won't be joining in on the festivities. Enjoy yourselves though." Thea said and walked out of the locker room.
After getting dressed the other female gymnasts walked out of the locker room to meet up with the guys to go celebrate.
Chase walked over to Kimberly. "You did a great job Kim." He said.
"Oh come on Chase! I stepped out of bounds on my floor exercise. You however did a wonderful job."
"You still did a good job Kim. You definitely have a knack for gymnastics." He said and put his hand in hers. Kim didn't pull away but felt guilty.
Kim sighed the next afternoon as she sealed the envelope with the letter to Tommy. She should call him not mail a letter! But she felt guilty enough as it is and didn't want to call him. Chase asked her out on a date last night and she accepted. 'I'm sorry Tommy.'
Kim walked to the mailbox and put the letter in before heading to the gym for an afternoon practice. Coach Schmidt said they could sleep in a little and miss morning practice.
When she opened the door she saw everyone was crying. Chase ran up to her. "Kim did you hear the news?" Chase asked.
"What news? What's wrong Chase?"
"Cora found Thea in her room this morning dead. She found an empty bottle of pain pills in her hand. They think she OD'd." Kim crumpled into his arms and he held her rocking her back and forth.
"I should have told someone. I knew she was taking pain pills but I didn't." Kim said.
"Shah. It's not your fault Kim. She's gone on to a better place." The room was silent except for the sound of teenagers crying.