*New Short Story Series*
Yay!!!! It’s Fiction Friday! Without further ado, here’s the new story!
Jacqueline Davenport breathed as deep of a breath as her nerves would allow her. She opened her eyes and fixed them on the wooden door in front of her. She was here. She was forty five minutes early. She was ready.
Jacqueline lifted her chin and opened the door with an air of confidence. She softly smiled into a room that she expected to be full of people. The empty room immediately stole her smile.
Where is everyone?
She walked over to the mirror, set down her bag, and looked into her own sea blue eyes questioningly. She involuntarily began to fidget with her hair and clothes again. Despite the air conditioned building, she was already sweating through her dark purple, three-quarter sleeve leotard. She smoothed her black hair back into its bun once again, and carefully re-pinned a loose strand. She straightened her black skirt over her short frame.
Jacqueline stepped back and observed her over all appearance. A smile played across her lips. She almost giggled at herself as she walked over to the barre.
I’m just early. Everyone else is probably still sleeping.
She put her leg up onto the barre and laid herself over it. She yawned and glanced at the clock again. She stretched her arms above her head and stretched back over her leg again.
The fact that it was her first day in a professional ballet company was finally setting in. She had dedicated her life to ballet, and even though she knew that she still had so far to go, she was here. She had made it this far.
She sat down on the cold floor and pulled her old iPhone out of her bag. Her heart began to pound loudly in her chest once again as reality set in. She plugged in her headphones and pressed play as she began to stretch.
You called me out upon the waters
The great unknown
Where feet may fail
Yes, this song was way over-played on the radio. Yes, it was old. But to Jacqueline, it meant so much. It refreshed her mind. She was able to think clearly again and focus on her goal.
She was a missionary. These rooms were her fields.
Clearly her field wasn’t the typical one. It wasn’t a safari filled with lions, tigers, and bears. It was a sweaty room filled with dedicated athletes. It wasn’t filled with pagan people trying to kill her for her faith. It was filled with people who mostly didn’t care what she believed or why she believed it. But she cared about them. That was all that mattered.
Jacqueline almost jumped out of her skin as the door behind her opened. Thankfully, it was her one of her best friends from the company’s school. Jacqueline immediately jumped up and ran over to greet her friend.
“Kathy! Wow, you’re even on time!”
“Please, I didn’t sleep a wink last night.” Her auburn headed friend said. “Three cups of coffee down and it’s only 9:30!”
Jacqueline grinned. “How many times have I told you that coffee doesn’t replace sleep? It’s really terrible for athletes.”
“Professional athletes.” Kathy added. “Don’t leave off the professional part.”
The door behind them immediately opened and slammed again. It was Ethan Batali. The cranky, slightly greying, principle dancer came in and threw his bags on the ground. The girls tried to keep straight faces.
“Good morning, Ethan.” Jacqueline said loudly and politely.
Ethan grunted and turned away from them, muttering something about “nosy apprentices”.
The girls looked at each other and raised their eyebrows. To warm up, they spread out across the room as they had previously agreed upon. If they stood beside each other, it would look like they were relying on each other to learn the combinations.
Kathy’s warm up routine involved lying on her back for 10 minutes and breathing before she stretched. Jacqueline had always wondering if she just did it because she wanted to catch a little extra sleep.
Jacqueline began her warm up routine, which consisted of some gentle stretching, lots of music, and purposeful breathing.
More and more dancers began pouring into the room, and Jacqueline tried not to freak out as she recognized some of them.
Joined the company at age 15. Danced Odette/Odile at 18.
Last season, he danced Apollo as a soloist. At age 19.
Now 37, she was once the youngest principle in the company’s history. Roles included…pretty much everything.
The room filled to its usual busy, bustling capacity.
A loud, yet soft voice immediately silenced all of the other voices as soon as it spoke.
The dancers all found a spot along the barre. Like soldiers in a row, they listened attentively to Madame Kabinov, the Artistic Director.
“Good morning, dancers. I’d like welcome you to the first class of the 2016-2017 season.”
The room thundered with applause and cheering. Jacqueline forgot to react as she stared with fear into Madame Kabinov’s cold, stern face. She had taken a few classes with her while she was in the school, so she was familiar with her teaching style and her ‘unique’ personality. She had always had the feeling that she didn’t like her for some reason.
“Let’s begin.” Madame Kabinov spoke once the cheering had died down.
Jacqueline smirked at the floor. Madame Kabinov was as short and to the point as always.
Jacqueline placed her hand on the barre and watched Madame Kabinov demonstrate the combination. She marked the combination with her hands and ran it through her brain quickly to make sure she fully understood it. Every arm, every leg, every detail.
In the midst of focusing so hard on the combination, she was shocked when she saw the person in front of her turn around.
Alisha Radomski. Alisha. Radomski.
The tall, twenty-six year old principle dancer had danced Jacqueline’s dream role last season. Giselle. You could say that Alisha was Jacqueline’s favorite dancer in the company. She had looked up to her since her first year in the school.
“Hey, you’re one of the new apprentices, right?”
“What?” Jacqueline reacted. Alisha Radomski was talking to her.
“Oh, yes.” She replied in shock. “I’m Jacqueline. And you’re Alisha Radomski.”
“Nice to meet you.” She said with a smile as she turned away to place her left hand on the barre.
“Call me Ali.” She added with a down to earth grin.
Jacqueline had to use all of the self-control in her being to keep from squealing. But a moment later, her left brain had taken over. She was fully focused on plies, even though a silly smile remained on her face.