Chapter 3

"No."

"Ludmila-"

"Mikhail, I said no." said Mama.

"But she wants to go." said Papa. Mama continued on her way down the hall to the master bedroom and was about to shut the door in Papa's face, but he stopped it in time.

"Ludmila, be rational." said Papa as he entered the bedroom. He shut the door behind him.

"Do you know how hard it was on me, and Lutka and Navka when you were a skier?" asked Mama, her voice started to rise. Papa shook his head, no. "Well let me tell you. When I met you in '72, you were a kind man with big dreams of winning a gold medal at the next Olympics. Then at the '76 games, you lost again, and for two long years you neglected me and Lutka and Navka. Then at the next Olympics, you lost again. That's when I decided to talk to your coach, to get you to retire-"

"You talked to Sergei?!" asked Papa.

"I wanted you back, I wanted you to help raise a family with me." pleaded Mama, "I don't want the same thing to happen to Mila. Right now she is going nowhere. What kind of family will she have? What kind of wife will she be? What kind of live will she live?!"

"But Mila is a good hockey player and she will go far-"

"Far? Where?! There are no NHL teams for women." said Mama.

"But what about the Olympic team?" asked Papa, "That's why she wants to go to Colorado. To try for the Olympic team-"

"And if none of them make it? Then I will have to deal with disappointment again." said Mama.

"Ludmila, please just let Mila go." pleaded Papa. Mama let out a deep sigh.

"I will live to regret this, " she said, "...fine, they can go and try-out." Before Papa could say anything else, there was cheering and shouting outside the door. Papa walked over and opened it.

Mila, Danka, Navka and Lutka were standing on the other side hugging and squealing.

One week later

"Navka, you took my hockey bag." said Lutka as she barged into Navka's old bedroom.

"No I didn't. This one is mine." said Navka holding up the bag, "See, N. Petrov."

"Well then where is mine?" snapped Lutka.

"I don't know, maybe Danka or Mila has it." said Navka.

"Have what?" asked Mila as she and Danka entered the room.

"Why is everyone crowding in my room? I'm trying to pack. Don't you all of rooms of your own?" asked Navka, "I still have loads to pack, and we leave tomorrow morning."

"Technically, since you moved out with Brett, this isn't your room anymore." said Mila in a smart-ass tone.

Navka made a face.

"All of my hockey stuff is still here, so technically it is my room." she answered stiffly.

"We're not going anywhere until I find my bag!" snapped Lutka.

"God damn Lutka, chill." said Mila.

"Shut up! I have to find my bag!" complained Lutka. She stormed back out of Navka's room just as Nick entered.

"What's her problem?" he asked, fiddling around with a bottle of hair gel used to get his dark brown hair spiked up.

"She has permanent PMS." replied Navka. The girls started laughing, but Nick stood in the doorway confused.

"But, couldn't she bleed to death?" he asked. Mila rolled her eyes and threw one of Navka's pillows at him.

"Girls, almost done packing?" called Papa from the bottom of the stairs. Before anyone could answer, Lutka shouted from her room, "Found it!"

"Oh, my, god." said Navka, "She really pisses me off."

"Join the club." agreed Mila.

"Well, she can be nice sometimes-" began Danka.

"Dear, sweet, innocent Danka. Just because Lutka's our sister, doesn't mean you have to cherish the ground she walks on!" exclaimed Mila, "She's a bitch and we all know it."

"Girls?" called Papa.

"We're almost done." shouted Navka. She grabbed her brush and ran it through her wavy, black hair.

"Speak for yourself," said Mila, "I still have a few more things to pack."

"Well hurry up. We're leaving for the farewell party soon." said Navka as she threw her brush into her suitcase.

"I'm gonna miss the guys." said Mila.

"Sure you will." said Navka sarcastically.

"What's that suppose to mean?" asked Mila as she folded her arms across her chest.

"Your such a tomboy. I mean, look at the music you listen to. You never date and you'd rather be a guy than actually like one." said Navka matter-of-factly, "I'm surprised you don't dress like a guy! Though your pretty close to it."

"Navka's got a point, Mil." said Danka shyly.

"I don't dress like a guy!" exclaimed Mila. She glanced down at her outfit, which consisted of a pair of regular jeans, a black spaghetti strap shirt and a pair of black and white Vans sneakers.

"Pastels and pinks wouldn't hurt." said Navka. Mila gave her a strange look.

"Well, you're still a tomboy. I mean when was the last time you went out on a date? An actual date?" asked Navka.

"Riley Quinn, last year. We dated for 3 months." said Mila matter-of-factly.

"Ooh 3 months. Big whoop. What was the longest relationship you've ever had?" asked Navka.

"Um, that one..."

"3 months! Brett and I have been dating for two years!" exclaimed Navka.

"Well, I'm not a tomboy and I'm not you!" yelled Mila.

"C'mon Nav, lay offa her." said Nick.

"This is your influence you know!" exclaimed Navka

"How's it my fault!?" snapped Nick.

"Girls! I'm going to leave without you!" exclaimed Papa. "Come down here now!" Navka zipped up her suitcase and then left her room, followed by Danka, Mila and Nick. The four of them met up with everyone else downstairs.

The Petrov family arrived at the Lake Placid Olympic Arena, and crowded into the gym where wall-to-wall people were waiting for the Petrov sisters.

"Now that everybody's here," began Coach Fremont, "I'd like to give a toast." Everyone, including Coach Fremont, raised their glasses.

"I'm really no good with this whole speech thing, but I might as well give it a go," said Coach, "I'd like to wish our very own Petrov sisters; Mila, Danka, Lutka and Navka, the best of luck at the try-outs for the Olympic team in Colorado. So girls, I conclude this speech with one piece of advice from me to you; give 'em hell!" Everyone started laughing.

"To the Petrov sisters." said Mike.

"To the Petrov sisters." repeated everyone else.

"Hey." said Mike as he joined Mila and Danka who were talking in a far corner of the gym.

"Hey Mike, what's up?" asked Mila.

"Nothing," began Mike, "but I have a little something for both of you."

"Aw! Really?" asked Danka. Mike smiled at her.

"Close your eyes." said Mike. Danka closed her eyes, just as Mike placed a silver necklace with a small charm, around her neck. Danka opened her eyes and twisted the charm around so that she could see what it was. It was a pair of crossed silver hockey sticks.

"Aw! Thank you so much Mike!" exclaimed Danka. She turned toward Mike and hugged him. Mike, completely stunned, started blushing.

"Danka, that's really pretty." said Mila.

"Wait," said Mike, "I have something for you too." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box. He handed it to Mila. Mila took the box and opened it. Inside were a pair of miss-matched, dangly guitar pick earrings.

"I know you're constantly losing picks for your guitars, so I figured that you'd have a harder time of losing them if they're attached to your ears!" joked Mike.

"Mike, they're awesome! I love them!" exclaimed Mila. She pulled one of the earrings out of the box and put one in her first hole of her left ear.

"Well, what do you think?" asked Mila, modeling her earring.

"Very chic." replied Danka.

"So speaking of guitars, which one are you bringing to try-outs?" asked Mike.

"My telecaster. That's my baby!" answered Mila, matter-of-factly.

"Where do you go if you make the team?" asked Mike.

"Well, wherever the coach trains." answered Mila.

"Are there gonna be any pre-games before the Olympics?" asked Mike

"Oh yeah. Lots of them!" exclaimed Mila.

"Nervous?"

Mila and Danka looked at each and exclaimed in unison, "Yes!" Mike started laughing.

"I'm sure you'll do fine. Both of you." he said assuringly.

"Yeah," said Mila as she took a deep breath, "I hope so."

"American Airlines, Flight 642 out of Gate C5 non-stop to Colorado Springs Municipal is now boarding."

"Hurry up!" yelled Lutka as she ran down the long hallway of the Albany International Airport. Mila, Danka and Navka quickly followed behind.

"You take too long to get ready in the morning!" yelled Lutka. "I told you we'd be late!"

"Need help pulling that stick out of your ass Lutka?" yelled Mila back to her sister.

Out of breath, the girls finally reached their gate. They nearly shoved their boarding passes at the attendant. The attendant handed the tickets back to the sisters and said, "Enjoy your flight."

The four girls boarded the plane, all of them nervous and excited for what was in store for them.