Who I Am (Sequel to How did I get Here?)

Reed couldn't take Jamestown anymore after she and her dad got into a fight about the boyfriend who hit her. So she went to New York to pursue her life long dream of becoming a dancer. The New York Ballet Academy has taken her under their wing and given her an apartment. She lives alone and spends nearly every waking hour dancing as she tries to drown out the guilt and longing she feels towards her all-time-best-friend-and-possibly-boyfriend Alex. She still has no contact to her father or half-sister and she tries desperately to become a new Reed. But at age seventeen is that poossible?


8. Unexpected

(This chapter is solely written for the enjoyment of Augusta Bo. Because she is the most friggin awesome Panda ninja you will ever hear of. Late Happy Birthday Love ;) )
Around five in the morning I wake up. A loud and continuous banging sounds from the door. 
"Reed! Open up! I know you're in there!" Tim's voice booms. I pick up a shirt that Alex left here and pull it on. Through the peephole in the door I can see Tim leaning on the door with his hand. I don't do anything for a long time. I just stand there trying not to let the horrible memories from that night in Jamestown take over. After a while he says a little quieter
"I can hear you breathing you know."
"Shit." I curse under my breath.
"I heard that too."
"Why did you come here Tim? It's five in the morning so there better be a very very good reason for you to come here and wake me up. I'm on stage tomorrow!" I say. Our stage rehearsals have been moved up a little since there is nothing more to be done in the studios.
"Let me in first."
"No! I want to know why you're here!" I protest.
"I want to talk to you! I want to try to make you come home! Just let me in Reed please!" 
"That reason is not good enough. Go back to North Dakota Tim. There's nothing for you here." I say and go back to bed. I consider calling Alex to come take care of him, but I fall asleep before I can do so. Besides, he'd probably try to beat Tim up like he did last time, and in spite of what Tim had done, he'd had his fair share of beatings in his life.

The next morning I am late as usual, so I rush around the apartment throwing stuff in my bag. I slam open my front door and run to the stairs.
"Hey Reed! Wait! Stop!" Tim calls behind me. I groan and turn around.
"You slept out here? Seriously?" I whined. "You know what? That's irrelevant right now. I'm late. Go to hell" I say and run down the stairs. I run all the way to school and get dressed for class.
While we're doing floor barre behind the stage Porter whispers to me,
"Pst! Reed!" He is standing on the opposite side of the bar and a little further down the row facing the other direction, so I can easily see him. We make eye contact, and I raise my eyebrows.
"You ok?" He mouths. I nod slightly and look back at my focuspoint. We are given a short break before we rehearse the opening, and as I'm getting out my waterbottle I feel someone put their hand on my shoulder. After tonight's events I am sort of paranoid, and I whirl around to see who it is.
"Shit Porter you scared me!" I sigh. He smiles apologetically at me and  crosses his arms over his chest. 
"Sorry. But seriously Reed, are you ok? You seem... off. And you even messed up a tendue. You never mess up anything. Especially not floor barre. And especially not something as simple as a frickin' tendue." 
"I'm fine." I shrug and get out my pointe shoes. I sit down and put them on, and he keeps looking gown at me. When I'm done I reach up an arm and he helps me up. 

Later that day, Leo noticed that something was up as well.
"Reed. I talked to Porter, and we both agree that something is up here. Don't you dare try to lie to me. I'm not gonna listen to it. I know you." He says almost accusingly.
"Nothing happened. I'm fine honestly!" I sigh frustratedly and throw my hands up.
"You're lying!" He says loudly. Not exactly shouting, but loud enough that everyone can hear.
"Shut up!" I hiss and put my hand over his mouth. 
"If I tell you you have to promise not to do anything stupid and not to tell Alex ok?" I whisper at him. He nods, and I remove my hand from his face.
"Tim showed up in the middle of the night. He nearly knocked down my fucking door. And he slept outside my door." 
"Shit. What an asshole! Reed I beg of you, let me take care of this." He says protectively. 
"No! He might be a complete jerk but I don't want you to hurt him. And we both know about your temper. And Alex' for that matter."
"Well what are you gonna do?" He asks.
I shrug. "Try and talk some sense into him. And if hat doesn't work I'll get myself a frickin' restraining order or something. I'll bet my Dad sent him or something. He probably thinks I'm still hung up on him." 
"How about you get a restraining order today?" Leo grumbles.
"What is with you today? You're usually not this protective!" I ask. He looksat me with a weird expression.
"You know how I think of you as my little sister right? Well at home, if anyone ever did that kinda thing to one of my sisters, I'd kick their butt. Same goes for you." He explains. "I guess we've just never been in this situation before." 
"We? I chuckle.
"Shut up." He laughs and swats my arm. I act offended and swat him back.
"Oh that's it, you're gonna get it!" He exclaims and throws me overhis shoulder.
"Leo, I swaer to God if you make even the slightest hint of a fart out of that butthole my face is currently twentycentimeters from then I will hunt you down, cut you andrub lemon juice and salt into the cuts." I hiss. 
"Don't tempt me." He laughs.
"LEONARDO SIMMONS DO NOT MESS WITH ME! I HAVE MORE STRENGTH IN MY LEGS THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOWAND I AM NOT AFRAID OF KICKING A GUY IN THE BALLS!" I scream. He laughs at me and puts me down. We laugh together and wait to be called back on stage. The others are staring at us like we're aliens. Just because we were having a bit of fun. I swear, some of these people are part zombies,they never smile or laugh, and their dancing is almost too perfect, like they don't have anything else to do in their spare time than perfect it downto the placement of the fingertip. A lot of them are probably only here because their parents want them to be. 
"Reed Johnson." My name gets called, and I prance to the stage. 
"There has been a slight accident, so we need you to step in for the part of the sugar fairy." Madame says. 
I freeze.
"The sugar fairy?" I stutter.
"Yes, is that a problem?"
I shake my head violently. "No! No not at all. Thank you!"
"Are you familiar with it?" Madema asks.
"Yes, I know it back and forth in my sleep." I say proudly.
"Who did you dance it with?" She asks me.
"Leo Simmons." I say and point to him.
"Good. And you two are comfortable dancing with each other?" 
"Very Madame." I nod.
"Good. He can take take the part of chavalier. The other guy went with Leila to the hospital, that means he's out."
My smile widens considerably.
"Go get him and show me what you can do." She says and steps down from stage.
"Leo get your butt over here!" I call out and gain a smile from one of the assistant teachers.
"What is it?" He calls back.
"Just get up here, we're doing the one from the fundraiser in Jamestown!" 
"GOD DAMMIT LEO JUST DO IT!" I shout frustatedly and throw my arms over my head.
"Fine!" He says and runs up to me.
"And start position and five six seven eight!" Madame calls out breaking our banter. 

We actually got an applause from the teachers.
How we managed to do that was not something my mind was capable of figuring out, but we did.
"Good, good, you are fit to do this. There are a few details when we have the actual scenery and setup here, but the crew has yet to come by and set it up. You are excused for the day." Madame dismisses us and waves us off stage. 
Leo picks me up and spins me around as soon as we are off stage.
"This calls for a celebration!" 
"You're forgetting that neither of us can afford celebrating anything." I chuckle.
"And you're forgetting that my parents promised me a refill on my bank account when I got a big part." He winks at me. I laugh and follow him out with my bag slung over my shoulder.
"So, who's joining us?" Leo asks and turns around to face me while walking backwards.
"I don't know. Alex? And where Alex goes, Gina goes." I say.
"Ok, who else?" 
"Porter maybe?" I say. 
"Sure. I'll call him when he gets out. But that can't be all the people we know can it?"
"I don't know. Didn't you make any friends before I came along?" I tease him.
"Nope." He pops. "All the people in my class are morons. Mean too." 
"You're such a loner."
"Shut up Johnson." He chuckles and puts his arm over my shoulder while we walk out the doors of the theater lobby.
"You go call your parents and I'll go home and shower and all that shit. Call me when you're done." 
"I will. See you in a bit." 

"We always seem to end up here." I state as Leo and I sit down at the Loch Ness Tavern, three streets away from my place. 
"True. I like that. The local place." Leo muses and nods his head to himself. "So could Alex and Gina make it?" 
"They'll be here within the hour." I say. 
"Actually..." Leo goes and points to the window at the front of the dark room. I see Alex piggyback riding Gina to the door. The bell rings when he opens the door, and he looks around to try and spot us. I wave, and Gina sees me. She point at us, and Alex rides her all the way to the table.
Gina is barely on the ground before she is in my arms congratulating me. I laugh, pick her up and sit her in my lap. 
"Thank you sweetie." I mumble into her hair for only me and her to hear.
"C'mon Gina get a chair." Alex says lovingly to her. She squirms, and I clutch her tighter.
"No." We say simultaneously.
"Fine." He smiles and leans over Gina to peck my lips.
"Congratulations" He whispers and shakes Leo's hand too. Everyone orders, and Playful banter fills our afternoon. When the time hits five, we leave to continue the celebration at my place because the five o'clock crowd at the tavern was starting to creep Gina out.

That night, Gina passes out on the couch, and Alex and I decide to leave her there. Leo goes home around ten o'clock, and Alex and I start to head to  bed. 
In the bathroom we stand next to each other silently, the only sound coming from our toothbrushes scrubbing our teeth. Alex and Gina have a little stuff here now, as they tend to end up staying over at least twice a week. 
"You know, I still wonder why Gina immediately started to like you." He says after spitting out. He washes his mouth and wipes it on a towel from the counter.
"So do I sometimes." I gurgle through the toothpaste in my mouth and spit. "I guess we have a sort of artistic connection?" I smile. 
"About that." Alex begins and pulls me closer by my waist, his signature move when he wants to ask me something serious. "Have you even painted at all since you left?" he asks with concern visible on his eyebrows and audible in his voice.
"Not really" I sigh and look away at the dirty tiles of my bathroom floor. On my first day here, I'd tried to clean them, but the dirt had settled for too long. It was impossible to remove it.
"Reed, I know you dance at school, but you don't get to choreograph yourself anymore. Painting is your other artistic outlet."
Tears filled my eyes when I finally admit to myself that I miss painting this much, and also, a feeling of despair from the lack of inspiration I've had lately just makes me feel even worse.
"Look I didn't mean to make you sad, I just wanted you to know that if you want more time to yourself to paint, I'll give it to you. Me and Gina don't have to hang around here this often."
"Oh shut up, if I feel like painting while you guys are here, I'll do it. It's not lack of time." 
"Then what is it Reed?" he asks and tips my head up to make me look into his eyes. 
"I don't know. My head just feels cluttered I guess." I mumble.
"You miss Pipestem don't you?" He asks, but it sounds more like a rhetorical question. 
"I miss Gramps. And Pipestem." I admit.
"Reed?" He says with a sweet smile on his lips.
"Whaaaat?" I ask suspiciously and cock my eyebrows.
"Go back for Thanksgiving." He whispers and lets me go. 


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