Last week I promised something big would happen this week. It does.
If you're just joining in now, check out my sidebar on my homepage for all the story posted to date. You have a bit of time to catch up on the story - next week we'll take a little break from Dance due to Christmas and all, but then I'll be back with ballet slippers on with the next instalment. ;)
Last week, Sherrie was once again visited by Mr Brair (isn't he a real creep?) and was told that her ballet days were SO over, due to her mother and new husband's financial difficulties.
This week, she prepares for her final ballet class, and is about to make a last minute decision that will change her life forever... (It's almost as dramatic as Days of Our Lives, huh?)
THE DANCE OF REVENGE
THE sun shimmered through the window of Sherrie's room, awakening her with its rays. Sherrie stretched lazily in bed and yawned. She was very tired, as she had not slept very well the previous night. Sherrie had lay awake thinking of a plan to rid of Mr Brair. But no plan had sprung to mind. She would have to think more later.
She jumped up from her bed and then suddenly remembered that this was her last day of ballet lessons. This made her believably [I probably meant, 'understandably'] sad. Now she could not keep her promise. Or could she? Maybe she could keep practising without a teacher? Then when she was old enough, she could move away and get a job that would help pay for her lessons. But she was only fourteen, and her mother would not let her go unless she was eighteen. There was also the possibility that Aliza could teach her steps that she learnt in class.
Sherrie knew it would not be the same on a Saturday anymore. She could sleep in, but she wouldn't want to. She sighed at the though of telling Madame about her awful news. And now, if she got into the ballet production, she could not do it. Sherrie tryed [here we go again... 'tried'!] to hold her tears, but she couldn't. The box of tissues were in her mother's room. She would not go in there. She could, but she won't. [Or, 'wouldn't'. Whatever.]
Instead she pulled out her delicate lace handkerchief that her grandmother had made for her. She sighed at the thought of not being able to see her grandmother anymore. Grandma Dolty was her only true friend, apart from Aliza. Sherrie knew that she would miss her grandmother greatly.
Sherrie dressed for the last time for her ballet lessons. Crying openly, she put the tutu on over her slim body. She tried [Lordy! I got it right!] to think of nice and pleasant things. She felt alarmed she couldn't think of anything.
"SHERRIE? Breakfast is on the table!" Sherrie jumped at her mother' voice. She was scared of facing him this morning. She hated him.
"I'll be down in a minute!" she shouted back.
Sherrie hurriedly grabbed her coat and ran down to her breakfast. She sighed with relief when she noticed only her mother sitting at the table.
"Isn't Mr Brair here?" Sherrie asked quietly.
"Try to call him Adam, ma chere. And no, he's gone [or, 'he went'] to his office for a while." Sherrie noticed her mother looked distracted. She frowned at how her mother always had time for Mr Brair and not her. Sherrie sat at the table and tried to force down the eggs and bacon on her plate. [Not really a traditional french brekky.]
"Will you pick me up from class today, mother?" Sherrie's mother looked up from the paper in front of her.
"I'm sorry, darling, but you know that Adam and I like to relax on the weekend. You can catch the train home."
"But mother, you know how I hate catching the train."
"This is your last time though, isn't it Sherrie?" Elizabeth hissed. Sherrie lowered her eyes dangerously. [I'm not sure what that means. Do you?]
"Fine. I'll catch a train....MOTHER DEAR!" Sherrie got up from her seat and raced out the door.
Not once did she stop running until she reached the train station. The train came fairly quickly, so she jumped aboard and tryed [that was a brief moment of correct spelling] to concentrate on other things than her mother. She cursed to herself when she realised she'd forgotten her gloves. She shoved her hands in to her pocket and felt a piece of slippery paper. She pulled it out and realised that it was the photo of her mother and that man. She'd forgotten to take it out of her pocket. She stared at her mother's face. Her mother was so pretty. Then she focused on the gentleman. He was definitely handsome. He could be kind, and warm.
Going over the bridge, Sherrie shut her eyes and noticed that it clittered [once again, I think I meant 'clicked'] and clacked a little more than usual. She was glad when the train was safely over the other side of the bridge. It didn't take much longer for the train to finally reach her stop. Sherrie jumped off the train and ran the one block to the large building. Exhausted and sweaty, she finally made it to her class. Her last class.
* * * * *
Madame was at the barre warming up to the music of Cinderella.
"Ah, you are late again, Sherrie. Maybe it would be easier for you to catch an earlier train, non?" Sherrie nodded sadly.
"Madame, if you're not too busy, could I speak to you"? She watched the other dancers walk on to the floor dressed in their warm ups. "Privately." Madame looked curious, but she did not say anything to Sherrie.
"Of course, Sherrie. After class, okay?" Sherrie nodded and then ran into the change rooms.
Once she was inside, she began to cry a little as she changed for the last time. She carefully put her tutu aside. There was no need to wear it. She would put on her warm ups. People had looked at her as she had walked with the delicate tutu on. What she did do though was pull out her best ballet slippers. The pink ones with the delicate white ribbon. They had been a present from her grandmother only three months ago.
As she threw her coat on to a hook, out flew the picture of her mother and that terribly handsome man. [LOL. I had to laugh at my description of him.] She knew that she could not risk hiding it at home, so she looked for a place to hide it. As she looked around the room, her eyes rested on a tall cupboard that had been in the change room for as long as Sherrie could remember. It held all the cleaning supplies. It was very tall, but Sherrie noticed that there was a little space between the cupboard and the ceiling.
It's too high, she thought miserably. Then her eyes widened in delight when she noticed a stool sitting in the corner. It wasn't too heavy and she soon had it rested near the cupboard. With the photo in her hand, she quickly placed her foot on the bar that lay under the stool. In no time at all she had heaved herself up next to the cupboard. Still too short, but if she reached up.... She did it! The photo now lay on top of the cupboard.
Sherrie decided that one day she could come back and claim it when she had found a safe enough place to put it. She quickly put the stool back in its place and dusted off her hands. Suddenly, a knock came from the door and it flew open. It was Aliza.
"Come on, Sherrie. What's taking you so long? Madame is waiting, and she isn't waiting patiently." Sherrie shrugged.
"I'm coming. It just took me a little time to put on my shoes. That's all." Aliza glanced down at Sherrie's feet.
"Sherrie," she exclaimed. "What on earth are you doing wearing those good slippers?"
"My others are too old and ruined. I just have to wear these until I get a new pair," she lied. She ran towards the door and Aliza hastily followed.
When she got out on to the floor, she made a promise to dance her 'god damn' best. She hurried in to her floor exercises with perfection and determination. [You go, girl.]
* * * * *
Madame watched Sherrie with disbelief. Never in her thirty-five years of teaching had she seen anyone perform so brilliantly as this girl with her golden hair pushed in to a bun. [I don't think I needed to give the full description of Sherrie's hairstyle, but there you go.] Every step the girl made was to perfection. There was definitely no flaw in her arabesques or plies. The girl was dancing like that of a professional. Madame shook her head in amazement.
"Girls?" she called abruptly. "Come and sit down in front of me." All the girls hurried to the floor and most of them collapsed with exhaustion. Except for one girl. Sherrie.
"My students," Madame began, "you have all worked hard today, so I have decided to tell you what part you have for the production of Cinderella." She paused and looked at the alert faces. "Now, I will start from the bottom." [Oh, that's a nice way to put it.] She went on to read all the parts. Some of the girls looked crushed when they heard they did not get the part of Cinderella.
"Now for the final part. Of course, you know that some of you have been left out as you will be playing chorus. All right? Now, there are five of you left. Aliza, Julieanne, Christina, Marie and Sherrie. This part is the most important of them all. The audience will get to know you as they know the character so well. They will learn to laugh when you laugh. Cry when you cry. You will be their own fantasy. I have done a lot of studying for this, as you know. I was going to tell you on Wednesday....or rather put your names on the board, but I could not wait." Five girls now looked at her anxiously, but one frowned and lowered her head. Once again, it was Sherrie. Madame could not figure out why the young girl wasn't excited.
"The girl who will play Cinderella is...Sherrie Dolty."
* * * * *
Sherrie's eyes widened in surprise. She had got the part. She had gotten the part of Cinderella. She began to cry when she realised it could not be hers. The girls thought she was crying in happiness, until she ran from the floor to the door and outside in to the hall. She could barely hear Madame and her class mates calling her to come back.
Suddenly the door flew open and next to her stood Madame. She crouched next to Sherrie and placed her wrinkled arm around her. Then Sherrie heard Aliza.
"Is she alright, Madame?"
"Yes, yes, Aliza. Go back inside and get changed. Then wait at the front of the room." Aliza reluctantly headed towards the door. She turned around and frowned.
"Sherrie?" she whispered. Sherrie looked around to see her friend's distressed face.
"It's alright, Aliza. I'll be fine." Aliza nodded at Sherrie's words and hurried inside.
Madame put her fingers under Sherrie's chin and made her look up in to her wrinkly, kind face. [As in previous chapters, I'm still obsessed with the ageing of poor Madame.]
"Sherrie, tell me what is wrong. Don't you want the part? Have I done something to---." Sherrie interrupted.
"Non, Madame. It isn't you. It's---" Sherrie went on to explain about her mother's financial difficulties and how she could not pay for anymore dance lessons and how her grandmother had not left her mother any money of her herself. Madame looked at Sherrie in horror.
"Ah, no, no, no. This can't be true. Sherrie, you must do ballet, you have a career in front of you. A very promising one. You could be the best. You already are the best in my class. Now I understand why you performed so well today. It was your last dance." She shook her head sadly. "I'm sorry that I cannot do anything to help you, Sherrie. If I could I would teach you privately, but I'm not allowed to. Unless you had the money, of course." She stood and pulled Sherrie up from the floor.
"Sherrie, you could get a scholarship, but then you would have to go to America or Russia to study dance. And the scholarship only pays for your tuition, and you really should be sixteen. You are only fourteen, aren't you?" Sherrie nodded sadly.
"My mother wouldn't let me go anyway." She began to cry again. "I'm sorry, Madame. Maybe one day I will have enough money of my own to start again. I'm sorry..." She ran from the woman and ran to the change rooms. When she came out, all the girls looked up at her. It was obvious that they had heard the news. Aliza stood up.
"Sherrie, I---." She stopped when Sherrie hastily waved goodbye to all of them and left. Sherrie stopped running as soon as she was out of the building. She turned around and looked up at the glass window of the studio and saw Madame and all the girls waving, sadly. She watched as Madame wiped her eyes and turned away from the window. Madame was crying!
Sherrie turned away awkwardly and headed towards the train station. She walked slowly and dabbed her eyes with her handkerchief. Finally, she came to the station and realised she was early. The only train she could catch was the old train that had been around for so long that her mother used to catch it. So she said. Her mother warned her never to catch it because it was too old and creaky. But if Sherrie didn't catch it, she would have to wait another hour or so. She had left clas and hour early, she did not want to go back there and wait, and she certainly didn't like the idea of waiting at the station where young 'sex maniacs' hung out. [Okaaay.] She saw one [of them] eyeing her with satisfaction and move towards her, so she quickly boarded the train, and took a seat in the rear of all the carriages. [I think I meant 'she took a seat in the rear carriage.] As she left on the creaky train, she caught the man standing near the side of the toilets playing with his 'thing'. She was shocked that she had been the cause of this. [Well, there you go. I must have had some sort of premonition of what would eventually happen to me on a train in France!]
Sherrie turned away from the window until she was sure she could not see the man anymore and then again she looked out and watched the scenery move past her. This didn't help in the slightest, so she tried to concentrate on the people in the carriage with her. An old man sat dozing in his seat and a girl about Sherrie's age sat next to him. It was at this point that Sherrie realised she had left her bag behind and only wore her woolly dress and carried her coat. She would have to go back tomorrow and collect it. How stupid of her to leave her good ballet slippers behind. Maybe one of the girls would take them to their house later?
Sherrie finally looked out the window again to see that the bridge she dreaded was coming up. The old train shaked [or shook] furiously and for a minute she panicked. Then she screamed when the train seemed to jolt forward and back and go faster, then slower. The old man had awoken and was pulling the emergency stop with force, but nothing was happening. Sherrie stood, dropping her coat and noticed that half of the train was flying off the side of the bridge! Sherrie suddenly felt a sharp pain on the side of her head. She had bumped in to a rack that stood above the seats. [I think you know I was talking about the luggage rack.] Sherrie suddenly felt dizzy, and soon everything went black. The last thing she heard was someone shouting, "Fire!"
Phew. That was one long chapter.
I promised something big would happen this week.
Will Sherrie survive the train crash? Find out in TWO WEEK'S TIME - after a short break next Sunday - when I publish Chapter 8. (I think you know the answer, otherwise, there probably wouldn't be much of a story left, now would there?)