Reasonable Doubt: Volume 3
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“Thank you for the foot massage…That was really—”
“Stop talking, Aubrey.” He rolled me on top of him. “Go to sleep.”
“I was just saying thank you. I can’t say thank you?”
“No.” He pressed his lips against mine and kissed me until I couldn’t breathe, saying, “Don’t make me f**k you to sleep,” in between breaths.
I attempted to roll over, but his grip was too strong.
Smiling, I positioned my head against his heartbeat and whispered, “Can you hear me? Are you sleeping?”
No answer. Just deep, sleeping breaths.
I hesitated a few seconds. “I love you…”
Foreseeable Risk (n.):
A danger which a reasonable person should anticipate as the result from his/her actions.
“Jessica!” I glanced at the slightly normal looking cup of coffee on my desk.
“Yes, Mr. Hamilton?”
“Could you ask Miss Everhart to come in here, please?” I needed to see her face.
She’d been avoiding me all week, and if all I had to say was “sorry”—whether I actually meant it or not, it was worth it. I missed seeing her seductive mouth in the mornings, remembering how it felt when she pressed it against mine.
“I would do that,” Jessica said, “but seeing as though she put in her resignation letter last week, I’m pretty sure that’s impossible.”
Without telling me?
Jessica raised her eyebrow. “She did. I gave you the letter she left, too. It was quite interesting.”
“I never got a letter.”
She walked over to my desk and sifted through the clutter.
“Here it is,” she said. “She left you two letters…Anything else?”
She tilted her head to the side and tapped her lip, looking as if she wanted to say something, but she smiled and left the room.
Locking the door, I tore the first letter open and read it.
Thank you very much for hiring me as your undergraduate intern. I’ve had quite the experience working for you and am honored by all I’ve learned. However, due to personal reasons, I am resigning as of today.
I apologize for such short notice, and I wish your firm continued success in your future endeavors.
I sighed and opened the other letter that was addressed directly to me.
Dear Mr. Hamilton,
To reject an attorney’s objection to a question of a witness of admission of evidence.
New York City was an entirely different universe. It was nothing like I expected, yet everything I wanted all at once.
The sidewalks were persistently packed with people rushing to get somewhere, the streets were seas of taxis, and the cacophony of sounds—the shouting from the street vendors, the rumbling of the subway below, and the endless chatter between the executives and casual-ites all blended into an almost pleasing melody.
Not that I had much time to listen to it, anyway.
The second I arrived in New York last week, I’d checked into a cheap hotel and rushed to register for the NYCB audition.
Every day for the past week, I jumped out of bed at four in the morning and headed to Lincoln Center to learn the required audition piece—the hardest choreography I’d encountered in my life.
It was faster, choppier, and the instructors refused to show it more than twice a day. There was no conversation outside of tempo counts, no questions were allowed either. On top of that, the company’s pianist only elected to play the accompanying music at full speed, never slowing down to make the learning process easier.
There were hundreds of girls vying for a place in the company, and from what I gathered from conversations here or there, most of them were already professionals.
I didn’t let that deter me, though.
When the grueling practices came to an end, I took that chance to find a new place in the city to dance on my own: A rooftop in view of Times Square, an abandoned historical store on the Upper East Side, or in front of bookstore windows in the West End.
Despite my immediate love for this city, it wasn’t enough to distract me from my heartbreak. Nor was it enough to distract me from the fact that today, official audition day, I was late.
Sweating, I jumped off the subway and ran down Sixty Sixth Street—paying no mind to my burning lungs.
Keep going…Keep going…
A man to my left stepped out of a cab and I immediately jumped in.
“Lincoln Center, please!” I shouted.
“It’s right up the street.” The driver looked at me through the rearview mirror, confused.
“Please? I’m already late.”
He shrugged and pulled off as I tried to steady my breathing.
Not wanting to waste any time, I pulled my black tutu out of my bag and pulled it over my tights. I took out my makeup and applied it the best I could, and as we approached the curb, I tossed a ten dollar bill at the driver and jumped out of the car.
Rushing into the building, I headed straight for the theater, relieved that one of the directors was still standing outside the doors.
“Yes?” She looked me up and down as I approached. “May I help you with something?”
“I’m here for the auditions.”
“For the nine o’clock auditions?” She looked at her watch. “It’s nine fifteen.”
“I’m sorry…I called an hour ago and said—”
“Your first cab broke down? That was you?”
She studied me for a few more seconds—pursing her lips. Then she opened the door. “You can change into your whites in the dressing room. Hurry up.”
The door shut behind me before I could ask what she meant by “[my] whites,” but as my eyes scanned the stage, I realized that every dancer was dressed in a white leotard and matching tutu.
My cheeks heated as I looked over my outfit. I didn’t have my whites in my bag. They were at home.
Nearing the stage, I set my bag in a chair and tried to ignore that dread that was building inside my chest. I just needed to focus on giving it my all during this routine. That was it.
I found an open spot onstage and stretched my arms—noticing the smirks and whispers that were being thrown in my direction.
Undaunted, I smiled at anyone who made eye contact and continued my routine.
“May I have your attention, please?” A man’s voice came over the speaker. “Can everyone stop stretching and make your way to the edge of the stage, please?”
I set my leg down and followed the crowd, finding a spot on the end.
The man addressing us was a tall grey haired man with wiry glasses, and he was the definition of the word “legend”: His name was Arnold G. Ashcroft, and I’d followed him and his choreography for years. He was once the most sought after specialist in the world, but when he dropped in the rankings, it was only to his Russian rival: Paul Petrova.
“We’re happy to see such a huge turnout for this session of auditions,” he said. “As you know, due to a series of unfortunate events, we are overhauling our entire staff. That said, we are keeping our current production schedule as is, which means we will be filling in the roles of principle dancers, soloists, and corps members within the next fourteen days.”