SUMMARY: Maureen is ready to throw her dancing shoes away for good. She's ready to tell her mother that she wasn't going to allow her mother's dream to rule her life any longer. Not only was she allowing herself to get into a life and death sickness to live her mother's dream; but she was rapidly falling into depression. She just can't live the lie any longer.

Jody on the other hands knows the full truth of Maureen's fears. Can she be the one to help Maureen find her truest desire – and help her through her multitude issues? Can the beaten down, and truly mistrusting Maureen allow her too?

CATEGORY: Friendship/ Hurt/Comfort/ Drama/ Family/ Romance/ Angst/ Tragedy/ Suspense/ Spiritual


Song Title: Dancing Shoes

Song Artist: Gavin DeGraw


I quite! Maureen screamed in her head as she stared at where her mother sat. Do you hear me mother? I said I quite! Her mother just kept her eyes glued too the center of the stage where in mere moments she was opposed to dance out on. Well Maureen had decided right there, and then that she wasn't going to go out on that damn stage.

She turned around quickly, and scanned the back stage for Eva. She was going to tell Eva to go out on that stage for her. To wow everyone – to claim her rightful spot at ABA. Her eyes lit up at the sight of her roommate talking with her other roommate. She waved for Eva to come too her. She was slightly uncomfortable that Jody had tagged along. She shook off the unease as she smiled at Eva. "Eva this is your moment. I want you to dance for me."

"W-what?" Eva hissed in shocked.

"I'm giving up my solo, and giving it too you. I want you to dance for me." Maureen said with a wide smile. The music on stage was almost to the end, and then her solo was coming up. "You know the solo just as well – hell better than I do. You are ready." She tried to keep the tightness from her voice.

"No." It was Jody whom spoke up.

"I'm not going on." Maureen sighed. "Eva is going to take my place."

"No." Jody repeated more firmly this time.

"I'm not feeling well. I don't want to have to haul right on stage. Oh God forbid on the audience." Maureen said in a slightly pleading voice. She couldn't believe she was pleading. She never pleaded. She was taught better than that. But she couldn't keep the plea from her voice.

"No." Jody stated.

"You want this solo, Eva." Maureen said with a slight plea.

Eva could only nod.

"It's yours." Maureen waved her right hand to the stage. The music just started for the solo.

"Eva isn't going on that stage. You are." Jody said in a soft but firm voice. She pushed Eva gently to the side and placed her hand on Maureen's back. "Get out there and don't fail on purpose."

Maureen couldn't stop her feet from moving forward. She looked over her right shoulder and glared at Jody before she twisted her head back to the hated stage. She moved passed the curtain that separated the stage from the backstage. She glided towards the center of the stage and stood with her head bowed. Her eyes closed as she waited for the right moment to began her dance.

Don't fail on purpose. Jody's words kept repeating themselves on a timeless loop in her head as she breathed in deeply. Maureen felt her body tighten as she realized that she had to actually dance her best here. Not for her mother – not by a long shot. Not for herself. Hell; she didn't even want to be dancing at all. But for Jody. Her eyes opened wide as she stared at the small lighted circle around her feet. Where the hell did that come from?

The music began to pick up in the tempo. Maureen felt her body move on it's own accord. Her mind had shut down. She felt a light tingle in her soul as she spun on one foot and turned her head to the right. Just as she had practiced it for weeks on end. She felt her mouth draw up onto a smile. A smile that she knows doesn't meet her eyes. How could it? When her soul wasn't in the dance. All she wanted was the dance to be over – so she could finally throw her dancing shoes away for all time.

Her head twirled to the left and she locked eyes with Jody's. She flashed back to the first moment she set eyes on Jody. It was as they were all waiting to enter the girls studio on their first day. Maureen had been leaning against the wall nearest to the door. After all she was opposed to be the first one in the studio – she was opposed to be setting the sample on the rest of the ten hopefuls. She was opposed to show that she was going to be one of the chosen three girls. It was her role in her life. It was the role that her mother had hammered in her head since she was an infant.

She was all set to enter that room first – when suddenly her eyes met the smiling blue eyes of the blond girl across the hall. Just briefly – but enough time for Maureen to miss the fact that the door had opened, and the girls started walking into the studio. The blue eyes turned from her as she shrugged her right shoulder to push the strap of her black bag higher on it. Maureen silently watched as she the blond whom was a few inches shorter than her walked passed her through the door. She blinked as she realized where she remained. She pushed off the wall and managed to get into the studio before the last four girls came in.

Maureen walked over to the corner and dropped her bag next to the other bags. Turning she went to the beam, and started her warm up strengths. She lost herself in the hum dum of her normal routine. She heard her mother's voice in her head as a manta as she warmed her body up for the workout that her body was going to be put through. She twisted her right to the right and laid it on her raised leg. Opening her eyes as she sighed out as the muscles loosened up – only to be met with the blue eyes of the blond from the hall way.

"My name is Jody by the way." The blond said with a smile. She was having a little trouble keeping her balance as she stretched her leg.

Maureen kept silent. She straightened, and pulled her leg gracefully from the beam. She closed her eyes as she began her head rolls. She felt her neck crack as she leaned to the left. She sighed softly as she rolled her head to the back. Hissing slightly as her head rolled to the right. Her eyes opened after she rolled it back to her front. Her eyes met the unreadable blue eyes of Jody. She narrowed her eyes slightly. "My name is Maureen. I am going to be one of the three females to be chosen for ABA." She hissed.

Jody blinked.

Maureen felt a warm blush light up her cheeks. "I'm sorry." She said humbly. "I didn't mean to sound so well to put it plainly like such a bitch. I'm just dedicated to ballet and I want to be the best that I can be. ABA is the place for me. I have been a student here since I was nine after all." She couldn't stop her babbling to save her life. Shut up Maureen! Why are you telling her all this. She's your competitor. She's going to use this as a way to destroy you. Her mother's voice was screaming inside her head. She closed her eyes as she tried to shut that part of her brain off.

Maureen felt a hand on her arm. She blinked her eyes open. "I blabber when I get nervous too, Maureen. I think most humans do. You aren't alone in this." Jody softly said with a kind smile. "So I take it you have lived in New York for a long time?"

"I was born here." Maureen nodded her head. "I haven't ever been anywhere else. My mother wants me to concentrate on my dancing. She feels the best place for has always been at ABA. ABA doesn't accept any dancer under the age of nine. So for the first eight years I had private teachers." She shrugged her shoulders, "After I graduate from ABA as the top Prime Donna – and accepted by the best of the world renowned companies – then I get to travel the world."

Jody blinked. "I'm from Chicago."

"Go Cubs." Maureen quipped.

"You like baseball?" Excitement lit up Jody's blue eyes.

Maureen shook her head. "I don't have time. I dance twenty four seven. All my mother wanted me to have time for besides my education is too dance." She shrugged her shoulders. "I just know some of the teams names and what cities they are from."

Something was happening at the door way – but the two girls didn't pay any attention to the drama. They were so wrapped up in their conversation.

"I'll teach you about baseball. I'm a avid fan." Jody said with a smile. "So what schools have you attended?" She wanted to hear about the New York schools that always held interest with her.

"I never attended school. I was privately tutored." Maureen shrugged her shoulders. Pushing them backwards to get a proper stretch in.

Before Jody could say anything the teacher clapped her hands. Maureen placed her hand delicately on the beam. Jody moved in front of her and did the same. She kept her head firmly in front of her waiting for the rest of the ten girls to get into their places.

Maureen turned her head to the mirror to meet the piercing blue eyes of Jody.

The music changed tempo, and Maureen moved her waist, so she could complete the turn that the dance called for. Her eyes leaving Jody's piercing blue eyes. She forced herself to get herself back to the present – so she wouldn't have a mis step from the perfection that the dance required from her. I'll teach you about baseball. She smiled wide at this thought as she spun around, and around. She leapt high in the air with her arms stretched out wide in front of her – to pure emptiness that was the stage.

Bowing her head as she twisted her arms into her chest she closed her eyes. She allowed the music to sooth her soul from not seeing the wisp of the ghost that was opposed to be in front of her. She locked that deep within herself as she scolded herself that of course she didn't see the ghost – why the hell should she. She was on an the empty of the hateful stage. Empty expect for her lone self. She hitched her breath as she forced the lone tear from falling.

It wouldn't due to ruin the dance with her emotions. Her mother would kill her. She harden herself as she realized that after the dance was over – she would finally tell her mother that she was going to quite. Quite dancing and – and what? What did she want out of life?

Her hands flew from her too twist into a wide arch. Lifting her head as her eyes flew open she twirled around, and around. All she knew was the ballet. Her mother made sure that was the case. She knew how to bend her knees even before she learned how to walk. She breathed ballet – and dream t ballet. But she didn't want to dance ballet her entire life. But she was too afraid to admit this to her mother. Her mother whom loved the ballet. Whom wanted to be a ballerina herself – but was told she could never be one. Her mother whom lived the ballerina dream through Maureen.

What did she want out of her own life? Her head arched up into a swan like neck movement as she twirled around the stage. How could she go to her mother and state that she was quitting the ballerina dream without a inkling of a plan for her life? Her mother would just laugh it off, and force her back into the studio to do the knee strengths to prepare her for the next dance.

I hate THIS! I hate this mother! Do you hear me? Do you hear your little girl crying out in deep pain? Do you care? Have you ever cared about me? Not the ballerina but just …. Maureen? Do love me for whom I am – not because I've obeyed you since even before I can remember even wondering anything on my own? Maureen's eyes caught her mother's as she twirled her body around. Her mother's eyes were aglow as she watched in rapport. Whom do you see mother? Yourself or me? Do you ever see me …. just Maureen?

Maureen bowed her head as the music ended. No mother you don't see Maureen? You have never seen me. Never will. Well mother – I'm done. I'm done living YOUR dream; YOUR life. I'm going to live MY life from now on. Lifting her head up and meeting her mother's eyes dead on. I quite mother.

The curtain closed in front of her. Breathing harshly as she gathered her ragged breath. She didn't realize the arms that were clasping on her back, arms, shoulders and head. All she saw was her mother's eyes as they gazed on her. Not once did they shown any reorganization on whom she was. The eyes never had.

She felt a cool hand against her neck, and she twisted her head to the right, to meet the calming blue eyes of Jody.

"You are in the ABA program." Jonathan said with a wide smile.

Maureen couldn't tear her eyes off of Jody's. Jonathan's words were spinning around her head. She couldn't breathe. She forced herself to leave Jody's eyes to stare wide eyed into Jonathan's joyful voice. "No." She breathed out. Her breath hitched in her throat.

Jonathan just laughed it off. "Yes."

Shaking her head and shaking off the hands on her body. "No. I said no." She turned and fled from the stage.

Jonathan stared wide eyed after the fleeing newest star of his Academy. "Okay," He breathed. "I have had many shocked people when told that they are in ABA. But; I have had no one look like a scared deer in a hunters line of site before." He frowned. "It's like Maureen isn't happy to achieve what she has been striving for her entire life."

"She's scared." Jonathan blinked as he took in the young blond in front of him. He had quite forgotten that Jody had also been standing at Maureen's side during his happy news. "Maureen doesn't get scared." He said in a firm voice. "Maureen has been dedicated to the art of dance since I first met her when she was six years old. I wanted to take her in the youth program at ABA then – but I had to wait till she turned nine. She was my student on her ninth birthday."

"Maureen Cummings doesn't get scared." Jonathan said in a sure voice. "She just needs time to adjust to having her dreams realized."

"You don't know her do you?" Jody said in a knowing voice.

Jonathan looked into Jody's eyes. "I know her better than you do. I have known her longer than you. You have only known her for less than a year. You have only been rooming with her for said time. I hear you have joined Cooper's company. Once you leave ABA you will never even look back." He felt hardness in his throat.

"I'll look back." Jody said. "I will always look back." Lifting her head. "You are right I have only known Maureen for the past few months. But in that time I got to know her. Twelve years and you still have no basic idea on whom she is, Jonathan." Shaking her head. "Perhaps I have made a mistake?" She murmured as she turned around.

Jonathan looked belligerent as she walked threw the crowd of people towards the stage door. Seriously what the hell is going on here? Maureen isn't happy to be officially at ABA? Jody is acting all confrontation all of a sudden? What time loop have I entered? He turned around seeking his wife. Perhaps Kathleen will have some insight of Maureen's emotions. After all Kathleen had been in Maureen's position when she herself had gotten into the adult ABA program.

Jody turned the corner from the hallway that led to the theater. Leaning her back against the wall she frowned. I was wrong. I was ever so wrong. Her hands crisscrossed before she brought them up to rest underneath her chin. I'm going to fix this. I have too. Her blue eyes glistened with tears as she gazed at the wall in front of her.