Dance For Mebybrightlyiburn©
Alastair Wolfe pulled his motorcycle into the extra portion of the driveway his father had had built years ago, and turned it off. He made certain it was secure, then headed into the house. The bike, a Ducati, was bigger and more powerful than his first bike, a gift from his father when he’d turned fourteen. And it was his pride and joy. I’m just as bad as dad is, Alastair thought, chuckling to himself as he unlocked the door. He was the only one of his siblings who had taken on his father’s love of motorcycles.
The house was quiet and still. Alastair paused in the living room and glanced around, frowning. The pink backpack and jean jacket sitting on the edge of the couch belonged to Melissa, his current girlfriend. She’s early, he thought, walking into the kitchen. She wasn’t in there either. Frowning, Alastair began making his way up the stairs. Maybe in my room, he thought.
He and Melissa had been dating for the past year, since he’d met her at the academy where he took dance. She was sweet, if a small bit ditzy, and he’d fallen for her despite that. Alastair paused at the top of the stairs, in front of the door of his brother Quinn’s room. What the hell? he thought, frowning. Loud, feminine moans filtered through the door. Quinn was the quiet type, and he very rarely even held hands with girls. That could mean only one thing, and Alastair couldn’t believe it.
The voice moaning that name was unmistakable. Furious, Alastair slammed the door open; it wasn’t locked. A startled gasp came from the bed. He surged forward and grabbed Quinn by the shoulders, pulling him roughly off Melissa.
Melissa shrieked and grabbed a blanket, trying to cover herself as she scrambled off the bed. Quinn stumbled, and Alastair gave him a hard shake. His twin brother glanced up; his pale blue eyes were blurred and he blinked, as though trying to clear his head.
What the hell? Alastair wondered. A soft rustling behind him caught his attention, and he spun around. Melissa was trying to pull on her clothes. She glanced up, and her bright blue eyes were full of guilt. With only her t-shirt on, and her hands clutching her jeans, she turned and fled from the room. Alastair settled Quinn down on the bed, and charged after her, chasing her down the stairs.
He caught up with her in the living room and grabbed her from behind. She shrieked as he spun her around and slammed her hard against the living room wall. Tears glimmered in Melissa’s eyes, but he was having none of it. Alastair knew from past experiences that she was adept at bringing forth false tears.
“What did you do?” He growled, shaking her.
“Nothing!” Melissa shrieked, truly frightened.
“Bullshit!” Alastair snarled. “He looked drugged!”
Melissa’s eyes darted over his shoulder, then quickly down. He could tell by her expression that she hoped he wouldn’t notice. Closing his fingers around her wrist in an iron grip, he dragged her with him as he headed over to her backpack. Using one hand, Alastair pulled the backpack open and fished through it. As he expected, he soon found a bottle of pills. I can’t believe it, he thought, his hands shaking.
“Why?” Alastair demanded. “Why the hell did you do this, you slut!?”
Melissa’s pretty face twisted into an ugly scowl. “Because of you!” She spat. “You’re so crude and stupid! You may be good looking, but it’s all you have! Quinn is quiet and intelligent, and he’s good looking! He’s better than you are, and he’s the one I wanted from the beginning!”
Alastair stared at her. Never in his life had he been so horrified, or so embarrassed. He released her and shoved her backpack at her. Melissa grabbed the bag and backpedaled away from him. She had the audacity to look as though she had been the one who had been wronged.
“He’s so much better than you are!” Melissa shouted as she backed away. “You’re worthless!”
She whirled and stormed out of the house, despite the fact that she was only wearing a t-shirt.
Alastair stood stock still, breathing heavily. He heard Quinn stumble down the stairs and whirled to face him. Some of the haziness had faded from his eyes, but he still looked confused. Walking over to his brother, he threw an arm around his shoulders. Quinn had put on jeans, at least. He looked up at Alastair, horror coming into his pale blue eyes as the cloudiness began to fade.
“I… I didn’t… she… don’t…” Quinn stammered.
“Hush,” Alastair soothed. “She drugged you, Quinn. I can’t believe
it… it’s sick.”
And speaking of sick, he thought, watching Quinn turn white. He supported his brother on the way to the bathroom, and helped him crouch by the toilet. Alastair waited until his brother had finished throwing up, then helped him clean up. He ran upstairs to get some clothes for Quinn, and even helped him dress.
“I’m taking you to emergency room,” Alastair explained. “I don’t know what she gave you. I think we should have you checked out.”
“If… if you think so…” Quinn said, struggling with the words.
“I’ll be fine,” Alastair said, grabbing Quinn’s car keys from the hook on the wall. “I’m more concerned about you.”
He wasn’t going to be fine. Alastair knew he was far more hurt by this than he’d allowed Quinn to see. I’m worthless, am I? he thought, as he helped Quinn into the car. At least I’m not a slut. It wasn’t a thought that stuck too well. He’d fallen in love with Melissa over the last year. And she’d claimed to love him too. Alastair couldn’t imagine a bigger betrayal; she’d cheated on him, and had drugged his own brother in order to do so.
* * * * *
The crowd was bigger than she could have possibly imagined. Sadira Scarlett peeked around the curtain at the audience, feeling her heart pound wildly. At fourteen she was the youngest of her dance troupe, and yet the most promising. Better than any of them at her young age, she had boundless potential. And boundless nerves, she thought, giving herself a shake as she stepped back from the curtain.
Startled, she turned to face on of her troupe mates. Melissa Hartley was nineteen, and spent half of her time practicing in some prestigious academy. Supposedly, she had a gorgeous boyfriend who was top of his class in that same academy. She seems a bit rattled tonight, Sada noticed, her eyebrows lifting. I wonder what’s wrong? Fortunately, Melissa wouldn’t have to worry too much. She was not that great a dancer, and had only a bit part.
“If we win here tonight, we go on to the finals,” Melissa said, smirking. “All eyes will be on you tonight, though. It’s really up to you. No pressure, though, huh?”
Yeah, no pressure, Sada thought, scowling at Melissa’s back as she retreated. Easy for you to say. She’d never liked Melissa. Sighing, she set herself up to wait in the wings. Tonight she would lead them… and it was making her ill. How am I supposed to do this? she wondered, biting her lip. This is too much! She heard the music strike up, and braced herself.
This was easy; she could do this!
Sada had done Swan Lake so many times. Her problem was always the thirty-two fouettes in the Black Swan’s part. So much of it was easy for her, almost like second nature that she floated through it. She could feel eyes on her, feel them boring into her, but she ignored it. Sada loved to dance, loved to be on stage; there was no greater feeling in her mind.
The first act went smoothly, and she felt relieved. There was a brief interlude while she changed costumes, into the black leotard for the next part. Sada studied her black toe shoes with a critical eye. They looked a little worn, she thought. Perhaps it’s just me. Sighing, she pushed herself to her feet, and stretched onto her toes. Not a problem, not for her. She took a deep breath and headed back into the wings.
Again, it was smooth sailing for a long while. Sada felt wonderful; she knew she was dancing better than she ever had before. Her partner, Andre, was a little off, but she made up for it with ease. Only the fouettes, now, she thought, forcing her mouth into a smile. Only the fouettes, and the hard part is over. All eyes were on her. Sada knew when her eyes were on the crowd that they were expecting so much from her.
For the first time in the ten years, she’d been dancing, the expectations were too much. The fouettes were going so well, and she thought she was clear. Sada put her toes down… and felt herself slip. She tried, desperately, to keep herself standing, but it was as if the floor went out from underneath her. She tumbled backward and landed hard on her shoulders, the air knocking out of her. Sada groaned, rolling onto her side, and grabbed her head.
I don’t feel too good, she thought, as the world spun wildly. She had, she realized now, landed hard on the back of her head. The music had stopped and her dance instructor was at her side, calling her name. Sada rolled onto her knees, and her stomached heaved wildly. No, no, no, she thought wildly, clenching her teeth. Not on stage, please not on the stage. It was disastrous. She could hear exclamations of shock and disgust as she threw up.
“I think she has a concussion,” Her instructor said. “Let’s get her off the stage.”
Sada felt arms around her, lifting her up. Her head felt like soup, and it was hard to walk. Tears stung the back of her eyes, but she refused to let them fall. I messed up, she thought, really bad. This was not something she would be able to live down. There was not a person in this theatre tonight who would forget this performance. They would all go home, and they would all remember the girl who had fallen down, and then thrown up on stage, in front of thousands of people.