Ten years later. Fifi is 17, Elijah is 45.
Fifi adjusted the ballerina's delicate little arm.
"Good form, Trina." The 17-year-old complimented her young student, who looked back at her with a glowing smile. The class was already over, but Fifi was giving some special attention to one of her students who had fallen behind. She didn't mind; she never wanted to leave the studio anyways--ballet had shaped her in so many ways, she wanted to give back what she'd gotten from the practice.
Watching Trina lock her limbs into challenging postures and struggle to make them look easy, Fifi was reminded of herself at Trina's age. Ballet had been her rock in a life that could have easily led her astray.
Once the money she'd made from Elijah had run out, Fifi's mother had taken to full-on prostitution and developed a cocaine habit. She hadn't remarried--Vivian always claimed it was because monogamy wasn't for her, and though that was a trendy thing to say, Fifi suspected that the real reason was that no one wanted to marry her Mom. Vivian was now 36 and layered with plastic throughout her body. That, on top of her questionable mental and financial state, made her rather ineligible for most of the guys she was interested in.
There were always strange men in the house, rarely ever the same ones twice, and they were often rude and sometimes violent. They even made advances towards Fifi, trying to talk to her, touch her, get close to her, ask her creepy questions. One man was so aggressive that Fifi had snapped and threatened to kill him if he didn't leave her alone. Vivian had resented Fifi ever since that fateful day--she was jealous that Elijah had entrusted funds for her daughter and spiteful over how mean Elijah had been to her at the end. So, when she was drunk and high, which was often, Vivian was abusive to Fifi. She smacked her across the ear, usually, where the bruise was easy to hide. Fifi was always surprised her Mom even had the foresight for that.
She was lucky to have a trust fund which covered not just education but extracurricular activities as well, so when she'd turned 12, Fifi discovered a private, live-in ballet school just outside of town. Needing desperately to get out of her Mom's house before something really bad happened, she'd signed up right away.
The school's schedule was intense: wake up at 5am, practice from 6am - 8am, then straight to school from 8am - 3pm, then cross training 4pm - 6pm, and more practice 7pm - 9pm. There was no homework so that students could focus on ballet. The academy was full of young prodigies. Fifi had discovered her natural talent for dance during a free class at her school the year before. She was told that her raw talent had helped her admission, as the school didn't usually take anyone without experience. That, and the fact that they'd had record-low enrollment levels that year.
She'd been the only student there from the rough side of town, and her peers figured that out pretty quickly. It hadn't taken long for someone to found out what her mom did for a living, and the rumors came equally quickly. Fifi had heard just about every rumor about herself that was possible. That she'd grown up in a whore house, that her Dad was in prison for murder, that Fifi and her Mom were a mother-daughter drug dealing duo. One guy even said that his brother was in college and claimed that he and a bunch of college dudes gangbanged Fifi's mother--you name it. Kids loved to gossip, and Fifi was used to being the source of their amusement. Such hurtful comments didn't affect Fifi anymore. She'd crafted her own world around her by reading philosophy, and with her classical music, her ballet dancing, and her fantasies.
Fifi desperately wanted a better life for her mom, despite her failings as a parent. So Fifi taught ballet to send her Mom some money. It would mean fewer men that her Mom would have to sleep with that month, and to Fifi, that made it completely worth her efforts.