“Ballet?” I ask, adjusting my vice-like grip on Courtney’s shoulders. She is flying me over the ocean, eastward towards the new day.
“Trust me.” She answers, “Just relax and enjoy the stars.”
Since she dosed me with Petit-maitre, I’m finding this soaring through the sky thing to be less terrifying. No reason I can’t try to enjoy this. How often do I get flown across the world by a vampire that I thought was a fictional character of my own creation. Wait, what?
I look up at the starry night and take a deep cleansing breath. Relax, Anne… I close my eyes and I can almost hear the music, feel his body next to mine. I fiddle with my wedding rings and try to remember the exact color of Tony’s eyes. They’re green, right? But I can’t picture them. All I can see are the crystal blue of the other man’s gaze.
I sigh heavily.
“Don’t beat yourself up about it, Annie.” Courtney shouts at me over the wind.
“Did you have fun at Cielo?”
“Yes.” I sigh. I have to admit it. That was the most fun I’d had in a long time. The loose and luscious feeling in my limbs, the flash and pulse of the lights and music, the freedom.
“If you take what I’m offering you, Anne, you can have that. Any night. Every night.”
A tiny whisper of guilt tugs fleetingly at my heart. but then is gone. Her offer is becoming more and more appealing.
Doing what I want, dancing all night, no stress, no responsibilities. The rush of first kisses, new conquests, promises of adventure and romance. Being powerful and eternal. How could I turn this down?
I smile, that tugging regret now gone, and I hold on tighter to my vampire.
I hum that last song and remember that dance.
I am feeling light, energetic, like an angel flying across the night. I could do this. Couldn’t I? I mean…
I am lost in thoughts of what could be when I feel that dropping fluttering sensation in my belly. We are landing. Back to Earth.
She settles me on the ground more gingerly this time, and I don’t even stumble.
“Where?” I ask, taking in our surroundings. It seems we are in some European suburban type town. There is a school hall or something less than a block away.
“Never been good at geography… Germany? Gah, hell. I don’t know Anne. We’re going to the ballet. That’s all you need to know.”
I start to argue with her about how she could know where to take me and not know where we are, when I see a family get out of a car and practically skip their way towards the hall. I pay them no mind, barely noticing the two pink ruffles squealing past.
A mom, a dad, and two little girls in pink leotards and tutus. Boring. I thought we’d be seeing some metropolitan dance company. What is this? Where are we?
“Showtime.” Courtney smiles and takes my hand.
Suddenly, I’m no longer in my club clothes, but instead in gray corduroys and a black cable knit sweater. I’m grateful for the warmth, but I immediately feel disappointment.
Couldn’t I just have another shot and then hit another club? Or a concert maybe?
She leads me with preternatural speed into the hall and we settle into seats in the back row. This is stupid. I just want to get out of here and back to the fun.
“Court-” I start to whisper as the lights go down and the stage curtains part. A shy young woman comes out to the lone microphone. She’s dressed in a black body suit and leg warmers and her hair is pulled back in a tight bun. She announces something in a crisp Germanic language and nods politely at the ensuing applause.
She sweeps elegantly out of the spotlight and we hear the tiny patters of ballet slippers as 6 little girls appear in one straight line. All of their eyes are on the young woman, presumably their instructor, just off stage. The music is queued up and Delibes’ Ballet Suite from “Sylvia” tinkles through the air.
“C’mon… MOM…” Courtney teases. “Isn’t this much more your style?”
I almost protest, but then I notice one little ballerina wave a plump little hand towards the front row and giggle. I see the backs of the heads of the parents that scooted past us outside. The mom is wiping her eyes with one hand and waving back to her little one with the other. The dad is holding up his smart phone to capture every step on video.
June and Elise just had their first recital a few weeks back. I remember taping and watching their little show, misty-eyed, and hand-in-hand with Tony.
A smile spreads across my face and my vision quivers and fogs. I miss my babies.
I am mesmerized by the halting and awkward plies and rand de jambes. The rest of the auditorium is now in soft focus and I giggle and gasp at the adorable dancers, clutching my hands at my heart.
The song ends and I applaud and cheer along with the other parents and grandparents. I’m wiping my eyes with the cuff of my sleeve and can feel the icy gaze of my vampire.
“What?” I sniff, defensively.
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Well, I mean, it’s sweet!”
She turns to walk out of the school, and I follow her, continuing my defense, “Even you have to admit they were darling…”
“Darling little bloodbags, yes…” She sneers.
“COURTNEY!” I grab her arm and stop her from stomping any further away.
“You haven’t learned a thing tonight, Annie.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I search her face. What exactly should I be learning, I wonder?
“It means we’re not done.”
And we’re off into the night again.