“Oh, I’m so nervous, I feel sick…” One of the other girls from the dancing school whispered, not daring to look yet.
“Hey look, Brooke!” Andy grinned.
“I don’t understand..How could this be? I…I dropped out of the running.”
There it was, clear as day, typed neatly onto a sheet of A4.
Juliet Capulet Brooke Asteria
“Lady Capulet.” Minnie growled, the disgust in her voice evidence as she began to ball up her fists in anger. Brooke had taken the lead from her one too many times.
Snarling, she lunged towards her worst enemy. “You! You can’t let me have anything, can you? Stupid bitch!”
Brooke held her back. “Get off me, Minnie!”
“STOP!” Andrina yelled, launching herself between them. “It’s a stupid play, Minnie.”
“I don’t even want the part!” Brooke sighed.
“You don’t want it?” Astonished, Minnie composed herself.
“You heard her. She’s focusing on school this year because she has a life outside this studio.” Brooke’s stomach became a ball of guilt. Technically it wasn’t a lie. She should probably do more school work, anyway.
“Go on, Lady! You can do it, girl!” Cheering her best bud on, Christy squealed in delight as Lady glided through the hoop. They’d been practising all week, and now Lady knew exactly what to do.
As if from nowhere though, another friendly face suddenly appeared at the front of the house. Another dog! Both Lady and the yorkie sniffed each other and barked, tails wagging as Christy looked on in surprise.
“Hey, little dude! What are you doing here all by yourself?” Christy grinned, racing to greet her new tail wagging chum.
The dog was super friendly and eager to give Christy a cuddle, and played with Lady like they’d been friends their whole lives.
“Don’t you have a collar? Are you a stray?” She whispered, wishing dogs could talk.
“Ohhh, aren’t you the sweetest boy? Don’t worry, you can stay here. Mom!” Calling up the front porch, Christy cradled the dog in her arms. He really seemed to enjoy the attention.
“Another dog, Christina? I don’t know…” Dad muttered, turning to face her mom.
Adelaide sighed. She hated saying no to the girls, but they already had a dog! “What if he has a home?”
“Can’t we just look after him and find out? He needs us, mom! Pleaseee! Look, he likes you!” Christy grinned as the dog rubbed against her mom’s legs, licking them and making her giggle.
The dog certainly knew how to put on a performance, pawing at her dad too.
“He is pretty cute… What do you think, Adelaide?” Cam asked his wife, sighing. He shared their daughters soft spot for animals and couldn’t dream of leaving a dog out on the street.
Addy sighed, reaching down to Christina’s eye level.
“Listen, missy mop.” Her daughter nodded eagerly in response. Christy could sense a ‘yes’ on the horizon. “Dogs are a lot of responsibility.”
“Yeah, but I take great care of Lady!”
Adelaide laughed, smiling. “You do. So I’m trusting you to take care of him, okay?”
Christy grinned, throwing her arms around her mom. “Thanks a million, mommy!”
“But you gotta remember, he might already have a family out there, ok?”
Christy wasn’t really listening to that part, just thinking of dog names.
“I just can’t take the part, Jennifer. You knew that before…”
“Yes, Brooke.” The dance teacher cut her off before she could finish. “But I didn’t know you were lying about your reasons.”
“I can explain…”
“Please, Brooke, Casper’s been moaping about the house all week! I knew it was weird when he actually volunteered to be in the show. I’m sorry but I know you. If you want to be a professional dancer, you’re going to have to deal with difficult colleagues!”
“Yes, ma’am.” Brooke shifted her feet side to side guiltily.
“Brooke, sweetheart, there are scouts coming to this show. I’d already arranged for a representative from the National School of Ballet for you.”
Brooke gasped at the mention of the college she’d always dreamed of going to. She’d had no idea that Jen had set this opportunity up for her…
“I don’t know, Mrs. Hodge. Andrina…”
“Andy would be upset, yes. But would she forgive you? Of course, Brooke. My daughter will always look out for her best friend. I’m sorry but the show must go on.”
Brooke sighed. She was right. This could be a huge opportunity for Brooke – she had to take the chance.
Surely it wouldn’t be that hard to stay away from Casper, right?