“We want you to go on tour.”
I look at my cuticles, trying to let them know that I’m bored and will need to be seriously convinced. “Of course you do. It’ll sell more tickets. My season was the highest-rated ever.”
The producer shifts uncomfortably. He doesn’t like my attitude. To be honest, neither do I. I’m channeling my inner Callie. Of course I want to go on tour. Inside I’m jumping up and down, clapping like a little schoolgirl. It’s a chance to keep performing. To be in front of people, hearing the applause. So what if it’s for dancing rather than singing? Dancing was always my strength. I was a dancer first. But really, at heart, I’m a performer. The only place I want to be is on stage. A different city every night—yes please.
I can’t let him know how desperate I am for this chance. How much I want it. How much I need it. Instead, I sigh and roll my eyes. “I guess. When would it start? I have some commitments coming up.”
That’s a lie. Since finishing Hollywood Dance Off!, my calendar has been more open than I’d like. Sure, there were media appearances immediately following, but after about a week, no one cared that I was the winner. It was Season Thirteen after all. People are getting bored with the whole premise. But I wasn’t lying when I said my season was the most watched. It may have had something to do with my competing—and winning—with a torn ACL and cracked rib. More likely it was because I played up the romance angle with my partner. He totally wasn’t interested in me, but I paid him to pretend he was. Gayle, my manager, thought it up, and dang if she wasn’t right about it. She can be pretty ruthless.
I need her to be, since I’m not by nature. All I want to do is sing and dance. Gayle makes it happen. The acting lessons she made me take have paid off throughout my fake romance with Sergei and in high-stakes negotiations like this.
Sergei and I “broke up” in a dramatic fashion. We had to, obviously. That cost me extra. By the time that happened, right before the final show, we couldn’t stand each other. It made me sad though, because in another life, I think Sergei and I could have been great friends. We have similar work ethics and drive for perfection. He’s funny and gets my need to be in front of people. The pressure of the show, not to mention the pain, did not bring out the best in me, and I took it out on Sergei. Much like I did with Cameron, my ex-husband. He didn’t have to stay and love me, so he didn’t. Sergei had to stay, and he resented it. And me.
I don’t blame him.
The producer looks relieved. “That’s great. I’m sure we can work around whatever you’ve got. We’ll be in touch about the rehearsal schedule. Sergei will be so happy you’re back!”
Why didn’t I realize that touring with the Hollywood Dance Off! crew would, of course, mean Sergei and I have to work together again? Because I’m a stupid idiot, that’s why.
But at least I’ll be on stage. It’s the only thing that matters.