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The following is a work of fiction. Any statements regarding any person, place, or other entity (real or imaginary) is the sole responibility of the author of this work of fiction. Fan Works Inc. takes no responsibility for the content of user submitted stories. All stories based on real people are works of fiction and do not necessarily reflect on the nature of the individuals featured. All stories based on other copyrighted works are written with authors knowing that these works violate copyright laws.

Please see the Terms of Service for more information.


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Real Gold
By Áislíng


by Aisling O'Hagan

INTRO: For Aisling, the ultimate prize was to win the gold in swimming at the National
Championships. But this year, Aisling was about to face the biggest challenge of her life. Would
she face that challenge like every other race - with the drive and desire to win? Or would she feel
immediate defeat and lose out on the chance at the real gold?

"And the gold medal winner in the 200m breastroke is....Aisling O'Hagan". The crowd cheered,
Aisling raised her arms in triumph and stepped up on to the podium.

If only it wasn't a dream. Aisling had qualified for the National Championships in Dublin in the
200 metre breastroke and couldn't stop thinking, dreaming about winning the gold medal. She had
competed in the championships before, but narrowly missed the win by a mere 100th of a second.
"This year is my year" she thought to herself "I've trained hard, I'm totally focused, it's mine".

It was 5:30 in the morning when a knock came on her door. It was her coach making sure she was up
and ready to do a good warm-up before the big race at 9:00am. "You ready to go" Paraic asked.
Aisling didn't need to say anything - Paraic could see the determination in her eyes. She didn't
want anything other than the gold, that's what she was here for.

After the warm-up and a light breakfast, Aisling made her way to the main pool for the race. At
8:59am, they called the swimmers to the blocks. The field was Aisling's toughest competition -
Niamh O'Connor from New Ross, Vivienne Egan from Sligo, Elaine Dunne from Athlone were her three
biggest rivals, but funny enough, also three of her closest mates. But for the four girls on this
day, friendship was the last thing on their mind. They were all out to win. Aisling knew that
she'd beaten them before - she saw no reason she couldn't' do it today.

"On your marks..." Aisling took a deep breath. The gun went off and they were gone. The crowd was
cheering, screaming on their swimmers at each breath "Go, Go" rang out through the building. The
last 50 metres, Aisling could see Vivienne Egan out of the corner of her eye. She was slightly
ahead, but Aisling knew she had it within her to pass Vivienne. The chanting of the crowd pushed
her harder. She took the last stroke in to the wall and quickly turned. Had she done it?

The clock on the wall listed off the times and the fastest 3 lanes. 3rd place - Lane 3, Niamh
O'Connor; 2nd place - Lane 5, Vivienne Egan. Aisling was scared to look, but she had to. "Please
say Lane 4, please say Lane 4" she wished to herself. 1st place... Lane 4, Aisling O'Hagan.

She turned to Vivienne with a huge smile and they hugged each other. "Great race, mate" they
congratulated. "Well done, Ash" Niamh yelled from the other lane. She had done it - Aisling had
achieved her ultimate goal. She was the national champion for the 200-metre breastroke. Her life
was complete!

That afternoon, Vivienne asked Aisling if she wanted to come out with her to watch Sligo and Mayo
play in football. "That'd be grand" Aisling told Vivienne "Maybe we can have another Mayo win over
Sligo" she joked. "I doubt it" Vivienne replied "My brother is playing for Sligo and he's pretty

Aisling and Vivienne knew each other from swimming so they had only ever met each other's parents,
not the rest of the family. So naturally Vivienne had to point out her brother to Aisling during
the match. "He's #3, his name's Kian" Vivienne explained. "Ah right. He's cute" Aisling replied
knowing that it would bug her friend to know that her mate thought her brother was cute. Aisling
wasn't lying though - she couldn't take her eyes off this lad. There was just something about him
that locked Aisling's eyes on him, that drew her in.

The game ended with Sligo beating Mayo by one goal. "Ah well" Aisling said poking Vivienne in the
arm "guess we had to give you one win, eh". Vivienne laughed "Hey Ki. over here" she shouted to
her brother. Kian approached the two girls and gave his sister a hug. "Thanks for coming out Viv"
he smiled. "No prob. Kian, this is my friend Aisling from the Mayo swim team" Vivienne explained
"She's the one that kicked my butt in the race this morning". Aisling could feel her self feeling a
little embarrassed. "Nice to meet you" she managed to speak. "And you" Kian replied "Well, Viv at
least it was a good looking one that beat ya this time". Aisling tried not to get unnerved by what
Kian had just said. "He thinks I'm good looking" she thought to herself, elated "ALRIGHT!!".

"Listen, I'm going out for a drink with some of the lads. Do ya want to come?" Kian asked, looking
directly at Aisling, but making sure the invite was for his sister as well. "Fine with me. Ash?"
Vivienne asked. "Sounds good actually" Aisling replied. "Grand. Let me go change and I'll meet ya
back here in 10" and with that Kian raced off with his team-mates.

"Before you ask, NO he doesn't have a girlfriend" Vivienne said abruptly. Aisling was shocked. "I
wasn't going to ask that" she replied "I was going to ask if his girlfriend was here". The girls
both laughed. "Ash, I have to confess" Vivienne told her "You're my mate and I wanted you to come
to the match with me for company. But I had other reasons too". Aisling began to look a bit
worried. Vivienne explained "My brother has always had a hard time meeting the right sort of girl.
You know, ones that will stick around long enough for him to get back from his next football trip.
I know you understand the pressures and the time commitment that being involved in sport entails and
that's why I think you're perfect for him". Aisling was flattered. "Well, I can't say I don't
understand. I have that problem too with meeting lads. None of them can handle me being away so
much. It sucks".

Vivienne went on to say that she noticed how Kian looked at Aisling when they were first introduced.
She couldn't help but see that Kian couldn't take his eyes off her, he was so taken in by her
smile, her laugh, everything about her. "Well Viv, I have to say that I couldn't stop looking at
him either. It's weird, I've just met him but I feel like I've known him forever". As she finished
her sentence, Kian appeared from behind and grabbed Aisling around the waist. "Ready, you lot?" he
asked. "You bet" Vivienne replied and they began their walk to the local pub down the street.
Aisling turned to Vivienne, a bit shocked by Kian grabbing her waist "Well, he's not shy is he" she
whispered, but with a huge smile!!

That night at the club, Vivienne felt quite happy with her match-making skills. Aisling and Kian
were getting on great, dancing, having drinks, laughing. She figured it was her time to exit the
scene when it seemed the pair were not even conversing with her anymore. She wasn't offended - she
couldn't have been happier for her little brother.

"Uh, where's Viv?" asked Aisling as she turned to give her friend a wave. "Don't know" Kian
replied, trying to yell over the music "Maybe she got tired and went back to the hotel". "Guess
you're gonna have to drive me home then" Aisling winked "Do you think you can handle it?". Kian
grabbed Aisling's hand, pulled her onto the dance floor, saying in her ear "I can handle anything
YOU throw at me".

A few months had passed and the two sports stars were practically inseparable - at least when they
had time to be together. With both of them being active in different sports and training in
different places, Aisling and Kian usually got one weekend out of every month together if they were
lucky. But they certainly made the best of those two days. They would make sure their coaches were
aware that this was their time and nothing was to interfere.

Aisling would throw her bag in the boot of the car and drive up to Sligo to meet Kian late Friday
night. Kian lived with his best mate Shane, but on the weekends that Aisling was in town, they
would book a room at a quiet little bed & breakfast just outside of town. It was their getaway.
No-one existed but the two of them. In the summer months, they would have picnic lunches by the
lake; In the winter they would have snowball fights, often ending in Kian knocking Aisling down and
kissing the life out of her. She never objected to that!!

But this time, it all went wrong. Kian was chasing Aisling around in the snow when her foot caught
on a slippery patch beneath and she fell hard onto the ground. She landed on her right shoulder,
causing her to scream with intense pain. Kian ran to help her but soon realized he needed to get
her inside and call for an ambulance immediately. Within 20 minutes, Aisling was at the hospital
in Sligo, with Kian right there by her side.

"Well Aisling I have some good news and some bad news" the doctor told her. Kian grasped her hand
tight as they both prepared for whatever was to come. "Good news first please" Aisling smiled.
"You're shoulder is going to heal properly over time and you will have full rotation again" he
explained. "And the bad news?" Kian questioned. The doctor took a deep breath before giving the
bad news - he knew it would be hard for Aisling to hear. "Because of the type of injury your
shoulder has sustained, I'm afraid you will not be able to swim competitively again".

Aisling couldn't speak, she couldn't move, she was in complete shock. "Not swim again" she thought
back to herself. How could she not compete again - that was her life, her whole life? "You can
work on strengthening your shoulder to the point where you can swim occasionally on a recreational
basis" the doctor continued "but you would not be able to withstand the intensity required to
maintain your status in competition. I'm very sorry".

Aisling's hand dropped out of Kian's and met her other hand to cover her face. "This can't be
happening" she screamed "I have to swim. I have nothing else". Kian tried to calm her "Ash, it's
ok" he said calmingly "We'll get through this". "We'll get through this? WE'LL get through this?"
she blasted "Get out. GET OUT" she cried and turned her back on Kian.

Kian couldn't believe she was reacting this way. Was she blaming him? Was it his fault she'd
fallen? He had to believe it wasn't - it's just what happened. He left the hospital, left
Aisling's side for the first time in their relationship without telling her he loved her, without
her telling him the same.

Aisling was released from the hospital a few days later. Her brother Ronan had driven up from
Castlebar to take her home. Aisling looked around the hospital as she made her way out to see if
she could spot Kian. He was nowhere in sight. "You can't expect him to be here" Ronan told her
"You told him not to come back ever, that you didn't want to see him again". "And I don't" Aisling
snapped back. She really did want to see him, but she couldn't admit that after the way she'd
treated him.

Weeks passed and Aisling's physiotherapy was going great. Her shoulder was getting stronger and
stronger every day and she was now back in the pool, doing 10 minutes of strength exercises a few
times a week. Aisling tried not to think of Kian but it was hard. Everywhere she'd turn she'd see
a football match on TV or on the local pitch - even if he wasn't physically there, he was always
with her, in her heart. She missed him, but couldn't bear to face him. She had done nothing but
blame him for her injury since it happened. "He's moved on by now I'm sure" she convinced herself
"I gave him no reason to stick around".

One afternoon, while Aisling was working out on light weights in her yard, she heard a voice calling
"Ash, you there?". She peered around the corner and there was Vivienne looking quite lost. "Viv"
Aisling screamed. "Ash" Vivienne screamed back. The girls hugged for about 5 minutes - it had been
months since they'd seen each other. Aisling had pretty much cut herself off from all things Kian
when she left the hospital that day.

"So how are you doing" Vivienne asked "I see you're pumping iron". "Ya, gonna be Irelands first WWF
woman wrestler" Aisling laughed. "Uh, how is...are you?" Aisling asked. "He's fine" Vivienne
answered knowing full well what Aisling really wanted to know "He misses you". Tears began to fall
down Aisling's face. "I miss him too Viv" she cried "So much". "Why are you doing this to him?"
Vivienne had to ask.

Aisling replied, still fighting away the tears "Do you remember during the football match the day
you introduced me to Kian and we talked about how it was so hard to meet someone who understood the
commitment it took to be a swimmer or a footballer? Well, as soon as I realized that I wasn't going
to be able to make that commitment anymore, I shut Kian out. I didn't want to resent him for being
away so much because of his matches and I didn't want him feeling guilty because he had to be away.
I love him so much, but I couldn't bare to watch us fall apart because we didn't share that desire,
that drive for the win anymore".

Vivienne wiped Aisling's tears away. "But Ash, that's just it" she told her "You do share that
desire, that drive. It's just not about the competition anymore. You share that desire, that drive
in the love you have for each other. Kian loves you more than anything and wants nothing more than
to have you in his life. That's why he wanted me to give you this". Vivienne pulled out a football
and placed it in Aisling's hands. "What the...?" Aisling said completely baffled. As she looked at
the football, turning it in her hand, a piece of the ball fell on the ground, leaving a hole.
"Check it out" Vivienne encouraged Aisling, gesturing for her to look inside the ball.

Aisling placed her hand inside the ball, feeling really weird about doing so. She felt something,
grabbed hold of it and pulled it out. It was a little black box. Aisling, completely terrified of
opening the box, looked at Vivienne for some answers. "Just open it" Vivienne smiled. Slowly,
Aisling squeaked the box open to find staring back at her a 1 carat diamond ring. Tied around the
platinum band was a little note that read: Forever my champion, my love. Aisling, will you marry
me? Kian xxx

By now Aisling was drowning in her own tears. Vivienne couldn't contain herself any longer "Well,
WELL???" she squealed. As Aisling went to answer, another voice was heard from behind her "Ya, I'd
like to know as well". Aisling turned instantly at the sound of his voice - it was Kian. "Yes. Oh
my God, YES" Aisling shouted as she leaped up to wrap her arms around him.

After she'd dried her eyes and finally managed to let go of Kian to let him put the ring on her
finger, she asked him the dreaded question: why? "Why do you still want to marry me after what I
did to you?". "Because" Kian answered instantly "I wasn't about to give up a lifetime of happiness
with you because of a few days away for a football match". Looking deep into his eyes, Aisling
asked him "Me for the rest of your life? Do ya think you can handle it?". He replied instantly
"Don't you remember? I can handle anything you throw at me".

3 months later, on the one year anniversary of the accident, Aisling and Kian were married in Sligo
and honeymooned at their little hideaway Bed & Breakfast. It was their drive and desire to be the
best that brought them together. And it was that same drive and desire that made them realize that
they were the best - Together!!!


The preceeding was a work of fiction. Any statements regarding any person, place, or other entity (real or imaginary) is the sole responibility of the author of this work of fiction. Fan Works Inc. takes no responsibility for the content of user submitted stories. All stories based on real people are works of fiction and do not necessarily reflect on the nature of the individuals featured. All stories based on other copyrighted works are written with authors knowing that these works violate copyright laws.

Please see the Terms of Service for more information.

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