Authors: Cori Williams
Tags: #Midnight Novels
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Copyright © 2014 by Cori Williams
Editing by Lea Burn
Cover design by Mae I Design
Formatting by JT Formatting
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products, bands, and/or restaurants referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
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I GLANCED AT my watch, seeing it was just after midnight. I needed to get the hell out of here so I could get some sleep. Already overworked, I shouldn’t have promised her the favor but she’d always done right by me. I couldn’t keep putting it off.
My feet froze when I passed by the open door of one of the rooms, eyes drawn to the lone figure in the center of the glossy, wooden floors, her back facing me. Hair as dark as the night sky in a tight bun atop her head enhanced her creamy white skin, body clad in a scrap of black material that offered as little coverage as a bathing suit. That must be what they wore, even when there weren’t many people around so late at night. Business must be good if the place continued to stay open almost twenty-four seven. I didn’t get the need for it, really.
My attention snapped back as she gracefully raised her arms, completely in her own world, before balancing on her tiptoes and spinning around the room endlessly, making me dizzy. My eyes stayed glued to her performance, her legs drawing me in like a moth to a flame. While she was petite, her legs seemed to go on for miles, and were powerful and lean as she twirled across the floor, changing quickly into step after step.
I was mesmerized.
She moved fluidly, legs kicking in every which direction, perfectly in sync with the soft music playing in the background. I could barely make out the song as I focused solely on the ballerina, her body making a tempo of its own, creating a rhythm as she glided effortlessly. Back and forth, forward and backward, round and round.
My whole body hummed as I shifted, pressing closer as I continued to observe, unnoticed. I didn’t want her to stop my private show, but it all came to an end too soon as someone walked past me in the hallway, pulling me out of my trance. I looked down to see that almost an hour had passed, cursing myself for letting the dancer distract me, and when I glanced back in the studio, she was gone.
It was for the best, really.
I walked back out to the front, gathering my tools, resigned to the fact that I’d have to come back to complete the job another time. It wasn’t happening that night.
My little midnight ballerina made sure of that.
“What?” My hand froze midway as I reached for an apron, my mouth falling open at my boss’s declaration. He had to be kidding. I swallowed thickly, letting out a weak laugh as my hands finally landed on an apron. “Right, Denny. You’re such a jokester.” I playfully nudged his shoulder, stepping around him to get to the time clock. Denny really wasn’t the joking kind, but I guess there was a first time for everything.
“Monroe.” His tone was flat so I turned to look at him. He lightly rubbed at the spot that I bumped into and I barely managed to contain an eye roll. Like I actually hurt him or something. “I’m not joking.” He sniffed slightly, grabbing at the apron that was in my hand, and I pulled back on it at the same time. This quickly turned into a little game of tug of war, until he finally decided that he was done playing, letting go with a loud sigh. “Listen.” He scratched at the gray beard on his chin and I squirmed in place, not knowing how to brace myself for what he was about to say.
get fired from things. Ever. There had to be some sort of mistake. Maybe he’d been hit on the head and really meant to talk to Kelsey, the one I had to constantly clean up behind. I mean, was it really so hard to take sandwich orders and
screw them up? It wasn’t rocket science.
“You’re a great employee.”
I wanted to add, but I didn’t really think he would care. I could tell his mind was made up.
“But?” Since I knew it was truly coming, I might as well help the poor guy along. That was me: Monroe Hartley, helper to everyone, even when
was getting fired. I really needed to stop doing that.
“But it’s just hard to work around your school schedule. I need someone with flexibility, and there are a lot of people out there that actually need jobs. People that have all the time in the world.” He looked at me sheepishly before pushing the wire-rimmed glasses back up onto his nose, though they slid back down almost instantly.
I stewed over his words, tapping my foot in place as they started to sink in. “So, let me get this straight? It’s not because I’m a bad worker, which I know I’m not, it’s because you have to work around my schedule? And because you don’t
I need this job?” My voice rose, laced with just a hint of panic as the reality started to sink in. It started slowly but eventually hit me full force.