The next few days passed like the previous ones, except that I saw Grace even less than usual now.
It was like I wouldn't know her, like I wouldn't even know of her existence. And actually, it might not matter to me if there weren't two things: first, she was one of the choreographers who worked with me on this music video, and secondly, I found myself thinking about her again and again.
Now it has even become so bad that I found myself somewhere, staring out the window and wondering what her problem was. Sure, we've come pretty close when we were in the pool and if Selena hadn't shown up, then... I would have kissed her probably.
She might be thinking about this too, but still... It made no sense that she had so much power over me. My god, I didn't even know her a month!
And her brother was actually very sensitive when it concerned her. Or me.
But there was something else I couldn't forget: this moment in the hall, where she had reminded me of this girl... Of course, I knew more girls with dark hair than Caitlin when I was younger, but no one was so close to me that I would still remember her after all this time.
It was crazy. Why couldn't I remember anything more? Why was it only this short clipping? Who was this girl and why reminded Grace me of her?
I shook my head and jogged on. I needed a clear head.
When I arrived the park, I stretched just before I turned around and jogged back home. It was getting brighter and we would soon meet again in the hall. Today Grace came back. Today, the final scene was rehearsed. The next few days, to be exact. We would practice long enough in the hall until we would try it out in the swimming pool for the first time.
After I showered, I breakfasted something as quickly as possible, trying not to wake my mom. When I left the house it was nine am and with a yawn I got into my car. After a short ride, I arrived at the hall. I parked my car and walked into it.
My crew was already there and shortly after I had exchanged a few words with them, our remaining dancers arrived. As always, they were charged with energy and excitement. Without having to think too much, a smile crept onto my face.
"What's up, Starstrukk!," Nick exclaimed and everyone cheered.
It didn't took long until the hall was filled or until I discovered Grace. She wore a black sports shorts and a dark top. Her hair had been tied up in a ponytail and bounced with every step she took.
Laughing, she came up to us and I took a deep breath. She was beautiful.
Beautiful and strong...
She looked away from Sasha to us and when she saw my eyes on her, she made a face for a few seconds, before she started to smile slightly.
...and so not interested in me. Right.
My smile faded a bit, but I tried to keep my feelings undercover.
"There's our little mermaid," Nick said and they hugged briefly. "Jus was worried that we'd never see you again!"
We started to laugh and I stared at my feet.
What was her problem with me? Before the whole thing with Selena happened, we had got on really well. Selena. She was now friends with Sel. That had to be it. Great.
I snapped out of my trance when Nick placed his right arm around my shoulders and the other around Graces.
"Are you ready for the final big scene?," he cried, and the entire crew cheered again. Maya winked at me and I smiled back.
"I cannot wait until we're shooting the video! I already know that if you're there just as good as here, we'll win lots of prices!," he went on and received approval.
"Let's get started!"
Music blared from the huge speakers and the dancers began to move. Nick pushed us briefly to his chest and then removed his arms from us to go jogging.
"Can I talk to you, Justin?," Grace asked and I turned around to her in surprise.
The times that I had seen her, we hadn't talked to each other. She hadn't even looked at me or paid any attention to me.
"Uh, um, sure," I said and we walked a few steps away from the others. "What's up?" I asked as we stopped again.
"I wanted to say that we've finished the water performance and it's pretty amazing. We had made a video and I'm really satisfied with our work. Look," she said, handing me her cell phone.
I pressed play and the screen lit up.
A sequence of "Beauty And A Beat" was heard and then Grace called "Five, six, seven, eight!", but I could hardly concentrate on the movements of the dancers.
The only thing that got my attention was Grace. Grace in a dark bikini. It was not the same she had worn when we had been together in the pool the first time. Her gaze was focused and with perfectly fitting steps she moved gracefully in the water. I had to swallow.
The video ended and the cell phone was taken out of my hands again.
"Well?," she asked after a short time.
I couldn't say anything; my head was filled by a strong, beautiful Grace, who knew exactly what she was doing. My concentration was gone.
"Hm, yeah," I said, nodding.
She raised an eyebrow and asked, "You like it, then?"
I nodded again, a small smile crept on her lips. "Well, we wouldn't change anything anyways. Yesterday we had a short meeting in our studio after our training and they showed me what they've learned. We are totally ready for this video," she said proudly and I took a deep breath.
"Do you have a problem with me?," I asked.
"What?," she asked, taken completely out of the concept.
"Something doesn't fit between us. What's up? Why do you behave so different suddenly?," I asked again. Grace looked at me in surprise, as if she wouldn't speak my language.
"Why I am behaving differently?," she repeated, slowly clenching her hands. Oh oh. Now I had made someone mad. That was not my intention...
"Why I am behaving differently? I? Have you ever though about that you don't know me and therefore aren't able to talk about me like this, Superstar?," she asked in a cold voice. Her eyes were dark with rage and shot poisoned arrows at me from.
"Obviously, we know each other just for nearly two weeks. You can say anything about me let alone think because you know me far too little." She took a step towards me and looked me in the eye all the time.
"You have no idea who I am. You never knew me obviously."
What the hell? Just a couple of days had gone by.
"We should've talked directly about the almost- kiss..." I said and she laughed.
"Yeah, all problems could be resolved now, right? No, forget it! You're so..." She shook her head and took a step back. "Incredibly self-centered. Do you actually sometimes think about others or what you're doing to the people around you?"
I didn't know what to say. Who the hell did she think she is that she can say something like that about me? She was right; I didn't know her and she didn't know me.
"Listen," I said; my voice was no louder than a whisper. She wasn't the only one who was angry now.
"You go out of my way, barely talk to me and I have no idea why. With all your accusations I don't get closer to the answers! I tried to be nice to make our work easier and at first it worked and we got along pretty well and then we came so close in the pool that really not much had been missing until we had kissed and now you're acting like a total bitch. Sure, it was the wrong time, because of Selena, but she's obviously over it. We need to work together, for God's sake. We follow the same goal, so why do you treat me like your enemy?" The words tumbled out of me. I didn't get girls, I really didn't.
"Now don't tell me that you would know "guys like me", your brother already told me that, whatever his problem is with me. You told me that I shouldn't worry about him. Okay, fine. But I thought we were friends, not just colleagues. And I usually get along with my friends."
She laughed again. "Like with your fabulous friends from when you were younger, huh? The Canadians, which you're having a good connection to, because they're oh so important. You're such a hypocrite," she said and turned around.
"Oh, you're not getting away that easy," I said, pulling her on her arm back to me.
"What is your fucking problem?," I asked again, only this time she was pressed against my chest and stared me in the eye.
Only now I noticed that she wasn't angry anymore. Her eyes were the color of upset waves in a quite sea and in them swam tears.
"Don't touch me," she hissed and freed herself from my grip.
"Grace..." I began, but she shook her head no.
"My problem... you'll never understand my problem. But you can also give a fuck about it, like you do about everything else, right?" she said, and with that, she turned around and jogged away from me.
She left me amazed and surprised and with the feeling of being a total idiot and asshole. My chest hurt and my heart complained about my stupidity. I was such a fucking idiot. What was the matter with me? What had made this girl with me? Selena was right when she said that I had changed while working with Grace.
She got me thinking and my thoughts were like wildfire; they didn't stop. I could try to concentrate on anything, but I digressed again and again.
Slowly I began to jog, too. Everyone around me were laughing and talking.
Grace and I had talked long, but I felt like a completely new person than before. No one had noticed that we had fought; it could also be about a few steps. Probably no one suspected that there was something between us.
It was almost like fire burning between us; good and bad at the same. Initially, it was still a pleasant campfire, but now the entire forest was burning down. It looked like nothing would be left in the end. No one would be spared, no one would be safe.
Grace didn't even look at me probably, while we thought them others the steps. Again and again we've gone trough the steps and each time it got better. After a while, we took a break and ordered some food. Everyone were talking and laughing, but I wasn't able to.
The dancing and the music did have distracted me for a moment, but it hadn't changed the fact that I was an idiot and had made a mistake. But I didn't understand my feelings and I knew why. It was Grace. Grace was driving me crazy, without me understanding it.
"Obviously, we know each other just for nearly two weeks. You can say anything about me let alone think because you know me far too little. You have no idea who I am. You never knew me obviously."
Correct, but why felt this like a lie? Why couldn't I get rid of the feeling that I would know her? And what did she mean by "never"? How should I know her if she ran away from me? How should I know her better if we had never talked really more than about dancing?
Wait. She told me that she also was originally from Canada. From Stratford, just like me.
And suddenly a light dawned on me.
What if I had gone to school with her? We are the same age, so it may be possible that we had visited a few classes together. And now I didn't remember her. But could it really be?
I scratched the back of my neck.
I didn't remember all of my classmates, in return for the teachers who had made my life difficult. Maybe I had to do a project with her once and forgot everything about it? Wow, that would be pretty embarrassing. No wonder she was hurt. Otherwise I could not classify her behavior. And I had also told her that I would be in contact with only a few people, because they were so important to me. Now I could hit myself in the face because of this stupid sentence.
What was her name again? Grace... Grace Connor.
I guess it was about time that I called my grandparents again.