A/N: Sorry it took so long for me to update. I wish I could say that was a one time thing, but I can't. My update are very sporadic- I might update in 3 days or it might be 3 weeks. It's only fair to warn you! Thank you for all your reviews! Special thanks to Rosy Night who threatened me a little to update and, to be honest, I needed a little kick in the butt to finish this chapter up! Anyways, here is chapter 2!
A week and a half later I found myself walking down the Seattle streets, holding McKenzie's hand as she skipped and wiggled excitedly beside me. Alice had taken it upon herself to find a ballet studio that was close and affordable, and really outdid herself when she found a studio a little less than a mile away from my apartment.
I checked my watch again and tried to hasten Kenzie's pace. We had decided to walk since it was close, but I guess I didn't time it correctly because we had exactly five minutes until her class began. I scooped Kenzie into my arms and she (naturally, being the independent little spitfire she is), protested.
"Daddy! No! I'm a big girl! I want to walk!"
"I know you do, Kenz, but we gotta go faster. You don't want to be late for your first ballet class, do you?"
McKenzie wrinkled her little nose at me and kept quiet as I dodged around pedestrians and parking meters.
Despite our quickened pace, we still raced up the stairs to the studio at 11:19; four minutes late. I set McKenzie on her feet and walked up to the girl behind the desk.
"Hi, um, I called about a week ago about signing my daughter up for ballet lessons? Today's her first day," I explained.
The girl behind the desk smiled as Kenzie stood on tip toes, trying to peer over the top of the desk. "Of course," she stuck out her hand for me to shake, "I'm Angela, and you must be Mr. Mason."
I shook her hand and nodded, "Edward, please."
"And this must be McKenzie," she smiled. McKenzie grinned her small toothed smile and hugged my leg.
"All right..." Angela said rifling through some papers and gathering a few of them together, "Ms. Isabella Swan will be McKenzie's instructor. The class has already started but you can just bring McKenzie right in through those doors," she gestured to the door attached to the lobby, "And Bella will tell you everything you need to know from there. Here are some papers that I'll need you to fill out once McKenzie is settled. Just standard In Case of Emergency forms and things like that."
I took the papers from her hands and thanked her, taking McKenzie's hand and guiding her towards the door Angela gestured to. I took off McKenzie's jacket and placed it in a chair in the lobby along with the forms Angela gave me to fill out, before hesitantly opening the door.
Kenzie and I slipped quietly inside and I was surprised at how large the room was; the outside of the building appeared deceivingly small. This room had glossed mahogany floors, a high ceiling, two walls of mirrors and three ballet bars. I noticed a group of little girls sitting in a circle stretching, led by a woman whose back was to me. I didn't want to interrupt so I decided to wait patiently until she noticed me.
McKenzie, however, wasn't as patient as I was.
"Daaaadddyyy," she tugged on my jeans, "I want to go play with them!" I was about to tell her to wait a moment when my breath caught in my throat. The woman leading the girls had heard McKenzie and turned to face us. My heart thumped strangely as she stood and said something to the girls before walking towards Kenzie and me, a smile gracing her pink lips.
"Hi," she said in a melodious voice, "You must be Mr. Mason."
"E-Edward," I stuttered, "You are Isabella?" I asked.
"Just Bella," she smiled. I smiled stupidly back. Her gaze shifted towards my leg, which McKenzie was currently clawing at.
"Oh, uh, this is my daughter, McKenzie."
"It's nice to meet you, McKenzie," Bella said squatting down in front of my daughter.
McKenzie was staring at her with admiring eyes. "Are you a ballerina?" she asked.
I couldn't help but chuckle at the awe in her voice. Bella was dressed quite similarly to the ballerina's McKenzie saw on her Elmo show. Her dark hair was pulled back into a tight bun and she was dressed in a black leotard, pale pink tights, and a small, pink ballet skirt. As I glanced towards the other little girls, who were now skipping around in a small circle, I realized they were dressed like Bella.
Bella stood up after introducing herself to McKenzie as Ms. Bella, and I gestured to the group of little girls.
"I'm sorry," I said, "I didn't realize that there was a dress code." I smiled apologetically, glancing at McKenzie's pink long-sleeved t-shirt, skirt, tights, and Elmo sneakers that Alice had laid out a few days ago. Well, at least she had the tights…
"Oh, don't worry about it, you didn't know. She can just practice in her clothes and feet today. I'll write down the address where you can buy her a leotard and ballet slippers after class, and tell you everything else you need to know."
"That would be great, thank you."
"McKenzie, would you like to join us now?" Bella asked.
McKenzie nodded and moved towards Bella.
"Maybe your dad should take your shoes first?" she suggested kindly.
"Kay." McKenzie said quietly, sitting down in front of me.
Bella waited patiently as I knelt down next to Kenzie and removed the Elmo sneakers she insisted on wearing with everything. She stood up when I was done and hugged me around the neck. I melted a little as I always do when she wraps her tiny arms around me.
"Bye baby," I said as I hugged her back "have fun okay? I'll be back in an hour."
"Kay. Bye daddy!"
She let go of me and walked towards Bella, who I noticed had a pretty blush painted across her high cheek bones. I couldn't imagine why though. She took McKenzie's hand and they both waved to me as I walked out the door.
I sat in a plastic chair in the lobby, filling out all the necessary information forms and then returned them to Angela. I realized I only had about 20 minutes left until Kenzie's class was over and decided it would be pointless to leave and come back in such a short amount of time and opted to just sit and wait.
Of course, my mind drifted to Isabella. I hadn't had that reaction towards a woman since Tanya has passed. Of course, most of my time since then had been taken up by my little bouncing ballerina, but even so, I hadn't felt the need to "get out there again" as my mother and Alice so eloquently put it. I felt ridiculous. I didn't even know this Isabella! And yet, something about her immediately drew me in. I was confused…the only real relationship I had ever had was with Tanya, and even with her we were friends for a while before I'd developed any romantic feelings toward her. I wasn't used to such an immediate reaction as the one I was experiencing with my daughter's ballet instructor.
That thought made me feel even more ridiculous! Not only did I barely know this woman, but she was my daughter's ballet instructor! And there I was sitting, pondering over my irrational reaction to her brown eyes, high cheek bones, and pink lips…
I shook my head, shaking my thoughts away. There was no point in having this discussion (even if it was with myself). What young, beautiful, woman such as Ms. Swan want with a widowed man with a 3 year old daughter? I just don't think any woman could handle the fact that McKenzie always comes first in my life; she is my world.
I didn't have much time to continue mulling over this fact as I suddenly noticed I had been joined in the lobby by a few women, some of them who were eyeing me wearily. I glanced at my watch and realized that McKenzie's class got out in three minutes. Most of the women in the lobby looked to be a bit older than me, but there were a couple that I guessed were around my age. It didn't go unnoticed by me that aside from myself, all the people in the lobby were women; mothers. My heart tightened a little for McKenzie. It always tormented me that she didn't have a constant female influence in her life, and while we did ok now, McKenzie was only three. What was I going to do when she was 10, 13, 16? Of course, she always had Alice, but even Alice knew she couldn't be that constant female role model that McKenzie would eventually be thirsting for.
The door to the studio opened then and the little girls filed out quickly. McKenzie ran straight to me, not even noticing the multiple mothers and daughters surrounding us; I decided to make the best of her ignorance as long as it lasted.
McKenzie jumped into my arms excitedly and I caught her easily.
"Did you have fun?" I asked.
She nodded enthusiastically.
"Good," I smiled, sitting her down in the chair I was waiting for her in and began shimmying her little sneakers back onto her feet as she babbled away, talking so fast I couldn't really decipher the words.
By the time I had finally managed to get her sneakers onto her feet, (she wouldn't stop wiggling) most of the mothers and their daughters had filtered out of the lobby. I stood up and went to grab McKenzie's jacket when I noticed Bella walking towards me, a sweet smile gracing her lips. She stopped in front of me, and once again I lost all coherent thought. She said something to me, but I didn't quite register it in all my fuzzy haze, and she looked at me oddly as I stood there opening and closing my mouth like a freakin' goldfish.
"Hi Ms. Bella," McKenzie chirped from her chair, saving me from looking even stupider than I already did. It was in that moment that I once again thanked God for my little angel.
"Hi, McKenzie," Bella smiled, squatting down to McKenzie's level, "Did you enjoy your first ballet class?"
McKenzie nodded her head, smiling my favorite small-toothed smile.
"That's great because I'm really looking forward to having you in my class!" Bella gushed. She then stood and turned to face me, and this time I was prepared to not look like an idiot…sort of.
"So, about the ballet…stuff…" Ballet stuff? Really, Edward?
"Uh, right," Bella said, "Do you have a pen and paper? I can give you the addresses."
I grabbed one of papers I was meant to keep that Angela had given me and began scribbling down the addresses Bella gave me onto the back.
"Were you planning on signing her up for any other classes, or did you just want to stick with ballet?" Bella asked me.
"You teach other classes?"
"Yes, I teach the younger ones tap, ballet, and jazz, and I teach a couple of contemporary and modern classes for the older students."
"Um, well, I don't know, she said she wanted to be a ballerina so I signed her up for ballet…but I think she would like having another class…what do you suggest?" I didn't really have a clue when it came to this stuff.
"Well she has a lot of energy, and because of that I'd suggest jazz."
I looked at her wearily. "She wasn't too much trouble was she? I know she can be a handful sometimes…" I sighed, knowing McKenzie sometimes had the tendency to be a little excitable.
"Of course not!" Bella waved me off, "She was fine. She was very eager to learn and listened wonderfully!"
I turned my head to grin proudly at my baby girl, who was currently entertaining herself with the Velcro on her shoes.
"Her jazz class would be right before her ballet class; 10:30."
I pondered it for a moment, wondering if I would be able to get McKenzie up and ready to go by 10 after 10 in the morning and decided it was possible. Besides, it was probably a good idea to have her spend time with kids her own age, outside of preschool. She was my best friend, but I knew it was good for her to interact with kids her own age too.
"Ok, yeah, sign her up!"
Bella beamed at me and began giving me all the other information I needed to know; the monthly payments, the recital in June, and the costumes she would need for them, and picture dates…
When she finished, I thanked her and promised we would see her next week at 10:30. I put McKenzie's jacket on and asked her where she wanted to go today; even though she had dance in mornings now, Saturday's were till "Our Day."
"The park!" she grinned.
"The park it is, Ms. McKenzie." I lifted her up and swung her onto my back with ease and she giggled.
"Bye Ms. Bella," she waved as we neared the stairs to exit the building.
Bella smiled and waved back to McKenzie, and just before we disappeared down the stairs, her eyes met mine and we smiled simultaneously.
I couldn't wait until next Saturday.
A/N: There is chapter 2! Hope you liked it. I'm not sure if I am going to do Bella's PoV yet. I'm kind of just letting this story take me where it wants to so yeah, we will see! Reviews make me happy!