“Uh, sure,” Marius answered nervously. “I’d like that.”
They smiled at each other as they both understood the other’s urgency to have to get ready for the evening performance. Cosette leaned on the door, smiling, as Marius left. She slowly closed it with a sigh behind him. She stood for a moment leaning with her back on the door, her hand still on the knob. She could still feel Marius’ lips burning on hers. Taking her hand off the doorknob, she raised her fingers to her still plump mouth. Smiling, sighing, she hurried to get dressed and get on stage for warm ups.
Emerging from the wings, Cosette stopped at the sight of her partner still warming up. She almost turned back to her dressing room to warm up, but decided instead to hold her head high and face Darion. Drawing herself up as tall as five foot two could be, she marched to a spot at the barre.
Out of the corner of his eye, Darion watched Cosette take her place. He was still steaming from the confrontation in her dressing room. She was his, he thought. She had no business socializing with another man. Especially one of the orchestra. Darion felt that the orchestra was there to serve him, not to socialize with.
Cosette could feel the daggers from Darion’s eyes on her back. She was suddenly very fearful of him. She knew he was strong. She knew he was stubborn. She knew he was jealous. Her only question was, what could he do with those three?
The evening’s performance went without a hitch. Darion didn’t hold Cosette any tighter than he had to. In fact, he almost seemed aloof through their pas de deux. This frightened her more than if he tried to hold her tight.
Once the show was over, and the curtain had fallen for the final time, Cosette hurried to her room. She was carefully watching the floor for obstacles and didn’t notice Darion in the shadows. She ran right into him, her head crashing into his chest.
Startled, she jumped back. “Oh, didn’t see you…” she stopped short when she realized who it was.
Darion crossed his arms over his chest. “Hello, partner,” he hissed.
Cosette nervously glanced around to see what stagehands may be within earshot. “Um, hello, Darion.”
He looked down his nose to her. “So, what were you doing with him?” he spat.
Cosette drew herself up to her full five foot two inch height. She crossed her arms over her smallish chest. “That is none of your business, Darion,” she huffed. “What I do during my time out of the classroom and offstage is my time.”
Darion moved in close to Cosette. He made a fist and straightened one finger and pointed it into her face. “Don’t you realize that you are mine? Don’t you realize that you are mine in life as well?”
The color drained out of Cosette’s face. “D-D-Darion, no I-I-I’m not,” she fearfully stuttered. “We’re partners onstage and that’s it.”
Grabbing her wrist, he spat, “You’re mine.”
“Ow, you’re hurting me,” Cosette strained as she tried to break free of Darion. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see one of the stagehands clearing the wings. She let out a small squeal of pain and the stagehand looked over. He looked over and the feuding partners and walked toward them.
“Is everything okay over here?” Steve asked.