I awoke the next morning with groggy eyes. It felt like I only had a short few hours of sleep. I looked over at the nightstand. 7:00 am. It didn’t help that I couldn’t fall asleep until just a few hours ago. Great. But somehow I managed to pull myself out of bed and go start the water for my shower. As I waited for it to heat up, I walked out into the living area to check on my mother.
“AHHHH, Gwoud mohing mahm” You say as your yawn.
She looked over at me with all smiles. “Are you ready for today?” she asked.
I had just gotten my nerves under control, now thanks to her it was back up front in my mind and I could feel my stomach start to turn again.
I didn’t answer her. I didn’t want to admit to myself that I was so nervous. And I also didn’t want to lie by saying I wasn’t. I just wanted to go, and do me.
Instead I just let a small “humf” out and went into my warm shower and tried not to think…about anything.
After 20 minutes later and coconut butter scented skin, I walked out into my room wearing my complimentary robe and noticed I had 3 missed calls already. At 7:40Am? Of course, it was Scooter. I hesitated on calling him back. Hearing his voice might bring back on the nerves. But I do anyways.
It only took one ring. Faster than yesterday.
“Hey! Good morning”
It was too early for somebody to be that perky.
I chuckled for a second then finally spoke into phone, “Good morning Scooter, I think it’s illegal to be calling somebody this early. Chances are, no ones up at this hour!”
“Well you’re up aren’t you?”
I hesitated. Oh no he was about to make a point and I wouldn’t be able to win this war. “Yes but,” he cut me off,
“Yes but you were up! End of story. Besides I knew you’d be too excited to sleep, I kinda know how teenagers work. I work with one for a living.”
He’s got a point there. If I was back at home I would have slept in till 11:00Am. Maybe I was mistaking my nerves today for excitement.
“Anyways,” he continued, “Doors open her at 10:00Am, but I think it’d be awesome if you could come in a little earlier. Maybe meet Justin, get comfortable. This is your first time rising up to anything like this, and it can be pretty scary.”
It was as if he were the little butterflies flying around my stomach, tickling the edges.
“So what do you say? Come through around 9:00 am?”
The answer flew out of my mouth before I realized the answer I gave him. I had to wait for his reaction to remember if I said yes or no!
“Great!” He shouted, still to perky. “Call me when you’re out front & I’ll come get you!”
I heard the phone click on the other end, and I did the same. I put the phone down, and then just sat on the edge of my bed for a second. I felt a little dizzy. It’s all starting to hit me. In about an hour I will begin to officially reach out for my dream. Whether it reaches back and pulls me aboard is the part that scares me.
I spent the next 45 minutes trying to keep myself busy.
-even the news, anything to keep my mind off things
Mindy was nice enough to wake up early to Skype with me. The time difference meant it was an hour earlier where she was. She wished me luck and told me to Dream big, & Never say Never. We laughed at the irony in those sayings, seeing as my fate soon lies in the hands of that same 16 year old.
I watched as the minute hand switched over to 8:45. I walked out in the living room and glanced over at my mom. “It’s time”. She smiled and reassured me that I would do great, and that all of the other dancers had some tough competition to beat. I laughed remembering Justin told me that everyone else was tough to beat. Moms…
She gave me a kiss on the forehead, explaining that she didn’t want to smear her lipstick. Oh boy, only one day in the city and she’s already acting like these people. And since when does she wear lipstick? She walked me out to the curb and helped flag down a cab. I told her I wanted to do this by myself today; I argued that in a short few months I will be 18. I need to practice being an adult. And if my dreams do come true after today, I want to look back & be proud that I did it all on my own. Without help from my “mommy”.
The studio was only a couple blocks away, but that was enough to get me lost if I had decided to walk. The cab pulled to the curb and I paid the short funny looking man. I stepped out of the cab and stood tall and proud. I gave myself a pep talk.
“Christina. This is it. Everything you ever dreamed, everything you worked hard for these past 14 years. Your dreams are only 15 steps in front of you. All you gotta do is believe in yourself. Ready or not.”
I stood outside the front of the building for what seemed like forever as I waited for Scotter to meet me. Finally I could faintly see Scooter’s face through the glass door coming towards me. He was smiling. So I smiled back.
“You’re late.” His voice sounded sharp, and his smile quickly turned down.
My eyes widened. I could feel the color leave my face, then quickly flush with red.
I looked down at my phone. It was only 9:04am.
“Hah, I’m just kidding!” His smile came back and he let out a laugh. I just stood there. He waved his hand and led me into the building. There were a few people already starting to line up outside to get a good spot.
“So how do you feel about today? You excited? Nervous?” He asked as held open the door for me. I gave him a smile. And then begin to tell him a lie, “I’m actually not nervous, but definitely excited.” He couldn’t tell.
“Ok so before we go in and meet everyone first, I just kind of want to you give the basics of how today will go.”
My heart started to race. I don’t like details. Not when I’m nervous.
“You’re going to be getting a number. The first round you’ll be learning a routine close to what we do. You’ll then be performing it. We’re just looking to make sure we get people with the dance skills & can match the styles.”
I laughed and thought to myself, “Piece of cake” but it was just another lie.
“From there we will be making a decision.”
We went through a heavy door and started to walk down a wide hallway. Various equipment sat along the walls making the hall narrower at parts. I could faintly hear voices in the distance. I looked down and saw a light from underneath the door we stopped at. The name plate read ‘Employees Only’. Scooter opened the door and I followed him in.
Who were all these people? They seemed to be having some sort of breakfast. Out of the many voices talking I could faintly pick out one over the rest. Justin’s. I knew that voice anywhere. But where was he? I looked around and could pick him out. I turned around to look back at Scooter, except it wasn’t Scooter.
“Hey! You must be Christina, I’m Justin” He smile went on for miles.
Whoa. When did Justin get….so handsome? Was his voice even deeper since his last album? In my head I had a picture of a short 15 year old with longer hair and a squeakier voice. No wonder I couldn’t pick him out. A lot can change in almost 2 years. His face was thinner, his hair was shorter, and his voice had surely changed. I quickly became even more nervous. I put my hand out to shake his, instead he put his arms out and walked torwards me for a hug.
“Any friend of Scooters is a friend of mine, and friends are worth more than a handshake.” He made me blush. The hug lasted a few more seconds then it should have. Or maybe it was all in my head. He smelled of vanilla and something else I couldn’t quick think of. But definitely sweet. And warm, his whole body warm to the touch.
I looked around and Scooter was on the phone. I looked back to Justin who took my hand and led me over to a group of people sitting on sofas and casually talking.
“Hey guys. This is Christina, the one Scooter told us about.” Why was Scooter telling everyone about me? I got pleasant smiles and multiple hellos in return.
We circulated the room and continued to meet all the great people who made up Justin’s team. I was greatful enough to meet his mother, Pattie. She was absolutely gorgeous. When she smiled you could see in her eyes a genuine soul. She wished me luck, then excused herself as her phone began to ring.
I met Ryan Good next. How do I even begin to explain Ryan? His hair was tousled as if he just rolled out of bed. When I made a comment on it he pointed out that he works hard to get that look and took 5minutes to explain in detail exactly how to do it. There were a lot of yelling and major hand gestures involved which got everyone laughing.
Then comes Kenny. He reminded me of a teddy bear. He was warm, and kind. He spoke with a softer voice and seemed down to earth.
Where was Justin’s dad? I thought. But I didn’t ask though.
Time flew by and Scooter interrupted. “It’s almost 10 Im gonna go ahead and take you back out before we let everyone come in and we get started.”
I smiled and Justin gave me a hug. He whispered in my ear, “ Good luck” and gave me a tight squeeze. Scooter and I walked back out in the lobby area and he opened the doors. As people began to enter he directed them to table for registration and to fill out applications. I grabbed mine and began reading the questions
-Your basic information
-Why you love dance?
-Why are you interested in today’s position?
-What makes you deserving of it?
-How committed would you be willing to be?
That last question made me start to question my self. How committed could I be? I was only 17 years old. I was still in high school and live in another state. I looked around and felt my stomach drop. I was also the youngest one here. Everyone around me had lifestyles that would allow then to put everything they had into this. My confidence dropped and I began to doubt in myself. Just was right, there was a lot of good competition to beat. I told myself I would still go through with it, for the experience. But I wasn’t getting my hopes up.
Scooter returned. He instructed for everyone to line up, in front of the doors of either three studio rooms.As they entered they would exchange their apps for a number and take a seat on the floor for warms. 007. That was the number I was given. I smiled. 7 was my favorite number. I took a seat and began independently stretching. Two people came in and began giving out instructions.
“Alright we’re going to run through the dance one time and begin breaking down the steps, if you can’t keep up, then you can leave”
Harsh. But I wasn’t worried. My ballet teacher stops showing the routine once we hit Advanced levels. She gives it to us verbally. So I felt confident.
We were only given 30 minutes to learn and perfect it. It was then time to perform it. We entered a separate room as numbers were called. I was in the first group. My heart was pounding, I could feel it through my whole body. As I walked through the doors I looked to my right a saw the faces who sat me hind the table. Justin, Scooter, Ryan, and two other females I didn’t get the chance to meet earlier. We lined up and one by one gave names and city or Metro area you were from. “Christina, Chicago IL.” Justin smiled at me. We looked at each other and all my worries washed away. I was no longer nervous. The music began to blast and we all started in perfect unison.