It is so good to be writing again!
Welcome back all my old readers! Your continued support after completion was amazing! Thank you so much!
To any new readers, welcome!
This is the sequel to 'Clair de Lune'. Whilst it is understandable without reading the first fanfic, I would strongly recommend reading it first!
Anyways, get ready for a new fanfic of drama, romance, and, of course; DANCE!
Please flick me a review, tell me what you think!
So, without further ado:
Angels, Memories, Utpoia, Stand My Ground, Frozen - Within Temptation (yes, I write ballet fanfics to Scandinavian Symphonic Heavy Metal)
Clair de Lune - Claude Debussy (because there is simply no other piece like it)
Eight o'clock. Eight o'clock and I was still lying in bed. The sun, every day getting weaker as winter crept in, was shining through a split in my curtains, cutting across my cheek and arm. An arm which was looking less toned by the day...
I frowned at it, then pushed my covers back. My stomach was still flat, my legs still slender. To most, I would have looked like...well, a ballet dancer. But to me...I felt about as dancer-like as a cow. My neck felt stiff, my posture seemed to be lazy and bent, and I would be lucky if my legs could make it halfway into the splits. I kicked back my comforter a little further. And there was the problem; my ankle.
It had been two weeks since Tanya Denali, Force de la Beauté's ex-prima ballerina, had shoved me from my pointe just as I'd been about to go on stage, and still my ankle was weak. It kept turning over just when I was walking down a street or stepping out of a car. I looked like a klutz. Ballet dancers are not meant to look like klutzes. Tanya doesn't look like a klutz...
I bit my lip, pushing away the thought, and slowly got up. But Tanya was a total bitch...there's no reason to worry... It was true, Edward had chosen me. Though, he hadn't at first. He was my partnering teacher and a senior, but somehow he'd ended up dancing with me in class, and we'd had some sort of a connection...dancing with him was like nothing I'd ever experienced.
But that connection wasn't practical, and Edward had chosen to ignore it. It was only got to New York for an audition for the American Ballet that he realized he would rather have been with me. And so he'd come back...just for me...
And a very pissed off Tanya had come too, hell bent on revenge. And that was when she'd pushed me. And that was why I was here, back in Forks with my parents, letting my bones forget their strength and my mind forget its discipline.
I sighed, hobbling over to push my curtains back, letting in the day. God, I missed Madam Esme's six thirty wake up calls. I missed the endless staircases. I missed the long hours and the everlasting barre exercises and the boring Ballet History classes. I missed my friends; Eliza and Violet and Ben and Mike and Alice and Jasper and Emmett and Angela – although she too was still gone after her terrible accident.
I looked out over the forest which my Dad's house lay next to, watching the sunlight glint on the raindrops still hanging from the branches. And I missed Edward. I missed him in a way in which every time I thought about him – which was a lot – I got an empty feeling in the bottom of my stomach. And it was silly...because, realistically, there was going to be a lot of time without him. He couldn't stay in Senior year forever, and I sure as hell couldn't whip out the skill to skip two years and join him.
That was the other problem with my recovery break; it gave me too much time to think about reality. The future. The harsh truths.
I had to dance! I was sick of sitting watching life move all around me! I wanted to do what I loved again...because now more than ever, after all my experiences at Force, dancing was my passion...it was a part of me. And I wanted to feel that exhilaration again...
I snatched my towel from the floor and hopped my way to the bathroom. My patience was wearing thin...
When I eventually got myself down to Dad's small but cosy kitchen, Mom was up, shoving a big turkey in the oven. Dad sat at the table, chopping up bits of pumpkin. I smiled from the doorway. At least there was one upside to the whole injury thing; I got see my parents. And better yet, together. All of us in Forks for Thanksgiving. It wasn't a normal thing for Mom and Dad to be in one place together, but because of my recovery it was going to be difficult for me to hop back and forth from Phoenix to Forks and still keep seeing the physio. Neither of them had seen me since I'd started at Force, so Mom had taken a few days leave from her teaching post and had come here.
"Morning!" She said, seeing me in the doorway.
"Morning," I replied. I had inherited my ballet body from my Mom. She was tall and slim, although the corners of her eyes were crinkled with smile lines, and her hair was messy. She was useless at taking care of herself – she dedicated herself to her students, and that usually ended up with her replacing eating and sleep with assignment marking and extra tutoring. Phil, her new husband, seemed to be taking care of her, though, since she was still in one piece. He'd stayed back in Phoenix, knowing that Mom was going to be fully preoccupied with me.
And she certainly was.
Now, she helped me into a seat at the table, and then plonked a big plate of eggs and bacon in front of me.
"Mom..." I said.
"Oh quit fussing!" She clucked, throwing some strawberries into the blender. "Even ballerinas are allowed to eat on Thanksgiving!"
I laughed, "But what about ballerinas who've been eating like it's Thanksgiving for two weeks?"
Mom shrugged, "You were practising."
I grinned and yielded, stabbing a hash brown with my fork. "Just be careful with that blender."
"I second that motion," said Dad, looking concernedly at her as Mom tried to fit the lid on.
"Oh come on, Charlie," she laughed, "I'm not that bad a cook."
Dad and I exchanged conspiratorial glances.
"Hey, who's that?" Mom said suddenly, looking out the window.
I followed her gaze. A dirty-looking Audi had pulled up outside. I didn't recognize it, but I would know that jet black hair anywhere.
As fast as I could, I rushed out of the kitchen, down the corridor and out the door. "Alice!" I shouted as she climbed out of the car.
"Bella!" she squealed. She threw her arms around me in a tight hug, despite being so small. "It's so good to see you!"
"You too!" I could hardly contain myself. "What are you doing here, Ali'?"
"Well, I was driving home for Thanksgiving, but my parents are in Brazil at the moment so it's not like anyone's waiting for me, so I figured I'd come and see you for a wee bit!"
"Thanksgiving alone?" I said. "You're kidding – you have to stay with us!"
Alice grinned and rolled her eyes, "Well, if it's okay with your folks."
"Of course!" I said, spinning around to see Mom and Dad standing on the porch, looking in total surprise at my friend. Actually, I couldn't really blame them. She wasn't in one of her usual glitzy leotards, but Alice was still dressed for attention. Today, the colour scheme was red, yellow and blue. Her bubble skirt was made of layers and layers of tulle, much like a tutu, but each primary coloured layer was trimmed to reveal another one underneath. It was fastened tight around her waist. She wore a fitted black jacket on top, black tights, blue school girl heels and, of course, red leg warmers.
Yeah, no wonder Mom and Dad were staring. "Mom, Dad," I said, tugging her with me. "This is Alice, my friend from Force."
"It's a pleasure," Mom said, reaching to shake her hand. Dad followed suit, though he quirked an eyebrow at me as he did so. I realized Alice's amazing fashion wasn't the only reason they were surprised – this was probably the most animated they'd seen me since I'd come back.
"Mom, can Alice stay for dinner and everything?" I asked excitedly. "She lives in Spokane, but her parents are in Brazil."
Mom smiled, "Well, no one should be alone at Thanksgiving, should they?"
Alice grinned, "Thank you so much."
"But you have to be prepared to eat more than just a Brussels sprout," warned Dad.
Alice laughed as they led us inside, "Don't worry, I sneak in a pop tart before every performance."
"Seriously?" I said.
"Yeah," Alice replied. "Whilst you and Edward are switching states and stealing tutus, Jasper and I are putting our feet up and getting a sugar hit."
Mom sat us down at the table and put an identical plate of food in front of Alice. "Ah, so you know the mysterious 'Edward', Alice?"
"I do indeed," Alice said, poking her tongue out at me. "So Bella hasn't given you the boyfriend rundown yet?"
"Nope," said Dad. "Though we'd love to know."
I sighed. I didn't really know why I was so reluctant to tell Mom and Dad the whole story of Edward and me, except that they were both incredibly practical, intelligent people and I seriously doubted that they would approve of such an unrealistic, unreliable relationship. I knew they couldn't disapprove of Edward; he was Prince Charming himself.
Actually, I thought with a smile, he has literally been Prince Charming in Cinderella with the Paris Opera. But that was just it – he was far too good for me, ballet-wise. And my parents, loving and protective, wouldn't want me to be with someone who would eventually have to leave me. Who could break my heart...
"Well, he's a great guy," Alice said diplomatically. Thank God she was good at reading people.
"Where is he right now?" I asked her. "He's not staying at Force, I hope?" I hadn't had as much contact with Edward as we'd wanted – my computer was useless and Edward could only really call once or twice a week. Despite all my worries about our future, I was desperate to see him.
Alice shook her head, "No, I think he'd rather be, though; his father's home for once, so he's back in Chicago." She gave me a meaningful look.
"Ah," I said, understanding her perfectly. Edward's father had found out very soon after the Review that Edward had lost Tanya and had made an impromptu appearance on stage with some random first year girl who had no standing in the ballet world whatsoever. In a phone call to me, Edward had told me that his father was enraged, but that I shouldn't worry; Edward would protect me. That had hardly done anything for my nerves. I was going to need a bodyguard to face down Anthony Masen? Hardly reassuring...
"Your boy's a city dweller, is he?" said Dad.
"Yeah," I said, a little thrill shooting up my spine with the words 'your boy'. My boy...
"Ugh!" Alice exclaimed dramatically. "You get that same goofy smile he does every time you think of him!"
"I do not!" I said.
"Do so!" Mom and Alice said in unison.
Mom laughed and pointed at Alice with a potato peeler, "I like this girl."
"So how'd you end up being at this ballet place, Alice?" asked Dad, simultaneously avoiding his terrible French pronunciation and displaying his lack of respect for Force.
Alice smiled at me, knowing that my parents weren't the most avid ballet supporters. "Well, I started dancing when I was tiny, and I pretty much stayed in the same studio 'til I was fifteen, then I decided I wanted to take up ballet as a professional kinda thing because I just loved it so much. And I auditioned for a whole load of schools and finally Force let me in on scholarship."
"Scholarship?" Mom repeated, exchanging a glance with my Dad. "Was it particularly difficult getting one?"
"Yeah," Alice admitted. "I mean, they give out only one or two and they almost always go to dancers from overseas."
"Like Russian danseurs, for instance?" I said, nudging Alice.
She sighed happily, "Mhm. Fortunately...anyways, I feel really privileged to have one. I swear that there's not a school in the World which could beat Force in its success rates. We have more students than any other school going into top ballet companies each year."
"Told you I was in the right place," I said teasingly to Mom, but she just gave me a half-smile and returned to her cooking.
"Bella," said Dad. "You should show Alice here some of the tracks around the park."
Alice and I both glanced down at her Jimmy Choos, then burst into laughter. "Come on," I said. "I'll show you round the house instead."
We couldn't help but hear the hushed voices of my parents beginning to squabble as we closed the door.
"So has there been any news about Tanya?" I asked Alice as we sat in my room. She was carefully studying my wardrobe, making very explanatory faces at my poor fashion choices.
She paused halfway through holding up another of my dad's old baseball shirts. "Nope; she's gone completely off the radar, which either means she's been cast onto the street by her family or that she's plotting something."
"Is she still enrolled?"
Alice shook her head, "Emmett checked during one of his weekly snoops around Carlisle's office. Her file's still there, but it says she transferred elsewhere."
"Where?" I asked.
"Haven't a clue, Miss Prima Ballerina who should stop being so worried about a nobody," Alice abandoned my closet and came to sit next to me on my bed. She slung an arm round my shoulders, "She's gone for good, Bella. Edward is yours."
"Then who's he been dancing with in partnering?"
Alice gave an exasperated sigh, "Me and Rose most of the time. And trust me, it is not fun."
I frowned, "Why not? He's perfec – "
Alice held up a manicured finger, "Uh uh, do not say that, 'cause he's not. Partnering Edward Masen is like pretending to be a pink Gucci handbag when you're a plastic supermarket bag."
"I'm the Gucci?" I guessed, feeling more anxious than flattered.
"Yup," Alice said, popping the 'p'. "Honestly, he doesn't complain or anything, it's just..." she twisted her lips comically, thinking. "It's just that after seeing the two of you dancing together at the Review, I just know he's holding himself back and getting frustrated." Alice patted me on the back, "He really misses you. I wasn't kidding earlier – every time there's a mention of you, his eyes light up and he's listening."
I blushed, "I miss him, too."
Alice grinned and flung herself back onto my pillows, "Ah!" she exclaimed dramatically. "Young love!"
Dinner went off without a hitch. Despite my Mom being in charge, the food wasn't half bad, and Alice was her charming self, easily skipping from hilarious story to hilarious story, asking questions and complimenting on cue. It was a perfect Thanksgiving dinner. The only hitch was whenever I caught Mom and Dad glancing at each other uneasily across the table. I wondered if it was something to do with Alice, though I really couldn't see how they couldn't like her.
It was after dinner that we finally got the answer to the mystery. Alice and I had cleaned up, insisting that the two chefs go and take a break. And now we returned to the living room to see my parents sitting there, carefully arranged smiles on their faces.
"What?" I said uncertainly as they looked at me, their anxiousness showing right through.
"We have a present for you, sweetie," said Mom.
"Since when did Thanksgiving involve presents?" I asked confusedly.
"There's a first for everything," she replied. "Sit down..."
Alice and I awkwardly sat on the other couch. Somehow I sensed that Alice's presence was making whatever this was even more difficult for my parents.
I looked expectantly at them, and Dad produced a large white envelope. "Happy Thanksgiving, Bells."
My nerves growing, I took it. "Am I getting Grandma Swan's Christmas money early?" I asked in vain, even though it was way too big to be one of Grandma's homemade cards.
Mom gave a high, off-key laugh. "No. Just open it..."
With a deep breath, I slid my thumb under the seal and tore it open. Inside was a glossy booklet. Frowning, I pulled it out. The front cover had a danseur in arabesque – one leg outstretched behind him, one arm reaching in front – on a dark stage, his lean muscles and handsome face only lit in blue light. Had it been just the photo, I would have marvelled at his perfect line and technique...but then I read the calligraphy above:
School of Contemporary and Classical Dance
I stared at the words, unable to speak. I didn't even want to contemplate...but already my mind was spinning into frenzy. "Mom..." I whispered. "What are you suggesting here?"
After a quick look to Dad for support, Mom dived in. "They have a fantastic reputation," she said. "And all students have to do academics through correspondence school."
"Mom," I said desperately, finally looking up at her. I could feel tears sparking behind my eyes. "I don't care about academics..."
"Well, their dancing's meant to be good, as well," she replied, equally desperate.
"Yeah, Bells," said Dad. "It's meant to be right up there with the Boilshoi and all those other Russian places..."
"It's the Bolshoi," I said. "And I don't care anyway – it's not Force."
"I know, sweetie," said Mom, leaning across to pat me on the knee. I remained unmoved. "But Force isn't the only school, and Colaianni is closer, and – "
"And what?" I demanded. "Force is perfect for me; this," I held the book up, my nails digging into its cover. "This is not. Why...how could you even think that I would want to change schools?"
"Well, you've come back here in pieces, hardly able to walk, and we thought you'd like the chance to keep going with normal school work, and you've been so distracted by this Edward boy..."
I shook my head, "That's total crap, Mom; you know I have never been happier than at Force."
"Well, sweetie...there is another reason..."
"What?" I snapped.
Dad awkwardly coughed, looking at Alice.
She had been totally silent since I'd opened my 'present', frozen, staring at the book in horror. Now she seemed to come to her senses. "Uh, I'd...better call my parents before it gets too late..." quickly, she was out the door, giving us some space.
"What?" I asked again.
Mom and Dad exchanged glances again, and this time it was Dad who leant forward with clasped hands. "Force is getting quite...expensive, Bells. Your Mom's work isn't exactly giving her much at the moment and I've never been in a position to pay for private tuition. We've paid for the rest of this term, Bells, but..." he sighed. "We can't afford to keep you there anymore."
I gulped, taken aback. "But isn't there some sort of a scholarship...?" But by the end of the sentence the idea had already been scrapped.
"Like your friend said earlier, there aren't many, and we've checked, sweetie," Mom gave me a sad smile. "There's nothing, and even with an endorsement from somewhere, we wouldn't have enough to cover all the costs of boarding and classes and shoes and tights and all those other things you dancers seem to need..."
"Did you talk to Master Carlisle?" I asked.
"Carlisle Cullen's not in charge of scholarships, Bella," said Dad. "It's up to the board, and they can't just dish out money to anyone in need."
"Oh God," I whispered, putting a hand to my forehead. This was a nightmare... "But why Colaianni? Surely they're just as expensive."
"Well," said Mom. "That's where the sort of good surprise comes in – look in the envelope."
Cautiously, I looked in again and pulled out a piece of paper. It was a letter...
Dear Miss Swan,
I am happy to inform you that you have been accepted into Aro Colaianni's as a level three student. We apologize for the lateness of this acceptance, as we were informed of your entrance into another school before we could send it. However, one of our scholarship students has had to leave the academy, and as you are next on the list we feel it is only right to inform you that the position is now vacant for you.
Should you choose to accept this position, all tuition fees will be accounted for under the full scholarship, as well as reduced boarding fees in our academy apartments. The scholarship is subject to absolute compliance with academy rules, and a display of development and commitment in all subjects. These criteria will be examined on a fortnightly basis by a member of the faculty.
We hope to hear of your decision soon.
Aro Colaianni School of Contemporary and Classical Dance
"I got a scholarship?" I whispered.
Mom nodded, smiling.
I shook my head, "They actually think I'm good enough..."
It was difficult to get my head around – it had been over half a year since I had attended audition after audition for different ballet schools around the country; Julliard, US Ballet, Walnut Hill, Joffrey, Pacific Northwest and, yes, Aro Colaianni. But it had been Force de la Beauté which I had really wanted to get into. And when I had gotten their acceptance letter, the thought of attending any other school had gone out the window, Colaianni included. But I never even imagined that I'd be anywhere close to being offered a scholarship!
But I won't be at Force...
I bit my lip, looking back at my parents, "I can't take this. I have to find a way to stay at Force."
"There is no way, sweetie," said Mom. "And they're offering you a full scholarship!"
"That's one heck of a compliment, Bells," Dad put in.
"I know," I said quietly. "But I don't care if they give me a thousand scholarships – it's not Force." I shook my head, knowing I was being stupid. "I'm sorry," I said. "I know there's nothing you can do...and if Collaianni is offering me a chance to keep dancing, then I guess...I'll take it."
Mom stood up and gave me a hug. "I promise, sweetie, you'll have a ball there!"
Dad put his arms round the both of us, "We're so proud of you, Bells." I smiled, but inside I was dying.
I found Alice up in my room, pulling bed clothes onto the mattress we'd found for her.
"Hey," I said quietly.
"Hey," she replied, equally softly. She finished tugging on the corner of a sheet and stood up. Worry played in her eyes. "So...what's happening?"
"My parents don't have the money to keep me at Force," I said blankly. "And Aro Colainni's has offered me a full scholarship. I start in the Spring."
"A scholarship?" Alice repeated, a frown suddenly on her face.
I nodded, "Apparently someone had to pull out, and I was next in line."
"Isn't that a bit odd, this far into the year...?" she sighed and shook her head. "It doesn't matter...I guess I should say congratulations..." she gave me a sympathetic smile.
I pushed my fingers through my hair. "I just can't believe it...and I can't face leaving Force..."
"You've still got the rest of the semester. Maybe by then we'll have worked something out."
But we both knew it was totally unrealistic.
We got ready for bed in silence. There was nothing more to be said...I had to go. I just couldn't believe that it things had come crashing down in the space of a few short minutes. And that I hadn't thought about fees before...I'd just assumed that my parents were able to pay them. But a private boarding school, dance or no dance, was always going to have been expensive...and Force...well, it didn't get the best dance teachers in the world through charity.
"Don't tell Edward," I said quietly as I sat on the bed, plaiting my hair.
"I know," Alice replied solemnly. How had a day of fun turned into this? "He'll be sad. Of course you should tell him yourself."
I nodded, though the very thought of telling Edward that I was leaving Force made me feel sick.
"Oh!" Alice suddenly exclaimed, abruptly returning to her usual state of bounciness. "That reminds me..." she got up and rifled around in her suitcase. Eventually, she brought out a small black box, tied with a dark blue ribbon. "Here – hopefully a nice present this time. Edward thrust it into my hands as I was leaving."
I gave her a small smile, "Thanks."
Taking the box, I undid the ribbon and lifted the lid. Inside, cushioned in dark blue satin, was a shining silver pinkie ring, intricately carved and...perfect. And looking closer, there was a thin band of delicate blue sapphires running through the centre of the carvings. "This is beautiful," I whispered.
There was a note tucked into the side of the box. My heart fluttering, I took it out. Edward's neat, almost old-fashioned handwriting was easily recognizable;
I wish I could be the one with you today, though Alice is very excited to see you – I miss you so much and I know that recovering from injury is as lonely as anything. But since I can't be, here is a trinket. Don't worry – it didn't cost me anything. Just a part of me to always be with you.
I stared at the note. My heart ached – would he still be able to give a part of himself to me when I was at Aro Colaianni's and not at Force? How could he? We wouldn't be dancing together or even seeing each other...it would be over. Our relationship is over before it's even begun...
I gulped back tears, and tried to remind myself that I still had what was left of class until Christmas. I still had him until then...we could still be together, still act like everything was perfect.
Gently, I took the ring from the box and put it on my right pinkie finger. I understood why it wasn't a full sized ring – I could cover this with sports tape and wear it on stage. A part of me to always be with you...always.
With a sigh, I put the box on my desk and flicked off the light.
"Goodnight..." I could hear she wanted to say more, but she let me be.
I curled up under my comforter and pressed my lips against the cool metal of the ring. Edward...what can I do?
Alice left the next morning. Her cheeriness was a little more forced than usual, but she thanked my parents with all the necessary graces. After she left, I slipped back, even deeper this time, into despair. My parents tried to cheer me up with telling me all sorts of facts they'd gathered about Aro Colaianni, but they didn't understand. I tried not to resent them. After all, there was nothing they could do; if there wasn't the money, then there wasn't the money. But I couldn't feign acceptance. I slouched around the house for days, eating little and talking even less. The only time I went out was to visit the physio.
She gave me the piece of news that I had been waiting for for so long; that my ankle was strong enough to dance on again.
It was time to return to Force de la Beauté.
Oh dear, poor Bella...
Still, it's so good to be back with them!
I want to know, even if it's to tell me I should find a small hole and not come out of it ever again for fear of literary apocalypse!
Tell me your thoughts! :D Thanks!