Raphael, naturally, gave me a ride home and somehow we ended up having another spectacular make-out session before I went up to my room. The secretary might have made some snide remark but I was too tired and affected at the same time to notice.
Even though I was sore and my feet hurt like anything, I floated around my apartment, on cloud nine.
I took a hot shower, letting the water wash away my fatigue, and went about reading Pride and Prejudice.
I finished the book, but found myself checking the back cover for more. That was it? They got married, the end? I didn’t know why Bea was so obsessed with it, when it had an ending like that.
Wasn’t that how most stories ended, actually? The problem resolves itself, and everyone seems to be set for a happy future?
I guess that was why books were books, and reality was reality. My life wasn’t like that. It was one huge, tangled mess of problems that seemed to get more and more tangled as I went about undoing the knots. I didn’t really know where it ended or where it began, and there was definitely no automatic resolution.
I put the book in my bag, making a mental note to return it to Bea, and stared at myself in the mirror. I looked at my pale hair, my alabaster skin tone and my perpetually angry blue eyes, and lost myself in thought.
On the best days I looked like something out of a grave, and I’d been asked too many times if I was an albino. I couldn’t understand what Raphael saw in me, in contrast to curvy models like Vera.
Men. I would never understand them.
The next day went similarly, and on Monday I prepared myself for the first training session.
Bea and I carpooled to the theatre, and barely had time to change before we were being put into our formations and having our parts demonstrated by choreographers.
It was tough, I’m not going to lie, but it was also exhilarating. I loved every minute of it.
When we finally finished I walked off stage, wiping my face with a towel.
“Hey, Katarina, right?”
I looked up to see a blonde guy just as tired as me, and nodded.
“I’m Gilles.” He said, shaking my hand, “I’ve been hearing a lot about you.”
“I’m just a fresh face,” I said modestly, “Nothing special.”
“I wouldn’t say that,” he said secretively, “You all but dethroned Vera, and out of nowhere, too.”
“Dethroned?” I asked, puzzled.
“She’s hanging onto prima ballerina by a thread. By the next season she’ll probably be back to dancing as an extra.”
He sounded pretty happy about it.
“Is that...a good thing?”
“Definitely,” he replied, “Not only is she a third-rate dancer, she’s also a total bitch.”
“Oh.” I said, blinking, “That’s news to me.”
“She even had the nerve to try and get her paws on my boyfriend, Rick.”
I could imagine her doing that.
“I’ve talked to her before, and I don’t think she likes me much.”
“Don’t worry,” he replied, opening his water bottle, “Practically the entire troupe is waiting for her to get kicked to the curb. She’s not very likeable herself.”
Bea came up beside me, grabbing my arm and making me near jump out of my skin.
“Hey Kat, Gilles!” she exclaimed, before turning to me with a grin on her face, “Take a guess who’s here to pick you up.”
I glanced toward the door by the back of the theatre and, lo and behold, I could see Raphael leaning against the wall. Upon seeing me he blew me a kiss.
“I’d like me a piece of that.” Gilles commented, making me laugh.
“Believe me, he’s not as great as he seems.” I sighed, wondering why he had to embarrass me in front of so many big-name dancers.
Well, actually, considering the fact that he was probably the biggest name in there, I was probably having my own name boosted. Small mercy.
I walked down the aisle toward him, giving him a good-humoured glare. He took my arm as we headed out, and I could just glimpse Vera’s face out of the corner of my eye as we left.
She looked dejected.