Chapter 8 : The Triple Pirouette
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Technique, bodily control, must be mastered only because
the body must not stand in the way of the soul's expression.
Potions was something I was good at, but didn’t like very much. Defence Against the Dark Arts was the subject I found most interesting, but didn’t quite manage, but Potions was something I never had the nerve for when professor Slughorn didn’t notice. This lesson was the worst I had ever encountered. My confused feelings made my mood swing like a roller-coaster. It was unusual to see me sit down on the stone floor in protest because the potion described on the blackboard was too complicated.
But I did so today.
“Miss Evans, get up from there. You have twenty seconds before you have to add the perfectly chopped fish tongue to the mildly stirred mix in your cauldron.”
I sat there, arms crossed, looking up at professor Slughorn. He was most displeased, but not angry … more scared, disappointed that one of his favourite students acted like this.
“Don’t be silly, Exceed Expectations is a way too low mark for you.”
I didn’t move.
“Ah, I’ll turn her around, Professor, just wander around the other students while you wait,” Black’s voice came.
“Thank you, Mr. Black, I’ll be delighted.” Professor Slughorn smiled, leaving me with a last concerned look.
“Having your period?” Black whispered as he chopped the tongue for me. “You know I’ll stamp your nice little fingers if you sit there much longer,” he continued.
I gaped at him, but I was slightly amused at the same time.
I watched many of the girls’ heads turn towards me. Many of them were undoubtedly thinking what I though I was refusing to take an order from the handsome, perfect Black with the amazing skills in bed.
When he finished that part of the potion for me I gladly stood up.
He shook his head and looked at me, disappointed.
“I can’t do the nasty bits for you many times more, Lily.”
I smiled at him with an eyebrow arched.
“So I’m Lily now?” I said sugar-sweetly, playing with the tip of my tongue between my teeth.
“I guess you are. But just so you know, you should feel honoured.”
He removed some hair from his face, still stirring my potion.
“Oh, really? Why is that?” I was tempted to jump up and sit on the bench next to my cauldron just to irritate, but I knew that would definitely make me fail this class.
“I think you’re the only girl I’ve ever referred to by first name without sleeping with her first, as a matter of fact.” He gave me a charming smile.
It would have melted any other girl’s heart, but not mine.
“I feel really special now,” I said sarcastically.
“You would have felt even more special if you had let me do my thing by the lake last weekend,” Black tried.
“Yeah, especially since I would be like … the hundredth girl going through that programme?” I frowned.
“Pretty much,” Black thought for a split second before adding casually, “Nobody has complained yet, and I’ve had the same programme for years.”
‘Yeah right,’ I thought in the quiet of my soul. ‘It wouldn’t surprise me if you were still a virgin.’
I pointed towards his own cauldron at the other side of the room, saying two words. But I didn’t manage to hide the amused smile on my lips.
He didn’t protest. He went peacefully. I was impressed.
I could see him getting into some discussion with Potter, probably something about how he got to do that without me just asking him to leave. But there was something about Black that amused me. I knew I’d thought that a million times, but he did. Potter was just annoying in a destructive way.
I stretched my foot as much as I could in derrière, pressing the leg upwards behind me while holding onto the barre running along the wall. I felt my back screaming in pain, and the muscles in my leg almost cramping. I knew I couldn’t hold it there much longer.
Lindsay walked along, finally reaching me.
“I can’t see you smile, Lily,” she laughed.
“Your whole body is tense,” she said, pointing at my hands clutching the barre as if I was clinging to life. “Concentrate on lifting the leg only, and let everything else go.”
I put a smile on my face and tried to balance more, doing as she said.
“That’s better!” she said, placing her hands on my leg, pushing it even further up. “I can feel your muscles pushing against my hand, try to let them use that strength to push upwards, so when I remove my hand you’ll be able to keep it there.”
I concentrated. I felt Lindsay’s hands being taken away and my leg drop several inches.
“Nearly,” she smiled. “You’ll manage next time.”
She went over to Dorothy, who gladly demonstrated how far up her foot could muster to be held. I saw her give me a little wink as if telling me ‘You can’t do this.. watch me!’
“Let’s move on to the turns, shall we?” Lindsay clapped when she had been all the way around.
‘Great. Turns. More humiliation.’
Lindsay walked over to the front in the centre and let us watch her in the mirror.
“Start in fifth position, then stretch your right foot to a tondu and bring your hands to first.”
She did just that and made sure we all watched her in the mirror.
“Lean onto the foot in fourth and open the arm. Be careful to find balance in the middle. Then you flick out your left foot, and bring it to the leg into a strong relevé.
And when going into that relevé, you turn and do a Pirouette en Dehors. Find balance, use your arms. And spot your head or you’ll eventually throw up.”
We laughed at that and went into the centre form the barre to try ourselves. We’d had that explanation a million times, but the steps were so important it was the exercise Lindsay explained the most.
Lindsay went over to the music box and found some music with a fitting tempo. When she returned, we stood there as candles in fifth position, hands in bras bas.
‘You can do this, Lily. You know turns is your weakest point … but you can do it!’
I prepared and turned with the others the way Lindsay explained us. I felt my body go around once.. twice.. please once more … but my leg was put on the floor before the third was made.
“Pretty close there, Lily. Try again,” Lindsay encouraged.
I watched Hill make more than three turns out of the corner of my eye. I wanted to do that as well. Bugger.
I tried again, maybe a little bit closer this time. But my balance and speed always stopped before I wanted it to.
‘You can do this!’ my voice said in my head.
I prepared and turned again in an even stronger relevé, looking confident. I collected my feet again, a wide smile spreading across my face.
“I did it, Lindsay, I did it!” I yelled, preventing myself from running around the room in pleasure.
“Great, Evans! Did any of you see that?” she looked at the other girls in the room.
Nobody gave any sign of seeing Lily Evans doing a triple pirouette.
“That doesn’t matter,” she whispered to me. “I’m sorry I didn’t see that, I was too busy trying to get Jennifer to control her arms… Do it again for me?”
I went back to my position and did another… a double.
“Sorry, Lindsay, I wasn’t concentrating,” I smiled, placing my foot forwards again. Lindsay nodded and watched me again.
But that triple pirouette never came. And I knew I did one before, even though nobody saw it.
The class was soon over, and I still hadn’t done anything triple. Hill ‘accidentally’ fell into me.
“Done some more invisible triple pirouettes lately, Evans?” she laughed.
Lindsay came over, placing a hand on my shoulder when we were the only two left in the studio.
I turned to face her, tears welling up in my eyes.
“Yeah?” I whispered.
“I doesn’t matter. That pirouette isn’t the most important thing in the world.. You did one today, that nobody saw, and you’ll do one again. I promise.”
I sighed. “I wanted to show you.. That I could do it as well. I feel so left behind when I can’t do it.”
Lindsay laughed at me.
“Lily, your turns are beautiful. Jennifer may be able to do a triple, but her hands are like a helicopter. Your double looks much better on stage then her triple ones.”
That was comforting to know.
“Dancing is about personal performance, Lily. Your dance is never going to look exactly the same as any other’s. And just know, that many women have kicked higher, balanced longer or turned faster. But even the split second of balance, or in your case, a double pirouette, can behold just as much passion.”
I left the dancing studio almost in a better mood that day than I had on Sunday. I had finally managed to do a triple pirouette. And I would do it again, for everyone to see.
I saw Remus in the common room when I returned. I was about go over to him when another girl came before me. I sat down in a chair not far away, curious what was going on.
“Remus? Could I ask you something?” the girl said, sitting down next to him. I didn’t like the way her hand was suddenly on top of his.
“Sure you can, Gwen,” he smiled at her, lying down his work at once.
“Would you.. consider going out with me?” she whispered.
But I heard her. I saw her skin turn pink around her cheekbones and Remus looking her deeply in the eyes… He smiled.
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