Lucy woke with a startled gasp as her pillow was suddenly yanked out from under her head. She pried her heavy eyelids open to the sight of her
dorm-mate's face hovering uncomfortably close to her own.

"Jesus Christ, Katya!" Lucy shouted, flailing backwards, "Are you trying to make out with me?" Glaring demonically, she snatched the pillow cleanly out of Katya's hands.

"Nope. That's what David's for," Katya grinned, "But I do have some pretty spectacular news for you."

"Unhh," Lucy groaned, rolling over and planting her face in her flimsy pillow. "Not now Katya..."

"It's eight o' clock, you pansy," scoffed Katya. A sharp nail stabbed Lucy's shoulder, and she yelped.

"That'll leave a bruise, bitch!"

"Today's too wonderful for me to care, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!" Katya leapt on the end of Lucy's mattress and started bouncing enthusiastically, a kid in a candy shop, while also treating Lucy to an impromptu, off-key wailing of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

"Brava," she muttered dully, "I'll give. Why is today so frickin' wonderful?"

There was a crinkling sound and a paper was shoved towards Lucy. "Read."

She lifted her head from the pillow and forced her heavy eyelids open once more. It was a long, typed list of names. Three of the names were highlighted, and little hearts were drawn around them in pink ink:

As Giselle: Ekaterina Novikova, Lucy Moreau U/S*

As Prince Albrecht: David Stefans

Lucy jolted upright, and snatched the paper from Katya's hands, who was beaming widely.

"We..." she gasped, "We got it...!"

"Of course! I told you so, you silly pessimist!" chuckled Katya, shaking her head.

"I can't believe it!" Lucy said, a giggle bubbling up in her throat.

"Believe it. We're practicing today. Come on, get changed!"

"What? I'm as excited as you for this, but… right now? Seriously, Katya? It's way too early."

"Yes, now! A little practice never hurt you!" Katya snickered, grabbing Lucy's dance bag off the dorm floor, which was littered with old magazines
and trashed essay drafts.

"I hate you, Ekaterina Novikova," she grumbled, "I really, truly hate you." Lucy rolled over, shoving her face into the pillow once more. Unfortunately, Katya seemed to have the opposite idea and tossed Lucy's bag onto the bed. Lucy oofed, the canvas bag landing on her back with a thump.

In her black-leather purse, Katya's phone rang, and as she fished for it, Lucy snorted, "Classy, Katya. SexyBack?"

"Shut up, Lucy. It's Dave."

"Wow, I never would've seen that one coming." Lucy rolled her eyes, then tossed her bag down onto the floor and cocooned her blankets around
herself snugly.

Katya stuck her tongue out at Lucy before turning her attention to the man on the phone.

"Hey Dave," she said, "Yeah, I'm right next to her. No...she says it's too early. Sure, sweetie. And good luck with that," she snorted. "Lucy." Katya poked the lump hiding beneath the blankets. "Dave wants to talk to you."

"Umph," mumbled the lump, "Tell him no way."

"She says no," said Katya, then snickered, "Oh, OK. One minute…OK, you're on speaker phone."

"Awesome," said David, and Lucy could practically see his goofy grin. "Good moooorning starshiiiiiiiiiine," he belted, "The earth says 'helloooooo'..."

"Oh, God, Dave, just shut up, please."

He ignored her, and continued, "Gooood moooooooorning starshiiiiine, you lead us alooooooooooong..."

"Shut up!" she yowled, tossing the blankets of her, and sitting up.

Dave chuckled. "See, Katya? She's up now."

Lucy glared at Katya. "Oh no," Katya said, "I think she's trying to melt the phone with her heat vision."

"Well, tell her she…Oh, shit..." said David's voice, "All these girls are staring at me and they look like they want to jump me. Gotta run. Love you

"Love you too," Katya gushed, then hung up. Grabbing Lucy by the wrists, she yanked her up and shoved her into the bathroom on the opposite side of the room, throwing Lucy's rehearsal clothes in behind her. "Change now!" she demanded, laughing.

Lucy yawned; she sat on a chair near the mirrored wall. The Entrée de Giselle floated from the stereo in the corner of the room as she watched Katya and Dave practice the mime sequence. She was recording it on her pink Flip camera so they could see for themselves how they were doing.

And they were doing magnificently.

Katya pranced across the dance floor, melting perfectly into character. At his cue, David blew her a kiss. She pretended to look around for someone after hearing a sound, but finding nobody began to innocently frolic again.

Her gleeful dancing paused as she looked around once again. She heaved a wistful sigh as she turned around, her face nearly colliding with his chest, then peered up at him, eyes wide and naive. He slowly reached for her hand, taking it in his as she shyly pulled away. The chemistry between them hung almost tangibly in the air (which of course, probably had to do with the fact that the two were really engaged.)

Lucy groaned and held her face in her hands. Damn it, she thought, they looked so perfect. It wasn't fair.

"We are not worthy," Lucy said, and the pair paused to look at her, breaking character, "Seriously, Katya, stop making us look like shit. Why didn't you go to Vaganova?*"

Katya rolled her eyes, "Says you, my wonderfully talented understudy. I came to the United States so I could get an education, not just be drilled endlessly in classical technique."

"Besides, she wouldn't have been able to meet my wonderful self." David wrapped his arms around her tiny waist.

Katya snickered and swatted his hands away, but stood on her tip-toes over to kiss David playfully on the nose. "But anyways, Luce, I think we're good. Your turn now. What do you want to do?"

She bit her lip, considering. "The Entrance from Act 2." It was her favorite, a haunting and beautiful dance.

Lucy stretched her muscles again, before standing up. She started, taking small cautious steps at first. Her arms were folded at her chest, held into the infamous gesture of the Willis. Then she bent her left leg into a demi plié and spread her arms. And started spinning, spinning, spinning as the music rose. Her head rushed with joy and she ran forward, taking a leap and another spin...

She faltered when she saw a man stop outside the door and stare at her. Goosebumps rose on her arms, and an inexplicable cold shiver of fear ran through her. Her landing was terribly messy, she cried out as her ankle hit the floor painfully, and was send sprawling ungracefully on her butt.

His eyes. They were horrifying, pitch black, and watched her every motion with unnatural, predatory perception. Every muscle on his body was tensed, ready to leap forward or sprint away at any moment. Yet he didn't move. Not a twitch of his fingers, not a shift in his stance. And he didn't even seem to be breathing, Lucy noticed, becoming keenly aware of her own hyperventilation.

His blond hair fell into his eyes. Another man muttered something to him, wrapping his burly arms around the blond man's torso, but still, there he
was. A living statue. Starting at her, with those intent, terrifying eyes. Then a tiny, dark-haired girl ran up to him, kissed him gently and wrapped her arms around him, though Lucy could not comprehend what would possibly provoke her to show such signs of affections to such an…inhuman person. She spoke to him, quietly and rapidly, and seemed to be begging him to walk away. With what Lucy read as great disappointment and reluctance, he tore his gaze away as he stiffly staggered away from the doorway, the other man's arms still wrapped
tightly around his torso.

The girl lingered behind. She wandered to the doorway of the studio, gazing in with anxious eyes that fixed themselves on Lucy forebodingly. Lucy's heart hammered in her chest.

"Personally," Katya was saying, wiping her forehead with a wet towel. "I think we all nailed it."

"For our first un-offical practice? Hell yes," grinned David.

"I fell on my ass," snorted Lucy, tossing her bag over her shoulder.

Katya waved a hand dismissively. "I would've fell on my ass too, if…" She faltered and became silent, sharing an anxious glance with Lucy.

The small girl was in the doorway again. She was smiling cheerily, as if there was nothing bizarre about the situation at all, though Lucy thought she saw a brief spark of panic in her eyes.

"Hi," the girl chimed, still smiling, "I'm Alice."

"Uh…hi. Nice to meet you?"

"Lucy," Alice said, her eyes flashing to Lucy and demeanor becoming abruptly serious, "We have to talk."

*U/ understudy, or an actor able to replace a regular performer when required. In this case, Lucy would dance as the part of Giselle if Katya was feeling sick.

*Vaganova...Vaganova refers to Vaganova Ballet Academy, situated in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is named after Agrippina Vaganova, one of the founders of the classical technique used in ballet today, which has been taught for nearly 100 years. It is the associate school of the Mariinsky Theatre's ballet company, commonly called the Kirov or the Mariinsky, and is one of the most influential classical ballet schools in the world.

Whispy [SCREAMINGwhispers]: So, this chapter made me really, really nervous. I hope it came out alright, and that you enjoy it. PS: if our format is a bit funky...I'll try to work on that. No idea why it's happening...(Update: Format now fixed. Yay!)

Viv [Rabid Ballet Freak]: -review whores-

Whispy [SCREAMINGwhispers]: I do not approve of prostitution, children. But I do like reviews. :P

Trivia Question for Chapter Two [Entrée de Lucy]:

Who danced the role of Giselle at the premier of the ballet of the same name?