“Uh, sure,” Marius answered nervously. “I’d like that.”
They smiled at each other as they both understood the other’s urgency to have to get ready for the evening performance. Cosette leaned on the door, smiling, as Marius left. She slowly closed it with a sigh behind him. She stood for a moment leaning with her back on the door, her hand still on the knob. She could still feel Marius’ lips burning on hers. Taking her hand off the doorknob, she raised her fingers to her still plump mouth. Smiling, sighing, she hurried to get dressed and get on stage for warm ups.
Emerging from the wings, Cosette stopped at the sight of her partner still warming up. She almost turned back to her dressing room to warm up, but decided instead to hold her head high and face Darion. Drawing herself up as tall as five foot two could be, she marched to a spot at the barre.
Out of the corner of his eye, Darion watched Cosette take her place. He was still steaming from the confrontation in her dressing room. She was his, he thought. She had no business socializing with another man. Especially one of the orchestra. Darion felt that the orchestra was there to serve him, not to socialize with.
Cosette could feel the daggers from Darion’s eyes on her back. She was suddenly very fearful of him. She knew he was strong. She knew he was stubborn. She knew he was jealous. Her only question was, what could he do with those three?
The evening’s performance went without a hitch. Darion didn’t hold Cosette any tighter than he had to. In fact, he almost seemed aloof through their pas de deux. This frightened her more than if he tried to hold her tight.
Once the show was over, and the curtain had fallen for the final time, Cosette hurried to her room. She was carefully watching the floor for obstacles and didn’t notice Darion in the shadows. She ran right into him, her head crashing into his chest.
Startled, she jumped back. “Oh, didn’t see you…” she stopped short when she realized who it was.
Darion crossed his arms over his chest. “Hello, partner,” he hissed.
Cosette nervously glanced around to see what stagehands may be within earshot. “Um, hello, Darion.”
He looked down his nose to her. “So, what were you doing with him?” he spat.
Cosette drew herself up to her full five foot two inch height. She crossed her arms over her smallish chest. “That is none of your business, Darion,” she huffed. “What I do during my time out of the classroom and offstage is my time.”
Darion moved in close to Cosette. He made a fist and straightened one finger and pointed it into her face. “Don’t you realize that you are mine? Don’t you realize that you are mine in life as well?”
The color drained out of Cosette’s face. “D-D-Darion, no I-I-I’m not,” she fearfully stuttered. “We’re partners onstage and that’s it.”
Grabbing her wrist, he spat, “You’re mine.”
“Ow, you’re hurting me,” Cosette strained as she tried to break free of Darion. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see one of the stagehands clearing the wings. She let out a small squeal of pain and the stagehand looked over. He looked over and the feuding partners and walked toward them.
“Is everything okay over here?” Steve asked.
OK, sorry dear readers, I know it's been a while...have had a writer's block. It's been horrible! But, a little cleaning, some dancing music and margaritas and suddenly, I've got ideas!
Enjoy!Both Cosette and Marius jumped as they spun toward the door. Marius followed Darion’s fiery gaze to where he still had his hand on Cosette’s waist. He quickly dropped his hand and put it in his pocket. Cosette glared at Darion.
“How dare you barge into my room like that?!” Cosette exclaimed.
“You weren’t out there, warming up for tonight yet,” Darion shot back. “I just wanted to make sure you were ok. And then, I walked in to you hugging that, that, that, musician.” He spat out that last word as if it were a fatal disease.
Marius looked down at the ground. He suddenly felt very uncomfortable with Darion around; like he was a third wheel. Yet, on the other hand, he couldn’t believe how brazen this man was. Acting as if he owned Cosette. Acting as if he owned the theatre. As if Marius was no better than a piece of dirt.
Cosette grew furious. “Darion, get out of my room,” she growled through clenched teeth.
Marius looked up, gaping at the voice that came from Cosette. Darion stepped back, but quickly straightened his shoulders and regained his composure. He glared down at Cosette. “Well,” he sniffed, “you better get out and warm up. Performance is starting soon.” Darion turned on his heels, stormed out and slammed the door.
Cosette let out a shaky breath. Marius was finally able to take a breath. “What the hell was that?” he finally asked.
“That,” she spat at the closed door, “was my overbearing partner.”
Marius looked nervously at the door, like he was waiting for it to fly open again. “He’s not going to be coming back, is he?”
Cosette giggled. “No, he’s not. He had his hissy fit and he’s done.” She scrunched up her face, wanted to stick her tongue out at the closed door but didn't. “Jerk.”
Marius smiled and moved toward Cosette. Cupping her chin with one hand, he placed his other on the small of her back. “I’d like to take you to dinner sometime.”
Cosette’s heart melted. She felt electricity surge through her body. Looking deep into Marius’ eyes, she answered quietly, “I’d like that, too.”
He smiled. “When will you be free?”
Cosette thought a moment. “Probably not until Sunday evening.”
“Sunday evening it is then,” he whispered before lowering his mouth to hers.
As Marius’ lips touched hers, Cosette melted into his arms. His hand moved from her chin to her cheek. Slowly, he parted her lips with his tongue. He could taste the coffee that she had just finished. She eagerly gave her mouth to him. They embraced tightly as their kiss deepened. From somewhere in the distance, an alarm rang. Slowly, Marius and Cosette parted, panting just slightly from the intensity of their kiss.
“Oh no,” Cosette exclaimed, “I’m going to be late!”
Marius looked down at his rumpled tuxedo. “I better get myself straightened out,” he snickered.
Cosette quickly kissed his cheek. “Um, uh, can we meet later after the show for coffee or something?”
Marius stood outside Cosette’s door, his nerves working overtime. He couldn’t believe that he was actually going to try to talk to this beautiful creature. He loosened the bow tie on his tux, wiped his hands on his handkerchief. He then stammered, “Uh, um, it’s me, Marius.”
The voice that escaped his throat did not even sound like his own. It was higher pitched than normal. He stood there, stunned at just how nervous he was about this meeting. As he stood there, it seemed to be forever before Cosette came to the door. He was just about to turn around to leave when the door opened just a crack.
Cosette peeked out the door. “Oh, hello there. Is everything okay with your car?”
Marius smiled and stifled a laugh. “Yeah, everything is fine.” He nervously looked down at his feet. “Um, okay, just thought I’d stop and say ‘hi’.”
She thought for a quick moment and then opened the door. “Well, as long as you’re here, won’t you join me for a cup of coffee?”
“Sure,” Marius quietly answered. “You have a coffee maker in here?”
Cosette giggled as they walked together to the pillows. “I live on coffee. I searched out the only outlet in this room in order to have my coffee. If there wasn’t an outlet, I’d have run an extension cord.”
Marius sat on the pillows as Cosette fixed him a cup of coffee. She brought the steaming mug over to him and settled down with her own cup. “So, what brings you to my neck of the woods?” She sipped her coffee in awe with how bold she could be.
“Don’t know,” he shrugged. He tried to quickly think of a good excuse as to why he knocked on her door. “I was just wandering around backstage and came across your door. Looked like it needed a knock.” He inwardly grimaced at how inept he sounded.
Cosette smiled. “So, my door looked lonely?”
He laughed. “Heh, I guess so.” He blushed a bit.
They fell into an easy conversation. Before they knew it, Cosette had to start another pot of coffee. They talked and laughed throughout the afternoon between performances. Before too long, Cosette’s little alarm clock let out a screech telling them it was time to prepare for the evening performance.
Cosette’s shoulders fell a bit as she sadly announced, “I’m so sorry, Marius, but I’ve got to get some warm ups in before tonight’s performance. I also have to touch up my make up.”
Marius rose off the pillows and set his mug on her vanity. He looks at his watch. “Well, I guess I’ll go for a walk. I’ve got some time before I have to be at my post.”
She turned to watch him go. Except, he wasn’t leaving. She surprised herself by walking over to him and wrapping her arms around his neck for a hug. He jumped a bit, but returned the embrace by wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her in tight. Her tiny dancer frame nearly disappeared in his embrace. They stood this way for what felt like an eternity.
When they finally broke away, Cosette knew she wanted to see him again. Needed to see him again. And, yet, she could not form the words to make that so. Just then, the door to Cosette’s little room slammed open.
In the doorway stood Darion. He surveyed her room and found her standing with Marius’ arm on her waist still. Darion could feel his blood boil over with jealousy. “What is going on here?” he spit through his clenched teeth.
The curtain closed on Cosette and the Snowflakes. The thunderous applause from the audience drowned out any breathless dancers on the stage. The orchestra kicked up a medley of the Nutcracker music as the audience filed out for intermission. After congratulating her fellow dancers on a fine performance, she fled to her dressing room for a quick drink of water and to stare at her rose.
On the way, she passed Darion. He was keeping warm by doing plies and stretches. She didn’t even waste a glance on him. He, on the other hand, watched her as she dashed by. From dancing with her, preparing for this performance, he had fallen in love with her and was determined to make her his.
Darion couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t accept his advances. He felt he was the perfect specimen of the male species. He was handsome and toned from dancing. He knew that Cosette moved perfectly with him. They fit together like a glove. Why couldn’t she see that?
He stopped his stretches and followed her into her dressing room. She was just putting a flannel shirt on as he entered. Almost immediately, he spotted the rose; it angered him. No one but he should be sending her roses. “Where did you get that?” he spat as he flung his hand toward the rose.
She jumped from the sound of his voice. “What are you doing in here?” she growled.
“You looked a little tired,” he explained. “I came in to make sure you were okay.”
She glared at Darion. “Haven’t you ever heard of knocking?”
He laughed. “Knocking? You’ve stripped backstage. I’ve seen it. You’ve nothing to hide,” he scoffed.
Pulling her flannel tighter, she watched as his jealous gaze went from her to the rose. “What’s it to you? For all it’s worth, the rose came from a friend.” She fingered the petals and watched Darion’s face turn scarlet. “Now, if you would be so kind as to leave my dressing room so I may rest?”
Darion straightened up, turned on his heel and stormed out of her room, slamming the door behind him. He stood at the closed door for a moment and murmured, “I will make you my partner in life, Cosette. Just wait and see.” And with that, he stormed off to his dressing room.
The remainder of the matinee went smoothly. Cosette and Darion performed perfectly and received another standing ovation. She couldn’t help but notice, though, the way Darion’s grip had tightened on her during their pas de deux. The way it seemed as though he were trying to possess her through the dance. She didn’t like it, but she allowed the music to flow through her in order for her to forget the feeling.
Once the curtain fell for the final time, Cosette made her way to her room. Her plan was to lay down on the pillows she brought in and take a nap before the evening performance. She carefully changed out of her costume and hung it on the rack. She untied her ribbons and peeled her pointe shoes off. Pulling on her flannel, she snuggled down into the make-shift bed she had made.
A short while later, Cosette awoke to a faint knocking on her door. She sat up, stretched and called out, “Who’s there?”
At the theatre, Cosette entered her dressing room. She changed into her warm up clothes and made her way to the stage past the musicians filing in. Lost in her own world, she didn’t see the one standing off to the side holding a single rose.
Although disappointed that Cosette didn’t notice him, Marius wasn’t about to give up. He asked around a bit and located her dressing room. He glanced around before easing himself inside. He placed the rose on her vanity table and looked around for some paper. Having found a notebook, he tore a piece out and located a pen. He wrote a simple note to her:
“Because I did not properly thank you for your help last night by offering you a ride home, I give you this rose.
He placed the pen back on the table and quietly slipped out of her room. On stage, the dancers were finishing up their warm ups. Marius quickly and quietly made his way down the steps into the orchestra pit. He took his seat by his drum and patiently waited for his mates to arrive and get settled.
Cosette finished her warm ups and left to start the arduous task of getting ready. As she stepped around stage hands, she collided with her partner. As he looked down his nose at her, she glanced upward. “Oh, hi,” she said.
“Hello, Cosette,” he replied. “I trust another perfect performance is in order for today?”
Cosette cringed at his pretentiousness. “Of course, Darion,” she sniffed. “Why should it be any different?”
Suddenly, Darion grabbed her hand. “It won’t be different. You and I are a match made in heaven. We dance beautifully together on stage. We should dance as beautifully off.”
Cosette whipped her hand out of Darion’s. “We are beautiful together on stage, Darion, but we will never ‘dance’ off stage.” With that, she turned on her heels and stormed off to her dressing room, leaving him with his mouth agape.
Inside her dressing room, Cosette threw herself down in her chair. She closed her eyes for a moment to catch her breath. When she opened her eyes, she noticed the rose on her vanity. At first, she thought it could be from Darion, but then her eyes caught the note. Gingerly picking up the paper, she read the short note. Smiling, she put the note back down and picked up the rose to draw in its scent. She allowed herself a fleeting moment to think of the handsome percussionist she met the night before.
After a few minutes, she began to fix her hair. As she was pinning her bun, she laid her eyes on the rose again. A wistful smile came across her face as she finished and pinned her tiara on. Placing the rose to the side, she set out her make up. With each brush stroke, she couldn’t help but steal glances at the carefully written note.
She carefully slid her warm up leotard and tights off, all the while thinking of Marius. As she pulled a clean pair of tights on and bent to tug her pointe shoes on, she was wishing it were him that she had collided with backstage instead of her annoying partner. Once she secured her shoe ribbons with a bit of hair spray, she pulled her costume on. Holding tight to her bodice, she took off in search of a helper to fasten the hooks on the back.
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