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Chapter Four Hundred and Eighty-one : The dance (part three)


(part three)

“You’re making what Sissy does or doesn’t do about you,” Melinda said. “Quit the school because you don’t want to be there, not because she’s doing one thing or another.”

Ivan’s eyebrows moved up and down as he thought it through. He shrugged.

“You have to separate a little bit,” Melinda said. “Give her a chance to learn and grow. Give yourself a chance to learn and grow. Your feelings for her will suffocate without space. Hers too.”

“Advice I gave Kate,” Ivan said of the woman who had stabbed him.

“I am quoting my therapist,” Melinda nodded.

“Dale?” Ivan asked.

“Maybe,” Melinda said. “We’re not talking about me.”

To emphasize her point, she focused on finishing her salad. Ivan watched her and waited. She was finishing her iced tea when he took a breath to speak.

“We can only take each day as it comes,” Ivan said.

“Sure,” Melinda said. “And, we have a problem.”

Ivan looked at her.

“Sissy is quite famous,” Melinda said.

“You mean from being injured?” Ivan asked.

“She’s the ‘little ballerina who was brutally shot,’” Melinda said with a nod. “The dance parties, the Internet.”

“Just have her tryout by herself,” Ivan said with a shrug.

“I tried that, but people at school already know,” Melinda said. “I had to move it to the auditorium.”

Ivan’s eyebrows dropped in concern.

“When we left, there were already people waiting in line to get in to see her dance,” Melinda said.

“People?” Ivan asked.

“Students, teachers — from our school and others,” Melinda said.

“What should I do?” Ivan asked. “If I interfere at all, I…”

“We can’t keep the public out,” Melinda said. “Our school does public try outs. I know because I’ve already asked. Sissy will have to perform in front of the audience.”

“Should I attend?” Ivan asked. “If I go, I put more pressure on. If I don’t go, I am uncaring. I don’t …”

“I know you, Ivan,” Melinda said. “You’ll know exactly what to do.”

“When the time comes,” they said together.

“Yes,” Ivan said. He turned his wrist over to look at his watch. “We should get back.”

He picked up the bill. He waited for her to get up and they walked together to the front where he paid. They were in a taxi on their way back to the school when he turned to her.

“This is really happening?” Ivan asked.

“It is,” Melinda said.

“You’re sure she’s coming?” Ivan asked.

“She’s already warming up,” Melinda said.

He turned forward and sighed.

“You’d given up hope?” Melinda asked.

“I didn’t realize it but I guess I had,” Ivan said with a nod. “She’s just been through so much.”

He glanced at Melinda.

“I’m not sure I would go back if I were her,” Ivan said. “Especially if I felt like my actions risked losing what we have.”

“Then, you understand,” Melinda said.

“More than you could imagine,” Ivan said.

The taxi pulled up to the school. Ivan got out of the taxi, helped Melinda out, and paid the cab driver. He took her arm and they went toward the school. He felt the anticipation in the air the moment he entered the building. As they approached, people gave him an expectant look. He swallowed hard.

“It’s going to be fine,” Melinda said.

He looked at her. Unable to respond, he simply nodded. She went to set up for Sissy’s tryout and Ivan went back to his classroom for office hours. His attention may have been on his students, but in his mind, he was counting down the minutes until Sissy returned to the stage.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Chapter Four Hundred and Eighty-one : The dance (part two)


(part two)

The muscle on Ivan’s cheek popped out again. His eyes dropped to the table and his cheeks flushed with shame.

“She told Tink that she knew what you thought of her and her dancing by the slightest glance at your face,” Melinda said. “This is a school! She doesn’t want to disappoint you if she’s one day she’s better than everyone and another she’s worse. She doesn’t want to see that look of disappointment …”

Ivan opened his mouth to speak.

“These are her words,” Melinda cut him off and continued, “ …if she’s not liked or gets in an argument with the other girls or any of the other things that happen at school every day of the week.”

“I …” Ivan started with a shake of his head, and then stopped.

“She feels like she has more to lose now,” Melinda said.

Ivan didn’t respond. He looked down at his salad to keep control over his emotions. He took a bite to keep from looking at her. Waiting for him to return, she ate her salad.

“She would rather give up dance all together than lose you,” Melinda said when he looked up.

Ivan didn’t respond. He was still and silent for so long that Melinda wasn’t sure he was breathing.

“Ivan?” Melinda asked.

When his eyes shifted to her, they were filled with tears. He shook his head and took another bite of salad.

“I am not dostatochno khorosh, chtoby byt’ yeye lyubov’yu.” Upset, Ivan’s English fell away.

He dropped his head into his hand. She watched his chest heave as he took a few breaths.

“I don’t know what that means,” Melinda said, “but if it means, ‘I think Sissy should do her dance at 3:10 p.m. this afternoon’ …”

Ivan’s head jerked up to look at her. She nodded in confirmation.

“Then I agree,” Melinda said, her head still bobbing from her nod. “Tink and Charlie are coming with her. Charlie called Seth and he’s going to be there to play the piano.”

“I should not go,” Ivan said with a nod.

He pushed away his half eaten salad and concentrated on his tea.

“You should not be a dick,” Melinda said.

Ivan shook his head that he didn’t understand.

“When she was your student, you would provide her with varied experiences — many with famous professionals — to deepen her learning experience,” Melinda said. “Her actions and ability impacted your ego and your reputation.”

Ivan grunted.

“Sissy is a young woman now,” Melinda said. “What she does or doesn’t do is up to her — even though she is still quite young. That’s what Tink and Charlie convinced her.”

Ivan bit the inside of his lip while he thought it through. He nodded.

“I think I understand,” Ivan said. “You are saying that Sissy must want for herself to be there, must dance for herself, not as some extension of me. She must be free to have her school experience without feeling like she will have some difficulties with me.”

Melinda nodded.

“I will quit the school,” Ivan said.

“See?” Melinda shook her head. “You’re doing it.”

“Doing what?” Ivan asked.

“You’re making what Sissy does or doesn’t do about you,” Melinda said. “Quit the school because you don’t want to be there, not because she’s doing one thing or another.”

Chapter Four Hundred and Eighty-one : The dance (part one)


(part one)

Melinda gave Ivan a coy smile, which only caused him to glare at her further.

“Do you think this is a game?” Ivan snapped.

“No,” Melinda said. “I most certainly do not.”

“You want to hold power over me. Is that it?” Ivan asked. “Show me who is boss?”

“You’re being a dick,” Melinda said, taking a page out of Sissy’s book.

Ivan stopped short. His hands came to his hips and he squinted at Melinda. She nodded at him, and he burst out laughing.

“Sissy is good for you,” Ivan said.

“Sissy is good for anyone who knows her,” Melinda said.

He hooked arms with her and they left the classroom.

“Lunch?” Ivan asked.

“I have time,” Melinda said. “You?”

“Just an hour,” Ivan said.

He mentioned the name of a salad restaurant and she nodded. They caught a taxi at the door and were at their table in a matter of moments. Ivan ordered for them, with a note that they were in a hurry, before turning his intense gaze to Melinda. She batted her eyes at him.

“How is it possible that you know what I have yet to comprehend?” Ivan asked.

“Well …” Melinda leaned back so that the waiter could fill her iced tea glass. “After you left, Tink went to talk to Sissy. Tink and Charlie were in the kitchen this morning when you and Sissy were talking. Did you know that?”

Ivan shook his head.

“Giovanni?” Ivan asked.

Melinda nodded.

“Tink and Sissy had a real heart to heart,” Melinda said. “Probably just what the girl needed.”

Ivan nodded.

“Tink convinced Sissy to talk to Charlie,” Melinda said. “There was much said, many tears, but Charlie promised to tell Dale.”

“Dale called you,” Ivan said.

“Correct,” Melinda said. She pointed at Ivan. “Give the man a chocolate-chip cookie.”

Grinning at her attitude, Ivan shook his head. Their conversation lagged as they doctored their salads. Melinda had just taken a bite when Ivan looked up. She flushed under his intense attention.

“What must I do to find out what is going on with my …” A muscle in Ivan’s jaw popped out when as he clenched his teeth. He cleared his throat. “Sissy.”

Melinda gave him a soft compassionate smile.

“You really do love her,” Melinda said.

Ivan’s face became impassive.

“I mean, I knew it, I just …” Melinda said.

“Melinda!” Ivan said.

“Yes, sorry,” Melinda said. “Sissy is terrified of disappointing you. She said that you used to give her this lecture all the time. She called it the ‘You will not embarrass me’ lecture.”

“Never,” Ivan said.

“I’ve heard you say it,” Melinda said. Ivan shook his head, so she repeated what she knew he’d said a lot: “‘You will be polite. You will do exactly what you’re asked to do. You will do your very best no matter what. You will not speak out of turn. You will not behave childishly or stupidly. You will think before you act.’”

The muscle on Ivan’s cheek popped out again. His eyes dropped to the table and his cheeks flushed with shame.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

Like Denver Cereal books? Olney Springs is here and Manitou Spring is on the way!

the beginning of this summer, I promised readers that I would do my best to get caught up creating and releasing with Denver Cereal books.

Olney Springs, Denver Cereal V14

The first book released since February 2016 was Olney Springs, Denver Cereal V14. (Amazon, Apple books, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords)

Olney Springs is a book about trials — the court drama to convict the serial gang rapist mastermind, the innocent desire to help the souls of lost children move on, and Jacob Marlowe’s desperate struggle to survive the despair implanted by the Sea of Amber. Through each trial, we see our beloved Denver Cereal characters band together to support each other.

This is an intense book that will take you on an absorbing, wild Denver Cereal journey.

Manitou Springs, Denver Cereal V15Manitou Springs, Denver Cereal V15, is currently available on pre-order. (Amazon, Apple books, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords)

In Manitou Springs, someone dares to ask the question: “What could possibly happen?” Of course, this is Denver Cereal where anything can and usually does happen. But first, Jacob returns home, with the help of Native American Shaman, from his spiritual adventure . After 2 years of planning, everything is on track for the BIG wedding. It’s a wedding right? What could happen? Everything.

Manitou Springs will be released on August 31, 2017 in time for Labor Day weekend reading!

We will not be combining these books into a Box Set until January, 2019.

We hope you enjoy the books!

Chapter Four Hundred and Eighty : Not ready (part six)


(part six)

Wednesday mid-day — 12:13 p.m.

New York City, New York

Ivan looked up to see Melinda standing near the back of his classroom. He had his male Sprit de Corps dancers dancing with each other. One male had to perform the ballerina role while the other performed the male role. The idea was to give these young dancers an idea of what it’s really like to dance the ballerina’s part as well as support a variety of weights and talents of other dancers. Even with a couple weeks of practice, the young men still dissolved in laughter. Melinda was grinning at the young men.

Ivan looked at the clock. He held up two fingers to Melinda and she nodded.

“That will have to do,” Ivan said. “Please practice. One way to deepen understanding in your relationship with your female partner is to ask for help from them. They will be happy to help you dance their parts. It’s powerful.”

The young men held Ivan in rapt attention.

“Try it,” Ivan said. “We will meet again Friday.”

The young men clapped and Ivan gave a slight nod of his head. As Ivan had taught them, the young men gave the principal dancer a slight bow as they left the room. Two young men lagged behind to ask questions.

“I apologize,” Ivan said. “I must meet with Ms. Melinda.”

He put his hand on the young men’s upper arms.

“Send me an email,” Ivan said. “I will respond. Or come to office hours.”

The young men looked at Melinda and she smiled.

“I just wanted to know when you were holding another dance party,” one young man said.

The other young man nodded.

“You have to keep an eye on the Instagram account,” Melinda said.

“That’s all?” the young man asked.

“For now,” Melinda said.

The young men looked from Ivan to Melinda. Ivan pointed them out of the room and they slumped out with a slight bow to Melinda.

“What has happened?” Ivan asked and he straightened the room.

“I’ve spoken with Sissy,” Melinda said.

Ivan stopped moving. Even though his back was to Melinda, she could feel the despair that came off him in waves. He spun around and she nodded.

“What is it?” Ivan asked. “Please. Just tell me.”

Denver Cereal continues on Monday…

For full chapters, visit Stories by Claudia