My heart was pumping as I sat on the wood floor of the empty dance studio, trying to bring my heart rate down. The adrenaline rush I feel from dancing was still in me. It was my own kind of high, it was my escape, and nobody could take that away from me.
As I re-tied my long hair into a messy bun, I looked across the room at myself in the giant mirror. The pale skinned, bluish greenish eyed me. I slowly got up, still immersed in my good mood, and went to quickly go change. Dancing did this to me, whenever I dance I release every emotion I feel, even exhaustion, and then I pass out. Not really, I just sleep for what feels like forever.
Once I was changed, I told my instructor, Debbie, I was done, and that I was off. Debbie is my new instructor. Up until Iwas eighteen last winter, I had Laura. At that time I was in a 15-17 year old class. Now my class consists of 18-22 year olds. That dance studio is pretty much the reason I got accepted to Juliard. my mom said it was talent, but personally, I think I'm just as good as the next person.
I know you must think I'm crazy to have turned down a full scholarship, but dance may be my passion, but it sure wasn't going to pay the bills. I could never make a living off of dancing, plus I love writing equally as much. That's why I'm majoring in journalism is the fall at Summerton Hills Community College.
Pulling into my driveway, and slowing to a stop, I noticed a black, expensive luxury car in our driveway. It looked like that new Mercedes that just came out. But who with that much money would want to see my mom and I, I thought as I got out of my Toyota that looked like a piece of shit next to that thing.
Our neighbors, the Washingtons were sitting on their porch. When they saw me, they waved. I smiled and waved back, trying to be polite. "Hey," I started, "do you know," I didn't finish me sentence, instead I just pointed at the car with a questioning expression.
"No clue, I thought you knew," said Mr. Washington.
"No idea," I said, shrugging my shoulders. "I guess I'm gonna find out." I said before walking away and up to my house. Yanking my keys out of my pocket, I unlocked the door. The moment I did, silence ensued the house.
"Adelaide, sweety, is that you?" my mom asked tentatively.
"Of course it's me, who else would it be," I said, dropping my dance bag on the floor, and slipping off my sneakers. Looking into my moms eyes, I saw a mixture of conflict, guilt, and pain. "Mom," I asked worried, "what's wrong?"
She looked at me as if I was crazy. "Nothing. But come into the living room, there are some people here to see you." she stated while gently placing her hand on my shoulder and guiding me into the living room. Who the hell would want to see me? Wait, are these the Mercedes people?
I turned the corner into theliving room, with my mom close behing me. I saw two men in expensive suit, who stood up when I walked into the room. "This is my daughter, Adelaide," announced my mom, before leading me to the ouch in front of them. Now the only thing seperating us was the coffe table which I see was adorned with tea cups filled to the brim with steaming hot tea. So they obviously haven't been here that long if the tea is still steaming.
"Allow us to introduce ourselves," said the first man in a black suit. "My name is Michael Norrington," he said while outstretching his hand for me to shake. I did.
"And I am Michael's attorney, Charles Simmons," said the second man in the dark brown suit. We shook hand as well.
"Well, please, have a seat," I said gesturing to the couch behind them, trying to be a good hostess. But I still wanted to know what they were doing here, and what they want from me. As they took their seats, I took mine on the right of my mom. We sat there for God know's how long in silence. So I took the time to look them over.
The first guy, Mr. Norrington, wasn't that old. Or atleast no older than my mom, and she was in her early 40's. His black hair was graying in certain spots, and a cul-de-sac was forming on his head. When his light brown eyes met my teal ones, I shuddered. It seemed as if he was looking through me, or into my thoughts. It was creepy. And then his thin lips turned into a smile, making his eyes squint, revealing a slight crows feet. I smiled back politely. I didn't know what else to do.
And then my gaze turned to Mr. Simmons, who seemed very impatient. Consistently tapping his feet and fiddling with his fingers. When I looked at him, he boredly ran his fingers through his brown and gray hair.
"Adelaide," said Mr. Norrington's voice, pulling me back to where we were, and away from my examination. "You're probably wondering why we're here." It wasn't a question, it was a statement.
No, really? I'm used to having strange men in expensive suits come talk to me in my living room! "Yeah, I kinda am," I said deciding to take the innocent and unsure approach.
"Well," began Mr. Norrington, "it's kinda hard to explain, but I'll start from the beginning. Well, you see, your father and I knew each other since high school. I was at his funeral too. We were friends, I don't know if you remember. Well... who am I kidding, you probably don't. You were probably too upset to notice anyone was there." No not really, I was kinda relieved when he died, I felt like saying. Well it's true anyway, but still, I don't remember him.
"Well, a little while after you were born, your father came to me worried about what would happen to you if he died. So, since he trusted me, we worked out an agreement. If he died before you were 18, you would be arranged to be married to my son, Aiden." What the fuck!? I'm not in an arranged marriage! No! The news wouldn't sink in. "However," he continued, "if he didn't, then you would be free to marry whoever you wish. This was just your father's backup plan, so he knew you were in good hands."
I cannot believe this, no way in hell would my dad care about me enough to ensure me a good future. But then again, I was only a baby, maybe he didn't hate me then. With this little ray of hope in my head, Mr. Norringtoncontinued. "So, as you can see how things turned out. I'm here to tell you that you are in an arranged marriage with my son Aiden.
Wait, how thehell do I know they're not lying to me. As if reading my mind, Charled jumped in, "We do have the documents to prove it. They are notarized, and signed by a judge, and your father."
No!No!No!No!No! This. Is. Not. Happening. I cann't be in an arranged marriage.It's especially hard to believe because my dad, whom I hate, and hates me, set this up for me. Okay, stay calm. I kept my facial expression under control, and my anger in check. If you looked at me, I looked pretty catatonic. "May I see these documents?" I asked emotionlessly.
Without saying a word, Mr. Simmons handed over a yellowed document that was too light to be cardstock, but to heavy to be plain paper. Gazing down at it, it was notarized, signed by a judge, and when I saw it my breath caught in my throat. My dad's signature. This wa legit, this was real!!! My dad signed me away as a "precaution". Precaution my ass, something's up. Hearing a sob from my left, I turned to see my mom, tears running down her cheeks, her eyes closed, her hand over her mouth, trying to remain quite. Something told me that she knew, she always knew, she just never told me.
Even though resentment was beginning to bubble within me, I still gently placed my hand on her knee, trying to comfort her. I turned to Mr. Norrington, and Mr. Simmons who were staring at me intently. Looking down and avoiding their eyes, I asked, "What if I refuse?"
I heard a chuckle escape from someone's mouth. Looking up to see whoit was, Mr. Simmons began to speak. "Adelaide, thisisn't a matter of your acceptance to this or not. It is was it is. You have no choice but to accept. But if for some reason this marriage not take place, it would mean jail for you and your mother, for life. This is legal, you disobey, you break the law."
Looking over to my mom, still silently sobbing, and then Mr. Norrington who had remained silent for some time, I knew what I had to do. I'll go through with thus, but for my mom. I couldn't condemn her to a life in prison because of my selfishness. And if I couldn't stand him, I could divorce him. Otherwise, I could make this work. Formy mom. But I still can't believe my dad practically signed me away. Mr. Norrington interrupted with, "Adelaide, you must have a million questions, and we're here to answer them. But let's start with the basics, shallwe." I nodded signally him to go on. Out of the corner of my eye that mom was paying attention toonow.
"Well, first off, you and Aiden should meet. So, how about dinner at my house, this friday. I'll send a car to pick you two up at 6. That way you'll be there by 7. Does that sound good for you?" My mom obviously nodded, because he went on.
"I do wish for Adelaide to stay with us until the wedding, so she and Aiden will have plenty of time to get to know each other." I looked up in shock.
My mom agreed to it but said, "Fine, as long as she gets her own room, unless she decides otherwise."
"Of course," continued Mr. Norrington, "and I assume she would be joinging Aiden at Northern Cascade University."
I cut in there, "Wait, I can't afford a university. My student loan won't cover that." Seriously, what is he thinking, we're not made of money.
He just smiled and looked at me. "Adelaide, don't you get it? You won't ever have to worry about money, your gonna be a Norrington. I will pay for you tuition, just as I pay for Aiden's. Just like you will be getting a new car, a personal dance instructor, a piano teacher, and anything else that you want."
Okay, whoa, I can't accept that. "Mr. Norrington," I said in complete and utter shock, "I can't accept that. That all must cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I'm not worth that much."
"Adelaide," said Mr. Norrington, "you can't put a price on a person. Plus, we as Norrington's have a reputation to uphold." Then he opened his mouth to say something, then heistated, and shut his mouth.
"Is there something you'd like to say?" I asked.
An unsure look crossed his face, but then he procedeed. "I wanted to know, why would you turn down Juliard?"
I was taken aback. How the hell did he even know about that? "How do you know about that?" I asked aloud this time.
He just smiled and said, "I have my connections."
What the hell?Whatever,back to topic. "Juliard's not the point, the point is, I can't accept all that from you."
Mr. Norrington's face turned stern, and hesaid in a very firm voice, "You can and will Adelaide. Just as you will quit you job at Pac Sun." How does he know this stuff about me? This guy is creeping me out.
"Now, back to friday," he continued, his voice back to normal. "The car will come to pick you up at 6. Have your bags packed and ready to go. SPeaking of ready to go," he said glancing at his wrist watch. "I believe that Charles and I should get going. It was nice seeing you. And see you on friday."
I barely payed attention.Friday. That's less than 4 days away. The sofa shifted next to me, and a door closed in the distance. I only had 4 days to say bye to my friends. And quit my job. Footsteps on thedriveway, and the opening and closing of car doors. A car engine started, and began to get quiter, and quiter, until you couldn't hear it anymore.
I only had 4 days left in this house. Worse, I only had 4 days left with my mom. Something wet landed on my jeans. I touched my cheek, and my fingers were covered in my tears. Then I broke down. I sobbed harder than I ever have in my life
Before I knew it, warm, comforting arms wrappedthemselves around me, gently rocking me back and forth. My mom whispered soothing words into my ears, but I knew she was crying too.