How did I get here?

Over the course of the last year, Reed Johnson's life has made some interesting twists and turns, and sadly, very few of them were for the better. Now, to get her away from the scenes that provoked her post-traumatic stress, her father has chosen to move the family back home to Nazareth in Pennsylvania.
Both old and new friends quickly start to make an impact on her life, and pretty soon, Reed is caught up in a web of drama while dealing with a lot of stuff herself. With an already fragile mental health, who knows how she'll end up?


28. Performing

Those three days passed too fast. As I stood backstage waiting for my turn in the makeup chair in full costume one thought passes through my mind: I'm not ready. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't remember the steps. The makeup artist from the theater called my name and put me in the chair. Ten minutes later I was sent away to find Leo. Lara had told me that I had to find him as soon as possible. She needed to talk to both of us.

I found Leo in the guys dressing room. Since he was the only guy performing tonight he had it all to himself. He sat in one of the plush chesterfield chairs with his head in his hands. "Hey. Nervous?"I said in a shaky voice. He looked up and smiled. "Yeah. You?" "Are you kidding? Look at me! I'm a wreck!" I laughed a nervous laugh and sat down across from him. There was a knock on the door and Lara walked in. She looked just as nervous as us. She walked over and stood between us. She took our hands in each of hers.

"So guys. Uhm I don't know how to tell you this. I just found out that the show is being broadcasted in the whole country. So that is a little extra pressure. But I have faith in you guys." She said. I was frozen with shock. "Say what?" Leo asked. I laughed at the words he used. "I'm sorry you guys didn't know but to be honest I didn't either."

I surprised us all by saying "Well there's no way back now so I guess we'll just have to do it." Leo looked at me with an expression on his face that was impossible to read. "I guess you're right Reed. Get your shoes on." Lara said and left. Just before she was entirely outside she popped her head in and said "Oh by the way guys you're up last." Then she was gone. We sat there in silence.

There was still half an hour till we had to get ready in the wings. I couldn't sit still. I paced the room like mad. I could see Leo's muscles tense more and more but I didn't realize that I was the reason until he snapped. "Would you just sit down!" I stopped dead in my tracks. I didn't know it bothered him. I sat back in the chair again. There was a knock at the door and a voice behind it said five minutes. We went out and waited. We stood upstage and waited for the stage curtain to go up. 

A voice boomed over the speakers. "And now: The young aspiring ballet dancers Leo Simmons and Reed Johnson in a piece taken from the nutcracker."

The music started. 

The front curtains parted and went to the sides.

The second curtain disappeared.

And we were in the spotlight.

My body was tense and frozen. But then the music hit a note. The note. The note that meant I had to move. And I did. I danced like never before and so did Leo. I knew that this was a big deal for him because his future could be depending on this. So I did my best and then some. We were the big finale and we were closing it all with a big lift. I sat in a split while Leo held me up by the middle of my thighs. I stretched my arms and held my head high.

The silence following the end of the music was broken by hundreds of hands united in a thunderous applause. The curtain dropped. Leo put me down and supported me for a moment to make sure I could stand. But when he thought it was safe to let me go my legs gave in.

Someone came and yanked me to my feet. Everyone came on stage. The big bowing show was about to start. We were ushered out of the stage. We were to come on later just before the arrangers. When we were pushed on stage we held hands and the people on stage had parted into two groups making a clear path for us. The clapping noise rose to the point of madness. When we were downstage Leo let go of my hand and held his arm in a gesture towards me. I put on my best showface and curtsied. Then I stretched my legs again and did a similar gesture towards him. He bowed and we went to the right side of the stage.

Then the arrangers came on stage and the applause quieted some. The curtains dropped for the last time and my legs gave in once again. People rushed around and nearly stepped on me. I panicked because they stepped on my dress and I couldn't get up without tearing it. Nobody noticed me until Leo shouted "CLEAR AWAY!" He shoved the people closest to me away and pulled me to my feet by the arms. He and Lara got the chaos backstage under control and got me into the dressing rooms.

I cleaned myself up and removed the worst of the makeup so that I looked normal again. However I left the eyeliner and false lashes on. There was a meet-and-greet thing afterwards and I wanted to be recognized. This was where we would meet the scout from New York. I changed into a beautiful blue dress that Lara had picked out for me. Leo and I were getting a ride from Lara to the place where the "thing" would take place. In the car she kept talking about how amazing we were. But neither of us listened. We were far too anxious about what the scout would tell us. I was almost sure of a space but they could take the offer back just as easy as they had given it.

At the party my dad and David would be there. I hadn't been able to get Tim an invitation and they were more important. They had followed me all the way from my first steps to my first pirouette to my first grand performance.

We walked in the doors and were caught off guard by cameras flashing at us. We hurried through the flash-storm and stumbled into David. He hugged me close and whispered in my ears that it was my best performance yet. I was pulled away by Lara. "I have to borrow her for a moment David."

She pulled me to the corner of the huge ballroom where Leo and some man was standing. He shook my hand and said "Hello Reed. My name is Albert Franko and I am a scout for the Academy of Ballet in New York. I have been watching you for quite some time. And after today I will finalize the offer which I am sure Lara has told you of. It stands for as long as you want. I am aware of everything you have been through and the opinion of you family. I will make sure that we talk to your father tonight. As for you young man," he said and turned to Leo. I was overwhelmed. "I read your application from last year. And after seing you in action I have a deal to offer you. You get a scholarship on the condition that you start next week. You will show up at this dorm and..." He said a bunch of other stuff to Leo and then left to go get some champagne. 

Leo had signed his contract with the school. I had my offer. Daddy, David, Lara, Leo and I sat in three thickly padded couches in the corner of the ballroom. A waiter came by with a tray of champagne for us. "Here's to my two best students ever! I have great expectations for you two!" Lara exclaimed. We toasted and David contributed too. "And to my pain-in-the-ass awesome little sister! You are a big deal now! I love you sis." I could see his and Daddy's eyes brimming with proud tears. We toasted again and all ended up being a bit tipsy. We called a cab and Leo and Lara split one.

We went home and David and I fell asleep on the couch. Daddy went to his room. I woke up with a slight hangover and a feeling of floating. I wasn't going to take the offer though. At least not yet. I couldn't leave Jamestown. Not when I had so much to stay for.

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