Chapter Forty-Eight

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The next morning, I beat my alarm clock and get dressed to go out running. I don't count how many blocks I run on the way to the park because I am too busy thinking about today and how important it is. The Snowflake Showcase is tonight, and I couldn't be more nervous. I try to push myself to distract myself, but the farther I go, the more miles I tack on, the more I realize how much this show would mean for me. I run and run, doing my hardest not to let the nerves running through my veins destroy me, but after two hours of non-stop running, I end up in a part of town I don't recognize. I wander around until I find a small park. Children swing on the swings and run under slides while their guardians watch over them. I plop down on an empty bench and try to catch my breath.

Now that I'm settled and actually feeling my lungs battle for air, I am free to let my thoughts run free, and there's nothing I can do but listen. Tonight is the most significant night of my life. Not only do I have a solo for the show, but there will be representatives of some of the most prominent dancing companies in all of New York state. All of which I have been dreaming of being a part of most of my dancing career. To get signed by one while I'm still in my first year would be huge. It'd mean I get my foot in professional dancing very early and be able to make a name for myself. Every dancer signed with one of these massive companies have major success now. I see them on billboards, on TV shows, Movies, headlining for the biggest dancing competitions in the world... they just have the career that's motivated me ever since I started.

Which means blowing my one shot to impress these dance companies would be a shot to the foot. Which also means I can't mess up. Not one step. There's no room for wrong turns. Or stumbling. Or anything that could damage my professional career before it even begins.

As I rub my temples to soothe my aching head, I get a text from Riley asking where I am. She and Finn and the others are out for breakfast. Even Blue. I respond that I'm still out running, and she replies with eye-rolling emojis. I just laugh and text Finn that I'll be there soon.

Last night, I followed through my promise and volunteered at the homeless shelter the rest of the day. I gave out blankets, older women taught me how to crochet hats and scarves, and I tied on an apron and helped serve dinner. Sandy, the woman running the organization, thanked me for coming in and helping. I told her I would anytime, and I meant it. I may not have lived the fanciest life growing up, but I had everything I needed, and my dad and I got along just fine. I'm more than grateful for what I had and still have, and to not at least attempt to give back and help those that could use it would be horrible.

Finn thanked me all the way to the dorms. He said none of his friends would come with him to the shelter, no matter how much he begged and urged it would make a difference to so many people. I promised I would help out more and go with him a few Sundays, and he lifted me in his arms and spun me around for a block and a half. By the time he finally put me down, I was dizzy and in front of the school. He walked me to my room, waited until I locked the door, then wished me luck for the next day before walking off to his own room.

I decide to take the train and buses back to school; I am way too exhausted to walk back. By the time I get back to the school to shower, get dressed, they've all come back from breakfast. I apologize to Riley for not making it, and she thankfully says it's fine; that she wasn't surprised I was running on the most important day of the school year. Blue stopped by the room and took me out to eat anyway, even though he already ate. I felt bad and expressed this to him, but he waved me off and took me out for pancakes. The entire time he just smiles at me and when I call him out on it, blushing, he shrugs and smiles some more, being the weirdo he is.

* * *

I spent the rest of the day practicing my solo part. Blue tried to pull me away from dancing multiple times, but when it was clear I wasn't going to stop until I could do the dance backwards, he let me be and promised to see me later.

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