I wiped my hands against the side of my jeans, before releasing a deep breath. Swarms of families brushed past me, as I continued to glance around, looking for a familiar head of black hair. The clock on my phone read 6:51 p.m, and I was growing more anxious as the time edged closer to 7p.m. Tonight was Brielle’s dance recital, and I had asked Isabella to come join my mother and I tonight.
We had left things at a weird place the last time we were together, but I had hoped that she would still come tonight. I wanted to reach out to her multiple times in the last few days, but ultimately decided against it. I didn’t want to suffocate her with my presence, and hoped that some space would help ease the tension between us.
A few more minutes passed, before I glanced over at the entrance of the venue where people rushed in to get to their seats. The recital was set to begin soon, and it didn’t look like she was coming. I couldn’t help the pang disappointment I felt, but I knew I should have expected it. Our last conversation didn’t exactly end on the best note, and I’d be surprised if Isabella hadn’t decided to completely cut me out of her life.
Just as I turned and made my way to head into the doorway, a hand reached out to grip my bicep. I knew just from a mere touch, that it was her, as I turned to her with a wide smile. I knew that disbelief was written all over my face as I looked down at Isabella who wore a soft smile on her face. Her hair was tied in a pony tail, and she was dressed in a beautiful lilac dress. I couldn’t help the swarm of emotions that overcame me, as I reach down and pulled her body into mine. Her arms snaked around my waist as I relished the feeling of her warm body against me.
I was falling for this girl. I didn’t know at what point I stopped fighting it, but I had come to a point where there wasn’t any turning back now.
“Ready to go?” She asked me, as she looked up at me with sparkling eyes.
Nodding my head in response, I clasped our hands together before guiding her into the building. Attendees of the event were scrambling to get into their seats as I pulled Isabella towards the front of the room where my mother sat. Pushing through the row, we met my mother who wore a bright smile on her face as she lifted her bag, where she had been saving our seats.
“Isabella, you made it!” She ecstatically said as she stood to pull Isabella in for a hug. Isabella returned her hug, a bright smile on her face as she took the seat beside my mother. Settling into the seat beside Isabella, I allowed them to catch up on small talk as I looked forward at the stage. The large black curtain was draped over the stage, concealing the dancers who were prepping behind it. Scanning the side of the stage, my eyes connected with a familiar one as I sat up in my seat. Brielle gave me an eager wave from the curtain she hid behind, causing a soft chuckle to escape my lips. Waving back to her, I mouthed to her, ‘good luck’. I placed a hand over my hand, and tapped it, hoping she understood the reference I was making. It had been a long time since we had done it, but Brielle immediately understood it, as she smiled back at me, her hand on her heart.
She disappeared behind the curtain, as the lights in the room began to dim. My mother and Isabella halted their conversation, and turned their attention towards the front. Isabella wrapped her hands around mine, causing me to glance down at her. She didn’t say anything, but the smile she wore on the face was enough for me.
We both knew there was a lot we needed to talk about, but for tonight we were just us. No problems, no questions, and no outsiders.
I squeezed her hand in return, before turning back towards the front of the room. Brielle would be the last performance of the night, but she was also participating in a group performance before doing her own solo performance.
The room went silent, as the performers each went on the stage, dancing to the music humming in the background. It wasn’t long before Brielle made her way onto the stage for her solo dance. I could see the nervous expression lining her face as she glanced over at the crowd at us. I gave her a reassuring smile, and she returned my gesture with a small nod before shutting her eyes and letting out a deep breath.
The soft hum of the music erupted in the room, as Brielle fell into her character. Her body swayed to the sound of the music, and I couldn’t help but watch her in awe. She had spent years perfecting the art of ballerina, and she did a damn good job at it. As she moved to the sound of the music, I felt my heart constrict as I registered the backtrack that was playing in the background.
A melody so familiar, that I would recognize it even in my sleep. Isabella must have sensed the sudden tension in my body, as she glanced over at me. She flashed me the same reassuring smile she always did, as I tried to ignore the influx of emotions that threatened to take over. Glancing over at my mother, I watched as she wiped her eyes with a tissue, as she kept her eyes glued on Brielle. I knew she too recognized the melody, despite the both of us not hearing it in years.
Turning back to Brielle, I could see the raw emotion coated on her face as she let herself get lost in the music. The soft piano melody that played in the background, was the same one that Nick once played for her when Brielle had just begun her dancing career. It was a melody that was special for the both of them, and I knew it must have taken a lot for her to go onto stage and dance to it.
I couldn’t help the swell of pride that I felt in my chest as I watched my little sister dance so beautifully to the song. She had gone through so much trauma at such a young age with losing her twin brother, yet she still fought through it. She was strong, and she had done it all by herself.
A pang of guilt hit me in that moment for being so selfish and leaving her and my mother all by themselves after Nick’s passing. Brielle hadn’t just lost her twin brother that night, she had also lost me. Regret pooled in me at the realization that I should have been there for her when she needed me most.
Although there was no point in dwelling on the past, I knew that from this point onward, I would be there for my mother and Brielle at no cost. Too much time had already passed, and I didn’t want to waste any more.
Looking down at Isabella, I couldn’t help but see the irony of our situation. I had always thought that I would only begin to find closure from Nick’s death once I had put Rick behind bars, yet in this moment, I knew that the first step to finding closure to his death had been through Isabella.
I hadn’t even realized it, but since her coming into my life, I had made more progress with my family, and Nick’s death than I ever had before.
Leaning down, I placed a soft kiss on her cheek. I could tell there was so much she wanted to say in that moment, but she simply settled on one thing,
Her warm breath hit my ear as she softly said into my ear, “I’m ready, Mason. I’m ready to let you in.”
Pulling back, I looked down at her with a bewildered expression. I hadn’t expected her to come to a decision so quickly, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was ecstatic.
She nodded her head and squeezed my hand in response before saying, “Tonight is about Brielle, but soon.” She reassured, to which I nodded my head.
Turning my attention back to Brielle, I locked eyes with my sister who looked back at me with bittersweet expression. She didn’t need to say anything for me to understand what the meaning behind her dance was conveying.
It was her way of letting go of Nick.
It didn’t mean that she’d forget him or what had happened. I don’t think any of us ever could.
But it meant that she had made peace with what had happened.
I could only hope that I could do the same.
Hope you all enjoyed this chapter.
Love you guys to the moon and back