Little Girls Dream Big

by Nicole Angeleen

"Little Girls Dream Big" by Nichole Angeleen Olympic gymnast Trixie Dalca's world is destroyed the day her sister Ileana falls during training, slips into a coma, and dies. To cope with the loss, Trixie turns to her best friend, American gymnast Shaye Sylvester. Together with Shaye and amateur documentary filmmaker Abby Vicari, the three unlikely investigators question whether Ileana's death was merely a tragic accident or murder.






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Chapter One

Trixie Dalca should not have been the first to receive the terrible news. The original attempts to reach the family went to the restaurant her parents owned. Unfortunately, the desperate endeavors to contact them were unsuccessful because the accident occurred during the lunch rush with no one available to answer. Messages were taken electronically, but to no avail. Magda and Tavian, her parents, wouldn’t be available to speak with anyone for another two hours.

The people coaching her sister knew where Trixie was. Everyone in the country knew where the most popular and successful Romanian gymnast since Nadia Comăneci trained. So they called her gym in Constanţa, a bustling Black Sea port city on the southeastern tip of Romania, and spoke with her coach.

Trixie was doing pull-ups on the high bar but stopped short of the required fifty as soon as she caught sight of her coach and two other trainers walking toward her with grave expressions. She dropped lightly to the mat and put her hands on her hips.

Before speaking, her coach placed a hand gently on her shoulder, leaning close to her face. “There was an accident in Deva.”

Deva was the small town in central Romania where her younger sister was currently training for the junior international circuit at a gym called the Deva Fortress, one of the two premier gymnastics clubs in the country. Trixie felt sick at the news, nearly physically ill. Her knees went to water, and the only thing keeping her from falling to the ground was the hope that this was a huge misunderstanding. “Ileana?”

“Apparently something went wrong on her beam dismount. Somehow she slammed her head. Hard.”

“Her neck?” Trixie asked heart in her throat. It was every gymnast’s nightmare.

Surprisingly, the coach shook her head. “No, darling. It’s worse.”

“What could be worse?”

“They took her to the hospital, but she is not waking up.”

“Why isn’t she waking up?”

“That’s what they’re trying to figure out.”

Trixie clasped her chest and squatted down, dropping her head between her knees. “I need to get to Deva,” she said without looking up. “I need to find my parents and get to Deva.”


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