Saturday, June 2, 2012
The next morning, Jordyn stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror in Miss Victoria Joy’s dance studio, in black spandex dance shorts, and a black spandex, sports-bra-like top, typical dance wear for a four-hour-long Saturday dance rehearsal at the La Jolla Dance Academy.As her group finished their new jazz piece, Miss Victoria Joy stood near the front of the room, clapping.
“Yes, ladies!” she praised. “Great job! You are gonna take first place at Star Quest next weekend, no doubt about it!”
Jordyn wiped the sweat from her forehead, and put her hands on her narrow, toned waist, glancing at herself in the mirror. She was the featured dancer for next week’s completion in Los Angeles. She was also Miss Victoria Joy’s favorite student, or her “protégé,” as she’d called her since she started at the dance company nine years ago.
At seven, Jordyn had already been doing gymnastics for four years, but wanted to try dance, like her mother back when she was a little girl in Sweden. So Zara brought her to Victoria Joy, one of the best in the business. Miss Victoria had insisted on instead of trading gymnastics for dance, to keep up with them both, just make dance a priority. A good gymnast would make her an even better dancer, Miss Victoria Joy told Zara on the first day there. So, like a good little dancer who was lucky enough to work under Miss Victoria Joy, she’d done what she was told and kept up with gymnastics, and it had worked. At home Jordyn’s dresser and chest of drawers were all full of dance trophies and ribbons.
Jordyn loved to dance, and she was good at it. She was good at it because she was passionate about it. But doing it for five hours every day—five on Saturdays, was getting to be a bit much. Dancing had stopped being fun long ago, and it showed right now by how distracted she was getting. The idea of a move across the country in only two months didn’t exactly help, either.
“Alright, ladies,” Victoria Joy said, checking her watch. “It’s noon. Time to let you go. Make sure you stretch plenty tomorrow. Don’t come back in here Monday all stiff and pull a muscle. One week until Star Quest! It’s crunch time!”
The girls grabbed their gym bags, and headed out, but Miss Victoria stopped Jordyn in her tracks as she tried to do the same.
“Jordyn, not you,” she said. “I need to talk with you a moment, sweetheart.”
Jordyn had a feeling she knew what Victoria Joy was going to be talking to her about. She hadn’t exactly been on top of her game today, what with the move and everything on her mind. She’d daydreamed plenty today, and Victoria Joy called her out in front of everyone several times. That had been embarrassing.
“Jordyn,” Victoria repeated. “I won’t keep you long. I know you have gymnastics to get to.”
“I’ll call you later,” Jordyn replied glumly. Alana nodded, then walked out, leaving Jordyn to face her fate with Miss Victoria all alone.
“I’m sorry I was a little off today, Miss Victoria,” Jordyn started.
Miss Victoria just shook her head sympathetically. “Jordyn, you obviously have something on your mind. It’s understandable, of course. Life happens, I get that. But here, in class, you must be as if you’re on the stage. Put a smile on, and clear your mind of all that’s going on in the background. You are my star dancer, after all. My protégé.”
Jordyn just nodded. Oh, but if only Miss Victoria knew. This was hardly in her background.
“So, you’re going to work on the group number this weekend?” Victoria asked. “And practice your solo, yes?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jordyn said, sounding like the loyal little puppy she was.
“Good girl! You may go! I don’t want to you to be late for gymnastics.”
So Jordyn left, thinking hard about the conversation she and Victoria had. There was no way she was going to be able to put this horrible news out of her head. Eventually she would have to tell Miss Victoria, anyway. That wasn’t a moment she was looking forward to at all. Not with all that “protégé” talk.
Jordyn knew Miss Victoria had plans for her “star dancer—she hated that nickname, by the way. Miss Victoria had big plans. She wanted Jordyn on So You Think You Can Dance, then she had dreams of Broadway in New York City. Of course, Victoria didn’t know that dance was not about to be Jordyn’s career. That decision had been made long before news of the move.
Jordyn loved dance, that fact was undeniable. But she also loved being a teenager, and she wanted to do teenager things. Be carefree and party during the summer, not spend eight to nine hours on Saturdays and five hours every weekday dancing, flipping and twisting. She just didn’t have the heart to tell Miss Victoria. Quite honestly, Jordyn was sad it had come to this, that she was finally tired of the one thing she loved the most. She hated that her rigorous rehearsals, classes, and training had jaded her from dance. It was kind of like hearing a new song, falling in love with it, and listening to it so much it wasn’t the same. She didn’t want to hate it; she loved it too much. But she was getting there.
Jordyn walked out onto the sunny, southern California sidewalk, her sweaty hair in a high, tight, messy bun on top of her head, wearing a simple pair of shorts and a t-shirt, with her gym bag tossed over her shoulder. She was prepared to make her usual two block trek to the Pacific Gymnastics Club when a thought occurred to her. Why was she going to spend another three hours testing her muscles more than she felt they needed to be tested, after a dance class that, quite honestly, wasn’t going to make a difference in two months, anyway?
It wasn’t like she was training for the Olympics. Not even close. For her, gymnastics was twice a week. Wednesdays and Saturdays, the only two days besides Sunday that it didn’t conflict with dance, and they were to keep her limber, and to keep her flips and twists and dance tricks above average.
“Because everyone on Victoria Joy’s competition team is above the average dancer,” Victoria Joy often told them. “So if you’re gonna do a trick in your dance, you’re going to do it like a pro.”
She frowned, listening to Victoria Joy’s voice in her head. Then she decided the best way to spend her Saturday was not pleasing everyone else, namely Miss Victoria. What repercussions would she get if she skipped gymnastics, anyway? In two months she’d be in Pennsylvania; cold, dreary, Pennsylvania. So she wasn’t going to waste what little time here she had left doing anything but living the way she wanted, just once. So she smiled to herself, reached into her pocket, and scooped out her cell phone.
“I hate lawyers, now, you know,” Shay moped as she and Jordyn sat together at Surf n’ Turf later that afternoon. The beachside burger bar was one of their favorite stops. Jordyn sure was going to miss this place. She’d practically grown up here. She watched as Shay stabbed her salad in a serial killer manner. “I mean, why’d that jerky lawyer have to go and find that will, anyway?”
Jordyn sighed, resting her chin in the palm of her hand and watched her friend sympathetically. She’d called Shay immediately after she got the news of the Cedarwood move last night, and like the best friend she had always been, Shay rushed over, and they cried together.
“We still have almost two months left until I leave,” she offered with a shrug. “We’ll make this the best summer, ever. You’ll see.”
“How can it be the best?” Shay demanded. “It’s our last together. How am I gonna make it through junior year without my best friend?”
“You?” Jordyn sighed. “At least you have friends to help you through your junior year. I’m going to a town where I know no one. And dance and gymnastics are history for me.”
Shay’s jaw dropped. “Not possible. There’s no dance school out there?”
“If there is it’s probably some local beginner dance class taught once a week that performs for the townsfolk at Christmas,” Jordyn said with an eye roll. “Maybe there’s gymnastics there. I don’t know.”
Quite frankly, she didn’t care.
“Speaking of gymnastics,” Shay said suddenly. “Why aren’t you at them right now?”
“I skipped,” Jordyn said with a shrug, taking a sip of her cherry slushie. She watched as Shay’s eyes widened and knew what she was thinking. Jordyn had always been the girl, well-behaved little girl who never did anything wrong. Skipping gymnastics wasn’t a felony in the real world, but in her mother and Victoria Joy’s, it was.
“What are you doing, rebelling?” Shay asked.
Jordyn considered the comment. No, she wasn’t rebelling. At least, that wasn’t exactly what she set out to do. She just wanted to have a little fun her last summer in California with her best friends. She didn’t want to waste a minute that she could be surfing, or just hanging out with Shay.
“I’m not rebelling,” she answered. “I’m just, well, I mean, what’s the point, now? Miss Victoria gonna kick me out of her dance school if I skip gymnastics? Wow. I’ll never survive.”
Shay chuckled. “You wouldn’t.”
“I don’t know, Shay. Maybe having less of dance and none of gymnastics would be a good thing,” Jordyn mused. “You know, give me time to actually have a life.”
Shay scoffed. “No way! Then you’ll have more time with those country kids than you did with me, and more time with them is more time to replace me!”
Jordyn chuckled and turned back to her friend. “You, my friend, will never be replaced. In fact, how do you feel about coming along with me? I’ll stuff you in my suitcase.”
Shay beamed. “I could hide in the moving van!”
Jordyn laughed. “Shay, don’t worry. You will never be replaced. I promise.”
Jordyn sipped on her slushie some more, her eyes wandering around the burger joint, as if noticing it for the first time ever. It had a true, Southern California theme, like she was inside of a surf shop. The countertop was surfboards, all over the walls were surfing pictures, short boards hanging against the palm tree wood of the walls. There were no windows, and no doors, instead, the whole front of the place was open to the sandy beach and the ocean.
Just then, Shay gasped. Jordyn saw Shay looking across the beach. “Jordyn! Ryan! It’s Ryan.”
Jordyn gasped. “Oh my God, where?!”
“Right there! And your mouth is red!”
“Shit,” Jordyn muttered, touching her lips when she saw him crossing the beach in red and white board shorts along with his white Surf n’ Turf t-shirt. She hadn’t known he would be working today, but yet, there he was. And here she was. She had just downed a red slushie. “I gotta go.”
“Wait!” Shay exclaimed, grabbing Jordyn’s arm. “Where are you going?”
“Bathroom.” Jordyn grabbed her gym bag, and made a mad dash, pushing the crowd of surfers, beach bums, and tourists, until she was in the bathroom. Lucky she’d packed her bikini, hoping for some time on the beach. Ryan had shown up before she had a chance to change into it, though. She dodged into a stall, then pulled on her bikini and cover-up; they’d be perfectly acceptable in this restaurant. It was how everyone dressed. When she stepped out, she walked straight to the mirror to redo her messy bun, hoping Ryan would confuse the sweat from dance with water from the ocean, although it wasn’t likely.
Once she’d fixed her hair and done the best she could at getting the redness off her teeth and tongue, she stared at the mirror, considering her reflection for a moment, mainly her torso. She had a narrow waist and toned, flat abs, but she had womanly, slender curves, unlike any gymnast or dancer she knew well. And her breasts were C-cups, something no one at dance, not even Miss Victoria, had.
“Lucky you’re an amazing dancer, sweetie,” Victoria would say about her curves and well-developed chest. “You don’t have a dancer’s figure so you must make up for it with your talent, and keep the judges’ eyes on your pirouettes, not your, er, full-figuredness.”
Full-figuredness. Yes, that was when Victoria secretly wanted to tell Jordyn her breasts were too big to be a great dancer.
Jordyn knew her dance teacher meant it as an insult, but it was a complement on the beach when guys couldn’t keep their eyes off her. Shay would tell her she had an ideal figure. That she had it all. She had a butt, she had boobs, and the rest of her was toned, and tight.
“I honestly can’t believe you’re still a virgin,” Holly Daniels would sometimes tell her. Holly Daniels, whom by the way, was the school slut along with being Miss Popular. No one would ever tell her that to her face, though. Jordyn was sure Holly meant the comment as a complement, but it didn’t sound like that, especially when she would add, “If only you had a life besides dancing, maybe you would have a real boyfriend.”
Right. Like the two-week flings and one-night-stands Holly had gave her the credibility to give anyone relationship advise. But Jordyn had to admit—although she would never say this out loud—Holly was maybe, sort of right. If it weren’t for dance, she would have time to socialize, meet boys, and maybe, just maybe she wouldn’t still be a virgin.
Deciding with a sigh that since her parents were dragging her across the country before she ever had a chance to see if this subtle flirtation with Ryan would go anywhere, much less to her coming close to losing her virginity, Jordyn walked out of the bathroom and found Ryan sitting at the table with Shay.
Jordyn put on the best, fakest smile she could muster.
“Hi, Ryan,” she said, joining them at the table.
Ryan grinned. “What’s up, Jordyn?”
“Not much, what about you?”
Real nice conversation, Jordyn, she thought afterwards.
He groaned and ran a hand through his soft, shaggy blond hair. “Gotta work. You two doing anything tonight?”
He asked them both, but his eyes were on Jordyn. She smiled and shook her head. “Nope, not me.”
Shay flashed her a look that said ‘Calm down.’ So maybe Jordyn was a little eager.
“I’m busy,” Shay said quickly. “Sorry. Can’t do anything tonight.”
He looked at Jordyn, and smiled. “So, you’d want to hang out tonight, Jordyn?”
And just like that, her day changed for the better. At least she’d have something to take her mind off the move. And though she was still upset and a little bewildered at the sudden fact that she would have to give up any chance she had with Ryan, she could still have a little fun with a super-hot boy. Maybe even learn the ins and outs of flirting before she met the East Coast boys of her future.
Jordyn just smiled. She’d wing it for now. She did have two months, after all. Why waste it moping?
“I’d love to hang out with you, Ryan,” she told him, to which he responded with a gorgeous smile. “Great. Can I pick you up when I get off at 8:00?”
She agreed. 8:00 couldn’t get there fast enough.