Greetings from...Christchurch, not Germany. I wish...maybe on my OE?
Right, so we had a little disruption from a certain seismic event last week, but apart from that I've been very busy writing dreaded English essays (really, I just can't stand them...), playing paintball (I have a massive bruise on my leg. Whoever says it doesn't hurt is a looney), giving a semi-impromptu presentation about anorexia (very interesting and sad), drinking copious amounts of coffee, rehearsing pretty much everyday for this thing I've got coming up, being ill (in Christchurch it's cold and everywhere's got holes. Sore throats are running rampant), and trying to sort out the house and such.
The main reason for not posting sooner is just Writer's Block, really. Sometime's it's a real show stopper, and I'm really sorry!
To all of you guys who have been having exams - I hope they've gone well and that you're not too tired!
Thank you for your reviews! I'm so sorry it took a long time!
This is the second to last chapter of Clair! Your reviews have gotten me this far! Thank you!
Alright! I am finish-ed (I've been studying Taming of the Shrew, as well :D)!
Moulin Rouge Soundtrack
Pirate of the Carribean Soundtrack
The Chronicle of Narnia: Prince Caspian Soundtrack
Not so long ago, I would I have stared in awe at the girl in front of us. She was almost glowing in a beautiful golden tutu. It was long and shimmering, reaching down to her calves. Her pointe shoes were gold satin, with matching ribbons. Her bodice was made from panels of more gold satin. It was cut in a 'v' down her chest, making her look even more elegant, and translucent beads were stitched up in delicate branches. Her hair was plaited and twisted into a bun. She looked like some sort of a princess...
But I wasn't the Bella who'd first met her outside Edward's studio on that night.
Tanya stood glaring at me, looking nothing like the Prima Ballerina I'd once thought she'd resembled...
Edward cautiously stood up, looking Tanya up and down, "Tanya, what are you doing?"
"We're dancing our Pas de Deux, Edward," she said, picking up a layer of her tutu and letting it drift down again. She couldn't be serious... "But right now I need to talk to Bella."
Edward looked at me, then back to Tanya, "Tanya...I'm not dancing with you, not tonight."
She faltered for a second, looking at him in surprise, but then quickly straightened, "Whatever," she said nonchalantly, "We'll talk about it later..." Her eyes fixed on me. "Bella? Shall we?"
Swallowing, I pushed myself up, using the wall to support me onto my left foot. Edward wrapped his arm around my waist, steadying me.
His warmth enveloped me, his body so close to mine. Sweet God...I wanted to stand like this forever, but I knew I couldn't...he looked at me concernedly. I tried to look back reassuringly, nodding slightly. "Let me talk to her," I said quietly. It was almost scary; how we'd changed so much in such a short amount of time...how I was here, in his arms...
Edward nodded, and slowly let me go, making sure I could still balance.
"We're on in two hours, Eddie," Tanya said.
Edward just looked at me, and then headed back down the corridor.
I took another breath and looked up.
Tanya had been watching Edward leave, but now her cold eyes flicked to me.
"Don't look so smug," she snapped. "Do you seriously think that tonight has any sway over the future?"
I narrowed my eyes, "Obviously you did, or you wouldn't have tried so hard to make sure Edward wasn't here to see me dance."
Her eyes shone dangerously, "Unfortunately, Frank Rebrevae couldn't find another time."
"Right," I scoffed, "And you just had to tell Master Carlisle that I'd been secretly rehearsing."
She shrugged, "Safety's important, particularly with little First Years who don't know what they're doing."
I glared at her. What a bitch... "But you also had to ask your big sister to go tell the entire ballet world that I'm a complete failure."
She laughed, "That was the truth."
"Just shut up," I said, trying to stand up straighter. "You've been worried all along that I had something with Edward that you didn't. That's why you're even bitchier to me than you are to most."
Tanya gazed at me, her expression turning nasty again, "Whatever Edward thinks he has with you is inconsequential. You're right to a point, Irina and I have tried to keep him from exploring this stupid little fetish he has with you, but only because it's an inconvenience. It's inconvenient that we missed the audition today, but we still have the other audition next month. It's inconvenient that he's been so distracted lately by you ogling at him through the windows, but it's not that much of a hassle." She took a long, patient breath. "And most importantly, Bella, it's inconvenient that he has this silly obsession with you. That he felt obliged to dance with you tonight. But in the end, it is only an inconvenience."
"Why?" I said, "He won't even dance with you later."
She shrugged, "Edward's rash and spontaneous, but he's also intelligent. He will soon see that you're not capable of meeting the standards that he sets for himself and, in turn, for his partner."
"And you think you are?" I said, but I felt myself losing conviction...
"I wouldn't be his partner if I wasn't," Tanya replied confidently, "Which is exactly my point; you can't be Edward's partner, Bella. You're clearly not good enough. There's a reason why you're in First Year, not Third Year; you're not experienced, you're not technically advanced, you're not particularly graceful, and," she gestured to my crippled ankle, "You're clearly not very good at balance."
"Mistakes happen," I murmured through gritted teeth.
She gave her sickly-sweet smile, "Mistakes happen in little kids' ballet classes, Bella. Even First Year's a step up from that. Your solo was bad anyway. There was nothing to it. It was totally uninspiring."
I swallowed, "The audience didn't seem to agree with you, Tanya."
She smirked again, "That audience is made up of idiots who would cheer if Edward crawled across the stage. He's Edward Masen. They cheered because he made a dramatic appearance and danced with an otherwise boring soloist. But take that Pas de Deux to a world stage, Bella, and you'd be slaughtered," she stepped forward, "It was sloppy and it wasn't technically demanding. It wasn't worthyof Edward Masen." She gazed at me, lowering her voice, "You're not worthy of Edward Masen."
I looked at her, trying to find one last shred of argument...trying to find something which would defend me against the truth. I wasn't worthy of Edward...I knew that...didn't I? He was a Senior...I was just a First Year...I didn't have any hope with him...
"Just leave him alone, Bella," Tanya said softly, seeing the surrender on my face. "Leave him to me. I'm worthy of him."
"Bullshit," came a voice from behind us.
We spun around. Edward, Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper and Alice stood in the corridor. Behind them, other students were swarming to get a look in. My class, still in their light blue ensembles, quickly pushed through to the front.
Edward's green eyes burned, staring at Tanya.
"I thought you were above this, Tanya," he said quietly.
Tanya swallowed, looking at the assembled crowd.
"What's going on?" I asked. Eliza and Violet, standing en pointe to look over Edward's shoulder, both looked as confused as me.
"Tanya?" Said Edward, "Care to explain?"
I had never seen him look so dark...even when Mike had hurt me...
Tanya raised her chin. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"That's crap, Tanya," said Emmett, folding his muscular arms.
"You forget that stages have wings on both sides," said Alice, her voice colder than I'd ever heard it. What were they talking about? "Emmett saw everything."
"The audience on the far right probably saw as well," Emmett put in. "So don't try denying it."
Tanya looked at each of them, as if she was weighing her options. Eventually, taking a deep breath, she straightened up. I noticed her feet going into fourth position, her hands coming out on either side of her. She seemed to become taller, more powerful...Now, now, she looked like a ballerina...but like the Evil Queen of the Willis, not the innocent Giselle. "I did what was necessary," she said, her gaze set on Edward. "You needed to see her for what she is."
"No, Tanya," Edward said, his fists clenching, "I saw you for what you are."
"You're going to give up everything for her, aren't you?" Tanya said, her voice shaking a little. But she kept composure, "You're going to make a massive mistake. I was only trying to stop you."
"But it didn't work, did it?" Said Emmett.
"What didn't work?" I finally demanded.
"She pushed you," Edward said ever so softly, his eyes fixed on Tanya. "Out of sheer jealousy."
What? "She pushed me?" I repeated. Pushed me? No...but what had that fall felt like? I hadn't even known how it had happened...one second I'd been stepping confidently onto the stage...the next, it was as if some force was on my back, shoving me forwards...
I turned painfully to look at her. Anger brewed in me. How could she... "What?" I seethed. "So dancing my solo was enough of an 'inconvenience' for you to injure me? Even though you just said my solo was crap?"
"What?" I heard Violet squeak crossly. Others murmured their disagreements.
Tanya looked at me, "Your stupid hold over Edward was stronger than I thought. I was just showing him how you usually dance."
I ignored her last words, "You've seriously injured me, Tanya!" I exclaimed. Fury ran wrought through my veins now. "I can't dance! This could affect my entire career!"
"Well you've just affected mine!" She yelled back, "Edward is all I have to get into the freaking US Ballet! And you're taking him away from me! How is that fucking fair?" She stepped right up to me. "He was mine first!" Her hands shoved into my shoulders. I stumbled back, catching myself against the wall. Jasper quickly stepped in to steady me, as Edward grabbed Tanya's wrist.
"I am not anyone's!" He roared. His raging glare drove into Tanya, "I have never been anyone's! I have never been yours and I sure as hell have never been Bella's after the way I've acted, though I see now that you've done everything in your power to prevent that from happening anyway! What the hell is wrong with you?" He demanded furiously. "You are meant to be a dancer! Not this!"
He gave a disgusted look at her, "What the hell have you become?" When she didn't answer, he sighed, shutting his eyes for a moment. When they opened, they were softer...wearier. He let go of Tanya's wrist and gently took her hands instead. I couldn't help the painful jolt which went through my chest... "You've been a great partner, Tanya," he said sincerely.
She looked at him fearfully. A thin sheen of tears were covering her eyes...
Edward continued, "But I can't accept what you've done...what you're capable of..." he shook his head, "I know the pressure you're under. I know that your family's...difficult. But I didn't think that you would stoop to their level."
She frowned, "But I..."
"You beat down your competitors by cheating," said Edward, "Bella's right – you could have ruined her career...how is that fair, Tanya?"
She blinked, glancing at me, then to the crowd observing the whole exchange. She looked back to Edward, "But you're going to stay with me, right? You're going to dance with me tonight..."
Edward looked down, "I can't, Tanya."
"What?" She mumbled, looking down. "I'm still the best choice..."
He shook his head, "It doesn't work like that...but there are plenty of other partners out there, Tanya. You shouldn't have to rely on a partner anyway..." he tried to catch her gaze, but she stared adamantly at the floor. Edward straightened, sighing, "You're a great dancer, Tanya. You can make it on your skill alone. You don't need me. And you don't need to cheat, either..."
"And you're going to go with Bella now?" She whispered. Her voice was suddenly icy. Warning.
Edward sensed it too, withdrawing a little, "You know that Bella and I have something which I..." he glanced down, "Which I don't understand...but I need to work things out, Tanya..."
"Just cut the crap," she suddenly snapped, wrenching her hands from his, "You're just a stupid idiot and you're making a stupid mistake!" She stepped back, her shoulders hunched. The tears in her eyes glimmered angrily. "You're right, Edward; I don't need you. You've been a shit partner!" She looked behind him to everyone else, "And I don't need this fucking school, either. There's a reason why the US Ballet hardly ever accepts anyone from here! Force is a laughing stock!"
Everyone stared at her disbelievingly. Her own school...and she'd forsaken them...slandered them...
And then she spun around to me, stalking towards me, "And you are the worst part of this goddamned school, Bella Swan! You'll never make it in the real ballet world!" She took another step. "You're a shitty, lying, piss-take of a dancer! You're too old, you're too inexperienced and you're too sloppy!"
Once again, she was almost in my face, staring down at me, looking impossibly tall.
No...I couldn't let her keep saying such things about me...
Taking a breath, I stepped forward from Jasper. I let my bad foot stay back, pointing on the floor, and leaned on my front. My arms came out slightly, my hands floating lightly on either side of my tutu. I felt the blue tulle brush against my fingers. I raised my chin, letting my neck and chest lengthen.
And then I felt Edward's hand come to rest on my waist.
He stood defiantly beside me, gazing at Tanya.
Without a word, our left hands touched, and he took mine in his own. I watched as his thumb gently stroked the back of my hand. Maybe...maybe Tanya was right...but I wouldn't care...
Tanya smirked, her lip twitching a little, "You seriously think that this will work?
I gazed at her. Her reddened eyes. Her stiff posture. Her clenched fists.
"I don't know," I said, letting my voice be heard throughout the corridor. "But that shouldn't matter to you, Tanya, because if you ever try to mess with our dancing again...if you ever spread rumours or injure people again, we will make sure that the whole god damned world knows about it."
"Perhaps the real ballet world hates Force," said Edward, his voice strong and loud, "But if there is one thing they hate more, it is a cheater. You will be ruined."
Tanya's narrowed eyes flicked between me and Edward. She breathed heavily, her nostrils flaring. When she spoke, her voice shook, "You two will fail. And I will win. In the end..."
And with that, she spun on her gold satin heel and marched down the corridor. Bewildered students parted as she brushed past them. She rounded the corner, a wisp of golden tulle the last sight we had of her.
Even though almost the whole school was packed in, the corridor was silent.
The shock was clear on their faces...their Prima Ballerina had just left...
Edward stepped in closer to me. I looked up to his eyes. They were sorrowful. He'd lost his partner of three years...just over a single dance with me...
I wanted to say something, but I could feel the school watching us.
"Well," said Emmett, clapping his hands together. Everyone looked at him, "It seems that Tanya Denali has left the stage."
Suddenly, there was a burst of conversation and everyone was talking excitedly, whispering conspiratorially with each other and looking at Edward and me.
"I can't believe she pushed her!"
"What happened on stage?"
"I thought they were at an audition."
"This is so exciting!"
"She just got owned!"
"Tanya would never do something like that."
"That was awesome..."
"Did you see them dance?"
But the talking was abruptly cut off.
Everyone turned to the stage door.
Master Carlisle stood there, his face unreadable.
The school nervously parted, exposing me and Edward. His arms tightened around me a little.
But Master Carlisle didn't seem to care about us. "Get back in your dressing rooms," Master Carlisle ordered calmly. "The noise you were making could be heard in the audience. That is unprofessional and unacceptable. Go."
People quickly broke away, walking quickly around the corridor corner and through doors.
Eliza and Violet both gave me anxious smiles before hurrying off.
Emmett clapped Edward and gave me a smile before going past his father and through the stage door.
Rosalie, Alice and Jasper all took their leave. Alice winked to us as they rounded the corner.
"Where is Tanya?" asked Master Carlisle, walking towards us.
"She walked out," Edward replied. "Do you know what she did, Carlisle?"
He nodded, "Emmett got a message to me. Esme has taken over the judging for the moment. I am sure Miss Denali will return when she is ready." He gazed at the two of us. "Although she is not the only one with explaining to do, is she? Follow me."
Edward and I exchanged a glance. He was trying to look reassuring, but I sensed that he respected Master Carlisle's opinion just as much as Emmett or Jasper.
He kept one arm hooked around my waist and we began to follow Master Carlisle.
Master Carlisle flicked the lights to his office on, and pulled out a chair for me. Edward helped me to sit, then took the seat next to me.
It had only been last night that I'd been in here with Lauren...then, I had felt nervous and angry...but now, even though the crime I'd committed was probably worse, I was only nervous for Edward. Angela had already spelled out all the consequences of my actions, and I'd accepted them. But Edward? He had run on stage to save me...and what if the consequences were bad for him?
"Tonight's stunt," Master Carlisle began, sitting behind his desk, "Was absolutely unacceptable..." he looked at me, "I seem to recall having a conversation with you not even two hours ago about how you weren't going to be dancing tonight."
"I'm sorry sir..." I said quietly.
But he wasn't finished, "To break the rule once, Miss Swan...that I could understand. To break that same rule again, though..." he shook his head, "I've already explained to you the reasons why you weren't meant to dance tonight. I thought you understood those."
"I do, sir," I said earnestly.
"Then why did you persist in breaking that rule?" He asked.
I looked down at my hands, resting in the tulle of my tutu.
"You know why, Carlisle," Edward spoke up, his voice serious. "And you know that you would have done the same thing."
Master Carlisle raised a judging eyebrow, "That is a rather brash assumption, Edward."
"It's still true," he replied unwaveringly.
Master Carlisle took a breath, "Perhaps, once. Because I, like the two of you, once indulged myself in following my impulses..." he shook his head, "But your actions tonight were still appalling. You have caused far too many ripples in this school tonight. You've pushed boundaries which other people will now try to push. You're the top danseur in this school, Edward, you're meant to be setting an example," He fixed Edward with a frank look. "You know that."
Edward said nothing, but nodded, not quite looking at Master Carlisle.
"And Miss Swan..." Master Carlisle looked to me, "You are being watched by far more people than you think. Students, teachers, Ballet Companies. You are controversial, and that can be a good thing. But not when controversial turns into being a childish nuisance..."
I felt so tired...I knew this already...
Edward's hand silently slid from his lap to the side of his chair. My fingers linked with his, unseen to Master Carlisle. I breathed in. I could be stronger than this. I knew I had been stupid doing my dance when I shouldn't have, but...I still didn't regret it. None of this would have happened if I had just sat backstage and not danced...
I straightened up, holding Edward's hand tighter.
Master Carlisle gazed at my new stance, "Neither of you will be swayed, will you?"
"We made the right decision," I said, trying to make my voice stronger.
Our headmaster waited a moment, looking between the two of us, before he nodded, "Indeed you did."
I blinked. What?
"The way you danced tonight was a very rare occurrence. There are very few partners who could perform as you two just did. Without any rehearsal or talk. With complete spontaneity. It is hard enough to do a solo off the cuff, but when it is a Pas de Deux, with two people, they must be exactly in tune to what the other will do...that is a tremendous feat. You performed extraordinarily, and that is all that the stage and the audience requires. That neither of you should have been there does not matter to the majority of them..." he sighed, "But I do not intend to let it happen again. The next time the two of you dance on stage, it will be well rehearsed and it will be expected."
Edward's eyes lit up, "You'll let us dance together?"
My heart surged in my chest. I felt a dopey smile appear on my face.
Master Carlisle nodded, "On a trial basis. A full partnership between a first year and a third year has not happened here for a very long time. You will both likely get very frustrated with each other. There is a big gap between your experience and skill."
I glanced at Edward. He seemed unfazed.
"But those worries are for later. Your partnership cannot start until you have fully recovered from you injury, and until another Pas de Deux teacher is found for your class."
He glanced at his watch, "I must return to the judging panel," he said, standing. We followed suit, Edward supporting me up.
Master Carlisle observed Edward's arm around me, and my hand gripping his.
"Never again, Miss Swan, Mister Masen," he flicked us a smile and left, leaving the door open for us.
Edward pulled me close to him, wrapping his arms tight around my waist. My ankle, so weak now, gave no support, and I leant against his body. He brushed a stray piece of hair from my face. I revelled in his warm touch... "So much has changed," I whispered, looking up at him.
He nodded, "...I have some explaining to do."
I chanced a smile, "I think you might."
Oh yeah, I read 'Passion' by Lauren Kate last night. Awesome. Its a bit more sophisticated than Twilight (please don't hurt me) because of the links to Theology and the Bible and a whole load of interesting stuff. It's a very clever story. First book is 'Fallen'! Really good stuff!
Please review! Tell me your thoughts! Thanks :D