"Bella," Alice whispered the next morning. The sunlight streamed through the thin curtains Alice had placed over the windows and the overhead light seemed pretty useless. "Bella, get up. We have class."
My eyes shot open immediately in excitement and I quickly popped out of the bed. Before we'd gone to sleep, I'd laid out everything I would need so it took me no time to fully dress in my leotard, tights and dance pants.
"Mrs. Stanley hates it when were late," Alice said, grabbing her bag.
"Another Mrs. Stanley?" I rolled my eyes. The Stanley's seemed to be everywhere.
"This is Jess' mom. They're everywhere, aren't they? Everywhere you look, there is another little Stanley running around. Jess hates that her mom is a teacher and her grandmother is the director. She even has a little sister who dances here."
"My goodness," I breathed. "International house of Stanley's"
"I like that," Alice laughed as we left the room. Even in the morning, Alice still managed to look beautiful. I could only imagine how long she'd actually been awake since she'd woken me up. "International house of Stanley's."
On our way to the studio, we were joined by Rosalie another girl who went by the name of Jane. She was no bigger than Alice and she appeared no older than thirteen. Her hair was a deep brown and her eyes matched. Was there such thing as an unattractive dancer at this academy?
"You're late," Mrs. Stanley said as the four of us entered the classroom. There was no denying the fact that it was indeed Jess's mother. Everything down to the light freckles on the bridge of her nose was the same as Jess. "I was just explaining how I run my class to the new students. Please take your spots with the rest of the students."
"Bella is a new student," Alice told her, pushing me forward.
"Wonderful," Mrs. Stanley said, smiling slightly. "Bella, my class starts at nine AM sharp. No earlier. No later. I expect you to be here 15 minutes prior to class time in order to warm up. We will end our class promptly at 11 o clock. I will let you off with a warning, since you are new to the academy. As for you three," she looked over Rosalie, Jane and Alice. "You have been going here long enough to know how we do things around here and because you are late, you will stay after class where I will give you a reasonable punishment."
They sighed loudly and I wanted to fall into the crowd. Something told me that it was my fault that weren't exactly punctual.
"Now," she clapped. "Let us go to the bar."
Along with the rest of the crowd, I made my way over to the ballet barre and somehow, I ended up at the end of the line behind Jess. It was hard to miss the smug grin she threw back at me.
"We will starts with pliés," she told us. "Demi pliééééééé, Demi plié, grand plié, port de bras to the front and port de bras to the back. I thought we could start out with something simple for our first class."
The music began and I began doing as I was told. I let the music take over as I practiced this simple barre routine.
"Pull in your hips," she told me as I went down for the port de bras. "Really support your upper body. Also work on that turn out."
I bit my lip nervously and adjusted the position of my feet. I'd never been critiqued on my turnout or my upper body. Mr. Gerandy had always said that my turnout was my biggest strength.
So who was right?
"Very nice, Jane," she smiled. However, the smile faded when she looked at Jess. "Jessica, the turnout needs a good amount of work. Relax your fingers and adjust your arms. We aren't scarecrows."
"Now to the center where we will work on our fouette turns and as you all know, a fouette means to whip. Now I know a lot of you have struggled with these in the past, which shouldn't happen. These are simple turns that any principle dancer should know."
We all shuffled to the center of the floor.
"Jane, will you demonstrate for us a beautiful fouette turn?"
Jane nodded and the crowd parted. She inhaled deeply and lifted her head before showing us one of the most beautiful turns I'd seen in any one so small.
"Now again but do it slower so we can see just how to do it," Mrs. Stanley explained, "Now girls. What she'll do is she will plié then extend her leg forward, then opens to second. She will then go up into relevé and pull her leg into a turned out passé. These are the three basic positions of a fouette turn."
We all continued watching as she showed us the basic positions of the turn then performed a set. Jane continued turning until Mrs. Stanley stopped her and made Jess repeat the turns before everyone.
"Now repeat the turn," Mrs. Stanley snapped. "Turn. Turn. Turn."
Jess turned until she couldn't continue. There was a loud pop before Jess fell to the floor, yelping in pain.
"Get up, Jess," Mrs. Stanley ordered. "We don't have time for this."
"I think she sprained her ankle," a girl said.
"No I think its-," the girl continued.
"Get out of my studio," Mrs. Stanley ordered the girl. I could see the tears forming in the girl's eyes as she grabbed her bag and ran from the room "I will not have backtalk. Jessica, get up."
"I can't, mother!"
She grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to her feet. It was apparent that Jessica obviously had done something to her as the swelling had already begun and her it had taken on a bluish tint.
There was a moment of silence before Mrs. Stanley sighed loudly.
"Class ends early today," she told us. "You may go. To those that were late, you have no punishment. Jess, you stay here."
In silence, the crowd dispersed and we all collected our belongings. I don't think any of us wanted to speak, in fear that we would be yelled at by Mrs. Stanley.
"Well that was interesting," Rosalie finally said as we stopped at the door of another studio. Inside, all of the males of the academy were in the middle of their routines. "Look at them."
"He's amazing," I sighed, looking at Edward as he leapt high into the air. "They're all really good."
"Who is that?" Jane asked, pointing to the boy in the middle. "I've never seen him before."
"That's Jacob," Alice answered. "He lives on the reservation in Forks. I think this is his first year here."
"He's so tall," I remarked. He stood taller than even Emmett, rising high above almost every other boy in the crowd. "Kind of sticks out."
"Like a sore thumb," Rosalie chortled, walking away. "I think they might still be serving breakfast. Let's go check."
We all followed Rosalie to the large cafeteria where the breakfast crowd was winding down. It was mostly staff still at the tables, eating and preparing for the day.
"You have to get here pretty early to eat breakfast," Alice explained as we placed the food on our trays. I noticed Jane picked up nothing but an apple, but I chose not to say anything. "And since were always in class so early, we don't really get the chance to eat breakfast a lot."
"Can we just discuss what just happened? I mean, since when does Mrs. Stanley let us out of class early? In all the years we've been in her class, that hasn't happened."
We took our seats at the table and began discussing what had happened in the classroom. I was told that Jess was always taught that way and her mother placed the most pressure on her in class. The girl that had been sent out of class was Lauren and also Jess' best friend.
"I have to get to class so I'll talk to you later," Jane said quickly, taking a bite out of her apple, grabbing her bag and dashing out of the cafeteria.
"Jane is only thirteen," Rosalie said, answering my unspoken question. "But Mrs. Stanley saw how good she was and she put her in the AP classes with the older kids. She still takes classes with girls her own age but she also takes classes with us."
We took a couple more bites of our food and left the cafeteria. We had almost two hours remaining before our next class, since class with Mrs. Stanley had been cut short. We'd decided on watching more of the boys practice. It seemed to be a favorite activity of Alice and Jess.
"Excuse me," a small girl suddenly said, pushing past me in the hallway. She scoffed loudly and kept on walking.
"Who was that?" I sneered.
"Mikayla Stanley," Rosalie answered. "Jess's little sister and certified future bitch."
"Future bitch?" I laughed lightly. "International house of Stanley's."
"International house of Stanley's," Alice repeated.