Dear Diary, just when I think everything’s turned for the worse, something good happens. Or maybe I’m just an optimist, I don’t know.
After I confided in Mom about what happened with Ella, she told me that no matter what happened that day, she and Dad still love me. It made me feel so much better, getting my problems off my chest. I still needed counseling, though. My counselor, in particular, seemed interested in the fact that I keep a journal, even if I don’t write in it every day like I should.
His name is Cason – my counselor, I mean. When I first started seeing him, he wanted me to come twice a week. Now that we’ve gotten to know each other, I see him once a week. It’s been difficult to come to terms with not knowing the extent of what Ella may have done. On top of that, I was unconscious during the incident, but I feel like my own body betrayed me.
Cason told me that there are other men who’ve been through this and that I’m not alone. Apparently, like me, many of them don’t come forward or report it to the police. I can see why my incident would be dismissed and honestly, I never realized such a thing could happen to a guy. And that’s what I keep going back to over and over again in my mind. See, I was all doped up on painkillers but if she took advantage of me during that time, my body must have responded to her… betraying me. I do remember bits and pieces of a dream I had that night about Fletcher. I was so out of it, I don’t think I’ll ever know the truth.
The next thing I had to deal with was facing Ella at work. She was my dance partner yet I abhorred the idea of touching her. Myung noticed the change in me although I tried to hide it. After a lot of prodding, I finally told her. Everything. She seemed horrified and she said, “I’ll take care of this.” She also offered me some time off but there is no way I’m giving up a chance to play a lead role in “Star of the Gods.” I’ve worked too hard.
Not long after my discussion with Myung, Ella was fired and I was partnered with Stevie Thorne and…
… Zelda Reed. I danced with both of them so Myung could get an idea who my partner would be. Both girls were already principals but only one of them could play the lead.
I got on well with both of them. They were both ambitious but seemed nice enough.
After months of rehearsals, it was finally time for the performance! This is the Prince Richard Opera House where we perform all of the ballets in our repertoire. The symphony orchestra performs here as well and they will be joining us for “Star of the Gods.”
I was a mess before our first performance. The curtain was alive with blinking stars and it was a sold-out show. As I stood in the wings, the orchestra began playing the introduction. My heart was pounding against my chest even after taking a few steadying breaths.
What I realized, though, was it was not stagefright I was feeling, but a deep excitement that hit me like lightning, spreading from the butterflies in my stomach all the way through my tensed body. I was ready for this.
The crowd hushed as the curtain drew back for the opening piece. As I waited for my cue, Myung caught my eye and she smiled reassuringly at me.
My jumps were strong, quick, and tight as my character searched for that one true star he was missing.
As I danced, I poured everything I had into the part. The orchestra swelled and it was easy to forget this was just a ballet. For all three acts, it came together and it felt real.
One of my favorite moments was the curtain call at the end of the show. Zelda, my new partner, and I held hands as she curtsied and I bowed. The audience roared with applause and gave us a standing ovation.
Zelda squeezed my hand and rewarded me with a big smile, her breaths still coming in gasps from all our hard work.
The after party was a bit on the dull side. I looked everywhere for my family and finally found Rosetta.
“You were quite extraordinary,” she said with a grin.
“Where’s Mom and Dad?”
“They couldn’t get away from the case they’re working on. The poor darlings were very upset to have missed opening night. I’m certain they would have enjoyed it.”
I merely nodded at her, my heart sinking a little. Neither had come to my performance and really, I should be used to this sort of thing by now but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed and angry. Their work with The Inheritance had always kept them traveling to strange places. Yet, this was the most important thing I’d ever done.
“Don’t take it personally,” Rosetta said, touching my arm lightly.
“You don’t look fine. You look as if you have just lost your best friend.”
“I’m fine, Rosie. I think I would know if I wasn’t.”
Still, that skeptical, all-knowing look was on her face.
“Chris is here,” she said.
“I’m glad you both came… Did you come here together?”
She said of course, but nothing changed in her eyes or face. I’m no master of relationships but it was pretty evident she was still oblivious to Christopher’s feelings.
As if on cue, Chris joined us. He seemed very attentive to my sister, as frustrating as that must have been for him.
Before I forgot, I introduced Zelda to Rosetta.
My sister immediately seemed taken with the ballerina. “Oh my, but you’re beautiful! Your performance was celestial.”
Zelda smiled shyly. “Thank you. It’s very nice to meet you.”
“The pleasure is all mine,” Rosetta smoothly said.
“Pardon me while I steal this angel away,” Aiden, the art director said.
Glancing around the room, I saw Myung stuck in a conversation she’d rather not be in. Approaching her, I touched her arm.
“Come meet my family,” I said as the person she was talking to left us.
“Thank goodness. That man never shuts up.”
I laughed a little, directing her over to my family.
As Myung spoke with Rosetta and Chris, my eye caught Stevie. I couldn’t help but feel amused that her hair matched the wallpaper. Stifling a laugh, I nodded slightly at her and was rewarded with a beaufiul smile.
“My brother, the danseur!” Rosetta exclaimed with a smile. “I am so proud of you. At the end, when you finally found Zelda, your true star, I was almost moved to tears.”
That was saying a lot since I can’t remember a time my sister actually ever cried. When most kids fell off the playground equipment, they cried and made a fuss. Not my sister. If that happened to her, she balled up her little fists and got angry.
“Rosetta agreed to accompany me to The Drunk Cat Bar for some drinks.”
Rosetta giggled and lightly hit Chris’ arm. “You act like it is a date or something.”
Chris briefly frowned but then did a pretty good job of hiding his disappointment. “We’re just going for some drinks.”
“Wish I could,” I said, “but, uh, I have a date.”
Yes, yours truly had a date. I’m not ready to tell you who that date was with but what I will say is that I could easily fall in love with her. We hit it off so well, it seemed a no-brainer that a relationship was the next step.
It felt like the only way to get Fletcher out of my mind once and for all, was to jump into something new. My girl didn’t want anything serious which suited me just fine. We mostly spent our time at her place.
I don’t think I was meant to sleep alone. When I was with her, I slept my best.
This night, when I woke up, I was still in her bed, but she wasn’t there.
“Hey, babe,” I called out, “where are you?”
Her muffled voice, coming from the bathroom, was especially nice. “I just got out of the shower.”
Glancing at the little alarm clock on her nightstand and rubbing my eyes, I saw it was five in the morning. It was surprising to see I’d slept all night for a change.
When she came out of the bathroom, she strode naked across the room to her closet. Her self-esteem was something I never tired of. And if she was comfortable walking around naked, I sure wasn’t going to complain.
“Do you want some breakfast? There’s a new diner on 28th and Temple called The Chili Sisters.”
It drove me insane the way she put her clothes on. Even that was a sensual experience.
“I don’t have time this morning. Besides, I’ve already had some toast. There’s coffee on if you want some.”
“Okay,” I said, my eyes still drinking her in. Without giving it much thought, I was across the room in three strides, pulling her into my arms and kissing her deeply.
After a time, she pulled away, a smile on her lips, her fingers playing in my hair. “I’m going to be late.”
“So, you know I can’t be late.”
I traced her lips with my thumb before kissing her again. “Okay, I’ll see you later today.”
What is it about family that you can have the most amazing night out with a great girl, yet your family gives you grief?
I’d been hoping they’d be gone by the time I got home but no such luck today.
“Where were you all night?” Rosetta demanded as if she had the right to know.
“Out,” I said with a hidden grin. I knew that answer would drive her absolutely bonkers.
“Very funny,” she said, rolling her eyes. “I don’t have time for a long talk, Holden, but we seriously need to catch up with each other.”
What was there to catch up? I wondered. She was doing all of her political stuff and working with our parents in The Inheritance. I was dancing and … here, I grinned without meaning to… having lots of fun on the side.
“What is that smirk for?”
“I’m not smirking,” I said.
“Chris, is he smirking?”
“Well, now I am,” I laughed.
“Uh uh,” Chris said, “I know better than to take sides when you two are being ridiculous.”
“Good man,” I said.
“What is the problem, Rosie?”
Her eyes narrowed slightly and her nostrils flared. “You were obviously out with someone or you would have returned home earlier.”
All I did was shrug. Torturing her was a favorite pastime. I knew she wouldn’t be able to concentrate until she knew everything about this first.
“Fine,” I said, standing up so we were on a more level playing ground. “Female. Gorgeous.”
“Who is she? Do I know her?”
“You know of her but I’m pretty sure you’ve never spoken to her.”
“Why don’t you tell me her name?”
Grinning from ear to ear, I said, “Because it’s way more fun this way.”
She impatiently growled at me, which, of course, made me feel even more satisfied.
“Uh, I’ll see you guys later,” Chris stammered, making a hasty escape.
“Later, Chris,” I called. “I’ve got to run, too.”
“I only want to know things because I love you so much.”
“You don’t have to protect me. I’ve never understood why you think you do.”
“That’s why you need me because you think you don’t.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
I could see her hesitating which piqued my interest a bit. She was being even more strange than usual.
“I know what happened with you and that girl Ella.”
I’m sure my eyes were as wide as they could go. As she stared at me, I felt red heat in my cheeks. “What did you say? How? How could you know?”
“A while back you were talking to Mother on the back patio. I came home to retrieve a file I had forgotten. When I saw Mother’s car parked out front, I thought I’d tell her hello.”
“And you eavesdropped.”
“How come you are just mentioning this now? That happened months ago.”
“How was I supposed to bring it up? You were clearly distressed. Anyway, I approved of the advice Mother gave you so I saw no need to bring it up and cause you further embarrassment.”
“You mean pain.”
She raised an eye, her expression baffled. “I know she hurt you – ”
” – I don’t know that.”
She paused for just a moment, her face downcast. “Do you remember when we were little? When we had, uh, special gifts?”
I barely gave her question a thought before shrugging.
“Do you remember the monster?”
Thinking back over our childhood, the mention of a monster rang a small bell, but I couldn’t seem to grasp at the memory like I wanted to.
“Vaguely, I guess, I remember some bad dreams I had about a monster.”
“A dream?” The corners of her mouth tugged downward into a frown.
“Is something wrong?”
“I can’t talk right now. I have to drop off some paperwork to the mayor’s office, then meet back up with Mother and Father. But we do need to talk as soon as possible.”
“You know where to find me.” Most of the time, anyway, I thought to myself as she left.
As I watched my sister get into her car and drive away, I began to wonder what she was talking about. A strange fragment of a memory rushed through my head so quickly, I couldn’t really decipher what it was. A monster? What could she possibly mean by that?
Because my eyes are all goofed up still, I wasn’t able to get the ballet pics I wanted. I was planning a whole show, too. I just thought I should mention why there are only a couple pics of the ballet.
I had some requests to upload some of my sims, in particular, Elisabeth and Caroline Larochette, Marty’s sisters. You can find their links for downloading on my Downloads page. Thank you for your requests.
Thank you for reading and for your support,