'Cause When Push Comes To Shove,
You taste what you're made of.
You might bend, 'till you break,
'Cause it's all you can take.
On your knees, you look up,
Decide you've had enough.
You get mad, you get strong,
Wipe your hands, shake it off.
And Then You Stand.
"And, ah-five, six, seeeh-vun, eight!"
Madame C's loud voice rang out in the Studio # 13 as the fourteen girls in the room danced to the soft classical music, their pointe shoes gently tapping against the polished wooden floor. Samantha Rose Meredith spun gracefully before bending at a grand plie. She launched into an arabesque, gritting her teeth and remembering the mental notes she had taken earlier. Ninety degrees, clench butt, tighten leg muscles and lift.
All of the ballerinas prepared for a pirouette. Tighten muscles, lift right leg up to knee and‒
The girls lowered their legs gracefully and looked to their teacher with wide eyes and grimaces. Samiee smirked as Madame pointed out everyone's flaws. Well, except for hers.
"Misty, why you not tighten your muscle! I see you no do that, Misty! Oh! No good! And you Lizziebeth, you need to lift your leg NINETY degree! NINETY, NOT EIGHTY. Why you no do that, ah? And yoooouuuu, Rachel. Grande plie go all the way down. Work on that!"
Samiee sent all of them a look mixed with pity and amusement. Lizziebeth looked like she was about to cry. Becky had her hands tightly clasped in front of her and wore an expression so horrified, Samiee wanted to laugh. Her gaze then traveled to Misty, her best friend, who looked bored. Misty caught her gaze and gestured with her slightly pointy chin to Madame. She then put an index finger in her mouth, fake gagging. Samiee snorted, then covered her mouth with a French‒manicured hand, taming her wild giggles.
Samiee squealed and jumped, earning a few snickers. "Yes, Madame Casey?" She gave her teacher her most butt-kissy smile.
"Hmmm..." The tightly bunned redhead studied Samiee with her scrutinizing brown eyes, looking for any errors she recalled. Some of the girls looked a bit hopeful that the famous Samantha Meredith would have something wrong with her stellar performance today. Samiee swore she even saw Mackenzie cross her fingers.
"You no look like you dancing," Madame said finally.
Samiee's barely glossed lips fell open. "Wha...?"
"I mean..." Madame circled Samantha, who gazed at her like she was crazy. "You dancing. But you look worried. No passion. I know you apply to Alpha School but that no mean you no dance well, Samiee!"
"NO BUTS!" Madame snapped her fingers. "You like dancing, riiiight?"
Samiee nodded so fast, her bun almost came loose. "Of course I do!"
"Good!" Madame clapped once, gaining everyone's attention. "Now, start sequence number‒"
The shrill bell rang, making almost every girl in the studio jump three feet in the air. Madame glared at it as if to say, "How dare you stop my class for you dumb noise, ah?" Instead, she said, "To locker room, girls!"
All thirteen ballerinas sighed in relief and grinned at each other. Samiee sighed. As slave-driving her coach was, she loved ballet class and always felt a pang of sadness when the bell rang, signalling it was over. She tried to focus on what to do when she got home as she pushed open the doors of Studio # 13 and slipped out.
Samiee made her way down the hallway of Swan Lake Ballet Academy. She passed all the other classes, kids on pre-pointe, the little toddlers warming down with a stretch and even the Mommy-And-Me dance class for children two and under.
Finally, she reached the locker room. Samiee made her way inside. The familiar smell of sweat, deodorant and ballet shoes immediately washed over her, and she inhaled deeply. The scent was yet another thing to add to her mental List-Of-Things-I'm-Going-To-Miss-If-I-Go-To-Alpha-Academy.
When. When she goes to Alpha Academy, not 'if.' She had to stay positive. Sighing, Samiee made her way to the bench and plunked down on it. The group of students from her class rushed in, laughing, gossiping and complaining about bleeding toes. Samiee tried ignoring them, and slipped off her pointe shoes. She grimaced when she saw her raw and red feet. Her big toe was bleeding.
"Man, that class killed, huh?"
Samiee blinked her brown eyes up at the voice. Misty Clarence was grinning down at her, her emerald green eyes sparkling. She perched on the bench next to Samiee and sighed. "Madame is such a hardhead."
"I know..." Samiee moaned, gesturing towards her feet.
Misty rolled her eyes and punched Samiee's arm playfully. "Oh, like you can complain, Miss-Ballet-Princessa. Madame C just looooooves you!"
"Not true." Samiee grinned, even though she knew it was true.
Misty sighed. "Oh, when are you going to realize your true potential, my clueless friend?" She said in a fake British accent.
The two changed in silence for a while. Samiee undid her bun and shook out her full dirty blonde waves. She stripped out of her teal leotard and dance shorts and pulled a plain blue T-shirt over her head. No use dressing up too much. She was going to shower before bedtime anyway.
"Um, Samiee?" Misty's soft voice interrupted Samiee's thoughts.
Misty shimmied into a long sleeved top and stared at her best friend. "Er, when Madame corrected you and said all that crap about you 'not having enough passion'." Misty made air-quotes. "Well, did it have to do with the...you know?"
Samiee sighed as she pulled on her sweatpants. Misty had been referring to Alpha Academy as the 'you know' for quite a while now. Misty had been supportive of her application, saying that she'd miss Samiee for the year but she wanted the best for her. But, when Misty read about the no-connections part of the academy, she nearly had a heart attack. She definitely didn't want to sit in Kissimmee, Florida for a year while Samiee was in the most prestigious academy on earth. But, she told herself that she would overcome. However...no texts? No Internet, Skype, phone calls, e-mails, letters, ANYTHING? It was almost too much for Misty. She had said that she'd be worried. What is Samiee needed her? What if Samiee was in trouble and Misty wasn't there to help?
But Samiee could tell that Misty was just going to miss her.
"Er, kinda." Samiee responded, finger-combing her long hair.
Misty nodded and pulled on her jeans. "Oh. No acceptance letter yet?"
Samiee bit her lip. "Nope. Not yet."
The two slipped into their sneakers and stuffed their dance clothes into their dance bags in silence. For once, it was the awkward silence you get when you don't know what to say to someone.
Both ballerinas shuffled out of the studio, inhaling the fresh August air. It was refreshing, and filled their lungs with goodness. They walked over to the bus stop. As luck had it, the bus was just pulling in and they gave in their tickets and hopped aboard, choosing a seat in the middle.
Misty smiled when a little girl with red pigtails squealed and pointed to the dance school. "Look, Mommy!" The girl exclaimed. "It's a dance place! I wanna be a dancerist when I grow up!"
Samiee sighed and put her head against the cool window as the bus started up. She decided to work on her list of things she would miss if‒when‒she got into Alpha Academy. The trees, her mother, Misty, Cocoa, the air, jumping into sprinklers, rushing into the mall with Misty and screaming, "HALLELUJAH!", a tradition of theirs, eating her mother's special lasagna. All of it wouldn't be at the academy.
Samiee looked out the window. Everything whizzed by like a movie on fast-forward. Trees into cars, kids into sidewalks, stores into lampposts, until it looked like all the scenery was tripped over each other, blurring and forever layering differently.
Alpha Academy was supposed to have everything. One hundred girls went there every year, to nurture their talents and be the best they could be. They would give anything. Samiee had applied, sure that this was what she wanted. To become a top dancer. Then how come she was so unsure about it now?
These thoughts brought another memory to Samiee's dance-obsessed mind. Shira Brazille had announced the opening of her school last year, when Samiee was thirteen and too young to apply. She had watched an interview that took place in Westchester, where a dancer named Skye Hamilton got in. Skye had explained that, even thought she was going to miss Westchester, this was what she wanted. That leaving her old life behind was a small price to pay for the opportunity of a lifetime. Samiee knew that this was an Alpha attitude. That she should feel the exact same way.
But, right now, the thought of leaving made her feel like she would puke.
Samiee yelped and jumped a bit in her seat at Misty's voice. She had tuned out all the noise a couple of minutes ago and her name being called took her by surprise.
Misty looked concerned. "A-Are you okay?"
Samiee nodded and forced a smile onto her full lips. "Positive."
Misty pointed a tan arm to the door. "We're here."
Samiee's face turned a bit red when she realized some of the passengers were staring at her. She grabbed her dance bag and flounced out of the bus with Misty right in front of her.
When they got out, the bus zoomed away and Samiee stared at the apartment building in front of her. Luckily, she and Misty lived right across the street from her apartment, so visiting was something they regularly did.
"You're not okay, are you?" Misty said, staring at her feet.
"O-Of course I am."
Misty looked offended. "Give me some credit, Sam. Your eyes are brown. And that means you're upset. It's the academy isn't it?"
Samiee felt a bit guilty for thinking her best friend wouldn't notice her feelings. But then she felt a bit irritated. "Why do you hate the school so much? It's my decision to apply, and I want it."
Misty looked a bit taken back by the question and she narrowed her emerald eyes a bit. "I...I'm just going to miss you. There's nothing wrong with that. And, not to mention, it isn't safe. I mean, no contact for a year? C'mon! Who knows what Shira does to people in there. Child abuse?"
"Well, don't worry. I'll be back in a year. And people aren't stupid. Shira wouldn't have spent millions to open up a child-torture center. One hundred of us, one of her. Who do you think'll win?"
"It doesn't matter if you get in or not! You're still an Alpha. You have to understand that. And once an Alpha..." Misty looked at her friend expectantly, waiting for her to finish one of their favorite quotes.
Samiee sighed, but smiled. "...Always an Alpha!"
After that, the two girls looked at each other, then burst into hysterics. None of them knew what was so funny. Maybe it was the whole simplicity of the situation. Someone moving, other girl missing her. The fact that things like this happened all the time and that they brushed it off until it happened to them. Samiee had no idea what it was. It just felt good to let loose and giggle. Besides, Misty's laughter was contagious.
Samiee's hysterics slowed down to giggles and she wiped a tear from her now hazel-blue eyes, the color change indicating that she went from sad to happy. She glanced at her still laughing best friend. Misty's green eyes sparkled, her black curls were in her face and she was clutching her stomach with giggles. Samiee wished that she could always see Misty like that. So happy, smiling and carefree, looking as if she had not a worry in the world.
"Well, I have to get going. Mum's gonna wonder where the hell I disappeared to." Samiee chuckled.
Misty nodded. Samiee turned to go, but the raven-haired dancer blurted out, "You'll get in!"
Samiee looked back, a look of question on her delicate features. "Huh?"
"Y-you'll get in. To Alpha Academy. I know you will, Samiee."
The blonde smiled and looked down, trying to will the tears to go away. She looked up again to find that, with surprise, Misty's own eyes were watery. "Thanks..."
Misty gave a half-hearted wave. "Bye..."
"Good-bye," Samiee whispered.
Then, she waited until her best friend had safely closed the door behind her before entering her own home.
Samiee's voice rang out in the unusually quiet and dark house. All the lights had been turned off and someone could've hear a pin drop in the silence. Samiee stepped carefully, summoning all her pointe training to make as little sound as possible, in case there was a burglar in the house, lurking behind the shadows with a gun...
Get yourself together, Samiee. This is no time to be thinking of all that movie crap.
But then, another part of her thought of all the horror movies she had ever watched. Aliens, monsters and ghosts whizzed past in her mind and she shuddered, silently cursing herself. She bit her unglossed lip and tiptoed into the living room.
Samiee shrieked as the lights flicked on and the room came into view. A banner hung on the wall that read, Congratulations! and there was a triple-fudge cake on the table, Samiee's favorite guilty pleasure. Her eyes widened at the mini party and she turned to the voice.
Her mother, beautiful, confident Rose Meredith, was standing behind the table, a wide smile on her face. Her brown eyes twinkled and Samiee ran towards her, wrapping her in a hug.
"Mom!" She laughed. "What the hell-er, heck! Mum, oh my gosh, thanks!"
Rose didn't say anything, just held on to her daughter. It took Samiee a second to hear the sniffling. And a split second to realize it was coming from her mother. She frowned, and looked up.
"Mum...? Mum, what's wrong? The party looks great! Random, but great! But now you're...Mum?"
Rose wiped her tears away. "I-I'm sorry, Samantha." The sound of her mother's soothing British accent calmed Samiee's nerves immediately. "I...I just..." She sniffed again, and wiped the tears away with the sleeve of her cardigan.
"Oh, Mum!" Samiee laughed, and hugged her mother even tighter. "It's okay, mother. Stop crying and enjoy the party!"
"You're right...you're right. But, Samiee, this is far from random."
Samiee's brow furrowed in confusion. "What do you mean by that? My birthday isn't for—"
She stopped. Her mother had reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out an envelope.
A golden envelope.
Samiee gasped. She clasped her hands over her open mouth, her hazel-blue eyes filling up with tears immediately, their color indicating her happiness. With shaking fingers, her mother handed it to her. She opened it up, dropping a little iPod-like machine on the ottoman. She ran her fingers over the letter before unfolding it and reading.
Samantha Rose Meredith, you have been accepted to the second generation of Alpha Academy...
She burst into tears.
Her mother, crying as well, hugged her. If someone would have walked in right then, they would have been baffled at the sight of the two females, sobbing and hugging and screaming and laughing. Samiee buried her face into her mother's shoulder, inhaling the fresh scent of chamomile and adding something else to her What-I'll-Miss-When-I-Go-To-Alpha-Academy list. Her pug, Cocoa, rushed in, barking and running circles around the happy-crying duo.
Samiee couldn't have been happier. She told herself that she would remember this moment forever. The smell over her mother's chamomile perfume, the sound of Cocoa's barks, the warmth of the hug, and the perfectness of everything. She wanted to stay there, forever enveloped in her mother's comforting grasp.
But, Rose Meredith let her daughter go, staring at her with an expression of pride. "You will be the best dancer at Alpha Academy. That I can promise, my dear." Then she hugged her again.
Right then and there, Samiee realized that despite the fact that she would miss her mother, and Misty, and her academy, and everything else in Kissimmee, Florida, she had to leave. She felt like a big fish in a small pond. She was going to the best school in the world. And she would work with other girls with the same ambitions as her: To become the best at what they did. And for her, it was dance. She was going to leave. She had to be strong.
She was ready.
No, I'm not dead. I'm sorry this took so freakin' long to update! Dance has been taking up so much of my time, along with packing for a trip. :| But, now it's finished, and I promise I'll try to update more often. I have other fanfictions going on, so...
Anyway, this is Samantha Rose Meredith, submitted by the wonderful JillyPilly14 (has a more amazing name ever existed?)! I absolutely loved her! She's a dancer, she's pretty smart and sweet. However, she was sort of doubtful about leaving behind her friends and family for a whole year to go to Alpha Academy. She's the type of girl who's loyal and needs her family and friends behind her. I decided to work on that doubt for this chapter.
Thanks for reading! :)