TWO YEARS LATER
“Ready?” the stage manager asks me.
I nod. The curtain falls to thunderous applause, and my heart soars. The corps de ballet flood past me. The curtain rises, sweeping upward, and the lights come on full force. The dancers separate by scenes, going down stage for their final bows.
They soak in the applause, the appreciation , then turn and take their positions farther back. Making room for others.
Across the way, in the opposite wing, is my partner.
“You deserve this,” the stage manager says. “Go ahead.”
I take a deep breath and raise my arms. I walk gracefully out onto the stage, meeting my partner in the center. His hand comes around my waist, and his other cradles my outstretched hand. He motions to me, stepping back, and I curtsey. Then he bows. We come together and repeat, then glide backward.
It’s only then that I can focus on the audience.
And how they’re all standing.
Tears burn the backs of my eyes. This is my first show as a principal dancer with the Boston Ballet. Months of hard work, summer intensives, training. Struggling to balance the last year of school with my role in Crown Point Ballet.
Due to Mia’s abrupt exit, CPB ended up withdrawing from doing a national tour and just produced a home season with Sleeping Beauty . It turned out, there was a lot more going on under the surface. She was abusing funds, adjusting the books. With her rotting in prison, there was a lot of things the board of directors had to fix.
I signed a contract as a soloist and danced through the season… and then I was done. I joined Boston Ballet the following season as a soloist and then was promoted to principal this year.
The curtain closes, and we all come forward. We’ll do one final bow, and then it’ll be time to celebrate.
Well. Even as I say that, I’m aware that I’m lying to myself. Grey had an away game with the Bruins, so I’ll be returning to our empty apartment after a drink at the local bar.
When the curtain reopens, the audience is still on their feet. We all take a final bow.
A murmur sweeps through the room. I crane my head to see where it’s coming from, and my heart skips a beat.
Grey walks up the stairs with a bouquet in his arms. He smiles, his gaze locked on me, as he comes down the stage and stops before me.
“Really?” I murmur, leaning in to kiss him.
He winks. “You think I was going to miss your first performance as lead? Absolutely not. Plus…” He hands the bouquet off and pulls something even better from his pocket.
In front of everyone, he goes down on one knee.
“Violet Reece, will you marry me?” He tilts his head. “This is the only time I’ll make it a question, love.”
Those tears that had been burning behind my eyes spill out. Of all the places, he chooses here. Cementing this memory even more impressively in my mind.
A night I’ll never forget.
“Yes, yes.” I grin and give him my hand.
He slips the ring on my finger—a perfect fit, of course—and rises. I throw my arms around his neck and press my lips to his.
We got our dreams and each other.
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