Aurora Reynolds has always been focused only on dance, but once she meets Eli, he gives her the chance to experience so much more of life.
Like every other night, Aurora Reynolds simply could not sleep. She had self-diagnosed herself as insomniac years ago and since then created her own methods of coping with it. Around 2 a.m. she would venture down to the beach shore behind her house in the small town of Gulfport, Florida. The gentle waves, the soft sand and the salty smell comforted her.
Among other things that comforted her was dance. From an early age, her parents had enrolled her in dance classes of every kind. Ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop—you name it, she danced it. But as she grew older, her focus became only of ballet and choreographing her own performances. She attended the same studio since birth, Mary-Beth’s, and was talented enough to be given free reign of her own style. Sometimes she even choreographed for other students, but her inspiration was found only on the beach. At night with wet sand between her toes, isolation inspired her, and she created hundreds of dances to the music only in her head. Then once the sun came out, she recreated them in the studio.
Tonight was like every other night. Aurora had slipped out of her bedroom window barefoot and in her pajamas. It’s not like she needed to get dressed; the beach was more often than not completely deserted at night.
Once down by the water, she stretched for a minute to warm up her body. She was wide awake and full of energy, but she felt it necessary to always prepare herself before jumping into a dance. At the moment she was working on her big solo showcase. It being the summer between high school graduation and college, her entire future was riding on the outcome of this dance. So needless to say, it had to be absolutely flawless. Aurora had been perfecting it for the last two weeks and now she was focused on just touching up a few transitions and turns.
The beach at this hour was dark, but a few yards away light from the lone lamppost on the pier shown down on the sand. It didn’t reach the water, but gave Aurora a dim glow and enough vision to mark off certain changeovers of her dance. She scratched shapes in the sand to give herself a better view of her performance, concerned about a few parts.
But as she began to lose herself in the dance, a shadow moved near the light and she stopped mid-step to make she hadn’t imagined it. She hadn’t. A dark figure was seated on the ledge of the pier, watching her dance in silence. In panic, Aurora took off in a run toward her house. And yet, she was more upset about being unable to make changes to her dance than the idea of someone watching her so late at night, or rather this early in the morning.
She attempted to fix parts of her dance in her room, but it wasn’t the same. She didn’t feel inspired like she did on the beach and defeated, she lay down in her bed until the sun came up around 6:30 a.m. She didn’t have to be at the studio until 10:15, but knew it was probably already open. Mary-Beth stayed late at night and arrived early in the morning, so Aurora hoped she could get inside a studio room by herself for just a few hours.