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Chapter Eleven

A few days had passed since the competition and Brooke hadn’t spoke to either one of the boys and nobody asked about Brooke’s eye. It was Monday afternoon, it was time for pyramid, once again. Brooke wore black booty shorts and a black bra top with a blue, crochet, long sleeve top over. Her jazz shoes were on and her hair was up in a tight, side pony tail.

At the competition, only one of the numbers placed first. Brooke got second place at the competition that weekend. “Second is the first to lose.” Abby had said. Maddie’s solo won fifth in her age category, and she cried about it. The group placed third, which was unfortunate, but the Chloe-Paige duet won first place.

Abby stood in front of the mirror facing the girls and their mothers. Brooke took a deep breath in, excited of where she was going to be placed. Maddie did fouette as she filed into the room. All the girls then stood in a line. Brooke could see out of the upper corner of her eye, Nick sitting with Brandon again in the observatory.

Please don’t fight. Please, Brooke though over and over.

Abby revealed the first picture as she said, “Maddie.”

Everyone was surprised. They all turned to her and watched her face turn red and her eyebrows pinch in. Maddie hid her face in her hands and she sucked back the tears. She looked up to Abby who hadn’t said anything yet.

Abby opened her mouth, “I am very disappointed in you, Madison. You are a top three dancer, you don’t get fifth place.”

“But Abby,” Melissa said, “Everyone has a day when they’re just not up to par.”

“Melissa this doesn’t concern you. I didn’t even put her there because of you. I did it solely on her performance, and quite frankly, it was terrible. Hate to break it to you, kid. But you did horrible at the competition. Your mother might say it was spot on and that the judges didn’t know what they were missing out on, but it all comes down to me. I thought it was a horrible, horrible performance and that’s why you’re on the bottom of the pyramid.”

The week before, Maddie was on the top. Abby always said that it was tough getting to the top, but even harder to stay there. And this was a perfect example. She moved on: Nia and Mackenzie were on the bottom. Brooke was in the middle. While Abby was explaining everything to Brooke, the boys started talking in the observatory.

“I did everything you wanted me to.” Nick said.

Brandon didn’t look at Nick, “And…?”

“She didn’t believe me. She walked away.” Nick said.

“Even about the Payton part?”

“Yep.” Nick popped the P.

“Crap.” Brandon said, finally looking at Nick, “What are we gonna do?”

“Just break up with her, man. It’ll hurt less if you do instead of me home wrecking you.” Nick said as he cuffed his hands together. “I mean, dude, you already hired those guys to come out and try to pick her up and it had just so happened to be outside my house so she’d fall in love with me and out of love with you. That’s crazy dude. Just break up with her.”

“No,” Brandon said. He shook his head back and forth as he held a steady gaze on the girls. “Let me think…”

“Brooke doesn’t deserve to be treated like this.” Nick wagged his head and turned back to the pyramid going on in the studio below.

Down in studio A, Brooke nodded. Abby revealed the two pictures on the top of the pyramid. Abby didn’t even have to say anything. Chloe and Paige were side by side on the top. They hugged each other in front of Brooke and did a little jig.

“Chloe and Paige, you are on the top of the pyramid because your duo won the overall high score. Congratulations.” Abby said.

“We will be competing in Energy Dance Competition in Charleston, South Carolina this weekend. We are taking a group number, two duos, and three solos. Our group number is entitled ‘I’m Just a Kid’ and we will be competing this number with childish songs in the back ground, but bad, bad things will be happening. We are pulling in Brandon and Nick for this…” Abby said.

Brooke turned to her mom.

“Brooke,” Abby scolded. “You don’t need your mom, pay attention. They will be dressed in all black and you all will be dressed in bright colors. They’ll be taking you off one by one, but at the end you will all come back on dressed in white. It’s an eerie number that the judges will eat up.”

Brandon hit Nick on the shoulder as they got up and walked down the stairs to the studio. They walked in and stood right behind Brooke. Brandon tickled Brooke’s arm. She giggled, but kept her attention on Abby. She didn’t want to get yelled at again.

“We’re going to have two duets. One will be Brooke and Brandon and they will be dancing to Twenty-One by Corey Smith.” Abby said. “It’s about a kid who goes out underage drinking.”

Paige shot Brooke a quick look. Brandon gave an unsympathetic shrug. It was a half You-Shouldn’t-Have-Done-It and half Why-Look-At-Me kind of shrug. Brooke turned back to Abby as she explained Maddie and Paige’s duet. Chloe, Mackenzie, and Nia were getting solos. Abby clapped and dismissed the moms up stairs and told the girls and boys to start stretching. Abby walked out of the room for a few seconds.

Brandon and Nick found a spot next to each other as they started stretching. Brooke was with Paige. Maddie and Chloe were next to each other and Mackenzie and Nia were in the middle of the floor. Everyone had a partner, and that’s how they liked it.

“How does she know about that?” Brooke asked through her teeth.

“How am I supposed to know?!” Paige asked quietly. “Go ask Brandon. He sure does look like he’s got a lot of secrets.”

Brooke and Paige looked over to the pale boy. He was talking sternly to Nick. Nick looked like a lost little puppy that only wanted love. The boys glanced over to the girls. Brooke and Paige smiled and waved. Brandon and Nick were still talking about how to break up with Brooke, or better yet how to get her to break up with him.

“I’m not a heartbreaker, dude. I can’t do it.” Brandon shook his head once the boys turned back to each other.

“And I’m not a home wrecker. So suck it up and get your ass over there and break up with her.” Nick said and gave Brandon a little push.

Brandon turned around and pushed Nick back.

“GUYS STOP!” Brooke stomped her feet on the ground. “You guys are so embarrassing.”

Brooke started to run out.

“And you’re a cry baby who doesn’t do anything but run away when things get bad!” Brandon yelled.

Brooke didn’t bother to look at him. She continued to run out and up the stairs to her mom. Brooke curled up right in the grove of her moms neck. She kept asking the same question, “Why does this always happen to me?”

Submitted: October 03, 2012

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