A.N - Another story. I bet you're all getting sick of them. I liked this one anyway. I hope you do to.
Chapter goes out to Moondancing Millie, who gave me the idea of a to-do list (and the first thing for Suze to do) and Anthony who gave me character names and the second to-do. Lol.
Disclaimer : I own nothing. Meg Cabot owns all.
Suze Simon's To-Do List :
1. Pick up Mom's Dry Cleaning on the way home from the studio
2. Pick up Andy's groceries
3. Practise for Audition.
Sometimes, I hated my mom so much for moving us to California. It was hard to dance when the sun was beating down on you and the air felt thick enough to cut with a knife. It was much easier to dance in the breezy studios back in New York. Though, to be fair, this studio did have Air Conditioning.
Nevertheless - air conditioning or not - I was still sweating a lot by the time practise was through.
It was worth it, though. Despite how disgusting you could feel after two hours of non-stop dancing - it was worth it just to feel the freedom of loosing yourself in the music and the satisfaction when you land a move perfectly.
I picked up my dance bag and quickly found my drink bottle, greedily squirting the water into my mouth as I left the room. The sea breeze that hit me as soon as I left the building was a welcome relief, the coolness of the air soothing my over-worked body.
"See you, Suze!" Jules, another dancer called out to me as she began to walk home.
I waved at her before turning in the opposite direction and was greeted by the wide, blue Pacific Ocean. Even though I'd lived here for two years, I couldn't get over the beauty of it. Especially at this time of the day when the sun was just beginning to dip under the horizon.
I graduated from the Junipero Serra Mission Academy two months ago. Now it was mid-August and I was getting in as much dancing as I could before I left to go to college in the fall.
There was a rumour going around the dance studios that Paul Slater was looking for dancers to appear in his latest video. While Paul Slater was, quite possibly, the hottest guy I'd seen in a while, I wasn't exactly the biggest fan of his music. The cheesy pop stuff was so nineties. I was only hoping for the chance because it would get me recognition.
My step-brother had the car today. Why, I have no idea. Especially considering Mom and Andy had given me the chores to do. I had to walk home whilst carrying Mom's dry cleaning and a bag of ingredients for Andy's latest Ackerman recipe.
And my house was on top of a huge hill.
When I reached the house - eventually - I dropped off everything in the kitchen and went straight upstairs to my room, clicking on my audition track and began to count myself in.
My dance instructor was very strict, having been a dancer herself, she knew what it took to make it in the business. She advised us to practise as much as we possibly could. I hated her for it sometimes.
I loved dancing in my dance clothes. They were so much more comfortable than any of the other clothes I wore. Simple tracksuits and a tank top. Lounging-around-the-house clothes.
I danced until I felt my legs shaking with the strain of it. Turning and jumping before collapsing on my bed, the music blaring out of the speaker.
"Suze!" Jake shouted from my door.
I turned off the CD player.
"What?" I asked.
"Dinner's ready," he told me. "I don't know why you have that music on so loud anyway - I was calling you for ages. I swear, when you start dancing you drift off into a world of your own."
I smiled and moved to put on a baggy sweatshirt, before going downstairs to join the family. Dinner was always a really big deal in the Ackerman household. Though the food was always way better than the take-outs we tended to get back in New York. Andy was a great cook.
Dinner was unusually quiet that night. David was away at camp and Brad was out with God knows who. It was only my Mom, Andy, Jake and me for dinner.
It was Andy who felt the need to break the peaceful silence.
"So, Suze," he asked. "How's your dancing going?"
I smiled at his attempt to seem interested in my life. He really didn't have to do that anymore. My mom and him had been married for two years already and I was a legal adult now. If I didn't like him, I could just leave.
"It's good," I told him anyway. "The studio are having auditions for something next week. They didn't tell us what, just told us to have a piece ready."
"What do you think it is?" Andy carried on.
"There are rumours that it's for a chance to dance in Paul Slater's music video." I explained. "Though why Paul Slater would want a dancer from Carmel, I don't know."
Jake snorted and Andy glared at him.
"Well, you're a shoe-in." Andy told me making me focus my attention on the plate in front of me. I hated Andy giving me compliments. "You've been dancing how long?"
"Fourteen years," it was my mom who answered. "Suzie had her first ballet lesson when she was four."
"Everyone has their first ballet lessons when they're four." I muttered under my breath. If anyone heard me they didn't say anything.
Thankfully, I hadn't stuck to ballet. I'd moved onto the edgier Street Dancing when I was thirteen.
After dinner, I loaded up the dishwasher and returned to my bedroom. I left the dancing this time, and instead just lay back on my bed going over my routine in my head. It had to be perfect by next week.
Normally, Andy made us get Summer jobs during the summer. Jake was back to working at the Pebble Beach and Golf Resort where I normally worked as a babysitter. This year, however, I had been let off, to focus on my dancing.
And the fact that it was on a scholarship that I got into California School for the Arts. Mom and Andy were just happy that they had one less child to worry about paying college funds for.
As always, weeks during the summer passed by slowly. This week was an exception.
My life was a whirlwind of dance classes, rehearsals and practising up until the day of the audition when everything came to an abrupt standstill. My entire dance class came to the studio as usual, and we were told to sit in silence until our name was called.
One by one students left, and they didn't return to the waiting room, instead leaving to either go home for the day, or wait in a different room.
Those of us left behind were forced to wait quietly, the occasional squeals of 'Oh my God, I knew it! I so knew it!' managing its way into the room.
Then my name was called.
My dance instructor called out my name with an encouraging smile - which was more then she had done with some of the others.
I was ushered into a big room where three people were sat in front of a large stage which they were gesturing for me to go on.
"Name." One of them barked.
"Susannah Simon." I said clearly.
"Audition piece?" Another one hissed, leaving only the man in the middle with yet to say anything.
"Here." I handed them my CD and they put it into the portable CD player sitting on the table in front of them.
"Ready?" The man in the middle finally spoke in a familiar voice as he leaned forward in his chair.
"Yeah," I breathed out.
It was time to slip into dance-mode.
I heard the first beats of music began to play and I launched myself into my routine. I span around in circles with more gusto then I ever had before. I owned the stage, if I could say so myself.
I barely registered the sound of clapping when my CD came to a stop and I finished elegantly with a step-bull-change, managing to keep my balance as I did so.
"Very good." The man in the middle stood up, letting me catch a look at his face when it wasn't hidden by the harsh sunlight that was streaming through the room.
It was Paul Slater after all.
"How would you like a part in my new video?" He asked.
I had to hold back a squeal.
"Oh my God!" I exclaimed. "I'd love it!"
I saw Paul's mouth twist into a smirk.
"We'll be in touch."
I nodded enthusiastically and tore out of the room, straight into the arms of my dance instructor.
"You got in?" She asked me in her thick Russian accent. Yes, my teacher was Russian.
"I knew you would."
I smiled, unable to wipe the grin off my face as I joined the room where the other girls who had been in before me were waiting.
"Can you believe that?" Brooke asked me. "Paul Slater actually saw us dance."
"I know," I smiled again. "Can you believe I got picked?"
Brooke's mouth dropped open in disgust as the other girls crowded around me excitedly.
"You got picked?" She asked me, her voice drowning out every other.
I nodded again, the smile slipping from my face.
Brooke was a typical Californian girl. Blonde hair, tanned, tall, toned. She surfed whenever she wasn't dancing. And she had hated me all through High School. Or the two years I was there, at least.
She made a disgusted noise.
"Whatever." She grabbed her dance bag and walked out of the door which led straight onto the street. "I'm out of here."
I could hear the screech of a car braking.
"Brooke, no!" I called.
It was too late. The car's horn beeped incessantly as the driver was thrown against it with the force that the car had shuddered to a halt. The windscreen had cracked and Brooke was lying on the road in a growing puddle of blood, eyes staring open, unseeing.
We all ran out to do whatever we could to help.
"It's no use," one of the girl's who was trained in first aid announced. "She's dead."
Which I could have told everybody. Considering the girl in question had stood up and dusted herself off daintily, not realising that half of her body had been left behind.
"Um, ow," she shouted at the driver who was paying no attention to the girl he couldn't see. "That hurt!"
She froze when she realised she wasn't being acknowledged.
"Hello?" She waved a hand in front of the horrified driver's face. "You are so going to have to give me compensation or whatever."
She followed his eyes to the sight of her own body lying crumpled on the floor.
"No way." She whispered.
Oh yeah. Brooke was a ghost. Who I now had to deal with - being a mediator.
And my day was going so well.