A Dark Dance

Francina wants to be a ballerina. Her dream comes true when she is accepted into New York Ballet Academy.

But what will happen when Francina meets strange and mysterious Ty, who is 19? Will her dreams turn to nightmares?


Based on/Inspired by 'Dance of Shadows' by Yelena Black

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11. Coming Round

I knew I shouldn't let myself get excited, but I couldn't help myself. It was nearly summer and I hadn't seen Gabe since- since, well Christmas really. It was silly, but I felt like a part of me was missing. I kept telling myself that maybe it was just because I'd never gone so long without seeing him, but, deep down, I knew exactly what it was. I still couldn't shut off the valve of feelings that was constantly pouring into me.

 

Stretching at the barre, I stared at my reflection in the mirror. As I flexed backwards, I realised in the opposite mirror how yellow my skin looked. When was the last time I'd used my face wash? Or moisturiser? Or any makeup at all? I couldn't remember. I barely ever wore makeup, but I definitely used face washes and moisturiser because otherwise my skin went oily but with dry skin flaking off all the time and just being generally disgusting.. Come to think of it, what was the last conversation I'd had with Willow or Ally, or any of my friends? Maybe it was about the homework we'd got in Geography, yes I definitely remember that. No, wait: was that really two weeks ago? What had happened to me? I was like some sort of zombie-ballerina. Dancing though my life with no expression. I needed to fix this. I was becoming way too obsessed with Gabe.

 

I stared at myself in the mirror in front of me once more. Was it that person in the image? That person who got so obsessed over her crush that she stopped being herself. Eurgh. Crush. It sounded horrible. It was Gabe for goodness sake. Argh! I shoved my thoughts away from the front of my mind, and concentrated on the stretches I was meant to be doing. We soon started the lesson, but way after I'd decided to deal with my thoughts later, at home. And after I'd made it up to Ally when we met up after our separate classes and Willow on the phone.

 

*********

 

"And the Francina returns!" I laughed at Ally's response, glad that she had taken my apology well, and still shocked at my behaviour myself.

"I should ring Willow, she needs an apology too."

"Do it now, I want to hear her reaction."

"Okay," I said, pulling my phone out of my bag. I rang Willow's number from memory, and listen to it ring with nerves shooting through my body.

“Hello? Fran?” Willow’s voice was filled with worry. “Fran? Is that you?”

“Yes, Lo, it really is me. As surprising as it may be.” Ally was nearly killing herself trying to keep her laughter silent.

“Oh thank goodness, I was beginning to think you had been bitten by a vampire spider or something.” Now Ally burst out laughing. It didn’t seem that funny to me, but I suppose Ally being silent is a gargantuan task in itself. And Willow’s worried tone and ridiculous thoughts put together were a little bit funny. “Ally? What’s so funny?”

“I think it was a combination of the idea that I had been bitten by a vampire spider and the fact that Ally had to be silent for more than two seconds.” I explained, walking away from the laughter explosion so I could hear my friend on the phone. “I was calling to apologise for being such an ignorant pig recently. I met up with Ally after dance and she insisted that she should be there when I called you. So: I’m sorry for my behaviour recently, I haven’t been a good friend at all and I now feel very embarrassed and out of things. Because I have no idea what has happened to either of you in the past few weeks.” Willow waved away my apology – she felt as awkward receiving as I did giving them – then I steered the conversation to find out what had been happening during my… time-out.

 

“So,” I began, “How’s the world from down Lo?” That was out inside joke with her name, me, her and Ally, because Willow was so tall, and her nickname was Lo.

“Normal really. Very uninteresting. It’s quite disappointing that you’re back to normal, because it was just getting exciting.”

“Okay, we need to meet up properly so a) I can hit you and b) we can talk properly.”

“Okay, how about this afternoon at around half 3? I have a netball tournament 12:30 ‘til about 2. Do you want to come to mine?” By this point, Ally had stopped choking with laughter and had come to listen again.

“Sure sounds good!” She piped up, to which we heard Willow make a surprised noise – she had forgotten that Ally was in the background.

“Ally, forgot you were there, you nearly made me drop my phone! How did you stay quiet all that time?

“Oh, I’ve only just come over from laughing at… laughing a-” she was gone again. I voiced this to Lo and promised on both of our behalves to be there at 3. She then had to go and get lunch on the way to the tournament (even though it was only 11:30 – captains had to be there at 12), and I thought that I’d better walk Ally home.

 

I stayed at Ally’s for lunch, then, at about 2:15, we wandered back to mine so I could have a shower and change out of the clothes that I kept in my bag for after dance, before going to Willow’s.

 

We reached her house 5 minutes early, just as Willow’s mum, Jan, pulled into the drive with Willow in the passenger seat.

“Sorry!” Willow called out of the window, “Someone threw a ball at someone else’s nose and broke it so the games were held up for ages.” We all went inside and Willow took us up to her bedroom before going to the bathroom to shower and change. Willow’s bedroom is not the biggest out of our three – that’s Ally’s – but it’s definitely the most cosy.

 

The walls are a slightly odd shape, with three normal walls, and one, one the right when you stand in the doorway, with an alcove in the middle, like there’s a chimney breast on either side. They aren’t chimney breasts though – the far one is her walk-in wardrobe, and the one closest to the door is a laundry room which has a door onto the hallway outside the door. Willow has a sort of filled-in-window shaped door half way up the wall so she can just open that to put her laundry in, rather than go round. Her bed is in the alcove on the right wall, the inside of which is painted a deeper red than the pale colour on the other walls. Above her bed is a corkboard covered in pictures of us, pictures of her netball team, things to remember as well as things like old tickets and instructions for things she bought and lost. Her medals and trophies were on the wall and shelves above the laundry-door. Against the far wall, underneath the big window on the far wall was her desk. Well, I loosely call it a desk. It’s more like two desks attached together. One is a work desk – littered with papers, even though there are organisers, and the other is her make up desk. It is also littered with things, but this time make up, and because there is too much to physically fit in the drawers! Beanbags were strewn in various places across the room, as well as pictures and posters blue-tacked to the wall and certificates framed and hung around the room.

 

She told us to make ourselves at home, so we sprawled across the beanbags, talking, and once in a while, got up to see if there were any new certificates or medals or anything since we had last been here. There weren’t any, but when we looked at the work desk, we noticed an envelope, a very formal envelope with an emblem in the shape of a netball at the seal.

“Ally, come look at this,” I intoned, motioning for her to come over. She stopped looking at Willow’s ever growing nail varnish collection, and slid across the floor. “What do you think of this?”

“What is it?”

“An envelope, you idiot.”

“Yeah, I got that, thanks, but why has someone netball-y been writing to Willow? And why didn’t they email or something?” Ally questioned.

“It must be something important.”

“What’s important?” Willow came into the bedroom with dripping hair, a wet towel and her netball uniform. She opened the laundry door and threw the dirty clothes in, before hanging up her towel and coming across to see what we were looking at. “Oh. That.”

“What is it?”

“Whether I’m a junior netball coach or not.”

“Why have you not told us about this?” Ally put in, incredulous that her friend hadn’t told her something.

“Well, because, I didn’t know. I didn’t want a big thing about it, especially if I didn’t get it. There are only four places available, because the people who get it need to go to some sort of training camp in the summer. My coach pulled me aside and I had to miss training one night to go to try-outs. It was scary. I was given that letter today and I put it on the desk before I went to have a shower.”

“Are you going to open it?” I said, quietly, staring at the unopened seal.

“Well, I need to at some point.”

“Do it now!” Ally cried, “I want to see your face when you get it!”

“You know I might not get it, right? There were lots of girls there and they were all really good. We all had to be picked by our coaches – it wasn’t just anyone.”

“Of course you’ll get it!” Ally bounced around, as if Willow had already got it.

“Okay then.” Willow picked up the envelope with perfectly manicured nails, and looked at the seal for a while.

“Do it! Do it! Do it!” Ally cheered from behind.

“Okay, okay, Ally, she is.” I could feel Willow tense beside me, and knew Ally wasn’t helping. Willow slid her finger under the seal, and it broke with a quiet tear. We were all quiet now, even Ally. A train whistled in the distance, and we all jumped, Willow nearly dropping the envelope. She pulled the beautiful paper out, and let the empty envelope fall to the floor. She didn’t open it for a minute.

 

Slowly, as if she was afraid of ripping it, Willow opened the folds of rich paper, and scanned it slowly. And her face fell.

 

She dropped it.

 

Willow stood, staring out of the window, the letter and envelope on the floor at her feet. I slowly put my arms around her, and motioned for Ally to do the same. We stood there for a while, before Willow walked over to her make up desk, and started pulling things out of the drawers. Then she turned around with a big smile that barely reached her eyes, and said,

“Makeovers?” Her voice cracked slightly, but we all ignored it. Ally sat in the chair first.

 

“Fran, do you mind putting those papers that are on the floor in the bin?” Willow said, in a voice that could have passed for normal. If we didn’t know her that well. I picked the letter, envelope, and a couple of old receipts up, and took them to the bin. I put the envelope and receipts in the bin, but slipped the letter into my back pocket. After that, she seemed happier, but we could tell it still hurt. I made my mind up to read it fully later.

 

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