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For Indigo Stevens, ballet classes at Miss Roberta’s ballet studio offer the stability and structure that are missing from her crazy home life. At almost 16, she hopes this is the year she will be accepted into the New York School of Ballet. First she must prove she’s ready, and that means ignoring Jesse Sanders – the cute boy with dimples who is definitely at the top of Miss Roberta’s List of Forbidden Things for Dancers.
But Jesse is the least of Indigo’s concerns. When she discovers her mom is an alcoholic, it simultaneously explains everything and heaps more worry on Indigo’s shoulders. As her mom’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, Indigo fights to maintain balance, protect her younger brothers from abuse, and keep her mother from going over the edge. When the violence at home escalates, Indigo realizes she can no longer dance around the issue. At the risk of losing everything, she must take matters into her own hands before it’s too late.
Enjoy an excerpt:
“Need a little help?” Jesse says. A smile tugs at the corner of his mouth as he bends down to pick up the notebooks.
He has dimples. Oh God. I forgot he has dimples.
“You think?” I say, laughing nervously. God, I sound like a hyena.
He leans in to unhook my hair and I catch his scent, citrus and spice. My eyes fall on the necklace lying against the exposed skin of his chest. It’s a giant tooth or claw set into a silver spiral. I imagine how warm it is from touching his skin and I feel my face flush.
No time for boys, Indigo. I turn away with a jerk and sort the mess into neat piles.
The store manager shows up. “Okay, move along,” he says, scowling. “You’ve done enough here.”
“Does this mean we’re eighty-sixed from shopping here ever again?” I ask as we scurry away.
Jesse looks back over his shoulder. “That guy has a serious rod up his…”
I smile. “Hey, thanks for the help.” My smile fades when I notice my mother looking for me. Must. Run. Away. Before she comes over here and says something embarrassing. “Okay, well, see ya!” I run off and leave him standing there, still holding the stack of notebooks.
I'm breathing hard when I reach my mom. She looks at my empty hands quizzically. “I thought you were going to get some notebooks.”
“Yeah, I just couldn’t decide.”
“All right, then. We’re out of here.”
It’s the best thing she’s said to me all day.
About the Author: Grier Cooper (also known as the writer in a dancer's body) is a California based writer, photographer, and dancer. She received her professional training from the School of American Ballet and performed worldwide with the San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Today she lives in a seaside hamlet with her husband, daughter and Coco Chanel (a black standard poodle). She draws on over thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer to create stories and art to inspire others.
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