Hello!

So...I suppose one must wonder why I am beginning a new Fanfiction when I already have two on the go.

Well, this one's been on my mind since pre-earthquake times, and I just wanted to get it out there.

You can call it a prequel to 'Clair de Lune'. It's based around my dear danseuse Alice, and her cavalier, Jasper.

If you're new to my writing then welcome! I hope you enjoy!

If you're already reading 'Clair', then you'll be wondering why I'm not furiously writing the next chapter...:D Don't worry, as soon as I click the magic post button, I'll be back onto Tanya and Bella and Edward...

Alright!

Please review! At this first step, feedback is so important!

And, as always, enjoy!


'Good things come in small packages.'

So true. Good things do come in small packages. A charming, positive outlook, right?

'Tall men come down to my height when I hit 'em in the body.'

But this one's a little more practical, don't you think?

Day One – Monday

My parents and I all got out of the car outside the front door. It was like those stately homes in historical movies – with a big turning circle and lots of trees. A long driveway stretched away behind them. Around us, parents obediently dropped their little darlings off in their SUVs and BMWs with tinted glass and shiny covers and then left before they could embarrass their sweet little dears.

My parents – Liz and Ernest Brandon – did no such thing. They gathered me up in a tight three-way hug, just like always, not caring what anyone else thought. Screw anyone else watching – my parents rocked.

They didn't waste money on silly ornaments or flash cars. They didn't go to cocktail parties and lie their way up the social ladder like most of these other parents probably did. Nope, my parents covered our walls with paintings and photos of us three together and saved up for road trips down to Brazil.

See, my Mom, Liz, is a painter. Classical painter, none of that modern abstract junk. Dad's a painter too, but not the artistic type – the paint kilometres of office walls that generic off-white vomit type. Still, it gave us money to live off, and fortunately Dad wasn't off-white at all. Right now he was dressed in a red and white Christmas sweater that my Gran had knitted him, and the most horrific pair of green and purple shorts from Africa. And socks with sandals! Oh God he was a mess! What if someone saw…

…wait. I wasn't meant to be embarrassed like everyone else…oops.

"You'll call us, won't you Ali?" Asked Mom, putting a hand to my cheek.

"Of course, Mom," I said, smiling, "I'll tell you all about the fashion mayhems and bratty ballerina wanna-bes."

"And that beautiful French architecture…" she sighed, looking over my shoulder at the mansion behind me – I was trying not to think about it at present.

"Mom, get away from the art…"

She sighed and laughed, giving me a peck on the cheek. "Have fun, sweetie."

I grinned and gave her another hug, then turned to Dad.

He folded me into his arms. I breathed in the scent of spices and paint that seemed to go with him everywhere. "Work hard," he said, pulled back and grabbed my hands like he always did. "And dance your socks off."

I smiled, even though I really did want to cry. My Dad had said that before every single performance since I'd first started. I remembered my first class.

My favourite movie when I was little was Snow White. My Mom had gotten so sick of me dancing round the house, destroying everything in my path as I pretended to be dancing with my prince, that she'd enrolled me at the local Ballet Studio. I would always remember bounding in with my favourite bright orange skirt and pink top and black and pink polka-dot tights.

All the little girls were doing barre exercises, looking very confused. I marched right to the front of the barre and decided I should show them how to do it. They were doing tondues – pointing your foot to the front, the side, the back, then in. But they were so silly – why didn't they lift their feet off the ground? Snow White didn't do boring stuff like that. So I began kicking my leg up high, having so much fun as my skirt cascaded around me and I felt that great stretch, fitting right in with the CD we were dancing to.

Of course, the instructor had given mom a concerned look and had told me I was meant to keep my feet on the ground. I had just shaken my head and told her she was wrong, then went back to my off-balance high kicks.

My ballet career might have ended then and there when I ended up kicking the girl behind me in the stomach. I'd spun around, my hands smacked on my mouth. "Sorry!" She'd just started crying. Then the girl behind her started crying, and then the girl behind her and then the entire class. I'd been sympathetic for about five seconds before stamping my foot and rolling my eyes.

"They should use their heads!" I'd told Mom as she'd pulled me out of the studio. It was a line I'd gotten off Hercules. It didn't make any sense, but my Mom understood my frustration. She didn't think I'd want to go back.

But as we passed the window into the second studio, I saw an older class at work. They were teenagers, all en pointe and wearing beautiful long white tutus. I watched as they jumped and leapt, balancing on the very tips of their toes, the white tulle frothing around their legs. They were even better than Snow White! "I want to go in that class," I'd demanded.

"That's for older girls, sweetie."

But I was stubborn. I managed to turn my cuteness on – something I didn't usually do – and charmed the instructor. She'd thought it was a joke, but had allowed me to stand at the very back of the class for the barre exercises, and I had worked just as hard as the older girls, who I all but worshipped. The instructor let me come back again next time, and soon I was holding hour-long tantrums about pointe shoes with my Mom. I always got what I wanted – but pointe shoes on a five year old were totally out of the question. It took all the girls in my class to explain to me that I would get them eventually. Then they put their money together and bought me a sparkly pink tutu for class. That had silenced me…for a while.

Back in the present, Dad had let go of my hands and was glancing at his battered old watch. "We better get going, hun – driving in the dark's not a good idea."

Mom nodded, and they both gave me a final hug before getting back in the car. Mom wound down her window and leaned out, a tear in her eye, "We're so proud of you, Ali. Go and show 'em how it's done."

I smiled, suddenly feeling shy and scared. This was the first time I would be living away from my parents. I wouldn't see them until Christmas Break. With any luck, I would have a permanent place here…I would be able to stay here right up to Senior Year…but that was the thing – all these people around me, pulling along their suitcases and fixing their clothes and eyeing up each other…they had more of a chance of staying than I had. See, I was on scholarship.

A verydelicate scholarship – they had made that perfectly clear. I had auditioned for pretty much every academy's scholarship spots – even one or two in England through video. They had all declined me. All of them. And some of their letters had simply told me not to bother wasting my time at any academy.

I was too short.

I had been heartbroken. I knew that scholarships were hard to get…but I'd thought I'd had a chance.

I must have a luck fairy flying over me, though, because a month ago, just before I was about to return to my normal school, I received a phone call from a Mister Carlisle Cullen, the headmaster and world renown danseur extraordinaire. He'd told me one of the scholarship students had dropped out, and offered me her place. He'd said I wasn't the best by any means out of those they'd auditioned. But he'd said that those above me had enough funding to come here anyway, or they'd been accepted elsewhere. I was the one who needed the scholarship. And I got it.

But then, like I said, it was a delicate scholarship. I had to prove I could keep up with the others.

My parents disappeared off down the road. I took in a deep breath. Now Ali', I thought to myself, you mustn't be scared. You will show all these preppy pink-tights how a real ballerina dances. You can do it! I briefly checked that all my clothes were in order. I'd dyed my grey skinny jeans purple, and they looked just perfect with my black boots. My pink t-shirt was long sleeved, with oval cut outs down the arms, showing glimpses of my skin.

I checked for the most important thing – my pendant. I'd found it in a junk stall at the Saturday market when I was seven. It was a ballerina, her arms in an oval above her head, one leg behind the other. She was wearing a tutu, and, most importantly, she had wings! The paint had rubbed off long before I'd found it, and so now she was a shining silver. She was the Sugar Plum Fairy.

I took another breath. Okay, I was ready. I was going to do this.

I turned around to face it. The mansion. My new school. My new home. It was a massive brick thing. I could see why Mom had been interested; it was quite magnificent. There were big framed windows in neat rows all the way up. Ivy climbed up one side, making it seem like some sort of fairytale. The stone steps leading up to the porch were wide and polished. The double doors had a large granite plaque above them.

Force de la Beauté

Ballet Academy

This was it. I was here.

I began tugging my suitcases up the steps, nerves tickling me.

A tall woman dressed in a ruffled dark red blouse and black pencil skirt stood at the door. Well, I thought to myself, at least someone round here has decent fashion sense.

That was, of course, before I realised who it was. Typical me, looking at someone's clothes before I looked at their face. Still, it didn't take me long to discover that the woman in the doorway was none other than Esme Cullen.

I stopped there and then. Esme Cullen. Esme Cullen. Wife and partner of Carlisle Cullen. They were like...ballet royalty...I mean, sure, I knew Carlisle was the Headmaster and Esme the Head Ballet Mistress...but to see them here...wow...

"Excuse me, Mademoiselle?" Crap! She was talking to me! Esme Cullen looked me up and down distastefully. Damnit! I should have worn my green jeans...they're way more sophisticated... "I would suggest you hurry up – if you cannot carry a few bags up some steps then I very much doubt you will survive here."

"Sorry, Miss," I said, flusteredly yanking the rickety suitcases up. But the stress of having one of the world's top dancers watching me made it even harder.

"Mon dieu!" She sighed, "Emmett, go and help her, oui?"

I looked up. A boy had been leaning in the doorway, dressed in a white wife beater and trackpants. He was very muscular...surely he could not be a dancer? "Yes, maman," he muttered, pushing himself off the doorframe. In three quick strides, he was picking up my suitcases and carrying them inside.

Wait! 'Maman'? Isn't that like...mum? No way! I looked at him again, He's Esme and Carlisle Cullen's son! Oh my God –

"We also don't have space for absent mindedness, you know," Esme Cullen said demurely.

"Sorry, Miss," I said again. Twice in less than five minutes...

She raised an eyebrow, "You will refer to me as Mistress Esme. And what is your name?"

"Alice Brandon," I said quickly.

She flipped a page over on her clipboard, frowning, "You are the scholarship student, no?"

"Yes, Miss...Mistress Esme."

She looked me up and down again. I knew what she was doing...I knew exactly what she was doing.

She was measuring me. Quickly calculating the likelihood of such a short girl getting anywhere in the ballet world...

Eventually she cleared her throat and ticked something off on the clipboard, "Welcome to Force, Miss Brandon."

"Thank you, Mistress Esme," I said quietly and hurried in.

I stopped again. I had entered into something of an entrance hall...a very big entrance hall. The walls and floor were all dark cherry wood. Doors led off in different directions...and a massive grand staircase led up to a massive window, and then split into two, continuing up to the next floor. A big chandelier, glinting with hundreds crystals, hung above the stairs. Oh! It was so grand! On the right wall, there were open double doors, with the sign 'Theatre' above them. People were heading through.

But others were milling around the Entrance Hall, talking to others. The girls were all fixing up their pastel toned clothes...bleh...where was the expression?

Emmett Cullen stood by a massive pile of bags, adding my suitcases to the edge. I went over, "Thanks so much..."

He flicked me a quick smile, "Always glad to help a little person."

I frowned, "Hey..."

But he suddenly caught sight of someone behind me. "Edward!" He boomed, striding past me. I turned around.

No way...Edward Masen! Here! He was dressed stylishly in a blue jacket and jeans. His hair was artistically messy...his handsome face was even more striking in real life...Edward Masen! It was only a few months ago that he'd come into the spotlight...he'd won the gold medal in the pre-professional division of World Ballet Competition in Orlando! My ballet class – all girls – had watched him instead of class one day – though it was an education all the same. We were all squealing by the end! He was just...oh! Exquisite!

He slapped Emmett Cullen on the back. "Still living up to your masculinity, I see," he said.

Emmett Cullen's laugh bounced off the walls. "Hell yeah, Eddie. See you're still living up to your usual girl attracting reputation."

It was true – I wasn't the only one staring. Girls all around giggled, looking at the celebrity in front of them. Edward grimaced, lowering his voice so that only Emmett and I – standing pretty invisibly behind the two of them – could hear, "But I bet I can't make a damned partner out of any of them."

Emmett chuckled, "I dunno, Eddie. If you're looking for something different, there's this really short girl – "

"Excuse me?" I snapped, walking right up to them. Crap, Alice! What are you doing...

Emmett Cullen glanced down at me – quite far down, true. He seemed suitably embarrassed, "Sorry..."

I narrowed my eyes. He's Esme and Carlisle Cullen's son...I have to forgive him...but then he broke out into a snigger. Edward followed, and soon they were guffawing at my expense.

I glared at them, spinning on my heel and marched off. And everyone was laughing...everyone in the freaking Entrance Hall...

No...no you idiots...I'll prove it to you!

I clutched my pendant and stalked through the doors to the theatre.

If the Entrance Hall was grand, the theatre was...awe inspiring. It had three levels; the stalls, the dress circle and the Gods. The seats were plush red...the banisters were gold and intricately carved...it wasn't like my old school's theatre, which was a gym ninety percent of the time...this was something to match the world's theatres...

And the stage was the most beautiful thing of all. It was massive and slightly sloped – that was for the benefit of the audience, so that they could see the performers better. A cherry wood lectern had been placed at the front. The background was a plain white at the moment, but I could imagine that with the annual production, it would change into a beautiful piece of art...but the best part of the stage was the arch. It was a proscenium arch – it framed the stage. This one was gold, with tiny sculpted vines winding up it. And in the middle was a crest of a unicorn, a sword, and a pair of ballet shoes...now that has style!

Quickly, I reminded myself I was meant to be grumpy...

The theatre was filling up from the front of the stalls. I sat down in a chair half way down an empty row, just behind a group of chattering girls.

"You're the sister of Kate and Irina Denali?" Said one of them to the girl sitting in the middle. She had her dark blond hair pushed back into a bun, secured with a shiny gold bow. She was wearing a white and gold fitted t-shirt. Hmm...gold's not my thing...but it is kinda cool...

Oh, wait! Irina Denali? She's with the US Ballet! Oh God...so many famous people here...

"Yeah," she said primly, "Kate's still in second year here."

"But she's already won so many competitions..." Oh yeah...Kate Denali...I've heard of her, too...

"I never heard they had a sister..." said the girl sitting on the other side of her.

I could see the Denali girl send a glare her way, "Don't worry, you'll hear of me."

"Right..." muttered another one.

"I bet I can cane all of you," she said...almost desperately...

Their group got up and left, leaving the girl alone.

Poor her...

I leant forward, tapping her on the shoulder, "Hey."

She turned around, frowning at me. Her eyes were lined perfectly with brown eyeliner, and a tiny hint of gold eye shadow shimmered just above her lashes. But she was glaring at me, so the good make up didn't really count...

"What?" She snapped.

"Um...just saying 'hi'," I said awkwardly.

She raised her eyebrow, "So?"

"You're a first year, right?"

"Yeah...you're point?"

I smiled, "You look lonely."

She snorted, "Well thanks. But I prefer to consort with people who actually know something about ballet," She looked at the group of girls, who were filing into another row of seats, "Most of them will become nothing – that's what my sisters say. They'll drop out before Third Year. Did you know that? The class sizes halve in the Third Year. Halve..." she smirked, shaking her head, "It'll tarnish my reputation to be seen with idiots like them."

I frowned and quickly climbed down into the seat next to hers. She has a serious case of hurt pride...

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Tanya," she replied, "Tanya Denali..." she seemed to take a second to realize what common etiquette required. Then she sighed, "What's your name?"

"Alice Brandon," I said chirpily, "Future Sugar Plum Fairy of the Royal Ballet."

She laughed a high tinkling laugh, "Have the Royal Ballet if you want – but trust me, the US Ballet is all mine."

I nodded, "Fair enough. What's your favourite role?"

She shrugged, "Whichever's the most technically challenging."

"Really?" I said, "What about their character?"

She rolled her eyes, "Moot point. Character's easy. The choreographers put the character into the moves. You just need to make the facial expressions."

I glanced at her. I mean, she was probably right; all the lovey dovey stuff wasn't really necessary as long as you had killer technique. But still...

Suddenly someone sat down in the seat next to me. I turned around.

The reincarnation of Sleeping Beauty sat before us. She had long, flowing blonde hair and one of those faces which can only be achieved by mere mortals through hours of photo shopping. But that was where Sleeping Beauty ended and some sort of Spanish seductress began. She was dressed in a crisp white blouse which tucked into a red skirt. Her long legs were crossed elegantly. Red high heels were fastened to her feet. Her hair was pushed back over her shoulder, and her lipstick was a bright red. How she pulled it off, I may never know, but somehow she did...

But she was staring straight forward at the empty stage, "Do not talk to me," she said blankly. Immediately I realized her accent was certainly not from these parts... "I am to just sit here and listen and then I will get out of your way."

I exchanged a glance with Tanya, who was looking at the girl suspiciously. "Uh..."

"I said to not talk to me. I do not want any of your American ideas."

"Okay..." German? No...Russian! Aha! Russian! "Oh!" I exclaimed, "You're from Russia!"

"Shut up!" She snapped, finally looking at me with a pair of fiery blue eyes. She pursed her lips and turned back to the front. "You need not remind me."

Tanya elbowed me. I turned back to the front.

A man was standing at the lectern. With a lean, but well built figure, and blonde hair, there was no doubt in my mind who he was...

"Good Afternoon, students," he said. I could clearly hear the French in his voice. "It is a pleasure to welcome you all to Force de la Beauté. I am your Headmaster, Master Carlisle Cullen. My wife, whom you will all have met upon entrance, is Mistress Esme Cullen. She is head Ballet Mistress and also head of the girl's dormitories." He looked out at us, "Force de la Beauté is one of the top Ballet Academies in America. Indeed, in the World."

The Russian girl huffed, folding her slim arms over her chest.

Carlisle Cullen continued, "So logically, you are some of the top Ballet students for your age in the World. This is a great achievement..." he smiled dryly, "So long as you wish to stay a ballet student for the rest of your life."

He rested his hands on the top of the lectern, "Here at Force, we can teach you how to become some of the best dancers in the World. We can teach you technique. We can teach you nutrition. We can teach you variations and choreography methods and music. We can teach you characterisation – dance connection." Sounds like Tanya might need that... "Indeed, we can teach you many things here, monsieurs et mademoiselles, but we cannot teach you how to think. We will not bother to change your attitudes. We will not bother to make you any greater than you yourself want to be. Or think you can be...

"We would not allow you into this academy if we thought there was no future for you in the Ballet World. We, the staff, will teach you all that we know. We will push you, but we won't fight you...if you want things to be easy, then they will be as easy as you wish. They will be as mediocre and as unfulfilling as you wish." He paused. He was so powerful...everyone seemed to be listening intently. "But at the end of the day, remember that we are not the ones who go out on stage. You are. And you do so alone."

He waited a moment, and then began to talk about rules and dormitories and such.

I zoned out, thinking back to his previous words. He means we have to push ourselves...we have to know what we want...well, that's easy; Sugar Plum Fairy, Royal Ballet... I swallowed, sinking back in my seat a bit, but can I really do that? The looks people keep on giving me...even Esme Cullen has doubts...

"We won't bother to make you any great than you think you can be..."

I had to remember that...

"I would also like to welcome our two international scholarships students," Master Carlisle was saying. "Rosalie and Jasper Hale from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in Russia." I glanced at the girl sitting next to me. She was sitting stiff in her seat, glaring at Master Carlisle. "It is a pleasure to have you with us."

"Rosalie?" I whispered as everyone else clapped politely, looking around to see who Master Carlisle was talking about.

"Shut up!" She hissed at me.

"What's her problem?" Tanya muttered to me.

I shrugged. I wonder where her brother is...

"It is now time for you to take your luggage upstairs and settle into your dormitories," said Master Carlisle. "Dinner will be served in the dining hall at six, where you will have the chance to meet the Second Years and the Seniors." He smiled, "Good luck with the year ahead."

We all stood up and people began heading for the doors. Rosalie Hale turned to us.

"I am going to walk with you, but do not talk to me, understand?"

Tanya and I exchanged glances again, "Okay..."

She stalked off ahead of us.

"Master Carlisle seems pretty intense," I said to Tanya, as we followed Rosalie.

"I've met him so many times before," she said nonchalantly, "He's okay."

"He's amazing..."

When we reached the Entrance Hall, we pushed through the various people to get to our bags. Tanya's suitcase was both black with golden straps. I was beginning to realize she had a thing for gold...

Rosalie was with us in only a few seconds, standing with two cargo bags, "Let's go."

She set off at a fast pace up the massive staircase.

"What's the rush?" I puffed as we reached the first landing.

"That idiot," she said glancing back.

I followed her gaze.

Hurrying up the stairs was a very tall guy. He was thin but still lean, with ragged blonde hair which grew down past his ears. I wasn't sure, but he looked kinda handsome..."Rosalie!" He called out. He sounded Russian, too...so he's...Jasper. Jasper Hale...

"Let's go," Rosalie snapped again.

"What does he want?" I asked, heaving up my bags.

"To apologize," she said blankly, her blonde hair bouncing.

"Um..." I looked back. He was only a few steps down from us, and quickly gaining.

"Rosalina!" He called again, his breathing laboured, "What are you doing?"

"I am ignoring you, you bastard," she replied, still storming up at an impressive speed. But Jasper was quicker. He grabbed Rosalie's hand, turning her around. We stopped with her. I could see his eyes well now. They were a very dark brown...almost black...locks of his hair had fallen into them. I had the strange urge to brush them away...

But he'd already shoved them back, raking a hand through his hair, "Rosalina, stop this idiotic tirade!"

"Idiotic?" She repeated, "Idiotic? I am not the one at fault here! You were the one who made me come this 'orrible little place!"

"There was nothing for you back in Saint – "

"Bullshit!" She shouted, smacking him hard on the chest. He took a step back, steadying himself. "I 'ad everything!"

"They threw you out!" He yelled back, losing his patience.

"They did not!" She said. "I was on probation!"

"You know that means the same thing!"

"It does not!" She snarled, and let out a wild stream of Russian.

"Dude," came a voice. Oh no...Emmett Cullen and Edward Masen walked up behind him, "What the hell is going on..." Emmett trailed off, looking at the furious Rosalie. "Mon dieu," he whispered.

Edward looked at Jasper, not nearly as distracted by Rosalie's appearance as Emmett, "What's happening?"

But before he could answer, Rosalie was pointing a red painted nail at the boys, "You two must be the bastards who got my brother to come here in the first place!"

"Emmett Cullen," said Emmett, holding out a hand.

Rosalie spat out another Russian expletive and spun on her heel, "Let's go!"

She began up the stairs again.

Tanya took a step back down, though, "Edward! It's good to see you again!"

Edward's eyes narrowed for a second, "Oh...Tanya Denali?"

I could see the disappointment in her eyes, "Yeah...last year, US Ballet fundraiser dinner?"

"Yeah, I remember," he said unenthusiastically, "...so how's Irina doing?"

As Tanya went into detail about her sister's various achievements, I looked at Emmett Cullen.

"How's it going, Shorty?" He asked with a grin.

I glared at him, "You're a real prick, aren't you?"

"Hey Jasper," Emmett said, turning to the Russian, "Don't they work out their potential height in Russia before they let them into the academy?"

"Yeah," he said, frowning.

Emmett grinned, looking back at me, "Maybe they should do that here."

I gritted my teeth, "You're real funny, aren't you?"

He laughed, "I am."

"Ugh!" I gasped, turning around, meaning to storm up the stairs like Rosalie. But I forgot the weight of my bags. They pulled me back, and I stumbled, falling back on the stairs.

"Woah!"

Broken neck, broken back, broken leg...but suddenly two arms wrapped around me, stopping me from falling.

I looked up into the eyes of Jasper Hale. He gazed down at me curiously. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," I said breathlessly. I could feel his heart beating through his t shirt. I smelled cinnamon and some sort of aftershave...he was so warm...

He gently set me back on my feet. Quickly, I smoothed down my top. "Thank you..."

But Emmett and Edward, who'd abandoned his conversation, were howling with laughter.

I sighed and grabbed my bags. What a graceful Sugar Plum Fairy to-be am I.

As Tanya and I silently climbed the stairs, I thought I felt those deep brown eyes watching me...


Ah, Russian danseurs...:D

This story is a prequel to 'Clair de Lune'! Please check it out! .net/s/6374993/1/Clair_De_Lune

Please review! Tell me what you think!