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?”