Hi- here's my new story about a ballerina trying to find true love- hope you like it!
Black Coffee and Phone Calls
It was a frosty January afternoon and I shivered as I walked into my apartment, up the cold stone stairs. Walking to down the hall, I paused at my door: Number 108.
I stuck my key into the lock, pulling it to the left and shaking it a bit, to open it. The door creaked, as always, and walked in, smelling cookies.
"Hey Rae!" I called to my roommate, "I'm back!"
"Zena!" Rae yelled, "I'm in kitchen- making cookies."
I rolled my eyes. Rae was a little obsessive with her cooking, but what should I expect with a chef-in-training as a roommate. "Where's Dana?"
"She went out to Starbucks for some coffee," Rae responded, "I told her to get you the usual."
Ah, a skinny vanilla latte, I couldn't wait. "I love you, Rae," I called, "You're the best!"
"I know." Rae responded, "Now get your skinny little butt in here and eat some of these cookies!"
I walked into the kitchen, not surprised to see Rae in a flour spattered black apron, pulling cookies out of the oven. She was short, barely five feet tall and was a bit on the chubby side. She also had gorgeous brown curls and blue eyes. I was jealous.
"What type?" I asked.
"Oatmeal Seaweed," she replied.
"Really?" I looked again, excited. I loved health foods.
"No, silly!" Rae turned so I could see her eye roll, "They're chocolate chip-macadamia nut."
"Oh," I wrinkled my nose, that definitely sounded like a lot of calories. "I'll pass, then."
Rae looked at me frankly. "Are you worried about your weight? Again? 'Cause let me tell you, you are the farthest thing from fat," she paused to take a deep breath. "I promised your mother I would go straight to her if you ever showed signs of an eating disorder again. And you know how scary she can be!"
When she paused for another breath, I sighed, "No, I'm not worried," I lied. "I just hate macadamia nuts."
"You do not!" Rae cried, "You ate something with them just the other day." She used the spatula to pick a cookie off of the pan, "Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!" She chanted, shoving the spatula in my face, so I could inhale the heavenly scent of melting chocolate chips and sweet cookie.
"Uh-uh," I pushed her away, "I will not. You're going to burn me with that!" Let her think that I was playing. But, for sure- I was not going to eat that cookie. No, no, no.
Just then, I heard a sound that made me sigh with relief, the door creaking open. "Hello-o!" Dana cried, "I come bearing coffee!"
I practically sprinted into the tiny living room, anything to get away from Rae and her cookies! "Thanks, Dane!" I called, grabbing the piping hot cup out of the cardboard tray.
"No, prob," Dana grinned, handing Rae her respective cup. She set down her purse and the cardboard holder, before pulling out her own drink. Dana always drank black coffee, nothing in it. I shuddered, I liked my caffeine with sugar, thank you very much. Or at least fake sugar.
Maybe that was why Dana stayed so skinny. Drinking black coffee. Who knew how many extra calories the milk added! No. I was not going to think about that. I was going to drink my latte and enjoy it. I would not start counting calories again. I would not!
We all migrated into the kitchen again and sat down at the tiny table. Dana was playing with her hair and I was instantly jealous. Why did she have to be so perfect? Long red hair, perfect skin, tall, long legs. I would always be tiny, cute Zena. Zena with the adorable eyes and pinch- able cheeks. Yep. That was me.
Then, the phone rang, a loud sound slashing into the kitchen. I leaned over to pick it up. "Hello?" I answered.
"Hello, I'm with the American Culinary Institute, may I please speak with a, Raelee Rogers?" The voice was bored and female.
"Sure," I put my finger of the mic and handed the phone to Rae.
"Yes, this is she," Rae said into the phone.
"Yeah, sorry about that, but I'm broke. I can't donate today," Rae was bored.
A pause then, "Look, I'm twenty two years old, I just don't have the damn money. Was I not clear enough? Goodbye!" Rae slammed the phone down on the table. "Rude much," she muttered and Dana clicked her tongue sympathetically.
"Hey, Zene, could you put this back for me?" Rae handed me the phone like it was something offensive.
I accepted the phone at set it back in the charger, just as it rang again. "Hello?" This time I was bored.
"Hey, Zena, it's Jaime," Dana's boyfriend spoke into the phone. "Can I talk to Dane for a second?"
"Yep," I handed the phone to Dana. I was jealous of her boyfriend. Jaime was always so polite and Dana really seemed to love him.
"Hey baby," Dana greeted Jaime and then walked out of the room, waving her hand at us.
"I'm guessing that was the charming Jaime," Rae said, interrupting my thoughts.
"Who else does Dana call baby?" I wondered aloud.
"True," Rae conceded, sounding a bit depressed. Rae's boyfriend of two years had broken up with her last month, and she still wasn't over him yet. I watched her pull her hair back and turn her head away.
"Rae? You ok?" I asked, "I didn't mean to remind you of Alex."
"Yeah," she muttered, still facing away. "You didn't mean it."
I instantly felt bad and examined my fingernails. Some of my bright red nail polish was chipped, again. With a sigh, stood to get the remover. I couldn't stand messy nail polish.
As I stood to leave, Rae said, "When do you have rehearsal?"
I sighed "We're on layoff this week," I told her. Dana and I danced at Waterton Ballet, the local professional dance company. Due to budget cuts, all dancers had to take unpaid layoff weeks. This was the first week of our two week break.
"Right!" Rae grinned, "So how many hours are you working at Todd's?"
I sighed, "Who knows? Todd said he'd call me." Todd, the owner of a local restaurant, Todd's was my other boss at my second job. Since waitresses and ballerinas made little to no money, I had to work two jobs, to make ends meet.
"Figures," Rae said, "Tell him he'd better hurry, since I want to go out to dinner for Dana's birthday!"
I nodded, "Right, I'll let you know ASAP," Dana was turning twenty four this week and Rae and I were taking her out to dinner, a small gift, but it was all we could manage.
"Know what?" Dana walked back into the kitchen, putting the phone into the holder again. Wow. Her conversation with Jaime had been quick. Normally when he called, she was gone for hours.
"Nothing," Rae and I said at the same time, before looking at each other and giggling.
Dana raised her eyebrows, but sighed. "Say," she said, looking at the clock, "Isn't it time for someone to go grocery shopping?"
"Yeah, yeah," Rae rolled her eyes, "I know it's time. I was just telling Zena that it was time for me to go!"
Dana nodded, "I'll wait for you, I'm going to meet Jaime for coffee."
I laughed, pointing to the empty cup on the table, "But you just had some!"
"So what?" Dana rolled her eyes, "You can never have too much coffee!"
Now, Rae had grabbed her purse and was standing next to Dana, "Bye Zene!" she called as the two walked out the door.
I shook my head for a second before going to boot up my laptop. Almost instantly, I was presented with a little bing, indicating a new email.
A few more clicks led me to the message.
From: Putting the "Baller" in Ballerino
Message: Hey Zene!
How are you enjoying Layoff week? I've been thinking that we should all get together and go bowling. Saturday night okay with you? I thought so. See you then!
I rolled my eyes and smirked at Petro's email, just like I always did. He was my colleague, one of those non-gay male ballet dancers- hence the email. And he was always joking with me about everything, just like my brother Damian.
I quickly typed back my reply.
To: Putting the "Baller" in Ballerino
Message: Hola, Petro.
Yep, bowling sound good to me. Whose coming?
Now all I had to do was wait.
Review: Pretty please?? I know you want to!