Disclaimer: I do not own any of J.R.R Tolkien's LOTR, unfortunately. I only own Charlotte and her story.
Charlotte walked along the busy New York sidewalk, shouldering her heavy duffel bag. A cold fall wind managed to find it's way into her coat, causing her to bury her face into the front of her jacket. Horns honked and pedestrians leaned into the wind, pushing up against each other in their hurry to get home, away from the cold. Grimacing, she stopped to rub her aching calf. Ballet had not gone well. Just thinking about the way she had performed in front of Mr. Charbonneau made her blush in embarrassment.
It had all started when Charlotte had forgotten to tape her feet for her pointe shoes. Hurrying in late, she had barely enough time to slide into a leotard before the first strains of the piano floated out of the studio. Charlotte, ignoring the dirty looks from the other girls, quickly joined them in the plié combination at the barre. Her friend Ella glanced at her sympathetically.
"Charlotte, are you okay?" Ella whispered.
Charlotte grimaced in pain. "My feet are killing me. I can practically feel the blisters erupting on my toes."
Ella nodded. "I was wondering why you looked so… melancholy." The combination ended, and both girls turned to face Mr. Charbonneau.
"All right ladies, lets pull together our focus, shall we?" Mr. Charbonneau sighed. "Here is our next combination. Try and pay attention, will you girls? I only have you for a couple of hours." As Charbonneau demonstrated the next combination Charlotte shifted from foot to foot, trying to avoid the dull pain that throbbed in her toes. Eventually she just had to bite her lip and bear it throughout the whole of barre. When barre was over she rushed into the bathroom and quickly stuffed toilet paper into her shoes, then gingerly ran back to the studio, trying to walk on the balls of her feet. Ella handed her water bottle to Charlotte.
"Here. You need it more than I do." Charlotte smiled gratefully at her, then gulped then the water down. Then she took her place for adagio. Moving to the slow music at least gave her time to lose herself in the graceful movements required of her. As the last remnants of the music faded away she felt some satisfaction at the fact that she was able to do this one thing well. However, from then on it just got worse. She was constantly aware of the blisters on her toes, and acted with according hesitation. The class was, she thought miserably, maybe the worst she had ever taken since she moved to New York on her 20th birthday.
After, as she peeled off her pointe shoes and stared at the bloody mess that was her feet, Mr. Charbonneau pulled her aside for a small talk.
"Charlotte," he said, "today you had a very disappointing class. You seemed very distracted."
" I know, and I'm so sorry Mr. Charbonneau. I hardly had any time to warm up, and wasn't able to tape my feet, and.."
" Please, no excuses! I am trying, Ms. Turner, to train you to become a dancer. If you cannot even be prepared for a class, then perhaps that is not the career for you."
Even now his words still sting, thought Charlotte as she walked back to her apartment, turning into Central Park. Maybe coming here was the wrong choice. All I want to do is dance, but maybe that isn't my path. But ballet feels so… right Charlotte thought, brushing away tears of frustration. Looking up, she noticed that she must have traveled the wrong way. The trees in Central Park looked different in the late afternoon sun, and it somehow seemed like the air was cleaner and brighter, crisper. Furthermore, the noise of the city had disappeared. Maybe here I can find some much needed solitude.She sat down alongside the path, unrolling her yoga mat to protect her from the the damp forest floor, and pulled her hair out of the confines of her bun, letting the chestnut waves bounce against her waist. Charlotte smiled as the painful pins' dig popped out of her scalp. She had always liked long hair, perhaps because it made her feel like a princess. Lying back against the mat, she sighed and closed her eyes,trying to get comfortable. Perhaps it wasn't the smartest idea to rest in Central Park, but she was beyond caring.
Legolas watched the girl… no, young woman….shift around on her strange pad. Peering around the trunk of the tree, he watched as she sat up, and hit the ground in frustration. "Why can't I just relax for one minute without thinking of ballet," she muttered as she dug around in her satchel. Her hair swung forward, obscuring her face and what she was looking for. "Aha!" she cried, holding up a pair of shoes. Letting the arrow on his bow relax slightly, Legolas frowned as he tried to puzzle out her strange actions.
Putting the shoes aside, she began to stretch. Placing both of her legs in front of her, she rested her torso onto her legs, and deepened the stretch by putting her nose between her ankles. Then, standing up, she slid down into a full split. Legolas' eyes widened. Who is she? Why is she in these woods? What purpose does she have here? His eyes hardening, he prepared to step out from behind the tree and confront this woman.
Charlotte slid on her pointe shoes and stood up, looking for a place where she could begin her practicing. Noticing a large, flat rock she hurried over to it. It does look a little slanted, but I suppose that it will help me with my balance. God knows I need help with that, she thought. I'll start in 5th position. Taking off her sweatpants Charlotte arranged her legs in 5th position. Imagining music, she lifted her leg into arabesque, rising up en pointe. Coming down into 4th, she then turned five times, head snapping around in a perfect spot every time. Creating beautiful lines with her body, she flowed through the steps with grace and sensuality. Finally, she ended up in quasi, with her leg lifted at a 130 degree angle to the side. Charlotte was was so immersed in her movements that she didn't even notice the man standing in front of her with an arrow nocked to his bow, ready to shoot.