"Courtney MacIntosh!" shouted Charles, as he turned off the music, "What on earth was that supposed to be?"
Courtney didn't answer, but instead turned and glanced at her twin sister Ally. Courtney and Ally were completely identical, right down to the last little freckle. They both had deep green eyes and brown, almost black, hair that fell just below their shoulder blades in tight curls.
"Courtney!" Charles' voice cut into Courtney's thoughts and she looked at him and shrugged.
"Sorry. I slipped." Actually, she had no idea why she couldn't perform the simple dance move. It was really quite simple, and no one else was having any trouble with it. Her dance group of about twenty-five people was supposed to form a large circle. They were arranged in a boy-girl, boy-girl fashion, and all the guys would put their hands onto each others shoulders, while the girls would lean backwards over their arms and lift their feet off the ground, allowing the guys to carry them around the circle in such a matter. But every time Courtney leaned backwards, she panicked, thinking that the two guys she was between would drop her on her head. So she simply did not lean back, but kept her feet on the ground and danced around in a circle with the guys.
Apparently Charles, who was in charge of the dance team's practice today, was not impressed. He didn't turn the music back on. Some of the team sat down on the bleachers, assuming they could take a break now. Courtney watched as Ally and a group of her friends started flirting with two or three of the guys on the team.
Ally and Courtney were dressed almost identically as part of their dance outfits, except for Courtney wore a deep red, and Ally a lime green. The outfit consisted of a lightweight fabric skirt that fell to their knees and a halter-top made of the same material, cut above the belly button. Also there was a hair ribbon made of the same material which was tied in a loose bow around the girls' ponytails. All the girls on the team had the same outfit, each in their own colour.
Charles beckoned Courtney over to him and she walked over to the music stand, not quite sure what he was going to say to her.
"Courtney, listen to me. You are a very talented dancer, but you have to perform those steps properly. If you can't do them by the full dress rehearsal in two days, then you are off the team."
"Courtney's been part of our team for seven years, that's a whole lot longer than you," said a voice behind Courtney. She looked up in surprise and saw that Tarick was standing there. He was one of the two guys that Courtney was supposed to trust to lift her. She hadn't known he'd followed her.
"I don't care," replied Charles. "This season's tour is starting Friday, and we are going to open with a bang, like always. If Courtney is not ready then she will not be a part of that."
"It wasn't even her fault, and I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't humiliate her in front of the rest of the team."
"Oh, and whose fault is it then, may I ask?"
"Mine. My arm is bothering me and I couldn't support her properly," Tarick lied.
"Well then, since Courtney's future with our dance team rests on your arm, you'd better make sure it heals fast." Charles glanced at Courtney again, "We do have understudies for all of you," he said to her, "So don't think we can't find a fast replacement if we need to."
Courtney bit her lip to keep from crying; she felt Tarick's hand grab a hold of her elbow but didn't turn to look at him. "Come on Courtney," he said to her, "Let's go get some lunch, assuming practice is over for the day," he added glancing at Charles.
Charles nodded, "Yes, I have to help one of the other groups in an hour; I'm taking a break. Do what you want right now, but remember what I said about finding a replacement. I meant that." Then he turned and called to everyone that they were dismissed until 6:00 that evening.
Tarick let his hand slide down Courtney's arm and took her hand. He led her outside to the cafeteria before speaking. "Hey, you all right?"
She nodded and smiled at him. "Yeah, thanks for that. I needed it."
He squeezed her hand before letting go and pulling out a chair for her. "No prob. What do you want to eat? It's on me."
Courtney shrugged and glanced outside through the glass doors. Ally was out there, once again surrounded with a large group of friends. Courtney looked back at Tarick, "Just a sandwich or something I guess, you decide."