Caroline took a final look at herself in the mirror. Hair, make up, sari, leotard, tutu and ballet slippers were all looking exactly as she had intended, and she couldn’t wait to get out on stage and show the world the magic of La Bayadère in her debut principal dancer performance.
She had worked her whole life to get to this point, she thought on her way to the practice room. Her parents had introduced her to the world of dance at a young age, and she quickly begged to take as many lessons as were offered in her area. Her parents were more than a little wealthy, and her nanny was more than happy to unload her at the practice center to enjoy some free time. So many hours before school, which her nanny hated with a passion, and so many hours after school she had lost herself in the art.
Eventually she was admitted to Kirov Academy of Ballet where she was surrounded with people that loved the art as much as she. She had made friends fast and enjoyed being immersed in her passion. Her parents occassionally were able to make her performances, and she lived for those moments when they could see that all their money was paying off. She eventually was hired in a prime ballet company and was thrilled to work under the likes of magicians like Isabella Boylston and Evelyn Cisneros.
Her parents generally sat bored out of their skulls in the audience. They would feign interest when she was on stage, but the smiles quickly dissolved when she left the stage and stole peeks from behind the curtains. She had let them down, but they had never let her down. She was always dressed in the best, they always encouraged her passions, her costumes were always top of the line, and they had forced her to enough social events that she had learned elegance and sophistication at an early age.
She found herself reverting to old behaviors on her way to the practice area. She snuck off to the side of the stage and watched the crowd filter in between the folds of the curtains. Her parents had both snagged VIP seating, and they were sitting in the best seats with their cell phones glued to their ears in full business mode She shrugged her shoulders for no one in particular to see, trying to brush off the pain she felt at the moment. She remembered that she was loved, though, if they took time from their busy schedules to fly across the country to see her star in her first principal dancer role. She would show them it was worth their time.
As she was about to spin back towards the practice room, she noticed another figure that had sat down in the VIP section a row behind her parents. He was incredibly handsome. His suit and tie screamed business, but his eyes screamed boredom. He was seated with an older couple that she assumed were his parents. He spoke to them in a loving, gentle way, and when he picked his phone up to receive a call, his parents shunned him into silencing the call and stuffing it back in his pocket. Good, she thought.
She stretched and warmed up along with the other dancers, and her heart pounded as she headed for the stage. The opening act staged itself under just the house lights. The entire house went dark, she took one last look up to the top of the giant black curtains, took a deep breath, and prepared to duplicate the steps she had worked so hard to perfect.
Bryson had given his parents a pair of tickets to the premiere of La Bayadère as an anniversary gift, knowing his mother’s love for both ballet and seeing her father all dressed up. He hadn’t intended for them to purchase him a ticket as well. He had been drug to a few performances in his life, but it had not necessary appealed to him. Sure, he was amazed at the way the ladies could stand tippy toed for hours and the men could lift them into positions as effortlessly as a swan swam across a pond, but he didn’t anxiously await the next production as his mother always had.
He noticed the couple in front of him shared his opinion of ballet as well. Except their parents weren’t there to force them to shove their cell phones back in their pocket and patiently wait for the lights to go down and curtains to spread. They could at least be productive while waiting; he had to sit and attempt conversation about something he cared so little about. Thankfully, the lights eventually went down and he could get this show on the road.
When the lights reappeared, the dancers on stage were incredible. The colors, music and movements were much more captivating than other shows he had been forced to watch, and he couldn’t take his eyes off the lead dancer in the sari. He had seen hundreds of dancers before, but she performed with a grace and a beauty he found absolutely stunning. Each movement communicated a feeling without a single word. Her face was so incredibly delicate; he wanted to touch her and know that she was real, but he was also a bit afraid she might crumble, turning out to be instead a beautifully handcrafted sculpture.
Her movements indicated that she was indeed alive, and her strength indicated that she would not crumble at his touch. He was mesmerized, and the show was over before he knew it. He clapped along with the rest of the room, and he found himself on his feet, sharing his praise in the only way he knew how. This apparently caught the attention of the couple seated in front of him, and he learned that the disinterested couple were in fact parents of the beauty he had been beholding for the past two hours. They offered to introduce he and his parents to their daughter backstage, and he couldn’t wait to meet her natty, elegant and sophisticated body in person.
He hoped that her personality would be as refined and delightful as her stage presence, and when her parents found her back stage, she clearly was. She was warm and loving towards them, and her sense of humor immediately attracted him. She was dressed in an incredible red evening gown, her hair now curling over her shoulders instead of tied back in a bun, and her smile could light up a room. Eventually they were introduced, and he was blessed to hold her nimble hand, even if only for a second.
Her parents must have noticed his interest, and they invited him along to their dinner reservations at a fine dining establishment that very evening. He checked her reaction, and it was nothing but interest, her eyes unable to hide her thoughts. He nodded acceptance, but his parents bowed out, clearly excited that he had a date for the first time in years, and they were able to be a part of his busy life in this way. He offered his elbow, and he was delighted when she accepted as they made their way to the door.
Caroline had eyed the handsome man in the business suit the entire show. He was difficult to see clearly as the audience had no lights, but she could feel his presence. When she was off stage, she stole glances up his way, and he was clearly interested in the show, unlike her parents who couldn’t hide their boredom. His parents must have influenced his knowledge in this area of art, as they were just as enthralled with the show as she. She took a few calming breaths, attempting to bring oxygen back to her veins for her next appearance, and she felt herself dance just a little more dramatically for her gracious audience when she again took the stage.
When it was finished, she slipped into the evening gown her mother had helped her purchase on their last visit, and she was thankful that dancing had made the heels they had also picked out that much easier to walk in. She headed in the direction her parents were sure to come from, but she was stopped in her tracks when she saw who they were excitedly bringing along. The man in the business suit that didn’t think ballet was as lame as her parents. The fine looking man who was just as fine in close proximity as he was shining from the VIP box in the balcony.
She was breathless for a moment, but quickly regained her composure. Her parents introduced him, the finest looking Bryson she had ever met, and they took the initiative to invite him along with to their dinner shortly. She was thrilled that they had gotten that so right, and she could barely contain her excitement at his acceptance. She was right in her assumption that his parents had drug him to the show, but she was so thankful that they had cultured him in the finer things in life, easily capable to keeping up with her natty lifestyle.
Off they went, arm in arm, and she couldn’t be more excited. Life really was looking up.