Zero in a Thousand

Cooper Nielson had not always been so arrogant; once he had been an insecure boy, scared of things in life he was supposed to find exciting. Years of ambition and success had turned him into the man he now was. Even the break-up with Kathleen Donahue, whom he'd considered the love of his life, did not seem to affect him bad enough to turn him into that little boy again. Perhaps not Kathleen, but the ballet was the true love of his life. It had certainly been his first love, even though when Cooper was much younger and the people around him did not yet understand his passion. They ought ballet to be for little six- year old girls in pink tutus. Of the possibility of a future at the ballet for their son, Cooper's parents had never though; it was simply incomprehensible to them. The only had one child, one son, who would become a successful lawyer in his father's firm one day, and not a performer! Especially not a performer of a girls-thing. However, they could not change Cooper's mind, and without the help of his family, he started to climb the ladder to the top, motivated only by his own longing to be on stage, the centre of attention. And it seemed enough, for he surely reached the top. And not just the top. Cooper was also facing a successful career as a choreographer and did well in helping Jonathan teach at the American Ballet Academy sometimes. He seemed to have it all; a successful career, money, good looks, and a nice home. Yet one thing was missing… Cooper was still alone. Sure, as soon as the rumours of his break-up with Kathleen had been confirmed he'd gotten even more attention from all the girls, and he'd also made us of that, but he was still alone. Several one-night-stands could not fill up the emptiness Kathleen had caused, for they were nothing but a distraught to him; ideas that made him think he was less lonely while in fact he was not at all. He spent his lonely days in London, dancing performances his heart wasn't really in. His heart was still with Kathleen. That is, till the day he met Susannah Wilkes. He met her at the Royal Ballet School, where he taught a few hours a week to make some extra money. She was beautiful and talented, yet only 18 years old, but very mature for her age in all senses of the word. He'd noticed her immediately and she had of course noticed him too, but it wasn't so hard to notice your good-looking, famous ballet teacher. Surprisingly, she'd shown some initiative and made the first step by asking Cooper to help her train some extra for an upcoming performance night. As usually when Cooper was involved in something like this, one thing led to an other, and it didn't take long before he'd started inviting her to his apartment. For the first time in a long while Cooper wasn't so sad anymore. He wasn't sure if he was in love with Susannah, but she sure made him feel happy and forget his broken heart. She was mending it. Because of all that, he didn't mind at all doing some things for her to help her dance career. After all she was very talented and had the potential to become a very successful ballerina one day.

This after noon, Susannah would come over to his apartment as well and, childish or not, Cooper couldn't wait. When eventually the doorbell rang, a smile turned up on Cooper's face like he hadn't smiled in a long time.

"Hey", he greeted her with a long kiss. Susannah returned the kiss with a big smile before she entered and took of her coat. "Guess what?!"

Cooper looked at her expectantly. It was obvious now that this wasn't just a crush; he was madly in love with this girl! Days long, all he could think of were her golden blond hair, her ocean blue eyes, and the way her smile lit up his formerly dark world.

"That audition I had yesterday at school, for Carmen?? I got the part!" she happily exclaimed.

"See?!" Cooper laughed along with her happy mood; when she was happy, he was happy. Very happy. He lifted her up in his strong arms and continued to kiss her.

"Thank you so much for recommending me, Cooper! You're wonderful!"

"You could have done without those recommendations too, they would have seen your talent.", Cooper said. He'd been all frustrated when he'd been the only one noticing her obvious talent, so he'd talked to some people to give her a chance. It may not have been considered real fair toward the other dancers at the audition, but his girl was worth it. The rest of the after noon, and then also the night, was spent in Cooper's bedroom, and he was a happy man again. He had the woman he desired so much in his arms; Kathleen was all forgotten, even though she'd once touched his heart so deep. Funny how much lighter and better the world seems to people who are in love.

The next morning Cooper woke up as light shone through the curtains. It was a sunny day in May, and he couldn't wait to spend it with Susannah. Speaking of, she wasn't laying in bed with him anymore. She was probably in the bathroom. Cooper put on a pair of jeans and entered the bathroom. No Susannah either…, he was starting to get slightly suspicious. "Susannah?", he called out, checking out the living-room and the kitchen to see if maybe she'd got up to have breakfast already, but she wasn't there either. Strange, had she said anything about having to leave early? Cooper sat down on the couch and tried to recall the things she'd said last night. A lot of things, but he couldn't remember one of them being about leaving early. He did find a note on the coffee table, in Susannah's handwriting.

Dear Cooper,

We had a great time together, but you're just not the right guy for me, I'm sorry. We had a great time together.

Xxx Susannah

Pain and anger filled Cooper's heart. She'd just used him to get that ballet part she wanted! She hadn't loved him at all, hadn't even cared about him! He angrily threw the note, now perched up in a ball, to the floor. He'd made her love him. The bitch. He simply didn't understand, there were thousands of girls interested in him, but zero of those were sincere.