Updated: Aug 22, 2021
I wanted to share with you some of the videos I used to help me write this. I don't know if there's interest. I'll also post some dance terms here. But if you don't want 'em, just head to the story.
Roberto Bolle Dancing -- now you'll see why I'm newly obsessed.
Pirouettes -- this also has some of the other terms used like relevé and passé
Breaking in Pointe shoes! -- I watched a couple of videos and combined them. Everyone does it different but this was the main video I followed.
Plié, plier. To bend.
Relevé, relever. to rise.
Tendu, etendre. To stretch.
Glissade, glisser. To glide.
Signor is Mister in Italian. (Verified with an Italian person)
Andiamo is "let's go." My nonna sometimes used it as "hurry up". lol
I loved all the dance stuff and I can't wait to write more of it. Now that we've met everyone, they can begin to intermingle. But I think there needs to be one more of Wyatt and Darius on their own. At least a scene or two. Or, well it's me so probably ten.
I have two different Silas pictures here. Not sure which one is more him. They both have some of the attributes I see in my head. Does the crowd lean one way or the other?
En Pointe Passion ~ Julius and Oliver Part 2/2
I pay dearly for what I put my foot through. When the Advil wears off, it hates me. “Fuck you, Advil.” I pour myself some vino. I usually don’t drink, especially when I’ve got to teach the next day but after that. That … I don’t even know what, I need a fucking drink.
I kissed a dancer. A fucking company member. And while he may be a member who is a grown man he’s still under my tutelage.
Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell don’t care about that shit because they met on the dance floor. They were vocal about the love stories that happen in their Company. They’re proud of them even. They’re not why I’m freaking out. I have my own rules about this kind of thing. And it’s not that I’m opposed to the idea, it’s that I didn’t think it through, I didn’t think period. I acted. On impulse.
The only time I let go at all is when I dance. And even then, I have a level of command and authority. This is bad. This can’t happen. And … I groan out loud. I gave him my brand fucking new pointe shoes. My nine-hundred-dollar pointe shoes I got Nonna to send me from Italy.
They were a guilty pleasure, especially with how quickly I go through pointe shoes—though it’s a lot less frequent now that I’m not performing. When I did it was a pair a week. But the Valencianas were collector. Aside from being designer, they come dyed black. This year I forked out the cash but I used to get given two pair when I was performing. One I’d sign and auction off for charity. One I’d keep to dance in and save as a memento of that year.
Normally, you need to do a fitting, but I’ve been buying these a long time. I know feet and I especially know my own feet. I’ve bought in every brand out there and I’ve gotten good at guessing what I’ll need. I’ve gotten good at making any necessary adjustments to suit my feet.
I also do this thing—a superstition really. I carry any new set of pointe shoes around in my bag with me to give them luck and so I can enjoy how pretty they are before I cut and smash the fuck out of them.
I scrub both hands over my face. My beautiful Valencianas.
I sip my wine and consider calling him—I have all their phone numbers—and asking for them back. I have other pairs, older pairs that would do for a few days. I immediately reject the idea. I’m a sentimental fuck when it comes down to it and my older shoes are more meaningful than a new set of Valencianas.
I toast to their loss. Drink my wine. Have a salt bath. Rub more Tiger Balm into my foot. Eat a nutritious meal of white fish, salad and rice and get to bed early.
Randall doesn’t show to class. It pisses me off. I know I have no right to be pissed off but I am. I know he was in today. I saw him in the hallway at lunch. He avoided me.
My foot isn’t awesome today, especially seeing as I had to teach my pointe class, but I stay after to stretch and move through some stuff for tomorrow. I get into my stretching which has become anger stretching. Who does Randall think he is? Skipping class after I gave him my fucking Valencianas.
I barely hear the throat clear. When I turn, he’s there. I burn all my rage at him, he’s burning equal amounts of rage toward me. “You said not to come to class without shoes, sir.” He pulls the shoes out of the bag. “I know what these are. I can’t accept them. I begged Shane to take me—”
“—who the fuck is Shane?” My jealous-anger surprises me. It’s not like Randall is mine, it just feels like he is. The shoes are now the least of my worries.
I expect him to cow like he has been, under my intense gaze—it’s roaring through me like a rolling boil—but he doesn’t. He gets that cocky, brat-smirk, like he’s channeling a whole other person, reminding me why I want nothing to do with him. “Shane is no one, just some guy I’m fucking.” He licks his lips, then he drops his bag and prances in on his perfect legs still in his dance tights.
If he was trying to make me more jealous, he’s succeeded. He moves to the center of the room, kicks off his shoes and presses the tops of his bare feet into the floor. He preps with a leg behind him and then he bounces into a series of fouettés. Of course, he’s the kind to do fouettés for fun. I watch, mesmerized for a few. He smiles his gorgeous, sunny smile at me, makes me his mark for spotting with his head so he can time perfect rotation. He looks to my crotch; his smile shifts to a smirk. He knows what his dancing does to me. The little asshole. I move to him and grab his arm to stop him. “You’re going to tear up your feet like that.”
He tilts his head. “What are you going to do about it?”
I yank him to my body and let my forehead fall to his. “Stop fucking, Shane.” It comes out unbidden just like everything else with him.
“No.” He slides away, continuing his dance but without anything feet-tearing, I notice.
“I take it he couldn’t bring you to get the shoes?” I squeeze my fists. I want to punch something.
“He wanted to, but he had to work late. He was on a break as it was.”
“Why is it you can’t drive or take the bus?” I continue to watch him, and it calms me.
“Because Silas says I can’t.” He hops, catches the air and floats to the next jump, bounding off the sprung floor.
“Who’s Silas?” I say, anger rising up. How many fuck partners does he have?
He laughs. “My older brother.”
“Oh.” I flush, embarrassed. I need to calm down. “You do everything your older brother says? Aren’t you an adult? What about your parents?”
“I am but you pick your battles with, Silas. That’s not one of them. My parents are dead.”
“Oh. I’m sorry, Signor Randall.”
“S’okay. They’ve been gone a long time.”
But I understand that he’s not going to have shoes until Saturday which means he’s not going to return to class until then and I’m not going to be able to go that long without seeing him. I move over to the shoes while he dances around me and pull out the stuff I brought to class.
Half the fun of pointe shoes is smashing them to fuck.
I wanted my dancers to have this moment because I remember how much fun it was for me to do this to my first pair. With Randall, I relish in doing it for him. I watch his feet as he dances. I envision how we’ll condition them, make them more flexible and then I get to work shaping the shoes for his feet.
I squash the box and bang it against the ground until it sounds right. I bend the heel. I cut the shank out, by ripping the heel of the insole up, cutting with a Stanley knife, remove the nail and then super glue the material inside down again. I shave the bottom, cut the top bit of satin from the pointe away so he doesn’t slip. I bend the demi-pointe and then sew the ribbons and elastic where I know it will suit his foot best.
It takes me a good thirty minutes all the while, he dances and watches me work. “Come here,” I say when I’m done. He sits on the ground with me. “Give me your right foot.”
I slide his foot into one of my toe pads and then put the shoe on, lacing it up his ankle. Valencianas are over the top and lace up far past where they need to for aesthetic purposes. When he’s got them on, I admire his feet in them. Feet are not a fetish of mine, especially a dancer’s gnarly feet but feet in pointe shoes do something for me.
Especially his feet in pointe shoes.
I dump water on the heels, using my water bottle. “Stand,” I instruct. When he does, I lead him over to the barre. “Second position and press up.” I take a sharp inhale at the vision of him. I did a good job. The shoes fit him perfectly. I can see every muscle in his lean dancer’s legs through his tights and the black laces are snug and pretty up his calves, tying at the back of his knee.
“Go into fifth.”
He moves into the position placing his right foot in front of the left, still up on his toes. “Any pain?”
“Other than the pain of my entire body weight being on one fucking toe? No.”
“Good. You’ll get used to it. Now bring your feet together and squat down.”
He does. Because of the backward arched shape the pointe shoe gives his foot, there will be a good stretch down the fronts of his feet. “Now what?”
“Stay like that for four minutes.”
I laugh. “You’ll thank me later.”
He fumes at me, but he does it. He winces when we get to the halfway mark, whines some more, complains. I enjoy his torment a little. I don’t feel bad knowing he enjoys tormenting me just as much. When I give him the nod to come down, he sits back on his bum and collapses on the floor. I don’t let him rest. “You’re not done. You skipped my class,” I say, pulling him up. He lets me.
“In my defense, you said not to come without shoes.”
“You had shoes. Nine hundred and fifty dollar Valencianas. Now come on, take your punishment,” I tease, allowing a crooked smile to grace my lips.
His face falls. “I didn’t want to take your nice shoes and now you’ve destroyed them to fuck to fit my feet.”
“Actually, these will still fit me.”
His brow frowns. “How is that possible? Not only are you a lot bigger than I am, no two set of feet are exactly alike. And I thought you said my feet were too tight?”
The scowl I know of him returns. “Our feet are similar enough with the exception that mine are more flexible, even with my injury. But your feet can be conditioned, and they will be like mine. Better than.”
He nods, eyeing my injured foot. The one that had been burning but I’ve forgotten about it.
“Anyway, enough stalling. Up. I want at least an hour of barre work from you. You’re my lead. You can’t miss a day.”
I lead him through the work we did in class, performing the barre work with him so I can stretch too. He complains about his feet, I help him stretch them out—no I did not do this for the other dancers—but I push him to continue.
It’s getting late when I remember. “Won’t Shane be picking you up?”
He shakes his head. “Darius today. He’s always late if he even shows.”
“How many men are you with?” I guess I should expect him to have many. I don’t have to like it.
He laughs. “Darius is my other older brother.”
“How many brothers do you have?” He’s on the ground now, I begin untying the pointe shoes.
“Just the two.”
“Neither sound very good.”
“Tell me what you really think,” he says, savoring the feel of his foot out of the shoe, flexing and extending it. It’s red and blistered. I work on the other one. “They’re not as awful as they sound. Silas has a temper that gets away from him at times and that’s when you do have to watch out, but he was left in charge of a lot at a young age including me and Darry. He’s still worried he’ll fuck it up—fuck us up—even though we’re all grown. He never got a childhood. But I promise you, there’s no one else you want in your corner. He’ll go to Mordor and back for you. Lord of the Rings reference,” he says, when my face screws up, confused.
I nod. “And the other?” I pop the other shoe off. He groans relief.
“Darius is an asshole but he’s also loveable, generous and protective. Hilarious,” he adds laughing at something he’s thinking about. “And while yeah, he forgets to pick me up sometimes, and it pisses me off, he never misses a show. Ever. Even when I was just a kid. He had to miss them for awhile because … well because. It was a long while ago and he vowed never to again. He’s kept that promise, even drunk out of his gourd when I wish he wouldn’t show up. He’s loyal and he’s had it rough too.”
“What about you?” I’m now massaging his feet on the floor so I can keep touching him.
He loses the cheerful glint he had in his eyes talking about his brothers. “I don’t want to talk about me.”
I glower because that isn’t fair, I want to know about him, I want to know everything. But I won’t push him. I nod. “We should get you home. I can give you a ride.”
He shakes his head. “No. It’s better I call, Simon. Silas is used to Simon … and Shane.”
Right. Shane. “You’re still hung up on that guy? Who’s Simon?”
He doesn’t answer. Instead, he leans back to his forearms and elbows. “Are you going to ask me out or are you just going to continue to pretend not to be insanely jealous of my lover, Shane?”
“I can’t ask you out. You’re my student in a way.”
“Did you massage everyone’s feet, sir?” He waggles his eyebrows at me.
Damn him. “Up. Up! Andiamo.” I peal off a bunch of Italian at him. Most of it cursing him.
He laughs as he stands, half pulling me with him. “That’s hot.”
“I’m cursing you and your family.”
“You’re a fucking brat like Darius.” From what’s he’s told me, that’s what Darius is.
He smiles. “Sometimes but not like you think I am. You do tend to bring it out in me.”
He wraps his arms around my waist and I tilt his head up using his chin. I might regret this, but I think I’ll regret it more if I don’t. “I’d like to take you out sometime, Randall.”
I roll my eyes. “Fine. This once. Oliver.” I let my accent pass over his name. “I’d like to take you out, Oliver.”
“I’ll think about it. Should probably ask Shane if he’s all right with it.”
I remember something. “Is he the one who drives the black truck?”
“So, you were stalking me, now?”
“Is he? Randall.”
“It’s his truck.”
“You do have a crush on, Shane.”
“A little one, yeah. But who wouldn’t? He’s kind of incredible—but very taken,” he adds. “He’s Simon’s.”
That’s not good enough for me. “I’ll make you forget about, Shane.”
“Kinda already have.” He yanks me by the back of my neck, standing as en pointe as you can get without pointe shoes, to kiss me.
It’s just as before. Like kissing a bolt of lightning. My body is as alive as it is when I’m dancing.
“Oh shit,” he says when he pulls away. He’s looking behind me.
“Oh, shit is right,” someone says. It’s a man wearing black slacks in a black blazer. His white shirt’s open two buttons, the blue tie askew. He looks like Oliver but with more of a baby face and bluer eyes. He yanks Oliver from me by the back of his tights like he’s a toddler rather than the man he is.
Ah, it’s that one.
“I’ve been waiting outside for you the last half an hour. I’ve been texting you. I almost called Silas. What the fuck were you thinking?”
I clear my throat. “Hi. I’m Julius Vincenzo,” I introduce myself. I extend my hand.
He doesn’t take it. “Good. I’ll know just who to call in about. What kind of a school is this?”
“I keep telling you, Dar, it’s not a school. It’s a ballet Company. I work here.”
“How is that worse? It means I’m an adult, making adult decisions.”
Darius looks from me to Oliver. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Vincenzo. We need to be going. I’ll drop him off on time tomorrow. Sorry about yesterday. My friends were supposed to bring him on time. They didn’t know when that was. He didn’t tell them. It was a whole thing.”
“Oh my god, Darius. Stop. It doesn’t work like that. Sorry, sir,” he says to me. He’s so far away. We’re a lot farther away than we were moments ago.
“We’ll catch up tomorrow, Randall. See you in class.”
He nods. His body deflates. He thinks I’m no longer interested after that little scene with his brother. He should meet my family if he thinks that’s something. “Wait, aren’t you forgetting something, Signor Randall?”
I hold out the Valencianas for him. He breaks from Darius to take them for me. I seize my opportunity. Fuck his brother. As he reaches for the shoes, I reach for his waist and pull his pelvis to mine and I fasten my lips to his, enjoying his plump lower lip most. “You don’t need a ride home after class tomorrow. I’ll bring you home.”
Darius tosses his head back pinching the bridge of his nose. “Oh brother. C’mon, Oli.”
I can still hear them as they head down the hallway. “Silas is going to cut my balls off, you realize, when he hears about this.”
“I don’t care about your balls, Darius. I need to date again.”
That’s the last I hear before they’re out of earshot.
I don’t have epilepsy. I don’t. I had one seizure, one. It was a singular incident, but it scared the fuck out of Silas. Darius is still spooked too but I could have worn him down by now if it weren’t for Silas renewing the fear in him every five seconds.
Silas thinks I have epilepsy and that he’s just got to find the right doctor to diagnose me. He found a doctor who would prescribe me the pills anyway but with all the side effects, I didn’t want to take them. If I actually had epilepsy, I’d take them in a heartbeat, but I knew that wasn’t the case. Even three doctors confirmed it wasn’t epilepsy. That was a rough time, but it was a battle I chose, one I keep choosing. As a result, I’m in a kind of purgatory where I’m an adult who’s not allowed to do adult things.
I stand in front of my brother’s door and knock. If I want to be an adult, I have to start acting like one.
“Enter,” he says, in his low commanding voice. He hasn’t even done anything and I’m ready to back out.
I take a deep breath and head inside.
He’s there, fiddling with his cufflink. My brother is so handsome. He’s just turned forty. His haircut is always fresh—long on top, shaved thin up the sides neat to his ears, blond like me and Darry, a partial beard. His green eyes are hard with a knife’s edge to them. He always has an austere countenance, like he’s about to discuss a serious business deal with you. I don’t know how Lakshan stands him sometimes, but I also know Lakshan gets off on Silas having so much control. In everything. Not just in the bedroom.
Lakshan is there on the leather couch in Silas’s office. One arm is lounging over the back and his thick, black hair is a little too mussed—ah, so Silas is doing up his cufflink—a contented smile spread on his face. Lakshan has been in the family for years. He’s another brother to me—I make note to tease Julius with his name tomorrow—sentimentally and legally. He and Silas have been married seven years now.
Lakshan looks me over. He knows me well enough by now. He knows something’s up. “Hey there, kid,” he says, and I nod to him. “Should I go, sir?” he asks Silas.
“No. You stay there. I’m not done with you, baby.” He turns his austere gaze to me. “What do you want, Oliver?”
I want—desperately want—to not sound like a kid when I speak to him. I’m not a kid but I’m so much younger than Silas, I doubt he’ll ever see me as anything but. Plus, he’s been looking after me since I was tiny. I know I followed around after him. I went to him when I was scared—still do. He read me stories even on his most tired days because I didn’t have a mother at all, and I didn’t have a father for long. Silas is a father to me with an edge of older brother. He may never see me as an adult.
They both tried—Silas and Darius—to give me what I didn’t have. In doing that, they go overboard. All the fucking time. What’s the right amount? I don’t know and neither do they. It is what is now, and I can’t help wanting Silas’s approval. I could do this behind Silas’s back. I could even tell him to go fuck himself—not that doing so would go over well; doesn’t change that I could—but I won’t. I want to date Julius, but I’ll do it when Silas is comfortable with it. I need to make him see I’m ready.
“I have a person. One I want to date.” Jesus fuck. That’s not how I wanted it to come out. I might be jumping the gun here anyway. I don’t actually know if Julius wants to date me. Sure he’s going to take me on a date but it’s not the same as dating. I might not have much experience with dating, but I know that much.
“That’s it, no? That’s not fair, Silas.” That’s not fair … fuck. That’s classic whining. Little kid whining. “Can’t we talk about it?”
“You have a dance career to concern yourself with. Let’s wait a couple more years.”
My body deflates. I feel totally defeated. I look to Lakshan, like he can do anything. I think for once he wishes he could.
My brain scrambles for the right words, the ones that will convince him to at least meet Julius, but they won’t come. The gap is closing. There’s no real gap of course but if you do want to court Silas’s temper, you ask him something he’s already said no to. When you’re still in the conversation, there’s hope. There’s time to negotiate.
The door creaks open behind us and Darius strides in, his hands in his pockets. Great. Now I’ll have two of them to list off for me why I’m still not ready to see people again. It’s been three years—three—since well since everything, since he found me after what my ex did. I should be the one traumatized but I’m not. Silas is. I don’t know what it’s doing to take to get them to relax.
Darius is no longer ruffled like he was earlier. His hair has been recombed back, his tie knotted properly in place and his shirt tucked in. There’s a glint of his neck and I spy the chain poking out to the tags I know he wears now from his marine man. Wyatt. Darius’s secret marine man, in the way he won’t allow anyone to meet him yet. Even though he talks about him non-stop. The other night, Darius helped me trim my hair to Julius’s standards and he wouldn’t shut up about Wyatt.
“I met him, Sye,” Darius says.
“Met him?” Silas’s face darkens, clouding over.
“He’s safe, Silas. We’ve always said if baby brother found someone safe, we’d at least give him a chance. Have him for dinner. I think he will impress you.”
That’s a high compliment from Darius. He doesn’t just say things like that, especially not when they concern me. And yeah, he only met Julius briefly, but Darius excels in sizing people up. He’s a good judge of character. Silas knows this.
My big brother takes a deep breath, staring at everything, still commanding the room without saying a word. “Fine. He may come for dinner. If I approve of him, which is a big if, then we’ll discuss it further.”
I exhale a heavy breath. It sucks that I couldn’t do that, that I couldn’t find the words to convince Silas like Darius did, but I’m grateful to Darius. I want this more than I care about my damn pride. “Thank you, Silas. Thank you,” I say.
I’ll thank Darry later. Silas won’t have liked his own words used against him or having to concede to said words. Thanking Darius in front of him will be too much like gloating.
“You and you, go,” Silas says pointing to me and Lakshan. His green eyes land on Darius. “You and I need to talk.”
I look to Darius who shrugs and winks at me. His face is still healing over from the massive blowout they had the other night. Silas isn’t like a father to Darius. They are brothers through and through. They fist fight like brothers do. They yell at each other like brothers do. But Darius will back down if he feels he’s fucked up and out of his own loyalty to Silas. Silas has done a lot for Darry too. There are lines Darius won’t cross with Silas.
I trust he’ll be fine as Lakshan puts his arm around me and we leave to the sound of the door closing and the muffled yell of Silas’s angry voice.
“So?” Lakshan says. “Tea in the kitchen and you tell me all about this guy?”
I gush to Lak. He feeds me a late dinner—lots of my dinners are late, especially moving into dance season—and I head for a hot bath and then bed.
My feet are fucking blistered from those god damned pointe shoes. I was resistant to them. But after watching Julius in the flesh, I ached to fly like him. I wanted to be as beautiful as he looked floating across the room en pointe.
Until he began teaching us, I’d only ever seen him on TV. The time my family was in Italy, we’d missed his performance by a week. My walls used to be doused in posters of him. I’m torn between never letting him find out about that and bringing one for him to sign.
I laugh. It’s weird to think I was in high school when he was starting his career as a dancer for one of the most prestigious ballet companies in Italy.
I cried when I heard the news about his foot being crushed by those men. I read everything I could about it.
When I climb into bed, I bring the shoes with me. Part of me, that part of me that still remembers my teenage years is saying, “You’ve got Julius Vincenzo’s Valenciana pointe shoes!” and “You kissed Julius Vincenzo.” The other part of me is reminding me what an ass he’s been the past couple days.
But I can’t help thinking of him as the lion with the thorn in his paw. If that were me, crushed foot, career ended, I wouldn’t have wanted to live. He has every right to be cautious about the cocky, young, up and comer.
I get it but I still hated him for a solid forty-eight hours. Okay maybe it was more like twenty-four hours. After he kissed me and gave me his special shoes, it was hard to not fantasize about him pile-driving me on the floor of the dance studio.