5 - Rivals
The newspaper had given the ballet top reviews. As an understudy for the lead with no other part, the opening performance left her a little disappointed she wouldn't be sharing in the prestige. But when the lead suddenly and mysteriously fell ill prior to the second night's show, Willow couldn't help but feel a little excited about her big chance.
The first half of the show had gone wonderfully. She was graceful, she hadn't missed a step, and best of all - the audience seemed to love her. During intermission, she made her way backstage to her dressing room, finding a note and a box of chocolates. She sat and briefly examined the note, titled
"From an Admirer".
You really stole the show out there tonight, I'm hoping the second half is as magnificent as the first!
One chocolate couldn't hurt could it? She decided to try one. It was exquisite...She had to try just one more. She spent the next few idle moments in her mind arguing with herself about how many she would allow herself to eat, knowing she had to watch her figure.
She heard a soft sound telling the performers to take their places for the second half of the show. The box of chocolates was half empty by now, but she was feeling suddenly hungry, and grabbed the remaining small handful and made her way back upstairs to the stage.
As the lights dimmed, she began to feel flush, dismissing it as nervous jitters as her cue came and she stepped onstage.
Her outfit felt tight. Something was not right. She allowed herself a brief glance down, and was shocked to see ample cleavage beginning to strain her tutu's straps.
She tried to remain calm and keep up with the music, but she felt herself slowing as the weight piled on. What was happening? Where was this coming from?
She looked to stage left and stage right, where she could see all her fellow dancers staring at her, eyes wide and mouths agape in shock and horror.
She stumbled briefly as she saw someone in the wings she shouldn't have seen. The lead dancer, Cara. She looked terrible - with dark circles under her eyes indicating she hadn't slept, she was staring at Willow intently. Unlike the rest of the dancers, her face showed an evil grin, and Willow suddenly realized that Cara was behind all of this. What had she done? What was happening to her?
Willow froze. It came to her suddenly, the rumors she had started about Cara. She had never considered how her cruel words might come back to haunt her, but she realized she was about to find out. The music stopped. She heard voices in the audience shouting out, and in her confusion and shame, hesitated during what might have been her only chance to get off the stage unassisted. Her growth sped up, and while some of the audience ran for the exits, others stayed, staring, laughing, some even taunting her.
Cara silently watched from the edge of the stage, enjoying her revenge.