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Death of a Ballerina -Part 9-

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

Megan was pulling fresh cookies out of the oven by the time Rose came back to the kitchen. She set the hot trays down on the stove top to cool and pulled the red polka-dotted oven mitts off of her hands. Bending gracefully over the open dishwasher door, she turned the volume down on the radio. Rose smiled at her daughter and picked up a warm cookie off of the plate from the previous batches.

“So what’s the special occasion, sweetie?” The cookie melted deliciously in her mouth giving her a ripple of pleasure.

“Nothing too special,” Megan replied as she moved to turn off the oven. “The girls at my lunch table are having a potluck on Monday. Everyone’s bringing a contribution and Kelly’s mom is picking up barbeque from the Hut.”

The Hut was a tiny cylinder brick building that at first glance, appeared to be a hole in the wall. Any newcomer to town would assume that the building had been abandoned, unless they happened to drive by during lunch or dinner. However, Rose had long ago determined that the quality of barbeque seemed to be directly proportional to the ugliness of the building. The Hut served mouthwatering hash rice, vinegar barbeque, and hush puppies.

Rose felt slightly envious of her daughter for a moment as she imagined the girls laughing and eating together. It had been many years since she’d shared a potluck meal with friends. She remembered with sudden clarity the warm sunset and the clusters of couples talking beneath pecan trees. She’d been pregnant with Megan, although she couldn’t remember which trimester. Her husband had looked so handsome as the sun set behind his dark hair. A wave of self-pity threatened to overtake her, but she shook it off and turned back to the comments her daughter had made earlier.

“So what were you saying about Alleson?” Rose eyed the plate of cookies longingly, before reaching to grab a second one.

“Well, something weird happened last night. Alleson was supposed to be sleeping over with us. She was going to be late because of her dance recital. We’d all decided to go watch her performance, but she didn’t know it. Oh man. She was gorgeous Mom.” Megan grinned from ear to ear as she envisioned her friend. “She wore this sparkling white top with a long white tutu. And she twirled around on her toes like this.” Megan lifted up her right foot and touched it to her knee as she spun around on her left foot. The apron swirled out around her. “We cheered and cheered until we went hoarse. Someone, I think it was Lilly, had decided that we should get her flowers, but we all forgot to stop on the way. So after the show, we all ran up and hugged her in the lobby.”

Megan’s voice slowed and she wrinkled her forehead. She grabbed the dirty mixing bowl and moved towards the sink with it. “We caught her off guard. I could see in her eyes that she hadn’t even considered the possibility that we might come.” Megan ran water over the mixing bowl, and Rose waited for her to speak again. A moment later, the words came tumbling out. “She told us that she couldn’t spend the night after all. Muttered something about a baby and the hospital. We all kind of stepped back like she’d thrown ice water at us. I don’t know what she meant. No one that we know of at school is pregnant, and she certainly couldn’t have meant herself. We stayed up half the night trying to decide if she was crazy or if she was lying. Honestly, I didn’t think too much of it until her mother called. Apparently, they haven’t seen her since the recital.” Megan stuck the dripping bowl into the dishwasher.  She turned to face her mother with an anxious expression. “I’m scared for her Mom. I think something’s wrong.”

In one movement, Rose was out of her chair and hugging her daughter. She held her daughter close and shared her fear. Megan felt a single tear spill down her cheek as the phone rang.

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.