Saturday came by almost too quickly, and Grace wasn't sure if she was prepared to face anyone at dance class, or even at the school. Word spread around quickly, and videos of her drunken dancing were being shared on all types of social media. Grace had never woken up feeling so ashamed in her entire life, but she was most worried about what Aaron was going to say. He had been kind enough to her that night, but she knew that he wouldn't stay nice for so long. As she got dressed, she ignored any calls, text messages, or notifications. She didn't want her mother to share any news with her, good or bad. Right now, she had to deal with a few other things.
As she made her way out the door and towards the elevator to get to dance practice, she bumped into a guy named Henry. Henry was the dance partner that Aaron had assigned her to work with for their choreography for the competition coming up in just a few weeks. He was tan unlike most of the guys at the dance studio, but he had light brown hair, and deep, green eyes. His shoulders were broad and he was an average height, well average in the dance world at least. He was fit, with toned muscles, and a distinct jawline. She tossed him a weak smile and he rolled his eyes at her.
"Well look who it is...what were you thinking the other night?" He looked at her with harsh eyes and she looked at her feet nervously.
"I wasn't thinking...I-I'm sorry. Look I know we're not really friends but-"
"But what? You expect me to just have your back?"
She didn't say anything.
He sighed, "Look I'm sorry...you don't seem like a bad person it's just that, you kind of threw us both under the bus."
"Yeah well I'm your dance partner...a lot of the students around here are a little iffy about talking to someone who's around the girl that ruined CDA's reputation."
"But CDA has done good for so many years...Is one screw up really going to ruin the entire school?" It just seemed absurd to Grace, that just because one student had a wild night, the whole school would be punished.
"You just don't understand because you just got here...But let me explain. CDA has been in competition with a lot of other dance schools in Oklahoma for a very long time. We don't just have a bunch of money to throw around. We get money sent to the school because of our reputation, because everyone knows that we not only have the best dancers technique wise, but that we have the best students. Besides, it's a Christian school. A lot of active church goers give donations to the school, and when other schools hear about stuff like this, they turn it into a big thing so that we don't get that kind of money and support. Because we've been doing good for so long, all of the other schools are trying to tear us done. It's just politics."
When Henry explained this to her, she couldn't help but feel even worse. She was thankful when the elevator door opened and she walked out of it, holding onto her dance bag in the process.
"I don't know if I want to go in there," Grace said nervously.
He tossed her a sympathetic smile, "You have to. To not face them will be even worse. You can do it Grace, just take it one breath at a time."
He walked inside quickly, before she could even ask him to tag along with her. She bit her bottom lip as she looked at everyone who was coming inside. When they saw her she could see that they were whispering things about her and all she wanted to do was run and hide. It was times like this that she wished that Lindsay had joined the academy with her. She really needed a friend at the moment.
"Come on Grace, you gotta get inside."
She turned her head to see Macy looking at her and she let out a relieved breath and smiled, "Macy, you have no idea how happy I am to see you."
"I bet you are, now come on," she said, and the two walked into class together.
Dance class was brutal. Although no one was saying anything, she kept getting not-so-nice stares from people in the room. Macy stood by her side and Grace was more than thankful to have a friend like her at the moment.
"Alright class...we all know about what happened yesterday, but right now I don't have time to deal with that. We need to start working on the dance," Aaron said.
For once, Grace was thankful that Aaron had them get started right away on the dance. They went through the dance multiple times, and received very few water breaks which prevented anyone from saying anything to Grace.
As Aaron watched everyone practicing their dance, he gave them some critique and it looked like he was studying everyone like a hawk, but in reality, he was still freaking out. He was trying to figure out how he would get all of this bad media to go away. He glanced over at Grace once and they made eye contact, but he quickly looked away. What am I gonna do with that girl?
Thirty minutes later, Aaron gathered everyone together in a small circle and they took a seat, "Alright listen up everyone...We only have a few weeks until our first competition for the year. I need you guys to stay focused, determined, and hard working. CDA's dance team has always been known for having flawless technique. There is no room for mistakes. If you cost the group this dance, then I'll have to rethink my decision of having you on the team. Does everyone understand?"
"Alright thank you guys, and good work today. Tomorrow's class will be thirty minutes earlier so that we can do some cardio. Dismissed!"
As everyone started making their way towards the door, Aaron called Grace back. The few people that were still inside the building looked at her with a smug face and then started whispering. Everyone was sure that she was going to get yelled at, and the newest rumor that was just about to spread around the classroom was that she was getting kicked off of the team.
Macy gave her a sympathetic smile and patted her on the back, "I'll save a spot for you."
"Thanks Macy...and sorry about-"
"Don't worry about it. You should probably get over there before he gets mad," Macy explained, and then she took off quickly.
Grace swallowed a lump in her throat as she approached Aaron. She didn't know what he was going to say, but she expected him to yell at her so she mentally prepared herself for it.
He looked away from her as he shuffled through some papers. When he finally found the one he wanted he passed it to Grace without saying anything. She skimmed through the words and her eyes widened, "You want me to participate in the interview portion of the competition? I thought this was only given to a few girls."
"...I don't understand...with everything that's happened...why are you giving this to me?"
"The only way to pull your reputation up is to do something honorable. Try not to screw it up. Now go, before you're late. And this time, I'm not writing you a pass," Aaron said with a strict tone.
She scurried off and it was only then that he allowed himself to smile. This girl is something else.
Grace's classes managed to go by pretty quickly, until her last period Math class. A girl with jet black hair that didn't go with her pale skin at all, came up to her, "You're Grace Johnson right?"
She sighed, "Yes...Something you need?"
"Yeah, can I get a picture with you?"
Grace's eyes widened, "A picture with me? For what?"
"To put on my instagram! There's already a video of you on the vine since you had that wild night," the girl chuckled, "You know how many likes I would get if I had a picture with you right now?"
"Hey just leave her alone alright?"
Grace turned her head to see Henry standing there.
The girl groaned, "Whatever."
She walked away and Grace grabbed her bag, "Thanks Henry."
"No problem. Tough day huh?"
"Wanna talk about it?"
"I thought talking to me would ruin your reputation," she said.
"Well...sometimes it's worth the risk. We could go get lunch or something."
"Um sure...yeah I guess so."
"Alright, well let's go. I know a good sushi place across the street. That okay with you?"
Grace allowed Henry to lead the way, but she was still confused as to why he was even talking to her. He had made it clear in the morning that talking to her might cause him to lose some of his friends, but he didn't seem to care about that anymore.
Once they arrived at the sushi place, they ordered a few plates and quickly dug in. Grace was amazed at how good the sushi was. Of course she had tried sushi before, but this was just something else, "This is so good!"
Henry chuckled, "Yeah, it's my favorite sushi place to come to because it's always fresh."
Grace grabbed the chop sticks once again and stuffed the sushi into her mouth but unfortunately the ginger that was placed on top of the sushi fell out her mouth. She looked up, a little embarrassed, and she was surprised to see Henry chuckling at this. He handed her a napkin and she took it gratefully. Once she finished the sushi she mumbled a thank you.
"You're not exactly the most graceful eater are you?" Henry asked as he easily stuffed the sushi into his mouth without any problems.
"Heh...guess not. Which is totally ironic considering my name and everything."
Henry chuckled, "You're funny."
"Thanks...Not that this isn't nice but why did you ask me to come here?"
He sighed and put his chop sticks down, "I felt pretty bad for you today in class...I know no one really said anything, but you looked like you wanted to run out of the room."
"Yeah well...I didn't expect things to be easy after I messed up so badly." She stared down at her plate now.
"Everyone makes mistakes."
"Yeah...Mine just happened to affect the entire Academy."
"Heh...well, you live and you learn right? Don't get crazy at parties anymore."
"I usually don't..."
"So why did you this time? You don't even seem like you drink."
"I don't...but I was having a tough night and I just thought it would help me forget."
"Ah...say no more. Just realize that drinking doesn't solve the problem."
"It did for a while."
"But notice how it came back to bite you in the...excuse my french, but it bit you in the ass. I should know, my mother was an alcoholic and she realized later on in her life that alcohol is never the answer."
"I'm so sorry-"
"It's not your fault. My mother had some problems of her own, and my dad wasn't around all the time...I'm not even sure why I'm sharing this with you I just...I wanted to help."
Grace smiled, "Well thanks...But I'm not gonna be an alcoholic or anything. Really it was just a tough day."
Before they could say anything else her phone rang and she was happy to see that it was Lindsay. She needed someone to talk to right now.
A/N: It's been a while since I've updated so I'm trying to get back into the routine of things. Original stories are so much harder for me to write because I'm used to writing fanfiction, but I hope you guys enjoy.