- See Also: Minor Characters in Mia's Stories
Chapter By Chapter Summary
Chapter 1: The Beast and Me
Mia first begins with a statement that she didn't mean to run over Vanessa with the Beast (though she's probably not the first to want to) and flashes back to how it began. The Beast, the ice-resurfacing machine, broke down before the replacement coach for Mr. Nelson arrived. The new coach would take over the Lucerne Skate Club and teach Mr. Nelson's former students, including Mia. Mia wonders why Mr. Nelson ever bothered with Mia as all he did was point out Mia's mistakes, and she speculates that the new coach will send her to the assistant coaches after she sees her skate. The rink's superintendent, Bob, was trying to fix the Beast (which he dreams of souping up to race against other resurfacers) and Mia was helping. Mia then explains that she does some volunteering work with Bob in order to keep her skating lessons as her parents already work hard to afford lessons for Mia and her brothers. Bob tells Mia to sit on the resurfacer of the Beast so she can turn it on when he asks her to. Mia looks at the other skaters on the rink and notices Vanessa Knowles, a dark-haired, blue-eyed fellow ten-year-old whose parents could afford everything and who expects everyone to move out of the way for her. She also sees her best friend Anya, who has skating in her blood and is a more experience skater then Mia, but is still in the same level as Mia as she always messes up at tests or competitions. Bob asks Mia to turn on the Beast and as she does, it starts to work. Vanessa skates up to the machine and tells Mia to "Get that monstrosity out of here." The Beast however, starts to move slowly forward and Bob tells Mia to put the brake back on. Mia didn't touch the brake, so she states she doesn't know where it is. Bob tries to go after the machine, but slips on the ice. Vanessa starts to panic and tells Mia to get out of the way. Mia turned the wheel left, but Vanessa also skated left. Suddenly a woman jumped beside Mia and turned off the Beast. She tells Mia that's what Mia should have done when they hear a frightened squeak and a thunk. Mia looks over to see Vanessa laying on the ice with her eyes wide open. Mia gasps as she thinks she killed Vanessa and the woman jumps down to check her pulse. Vanessa sits up right away however, and tells Mia she's going to have her arrested for hitting her. The woman firmly tells her that the resurfacer had already stopped, but Vanessa was too afraid to halt and ran into it. She tells Vanessa she's just fine and Vanessa asks her who she is. The woman introduces herself as Emma Schubert, the name of the new head coach and the name of Mr. Nelson's replacement. She and Bob shake hands and Coach Schubert asks who Mia is. Mia introduces herself and Coach Schubert asks why Mia was on the resurfacer. Bob explains Mia's job and Emma tells Bob that only employees should be using equipment. Bob and Mia explain Mia's volunteer work, but Emma tells Bob not to let Mia use the Beast again. The new coach then introduces herself to all of the skaters on the rink and tells of her plan to asses everyone's skills over the next few weeks. She then gives a motivational speech, saying that she will make everyone a great figure skater and that the student's toughest competition will be themselves. After she concludes, she tells Bob to get the Beast off the rink before another accident happens and asks Mia if she has anything else to do. Mia tells her yes and runs off, happy to make her escape after starting off on the wrong foot with her new coach.
Chapter 2: The Flop Heard Round the World
Mia tells that she spends a lot of time at the Lucerne ice rink, in between skating and working. So much time that Bob and his wife, Mona, even set up a space in their office for Mia to do her homework. To avoid thinking about her first meeting with her new coach, she does her Friday chores around the office. As she checks off her to-do-list, she thinks how no one has been able to criticize her hard work outside the rink and thinks that while she's hopeless as a skater, she's a great janitor. Mia is changing the trash bags when she hears a noise in the boardroom. She peeks inside to see a large part of the club's members, including Vanessa, watching a video. Still bitter on how the coach treated her, Vanessa tells the crowd that the new coach is a loser and the new coach won't be around for long as her father found a tape of the coach. Vanessa's best friend Gemma mentions how unfortunate Vanessa's father was he didn't have the tape before the board hired Coach Schubert. She throws a gum wrapper on the group and ignores Mia who picks it up, reminding Mia of Cinderella's story. One of the members, Izumi, mentions that the new coach was an Olympian ice skater and another responds by saying their coach needs to be a winner, not a loser. Vanessa plays the tape and Mia recognizes her coach skating on the screen. She starts an axel jump and turns two times before crashing on the ice. Vanessa pauses at the moment the coach is sprawled on the ground and uses it to enforce that she wants someone to teach her to win. A voice tells her she may as well watch the rest of it and everyone freezes as they see the coach standing in the doorway. Emma plays the rest of the video and in the video the coach gets up with a bloody nose. Mia notices that while her coach was trying to keep a blank face, the memory was still painful to her. Everyone starts to leave the room and Mia considers leaving. However, Mia feels that she ought to apologize. As she continues to watch the video however, she's fascinated that the coach tried to pick up her routine instead of getting help. When the video is over and Coach Schubert turns around, Mia is the only one left in the room. Mia offers her apologizes, but the coach tells her it was her own decision to try the triple axel. When Mia remains in the room, Coach Schubert asks her what she wants. Mia struggles to tell her coach that she thought Coach Schubert was brave for continuing to skate and she asks why she did that. The coach stares at Mia and shares that she read Mia's background file and knows she's a good hockey player. She asks Mia why she choose figure skating instead. Mia is frightened, seeing this question as some kind of test, but she shares that her three older brothers are all crazy for hockey and Mia grew up with it. She adds that she isn't very good at figure skating and the coach adds sharply that Coach Nelson wouldn't have kept her as a student is she was that bad. Mia thinks to herself that her coach liked to pick on her, but she tells Coach Schubert that she didn't understand that as all he did was point out her mistakes. Coach Schubert asks that despite that, why did Mia keep up with her lesson. Mia hesitates for a moment then shares that even if Coach Nelson didn't tell her, sometimes she would know she got a move right and at that moment she would feel special. Mia gets ready for the coach to laugh at her, but Coach Schubert instead nods her head approvingly. Emma adds that while hockey is familiar, figure skating gives Mia a challenge. Mia at this point realizes her coach didn't answer her question and points it out. Coach Schubert tells Mia that she'll have to earn the answer first.
Chapter 3: The Rink Rat
Mia wakes up at 6 AM as usual. She dresses, thankful that Mom's part-time job at a nearby boutique means she has good clothes, and heads into the kitchen. Mom asks if she slept all right, and Mia admits she's worried about her first lesson with the new coach (leaving out the fact that she's already met Coach Schubert) and decides to walk to the Lucerne. She puts on the scarf Mom knitted for her (homemade gifts are a St. Clair family tradition) then struggles to put on her boots because her brother Perry had stuffed them with paper. Stepping outside, Mia pauses to appreciate the beauty of the winter landscape around her before walking the three blocks to the rink. She mentions that it was once part of a fancy hotel resort but the ice rink is all that remains.