A/N – I had a dream (just like Stephenie Meyer!) but the dream was about Edward and Bella, so yeah – they belong to her – I'm just borrowing them! Please don't steal my story, cause that would just make me sad.
Thank you to rubiesymusica and to CanadianDreamr for beta-ing this for me – you guys rock!
Copyright 2010 by Scottish Rose 1028
Chicago – May 12th
"Alice, I'm telling you that this is completely unnecessary. After two rounds of auditions, I would have found her by now. This is a waste of time."
"Edward, I know what you think, but just trust me. I have a feeling this is it." Alice jumped up and down excitedly, her hazel eyes pleading.
"A feeling? You expect me to go through another round of auditions, watching mediocre dancer after mediocre dancer because you have 'a feeling'?" I rubbed my eyes and groaned, knowing I was going to give in – I always gave in when it came to Alice. I looked over at her now, the corner of my mouth twitching as I fought a smile. "Fine – let's do this, just so I can prove you wrong."
"Yes!" Alice pumped her arm and laughed. "You won't be sorry, dear brother!"
"Mmhmm." I closed my eyes and leaned back in the chair, letting Alice's chatter fade into the background as she set up. My search for a female ballet dancer for the new tour seemed destined for failure. I'd been auditioning dancers for the better part of two weeks, holding one round in New York and the second in Seattle, with no luck so far. Alice had kept pestering me to hold "just one more" round of auditions in Chicago, saying that we'd find someone, she just knew it. I mentally psyched myself up to start another fruitless round of auditions and gave Alice a smile.
"All right, Ms. Cullen – let's begin."
I entered the performance hall and took a deep breath, looking around at the hundred or so dancers filling the lobby. My eyes scanned one of the many posters set up throughout the lobby promoting Edward Masen's latest tour, the one I was insane for even contemplating auditioning for.
Edward Masen Cullen, I sighed to myself. The older brother of my best friend Alice, Edward had grown up in the same small town in Washington as me, attended the same schools, had been at every major event in my life. And he doesn't even know I exist. Three years older than Alice and me, Edward had gone on to bigger and better things after high school, and now he was a major star, playing piano and singing across the world to millions. If he remembers me at all, I thought, it's as Alice's clumsy, tongue-tied shadow. This is crazy, what am I doing here? Disgusted, I gave myself a mental kick in the butt and made my way to the registration desk. A frazzled middle-aged woman gave me an application and told me to fill it out completely.
"Do you need a pen?"
I pulled one from the back pocket of my jeans. "No thanks, I'm good." I made my way to a somewhat quiet area of the lobby, set my bag down and pulled out a book to use as a flat surface.
First Name. I started to write 'Isabella' and stopped. I gazed around the crowded lobby at the other dancers, dancers that I knew I was just as good as or better. I'd been dancing for as long as I could remember and always, I seemed to blend into the background. I knew I was pretty, but in a girl-next-door, nothing special kind of way. With my brown hair, brown eyes and pale porcelain skin, I didn't stand out enough. I looked down at the application again, seeing that I had written 'Isabel' before I stopped. "That's it," I whispered. The name 'Isabella Swan' had never gotten me anything exciting, but 'Isabel', that sounded almost exotic. Last name … hmm. I thought for a moment and wrote 'Dwyer.' Mom won't mind, though Dad might … I finished filling out the application and walked over to the registration table with sweaty palms and a racing heart.
I squared my shoulders and took a chance. "Isabel Dwyer."
"Here's your audition number, hon." The woman handed me a name tag with the number "118" written on it. "You can put it on your leg or anywhere that it can be seen easily. Break a leg!"
I smiled shakily and headed toward the bathroom to change into my dance gear and to fix my hair. I made quick work of shedding my jeans and throwing on a short workout skirt over my leotard and tights, slipping on my pointe shoes and legwarmers. I stopped in front of one of the mirrors over the row of sinks to pull my hair back into a neat bun, securing any flyaways with some bobby pins. I looked myself over carefully in the mirror, sighing.
I jumped, and turned around to see Jane Volterra, one of my fellow members of the corps de ballet at Ballet Chicago. "Jane, you startled me."
"I'm surprised to see you here, Bella." Jane seemed to float over to the row of sinks, taking the one next to me.
"Why? I figured I'd run in to someone from BC here -"
"That's not what I mean, Bella." Jane smoothed her blonde hair and looked carefully over at me, appraising me with a raised eyebrow. "Don't you think you're a bit … hmm … how should I phrase this? Plain?"
"I'm sorry, I'm not quite following you here," I frowned. "Plain?"
Jane smiled sweetly, as if I were an imbecile. "Yes, plain. You know, a little too girl-next-door? Not exactly what Edward Masen looks for in his dancers. He tends to want someone a bit more … ethereal."
My eyes narrowed, Jane was always a thorn in my side, ever since we'd started dancing together at Ballet Chicago, first at the dance school and then later when we were both chosen to dance in the corps de ballet. "Oh, and I suppose you are just what he's looking for?"
Jane patted my shoulder patronizingly. "He wants the best, Bella, and that's not you – that's me."
"Oh, Jane – why don't you go slink back into the hole you crawled out of." A voice called out from one of the stalls.
"Excuse me?" Jane snarled.
"I said -" the door banged open and out came my roommate Tia King. "Go slink back into the hole you crawled out of. Are we having hearing problems? Maybe that over inflated ego you're carrying around is making it hard for you to hear."
"Whatever, Tia. We'll see if you're so smug after the auditions," Jane sneered nastily as she huffed out of the bathroom. Tia stuck her tongue out after her and I shook my head.
"Why do you always let her get the upper hand on you?" Tia shouldered her bag and led me out of the bathroom. "She's just a bitch; don't let her get to you like that, Bells."
"It's more than that, T." I grimaced. "It's like she's in my head, playing on every insecurity I have."
"Then do what I do – tell her to go to hell," Tia laughed.
I sighed and set my bag down on a bench close to the auditorium doors. "Maybe I should. It's tempting, very tempting, Tia."
I added another application to the 'reject' pile and sighed. A look at my phone showed that I had been auditioning dancers for the past three hours, with no luck. I grabbed the last stack of applications and rifled through them quickly, scanning through them absentmindedly and setting them back on the table next to Alice, who was counting down a list of names.
"Okay, only thirty more to go – she's got to be in here," Alice smiled reassuringly.
"Well, I certainly hope so." I said, dryly. "I mean, you have a feeling and all."
Alice slapped me on the shoulder. "Quiet, you. My feelings are never wrong."
"We shall see little sister." I rubbed my stinging shoulder and readjusted myself in the chair. "Go ahead, who's next?"
"Isabel Dwyer!" Alice called out, handing me the application.
I pinched the bridge of my nose and exhaled. "Here goes nothing."
"Isabel Dwyer!" I heard my 'name' called out from the seats, and handed my music to the sound technician backstage. "Here goes nothing."
I centered myself and took a few calming breaths as I heard my music start. My body moved effortlessly to the strains of the violins as I moved center stage, rising up on pointe when the lyrics began.
My love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
I looked up at the stage as I heard the beginning strains of "At Last" come over the sound system, and I felt a jolt go through me like an electric shock.
"It's her," I breathed.
Alice covered her hand with her mouth and shook her head. "Oh … wow." She glanced at the girl's application and laughed silently to herself.
Oh yeah, yeah at last
The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clover
The night I looked at you
And I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I could call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
I lost myself in the song; I knew this choreography cold, it being one of the first pieces I had learned professionally. I smiled when I landed the tour en l'air perfectly, seamlessly going into the next verse.
Oh yeah yeah, and you smile
Oh and then the spell was cast
I could feel my heart was racing, my eyes never leaving the stage, even when Alice grabbed me by the shoulder and shook me in her excitement.
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine at last
I froze in the final arabesque, then slowly relaxed my pose and stood to the sound of applause. I heard a shrill giggle and saw a small girl running toward the stage. Uh oh. I turned quickly and ran into the wings as I felt someone grab me by the arm.
"Not so fast, Ms. Dwyer!"
I turned to see my very best friend, Alice Cullen. "I can explain, really …"
"Bella!" Alice squealed and hugged me tightly. "What are you doing here? Why didn't you tell me you were auditioning? I could have gotten you a private audition-"
"And that's exactly why I didn't tell you, Alice," I held her at arms length. "I didn't want to risk the embarrassment when I didn't get it."
"You silly girl – embarrassment? Sweetie – you nailed it! Edward's eyes never left you once; he says you're the one he's been looking for!" Alice bounced up and down with excitement.
"What?" My heart began to race.
"You've got the part – Edward sent me down here to tell you myself!"
The room seemed to spin for a moment and I sat down heavily in a chair backstage. "You're joking?"
Alice clapped her hands and laughed. "No, silly! I'm one hundred percent serious!"
"Wow … seriously?" I laughed, giddy with excitement. "I can't believe it."
"Now, why didn't you tell me you were auditioning?" Alice tried to look stern.
"I didn't want you to know – either of you. Not that he'd remember me, but-"
Alice rolled her eyes. "I didn't say anything to give you away, Isabel – but he's going to remember eventually. Edward's got a memory like an elephant."
"I'm sure he won't – he won't even know me anymore. The last time he saw me was Rose and Em's wedding three years ago, Alice, not that he paid much attention to me to begin with." I scoffed, taking off my pointe shoes and slipping on my flats. "Besides, I was never anything to him but an awkward younger sister, anyway."
Alice put her arm around my shoulder and squeezed. "Well, come on and let me introduce you to my famous older brother, Isabel."
Tour en l'air A turn done in air. The dancer springs upward from fifth position, makes one or more complete turns, and returns to the floor in fifth position.
Pointe The tip of the toe.
Arabesque A position in which the dancer stands on one leg with the other leg extended in a straight line to the rear. The positions of the arms and the height of the raised leg may vary.