Hi everybody! Today’s chapter is very eventful, so let’s get right to the reading!
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Jaelyn and Priya’s apartment
“Jaelyn, sorry I yelled at you yesterday,” says Priya shamefully.
“It’s okay, Priya. We will have our ups and downs. There’s nothing we can do about it.”
“I know. I was just mad.”
“I still don’t understand why…” inquires Jaelyn. All it was was a weird lift.
“Well, there’s more to it than that,” says Priya, voice lowered to a hush, even though there’s nobody else in their apartment.
Jaelyn shifts in her seat to lean in closer so she can hear Priya’s shaky voice.
“That day – Rayna came into my dressing room to help me get ready for the second ballet. She told me that this girl came into their dressing room – she was laying on the floor. Nobody saw her at first – all of the lights were off. Rayna flipped them on and she seemed really mad when they asked her why she was there. She said that Liana and Nimah followed her into the School Library. She had some past friend that looked like Uri. She and this other girl were talking about getting back at her.”
“Somebody told me that Uri had a daughter! Rumors told me that she changed her name so she wouldn’t have ‘expectations’ in the school. I didn’t believe it. It must have been a really long time ago.”
“I’ve also heard that she was kind of a naughty kid,” laughs Priya. “And I know Cayson likes them. No wonder she was a principal at age 20. Anyways – so when Liana came back to me today, she said that she thinks the girl in her dressing room was Aria.”
“Aria?” asks Jaelyn. “Who’s that?”
“That new apprentice girl!”
“What? That’s her?”
“Yeah!” says Priya excitedly. “Okay…now for the good stuff. So, Enoch told me after the first ballet, before Rayna came in to help, that he wanted me to learn Odette for Uri, and -”
“Odette!” exclaims Jaelyn. “That’s amazing, Priya!”
“Yeah, yeah – he said that because he wants to fire Uri.”
Jaelyn’s smile fades as she looks at Priya, confused. “Why would Enoch want to fire Uri? She’s the best principal here and the audience loves her! This is an outrage…”
“It’s because, quote ‘There are so many new and talented dancers coming in,’” says Priya solemnly.
“Wait…so that means…”
“Yes. Uri’s daughter is having her highest competition replace her mother’s pace in the National Ballet,” says Priya.
“This should be an interesting week,” says Jaelyn.
Uri and Ember’s house
Uri looks at her thin, bony wrists in the mirror, practicing her port de bras for her sixteenth Swan Lake with the company. She will be starring as Odette and Odile. Mid port de bras, her smartphone rings sitting on her bathroom counter.
She sees the National Ballet caller ID on the screen. She immediately picks it up and says, “Hello? Is there a problem with my daughter?”
“This is Cayson Cortez.”
“Ah, Cayson! How are you? We haven’t talked in forever,” says Uri.
“Ah…I’m well. I have some news for you Uri, so I would like you to prepare yourself.”
“Ah, of course. What is it?” she says, excitedly.
“This will be your last Swan Lake with the company, I’m afraid,” says Cayson.
“Oh – I know I’m getting a bit too old to pull off those fouettés. Thanks for letting me know.”
“No – Uri. This is your last ballet with the company. Ever.”
“Wait…” says Uri, voice cracking, “I’m getting fired?”
“There are just so many new options these days. I’m afraid I can’t keep paying you. But, thank you for your time.”
With that, the dreadful beeping ensues on the phone line. Uri’s eyes are filled with tears and brain filled with fury.