Disclaimers: Mine.

Sex: Duh.  Can you say SWP?

Merry Christmas.

If you'd like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com

Dance With Me


Kim Pritekel


I shifted in my seat, trying to get comfortable, the program rolled in my sweaty hand.  Looking around me, I see my fellow theater-goers, and smile.  I always felt a kinship to them, even though I don't know a single person.

My heart skips a beat as the house lights flicker, alerting patrons to take their seats.  The show is about to begin.  My smile is unstoppable as I take a deep breath, my free hand gripping the padded arm of my chair.

"Here we go."

Thirteen years ago

It's not easy having a mother who is creative and artsy, and a human humming bird- never sitting still for more than three minutes at one time.  When I was growing up in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, all I wanted to do was stay at home, hide in my room and read or just ignore the world at large.  But noooooo.  That would have been entirely too easy, and too much to ask from Bernadette Rickman.


Rolling my eyes, I called back, "I'm reading!"

"Help me, won't you?" my mother called back, completely ignoring me. 

Muttering most unflattering phrases for a seventeen year old girl, I threw my novel aside and stormed out of my bedroom.  Yes, you could say I was your typical pain in the ass, self-centered, absolutely no patience kinda gal.  In other words, a typical teen.

Plowing down the stairs as loud as humanly possible, I made it to the living room.  My mother was flipping through one of her million and one catalogues.  She glanced over her shoulder at me.

Crap.  She was dressed for rehearsal- body-hugging leotard with leg warmers.  I smirked, always and forever thinking of Jennifer Beals' Alex in ‘Flashdance'.

"Don't say it," my mother warned, knowing me all too well.  I snorted, walked up to her.

"What can I do for you, Highness?" I asked.  Ignoring my smart ass remark per usual, my mother showed me a page in the catalogue, tapping a picture with a long, manicured fingernail.  Knowing I'd lose any way I went, I gave in and looked over her shoulder at the picture she was showing me.

"I was thinking about this for the death scene.  What do you think?" she caught my eye, my eyes the exact same color of blue as hers.  Only she and I in the entire family.  Dad had brown eyes, and my older brother got stuck with hazel.  Both my grandparents had brown eyes, too.  Mom and I used to joke about both coming from under the same rock.

My grandmother always said that I was a brunette version of my mother, with her fair Russian features.  Oh yes, my mother comes from a long line of Russian dancers.  She's a first generation American.

"Will your lead be able to move in that?  It's pretty demanding, isn't it?" I asked, taking in the tight fit of the skirt, and the way the shirt fit across the model's bust.

My mother contemplated my words for a moment, chewing on her bottom lip.  When I realized I was doing the exact same thing, I let my lip go with a little raspberry.

"Hmm.  Maybe you're right."  With a heavy sigh, she tossed the catalogue to the couch.  "Back to the drawing board."  My mother walked gracefully across the room to her massive duffel bag.  Grabbing the long shoulder strap, she heaved it in place, then looked at me.  "You're still going to help out, right?"

"I don't know," I hedged, totally not wanting to.

"You promised, Grey," she reminded me, eyes growing that vibrant color that they did when she was starting to get angry.  I sighed, nodding as I rolled my eyes.

"Fine, yes.  I'll help."

My mother smiled, big and bright.  She really was a beautiful woman.  "Thanks, honey.  I'll need you to come with me to rehearsal Wednesday when we start blocking the show."

Nodding, I ran back up the stairs to my sanctuary.

Dance should have been in my blood, as both my parents were dancers.  That's how they met- on the New York stage.  My mother had been nineteen, my father, Dennis, twenty-three.  Their futures on the stage had looked bright and promising until one rainy night a drunk driver had hit them head on.  It had been a sheer miracle that my six year old brother, and four month old me had been with our grandparents.  The back end of the car had been ripped away by the much larger truck of the drunk.  My father had lost the use of his legs that night, and my mother had lost her dance partner.

From that night on, my mother never did another performance, deciding instead to go into teaching and choreography.  My father had gone into the business end of things, and when my parents opened their own dance company four years ago, they'd found a brand new partnership in dance.

My older brother, Brian, had inherited the family vocation.  He was off dancing in a Canadian company somewhere in the arctic north.  He'd won the role of the Swan in Swan Lake this year, and my mother couldn't be more proud, since that had been the show where she had met my father.

Then there was me.  I was good at making a mess, and that was about it.  You have no idea the kinds of pressures I'm under when my entire family is so incredibly gifted, and I have yet to find any sort of niche, creatively or academically.  Hell, despite my five foot ten height, I wasn't even good at sports!  That would require a little thing called balance, dexterity and sure footedness.  Yeah, no.  Not so much.

With a heavy sigh, I threw myself onto my bed, lying on my stomach as I grabbed my novel once more.


Cursing under my breath, I tried the next silver key.  What the hell was my mother thinking just telling me "it's the silver key, honey," and sending me on my way?  The ring was filled with silver keys!

Trying key number six, I growled in victory.  The lock clicking in satisfying defeat, I pushed the door open, flicking the lights on throughout the offices as I went. 

Mom had to take dad to get fitted for new legs today, so she had asked me to open up the building for her, as a few of her students liked to come early, before rehearsal, to warm up.  Fine.

Snagging a piece of hard candy from the ever present dish on dad's desk.  That was one thing he said he didn't mind about not being able to dance anymore- no more having to watch his diet, and it showed in the little ponch he had developed over the years.

I opened one set of the three double door sets that led to the auditorium, kicking wooden stops beneath the door cracks to keep them open.  I only flicked on the dim emergency lights in the house, trotting down the slanted aisle toward the stage.  With a mighty heave, I jumped onto its apron.  It helped to have some sort of advantage to having ridiculously long legs since they were, after all, useless otherwise.

Making my way across the stage, booted heels hollow on the wood, I trailed my fingers through the heavy drapery as I headed into the wings, toward the massive lighting box against the wall.  I always felt like I was pulling the switch of an electric chair as I pulled on the stage lights, a loud clack marking the illumination of another set.  Soon enough the stage would feel like the heating lamps keeping your whopper warm, and all the performers would feel like French fries waiting to be salted.

"Suckers," I muttered with a smirk.  My breath caught in surprise as suddenly a figure came into view as she got closer to the stage lights.  I didn't recognize her, but knew she was a dancer, her huge tote bag hoisted over one shoulder.  Her short, blonde hair brushed into her eyes.  She said nothing as she walked up the side stairs to the stage, ignoring me as she disappeared stage left.

I hated egotistical dancers, and there were so many.  Rolling my eyes, I hopped off the stage, trotting back up toward the lobby beyond the auditorium.  I had brought my backpack with me, planning to work on some homework before rehearsals started, and my mother had me running every which way, grabbing extra scripts cause some dumbass had forgotten theirs, or running for this prop or that prop, or even working the lights or sound equipment.  Yep, I'd done it all, and could do it in my sleep.

Making my way back down the main aisle, I found myself a seat about halfway back.  Clipping the portable book light to the arm of the seat, I flicked it on, then opened my calculus book, tapping my pencil against the smelly text page as my eyes scanned the book, trying to figure out where I'd left off.  Have you ever noticed that every single text book smells the same?  Kind of like the paper report cards are printed on- smells like carrots.

Running a hand through my hair, I found my place, flipping my notebook over to start working on problem number 14b.  My attention was brought up for a moment as music began to play.  From this far back in the house it wasn't loud, but I knew it instantly.  You couldn't live in a house full of dancers all your life and not know every single musical or piece of classical music created.

‘Once Upon A Dream' from the musical Jekyll & Hyde began.  Robert Cuccioli's strong baritone began, though it was soft and wistful.  As I glanced back to my homework, I noticed the blonde making her way onto the stage, her hair seemingly to glow under the intense lights.

Pencil beginning to tap in time with the slow, yet powerful song, I glanced up.  The girl was dressed in a pair of trunks and sports bra, the kind that reach to mid-stomach.  Looking at the girl, I knew she couldn't be in mom's ballet classes.  Her body was all wrong for that; she looked to be fairly short, and her body was very muscular and compact- powerful.  She didn't have the long, lithe bodies of mom's ballet girls.

Leaning forward in my seat, I watched her.  She moved with an easy grace, belying everything I just said.  Her flexibility was incredible, as was her balance.  Pirouette after pirouette she did across the stage, perfect timing and form.  From that she launched into a perfect jump, legs spread wide, landing with cat-like grace and silence.

I was captivated as the song moved to ‘Dangerous Game', Linda Eder's sultry voice speaking of desires she dare not seek, but could not stay away from.  Soon Robert Cuccioli's voice joined in.

The blonde's movements matched the sexy song perfectly, so aware of her body, and where it was on that stage.  The girl's head thrown back, her hands ran down her own body before she threw her leg into the air, whipping around, then landing on her knees, upper body thrown back, hands running through her hair seductively.

I was transfixed, eyes glued to her every movement, every thrust, every counter thrust.  She was incredible. 

This song morphed into ‘Confrontation', which in my opinion is one of the most powerful songs ever written for the stage.  The intense words and music to back it up were caught in the girl's every move.  She leaped through the air, seeming to have springs built into those incredible legs, landing on the bare tips of her toes, only to spin with dizzying speed and agility, never seeming to tire.  Hell, I was exhausted just watching her!

As the song hit its climax, she was a blur of nonstop movement, her body flexing and unflexing, muscles bursting with use and the strength it took to launch her into the air over and over again.  She had the jumping ability of many of the best male dancers. 

I couldn't blink, couldn't breathe.  Who was she?  Why wasn't she gracing a stage in New York somewhere? 

The song came to an end, and the girl stopped, hands on her lower back as she walked it off, flexing her legs now and then, almost like a pink flamingo, pointing her toes before stepping and switching to the other leg.  She stopped, slowly bending her back until she was making a bridge with her hands and feet on the floor, then walked over backward, adjusting her shoulders once she was on her feet again.

"Jesus," I muttered, feeling like a total loser as I stared down at my math homework.

It turned out that little Miss Twinkle Toes was part of the show, though why I hadn't noticed her before was beyond me.  She sat with the rest of the cast on the stage, her legs pulled up against her chest as she listened and watched as mom explained a scene and how she wanted it done.

Homework stowed away, as it was entirely too much of a hassle to get into something, then being interrupted every couple minutes to do mom's bidding.  So, I sat in one of the seats, second row back, my booted feet resting on the chair in front of me.  I watched, arms reclined on the backs of the chairs on either side of me.

I couldn't keep the pride out of my eyes as I watched mom, center stage, demonstrating how she wanted the sequence in act two to be done.  Her body was lithe, muscular yet still extremely graceful.  Though she was well into her forties, she looked not a day older than twenty-five.  Wonder if that's in the genes.

The two dancers that were dancing the roles mom just went over, stood, and took their place.  As they started to dance, my eyes drifted back to the blonde, wondering what she had to say during all this.  She now sat Indian style, and was leaning over her lap, looking at something on the floor in front of her.  When she turned a page, I realized she was probably looking over the script.

I watched as the blonde suddenly stood, disappearing into the wings for a moment before returning, a bottle of water in her hand.  She had put a pair of mesh shorts on over the trunks, but her beautiful legs were still very visible, and I couldn't keep my eyes off them.  I loved the way they moved and flexed, the quads coming to life with every step-


"Huh?"  Tearing my eyes away, I noticed my mother standing at the edge of the apron, hand on her hip.

"I've called your name three times."

"Sorry."  I flushed deeply as the caste chuckled at me, and out of the corner of my eye, I could see the deep hollows of the blonde's eyes as she, too looked at me, the intense overhead lights darkening her features.

"The music?" my mother said, pointing toward the sound booth at the back of the auditorium.  It hadn't even occurred to me that it was silent.  Jumping from my seat, I ran into the darkness of the house, pushing through the door to the tiny sound booth.

Changing the music out, I decided to stay in the booth and be embarrassed all by myself.  I could also watch the blonde unfettered.



Grey tapped her fingertip to the surface of the dishwater again, not even noticing the mess she was making as she stared absently at the soapy water, eyes fixed, mind far away.

"Grey?  Grey?!"

"Huh?"  Looking up, totally torn from my less than pure thoughts, I turned to see dad sitting in his wheelchair, an amused smirk on his handsome face.

"You going to finish those, or just stand there playing in the water?"

Looking down into the double sink, water cooling and only two forks washed, I blushed.  Mumbling something about having a test on my mind.

"Whatever, kiddo," he chuckled. "Your mother and I are going out for ice cream.  Want anything?"

"Nah, thanks, dad."  I kept my back to him, not wanting to have to try and answer any questions that I really didn't want to.  I heard the sound of the thin, rubber tires turning on the tile floor, then him wheeling himself out of the room.

Once the folks had left, I finished up the dishes, cleaned up the kitchen, and rain up the stairs to my bedroom.  Yes, I did have a test in two days, no, I wasn't thinking about it in any way, shape or form.

I was, however, still thinking of that damn blonde dancer.  Growing up in a household of dancers, I'd literally seen thousands of them over the years.  Sure, I've seen tons who were talented, or hot, had great bodies, yadda, yadda.  So what was it about her?  Hell, I didn't even know her name.

Deciding to indulge in some good old fashioned fantasizing, I laid back on my bed, hands tucked behind my head.

I've never had a real good look at her face, as the only time I saw her, she was under intense light.  Her face remained somewhat a mystery, but I didn't care.

Standing in the shadows, I watch as she dances, her body's fluid movement is incredible, hypnotic.  She turns, her back to me, dressed in the sports bra and trunks she'd been in that day.  Glancing over her shoulder, she looks at me, but only for a moment.  Almost a teasing glance.

I find myself pushing away from the wall I leaned against, walking toward the dancer.  Her body is moving still, but slowly, her hips moving to a slow, sensuous rhythm.  My body pulses to that unheard rhythm. 

The blonde sighed softly when  my hands met her hips, gently pulling her body against mine.  I can actually feel the smooth, yet somewhat prickly material of the spandex trunks under my hands.  Her body still sways, so I sway with her, molding my crotch to her ass, which I knew would be rock hard.

I feel her hands reach back, gripping the sides of my thighs.  My lips are a breath away from her ear, so I brush them over the lobe.  The dancer sighs again, her head slightly tilting to the side, offering me more.  The wisps of blonde hair that brushes over her ears tickle my skin.  Closing my eyes, I inhale her scent, my hands beginning to move.  They travel over hip bones to a flat stomach.  The skin was so soft, belying the hard muscle beneath.

My body began to respond as she pushed back into me, adding more pressure to the pulsing that already beat inside my body, the drummer boy between my legs.

God, I wanted her …

"Grey?  Honey?  Are you going to school?"

My opened as I gasped in startled surprise.  Immediately they squint shut.  I hadn't planned on sleeping for the night, so hadn't pulled my blinds shut.


"Yeah.  I'm awake," I called, sitting up.  I heard my mother walk away, then glanced at my alarm clock.  "Shit."


My head bobbed to the music and words being sung by Marie Johnson, who was playing Giulietta Trapani in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Aspects of Love.  A production with a simple set, small main cast, but large number of dancers.  It was scene 16 of the second act, George's wake.

I continued to work on my calculus as the scene moved on to the party.  As the characters of Rose, Alex, Jenny and Giulietta worked their magic, the ‘party-goers' danced in the background,

I knew the songs well, knew the music even better, and listened as mom gave instruction or suggestions from time to time.  This was the first run through of the entire show, both acts.  This was also the first time I'd been back into the theater since my first dream of the blonde.  Yes, I said first.  Don't know how many there had been since, but either way, I didn't feel it was a good idea for me to be around.  I didn't want to embarrass my mother by doing or saying something stupid.

Suddenly there was a sharp cry and a huge thud.  My head jerked up to see Roger, a company dancer, had collapsed to the stage.  Guess his knee gave out again.

"Grey, bring me my bag," mom called out, kneeling over the moaning man.  Tossing my homework aside, I snatched mom's huge tote, then ran around to the stairs at left, taking them two at a time.  A couple dancers moved aside so I could kneel next to my mother.  "Thanks, honey," she said absently.  Roger's knee was indeed swollen to really bad proportions, the skin already turning a nasty red color.

I sat back on my heels, watching my mom work her magic.  It wasn't like she hadn't had to do this millions of times over the years.

"I knew this was a bad idea, Roger," she muttered, glaring at the man who'd been in her company for several years.

"I thought it had healed enough," he grimaced.  I could see the fear and sorrow in this pain-filled eyes.  This was it for him, and we all knew it.

Something caught the corner of my eye, and I glanced across his prone body.  Directly across from me were the greenest eyes I'd ever seen.  They were looking at Roger, but for a brief moment they glanced over at me.

Here she was, the girl who had haunted my dreams for weeks.  Her short, blonde hair was just barely brushing those eyes.  I wanted badly to reach across and move the strands aside.  She was older than I'd originally thought, which was around my age.  But seeing her so up close, I'd guess she was in her early twenties.

The second was over, and she turned her attention back to Roger, who was being helped up by the two guys who were playing Alex and Hugo.

"Okay, everyone.  Back into position.  Excitement is over."  Mom clapped her hands to get everyone's attention.  The three men disappeared into the wings.  The script assistant, Jenna, flipped her phone shut.

"The ambulance is on the way, Bernie."

"Okay.  Thanks." 

I stood, as did the blonde.  She immediately walked back to her mark, her back to me.  My gaze slowly traveled down her strong back, slightly misted with a thin sheen of sweat.  That tight little ass was hugged by the material of her mesh shorts, strong legs ending in taped bare feet.

The muscles in those legs moved and worked beneath the tanned skin.  Suddenly I realized I was staring at her quads instead of hamstrings.  My eyes traveled back up, and found myself staring into a pair of questioning green eyes, a brow slightly arched.  She did not look happy.


Without a word, my sorry ass jumped off the stage, and I disappeared into the darkness of the house.


I waited for days to hear it from my mother.  No doubt the little blonde told her of my inappropriate behavior.  The lecture never came.

My curiosity getting the best of me, I glanced up at mom over the breakfast table where she was happily digging into her grapefruit.

"Why doesn't that little blonde dancer have a bigger part?"

She looked up at me, finger holding her place in the magazine she'd been reading.  Blonde brows drew.

"What blonde?"

"The one with short hair.  I don't know her name, but I think she's new."  I tried to sound as casual as I could, though don't know how successful I was.


I shrugged, internally quivering at finally have her name. "I guess."

"Well," she sighed, digging a nice bite out of the center of the fruit. "Though she's extremely talented, I didn't feel she was right for Jenny, Rose or Giulietta." 

I nodded in agreement.  But still.  "She is really good, you know."

Mom looked at me for a moment, head cocked to the side.  A slight smirk curled up the corner of her lips.  I had to hide my sudden panic, worried that maybe Christian had indeed talked to mom.

"When did you become such an expert?" she raised a playful brow.  Okay, so she doesn't know.

"Well, I saw her one day, and she was good."  I could feel myself becoming defensive.  Yeah, I may not be the next Bernadette Rickman, but I still knew what I liked.  And Christian was what I liked.  I looked down at my Lucky Charms, face burning. 

"Oh, honey," I felt a warm hand cover my own.  I guess mom had taken my embarrassment for hurt. "I'm sorry.  Your eye is as good as anyone's."

I nodded, still not able to look up, the skin of my face still on fire.  Deciding to change the subject slightly, my mom continued.

"She's been with us for a few months now.  Incredibly talented, you're right.  She has a job, so sadly she can't give as much attention to her craft as I'd like.  What do you think is so good about her?"  Often mom would use my opinion for what the theater goer would see.  Since I wasn't a dancer, no matter how much of the technical mumbo jumbo I knew didn't matter.  I couldn't put it into practical use, so it was lost and wasted on me. 

Brushing thoughts of an X-rated nature aside, I gave honest thought to her question.

"Well," I said, tapping my spoon absently against my cereal bowl.  "The way she moves, the control she has over her body and how much you can tell she loves what she does, just reaches inside."  I met my mother's gaze, my own thoughtful. "Know what I mean?  She touches a part of me that instantly inflates my chest, makes me feel like my heart is going to explode because of how beautiful it is to watch her.  She has the most amazing mixture of grace and power.  It reminds me a lot of when I used to watch Adam rehearse for Swan Lake," I explained, speaking of Adam Cooper, one of the best men in dance of his generation.

Mom's eyes widened. "You're kidding?  Christian's dancing touches you like that?"  I nodded but said nothing.  I could feel mom's eyes on me, my own having dropping to my soggy breakfast.  I was afraid she was seeing right through me.  My sexuality had never been discussed, but I had my doubts of how well I was hiding it.  I think both my parents had become suspicious. 

Finally, having enough of the silent third degree, I looked up.  Mom smiled.  I smiled shyly back.

"Hmm.  Maybe I'll have to give her another look, hmm?" she said, turning back to her magazine.


"You did not just tell my mother you were taking me to a church function," I asked, incredulous.  My best friend, and fellow family member, Shane grinned, his dimples winking.  Rolling my eyes, I buried my face into my hands. "I'm going to tell."

"So they say, but oh what fun!"  Shane chucked me in the arm and continued driving. "Come on, Grey, I couldn't tell her that we were dragging you to The Den, for crying out loud.  Yeah, uh, hi, Mrs. Rickman.  Don't mind us as we sneak your daughter into a strip joint with her fake I.D. for her birthday.  You don't mind, do you?"

I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation.  I grinned at my partner in so much crime.  He grinned back, inordinately white teeth gleaming off the streetlights as we passed by them.  I always wondered just how much money his orthodontist mother put into his mouth.

The club was busy, parking lot filled with cars and trucks.  The heavy base beat could be heard outside.

"Know this is a true act of love, my friend," Shane said, locking up his car.

"Hey, who knows.  Maybe there will be some cute waiters or bartender or something."

He rolled his eyes, arm around my shoulders.  Our friends would be arriving soon.  Yeah, tonight would be fun!  My grin was about to break my face.

We sat at a table for five, the six of us crowded around it, laughing and crowing with the best of ‘em.  Even Shane seemed to be enjoying himself.

The stage was two tables away, but the visual path to those lovely ladies was clear and bare.  Literally (snicker).  This place was a bit of an oddity.  Yes, it was a titty bar, yes the women stripped, but mainly it was a place for some damn good female entertainment.  The women danced, and were pretty good at it.  They didn't strip down further than a g-string and itty bitty bra.  There weren't any naked girls running around.  The other guys with us, the four straight guys, were bummed, as they wanted to see some breast action.  But for me it was perfect.  I've always been of the mind that a bit of mystery was good.  The rest I could fill in with my imagination, and didn't need to see it pushed into my face.  That is, unless they were literally pushed into my face and there was something I could do about it.

Don't tell anyone, but I had yet to have that pleasure.  Sigh.  Sadly all my experience was in the boundless realm of sleep. 

The lights went out, save for a few spinning colored lights, throwing random beams of light around the place.  A huge roar went up, men throwing applause and cat-calls out.

"You all know what's comin'," a man's voice said over the loud speaker.  "Put ‘em together boys for our very own taste of the divine, Heaven!"

The crowd went wild, and I felt my excitement grow right along various parts of bodies around me.

There was a steady drum beat, tribal, that began to get louder and faster.  The colored lights were roving everywhere now, random blades of light cutting across everything at a constant pace.  The drum stopped, everyone quiet, waiting. 


Music loud and exciting filled the place, lights blazing, blindingly bright for just a moment.  When they dimmed, there stood a woman on the highly polished, black stage, shaped like a tear drop.  A bar lined the fat, rounded end of the drop, a shiny metal pole dead center.

The woman stood there, dressed in long, white robes, golden head bent to meet palmed hands.  It looked as though she were praying.  She glanced up, her eyes covered by a golden mask, the look in them anything but saintly.  On the next beat of the music, she threw her head back, arms flying out, looking like a crucified Jesus for a moment, before the robes were thrown off and kicked far behind her.  She now wore a gold vest, her breasts nearly bursting out of it.  Her muscular legs were bare, save for a pair of four inch heeled boots that reached to just below her knees.  A tiny gold skirt glittered, reaching to just below her ass.

"Oh my god!" Danny yelled, my friend sitting to my right.  His eyes were bulging out of his head.

My gaze turned back to Heaven.  Her body was incredible, and her movements were like that of a cat- measures, graceful.  She made the men lining the bar feel as though they were being hunted.

Falling to her knees, she three her head back, knees spread, and reached up, pulling the vest apart.  The men went crazy as those breasts, cupped by a tiny black bra, were revealed.  Her cleavage begged to be licked, so full. 

I was on fire as I watched her, my fingers itching to touch that soft skin and bury my face in it.

Heaven stood, bending at the waist as she pushed the skirt to her feet.  Her breasts looked as though they'd fall out of the bra the lower she got.  I think everyone was waiting, holding their breath, praying they would.  I have to admit, by this point, I was one of them.

After hours of watching beautiful women with even more beautiful bodies prance around that stage, enticing and indulging every single fantasy known to man or lesbian, it was hard not to be incredibly turned on.

I took a long draw from my beer, trying to cool off an extremely overloaded libido.  As I watched the dancer straddle the pole, then swing around it, my eyes flew open wide.

"Holy shit!" I exclaimed.

"Yeah, isn't she great?" Calvin asked to my left.  I could only stare as realization dawned on me.  "Damn.  She's totally transfixed," I heard Calvin tell Shane, both laughing.

What the hell was Christian doing working in a joint like this??!!  And damnit, these guys aren't supposed to be able to drool all over her- that was my job!

I was stunned and completely taken aback.  The blonde's set was over, and g-string loaded with bills, she trotted to the back of the stage, disappearing behind the curtain.

All I could do was sit back in my seat, dazed with my mouth hanging open.  I knew my friends were staring at me, but I couldn't move or snap my jaw shut.  Holy cow!

Somewhere in my muddled brain I heard one of the boys get up and leave the table, but all I could do was grab my beer and chug it.


Looking up, I saw Shane grinning as he stood by my chair.  Nodding his head, indicating I should follow him, he walked away.  Looking at guys, they all grinned back at me.

Why do they all look like they just swallowed the devil?

I followed Shane, who weaved between the tables and patrons of The Den, until finally we ended up at the back of the place.  I was led down a dark hallway, curtained off nooks on either side of the hall.  Most curtains were open, revealing a single chair in the center of the darkly painted room, a dim watt naked light bulb illuminating each.

Finally Shane stopped, motioning me into the room at the end of the hall.  I noticed it had 16 stenciled above the doorway.

"Have fun, sweetie," he said with a giddy laugh before heading back the way we'd come. 

"Wait, Shane!" I stepped out into the hall, but he was gone.  "Damn little fairy," I muttered, looking all around me.  I was alone, and wasn't entirely sure what to do.  Turning back to the little room behind me, I take a seat.  Hearing the deep laugh of a man coming down the hall, I reached over and tugged the curtain closed. 

I felt silly, sitting there, one ankle crossed over the other knee.  Looking around, I realized that the flooring was cement, painted black, like the walls and ceiling.  The room was probably about the size of a walk-in closet.  There was a small table against the wall that I hadn't noticed before.  The folding metal chair was cool beneath my still heated skin.

My head whipped around when the curtain slid open, then slid quickly closed as someone walked in.  My breath caught when I realized it was Christian.  She wore a green robe.  Not looking at me or saying a word, she set down a CD player on the small table, and within a few moments l recognized Alicia Keys' ‘Fallin''. 

My eyes went back to Christian, who still stood with her back to me.  I saw movement, then the robe slipped from her shoulders.  I had to swallow a few times before my brain caught up with what was happening.  I watched as the muscles rippled and moved in her back at the simple movement.

Underneath the robe was a forest green halter top, her back bare all the way down to where the black micro-mini skirt began.  Her legs were bare, black heels finishing the look.

Christian's hips began to sway with the music, then her shoulders got into it.  She turned on her heel, eyes meeting mine.  There was no glint of recognition there, nothing, just sensuous intent.  Her breasts were pushed up into beautiful cleavage that was sexy as hell and not raunchy.  Though I gotta tell you, at that moment in time, raunchy would have been just fine.

She moved toward me, her eyes locked on me.  She seemed to glide, her shoulders never losing the beat.  Once she reached me, a single finger reached out, blazing a trail along my jaw line, around the back of my neck, making me shiver.  She was behind my chair now, and I could feel her close, her breath on my ear before it quickly moved away.  Her fingers trailed along my shoulders, her body moving in front of me now.

I looked up at her, though it was difficult to meet her eyes- her breasts were right at eye level.  Christian's eyes closed, and her head fell back, exposing a long, slender throat as her body moved with the sultry music, her hands never leaving contact with some part of me.  She grabbed my hands, opening her eyes as she looked down at me.  She put my hands on her hips, holding her warm ones over mine as she moved.

My body heat was through the roof, my clit pulsing in time with the music.  I had never been so wet in all my life!  Christian moved closer, spreading her legs as she moved toward me, straddling one of my legs, her body never ceasing its sensual dance.

My hands stayed planted on her hips as her own hands rested on my shoulders, helping to balance her as she moved, grinding playfully, a mischievous smile curling those lightly painted lips.  I noticed for the first time that she was wearing fairly heavy make up, which she wore none at the school.  Her eyes were smoky, dark and dangerous.

She moved out from between my legs, an inner voice inside me screaming for her to return.  It quickly shut up as she readjusted herself, slowly lowering onto my lap, her thighs on either side of my own.  I swallowed again, my brain fuzzy and on arousal overload.

Closing her eyes again, she leaned up just a bit, just enough to brush my lips with her cleavage then moved away, eyes opening and looking deeply into mine.  She made a second pass, and to my utter astonishment, I met that quick, light brush with one of my own- my tongue.  This time when Christian pulled away, she met my gaze with a raised brow.  I gave her a shy smile. 

My fingers flexed on her hips as she moved against me.  I swear I could feel heat coming from between her legs, burning me through the thin material of my t-shirt.  I'd never know as she pulled back as the song came to an end.  I was surprised when she stayed on my lap, one hand still casually resting on my shoulder.

Christian cocked her head to the side slightly, almost as though she were sizing me up.  Finally she spoke, the first words the blonde dancer had ever spoken to me.

"You're not even old enough to be in here, are you?"

I swallowed for a third time, then dug my wallet out of my pocket.  Flipping it open for her, she took it in her hands, looking at the I.D. tucked inside.  She glanced at me, a brow raised in question.

"Turned twenty-eight today, did you, Margaret?"

I grinned, plucking the wallet out of her hands and put it away.  With a quiet chuckle, Christian stood, grabbing her robe from the floor and sliding her arms into the sleeves.

I sat there for a moment, my breathing still not quite right.  She turned off and unplugged the CD player, wrapping the cord around the black body of the machine.

"Wait," standing, I had to reach out and balance myself on the back of the chair.  My legs were wobbly, and I felt like a huge wet spot could be seen on the crotch of my jeans.  God, she had me drenched!

Christian looked at me, her hand resting on the handle of the CD player.  I reached into the hip pocket of my pants, and pulled out the cash I'd brought with me.  Green eyes followed my movement, but she said nothing.

Counting out fifty dollars in ten and five dollar bills, I walked over to her.  Having absolutely no idea what the correct etiquette was for tipping someone who gave you a lap dance, I held the money out to her. 

As she looked from the money to my eyes, I felt like such a kid.  No matter how experienced or adult you may think you might be, nothing brings back just how young you are when you're faced with sexuality when you have no idea what it means.

A soft smile brushed Christian's lips as her fingers brushed the ends of her robe open.  My eyes immediately drifted down to that glorious body.  I wasn't sure what she was wanting me to do, and she wasn't helping at all.

Swallowing for the fourth time in the past eight minutes, I reached out a hand, not daring to look into her eyes as I gently tucked the folded up bills into her cleavage.  I don't know if that's what she intended me to do or what, but that's what I did.  My fingers brushed the soft flesh, and a visible shiver passed through me.

"Thank you," she said softly, taking a small step back before bringing her robe closed and belting it.  I nodded, once again feeling like a gawky, lust-filled teenager.  Wait, I was a gawky, lust-filled teenager.  She grabbed her CD player, and without a word, breezed through the curtain, leaving me to attempt to collect any sort of brain power I had left.


I laid on my bed, sleep far away this night.  My hands were behind my head, eyes staring up at the ceiling.  I had been home for exactly three hours, and I had yet to move from the position I put myself in, flopping onto the bed the moment I entered my room.

My body still thrummed, and as badly as I wanted to get off, I waited, my brain taking me back again and again to that glorious moment in that tiny, dingy room.  I could see Christian's body again, the way she moved, swayed, making love out of motion.

Closing my eyes, I allowed the feelings and sensations to course through me again.  I could still smell her, as her light perfume was now on my own clothing.  Oh, the joy of smelling her on my body.  If only it was on my skin.

Groaning with arousal, I turned to my side, staring out the window.

Where was she now?  Where did she live?  Does she do lap dances a lot?  With that gorgeous body of hers, no doubt she's asked.  Why does she do that kind of work when she should be dancing on the legitimate stage?  She was that good, for sure.  Far too good for that club.

Those breasts.

The image of Christian's stunning cleavage in my face, the smell of it, the extremely brief taste of it.  I couldn't keep the grin off my face.  I still can't believe I did that.  Luckily the dancer seemed to be a pretty good sport about it.  No doubt she saw me for the stunned, inexperienced dork I was.

With a sigh, I finally gave in to what my body had been screaming for hours to get.  Rolling to my back again, I reached down, unbuttoning my jeans and pushing them down my legs.  Using the toe of my shoe, I pushed the heel of the other off my foot, then repeated it with the other one, both shoes falling to the floor with a thud.  Pushing my jeans all the way down and kicking them off, I gasped as the immense saturation between my legs hit the air, having an immediate chilling effect.

Eyes closed, I reached down, my underwear slick with un-sated arousal.  I could feel every bump and fold of my sex through the soaked material.

No patience this night, I shoved my hand underneath the elastic of my panties, my fingers immediately covered with slick wetness.  I truly had never been that wet before, nor had any clue that I could get that wet.  It took only three strokes on my clit before my body erupted.

Getting myself under control, I grimaced, feeling my juices all over the place.

"Okay, this is disgusting."  Yep, a shower was definitely in the works.


"Mom, Survivor is on-"

"Grey, I need your help.  You know Max is still out with the flu.  There's no one else to call in on such short notice to work the lights." Bernadette stood before her daughter, hand on hip.  Blonde brows drew. "You don't watch Survivor.  You hate reality TV."

I said nothing, knowing damn well she was right, and also knowing damn well that I couldn't bring myself to face Christian.  But, I guess if I stay in the light booth …

Sighing, I nodded and pushed out of the couch.

There was a tan car waiting in the parking lot, the sunroof open.  I could hear strains of Carbon Leaf wafting through the night air. 

When mom pulled the Cruiser to a stop, the tan car's sunroof buzzed back into place, ‘What About Everything' coming to a muffled end.  The driver stepped out, and immediately I felt my stomach lurch.

"Hi, Christian."  Mom waved the dancer over, a huge smile planted on her face.  The blonde smiled a hello, her eyes flickering to me for a very brief moment, then followed mom through the door into the dark building.  I held the door open for them.  Christian said nothing as she passed by.

I felt a tremor push through me.

Mom and Christian talked for a few moments, their voices murmurs all the way up on the stage.  Mom's loud burst of laughter reached out from the stage, catching my attention from the lighting booth, where I'd been flipping through a magazine I'd brought.

Christian was grinning as mom laughed, that loud, boisterous laugh that always amused me.

"Grey, honey," mom called out, waving at me.  When she saw she had my attention. "Come here."

I swallowed, seeing Christian glance back at the booth, then turn away.  With a heavy sigh, I tossed the magazine onto the control panel, and headed down the dark aisle, hands jammed into my pockets.  I looked at mom with question in my eyes.

"Honey, you have got to do that cute little song and dance you did for the little play you did in fifth grade."  Mom's eyes were bright with mirth.  I looked at her, brows raised.


"Come on, Grey.  Christian and I were talking about some of the silly shows we've had to do at times."

"No way, mom.  I am not going to do the teddy bear thing."

"Chicken, Grey?"

I was stunned to realize that Christian had spoken.  Glancing at her, I saw a twinkle in those green eyes. 

"No," I muttered.  I could feel the heat rising up my body, unable to see anything but the woman who had touched me so sensually the week before.  As she stood there in a tank top and mesh shorts, I only saw her in that green halter and black skirt.  Swallowing, I met her gaze.  She was challenging me.

"Come on, Grey.  Show her."

I turned seeing the pleading look in my mother's eyes. 

"Fine," I said with a sigh.  I glared at her. "You owe me."  My mother grinned, and I heard Christian chuckle.

Taking a few steps away from the two, I began to sing and do the retarded dance that went with the number. "Are my ears on straight, is my nose in place," as I sang and danced, Christian watched, giving me her complete attention.  That almost made me forget the words to the song, forget the steps to the dance, forget my name, address, phone number, how to breathe….

As I finished up with a dramatic flourish, both women applauded, mom with a proud smile on her face.

"Bravo!" mom called out, making me blush and kick the stage at my feet.  When I glanced shyly back up, I saw that same twinkle in Christian's eyes then it was gone.  I began to feel uncomfortable.  Luckily the moment was broken by the sounds of the cast members arriving.  Without a word or glance, I turned and hurried back to the lighting booth.

As rehearsal continued, I couldn't take my eyes off Christian.  As per usual, she stood away from the others, never joining in their joking and laughing.  While they screwed around, she practiced her craft.  It wasn't uncommon to see her standing off by the wings twirling, and doing a sudden leap into the air, toes pointed perfectly.

I sat on my stool in the lighting booth, chin resting on the palm of my hand.  Even as she was just a dancer in the background, having only the lines of the circus performer at the end of the first act, she stood out.  Christian caught the eye, and didn't let go.  Her aura and presence were incredible, and I was truly shocked that mom hadn't seen that in her.

Then again, maybe I was just a little biased.


"You do realize there are doctors for people like you, right?"

I glared over at Shane, then looked back to the club, the parking lot thinning more and more.

"You know, if I had thought you'd become so obsessed with that dancer, I never would have bought that lap dance for you.  Do you realize-"

"Yes, Shane, I know.  That lap dance stopped you from seeing the fabulous man of your dreams, George Michael in concert.  The tip I gave her stopped me from seeing the kick ass Melissa Etheridge this summer, too, so suck it up."

Shane looked out the passenger side window of my little car, checking out the ass of a cute patron that walked out, definitely drunk, his arm around one of the dancer's shoulders as he led her to his truck.

"She was that good?" he asked at length, looking back over at me.  I gave him a most evil grin.

"You have no idea.  But it's not just that," I reached up, batting at my graduation tassel that hung from my mirror.  "She's a member of mom's school."



"Fancy that.  Hmm."  Shane brought a hand up, tapping his spikes to see if they were still hard.

"I was stunned to see her that night.  I had no idea she worked here," I explained.

"Well, shit.  And here we all thought you were all taken with her.  You were just in shock."

"Yeah, I was in shock, but trust me, my boy," I gave him a meaningful side glance. "I'm taken with her.  Have been since I first saw her five weeks ago."  I sighed at the memory.

"Isn't that her?"

Snapping to attention, I looked around, desperately trying to spot her.  My smile was instant, as was the flame beginning at my toes and spreading north, stopping somewhere in the mid-states.

"Oh, yeah."

Christian walked out of the club, the bouncer standing at the door, watching to make sure she got to her little tan car.  She waved at him as she unlocked her door.  He shouted a good night, then disappeared inside the club.

"God, she looks good in jeans," I breathed, eyes trailing up and down that magnificent body.  The jeans looked to be old favorites, a few weak spots in the denim from wear.  They hugged her ass perfectly, the low-rise waist showing just the tiniest bit of her washboard stomach.

Christian got into the car, getting settled before turning the headlights on, followed by the engine.

"I really don't understand why we just didn't go in, Grey," my gay boy said, fiddling with the radio as I slowly pulled out of the shadows, careful to stay a ways behind her.  She'd seen my car before.

"Because I don't want her to think I'm stalking her," I explained.  Made all the sense in the world to me.  "What?" I asked, feeling Shane's eyes on me.

"Hello!  What do you think we're doing?"

"Driving."  I grinned, knowing full well that Shane had just rolled his hazel eyes.

Just about jumping out of his seat with bliss when he stumbled upon ‘Father Figure' on the radio, we drove on as the "God of Butts" sang to us, my eyes never leaving the tan car three cars ahead of us.

What was Christian listening to?  What kind of music did she like, other than show tunes?  What color were her underwear?

"Shit!  Grey, she turned off."

"What?  Where?"  So in the gutter was my mind, I wasn't keeping my eyes on the road.  "Fuck."  Glancing in my rearview mirror, I whipped out in front of an SUV, then turned onto the next side street I could find.  "Keep your eyes peeled," I muttered, looking at every car parked along the side of the road. 

We were in one of those really old neighborhoods in downtown Denver, where once grand old houses had been chopped up and turned into apartments.  I always thought that was such a shame.

Not seeing anything down this street, I took a right, and went down the next block.

"There she is!" Shane yelled, excitedly pointing.  Sure enough, about half a block up, the tan car was parked against the curb, Christian trotting up the walkway to the front door of the old house.

I pulled to the curb across and down the street.  Ducking to see the upper floors of the house, I silently cursed as I saw that all the windows were lit.  I'd have no way to know which was hers. 

With a heavy sigh, I took in the house at large.  It was huge and brick with a full front porch with massive, white Greek columns.  The house was in some need of repair and loving care.  It was too bad, as I bet that place was magnificent in its day.

"Now what?" Shane asked, getting restless sitting next to me.  I looked over at him, then turned front.  He'd been patient with me for hours now as we waited for Christian to leave work.  I'd let him off on good behavior.

After dropping Shane off at home, I drove around for awhile, mind thinking of a certain little blonde dancer.  Did she like working at The Den?  Dancing for men who were frothing at the mouth, and using her as a walking fantasy pin-up?  I bet she made good money.  Not only was she hot and sexy as hell, but an extraordinary dancer, even in a venue like that.

Not surprisingly, I found myself driving back into Christian's neighborhood, slowing as I passed her house.  Some of the lights had been turned out in the upper floors, only two windows remaining lit, and it looked like they belonged to the same apartment.  The windows were large, the molding around the ceiling easily seen from the street, as well as a ceiling light fixture in one of the rooms.  It looked like an upside down boob to me. 

Pulling my car to a stop, I found a spot to park and turned off the ignition.  Sitting in the dark confines, I glanced at her apartment building again.  At least, what I figured to be her apartment.  For all I know, she had gone to a friend's house, or *gag* a boyfriend's.  For the moment, she was still there.

Leaning my head back against the headrest, I sighed, wondering what she was doing in there.  Was she curled up reading?  Dancing in her socks?  I smiled at that last image.  Was she watching TV?  If so, I hope she had cable- there was absolutely nothing good on regular TV at three seventeen in the morning.  Trust me, I've looked.  Maybe she was soaking in a hot bath.

A long groan escaped my throat as I pictured that little scenario.

The bathroom is a cave of flickering shadows as flames from dozens of candles dance.  The claw-footed tub is white, steam rising from its depths.  Christian is reclining, the bubble bath reaching to just above her breasts, her collar bone glistening from sweat and the bath itself.  Her eyes are closed, head leaning back on a folded towel.  Her arms rest along the sides of the tub, wrists dangling off the sides.  One leg is completely immersed while the other is bent, the knee poking through the suds.

I watch in fascination as she swallows, the movement causing the sweat at the hollow of her throat to glisten for a moment, the tendons and muscles in her throat and neck working with the action.  She has dunked her head at some point, her blonde hair slicked back from her face, not quite able to dry from the humidity in the room.

My gaze travels from her face down over her lips, rested and peaceful, a slight smile of contentment curving the corners.  The tiny, gold chain she always wears around her neck glitters in the candlelight, a sharp penlight as she swallows again, the movement bouncing the chain up to catch a flicker.

Bare shoulders, so strong and well formed.  The valleys and hills that are their natural landscape duck and hide in shadow.  Her arms looks golden in the light, their strength evident even in repose. 

I kneel down, looking closely at her hands and fingers.  Her hands are strong hands, fingers long considering the slight size of their owner.  The nails are blunt, yet taken care of, skin soft with few calluses.  I can see the slight indentation on her pinky from the thin, gold pinky ring that is always there.

Standing, I see the whole picture, and am in awe.  Christian's eyes are still closed, and there's a huge part of me that is trying to will them to open.  I want to look into them, see what color they'd be against the backdrop of the candle light.  But at the same time, I don't want her to see me.  I want to be able to look upon her unheeded, admiring what will never be.

Bolting awake, I looked around frantically for a moment, trying to figure out what had woken me, and why the heck my neck hurt so bad.

Finally seeing the guy standing at my window, I quickly started the car and buzzed it down.

"Hey, you okay?" he asked, resting his hand on the top of the car and leaning down slightly.  Looking around, I saw that the sun had already started to come up, it's bright, orange light crashing through the night.

"Oh, uh, yeah."  I pushed myself up in my seat, my back joining in my neck's ranting.  "Sorry."  He stepped away, heading to his own car that was parked in front of mine.  I rolled the window up and put my car into gear.  Glancing back across the street, I saw Christian's tan car still parked out front. 


"What do you think?" mom asked, opening random cabinet doors, then finding her way to the fridge, opening the walnut painted door and peeking inside.

"I don't know," I said absently, looking out the window that overlooked a small courtyard.  A couple benches were placed on either side of a small spruce.  The small space was filled in with lava rock, save for the stone path weaving around.

"It's small," mom said, coming to stand beside me.

"True.  But it's not like I have a ton of stuff."  I looked at her, seeing a smile beginning to emerge.

"Yes, but the packrat in you will have that remedied soon."

Rolling my eyes, "Thanks."

"There were still a couple more to look at.  Do you want to, or are you happy with anything we've seen already?"

"I kind of like this one."  I walked across the thick green carpeting of the living room, stepping into the one bedroom again. 

"The rent is higher here than the last one," mom reminded me.

"Yeah, but this place has hot water heat, and that other one had electric.  That alone will make up for the extra rent."  I looked at her, seeing her nod at my reasoning.  What I didn't tell her is that I liked this one because it was only about a mile from Christian's apartment.  Yes, I now knew that it was hers.

"Okay.  Let's call Ray and tell him."  Mom handed me her cell phone, which I took.


"Okay, ladies and gentleman.  Opening night tomorrow night."  Mom clapped her hands together excitedly, looking at her cast, which sat on the edge of the apron of the stage.  "I'm proud of all of you.  I know you all have put so much into this, and that this will be an incredible production."

"All cause of you, Bernie," one of the men said quietly, his fellow cast members nodding in agreement.

"Aww, thanks, Tom.  I appreciate that."  Mom smiled, then that smile morphed into an evil grin.  "And if any of you need something to do tonight, my little girl is moving into her first apartment.  We could use a little elbow grease."

"Mom!" I exclaimed from the third row.  All I could do was bury my face in my hands, not daring to look up.  I didn't want to see the look on Christian's face.

Okay, yes, damnit I admit it.  I was disappointed and bummed and had really hoped and thought maybe, and wondered. 

Alright fine, no, she didn't show.

The last of the cast members had left about fifteen minutes ago, leaving me to stand in the middle of my very first apartment, surrounded by boxes stacked on top of boxes on top of furniture.

"God, where is all this shit gonna go?" I asked, hands on hips.  I wasn't even sure where to start.  I had only moved once, and I had been four at the time.  Hardly made me a moving expert. 

Walking into the kitchen, I decided that may be a good place to start.  Mom and dad had bought me a couple hundred dollars worth of food and what mom called staples, to get me started.  I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to do with a five pound bag of flour or sugar, but she said it would be useful.

Snatching a Fruit 2 O from the fridge, I twisted off the cap and took a long draw.  It had been a long night, and I was pretty tired.  Thank god Tom and I got my bed set up.  All I had to do now was find the sheets and get it made so I could collapse.  Who knew moving was so damn tiring?  I think I'll live here forever.

The good news is I got half my bedroom unpacked just from looking for the sheets and my blankets.  I tore into one plastic garbage bag, only finding clothes, so I'd put them away.  Tearing into the next, I found my towels and bathroom stuff.  Now, I sit Indian style in the middle of my bed, surrounded by empty boxes and deflated trash bags.  I was exhausted!

A glance at the clock told me it was already pushing two in the morning.  Without further ado, I kicked my shoes off and simply slipped under the covers. 

If you tell anyone that I tugged Turtles the stuffed turtle with me, I'll kick your ass.  It's not my fault I've slept in the same bedroom for the majority of my life.  Until now.


Kurt Cobain and friends sang to me as I jammed to a mixed CD Shane had so wonderfully, and illegally, burned for me.

I tore into the next box, seeing what goodies I'd find inside.  Dad had suggested that I mark on the outside what was in each, but what was the fun in that?  This way it was like Christmas!

Stacking the last few dishes in the cupboard, I looked around the hallway that was my kitchen, pleased with the results.  Head bobbing to the beat of the music, I kicked the newly empty box I'd just finished with aside, and moved on to another.

Utility knife in hand, I sliced through the double layer of tape and pulled the wings of the box aside.

"Hmm.  What have we here?"  I glanced up. "A knock at the door is what we have here."  Getting to my feet, I unchained and unlocked the door, shoving a box out of the way with my foot so I could open it all the way.  On the other side stood a smirking Christian.  So taken aback, I forgot how to breathe.

"Nirvana, huh?" she said with a nod toward my stereo.

"Huh?  Oh.  Yeah,  Unpacking," I muttered unnecessarily.

"I figured.  Either that, or you were expecting the bad guy."

"Bad guy?"  I glanced down at the blade I still had in my hand, then blushed.  Again.  "Yeah."

"Well, um, I'm sorry I couldn't make it to help you move last night.  I had to work."

I met her twinkling eyes, and blushed for a second friggin' time in as many minutes.  Grrrrr.  To her credit, she seemed to either not notice or simply ignored it.

"I know how exciting it is to get into your own place for the first time, so here."  She held up a small green pot, the plant inside stood maybe three inches tall.

I looked down at it, truly touched.  "Thank you."  I took it from her.

"Water once a week, and as a special treat, plants like a little milk in their water now and then," she said with a soft smile.


"Just a tad," she said, holding her thumb and index finger a hair apart. 

"Okay."  I stared at the plant for a moment, not sure what to say.  I didn't want to tell Christian, but I had the biggest black thumb with plants of anyone on the planet.  But, it was incredibly sweet of her.  Finally my manners kicked in.  "Jeez, I'm sorry.  Want to come in?"  I looked into her eyes.  They were so beautiful.  And so … what was the word … sad?  I had never noticed that before.  My heart swelled as I battled with myself, holding me back from grabbing her in a huge, all encompassing hug.

"Um," she looked past me, I'm sure shocked at the mountain of boxes, packed and unpacked.  I really thought she was going to say yes.  My excitement and nervous levels grew simultaneously. "No."  Then they both came crashing down at the same out of control speed. "Tonight is opening night, and I really should rest."

"Right.  Okay."  I smiled, trying to bring some sort of composure back.

"Well, uh, good luck with your unpacking and everything."  She smiled.  "If you need anything, we're almost neighbors."

Yeah, ain't it great!

"Thanks, Christian," I said quietly.  It was wonderful to say her name out loud with her actually in the same breathing space.  "This should go great in front of the window in my bedroom." I smiled, holding the plant up.  Did she see something in my eyes I hadn't intended to be there?

"I'm sure it will, Grey," she smirked, then turned and walked away.  Leaning out the door, I watched as she hurried down the stairs, her footfalls echoing in the small outdoor space, then she was gone.


I always felt a sense of pride at the hush of a packed house.  The rows were filled, people talking quietly amongst themselves or browsing the program that had been given to them at the door.

Tonight I had on my usher hat.  Dressed in a tailed tuxedo, I adjusted the blue vest and bowtie before heading back out into the throng of people still hovering in the lobby.  I walked around the crowd, answering questions, helping people figure out where their seats were, and handing out extra programs.  I saw my fellow ushers doing the same thing.

The little earpiece squawked to life.

"Grey, we need to start getting people herded into the auditorium," Jenny, the head usher, said.

"Got it," I said back, talking into the tiny mouth piece I held in the palm of my left hand.  "Folks!" I called out, raising my arms above my head to get their attention. "IF you could start making your way to your seats.  The show will be starting shortly."

A hum of excitement filled the lobby as people began to file through the three sets of double doors, one of my fellow ushers taking post at each set.  I can of acted as a cattle prod, poking those in the ass who took their time a little too much.

"Grey?" mom said into my ear.

"Yeah, mom?" I said into the handpiece.

"Turn to channel two."  I quickly changed the frequency, immediately her voice was in my ear again. "Have you seen Christian?"

"Um, no," I said, looking around.  "Shouldn't she be back there with you?"

"Honey, I need you to go to her apartment.  I can't get through on the phone.  It's not far from here-"

"I know where it's at.  I'm on my way."

Running to the lighting booth, where I kept my personal belongings, I grabbed my keys and was out the door before you could say break a leg.

The good thing was Christian wouldn't be absolutely needed until the end of the first act, but I was still worried.  This wasn't like her.  She was always the first person here, certainly not the last.

I couldn't help but snicker as I fancied myself a groom in her tux chasing after a wayward bride.

"Come on," I growled, waiting for a truck to decide what the hell it was doing.  "Pick a damn lane!"  I blew past him once he had, driving like a lunatic.  Realizing that getting killed or pulled over by a cop wasn't going to help our situation any, I slowed, driving at a more reasonable seventy instead of ninety-two.

Christian's street was bustling with Friday night excitement, cars pulling away from curbs, people standing by parked cars talking and laughing.  But with all the activity, only one thing caught my eye.

Double parking in front of Christian's apartment building, I ran up the walk, what I had seen through that huge, bay window burnt into my brain.  Lucky for me the main door to the house wasn't locked, so I pushed through, breezing up the squeaky, incredibly narrow staircase that led further up into the house.

Arriving at the door, which I'd figured must correspond to that window, I knocked furiously.  Inside I could hear what I had seen.

"Damnit, Josh, let go!  I need to leave!"

"No fucking way, Chris!  I don't believe for a fucking minute that you have some legitimate show to do!  Who is he?  Who is he!?"

"Stop it!  You're hurting me!"

I pounded on the door again.  All sound inside the apartment stopped.  I could hear my heart pounding in my ears, my temples throbbing with the boiling blood that raced through my veins.

After a few moments I heard footsteps and then the clink of locks being undone.  The door swung open, and before me stood a very shaken Christian.  Her lip was cut open, and her eyes red rimmed and puffy.

"Grey," she said, surprise filling her voice.  Over the small blonde's shoulder I could see a guy standing in the middle of the room.  This Josh person glared at me, then turned and looked out the window.

"Hey, Christian," I said, trying to make my voice sound as casual and upbeat as possible. "Mom said you needed a ride to the theater, so here I am," I bowed deep and dramatic.  I was glad to see the glimmer of a smile on that broken face. "Front door service."

"Yes, thank you, Grey."  Christian stepped away from the door disappearing deeper into the apartment.  My gaze clashed with that of the asshole standing not fifteen feet from me.  He looked me over, taking in the tux, and I guess figuring that just maybe his girlfriend or whatever Christian was, was telling the truth.  His eyes hit the floor.  Bastard.

"Ready?" the blonde asked, walking toward me with her large dance bag in hand.

"After you, milady."  I gave her the softest smile I could manage, saving my harshest glare for the idiot who looked at me again, our eyes connecting just before I slammed the door shut.

Christian said nothing as she got settled in my car.  I swept my tails up, careful that I wouldn't close them in the car door.  Trust me, I've done that lots of times.  The car started, I pulled out of my very illegal spot, and got us going.

I tried to keep my eyes on the road as much as possible, but my gaze kept finding the small blonde in the passenger seat, who looked so much smaller tonight.  Finally I took a deep breath.

"Are you okay?"

Christian nodded, giving me a tiny smile before turning back to stare out the window.  When she finally spoke, it was so soft, and so completely unexpected, I almost didn't hear her.

"Sometimes I just wish that I could find someone who saw me as more than just a body."

I felt myself become suffused with shame and disgust. "I'm sorry," I whispered.  No doubt she took it as an apology of sympathy, but I felt like the world's biggest asshole.

Mom and I said nothing as we quickly got Christian ready.  The bruising around her mouth and puffy redness around those magnificent eyes was covered by heavy makeup.  The audience would be none the wiser, but up close you could still see a sickly brown tinge.

As she prepared physically for her performance, I could tell Christian was sinking into the depths of her creative mind, morphing into the characters she'd be playing.  I'd seen hundreds of performers do the exact same thing.  It was at that point that I took my leave, mom already heading back to the wings.  I knew I no longer existed in the blonde's world.  Now she only saw the world of the actress and dancer.

Heading back to my post at the back of the auditorium, I watched the show go on.  After all, it must.


The show was a resounding success, and a one night affair, so the house had been packed.  Mom was proud, as she should be.  She'd done a wonderful job, yet again.  I was always amazed at how much she could get accomplished with only a matter of weeks.

I ducked out of the cast party, knowing it wasn't my place to be there.  I wasn't one of them, and never would be.  Sometimes it made me sad, as I know how badly mom wanted me to know the joy she did of performing.  It just wasn't in my deck of cards.

Shane wasn't home, which was probably good.  I was still a little rattled from what had happened earlier, and felt like being alone.

The apartment was pretty much done, though I had yet to throw any of the boxes out.  Looking at them piled so incredibly high, the thought of breaking them all down and making a million trips to the dumpster just did not appeal.

Sighing, I flicked the TV on, wandering into the kitchen to dig out a microwave dinner. 

"Yum, Salisbury steak."  Grinning like a child, I slit the plastic cover over the meat and mashed potatoes, then slid the plastic tray into the microwave, setting the timer for the correct amount of time.

Snatching a Dr Pepper from the fridge, I was heading toward the living room when I heard a knock.  Setting the can down on the coffee table, I unlocked the door, tugging it open.

Christian stood on the stoop, face freshly washed of her stage makeup, the bruise at the corner of her lips standing in stark contrast.  She said nothing, just looked up at me.  I'd never seen the look in her eyes before.  It was determination, intensity.  I was speechless, having no idea what to say or do.

I took a step back as the silence continued, Christian stepping over the threshold of my apartment.  She closed the door, leaning against it, her eyes never leaving me.  I swallowed heavily, feeling my hands beginning to sweat.  I jumped when I heard the lock being engaged.

Christian walked over to me, her hands coming to rest on my arms.  She seemed so calm as those hands slid up to my shoulders, not resting as they slid into my hair.  My heart was about to beat out of my chest as she pulled my head down.  My eyes closed on instinct as her lips touched mine.  They were so soft.  The fire in her eyes belied the softness of her kiss, the way she brushed her lips against mine, teasing me.

"Wait," I stammered, my wits coming back to me.  Pulling away, I took a deep breath before looking at her.  She looked up at me with the same look in her eyes, but it felt as though there was an unending river of patience within her.

"Don't you want this, Grey?" she said softly, her hand sliding out of my hair to rest on the side of my face.  I swallowed hard.

"Yes, but,"

"But what?"

"What you said before, someone seeing you as more than a body," my conscience was creeping up on me.  Nice timing, damnit! 

Christian pulled me down again, our lips a breath apart. "Right now I want you to have this body," she whispered.  That was it.  Game over. 

My hands found their way to her soft hair, pulling her to me.  Christian's tongue scoured my skin as she playfully licked my bottom lip.  I moaned as I invited her in, arms wrapping around her, needing to feel her body against me.  I was wild and desperate, a lifetime of frustration, curiosity and want boiling to the point of no return.  I could only pray that she was serious, cause there was no way I could stop now.

"Where's your bedroom?" she whispered into my mouth.  A bolt of lightning lanced through me, splitting my libido in two, doubling my craving.  Without a word, I felt her take my hand, urging me to lead.  I did, through the short hall, past the bathroom, and finally to my bedroom.  I heard a soft chuckle.  "Guess you weren't kidding about that window."

I glanced over at it, seeing the small plant I'd placed on the ledge.  I grinned at her.

Remembering why I was there again, I brought my hands up, grabbing at her t-shirt, ready to rip the sucker off.

"Wait," Christian said, her voice soft but firm.  I looked at her, praying she wasn't going to stop this.  She held my wrists in hers, gently placing my hands on her hips. "Keep them there," she said, looking me in the eye as she took a step closer. "We have all night, Grey," she whispered, her lips on my neck. "Don't rush something so beautiful."

"Kay," I murmured, prepared to agree to anything.  My head arched to the side as her lips and tongue worked their way up to my ear.  I could feel her hands at the hem of my tank top, the warm fingers working their way under the thin material.  She grazed my sides with her nails, making me shiver.

Christian's mouth worked back down my neck, across my throat and to the hollow.  She pushed my shirt up, finally working it over my head.  I moaned softly as I felt the material of Christian's shirt brush my naked breasts, her warm, strong hands massaging my back as she ran her tongue along my collar bone.

It was almost sensation overload as Christian was everywhere.  I could feel her inside and out as her tongue blazed a trail down between my breasts.  My mind was so focused on the unbelievable pleasure of just feeling her against my skin that I forgot to be self-conscious or nervous.  She seemed to take that all away, making me feel wanted and beautiful.

My eyes shot open with a gasp as wet warmth surrounded my left nipple for the first time.  I looked down, my hands immediately finding the back of her head.  Green eyes looked up to meet my gaze.  I could feel my body trembling, legs turning to jelly.

With a wet popping sound, she released my nipple, giving it one last hot swipe for good measure.  My eyes fell shut again as I felt her mouth on my other breast.  God, how did people make it past this without coming?

As she played with my breasts with her mouth, I could feel Christian's fingers sliding into the waistband of my mesh shorts, slowly pushing them down over my hips, where the smooth material slid down my legs.  I had just enough brain power left to know to step out of them.

"Do you not believe in undergarments in any way?" Christian teased, fingers brushing against my bare hip.

"Wasn't expecting company," I panted.  She chuckled again, returning to my skin, her hands reaching around to cup my ass, pulling me to her.  My skin was so sensitized as it pressed against the jeans and cotton t-shirt she wore.  I needed to feel her skin against mine.  I tried to tell her this, but found a finger placed against my lips.

She gently pushed me back toward the bed, where I sat heavily on the end.  She took a step back, head slightly cocked to the side as she studied me, taking in my naked body.  Okay, now the self-consciousness was latching on.  I wanted to cover myself, but knew this wasn't the time to do that.

"Beautiful," she whispered finally, her fingers gliding down to the hem of her own shirt.  She had my rapt attention now as she lifted the shirt up and over her head, shaking her hair to settle it back into place.  The shirt hit the floor with a material flop, right next to my own discarded clothing. 

I was captivated as I took in the light blue bra she wore, the satiny cups holding her breasts tightly, the soft, sensual mounds of skin heaving with every breath she took.  My gaze scanned down as movement caught my eye.  Her fingers were clasping the top button of her jeans, slowly pulling, each button popping out of its eyelet, revealing matching blue panties.  The jeans were slid down those glorious thighs until they pooled at her feet.  She quickly stepped out of her shoes, the jeans following suit, then her socks. 

Christian walked toward me in bra and panties.  I couldn't breathe, so beautiful was she.  It was unreal to be able to behold all that was the dancer as she stood before me, her eyes so soft, yet filled with unmistakable desire as she looked down at me.

"Touch me, Grey," she finally said, her hands running through my hair.  She didn't have to ask twice as my hands immediately found the soft skin of her waist.  My fingers trailed the muscles of her stomach, shyly playing around the rounded undersides of her breasts.  She stepped closer to me, standing between my legs now.  She leaned down, her breath grazing my cheek.  Taking my hands in her own, she reached them back around her, to the clasp of her bra strap, her own hands running up along my bare arms to my shoulders, then the side of my face.

Her kiss was far more heated than the one we'd shared in my living room.  Her tongue was ruthless as it plundered my mouth,  my own kiss meeting her passion for passion.  All the while I fumbled with the hooks of her bra, desperately wanting that thing gone.  Finally I heard the satisfying snap of one hook being unclasped.  A few seconds later, the second one followed.  I could feel the satiny material against me as it loosened from Christian's body.  She quickly tossed it aside, pushing me back onto the bed, climbing on top of me.

I felt my body shudder as her breasts pressed against mine, the heat of her stomach meeting my own.  I was stunned to realize I'd had a small orgasm just from that.  It didn't seem to matter as my body was on fire as Christian's mouth consumed mine.  She pressed against my thighs with her knee, moving her leg between mine as I opened them.

"God, you're wet," she moaned as I painted her skin.  I wanted to tell her it was because I had wanted her since the moment I'd seen her, but was too shy, inexperience and youth locking my words in my throat.

Christian left my mouth, moving her body further down as she slowed her pace, taking her time as she licked and kissed my neck, moving down to my breasts again.  She took one in her hand, palming the nipple as her tongue flicked the other one.  I cried out, body arching at the unreal sensations.  I could feel her hips moving against me, though she seemed to keep some restraint, afraid I'd come before she was ready for me to.  This, by the way, was not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

She moved further down my body, bringing one of my thighs up to rest against her side as she kissed and teased the valley of my breasts.  She ran her hand down the side of my thigh, caressing the skin as she licked her way down the center line of my torso.  My thigh was pushed up further as I felt her breath against my pubic hair.

"Oh, god," I moaned, knowing full well what she was about to do.  I could already feel my clit pulsing in time to my frantic heartbeat. 

My other thigh was raised, the soft skin of her shoulders felt as she placed both my thighs over them.  I could hardly breathe as I waited for whatever she would do next.  Jumping slightly as her lips touched the insides of my thighs, I felt her hands caressing my stomach, calming me.  She grabbed my hand, entwining our fingers as her mouth neared where I needed her so desperately.

 I knew that I was incredibly wet, and couldn't help but worry she'd be repulsed by that.  Was I too wet?  All thoughts of this were pushed out of my head as her tongue sliced through that wetness, gliding up from my opening to my clit.  The soft moan she made as she worked made me tremble.

My mind exploded as she entered me with her tongue, all five senses on overload as I tried to separate everything, and figure out exactly what was happening.  As it was, it was just one giant ball of pleasure coming from every nerve center I had.

Christian slid her tongue slowly in and out of me, her thumb caressing the back of my hand the entire time, keeping me grounded as I floated in the skies above. 

I could hear the sound of my wetness parting with each penetration, then groaned loudly as she flickered her tongue against my opening, moving her way up my seam before reaching my clit.  I felt Christian's hand squeeze mine, almost as though to prepare me for the onslaught.

My gasp was loud, body arching as she sucked my clit into her mouth, rocking her tongue back and forth across it, merciless in her attack.  My legs spread wider as my body began to convulse, trembling uncontrollably as I came hard in Christian's mouth. 

I could dimly hear her humming and the sensation as she ran her tongue over my sex, taking in all I had to offer.  My mind was numb, feeling like I'd broken something in there with the surge of impact.

Finally I became aware of Christian kissing her way back up my body, which lay limp and unmoving.  When she lowered her body back to mine, something inside me clicked, and I went from feeling numb to feeling everything acutely. 

I ravished Christian's mouth, tasting myself on her lips.  I wanted desperately to touch her.  My hands moved down over her back to her ass, pulling her deeper into me before my fingers inched their way under the satiny material.  I pushed the panties down, Christian raising her hips from mine as they passed until finally she was able to wiggle them all the way down her legs, kicking them off to the floor.

I tried to change our position, but Christian wouldn't have it.  She kissed me deeply as she moved her body between my legs, which I eagerly opened for her.  I had no idea what she was doing, but having her pressed to me so intimately was driving me wild.

Christian pushed her upper body off me, holding herself up on her hands.  She looked down at me, so much lust to match my own reflected in those incredible eyes.  She pushed her hips into me, causing me to gasp, her sex hitting mine.  I could feel the incredible combined wetness saturating my skin.

My gaze traveled to her breasts, which swayed above my own, the nipples hard and a deep rose color.  The muscles in her arms and shoulders stood at attention with the strain of holding her body up, and the control it took to slowly move her hips against me.

I opened my legs wider, my clit so engorged, getting better contact against her.  Christian's breathing was shaky as she closed her eyes, moving with me, her wetness gliding easily with mine.  I could feel the heat flowing from her sex in waves, warming me to my core.

To my astonishment, I could feel the beginnings of another orgasm clenching my insides.  It was torture as Christian kept her pace slow, almost grinding her clit into mine, such slow, sweet, sweet torture indeed.  Reaching down, I pressed my hands to her ass, trying to push her further into me, needing so badly for her to quicken her pace, rub against me faster and harder.  She refused.

Opening her eyes, Christian looked down at me, her breathing a series of pants now as she continued to move, keeping her thrusts short and focused, our clits rubbing together, pushing against each other.

The heat in my belly expanded, spreading through me before a fire-like whip shot between my legs, making me cry out and jerk as my body exploded once more.  I watched as Christian thrust her body a few more times, her eyes slamming shut, mouth opening in a silent scream as she came against me.

Unable to stop myself, I grabbed the back of her head, pulling her to me.  She returned my kiss, which was breathy as both of us tried to get our world back in focus.  Breaking the kiss, Christian finally collapsed on top of me.  I held her close, feeling her heart pounding against mine.  After long moments, she raised her head, looking down at me.  I smiled at such a beautiful sight, though my brows drew when I spied her bruised mouth.  I don't know how it wasn't killing her when she kissed me.

Bringing up a hand, I gently traced the bruise, Christian's head falling in shame.  I encouraged her to look at me with two fingers under her chin, meeting her troubled gaze.  I smiled softly, brushing her hair out of her eyes.  She smiled shyly back, her eyes closing as I leaned up, placing a simple kiss on her wound.

"All better," I whispered, loving the smile that earned me.

That night I explored every inch of her body, tasting her skin and her passion, reveling in her cries of pleasure.  I made love for the first time that night, and I think somewhere along the way maybe fell in love with Christian a little.  She felt so right in my arms and against my body.  She seemed to know how to play me like a finely tuned instrument, knowing where to press to make me sing.  I knew her, too.

At some point that night we switched our roles of teacher and eager student.  I began to show her what it really felt like to be worshipped and adored, to be utterly wanted.

Sometimes I like to think she still remembers that.


The morning light was harsh in my stinging eyes.  I had had so little sleep and my body was screaming at me.

Turning over to my back from my side, I blinked several times before I realized I was alone.  Eyes flying open, I looked around my bedroom, seeing nothing, no sign of her.  I would have thought it had been a dream if the soreness between my legs let me know that wasn't the case.  I could still see the impression where her head had been in the pillow next to me.  Grabbing it, I brought it to my face, inhaling deeply, still able to smell her shampoo and all that made her a woman.

Hugging the pillow to me, flashes from the night before washed over me, including the last memory, which now was very dream-like. 

Lying on my back, Christian cuddled against me, her head resting on my shoulder.  I remember that plain as day, could still feel the weight of her leg over mine, the warmth of her skin against me.

Suddenly my shoulder was cold where her head had been seconds before.  I remember wanting to open my eyes, feeling Christian watching me, but my mind and body had rebelled, too exhausted to move.

A moment and then soft lips against my own.  I had tried half-heartedly to respond, feeling drunk in my exhaustion. 

"Goodbye, Grey," she whispered against my skin. "Thank you."

A small tear managed to loose itself from my eye.

I picked at my lunch, mom and dad chattering away.  I think they mistook my melancholy for another of my many mood swings.  They'd learned long ago to just ignore me, and eventually I'd get out of it.  But then something my mom said caught my attention.

"It was awful," she told my dad. "Such a beautiful young girl, mouth all bruised up."  She sipped her coffee before continuing.  "She came and saw me after the show.  She said she doesn't have anything here, no family, now no boyfriend, so she's leaving."

"What?  Where?"  Sitting up in my seat, my eyes open wide, I studied my mother.  She looked stunned by my sudden outburst.

"Well I don't know, Grey.  She's leaving Colorado, that's all I know."


There are a few people in your life who really touch you in ways that no one else can.  It could be a friend, a lover, or just some Joe you see begging on the street corner.  His plight and destitution reaching in to a level of compassion you didn't know you possessed, and then suddenly one day you find yourself helping out at a soup kitchen.

No, Christian didn't make me want to help feed the poor, but she did change me forever.  Because of her I found my niche, what I was really good at, and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

When I got home from my parent's house that day, I booted up my computer and sat down, starting at the blinking cursor, not sure what I was doing.  Lifting my hands, I rested them on the keyboard, again no closer to knowing what I was doing or why.  Then it came to me.

The soft clicking noises of keys being stroked filled my small apartment as I told my story, starting from day one, to the last, including how I'd driven past her apartment, not seeing the little tan car there anymore.  That day I typed out my heart and feelings, realizing that I had slowly but steadily been falling in love with Christian since that first day. 

When I was finished with my story, I sat back in my chair, noticing the daylight had died, leaving night in its wake.  This time yesterday we were making love.  Why had this happened?  Why had she come to me?  Those were questions I'd never know the answers to, but would always be with me.  One thing I did know, and was grateful for, was Christian had taught me how to love, how to let go enough of your own ego or self-centered part of yourself to care for another human being.  She'd taught me how to touch and be touched, how to care more about someone else's pleasure than your own.  That lesson could extend outside the bedroom as well.

Over the years I've had plenty of sexual encounters and girlfriends, but I have to tell you- no matter how good they were in bed, or how beautiful they might have been, not one single one of them could measure up to Christian Scott.  I had yet to find her again, though I looked in every woman I met.

Now, sitting here in the darkening theater, I waited with bated breath.  It turned out that Christian and I had lived in the same city for more than three years.  I'd moved here to work for New York Magazine and be closer to my publisher.  She had come here to dance.

Tonight was all about her, and I wanted to be here to see it. 

The curtain opened, and the wonder I'd felt as a teenager seeped out my ears as I saw the vision of the woman she'd become.  Though Christian was no more than four years older than myself, seeing her on that stage, her body exquisite as it moved, carried the voice of her character, silently telling the story of a young girl, tortured throughout life, I was rapt awe once again.  I was not surprised to feel tears silently streaming down my cheeks, so lost in the story and the past, I was.

As the cast stood for their applause, the leading lady took the apron, bowing at the waist as the cheers echoed through the theater, filling me with so much pride and happiness for her.  She deserved this honor.

The lobby was filled with boisterous voices as theater goers met to talk about the production they'd just seen, many carrying flutes of champagne.  I did not wait around to chat about the amazing performances, I was waiting around for what I knew came if only you waited long enough.

As the lobby began to thin out, a few scattered groups lingering, two heavy doors opened, and a small group of plain clothed people emerged.  I felt my heartbeat pick up, my fingers finding the gift that sat next to me on the bench.

A few gasps rose as people realized it was the cast themselves coming out, leaving for the night.  I hung back, content to sit on my bench as I saw her, swallowed up by admirers.  I could hear Christian's lilting voice, gentle and accepting of their praise, and graciously signing autographs.

She looked so different yet much the same.  Her face had thinned somewhat, the look a young girl now replaced by the confidence of a woman.  She wore blue jeans, though no holes in these, and black boots.  Her sweater hugged her body, which was still glorious.  Her hair was now long, the golden strands free around her shoulders and face.

She was stunning.

Christian stepped away from the last group, the dancer was making her way toward the door, long overcoat draped over her arm.

"Christian," I said softly, standing.  She stopped at the sound of her name, turning to face me.  It took a moment, but then I saw recognition bleed into those amazing green eyes.  A look of stunned pleasure filled her face as she walked over to me.

"Oh my god," she said quietly, seeming to try and reconcile today with so long ago.  "Grey!" She took me in a warm hug, then stepped away, wander filling her eyes.  She smiled shyly as I handed her the white rose.

"You were incredible," I said, my voice soft and filled with reverence for her craft. 

"Thank you."  She inhaled the fragrant flower, then cocked her head slightly to the side.  So much stayed the same.  "What are you doing here?"

"I live here."

"No kidding?"

"Nope.  No kidding.  I saw that you were starring on Broadway, so I had to come and see it.  It's about damn time someone realized just how good you are."  I gave her my best smile, and she chuckled slightly, looking down at the rose, which her fingers played with.

"Well, I'm glad you did.  And I'm glad you enjoyed it."

"Very much so.  You were truly brilliant."  As she looked up at me, I could only hope she could see the truth behind my words.  She took my breath away.

"What are you doing now?" she asked, her words quiet.

"Seems I'm talking to the star of the show."

She rolled her eyes, batting my arm playfully. "Well, would you like to get some coffee with said star?"

My smile widened, and I nodded. "Absolutely."

The End


Return to the Academy