Chapter 5 - Peter’s Journey: The Dance
After eating a silent dinner alone, Peter wandered bitterly around his campus and then turned to the girl’s school. Not realizing where he was going he found himself in front of the auditorium. Remembering the last time he was here for the ballet was painful. More painful than his hand. That was funny, there was a small light on inside and a figure seemed to be moving on the stage.
One of the side doors was unlocked. Curious, he slipped in and stood in the shadows. The figure moved across the stage quickly in agitated movements, leaping and turning in almost anger-like strides. Then it collapsed in a heap in the middle of the stage. He moved forward wondering if he should call out. He was just about to speak when the figure raised up and slowly began a gliding flowing dance that was ballet, yet it was not. Twisting and turning, pirouetting in circles, the dance looked familiar. He moved closer to see as the dancer moved toward the flickering candle.
IT WAS APRIL! Stunned he dropped into a seat and watched as she danced and danced. The longer he watched the more his anger melted away. It was like a soft, sweet breeze blew over, around and through him sweeping the anger and hurt and pain away. He closed his eyes.
"Thank you Aslan," he whispered.
His attention was drawn back to April. She was crying, silent tears running down her face, but she was smiling, her whole being lighting up with an inner glow. He could almost see the petals form and detach and move as they did in Narnia. He wondered if she really knew what was within her. She came to a stop on the stage, did a final turn and bowed whispering, “Thank you Grandmother.” It was time for him to show himself. He got up and moved slowly down the aisle. She was startled at first and then recognized him.
“Peter!” she breathed. She smiled with a smile that lit up her entire face. She stood at the edge of the stage and he stood below her. He hoisted himself up to sit on the stage and she sat down next to him.
“I’m so sorry for this morning Peter. I was scared and confused and overwhelmed. You are much more wonderful than any of my imaginings. I was just letting the little things become too big of a deal. And, my silliness almost chased you away…You, the real you is who I want to be with.”
“I will admit, I was tempted to run far far away, but I was taught never to run from my challenges, but to face them. Also, I care too much for you. And, I think that we have is worth fighting for. I forgive you, by the way. Maybe I can help you to integrate the 'two of us'." He winked at her, then asked, "What changed your point of view?"
“My mom called. I will explain more about that later. She reminded me that real people are more important than fantasies.”
“How does she know about us?" he asked.
"Let's just say...she's very perceptive. Peter, I promise, the next time I get upset, I will not run away, but meet it head on and talk to you about it. Thank you for pursuing me."
Peter's smile was huge. He turned toward her sitting on the stage Indian style, and she followed suit. He wanted to be able to see her face.
"Now," he said. "Tell me what was so great about the imaginary me."
April took in a deep breath and flushed, "Really? Do you want to really know?"
"Yes," he laughed. "Now tell me!"
It was dark on the candlelit stage but he could still see the blush rise on her face. She leaned forward and whispered in his ear. Much to his consternation he blushed too.
"Ahhh...I'll have to file that away for much later in our relationship. What else?" he asked, anxious to change the subject.
"That was the hardest one to tell. There is a list, are you ready?" At his nod, she continued, "The imaginary Peter danced with me."
Peter perked up at this, "I can dance. Mother made us take a ballroom dancing class, which came in really handy once we got to Narnia, and I can swing dance too."
"That's great," she said. "But I was talking about ballet."
He swallowed hard and fiddled with his foot.
She continued, "I have always wanted to do the lifts and holds that the professional prima ballerinas get to do, but you have to have a partner and I have never wanted any man other than you to do that with me." She touched his knee, when he looked up she said, "You wanted me to be honest right?" He nodded.
"Want to hear more?" she teased. He actually did. "The others are easier. The pretend Peter flirted with me a lot! You sang to me once when we were alone under a moonlit sky. We caught wild ponies in the forest and you taught me how to ride.”
“I sound like a fun guy!” he laughed.
"You were...I mean are," she said with a smile.
She also had imagined getting flowers, little notes, thoughtful gifts, and so on. He guessed all girls liked that stuff. She was still talking and he turned back in.
"You taught me how to fight with a sword, and I was good at it!”
"Really?" he gasped. She nodded.
"There are a few other things like staying up all night talking, but I guess that will also have to come later."
As if on cue they heard a door creak and a voice call out, "Who's in here?"
Peter silently leapt off the stage into the shadows while April, pretending to fix her shoe, got up and started dancing. A member of the staff walked on the stage and looked around.
"Oh, April, are you practicing this late by yourself?"
"Yes, Mrs. Gray, I completely lost track of time. I am so sorry."
"That's all right, dear. Let me lock up the rest of these exterior doors and I'll walk you back to your residence."
April heard a soft thud in the background and knew that Peter had escaped unseen so far. Would he get to the gates before they locked them? She desperately hoped so. She did another leap and twirl on the stage. She was so deliriously happy that she couldn't help herself. She had the ‘king’ of her dreams in real life!
Outside, Peter was surveying his surroundings trying to determine the best means of getting to his campus. It reminded him of when they stormed the Telmarine castle. He would have to be very careful. He remembered the 'throw' whistle he had perfected in Narnia. He whistled and it sounded fifty feet away. The staff member who was closing Saint Finbar's gate fell for it and went to check it out. He slipped through the gate and kept to the shadows sprinting across the street and through his own gate just in time.
They always closed Hendon's gate about five minutes later than Saint Finbar’s and were used to the boys slipping in just before time. Whew. He leaned against a tree to catch his breath. He had never felt so joyful. He did feel like dancing! But, he wanted to cackle at the idea of him doing ballet. Well, maybe, after they were married, that might be fun. Married?!? Where had that word come from? He didn't care. He felt like he had just fought a great battle and won! And, yes, she was worth the fight!