One Step at a Time


by Siobhan Knight
09 Jun 2012 14:34 (updated 09 Jun 2012 20:24) | 0 comment(s)

((NOTE: The actual IC date of this blog entry is 02 June 2012.))

I'm off again.

As I end the deboulé by putting my foot down and nearly losing my balance, I swear. The year end recital is in a week, and I can't even keep time on a technique that I've taught ten year olds to do.

I'm distracted. I'm off my game. I'm out of my head and I hate it.

"You need to change the leg in between the beats. The tempo of the song changes after the bridge." The warm tones and familiar, affectionate voice make me simultaneously smile and flush with embarrassment.

"Hey Daddy." I pick up the remote and shut off the music filling up my small in home dance studio. Just a ten by twelve area that's been dry-walled and separated off from the entertainment room, a gift from parents when I joined the company at ten. The floor is hardwood, there's a barre, a sound system and the requisite mirrors. Over the years there was debate about something larger, but it seemed too extravagant when I have mom's studio and school studios for easy access.

"Flutterbee," Daddy grins at me, and the word still sounds sillier with the hints of the land down under in his accent than it did when I couldn't say 'butterfly' as a child. It's my nickname, it makes me smile and I know that's all he wanted anyway. "If I can see the problem in your dancing, then I know it's a glaring problem. And, when did my little girl start swearing like a sailor?"

There's a jolt when I look into his blue eyes. There always is. He's a sorcerer and that fierce recognition that flares between our two types of magic is a bit disconcerting. Mom says that it's an instinctive fight or flight reaction, but it's never felt like that to me. Maybe because I've been feeling it since I was a baby. For me it's just shocking, like walking across a plush carpet and touching something metal. There's some sort of gut reaction there, but I guess my mind overrode my body a long time ago and just recognizes him as 'Daddy.'

It's not the same with other sorcerers. It's more primal and scary. The brain is a strange creature.

"You weren't supposed to hear that," I accuse him. I walk back to the barre and lift my leg onto it, doing stretches.

"You want to talk about it?" He's not talking about my dance issues or my foul language.

I shrug. "I'm just a little off. I'll get over it."

Because it's embarrassing enough that I'm stuck on a boy and can't focus because of it, without talking to my father about it. I know how stupid it is. I'm not fifteen anymore and I should have gotten him out of my system a long time ago, but I didn't. I'm twenty and I've had plenty of boyfriends and the thought of Harper Donovan still makes my head spin and my belly flop.

I actually invited him to the recital, right there in front of Jenna. Yeah, I tried to pretend like it was just a casual mention or whatever, but they're a pair of empaths and I had to feel like some desperate seventh-grader to them both.

The kicker? He got a phone call and never answered. He probably forgot that I said anything before he even got past greeting his friend on the telephone, and I haven't been able to stop kicking myself.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

There was a perfectly good, cute guy when Jenna and I snuck into Purgatory. But I'm pretty sure he likes Jenna and Jenna likes him, and I'm jonesing on her brother again because he just had to come home for the summer.

"When do you get over someone? Like really just over them?" I blurt out.

"Beg pardon?"

I already hate that I said anything. I'm blushing, I can see it as I look in the mirror behind the barre. I can see Daddy too so I look at my foot instead. "You had girlfriends before Mom, right? Did you get over them or is there still one that you're jonesing for?"

"Jonesing for?" I don't have to look up to know that he's trying not to smile. I can hear it in his voice. "No, I don't have any old girlfriends that I'm still jonesing for." A quiet beat passes. I press my forehead to my knee, lift my leg from the barre and bring it straight up beside my head in a standing split. "Is this about Harper?"

I teeter, eyes wide and grasp the barre to avoid completely losing my balance. "Why would you ask that?"

"Because you're my daughter and I've watched you for years. Just because your mother and I never said anything doesn't mean that we don't know." My father waits until my gaze connects to his in the mirror and continues, "You've never wanted to talk about it, and we've never pushed it, Flutterbee. You've pursued your dancing, you've dated other boys. Your mother and I would have said something if we thought we should worry."

Frowning at him, I bring my leg back down to the barre. I stretch and arm over my head and bend toward the barre. "You think you should worry now?"

"I think you want to talk or you wouldn't have said anything."

I'm quiet. He's patient. It's funny. I've seen my father paged out on emergencies, and I've been at the hospital visiting him when he's gone into crisis mode. He's quick and commanding, completely in control of the situation. You don't imagine that he'd be the sort of patient person that he is. Then again, when you hold someone's life in the balance, maybe patient is the only way to be.

"I feel stupid." I stop stretching and bring my leg to the floor. "I invited him to the recital and felt like a complete loser. Like some groupie girl."

"I don't think the MIT blokes get groupies." It's said with a soft, understanding smile. "Is he coming?"

I shrug. "He didn't say." I heave a sigh and fold my arms across my chest. "I need to get over him, don't I? Just like … let it go."

"You need to do what you need to do." Daddy places his hands on my shoulder and holds my gaze. "No one can dictate how you feel or what you feel. I'm not the big soul mate romantic like your mother, but I do believe that eventually, it's possible for us to find that right person. But you are young, and you are beautiful, and you are talented, and putting all your hopes on one boy for as long as you have … you need to keep your options open."

"Get over him, you mean."

"Keep doing what you've been doing, Shivvie. Dancing. Studying. Dating. Whatever is meant to happen, will happen. It may be with Harper, it may not. But at the end of the day, just make sure you're doing what's best for Siobhan." Daddy leans down and presses a kiss to my forehead and another to the top of my head. "You're not stupid. You're human, and you're a perfectly normal young woman. Plenty of men out there will … unfortunately … appreciate that."

I can't help but laugh at the exasperated resignation in his voice. "You'd be happier if I just didn't date."

"Could you?" Daddy grins brightly at me. "There are still places in the world that do arranged marriages."

I know there are. Dynasties. Some smaller covens; some areas with Coven connections. I've heard about it, mostly in the joking sense. My father knows all about the Dynasty marriages. If he hadn't fallen for my Mom and fled to the other side of the world to get away from the Knightley Dynasty, he'd have ended up with The Perfect Dynasty Wife TM.

"No," I wrinkle my nose and give him a hug. Nothing is resolved, but somehow I feel better knowing that I'm not crazy and a total loser. "You'd pair me off with some geeky wanna be a doctor type."

"What's wrong with doctors?" Daddy pretends to be offended. "Speaking of wanna be doctor types -"

I jump back a half foot as though shocked. I know where he's going now. "No!"

Daddy has this habit of trying to fix me up with the sons of his colleagues. Most of whom are pre-med or medical students, no matter how much I tell him I'm not doctor's wife material. He's blind to my faults.

"My colleague, Dr. Sweson's son Corey just finished his second year at Harvard Medical. He's into the arts." Daddy gives me an innocent grin, "Just think about it."

He leaves me with that.

Maybe I will think about it. It's not like I have any other prospects banging down my door right now.

After the recital.

One step at a time.


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