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Monthly Archives: November 2009

Chapter 1:

Calm, calm, calm, calm…
Andrea continued ranting in her mind; her footsteps quickened, giving an excuse for her frantic heartbeat. Damn that British girl and her fanatical eyes! Why couldn’t they just leave hers alone? Staring at her own face in the mirror, she instantly found her peace of mind. Andrea had been alone all her life. Growing up without any memories of her parents, the girl in the mirror was the only family she had. In those eighteen years of her life, nobody, except Kat, had come close to understanding her. She didn’t let them. What’s the point, she thought, when she could get on just fine by herself? Wasn’t it easier to just think for yourself and not care at all about what people said? Of course it was, and that explained why Esmée’s image on her mind had bothered her so much. Part of Andrea was angry with herself: if blocking people out had become such a routine, why on earth did she let the British girl get to her? There wasn’t anything special about Esmée, other than her warm brown eyes, her luscious fair skin, her accomplished dance skill, her gracious manner and, of course, the fact that she was exquisite. Now that Andrea thought about it, she herself wasn’t lack of any of those qualities. She could just look into the mirror and fall in love with herself, could she? Wait a minute, did I just say…

“Isn’t she beautiful?” Andrea jumped. Sometimes she just couldn’t understand Kat at all. Most of the time, normal people would take someone’s going to the bathroom as their excuse to be alone, but Kat obviously wasn’t included in this group.
As Andrea put herself together, Kat’s question slowly seeped into her mind. Who is?
“Who?” She asked, her brow furrowed with confusion, and annoyance.
“Tori.” Kat sighed, sounding like she was stating the obvious.
Andrea searched through her mind, trying to find someone she knew with that name, trying hard. And it soon came back to her. Esmée Victoria Russel. Ez-mae. Tori. Grandma. Me. For a second, she felt like her steam, if blown off, could just burn anyone.
“You’ve hooked up with a bunch of prettier girls, Kat.” Andrea glared at her best friend, hoping to make Kat feel sorry for saying such a thing that could tick her off during her alone time. Apparently, the bartender did not believe in regrets.
“Come on, Andie, they ain’t got nothing on her! This girl is different. She’s so… I don’t know… sophisticated, and overwhelming. It’s like… dating the Queen.” Kat voiced her judgment, a little too dreamily for comfort. Despite her conscious mind screaming to take control, the bartender continued gazing at the ceiling. With a certain European girl crossing her mind, she smiled. What was she, a lovesick teenager? Oh well, when Kat dropped out of high school three years ago, she knew it would come back to her one day.
“What, you’re dating her?” screeched Andrea, utter disbelief printed on her face.
Way to kill the mood.

Kat rolled her eyes, her sanity now returned. With the aid of a gulp of air, the bartender began to speak.
“No I’m not. I met her like… what… a week ago.”
Though carefully camouflaged, Andrea’s sigh came out clearly as an evidence of relief, and doubts were instantly stirred up inside Kat’s head. She studied the redhead from head to toe, before sending her a calculatedly probing stare.
“What is up with that?” she interrogated.
“With what?” Andrea chose to play naïve and Kat could tell. Her eyes were avoiding hers. Uh-oh. Looks like someone’s busted!
“You and Tori. Why did you freak thinking we’re dating, and went all “Phew!” knowing that we’re not?”
Ah-ha! Let’s see what you have to respond to this, thought Kat triumphantly. Deep inside her, the bartender was dying to know the reason for her best friend’s sudden intrusion into her love life, or rather a life that was lack of love. Whatever.
Andrea opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. After a short while of considering what to say, she shook her head lightly, now settled on the truth.
“I don’t like her.”

And she immediately regretted it.
Kat’s eyes grew from big to massive, her pupils dilated. In that moment, the originally blonde’s vanity was probably the only reason to keep her baby blues from bursting. In order to turn the bathroom into Broadway, Kat placed her both hands on her heart; her eyes closed and her chest rose and fell steadily, her sigh audible. Blonde or brunette, Katherine Taylor was clearly a born actress.
“Why not? She’s amazing, inside and out! You’re her dance partner, you should know.” Oh yeah, why didn’t I remember that? “The Andie that I know never bothers to lay eyes on someone who’s not worth some attention, let alone play their lover. If you let Tori be all over your body, that means this girl is definitely something big, isn’t she?”
Andrea swallowed hard. Kat’s sensibility obviously wasn’t in a very good shape that day, but her sense wasn’t one bit tarnished. What do I have to say to that?
“She uh… she um…” Shut up! You’re stuttering, idiot! “She’s really arrogant”
“Oh em gee! Andrea Moss is talking about arrogance!” Kat smirked, despite the deadly glare she received from a certain beauty across the room.
“Stop it!” Andrea snapped. Enough was enough, she wasn’t the kind of girl that others could pick on. Seeing Kat’s hands lifting up in defeat through the corners of her eyes, Andrea continued “And her accent is seriously annoying.”
Right then, in the bathroom of ARTSY, the impossible happened: Kat’s eyes grew even wider than before, this time with the company of her mouth.
“Are you kidding me? That accent is the sexiest thing ever! If I were you, I’d die happy when she called me Ahn-dre-ah.”
“Call me that one more time and you’ll regret it!”
Kat flinched. Maybe she’d gone too far, maybe Andie was honestly uncomfortable with the presence of the British beauty. Even though there was no way she could agree with her best friend’s perspective, Andie’s blazing eyes at that moment were enough to remind her of self-control.
“Sorry!” Kat said apologetically, and she meant it. Andie finally gave in, her eyes softened as she let out a sigh.
“Look, I got nothing against her. I’m just… I’m just not comfortable with seeing her all the time, okay?”
“Okay.” Said the bartender sincerely. Finally a good reason.
“I’ve to go. It’s been a long day.” Andrea exhaled, deciding to avoid the awkwardness she’d certainly be facing if she chose to stay.
“Yeah, go home and rest, it’s gonna be a hectic time for you, with all those performance thingy. Remember to cook though, since junks are no good for your trunks.”
“Thank you, Mother!” Andrea smiled, the first wholehearted smile of the day. She took a step closer and gave Kat a grateful hug. Stepping out of the bathroom, the dancer stole a glance at a girl at the bar and headed for the exit, before her heart had a chance to start pounding.

Katherine Taylor used to be an ordinary girl, until she decided that she wasn’t. Though born in a devoted Christian family, she had never believed in God. Why would you want someone else to control your life, someone who you can’t even see, little Katherine always said. Growing up in France, an alluring but still foreign land, Katherine had learnt how to fight, to cry and to survive. There were moments when she believed that her life could be controlled by someone else, someone who she worshipped. The day the sixteen-year-old Katherine knew about love was the day her heart was shattered, the day she realized love was never enough. Leaving behind the capital of magnificent light as well as all the memories and agony of a first love, Katherine went back home, where she met Andrea. Calling herself Kat, she dyed her golden hair dark and started working as a bartender. Life was good, the drink was good, the music was good and the people had slowly warmed her heart. “Living with fractures is much better than dying without them”, a famous author once said. Kat wondered, however, if it was true when applied to her heart. All those years, she had been looking for someone who could fill her emptiness, but not once did she fall. Not until a week ago. Kat always had a thing for accents. Though Tori could never make her breath hitch or set her skin on fire without even touching her the way… well… someone did, her unbelievable wit and elegance had no doubt tugged at the bartender’s heartstrings.

“Yo, Kat!” said a handsome young man at the counter. Kyle, a soon-to-be super model, was no stranger to the people at ARTSY. After confiding in the bartender whenever he was drunk, he and Kat had become a great duo.
“Yo! Where’ve you been?” Kat beamed, her spirit suddenly lifted. Kyle was a good friend. Not seeing him for one whole month had certainly left her yearning for their sessions of checking girls out together.
“Sorry,” Kyle offered an apologetic smile, one that never failed to melt the ladies’ hearts “Life’s been pretty crazy for me. I just came back from Paris…”
Paris… France… “Ne me touche pas. Je ne t’aime pas”… The memories came back to Kat, a certain someone’s words echoed in her head mockingly. Time doesn’t heal; it doesn’t even make the wound hurt any less.
“Hello? You’re there?”
“Yeah,” Kat’s head snapped up, her smile came back right away. Only this time, it was one of those smiles she’d perfected since drama club “sorry I just… spaced out.”
“Well…” completely clueless, Kyle continued “I’m going to move to Paris. I’ve a six-month contract there. You’ll see; I’ll be the next big thing.”
Kat was listening to Kyle but only heard a deafening voice of her own thoughts. She had been fooling herself the whole time, pretending to believe that she had finally got over the past, only to be on the verge of breaking down every time something reminded her of it. This wasn’t the first time she lost herself to sentimentality and there was still no lesson learnt. Clenching her right hand into a fist, Kat set her jaw. It’s time to move on.

“Hey” Kat purred, her eyes seductive.
“Hey” replied Tori nonchalantly. She then realized something unusual and eyed her curiously “What?”
“What’re you doing this Thursday?” Kat made sure to pause for a moment to send the British girl the “signal” before she started talking, her voice deliberately drown in the background music.
“What?” Tori asked, after failing at lips reading, as predicted. Time to pull out the big gun!
Kat leaned in closer, her mouth landed right beside Tori’s ear. “What do you say about this Thursday?” the bartender whispered, her lips slightly touching the younger girl’s earlobe.
Even though Tori didn’t seem to be repulsed, she was clearly torn between taking a step back and letting herself enjoy the sensation. And then, the dancer gently turned her head sideway to look at Kat. Ever slowly, Tori’s brown eyes were set on Kat’s, both of theirs showing a different hidden intention.
“I’d love to.” she mouthed, her breath warm on the older girl’s face.

Chapter 5:


Chapter 1:

[Esmée’s POV]

When I was three, I decided that I’d become a professional dancer. To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember how or why that thought ever crossed my mind, but I’m quite glad it did. Dancing comes natural to me the way singing in the shower does to some people. When all the clothes are taken off, the world around you seems to be shut down, too. You are left alone with yourself, and then the music comes. Most of the time you don’t even realise that you’re singing, until your voice becomes too loud that you start to hear people shouting “Shut up!”. Of course, you are not going to stop just because people ask you to, because their response doesn’t matter all that much. Besides, you love singing in the shower, and that counts.

There is a slight difference between dancing and singing in the shower though: as a dancer, you don’t shower alone. Instead, you’ll be with your partner, your bodies tangled and your souls as one. Partnership between two dancers can only be achieved when both learn to give up their defences and show the other the most vulnerable side of them. That leads to a problem I myself am facing: I have never been able to be naked in that shower with Andrea Moss.

“Ez-mae” Andrea said my name, huskily as if it wasn’t real. Her blue eyes are set on mine, so bright that I could feel the perplexity in them reflected by my own.
“Small world, eh?” I heard my voice, escaping my throat as a soft whisper, my eyes never leaving Andrea’s. I’m not going to lie: when I accepted the offer to be Kat’s assistant, I never saw this happen. This bar, ARTSY, had become a place for me to remind myself that dancing wasn’t the only thing my life was about, and Andrea wasn’t the only girl my eyes could see. Yet here she was, that righteous pride did not once vanish from her face, her auburn locks were in a mess, just like the thoughts, right then, racing in my mind.
“You guys know each other?”
Andrea blinked; her eyes changed their direction to meet Kat’s. I mirrored her action, my mouth muscles forcing a smile before I, too, looked at Kat, trying to appear semi-normal.
“Andrea and I are dance partners.”
“Esmée never said she worked here!”
We spoke at the same time, disguised tenseness evident in both our voices.
“And it seems like we have great partnership” I giggled, consciously adding one more layer of defence to my camouflage. To make myself more convincing, I turned my head to face Andrea, giving her my best grin, only to see her returning me with a small smile, one that I’d never seen before. Andrea had never smiled at me. In fact, all she ever offered me were a few half-hearted movements of muscles and some occasional snickers. I made her feel uncomfortable, I think. Most Americans do when they hear British accent, so I guess I couldn’t blame Andrea for that. There was one thing I couldn’t quite understand though: while I thought an irritated Andrea was the most adorable thing one could ever see, how was it possible for a smiling Andrea to be so much more delightful?

Andrea Moss had become a brand here in VSA. Right when I walked through the door to enter the school, Andrea was everywhere: A photo of her was on the wall at the main entrance, together with other supposedly “legends” of VSA; her name was mentioned in most gossips that I heard and of course, the audition announcement. The first impression that I had of Andrea, without even meeting her, was that in VSA, she was a symbol of popularity, of perfection, of beauty, talent and, as a matter of fact, lesbianism. I’m not even sure if it hadn’t been my curiosity that had gotten the best of me, would I still have gone to the audition? There was one thing I knew for certain though: when Andrea caught my eyes, I found out that the rumours I heard were all true: Andrea Moss was a goddess, and also a gay one. Interestingly enough: so was I.

Someone’s sudden laughter brought me back to reality. Noticing the puzzled look on both Andrea’s and my face, Kat quickly ceased her laughing and cleared her throat. Throwing me an inquisitive glance, she questioned: “You called her Ahn-dre-ah?” she chuckled and turned to Andrea “And you call her… what? Ez-mae?”
“Isn’t that her name?” Andrea suddenly called out. The next thing I knew, Andrea’s attention was directed to me, her eyes inquisitive. “Is that your name?”

“My name is Esmée Victoria Russell. Most people call me by my middle name, Victoria, or its short form, Tori” I spoke slowly, enjoying the look of pure enlightenment on Andrea’s and Kat’s faces. Feeling the need to spice up our encounter, I decided to add some humour “My grandma and you” I looked at Andrea “call me Esmée.”
Worked as a charm! Right when I finished my sentence, Kat split her sides. She had a nice laugh, I must say. In fact, Kat had always been a charming lady. She has everything a girl could ever wish for: beauty, judgement, good nature, humour and, of course, financial securities. Not only that, she also possesses an attitude of a rock star, what had made her the centre of attention for anyone that ever visited ARTSY, and the object of affection for many of them. To be quite frank, since Kat fitted every “criteria” that I once set for my dream partner when I was a child, I actually thought we could make a delightful couple. If only I hadn’t already been…

“Uhm… I’m going to the bathroom.”
Andrea’s voice always did a good job of making me forget everything else. This time, when my head had sufficient time to turn to face her, Andrea had turned on her heels. I watched her retreating back and the way her auburn curls bounced against her exposed shoulder. My whole life of dancing and trying to control my body had taught me well. I knew that gait: her arms muscles were tense, her shoulders moving up and down faster, so was her breathing, her footsteps quickened. Andrea was on edge. I had yet again made her uncomfortable.
However, this wasn’t the Andrea that I saw. She wasn’t the conceited judge who yawned during the audition and she certainly wasn’t the egotistical dancer who pouted when someone tried to correct her pronunciation. In fact, she was much like the girl whose body I held and skin I touched on the dance floor, the girl whose intensity set my mind on fire. She was the Andrea that I knew.

“Sub me for a while, I’ll be right back!” said Kat, the second person to turn her back on me and walk away in less than a minute. “Andie!” she called.


The first thing I learnt in dance class was how to loosen my body and let myself let go. Dancers like me come across as having multiple personalities. We can be just anyone on stage: a princess, an angel, a devil, an ordinary person, a dream. Most people can’t see us the way we really are behind the smiling faces and bewitching makeup. You see, it’s all about the acting. Once you get to the stage, the tears and agony behind it are gone. Well, they should be, because up there, the mask is all that matters. As far as I know, both Andrea and I are very good at keeping up with the play. However, there was one thing I was determined to do: to take off Andrea’s mask.

Chapter 4: