Today I'm sharing Phantom's Romance, part 1: Alone by Lesa Howard. For you who are not familiar with it, it's a scene from Phantom's Dance in Erik's POV. I really love it!
You can also find it on Lesa's Wattpad.
Part 1: Alone
Romeo and Juliet unfolds magically on stage and Christine is lost in the performance. She stares transfixed at the company of ballet dancers and her face reveals much about her love of the art. Her brow tightens when she locks her gaze on Claudette Sunderland's feet, as if committing the woman's steps to memory. And when she bites her lower lip, I know she's comparing herself to Claudette, the principal dancer playing Juliet. I know this because I've compared myself to other dancers time and time again.
I have to clamp a hand over my mouth to stifle a chuckle when she sways with the music and even rises slightly in her seat as Romeo lifts Juliet over his head. She holds her breath, exhaling and settling back into her chair when it's clear the lift is a success.
Christine is a gifted dancer. The problem is she doesn't know it. Which comes as no surprise considering the inept teachers at the Rousseau Academy, especially Elaina Hahn. I wonder if the old bat knows her students refer to her as Attila the Hahn behind her back.
But whether it's repertory, pointe class, or technique none of the idiots there recognize what they have in Christine, the able dancer she is. Naturally agile, she's a born ballerina. It's easy to see, though, that something holds her back. She's eager to please her instructors, which comes across needy. But there's more and I struggle to put my finger on it. Something more than overbearing instructors and jealous classmates inhibits her and feeds her insecurities. I get that. I totally get being ignored for someone else. Maybe that's why I couldn't keep my freaking mouth shut when I saw her the other night.
I'd followed that annoying brat Evander, the one they all call a ballet prodigy, into the theater to see what he was sticking his nose into again. She'd followed him, too. But she's not as good as I am at tracking, and when Evander realized she'd pursued him, he sneaked out through the building's front entry. Satisfied he'd not be finding my sanctuary in the basement, I almost left, as well. Then she stepped onto the stage.
From behind the curtain, I'd watched her. She played like a child, flitting and flying around the stage on the tips of her toes. Unabashedly laughing and giggling. It was adorable. She was adorable. But when she checked her posture in the shadows on the dance floor, I knew immediately what she needed. So I spoke out and told her to stop checking her form all the time. If she insisted on worrying about technique, she'd never be able to freely express herself in her art.
After her initial shock at hearing me from behind the curtains, she took my comments as criticism and grew defensive. It irritated her further that I wouldn't come out on stage. Not having thought things through, I didn't know what to say when she asked why I stayed hidden. I couldn't exactly tell her that I resembled a sideshow freak who'd send mothers and babies shrieking if seen in the light of day. So I let her believe I was a theater employee.
She blew me off when I said I could help her, which was a good thing because I was sweating bullets. I mean how stupid was I, offering to tutor her. It would be impossible for me to be on stage with her. Talk about Beauty and the Beast. So she left that night and went home to her comfortable apartment and loving family, while I skulked back downstairs to my monster's lair in the basement boiler room.
Romeo and Juliet is over now and she stands with the crowd as they ready to leave. Then oddly she sits down again, rises halfway as if to stand, and then appears to make up her mind about something and drops back into the seat. Immediately, I know what she is doing.
"You're hanging back to snoop around, arent' you ballerina?" I mumble to myself. And in spite of the pull and draw of my melted cheek, I smile a crooked smile. "We're alike, Christine Dadey. We know what we want and we go after it."
I'm not the typical author. I didn't always enjoy reading or writing. While in school, I found it to be a chore I'd just as soon skip. I would rather have been daydreaming, my favorite past time. It wasn’t until I grew up and didn’t have to, that I realized reading was fun. I soon discovered that reading fueled my daydreaming. So, remembering a short story I'd written in high school, I began imagining expanding that story into a book. Before long I found I had loads of ideas for not just the short story but other books and stories as well. Fast forward a few years, a lot of studying about writing, practicing my writing, studying some more, taking classes from people who knew what they were doing, studying and practicing yet more, and ta-dah, author! In the same way I had learned I loved reading, I learned I loved writing, too. It’s just that writing is a lot harder than reading.
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