Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Short Story - Page 7

Marius stood outside Cosette’s door, his nerves working overtime. He couldn’t believe that he was actually going to try to talk to this beautiful creature. He loosened the bow tie on his tux, wiped his hands on his handkerchief. He then stammered, “Uh, um, it’s me, Marius.”

The voice that escaped his throat did not even sound like his own. It was higher pitched than normal. He stood there, stunned at just how nervous he was about this meeting. As he stood there, it seemed to be forever before Cosette came to the door. He was just about to turn around to leave when the door opened just a crack.

Cosette peeked out the door. “Oh, hello there. Is everything okay with your car?”

Marius smiled and stifled a laugh. “Yeah, everything is fine.” He nervously looked down at his feet. “Um, okay, just thought I’d stop and say ‘hi’.”

She thought for a quick moment and then opened the door. “Well, as long as you’re here, won’t you join me for a cup of coffee?”

“Sure,” Marius quietly answered. “You have a coffee maker in here?”

Cosette giggled as they walked together to the pillows. “I live on coffee. I searched out the only outlet in this room in order to have my coffee. If there wasn’t an outlet, I’d have run an extension cord.”

Marius sat on the pillows as Cosette fixed him a cup of coffee. She brought the steaming mug over to him and settled down with her own cup. “So, what brings you to my neck of the woods?” She sipped her coffee in awe with how bold she could be.

“Don’t know,” he shrugged. He tried to quickly think of a good excuse as to why he knocked on her door. “I was just wandering around backstage and came across your door. Looked like it needed a knock.” He inwardly grimaced at how inept he sounded.

Cosette smiled. “So, my door looked lonely?”

He laughed. “Heh, I guess so.” He blushed a bit.

They fell into an easy conversation. Before they knew it, Cosette had to start another pot of coffee. They talked and laughed throughout the afternoon between performances. Before too long, Cosette’s little alarm clock let out a screech telling them it was time to prepare for the evening performance.

Cosette’s shoulders fell a bit as she sadly announced, “I’m so sorry, Marius, but I’ve got to get some warm ups in before tonight’s performance. I also have to touch up my make up.”

Marius rose off the pillows and set his mug on her vanity. He looks at his watch. “Well, I guess I’ll go for a walk. I’ve got some time before I have to be at my post.”

She turned to watch him go. Except, he wasn’t leaving. She surprised herself by walking over to him and wrapping her arms around his neck for a hug. He jumped a bit, but returned the embrace by wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her in tight. Her tiny dancer frame nearly disappeared in his embrace. They stood this way for what felt like an eternity.
When they finally broke away, Cosette knew she wanted to see him again. Needed to see him again. And, yet, she could not form the words to make that so. Just then, the door to Cosette’s little room slammed open.

In the doorway stood Darion. He surveyed her room and found her standing with Marius’ arm on her waist still. Darion could feel his blood boil over with jealousy. “What is going on here?” he spit through his clenched teeth.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Short Story - Page 6

The curtain closed on Cosette and the Snowflakes. The thunderous applause from the audience drowned out any breathless dancers on the stage. The orchestra kicked up a medley of the Nutcracker music as the audience filed out for intermission. After congratulating her fellow dancers on a fine performance, she fled to her dressing room for a quick drink of water and to stare at her rose.

On the way, she passed Darion. He was keeping warm by doing plies and stretches. She didn’t even waste a glance on him. He, on the other hand, watched her as she dashed by. From dancing with her, preparing for this performance, he had fallen in love with her and was determined to make her his.

Darion couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t accept his advances. He felt he was the perfect specimen of the male species. He was handsome and toned from dancing. He knew that Cosette moved perfectly with him. They fit together like a glove. Why couldn’t she see that?

He stopped his stretches and followed her into her dressing room. She was just putting a flannel shirt on as he entered. Almost immediately, he spotted the rose; it angered him. No one but he should be sending her roses. “Where did you get that?” he spat as he flung his hand toward the rose.

She jumped from the sound of his voice. “What are you doing in here?” she growled.

“You looked a little tired,” he explained. “I came in to make sure you were okay.”

She glared at Darion. “Haven’t you ever heard of knocking?”

He laughed. “Knocking? You’ve stripped backstage. I’ve seen it. You’ve nothing to hide,” he scoffed.

Pulling her flannel tighter, she watched as his jealous gaze went from her to the rose. “What’s it to you? For all it’s worth, the rose came from a friend.” She fingered the petals and watched Darion’s face turn scarlet. “Now, if you would be so kind as to leave my dressing room so I may rest?”

Darion straightened up, turned on his heel and stormed out of her room, slamming the door behind him. He stood at the closed door for a moment and murmured, “I will make you my partner in life, Cosette. Just wait and see.” And with that, he stormed off to his dressing room.

The remainder of the matinee went smoothly. Cosette and Darion performed perfectly and received another standing ovation. She couldn’t help but notice, though, the way Darion’s grip had tightened on her during their pas de deux. The way it seemed as though he were trying to possess her through the dance. She didn’t like it, but she allowed the music to flow through her in order for her to forget the feeling.

Once the curtain fell for the final time, Cosette made her way to her room. Her plan was to lay down on the pillows she brought in and take a nap before the evening performance. She carefully changed out of her costume and hung it on the rack. She untied her ribbons and peeled her pointe shoes off. Pulling on her flannel, she snuggled down into the make-shift bed she had made.
A short while later, Cosette awoke to a faint knocking on her door. She sat up, stretched and called out, “Who’s there?”

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Short Story Page 5

At the theatre, Cosette entered her dressing room. She changed into her warm up clothes and made her way to the stage past the musicians filing in. Lost in her own world, she didn’t see the one standing off to the side holding a single rose.

Although disappointed that Cosette didn’t notice him, Marius wasn’t about to give up. He asked around a bit and located her dressing room. He glanced around before easing himself inside. He placed the rose on her vanity table and looked around for some paper. Having found a notebook, he tore a piece out and located a pen. He wrote a simple note to her:

“Because I did not properly thank you for your help last night by offering you a ride home, I give you this rose.

He placed the pen back on the table and quietly slipped out of her room. On stage, the dancers were finishing up their warm ups. Marius quickly and quietly made his way down the steps into the orchestra pit. He took his seat by his drum and patiently waited for his mates to arrive and get settled.

Cosette finished her warm ups and left to start the arduous task of getting ready. As she stepped around stage hands, she collided with her partner. As he looked down his nose at her, she glanced upward. “Oh, hi,” she said.

“Hello, Cosette,” he replied. “I trust another perfect performance is in order for today?”
Cosette cringed at his pretentiousness. “Of course, Darion,” she sniffed. “Why should it be any different?”

Suddenly, Darion grabbed her hand. “It won’t be different. You and I are a match made in heaven. We dance beautifully together on stage. We should dance as beautifully off.”

Cosette whipped her hand out of Darion’s. “We are beautiful together on stage, Darion, but we will never ‘dance’ off stage.” With that, she turned on her heels and stormed off to her dressing room, leaving him with his mouth agape.

Inside her dressing room, Cosette threw herself down in her chair. She closed her eyes for a moment to catch her breath. When she opened her eyes, she noticed the rose on her vanity. At first, she thought it could be from Darion, but then her eyes caught the note. Gingerly picking up the paper, she read the short note. Smiling, she put the note back down and picked up the rose to draw in its scent. She allowed herself a fleeting moment to think of the handsome percussionist she met the night before.

After a few minutes, she began to fix her hair. As she was pinning her bun, she laid her eyes on the rose again. A wistful smile came across her face as she finished and pinned her tiara on. Placing the rose to the side, she set out her make up. With each brush stroke, she couldn’t help but steal glances at the carefully written note.

She carefully slid her warm up leotard and tights off, all the while thinking of Marius. As she pulled a clean pair of tights on and bent to tug her pointe shoes on, she was wishing it were him that she had collided with backstage instead of her annoying partner. Once she secured her shoe ribbons with a bit of hair spray, she pulled her costume on. Holding tight to her bodice, she took off in search of a helper to fasten the hooks on the back.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Short Story Page 4

The waitress placed a plate of apple pie and ice cream on the counter in front of Marius, barely interrupting his daydream. She smiled wistfully, knowing full well the distracted look in her customer’s eyes. Working the night shift, she saw that look often. She quietly left the check under his plate and left him to his thoughts.

Marius picked at his pie, sipped at his coffee. He kept thinking of ways to bump into Cosette at the theatre. He felt he needed to take her to dinner. He had an uncontrollable urge to kiss her full lips. But then, he thought about why she would even be remotely interested in him. After all, he was just a band geek. He played drums for an orchestra. He was positive that there were men pining for her that were better than he.

After a while, Marius stood and left some cash on the counter for his midnight snack. He sauntered out of the diner, still mulling over the possibility of dinner with Cosette. He got to his car and sat behind the steering wheel, not starting it just yet. All of a sudden, Marius slammed his steering wheel with the palms of his hands. He started berating himself for not being a gentleman and offering Cosette a ride home. And after she helped him! Right then, he devised a scheme by which he could innocently 'bump into her' the following day at the theater.

With that thought, Marius started his car, put it in gear and roared off toward home. Once home, he went directly to the bathroom. Stripping down and starting the shower, he stepped in and stood under the spray, excitedly thinking about the scheme he thought of. After about a half hour, he figured it was late. He climbed out, dried off and climbed into bed. And, like Cosette, once his head hit the pillow, he conked out for the night in to a dream-filled sleep.

Cosette awoke early the next morning. Sitting up in bed, she stretched. Her muscles were achy from the night before. She made a beeline for the kitchenette where she immediately started the coffee maker. While the coffee was brewing, she showered and dressed. Pouring herself a cup of coffee, she made her way out to her little balcony. Since it was still early, she could watch the sun rise and reflect a little before heading over to the theatre.

She thought about her life as it was right then. She was just promoted to soloist with the ballet company. She was dancing her dream role. She had her own apartment. She didn’t have much, but she had the essentials. Her body ached, but once under the lights, all the aches went away. Cosette felt mainly content.

And yet, something gnawed at her. She had a sinking feeling that something was missing. She had no life partner. Why did her chance meeting with Marius think of a life partner? Oh, she dated here and there as her dance schedule allowed. Many times, though, her schedule conflicted with having a social life. Most of the men she met was at the company; she barely had time to go out for a drink! After dedicating her life to the dance, how could she even try to open her heart to love?

After what seemed like hours, but in reality was only 45 minutes, Cosette rose and brought her mug to the sink. Taking out her travel mug, she readied herself a cup for the walk to the theatre. On her way out the door, she grabbed her dance bag and set off for the theatre.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Short Story - Page 3

Behind her, Cosette heard his car start and back away. Somewhat taken aback by the way she boldly helped him, a spring came into her step. She was no longer daydreaming about the evening performance, she was thinking about his handsome face. The way his blue eyes seemed to soften after looking at her. The way his strong hands gripped the wrench as he tightened down the terminal.

She was thinking about how she wanted those strong hands on her body.

This thought startled Cosette. She had never thought like that before. Oh, she had had boyfriends and lovers, but none had affected her as Marius had. Just thinking of the effortless way he had interacted with her made her want to know him better. She wanted to run her fingers through his longish, blonde hair to know if it was as soft as it looked.

Cosette unlocked the door to her apartment. Once inside, she placed her bag on the bench just inside the door and hung her keys on their hook. She closed and locked the door behind her and just stood, leaning, with her back on the door. Sighing, she went into the bathroom and ran water in the tub, pouring some lavender bubble bath in. After a performance, she always liked to relax with a good book and a long soak.

Tonight, though, her thoughts weren’t on the words in her book. Her mind kept wandering to her encounter with Marius in the alley. She couldn’t understand why. They had only met for minutes and yet, she felt as though they had known each other forever. She couldn’t help but think about the way his eyes searched her face as he spoke to her. And she couldn’t forget the way his hand felt in hers.

She pulled the drain on the tub once the water turned cold. Without drying herself, she wrapped herself in her terry robe. Exhausted, she shuffled to her bed and fell into it. Almost immediately, she fell into a deep sleep.

Meanwhile, Marius drove himself to an all-night diner. He couldn’t get the image of the beautiful woman he had just met out of his head. He needed a coffee and a slice of apple pie. And he just wanted to think. Think of all the feelings that were rushing through him as he spoke with Cosette.

Stepping through the door to the diner, he blinked in the glaring fluorescent light. He spotted several empty stools at the counter and made his way over to sit down. The waitress took his order and set a steaming mug of coffee in front of him. As he sat there, absently stirring cream and sugar, he conjured up an image of the graceful ballerina.

He couldn’t believe how strong an urge he had to see her again. Never had he felt this way about a woman before. But, there was something about her. About the way she nervously fiddled with her throat and yet just dove right under the hood and helped him out. Although he understood that she had an early call, he still wished she hadn’t run off so quickly. He hadn’t even thought to call after her to invite her to join him for coffee.