Hello everyone! This is the first thing I've ever published, so reviews are greatly appreciated. Enjoy!
1. a ballet movement in which the dancer jumps from fifth position to the toes of the feet in second position
2. to escape
"Are you really crying?" Nila said grimly over the phone.
"No," Bethany tried to stifle the tears in her voice. She peaked out of the broom closet through the cracked door to make sure the other waiters weren't looking for her.
"Getting emotional about it will just make it worse," Nila growled. Bethany lowered the phone so she could sniff without being chastised. She could still hear her roommate ranting, "You had the flu the day of the audition! Can't you just be proud that you didn't barf all over the dance floor?"
She didn't answer. Her eyes stung as they fought to keep her mascara from dripping down her cheeks.
"Hey, your parents didn't call and say anything to you, did they?"
"I have to get back to work," she said quickly.
But she shut the phone and shoved it to the bottom of her apron pocket. The door creaked just enough as she crept out to gain a glare from the hostess that was seating her table. Bethany accordingly stuck her tongue out at her and gathered her long, brown hair into a ponytail.
Like most guests to The Skyrise restaurant, the three men at her table were the least fascinating trio of suits that New York City had spat out since Armani was deemed "too California". She doubted the blouse she wore that day was low cut enough to garner a decent tip either, so she had another weekend of instant ramen to look forward to. Not the ideal ballerina diet.
"I'm telling you they've made insurance that much worse for all of us," the man on the right said. "And it's a little too convenient that they always appear when something's going wrong."
"Well that is their job." The man beside him rolled his eyes like he had heard the argument a hundred times.
"Hello. Welcome to Skyrise. What would y'all, um, you gentlemen like to drink?"
They were too engrossed to notice her vernacular slip, and they ordered their drinks without paying her a glance. "More and more of them keep popping out of the woodwork," the third man sighed. "What's the name of that one that appeared a year ago? The one that's always jumping off buildings like a damn fool?"
"Vulcan," Bethany muttered as she scribbled down the orders. She froze for a second, realizing she had said that out loud, and then glossed it over with pearly smile.
"That's right, Vulcan." He waved a hand at her. She nodded pleasantly and headed for the kitchen before anything else slipped out. The manager had already warned her twice about involving herself in guests' conversations. In Georgia starting up a conversation with a stranger was as natural as falling in love. But the steel and concrete of the big city were better conversationalists than some of the people Bethany had met since she moved there. And a few of them were stingy enough with love to convince her they actually believed they would run out of it if they didn't hoard it in their fancy, satin, suit pockets.
She let out a long, quiet sigh, willing her lingering disappointment to crawl away like it had every time before then. She stared out the tall windows. No one in the city saw the sun this late in the afternoon, but the rays still bounced from building to building. Bethany could almost imagine the rays dancing up and down the streets, while she was stuck thirties stories up, dancing between tablecloths. She was so caught up in the lovely daydream that she didn't even notice the shouting coming from the elevator lobby.
The teargas rolled in first with a sharp pop, pumping smoke into the crowded space. The guests screamed and hollered, and Bethany stumbled around in her Payless stilettos, catching a glimpse of the men in gas masks before someone knocked her to the floor. Her brain wouldn't comprehend what was happening. She couldn't scream, couldn't run, couldn't even stand back up. She just squeezed her eyes shut against the stinging gas and held her breath. The machine guns pelting the ceiling barely made a sound outside the roaring inside her head. The men were shouting something. She didn't know what. Her nails scratched wildly at the rough, navy carpet until her arms caught on and weakly dragged the rest of her body under the table she had fallen behind. The white flap of the tablecloth fell back into place behind her like a curtain shutting out the nightmare. The air underneath the table was almost clean, and her thoughts scrambled to recalibrate. She could pick out pieces of what they were saying.
"Get up! Everybody downstairs now!" They had thick Jersey accents right out of The Godfather. Their crude language stirred in with the erratic footsteps of the hostages. Bethany told herself to get up and go with them, that they would kill her if they found her trying to hide, but her stubborn limbs just curled up around her like shackles. The gas in the room was settling out an open window as the thumping of the terrified guests died away. Bethany's hands clamped over her mouth so that the only sound was the men's low, angry muttering. She dizzily thought that maybe they would go downstairs with their hostages, maybe she could just wait there for the police.
"Alright, trash the place."
Her heart stopped and fell right through the floor. She stifled a sob. The crash of breaking glass and overturning tables began on her left and stampeded towards her. There was more shouting and another parade of bullets. Someone else must have been found. She tried not to imagine a bloody body pumped full of lead, knowing she was next. There were several more strange thuds, like bodies hitting the floor and crashing into furniture. Then the room was silent and painfully stagnant. Just under the edge of the tablecloth, she glimpsed a pair of dark boots creeping closer. They paused right in front of her, letting her suffer in the moment.
Bethany would never be completely sure what came over her at that moment. Before she could even register what she was attempting, she shot out from under the table and flung her foot at the man's unsuspecting skull, ready to crack it open with the most powerful grand battement she had ever executed.
"Easy!" he gasped, catching her thin ankle with one hand. He held her leg up and grinned sheepishly, "Wow, nice kick."
"Its…you." If he hadn't been holding on to her, Bethany probably would have tipped over backwards at the sight of the person in front of her. Vulcan, the masked vigilante, carefully lowered her leg and helped her into a chair.