Billionaires Bundle

By: Flora Ferrari

“Hit your mark,” one bemoans me through pursed lips. He’s right. I’ve got to pull it together.

The crowd “oohs” and “aahs” as I’m just a little off and it requires dramatic countermoves from the rest of the team. This isn’t going well, at all.

In one moment of stillness I look up into the box where I know Brian and Peter are. I can barely make out Peter, but I don’t see Brian.

Did he find out? Did he ask the wrong question? Did he throw him out of the box?

My moment is over and I continue struggling through the rest of the first act.

“What the hell, Barbara!” Emmanuel, one of our dancers yells at me the moment the curtain falls. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Fame’s gone to her head,” Douglas chimes in.

“I’m sorry guys. I’m just a little off.”

“Well you better get back on in a hurry.” It’s Daniel. “Don’t blow it the second you’ve arrived.”

“I know. I know. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry, just be on point.”

“I will this next act. I promise.”

I go to my dressing room and sit down at my desk.

Pull yourself together, Barbara.

I pull open the drawer and look at that picture again. “For them,” I whisper.

I take a deep breath in and get angry. I hunker down and get tough. I’m going to do this, damn it! I’m going to go back out there and show the high society of New York that I have arrived, that I do belong, and I’m here to stay.

And that’s exactly what I do.

The second act is even better than last night, and the third act is also a smash success.

The curtain closes and it’s a repeat of last night. Press then celebrities, but tonight there’s no Brian in my room.

Maybe I do need a break. I laugh inside. A break from what? We barely know each other I tell myself, but I know it’s a lie. We do know each other.

There’s something about him being an established older man. He has nothing to prove, and as a businessman he’s surely refined his sense of detecting what others want and need and then giving it to them. He doesn’t talk over the top of other people. He doesn’t pry, and he certainly doesn’t push. He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met in that regard. Most people are ready to turn their back on you the moment you’re no longer useful to them…to sell your secrets to the tabloids for a few bucks. Dancers pretend to be your friends, but just like in the film Black Swan, you know they only have their own best interests in mind.

Just like I need to have my own interests in mind. But I just can’t get my mind off of him.

I get changed and leave the building. I still haven’t seen him by the time I hit the sidewalk ready to hail a cab. I’ve refused the car service for tonight, preferring to blend into the city. A car can be followed, watched, and tracked. A cab is lost in the crowd the moment it pulls away from the curb. I’m ready for that feeling.

“Offer you a ride?” I hear as I wave my hand into the street, only to be passed up yet again by another cab that’s already taken.

“How is it that you just keep appearing?”

“And you appear beautiful, as you always do.”

I’m a bit angry, but coming from him it means something.

“You didn’t think I was going to leave here with you, did you?”

“Maybe I don’t want to leave with you.”

“Don’t, or won’t?”

“Can’t. Everyone’s watching now.”

“People that don’t matter.”

“And people that do. Don’t you understand how serious this is? You make it seem like it’s nothing. It’s not your reputation that’s in danger here. If one person sees us…” I stop.

He steps out from the shadows and offers me his arm.

“No one will see us, trust me.”

“And if they do?”

“I already took care of that tonight.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m now a donor to the New York City Ballet. It makes complete sense.”

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