Home > Forbidden Dance (Lover's Dance #1)(8)

Forbidden Dance (Lover's Dance #1)(8)
Author: Deanna Roy

“Look at this,” Mindy says. “Rumor is that Blitz slept with as many as twenty of the contestants on his show.” She looks up at me. “Twenty!”

She leans back against the cabinet, her knees tucked to her chest. “I wonder if he’s any good or if they flock to him no matter what because of who he is.”

I can’t think about this. The idea of these other women makes me a little crazy.

Mindy sits up suddenly. “You could find out!” Then she frowns. “Except you have nothing to compare it to!”

My face heats up. I want to tell her I do, but I can’t do that. She’d want more details than I’m prepared to provide. I don’t want to risk getting caught by looking any longer, so I type in “Most famous hymns” in the search box. I click and click on a bunch of links like Mindy taught me. When everything in the recent history looks good, I shut it down and close the lid.

“Blitz Craven,” Mindy says with a sigh. “This is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me, and it’s not even happening to me.”

I lie back on the flat carpet of the storage space and stare up at the water-stained ceiling. “I don’t know anything about how long he’ll be there or if he’ll even look at me again,” I say.

But I do know one thing. I’m not supposed to have class again until Friday, but I’m going back to Dreamcatcher tomorrow.

 

 

Chapter 6

 

 

Danika keeps a studio room open most mornings for dance students who want to use a space to work on their recital routines. That’s where I was on Monday when Blitz found me.

So the next morning, I dress in my best light blue leotard and skirt — one without any mended tears — and head to the living room to tell my mother I want to get in an extra practice this week.

It should be fine, because my father always meets his friend Larry for lunch on Wednesdays, so he won’t be home asking what I did that morning. Mom is fanatical about telling the truth and prefers the answer to be “some chores around the house and studied for her SAT.” This gets an approving nod.

I’m not sure I’ll get to go to college, but I like studying for the test and thinking about a future away from my family.

And there’s Gabriella to consider. My situation is perfect for seeing her.

There’s no need to change things. The transition from home high school to studying for the college admissions test has been seamless. Other than a cake with a graduation cap on it six months ago, my life has been no different for four years. Only the grade levels on the booklets ever changed anyway.

Mom looks up from the pie crust she is rolling out. “You’re dressed for dance. You going up there?”

“Just getting a little extra practice in. I really want those pointe shoes.”

She pauses. Her hair has bits of gray in it, twisted in the elaborate braid that she favors. She wears an old pair of jeans and a Houston Rockets T-shirt. Seeing the shirt sends a bolt of nostalgia through me. Our old life. Watching basketball games on TV with other families. Picnics. Movies. Going to the beach at Galveston.

Dad flipped so hard after the baby, after everything. He became a different person than he was before. Controlling. Angry. Disturbed. It’s hard to blame him. We all lost so much.

“How long will you be gone?”

“Just an hour, probably, less than two for sure.” I pick up an apple from the fruit bowl and take a big bite. Mom watches me, her hands on the rolling pin, the dough still thick on a cloud of flour.

“All right. Just be sure to come back in time to do some studying. Your dad will ask.”

I nod in agreement. I think my mom probably wants to end my house arrest, but she doesn’t go against my dad. She has plenty of reason to, maybe even to leave him. But after the baby, our whole family took a turn for the religious, as if getting our church on would erase all the terrible things that happened.

It’s a small church and very old-fashioned. Mom has fallen in step with everyone there, deferring to Dad as the “captain of the ship.” The Rockets T-shirt is possibly her only form of protest, although I’m betting she put it on after Dad left for work and will change it before he gets home. She doesn’t like confrontations. The last big one in our family almost destroyed it. She’s careful. She teaches me to be careful, too.

My eight-year-old brother Andy comes in, arms full of books. “Science test today,” he says with a grimace. “Will you help me?”

I ruffle his hair. “After lunch, okay?”

He looks at Mom. “Can we take it after lunch?”

She gives him a half smile. “Only if you study hard until then.”

“Do a good job, Buddy,” I say to him.

I pick up my bag by the door and leave the house.

I’m out. Free!

The walk to Dreamcatcher is exhilarating. I feel so full of joy and energy. I wish I hadn’t panicked so much when Blitz took me in his arms. It was just a dance move. I could have kissed him! Imagine! We were safe enough in the storage room. What could happen at a dance academy?

I’m determined when I see him today to be bold and not freak out. In fact, I tug at the pins holding my hair in a tight dance bun and let it fall free. It floats against my shoulders and tickles my arms. I feel different, less trapped. Lovely.

I picture dancing alone with him again, and this time accepting his kiss, and I squeal loud enough to disturb the squirrels in the tree overhead. They treat me to a shower of brown leaves.

“Sorry!” I call out, but I’m not the least bit sorry at all. As I approach the academy, my feet fairly fly up the steps to the front door.

Suze looks up from the desk. “Extra practice today?” she asks.

“Yes,” I answer, my face falling at the empty foyer. But of course Blitz wouldn’t be out here. If he’s at Dreamcatcher at all, he’ll be in one of the rooms. I just have to go look.

“How full is the practice room today?” I ask.

“Just Cassidy and Allen, going over their ballroom routine.”

I didn’t know Cassidy had a partner now. Another man at Dreamcatcher! Thankfully they wouldn’t be at the recital for Dad to see.

But their dance will take up a lot of space. I’ll be confined to the barre to avoid bumping into them. “Anything else open?”

Suze clicks on the keyboard. “The other three studios are in use. But you could go on the recital stage if you want. Danika is in there so the lights are on.”

Hmm. I definitely want to go down the hall and peek into the other rooms. Maybe I can warm up in the studio and then move on to the recital stage.

“Thanks,” I tell Suze. I grip the strap of the string bag that holds my ballet shoes. I should ask her if Blitz is here, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I don’t want to be disappointed, but more than that, I don’t want to tip Suze off that I’m interested in him. They will talk.

The hall is quiet in the middle of the hour. I peek into the window of Studio 1. Aurora is there with her baby ballerinas, toddlers in tutus who mostly roll around on the floor. The moms all sit against the wall, ready to redirect their child, kiss a boo-boo, or change a diaper.

I don’t see this class often, as it’s my off day, but today I pause, watching the mothers snap pictures of their little girls. I missed this part of Gabriella’s life completely. I didn’t discover where she was until she was almost three. Then it was another year before she arrived for the wheelchair ballerina class. She couldn’t know who I was. That would be the worst of all.

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