Chapter Twenty-One

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The next day after class, Riley drags me to a nail salon a few blocks away from school. Apparently, her and Finn taking me out to eat for dinner and spoiling me with gifts wasn't enough. Riley bought me hot pink workout clothes and a box of pastel colored ribbons, which was actually really amazing since I thought she would buy me something ridiculous and I would never use. Finn, on the other hand, bought me a new pair of pointe shoes and a fluffy white tutu he spied in a store window. I thanked them both and hugged them tight until they complained they couldn't breathe. I couldn't appreciate them anymore than I do now. Sadly enough, Finn caught a stomach bug and couldn't make it to mani/pedi's. But, really, I think he's faking because he doesn't want to get his nails done. Such a guy.

After getting my eyebrows plucked, a procedure that hurt like hell, I take a seat in one of the plush couches in the front of the store and wait for Riley to get her full facial experience. Reading magazines about gossip and doubtful rumors for gets boring after five minutes, but it's not like I have an array of activities, unless I want to get a wax or acupuncture. If those are my only options, then reading about Justin Bieber getting married to his childhood friend and whether or not his famous ex Selena Gomez is hurt or not sounds suddenly very interesting. Why do people even care about celebrity's lives, anyway? Who cares if a young star pierces her baby's ears or not? I thought parents do that when their baby is super young, so why are people feuding if it's immoral or not? I will never understand people's obsession with prying into other people's lives.

Putting the magazine to the side altogether, tired of seeing photoshopped models, I pull out my phone and draft a get better soon text to Finn and follow up by saying how much I wish he was here to keep me company. He replies with a frown emoji and says he'll make it up to me, but he doesn't have to. He's already done so much for me, more than he can ever realize.

When my phone vibrates in my hand, I think he's calling me, but then the preset picture for my dad's number pops up on the screen. In the picture I'm thirteen years old, but only my legs in pink tights and are visible as dad kneels down to tie my pointe shoes. I was on my way to my usual dance class when he noticed the silk ribbon had come loose. I remember complaining about him taking forever to tie it correctly, so it wasn't too tight or too loose, and him telling me to calm down, that he wouldn't forgive himself if I fell over and hurt myself if he didn't fix the ribbon. I was just too excited to get to dance class, in the moment I could go barefoot and dance in the street, I didn't care as long as I got to dance my heart out. And when I told him that, he smiled and kissed my head, murmuring, "That's my passionate, butterfly. Now let's go before you actually do dance in the road and risk getting hit by a car."

Swallowing the tears threatening to form, I hit decline and quickly tell Finn I'll talk to him later before turning off my phone and shoving it in the bottom of my purse. This isn't the first time he's tried calling. He and aunt Lyra have been calling and texting me all morning, wishing me happy birthday. I almost answered them a few times but stopped myself at the last minute. After all this time, I haven't forgiven them for what they did. The affair is one thing but lying to me and a very good man for a very long time is another thing.

Lyra acted as the mother I wish I had growing up. She bought me clothes and taught me about womanly topics and was always there to hug me if I needed one. And my dad—he and I have been through everything: tight money problems, me being downright enraged about mom, him working more than he sleeps. One time, he even fell asleep at the wheel after working every day of the week. We were on our way back home after he picked me up from dance class, and he crashed into a light pole. I broke my foot and he had a concussion. It was horrible, and still blames himself to this day. He promised to stop working so much and sat by my side when I couldn't even stand upright. Not being able to dance for two whole months was the worst feeling in the entire world, but we got through it together.

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