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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:


One Comment

  1. very interesting insight into the dance world. It was a shock to have a look at Tori’s mentality. I have not read the following chapters yet but I am quite interested in different reactions from Tori and Andie to the same subject matter. Nicely done.

    However, the flow of this part is a bit weaker than the first 2, probably because it’s a monologue and I’m not really used to the lack of interaction. But it’s a nice break between the chapters anyway. Very good. 4/5… 1 mark short for you to strive for!

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] was only one thing Andrea knew at that moment: Esmée’s voice was husky all the same. Chapter 3: Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)ARTSY. Chapter 1: The AuditionARTSY. Chapter 3 […]

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