"I know, mom." I rolled my eyes as my mother repeated another lecture on staying safe, "It's just a ballet class!"
"I know, Adela, but you can never be too careful. Anything could happen." She told me with a soft smile, her long, brown, braid being pushed from her shoulder and onto her back as she sat up once again. "Just be careful, sweetheart."
"Thanks, mom. Love you!" I waved as I saw her car pull off, walking into the large building behind me once she had disappeared; my outfit was currently jean shorts and a loose t-shirt, but I had my ballet clothes in the backpack slung over my shoulder.
I'm glad we were able to find a ballet class around here . . but it could never be the same as my old one. I though with a hidden, sad, smile. We had just moved from New York to some nowhere town in Ohio; surprisingly they had found this ballet school not too far away from the new house. It looked more like something you would see for the Royals in England. The building was gigantic, and was one of the most elegant buildings I had ever seen.
If only I had known how right I was at the time. The lawn might have been beautiful and perfect, the driveway long and georgous . . but what was hidden on the inside was an entirely different story.
I walked into the large double-doors at the front, pulling them open by the lion-head handles coming out of them. When I enetered the building I was instantly in the ballet classroom; surrounded by mirrors and equipment. It was a rather large room, just as elegant as the outside of the building; and at first, I didn't even question it a bit.
Of course, that was before I noted that the room was large, yes, but not nearly as large as the building suggested on the outside. And empty.
At the time I looked around and thought that maybe there was another room where the class had started . . after all, it was supposed to be starting in five minutes, and no one was ever late for a ballet classes. Not that I had ever seen.
Just as I was starting to walk towards a door in the back, thinking that it might lead to another room, another entrance I hadn't noticed swung open and out stepped the most . . I'm not sure what word to use for her- elegant, gorgeous, terrifying, or perhaps exotic? More like all of them mixed to together, I believe.
"Good morning." She spoke in a sing-song tone, one that made you believe you had nothing to worry about as long as she was there; I nodded and quickly said a good morning in return, feeling a bit flustered, "You must be the Adela Satin we were expecting, I am Ms. Anna."
Somehow I found her name a bit hard to believe . . too sweet and innocent for this amazing woman.
A piece of her raven black hair fell into her face from the hair-tie she held it back in, her fingers reaching up delecately to put it back in place. Of course, I hardly noticed, my eyes trying hard not to roll at the sound of that last name I had just heard. The last name of my rich step-father.
"Yes. I was told I would be having a trial lesson today; for you to examine my dancing and decide if I qualify?" My voice was sweet, though I was hiding bitterness from the remembrance of the step-father and his daughter that might or might not be at home this very moment. But he made my mother happy, so I would stay silent-- as usual.
I noticed a slight smile on the woman's mouth, though I wasn't sure where it was aimed, and she gave a quick nod. Her skin was the smallest amount of pale, her eyes a shining blue with green specks, if you looked very closely. Her figure was lean and muscled, like most of my ballet teachers back home.
"Of course. The other girls have been sent to a private room for their practice today, I prefer to have all of my attention on the potential student when she comes." Her eyes smiled warmly along with her lips, but I couldn't shake the feeling that there was a bit of fakeness in her. Of course, I supposed there was a bit of that in everyone. "Shall we begin?"
Giving her a nod, my face becoming serious, she showed me the changing rooms and I quickly put on my practice clothes. It was time to show what I had; time to show them the talent I had spent so many years working on.
By the time my "trial lesson" was complete, I was sweating hard and breathing heavy; my water bottle at my lips as I tried to cool down. I was starting to wonder if I wanted to be here at all, the woman strict and a hard coach when it was needed. Though, I supposed, if I truly thought about ballet seriously- she was perfect.
'Ms. Anna' had mainly focused on my strength for this excerise, making me thankful for the extra hours I had forced myself to practice this last week. I had done about every exercise I had ever been taught, and then some new ones that seemed a bit more like fighting techniques than something you used in dance. I never questioned it, however; there were plenty of teachers out there who used this style. Fighting was a dance, if you used it properly; luckily for me, I was skilled in these new forms.
"Very nice," Ms. Anna spoke with a cheefulness that made my stomach sink just a bit, she was reminding me of a cheerful host who was secretly wanting nothing more than for you to leave. "There are showers in the changing room if you wish to use them, change into your normal clothing and follow this door to my office."
I nodded and watched her walk through the same door she had come in hours before, hoping I wouldn't get lost- that the office would be easy to find.
Looking into the mirror as I changed, I noticed that my skin was still a bit flushed, my brown hair- that I was trying to grow out from my days of keeping it as short as a boy's- was growing stiff in places from the dry sweat. My eyes were still the same feirce brown, but I thought it might be best to take a shower . . not that I needed it or anything. Nope, not at all.
Once I had showered and changed, I made my way to the door Ms. Anna had disappeared into and stepped inside. Looking around, I immediately knew that it would be rather simple to find where the woman's office was . . seeing as it was the only other door and had a sign hanging over it saying "Office Of Ms. Anna" in big, bold, letters.
I thought this was a bit strange, but shrugged it off- maybe people out in the country thought this type of thing was normal.
Making my way to the office I unknowningly began to tense, my senses realizing something was off before my mind could register it; unfortunate as it may be, I completely ignored any feelings of unease coming from my body. My hand went to the door, with a slight hesitation before I caught it and forced it to act normally, and I turned the knob with ease.
"Ah, here she is. This is the girl I was telling you so much about, Mr. Shjack." Ms. Anna said with with the same, bright and cheery, voice as before; her hand gesturing from me to the man standing beside her. A man I could not recognize any nationality in, his eyes seemed to be black . . though I couldn't be sure . ., his hair was also a rather dark shade, small streaks of a reddish-brown color seeming to make its way throughout it. His skin was tan and his body muscled, a large scar coming from under his short-sleaved, tight black, shirt and making its way down to his hand. I did not care to find out where the scar started.
A simple nod came from his direction and Ms. Anna signaled for me to sit in one of the two chairs in front of them, black leather and rather comfortable . . but I was now unable to relax. This was becoming a bit odd . . but . . I supposed that I shouldn't judge this person by his looks, and decided to act normally.
"Now, down to business," The woman sitting at the desk began, "I was seriously debating on asking you to join this academy; but there are a few . . peices of information . . that I would like to confirm before doing so."
I watched Ms. Anna closely, curious as to what she was speaking of . . and dreadfully sure of what it was. What else could she be talking about?
"I understand you have a criminal background?" She continued, forcing me to swallow. Her voice was calm and even, pupils at a normal size . . her body showed no signs of anything. This teacher was good.
"Ah . . uh . . yes." I said finally, holding back a sigh as I lost all hope of joining this school. I had been dreading this for awhile, praying that they wouldn't check that deep into my records . . but of course, it had only stopped just recently . . there was no chance these people would want me now.
"I'm a bit interested in the details of these . . crimes." Ms. Anna told me, surprising me to the point of making me stare at the woman in scilence for almost five minutes straight.
"Well . . I . . uh . .," I tried to start, stumbling until I caught the look in Ms. Anna's eyes . . something about them made me want to tell her; and a few moments later I found myself telling her everything. "My father was killed. He had been drunk and got into an accident. My mother was devistated, though I was surprised she cared at all. She wasn't in the best of places in her life at the time . . Anyway, she ran off to somewhere and I was left to fend for myself at the age of four. I lived how I had to- became a great theif and con artist- and slept wherever I could- mostly in trees or rooftops. Recently my mother found and told me she had been searching for me the past two years, she said she had gotten her life straightened out . . and remarried to my step-father. So we moved here."
"But you danced in a studio in New York?" The woman asked, not even blinking at the information I had just given her in my rushed speach . . though I thought I might have seen a flicker of warmth in her eyes.
"Yes, Ma'am. It was a con at first . . I had planned to . . uh . . borrow a few things from the other students and teachers; but I was good at it . . and it reminded me that I could do anything. I didn't have to just con and steal, I could dance and do things that normal girls did, too." My voice went into a daze for a moment, and before I could stop myself I said something I never told anyone, "It reminded me I was free, that I could fight for what I wanted. It really was like fighting sometimes, and I had grown well off in that area as well. For the next years that followed- until my mother came for me- I practice my ballet and fighting skills together."
"Interesting, don't you agree, Mr. Shjack?" Ms. Anna said in an accent she hadn't carried before; it was more intelligent somehow . . more secretive. Mr. Shjack gave her another nod and she handed me a file, pressing something under her desk.
"The Institute For Gifted Dancers." The letters spoke to me boldly from the file's cover, small letters telling you it was an all girls' bording school under them. Of course, I already knew this, and was a bit confused before I opened the file . . not noticing how the room had changed. There was now a bookshelf containing books such as "101 Ways To Use Natural Plants As Poison" and "Killing An Enemy Who Is Larger Than Yourself", there was even one with the name "Best Ways To Teach Young Operatives." Of course, I didn't notice this or the other strange objects that appeared . . my mind on the words in front of me:
The Institute For Gifted Dancers: A place where future operatives become aware of their skills.
IGD is an Institute taught by former operatives who needed or decided to retire and come here to teach the next generation. We choose gifted children that either have Operatives as their parents or have shown talent that most normal females do not contain.
There was more, a lot more, but I could no longer read it. My heart was starting to beat faster and for the first time since I could remember, I couldn't hide my emotions.
"Wait . . what?!"