Dazzle Me

By: Juliana Haygert

Chapter One


Rayna



My heart beat in rhythm with the song.

One, two, three, four.

One, two, three, four.

I waltzed to the right, added a turn, then did a small pique, and arabesque. The song ended and the little girls seated along the mirrored wall applauded, cheering with loud “yays” and “woots.” Smiling, I turned to my young students—eleven girls around six or seven years old—and bowed.

“Now, come join me,” I said, beckoning for them to stand. They shot up and rushed to my side in the middle of the classroom.

I positioned them along two lines, facing the mirror, and used my cell phone to start the song again. I stood a few feet in front of them, to the side, and watched them through the mirror as they started following the steps we had been learning all month.

Dressed in pink leotards, skirts, tights, and ballet shoes, the girls danced, their movements still unsure and a little awkward. It was okay, though. This wasn’t the most formal ballet studio out there, thank goodness, and they could be themselves.

Through the mirror, I saw someone standing by the half-open door.

I smiled and, under her hoodie, she smiled back at me.

There were only three minutes left in class. The girls would love if I …

My smile widened as I quickly swapped songs—from the music of their winter recital in a couple of months, to the pop song currently ranked number one on the country. Probably in the whole world.

The girls shrieked and started dancing, imitating the singer and the moves from her music video.

Little did they know…

The young woman at the door marched into the classroom until she was standing right in the center. Though only a couple stopped dancing, all the little girls stared at her, probably wondering who the hell was this girl and why was she interrupting their class.

Then the new figure pulled off her hoodie, removed her sunglasses, and smiled at the little girls. They shrieked some more and ran to Sienna Sparks—award-winning singer/songwriter—and embraced her legs. They screamed her name and asked for hugs and kisses and photos.

“How about we dance first?” Sienna said. I restarted the song and the girls, barely containing more shrieks, went back to their lines. Sienna glanced at me. “You too, Miss Rayna Monroe.”

Rolling my eyes, I joined her in the center of the classroom. We all sang as if we had angel voices like Sienna, and when the chorus started, we all performed the choreography as if we were the dancers on stage with her.

The girls were in heaven and I loved knowing I was partly responsible for their smiles right now. After all, Sienna wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for me.

Parents and guardians arrived to pick up their daughters and sisters, but when they saw Sienna dancing with their kids, they started snapping pictures—which would probably appear on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter in less than ten seconds.

Sienna didn’t have much time before paparazzi showed up here.

I ushered the girls out of the classroom and into their parents’ arms, listening to a lot of “thank-you” and “you’re amazing” and “I love your best friend.” I had heard them all before.

When they were all gone, I closed the classroom door and leaned against it.

“You’re crazy,” I said, shaking my head at Sienna.

Still smiling, she shrugged. “What? It’s fun. Did you see their faces? I love that. Making them happy.”

And that was one of the reasons America, and the entire world, loved her so much. The world had stolen my best friend from me, but what could I do? The girl was too talented not to share her gift.

I walked to one of the classroom’s corners. “Now they’ll ask for you every class.”

“You can always tell them I said hi.”

“As if that would be enough.” I turned off the stereo and picked up my leg warmers, before turning to Sienna. “What are you doing here, anyway? Didn’t you have an interview or something?”

“An interview with a radio station,” she said. “That was pushed to tomorrow afternoon, which freed up the rest of my day.”

I faked a gasp. “What? Sienna Sparks doesn’t have plans for Sunday evening?”

She slapped my shoulder. “I hate that name,” she muttered. Sparks was her stage name, given to her by her manager when he first discovered her at thirteen. Six years later, it was still catchy. “And I do have plans. With you.”

“Oh, no, no.” I shoved the leg warmers inside my tote. “I have plans too. Other plans.”

“Oh, I know all about your plans. They haven’t changed since we were ten years old. You’ll have lunch now, then you’ll dance and dance and dance, until it’s bedtime. At ten on a Sunday.” Sienna rolled her eyes. “B-O-R-I-N-G.”