This is the sequel to Dance of the Wicked Boys. It is not imperative that you read the first novel before reading this one as I have included enough hints throughout the first chapter as to what happened before that a new reader will not be completely lost. However, I would hope you would read the first one as it will help you understand the motivations and the feelings of the characters in the sequel. The story takes place in 1970, so the descriptions of New York City, Times Square, and the drive from New York City to the Hamptons may not seem accurate for a contemporary story, but show the way it was forty-four years ago. Times Square wasn't always a Disney Theme Park. Also, the use of anachronistic terms such as “Negro” or “colored” represent the thinking and ways of speaking of the America of 1970 and in no way are intended to be disrespectful to African-Americans. One of the themes of this story is opposition to bigotry and prejudice! Further, there may be things and ways of thinking regarding sex and intergenerational relations that many today would find abhorrent, but which, once again, reflect the way things were in 1970 rather than today. SPOILER: no adult men have sex with underage boys in this story, though it might seem that such might happen. However, the story does explore the feelings and the anguish such desires might engender.
Ballet Academy of America and Ballet of America are fictional entities and any resemblance to existing institutions is purely coincidental. Greensburg is a fictional city.
DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER! This story may contain scenes of sexual activity between underage males. If it may be illegal for you for read this in your jurisdiction or if you are offended by the subject matter of this story, please read no further. I would be very grateful to hear from you about my story. Please write to me at:
frthnkr1957nifty <at> gmail <dot> com
And PLEASE contribute to Nifty! This is an invaluable resource for the GLBTQ community and a bastion in the fight for Internet freedom and Free Speech!
Two- The Dance of the Wicked Boys
He was still in Rafael's arms, lying naked in the darkness atop the bed. A cool, night breeze blew in through the window, but Rafael's body kept him warm. He had never felt such peace, such a sense of well-being as he did at that moment. He couldn't be happier, more serene, more secure than lying in Rafael's arms at that moment—but something was wrong.
He opened his eyes. The darkness of the room was slowly beginning to grow into a faint light from the window as the sky began to lighten with the impending rise of the morning sun. It would still be a while before the first true light of morning, but Jeremy was able to faintly see that he and Rafael were not alone. There was someone standing beside the bed! Two figures!
Suddenly terrified, Jeremy's eyes snapped open and he saw them, standing before him, gazing down at him, their condemnation clear on their pain-filled faces. Tears trickled down his mother's cheeks and he could see the disgust and sadness in his father's eyes. Suddenly, Jeremy was a little boy again as he softly cried, “Mommy! Daddy!”
His father shook his head sadly as his mother raised a hankie to her eyes and dabbed her mascara-stained tears. They turned around as Jeremy cried out to them again, but to no avail. They were gone.
He raised his head and looked around in a panic, breathing as if he had just run a mile. Rafael stirred, but didn't awaken. After a moment, Jeremy slipped out of the teenager's arms and off the bed. Naked, he stood beside the bed where his parents had stood, tears flowing down his cheeks as he looked around in confusion. Where had they gone?
Still breathing hard, he bit his lower lip and walked over to the foot of the tall dresser beside the closet. He dropped to the floor and pulled his legs up, his knees under his chin as he wrapped his arms around his legs. Frozen, he stared out across the floor, unmoving as the light slowly grew in the room. The muffled roar of early morning traffic on Broadway grew louder along with the occasional honk of a horn. And, then...
“...Harry Harrison with you at six-thirty-two on Music Radio Seventy-Seven, WABC. Its sixty-six degrees on a beautiful Tuesday morning in the greatest city in the world. No major tie-ups in traffic yet, though you need to watch out for construction on the Major Deegan between...”
Rafael grumbled an irritated, “Fuck,” as he reached for the alarm clock and turned off the radio. He mumbled another “Fuck” and then raised his head, looking around in confusion until he saw a mop of red hair past the edge of the bed.
“Jeremy?” he mumbled, still not completely awake. “What are you doing on the floor?”
He struggled to sit up and looked around. When he saw Jeremy sitting in a ball, unmoving, seemingly unaware that Rafael had spoken to him, he climbed from the bed. He crawled over to the boy and softly asked, “Jeremy, sweetheart, what's the matter? What's wrong?”
Jeremy said nothing. His eyes remained fixed on the other side of the room and he seemed to be completely unaware of anything around him. Rafael wrapped his arms around him and held him tightly. He said nothing; he simply held the boy for a long time until Jeremy finally relaxed slightly and leaned against him. Still, he said nothing and they simply sat silently, Rafael holding him.
“I was at a dance when he caught my eye, standing alone, looking sad and shy. We began to dance, swaying to and fro, and soon I knew I would never let him go.”
Teddy Cochran danced across the kitchen, carrying a plate of English muffins and a bowl of strawberries to the table as Eydie Gormé sang on the radio. He had changed the radio away from Rafael's Top 40 station to a more middle of the road selection. Wearing a short, silk robe and bunny slippers, he began to sing along as he turned back to the cabinet.
“Blame it on the Bossa Nova with its magic spell. Blame it on the Bossa Nova that he did so well. Oh it all began with just one little dance, but soon it ended up a big romance. Blame it on the Bossa Nova, the dance of love.”
Rafael and Jeremy stood in the doorway to the kitchen, the older boy's face reflecting the mirth inside, the younger boy with a reserved smile. Rafael stepped forward and joined his uncle in singing and dancing as he help carry items to the table. Jeremy smiled and watched.
“Now was it the moon? No no, the Bossa Nova. Or the stars above? No, no, the Bossa Nova. Now was it the tune, Yeah yeah, the Bossa Nova, the dance of love.”
Teddy turned the radio off and Rafael set a pitcher of orange juice on the table. He remarked to his uncle, “You seem to be in a good mood today.”
Teddy set his copy of the New York Times on the table next to a cup of coffee. “I'm delirious with sleep deprivation,” he replied.
He sat down and put a pair of reading glasses on. Looking over them at the boys as they sat down, he added, “Listening to the two of you last night screaming out in lust and love, I took up smoking again. First, Jeremy would cry, 'Oh, Rafael! You're so manly and strong!' And, then, Rafael would yell, 'Take it! Take it like a man!' It was enough to give me the vapors!”
“I never said that!” Jeremy cried.
Rafael shook his head and said, “Either you're delusional or you dropped a hit or three of acid into all that rot gut Scotch you were drinking last night.”
Teddy took a sip of coffee and spread the front page of the Times out before him. “I haven't tripped since that party at Andy's,” he replied, “when I saw the soup cans dancing down St. Mark's Place. Then again, Rafael, you did bear a striking resemblance to Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blonds.”
“Did Jeremy look like Marilyn Monroe?” Rafael asked, buttering an English muffin.
“Sadly no,” Teddy replied. “I would have enjoyed hearing him sing, 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend.'”
“Or, 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President?'”
Teddy smiled and said, “I don't think Mr. Kennedy liked redheads like Jeremy.”
“I think Mr. Kennedy liked anything with tits and a vagina.”
Jeremy looked back and forth between the two and finally said, “You two are crazy. I want to go home.”
“Too late,” Rafael replied. “We're dancing today. I'll teach you the Bossa Nova.”
“I already know how to do the Twist, the Swim, and the Mashed Potato.”
“Good. We'll add to your repertoire.”
Teddy was perusing an article about President Nixon's vacation at Key Biscayne. Dropping the paper so he could look over the top, he asked Rafael, “Speaking of dancing, how long will the two of you be at Ballet Academy today?”
Rafael grinned and said, “Until one of us drops dead from exhaustion—or three o'clock, whichever comes first.”
“Three o'clock's not very long,” Jeremy complained. “I need lots of work if I'm going to impress Alistair.”
“You'll be fine,” Rafael replied. “We don't want to push you too far.”
“I'm okay, Rafael.”
“You went two months without dancing. You can't just jump right back in. Your muscles need to catch up with your spirit.”
“But, I kept up with my exercises all summer,” Jeremy countered. “Besides, we've done practically nothing but dance since Thursday night. I know what I can do.”
Rafael smiled and nodded, replying, “I know and I know you're in great shape, but we don't want to push too hard. I don't want you injuring a tendon or pulling a muscle just before you dance for Alistair or before your audition next month.”
“I'm fine!” Jeremy replied with irritation. “I need to practice!”
Rafael frowned and turned to face the younger boy, declaring, “Look, Jeremy. You're not playing football for Bear Bryant. You're a dancer for Alistair Mountjoy, which is harder. I know what I'm talking about. I've been training at one of the best ballet schools in the world. I really do know what I'm talking about.”
“And, I know what I can do!” Jeremy snapped.
Rafael was taken aback by the anger in the younger boy's voice. He looked away and softly replied, “All right.”
Jeremy frowned and looked down at his cereal. After a moment, he muttered, “I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be hateful. It's just that... I know I have to be careful, but I also know what I can do and what I can't. I'm strong. I can dance. I'll let you know when I've had enough. I need the practice, Rafael. I need it. I have to be the best.”
Rafael silently looked up from his muffin and cereal and nodded. Teddy watched over his reading glasses, his eyes moving back and forth between the two.
“You know, Rafael, if he's doing well at three, another hour of practice might not hurt. I seem to remember a curly-haired twelve-year-old who couldn't be dragged off the dance floor.”
Rafael sighed and nodded.
“Perhaps I'm being overprotective. I've just never had anyone that I cared for like this.”
Jeremy kept his eyes averted as he said softly, “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Silently, the two ate as Teddy read his newspaper and sipped his coffee. Eventually, Rafael looked up and asked, “Will you remember to run by Tiffany's today for me?”
“Of course, dear,” Teddy replied. “I'm having lunch with my editor in hopes she can assuage my fears about my new project. I'll drop by afterward.”
“Thank you,” Rafael said.
“So, you want to talk about what happened this morning?”
Rafael examined Jeremy as they emerged from the elevator and walked across the lobby of the apartment building. He was carrying a BOAC airline bag with their dance things inside as well as the Deutsche Grammophon recording of the Berlin Philharmonic performing the music from Dmitri Koronov's The Ice Prince. Jeremy walked beside him and looked down at the floor.
“No, not really.”
Rafael smiled at him as they came to the door. Jeremy held it open. Rafael stopped before walking through. “Jeremy, this is me. Rafael. You can tell me anything.”
Jeremy frowned and followed him out onto the sidewalk. The sky was clear after the previous evening's rain and the temperature was surprisingly mild. Jeremy, who was accustomed to the southern Augusts in Greensburg, feeling the soft, comforting air, couldn’t help himself and perform a quick pirouette, reveling in the wonderful weather. He didn't say anything, however, as he walked alongside Rafael toward Broadway. The teenager watched him and said, “Come on, Little Dude. I'm not going to let you off the hook that easy. Talk to me. I think I deserve to know why my boyfriend was curled up and catatonic in the corner of the bedroom this morning.”
Jeremy sighed and said, “I'll talk about it, but can we do it later? I mean, we're on our way to Ballet Academy and I'm going to dance there for the first time in my life. I want this to be a wonderful day and if I talk about that, it won't be. Do you understand?”
Rafael nodded and replied, “I understand. I just want you to know that whatever's bothering you, you don't have to go through it alone. I'm here, Jeremy, whenever you need me.”
“I know,” the younger boy replied as he looked around at the sights along Eighty-sixth Street, “and I appreciate it. We can talk about it tonight. I just want to have fun and be happy today.”
Rafael smiled and nodded as they approached the corner at Broadway.
“Will there be anyone there today?” Jeremy asked.
“Probably a few,” Rafael replied waiting with a half-dozen other people for the light to change. “The company's in hiatus and the Summer Session is over now, so there won't be many. But, there are people who are still in town and need someplace to practice and most of them, like us, don't have any room at their homes to do any serious dancing. The company and the school share a lot of the same facilities, so you might see a few of the professionals.”
“Really?” Jeremy asked excitedly. “Anyone famous, like Mario de Stefano or Jacob Linley? Marta Van Amstel? Maybe Alexei Vishnevsky?”
“Maybe, though you don't want to meet Vishnevsky. He's an asshole.”
“What? He's the greatest dancer in the world!”
The light changed and they started across the street.
“Not anymore,” Rafael explained. “Vishnevsky's really a has-been. None of the really good companies want him anymore. The only reason Alistair signed him is because the board made him. They think it'll help the box office, but Alistair says brilliant dancing will help the box office. He didn't even use him in the main productions last year. He went on tour and performed some individual dances, but he doesn't dance in anything important.”
They reached the other side of Broadway and then crossed to the south side of Eighty-sixth. “That's too bad,” Jeremy replied. “It's got to be hard to give up dancing when its time.”
“Yeah, it probably is,” Rafael replied as they stepped back up on the curb and turned. Looking north on Broadway for the bus, he added, “Alistair says it was the hardest thing he ever did, giving up dancing after his father died and the board asked him to take over the company and school. He had just passed his prime as a dancer and he wasn't ready to quit. He could have danced another five or ten years, if he wanted—he was that good.”
Jeremy nodded and said, “It's too bad that we spend ten or twelve years training and then we only get to dance for fifteen or maybe twenty.”
“Yeah,” Rafael replied. “Ballet is hard on your body. People don't realize what we go through. That's why I want to get as much under my belt as I can before it's too late. I want to do everything!”
“I know,” Jeremy replied. “I want to be a principle before I turn twenty-five!”
Rafael smiled as he saw the bus a few blocks away and said, “It's unusual to do it before then, but it's possible if you're really outstanding.”
“I will be,” Jeremy declared. “I will be the best they've ever seen. I have to be.”
Rafael smiled down at him, but it was a smile tempered with concern. “You'll be famous, Jeremy. Don't worry about that. Someday, fifty years from now, if they still have buses in the twenty-first century some kid's going to get on the M-107 or whatever they call it then and think, 'This is the bus Jeremy Fenwick rode to Ballet Academy.”
Jeremy shook his head and said, “No, he'll say this is the bus Rafael Colón rode to Ballet Academy.”
Rafael nodded and said, “Yeah, you're probably right, but he might think about you, too.”
Jeremy grinned and pretended to sock Rafael in the shoulder.
The bus rumbled up to them and pulled to a stop in a cloud of choking diesel fumes. Rafael led him onto the bus, paid their fares and proceeded on down the aisle. There were no seats available and they were forced to stand and hold onto the railing above their heads. Jeremy felt a rush of excitement as the bus started on down Broadway. He was on a bus with New Yorkers! And he was going to Ballet Academy! His dream was coming true!
Rafael grinned as he saw the joy on Jeremy's face and said, “It's beautiful to see you so happy.”
Jeremy smiled up at him and said, “I feel like I'm asleep and I'm afraid I'm going to wake up and find myself back in Greensburg and living with Uncle Jimmy Dale.”
“Well, I don't think you have to worry too much about that loser anymore,” Rafael replied. “You're in New York now, Jeremy. It's not a dream. You're one of us, now.”
Jeremy took a deep breath and smiled as he gazed out the window over the heads of the people seated beside him. He gazed at the apartment and office buildings, the stores and restaurants along the wide street and felt an overwhelming amazement that he was actually riding a bus in New York and going to ballet school. He wondered how many thousands of other kids had experienced that same emotion, leaving their boring lives behind to escape to the freedom and opportunity of New York? How many had fulfilled their dreams? How many had failed. He would not be one of the latter. He would not fail. He would succeed. He would be a star! He would be the greatest dancer in the world. He would .
Thinking about that, Rafael nudged his shoulder and nodded his head toward the window. Jeremy saw a building of concrete and steel with sharp corners and odd angles where Broadway curved to the east and crossed both Columbus Avenue and Sixty-fifth Street.
“That's Julliard,” he said to the younger boy. “On the other side is Balanchine's School of American Ballet.”
Jeremy's eyes grew wide as he gazed in awe at the spectacular building. Rafael pointed across Sixty-fifth and added, “There's Lincoln Center. That's Philharmonic Hall.”
As the bus crossed Columbus, more of the center came into view and Rafael said, “You can't see it from here, but on the right of that big plaza is the Metropolitan Opera where American Ballet Theater performs and over there is the New York State Theater, where the New York City Ballet performs.”
Jeremy couldn't speak as he gazed out the window at the magnificent buildings. He bit his lip and as the bus moved on, he took a deep breath and sighed, turning back to Rafael and saying, “This is all so wonderful, so fantastic. Everywhere I look I see something incredible. It's almost too much.”
Rafael nodded and said, “Every once in a while, I realize where I am and I think, 'Shit! I'm here! I'm really here!' I know what you mean.”
“I could never get bored being in New York,” Jeremy said. “This could never be normal for me.”
Rafael smiled and nodded. “After a while, you get a little jaded, but then something happens that reminds you where you are and you remember being in Greensburg and you just feel such relief that you're here and not there.”
“Yeah,” Jeremy breathed. The bus wound its way around Columbus Circle and to the south side of Central Park and then, amidst tall buildings, grand hotels, and exclusive apartments, they turned right at Seventh Avenue and headed south.
“Over there is Carnegie Hall,” Rafael said as he pointed to a large, old auditorium. Jeremy looked around with excitement and didn't notice, after a moment, that Rafael had pulled the cord. The bus stopped and Rafael led Jeremy off the bus and onto the sidewalk. The bus rumbled on, leaving another cloud of diesel fumes in its wake. When it cleared, Jeremy gazed across Seventh and saw...
Rafael grinned at Jeremy's excitement and had to grab his shoulder to keep the boy from running across the street into traffic. When the light changed, they crossed the street and then Jeremy ran on up the sidewalk, past the Dancers' Deli and past the front of the Schuyler Theater to Ballet Academy of America, where he suddenly performed two magnificent Grand Jeté en tournant, spinning leaps, followed by a pirouette à la seconde. He finished with his feet turned out, one before the other, with one arm curved down to his hip and the other raised ecstatically above his joy-filled face.
Rafael laughed and applauded, as did several passers-by, as Jeremy grinned happily.
“I'm here!” he cried as Rafael approached.
“That was beautiful, Jeremy,” Rafael declared, “even in sneakers and on concrete, but if I ever see you do something like that again on concrete and without a proper warm up, I'm going to kick your cute butt all the way back to Greensburg!”
Jeremy grinned and stuck his tongue out before he cried, “I've danced at Ballet Centre!”
Rafael laughed as he walked up to him and said, “Far out! Okay, lets go home now.”
“No way!” Jeremy laughed as he grabbed Rafael's hand and pulled him toward the entrance to the school.
At that moment, a cab pulled up to the curb and a red-haired teenager yelled out the open window, “Rafi! Rafi! You're back!”
Jeremy and Rafael turned and watched as the teenager paid the cab driver and then jumped out of the car, slamming the door behind him and rushing forward, his arms outstretched, one hand holding a gym bag similar to Rafael's.
“Dylan!” Rafael cried, and the two hugged happily.
“When did you get back?” the teen demanded as he happily grasped Rafael's shoulders and gazed into his face.
“Last night,” Rafael replied. “Well, actually, weekend before last. I spent the night here and then flew down to Greensburg to see Mom. We got back from there last night.”
“How was London?” Dylan asked eagerly.
“Oh, man, it was fantastic,” Rafael replied. “I love the RBS. If it wasn't for Alistair, I'd transfer there in a heartbeat. I love London and I love the Royal Ballet. I've never trained so hard in my life. I was exhausted every night and I loved every minute of it.”
Dylan grinned and said, “I'm so jealous I had to stay here. SAB was fantastic, but I wish I could have gone with you to London.”
Rafael nodded and said, “Alistair says I'm doing Paris next year.”
“Oh, I'm so jealous,” Dylan replied. “I wish I was as good as you.”
“You are,” Rafael replied. “You just don't give yourself enough credit.”
Dylan shrugged and turned to the smiling redhead beside them. He extended his hand, backside up as if it were to be kissed and said, “Hi! I'm Dylan Thackeray. I'm Rafael's girlfriend!”
Jeremy raised an eyebrow and grasped his fingers, replying, “Jeremy Fenwick. I'm Rafael's boyfriend.”
Dylan smiled for a moment and then glanced back at Rafael, where he saw only a nervous smile.
“Isn't that precious,” Dylan said in a happy voice. “He thinks he's your boyfriend.”
“He is,” Rafael replied carefully.
Dylan's smile slowly dissolved before he said flatly, “He's your boyfriend.”
“What the hell, Rafael!”
Dylan glared at the older boy, his eyes bulging with outrage. “I thought we were going together! Rafael, we agreed before you left! We agreed that if we didn't find anyone over the summer, then we'd go with each other when we got back!”
“Well, I found someone,” Rafael replied softly.
“That's not how it works!” Dylan cried. “You weren't supposed to actually find someone!”
“Well, I did,” Rafael replied. “Besides, I never said we'd go steady. I just said that we could hang together.”
“Rafi! You cad!”
“Oh, come on, Dylan. It's not the end of the world.”
“Yes, it is! You're my boyfriend! Besides, look at him! Did you turn into a chicken hawk over the summer? What is he? Ten?”
“Hey! I'm almost thirteen!” Jeremy cried.
“Oh, shut up, Gomer!” Dylan snapped. “I'll deal with you later! You're not getting my boyfriend!”
Jeremy's eyes bulged with fury and Rafael had to restrain him from attacking the fourteen-year-old as the younger boy cried, “Why, you damned sissy! I'll kick the snot out of you!”
Dylan shrieked and cried, “Oh, my God, Rafi! Where did you find this lout? In some back alley in the Bowery?”
“Will you shut up?” Rafael demanded over his shoulder as he continued to restrain Jeremy. “He really can kick the snot out of you!”
A number of passers-by had stopped to watch the spectacle and were grinning and chuckling. Rafael noticed and quietly said to the younger boy, “It's okay, Jeremy. Please let me handle this.”
“He can't talk to you like that!” Jeremy replied angrily, adding loudly, “Rafael's the best guy in the world! I won't let anybody talk to Rafael like that!”
Dylan simply backed off and whimpered. Rafael looked at Jeremy and ordered, “Let me handle this.”
Jeremy was still breathing heavily and nodded. However, he added, “But if he insults you or calls me 'Gomer' again, I'll knock his pansy head off!”
Rafael sighed with frustration, but released Jeremy, who made as if he were going to jump on Dylan and then stopped. Dylan shrieked and jumped backward as the spectators laughed. Rafael gave them an angry look and yelled, “Go fuck yourselves! Show's over!”
The spectators grumbled and moved on. Rafael sighed again and faced Dylan.
“Now, listen. The agreement was that if neither of us found someone. Well, Dylan, I found the sweetest and most wonderful guy in the world and I love him.”
“He's a beast!”
“You don't know him. He's really sweet. He's the best twelve-year-old dancer in America. Madame Pulchova says he's better than I was at that age. And, at twelve, he's a better dancer than you are at fourteen.”
Dylan cried out with shock.
“Now, listen, Dylan. You the closest thing to a friend I have at Ballet Academy. When you get to know Jeremy, you'll see how special he is.”
Dylan glared at him and turned his back on the two. Rafael took a deep breath and said, “Dylan, it was a really difficult week. Jeremy was accepted to the Summer Intensive, but his parents died a month before it started and he had to go live with a fucking insane uncle who thinks dancing is sinful and he had to give up the one thing that makes living worthwhile for him. He was on the verge of suicide, man. You know how important ballet is to you. Well, Jeremy is good. He's damn good and when I found out what had happened, I did everything I could to get him here. It was difficult. It was scary, but we got him here and we fell in love and that's just the way it is. I love him and he loves me.”
Dylan lowered his head, but remained silent and kept his back to them. Rafael walked over to him and put his hand on the boy's shoulder.
“Look, I know you're hurt. I know it and I'm sorry. We're still friends. We'll still go down to the Village on Saturday nights and get thrown out of the Vanguard. But, I'm in love with Jeremy and nothing's going to change that. When you get to know him, you'll understand. If you really care for me, you'll give him a chance. Please. Get to know him. He really is sweet.”
Dylan audibly sighed and slowly turned around. He glared at Rafael and then studied Jeremy with narrow eyes. Jeremy crossed his arms and stared back at him. Dylan slowly walked forward and said, “Well, if Rafael loves you, you can't be completely worthless. There has to be something there.”
Jeremy shrugged and said, “So, if Rafael's your friend, I guess you're not a complete loser.”
Dylan nodded, though his face was still clouded with contempt. “So, you have a big dick?”
“Yeah,” Jeremy snarled. “You?”
“Yeah,” Dylan snarled back.
They glared at each other for a moment and then both broke into smiles. Dylan put his arm around Jeremy's shoulder and led him toward the door as he vamped, “Girlfriend, don't you love the way Rafael does that little whiny thing just before he cums?”
“Oh, yeah. It's so cute!” Jeremy replied enthusiastically. “And, isn't his foreskin just the sexiest thing on earth?”
“Oh, my God! You like it, too?”
Rafael stood in confusion as the two walked to the entrance. Dylan opened the door and Jeremy turned around grinning and said, “Rafael, I'm about to walk into Ballet Academy of America for the first time. Don't you want to come?”
Rafael sighed and muttered, “Maybe this wasn't such a good idea, after all.”
Alistair Mountjoy stood at the second floor balcony overlooking the lobby of Ballet Academy and leaned on the stainless steel balustrade. He had a meeting about the budget that morning, which would be dreadfully tedious. He was the Artistic Director, not the Business Manager. Why should he be bothered with such trivialities as money? He sighed heavily, thinking of the drive out to Amagansett later with Geoffrey. Yes, he would need to cleanse his pallet of the dreadful taste of money with a few days of brilliant dancing, brilliant conversation, and brilliant sunshine. If only he could have escaped to Tuscany this summer as he usually did.
He glanced at his watch. Teddy had said the boys had left in time for the M-107 to drop them off at Fifty-Xxxxx Street by eight-forty-five. They should be walking in any second.
At that moment, he saw a boy with red hair suddenly run into view on the sidewalk beyond the giant windows. He performed two Grand Jeté en tournant and a pirouette à la seconde, and quite well considering he was wearing sneakers and performing on concrete. He was a beautiful boy with a strong body, a freckled face, a smile from Heaven and...
Jeremy Fenwick! That was Jeremy Fenwick!
And, as if to confirm his recognition, Rafael slowly strolled into view as the boy grinned and posed on the sidewalk. Alistair felt a stirring in his heart and his slacks as he gazed at the magnificent body of the younger boy, the amazing face, the perfect form. The photographs in his file could hardly do justice to the true beauty of the boy.
Dylan Thackeray was joining them. Wonderful dancer, lots of potential, but a diva, a princess. He would eventually dance for a second tier company in the Midwest or perhaps on Broadway, but he'd never make it to Ballet of America or New York City Ballet. There seemed to be some kind of altercation developing and he squeezed the balustrade when he saw Rafael restraining the suddenly pugnacious Jeremy. What could Dylan have said to the younger boy to ignite such a passionate response? Dylan was certainly an expert at cutting badinage, so it could be anything.
Rafael seemed to be mediating. It was a new role for the boy, that of mediator, but he seemed to be succeeding. Dylan had turned around and spoken to Jeremy, who replied back—and suddenly the two were laughing and walking arm-in-arm into the building with a bewildered and bemused Rafael following.
And, then, Alistair's heart froze. He had a better view as he gazed at Jeremy's face when the boy stopped to sign in before he walked underneath the balcony and disappeared into first floor hallway. It couldn't be. He looked just like, exactly like...
Alistair stared at the terrazzo floor of the lobby for several minutes after Jeremy and the others had passed beneath him, until he slowly turned and walked away.
“So, this is Ballet Academy!” Jeremy exclaimed as they walked through the main hallway on the first floor. “I feel like I've died and gone to Heaven!”
Dylan grinned and winked at Rafael as they approached the central staircase. “Well, Ballet Asylum can be like Heaven and Hell, sometimes both at once.”
“I've dreamed of this day since the night I first saw Rafael dancing in The Nutcracker back home,” Jeremy declared.
“How old were you?” Dylan asked.
“I was eight and Rafael was almost eleven. I've been in love with him ever since that night and I promised I was going to be a ballet dancer just like him. And I am. I'm going to be just like Rafael.”
Dylan smiled at Rafael as they started up the stairs and the older teen smiled broadly and said, “I've never thought of myself as inspirational, but I guess I was for Jeremy.”
“You don't realize how many dancers here at Ballet Academy look up to you, Rafael,” Dylan remarked.
“Rafael's a hero in Greensburg,” Jeremy declared. “Every dancer in Greensburg Ballet School thinks Rafael's the greatest. He made it. He made it to New York. He's all our hero.”
Before Rafael or Dylan could respond, however, the three were met on the second floor landing by a tall, distinguished-looking man with a loose-fitting white shirt, loose-black slacks, and a mane of brilliant, white blond hair. The two older boys respectfully stepped aside as the man spoke in a strong Russian accent, “Good morning.”
“Good morning, sir,” Rafael and Dylan replied. Jeremy stood to the side of the stairs and gazed in awe at the man, who smiled and winked at him.
“You must be new here,” he said as he extended his hand. “I am Alexei Vishnevsky.”
“Yes, you are,” Jeremy breathed as his trembling hand grasped the man's firm, stronger hand.
Vishnevsky smiled and said, “Don't be too impressed, young man. Twenty years ago, I was you and twenty years from now, you will be me.”
He proceeded on down the stairs, calling over his shoulder, “Practice well, boys.”
Dylan struggled not to burst into hysterical laughter until after the famous dancer was out of earshot.
“Oh, my God, Jeremy!” he cried. “That was priceless!”
Rafael grinned as he and Dylan moved on to the next flight of stairs. Jeremy followed, his face burning with embarrassment, and he replied, “But, that was Alexei Vishnevsky!”
“Yes, it was,” Dylan answered, “and now he knows that, too.”
“But, he's the greatest dancer in the world!”
“Not anymore,” Dylan replied. “He's a has-been, but no one's bothered to tell him.”
Dylan smiled, however, and added, “That's okay, Jeremy. I understand. It is cool to meet someone so famous.”
Jeremy smiled appreciatively as Dylan looked back over his shoulder. Rafael simply shook his head as he added, “And, what was that shit he said about 'twenty years?' He's really thirty years older than us!”
“Come on, Rafael,” Dylan said. “So, he lies about his age. They're going to have to drag you off the stage kicking and screaming to stick you in your casket.”
“I'll go into choreography or teaching when the time comes. I won't hang on and drag a company down just because I can't admit that I don't have it anymore.”
They reached the third floor and started toward the front of the building as Jeremy looked around with excitement. He could hear a couple of pianos playing in the studios along the hall and at the window of one of the studios he stopped and gazed at several ballerinas working out. Suddenly, he pressed his lips together and his eyes grew moist.
Dylan looked behind when they reached a door marked “Intermediate Boys Locker Room” and nudged Rafael, who looked back and saw Jeremy.
Jeremy turned his head toward the two older boys and said in a quivering voice, “I'm watching some girls practicing at Ballet Academy of America, Rafael. It just really hit me where I am. I'm here, Rafael. I'm here. And, if it wasn't for you, I'd be dead now. If it wasn't for you coming to see me last Wednesday, I'd have given up and killed myself.”
Jeremy started forward and Rafael walked back to him. They met and Rafael wrapped his arms tightly around him.
“Sweetheart, you're here because you've earned it and when Alistair sees you dance and when the admissions committee sees you dance next month, everyone will know where you belong.”
Jeremy sniffed and looked up at the teenager, whispering, “I love you.”
Jeremy grinned through his tears and asked, “You love you, too?”
Rafael grinned and said, “No, dummy. I love you.”
Jeremy giggled and they kissed before turning back to the locker room door. Dylan quickly passed through the door, but not before Rafael could see his damp, red eyes.
Inside the locker room, Rafael dropped their dance bag on one of the benches as Dylan dropped his on the one opposite. Jeremy looked around with amazement as he sat down and said, “Man, this is big and nice.”
Dylan sat down and began to remove his street shoes as he replied, “I guess you didn't have many boys in training back home, did you?”
“Just two,” Jeremy replied as he began to remove his shoes, as well. “One my age and one Rafael's.”
“That figures,” Dylan replied. “Here, you have about eighty boys and more than three hundred girls.”
“Oh, man, it's going to be so nice to have some guys to train with!” Jeremy exclaimed.
“Yeah, it's nice,” Dylan replied, adding with a nasty leer, “especially in the showers!”
Rafael gave his friend a warning look, which Dylan acknowledged with a brief nod as Jeremy stood and whipped his shirt over his head and off. Dylan looked at Jeremy's torso and exclaimed, “Sweet Mother of God, Jeremy! Where'd you get that body?”
Jeremy grinned as he unfastened his shorts and replied, “The Memorial Day Sale at Monkey Ward's.”
Dylan looked at him blankly as Rafael chuckled. “He means Montgomery Ward, Miss Thing. It's a department store across the Midwest and South. You wouldn't know it. Middle Class people shop there.”
“Hmm,” Dylan replied dismissively. “Of course, if they're selling bodies like that, maybe I should go there and buy a couple dozen or so.”
Jeremy giggled as he shoved his shorts and underwear down. His penis wasn't erect, but it was definitely plumping out. As Dylan shoved his shorts and underwear down, he checked out Jeremy's privates and whistled again.
“Girlfriend, you are going to the belle of the ball when you start showering with the other alleged males here at Ballet Asylum! You'll be devirginized your first day!”
Jeremy looked at Rafael with alarm, but the older teen rolled his eyes and said, “Don't scare him.”
“But, it's true,” Dylan replied as he pulled his dance belt from the bag.
“Guys do it in the showers?” Jeremy asked as he started pulled his dance belt on.
“Some do,” Rafael replied.
“Everyone does,” Dylan declared, “at one time or another.”
Jeremy frowned and said, “I'd don't think I'd like that. I don't want to do it with anyone except Rafael. I love Rafael. I won't do it with anyone else.”
Dylan looked at him as if he were crazy and said, “Jeremy, you can have any guy in this school, and probably every girl, too. You have one hot and sexy bod, even if you are twelve. You'll be the most popular boy in the showers, believe me.”
“I won't do it,” Jeremy replied.
“But, Jeremy, Rafael is...I mean, Rafael...he's...”
“Yes?” Rafael asked with a reptilian grin.
Dylan sighed with frustration before looking back at Jeremy and saying, “Jeremy, sweetheart, there's a reason I'm known around here as the Scarlet Harlot and Rafael as the Heinous Anus.”
Jeremy giggled before he said, “Look, I know Rafael likes sex a lot.”
“That's an understatement,” Dylan muttered. “Rafael doesn't just like sex a lot; he likes a lot of sex a lot.”
Rafael gave him a look as Jeremy said, “I know and I know why and I don't care. I love Rafael and I know he had a life before I came here and I won't get in the way. Rafael can do whatever he wants. But, for me, I just don't want to do it with anyone besides Rafael. I love him.”
Dylan sighed helplessly and said, “Man, Rafi. He really is sweet. Damn. If you ever get tired of him, let me know. I have first dibs on him when you're finished.”
“Well, you're going to have a long wait,” Rafael replied as he pulled his leotard on. “I'll never be finished with Jeremy. This is the real thing, Dylan.”
Jeremy adjusted his leotard and smiled up at Rafael with love.
As Dylan started pulling his tights on, he said, “I don't think I've ever seen two opposites in such a deep love before.”
Rafael grinned and said, “Well, here we are. Jeremy means everything to me.”
“And, I owe my life to Rafael,” Jeremy declared as he started working on his tights. “I will always love Rafael.”
“Jeremy knows that he has the freedom to do anything he wants to,” Rafael added. “Even if he never does, he can still mess around and I'll understand. We have a love that's just too strong and deep.”
Dylan sighed and said, “You're a beautiful couple.”
After a moment, however, he added, as he struggled with his tights, “I wish to God we could just wear shorts and a tee-shirt when we come in here on our off-time.”
“I love wearing tights,” Jeremy replied as he pulled his up.
“I do, too, but on our off-time, its such a hassle.”
Jeremy looked at Rafael and asked, “Why do we have to dress up even on our off-time?”
“It was one of Lionel Mountjoy's rules when he ran the place and it's a tradition now. The idea is that we'll be more professional and take it more seriously if we dress properly all the time. And, it looks better when outsiders come in and see us dressed in tights and leotard instead of whatever we drag out of the dirty clothes hamper. It was one of the few rules Alistair kept when he took over after his father died.”
Dylan was rolling the top of his tights down as he asked, “I suppose you're going to Alistair's party.”
“Oh, yeah,” Rafael replied. “We're going out tomorrow. Alistair's new houseboy is driving us out.”
“Ooh, Geoffrey!” Dylan vamped. “Isn't he a dreamboat?”
“Oh, yeah,” Rafael replied, with a quick, guilty look at Jeremy, who grinned.
“We're going to dance for the party Friday night,” Rafael said, changing the subject as he blushed.
“I saw your Ice Prince album. Are you doing 'Dance of the Friends?'”
Rafael nodded as he sat down to pull on his dance shoes. “I can dance 'Friends' backwards and in my sleep and Jeremy's danced it back home because Madame Pulchova used it to train her male students because it has practically every move a danseur can perform in classical ballet.”
“You know, if Conrad Hartsfeld is here, you should ask him for help,” Dylan suggested.
“Why?” Rafael asked with distaste.
“Well, because Ice Prince is his ballet. He was Andrei the last time the company staged it in '67 and he was Sasha the time before that in '63.”
“How do you know all that?” Rafael asked.
“Because I dated him for a couple of weeks last winter,” Dylan replied proudly.
“You never told me that,” Rafael replied with surprise.
Dylan grinned and replied, “A lady doesn't kiss and tell.”
Jeremy giggled and Rafael rolled his eyes. “Since when are you a lady...and for that matter, when don't you kiss and tell?”
Dylan shrugged shyly and said, “Sometimes, I do have a sense of decency. Anyway, Conrad is probably here this morning. He just got back from France last Friday and likes to get back into shape before they start working on the fall productions. You know he and Mario are both dancing Conrad in Corsair.”
Jeremy had been staring at them agog as the two spoke of one of the company's great stars as if he were just one of the guys. “You really think a great dancer like Conrad Hartsfeld would want to help a new kid like me?” he asked incredulously.
An enigmatic smile came over Dylan's face as he replied, “I have a feeling he might.”
Rafael shook his head and said, “Conrad Hartsfeld is the definition of diva.”
“Said the pot calling the kettle beige,” Dylan replied with a grin.
“Come on, you have to admit that he's an arrogant, self-important jerk who thinks the sun shines out his ass.”
“Yeah. He's the company's Rafael Colón.”
Rafael flipped off his friend and placed his dance bag in a locker. Wrapping an arm around Jeremy, he said, “Come on, Oliver Twist. Let's go dance.”
Rafael, holding his record album, led the boy around the wall providing the locker room privacy from anyone using the door. Jeremy looked back over his shoulder and saw Dylan grin and silently mouth the word “Diva” while pointing to Rafael. Seeing no malice in Dylan’s eyes, Jeremy grinned in response.
In the hallway, however, Jeremy heard several shrieks of “Rafael!” and saw the ballerinas he had been watching earlier emerging from their studio. Rafael handed the record to Jeremy and held his arms out, crying, “Ladies! Come to Papa!”
Dylan grumbled, “Oh, for God's sake. We'll be waiting for an hour before Rafael finishes preening for his adoring public.”
Jeremy giggled and followed Dylan around the group and into the first empty studio. For several seconds, the younger boy simply stood and looked around at the mirrors on the wall, the barre, the piano in the corner, and his eyes grew moist as a look of pride came over his face. Dylan had walked to the barre and was watching him in the mirror. He smiled and turned around.
“You're here, Jeremy,” he said to the smiling boy. “Let's warm up.”
Jeremy nodded and whispered, “Yes.”
He walked toward the barre and chuckled, glancing out the window at the group of girls surrounding Rafael. He shook his head. “The girls just love Rafael,” he said.
Jeremy sat down on the floor and began stretching as he replied, “He says its because he treats them with respect and because they know he won't take advantage of them.”
“Is that what he said?” Dylan replied as he, too, began his stretches. “You want to know the truth? It's only because he's just one of the girls.”
Jeremy giggled and said, “He wasn't like a girl last night.”
“Oh, yeah?” Dylan replied with anticipation. “Do tell!”
“Oh, I can't do that,” Jeremy replied with a blushing grin.
“Don't tease me! You started this. Now, tell me. Did he fuck you?”
“No!” Jeremy exclaimed with a giggle. “We just, I mean, he kind of took over and he was so romantic and so... manly. He held me and hugged me and kissed me and jacked me off and... it was so beautiful.”
Dylan grinned and said, “It sounds to me like you're in love.”
“Oh, I am,” Jeremy replied. “Can I tell you something?”
“Oh, yes! Do!”
Jeremy grinned and said, “I've thought about Rafael every night when I beat off since I first saw him in Nutcracker. Every night. He was so beautiful and strong and graceful and... He's the sexiest person on earth.”
Dylan grinned and said, “You sound like you have a crush on him.”
“I have more than a crush!”
Suddenly the door opened and Rafael strode in, declaring, “All right, girls! Get off your lazy butts and lets get to work! We have some dancing to do!”
Alistair Mountjoy glanced impatiently at his watch as he sat at his desk reviewing the columns of numbers on the memos before him. He loathed and detested having to deal with money issues. That wasn't what he was meant to do. Those were matters for the Business Manager and Finance Director of the Company and Academy. He, Mountjoy, was the creative genius who gave the world dreams of music and dance. He sighed.
Underneath the irritating memos was a folder labeled, “Fenwick, Jeremy David. Summer Session 1970. Approved.” He pulled the folder out and placed it atop the memos. He stared at the cover for several seconds before flipping it open and revealing its contents. His eyes scanned the application, made out in the impeccable handwriting of Jeremy's mother. He had reviewed it a dozen times; nonetheless, he read it again before turning it over and finding the transcripts of his training at the Greensburg Ballet School and the Magnolia River School of Gymnastics. Admirable. A model student. Next were the letters of recommendation from his teacher at the ballet school, Anna Pulchova, and the Head of Instruction at the gymnastics school, as well as from the Artistic Director of the Greensburg Ballet and the Headmaster of Breckenridge Academy. All were fulsome in their praise of the boy, as one would expect with a letter of recommendation. He flipped them over and came to his goal—two photographs.
The first was the classic school picture, a color photo of Jeremy's face before a cloudy blue background. He stared at the picture and felt his heartbeat increase. The red hair, boyishly unruly, the laughing blue-gray eyes, the freckles across the nose and cheeks, the smile—oh God, that smile, so happy and full of life, showing a perfect set of white teeth, so cheerful and optimistic. He was beautiful, absolutely, stunningly beautiful, a boy becoming a man.
Alistair gazed at the picture and imagined the boy flying across the stage, leaping, spinning, gliding. He imagined standing before the boy and guiding him, encouraging him...
He suddenly flipped the picture over to reveal a second, larger photograph, Jeremy's audition picture. It showed the boy performing a perfect arabesque, supporting himself on his right foot, which was turned to the right, his left leg thrown backward and up, perfectly straight, his foot pointing outward, his torso curving upward, right arm extended to the barre, left arm thrown outward and forward, a look of confidence and pride on his face. Jeremy's arabesque was exquisite, delicate, powerful, evocative, sublime.
Alistair felt his erection grow as he gazed at the boy. He pressed his lips together tightly and then closed his eyes. No. It was not to be. It would not be. He would do everything he could to encourage and nurture the boy—but nothing beyond that. He couldn't. He had already gone too far with Rafael. He would not do so again.
He opened his eyes and stood. The meeting would begin at ten. He had time. He looked down at the folder and closed it. He picked up the financial memos beneath and strode to the door. He was relieved to see the second floor hallway was deserted. He walked to the staircase in the center and climbed to the third floor. He could hear pianos playing up and down the hallway, but it was the group of people standing at the window of Studio Three-B that caught his attention. He walked toward them and recognized two ballerinas from the advanced division of the academy and three danseurs, one from the advanced division and two from the company. They were watching something through the window and as Alistair approached, the oldest of the danseurs turned and smiled.
“Alistair, you should see this kid dance. He's amazing for someone so young. Is he new?”
The man stood behind the others and stopped breathing when he saw Jeremy Fenwick performing a number of graceful glissade derriere and then several glissade devant. Rafael was standing in front of him, apparently coaching him. Jeremy’s moves were so graceful that one of the ballerinas watching shook her head and whispered, “He's divine. He's absolutely divine.”
“It's an easy move,” one of the danseurs muttered. “Let's see him try something more challenging.”
As if in response to the danseur's comment, Jeremy and Rafael spoke for a moment before the boy began to perform pirouette à la seconde, his arms extended, as well as his right leg. The girl looked at the man and grinned and the man raised an eyebrow and nodded before the others gasped as Jeremy suddenly began to perform fouette en tournant, a move performed usually by ballerinas, spinning on one foot with the other leg whipping the dancer around. And, then, he shocked the group at the window by performing chaînés tournes across the floor, turning on the balls of his feet from one foot to the other, with excellent form. The first danseur to speak earlier turned and asked, “Do you know him, Alistair?”
With a single nod, the man replied, “He's Jeremy Fenwick. He's starting this fall. He's been training under Anna Pulchova.”
“Rafael's teacher?” one of the ballerinas asked. “No wonder he's so good.”
One of the danseurs softly said, “He could be the new Rafael.”
Alistair stared at both boys, Rafael pointing with his right hand, Jeremy turning as he moved quickly across the floor, both of them looking beautiful, their grace and masculinity emphasized by their tights and leotards. After a moment, he took a deep breath, turned, and walked silently away.
“Does this kid ever stop?”
Rafael grinned at Dylan as they stood by the water cooler. “No, he doesn't,” he replied. “The guy is amazing. You have to drag him, kicking and screaming, off the dance floor.”
“Maybe we should break for lunch and then you two can start working on 'Friends,'” Dylan suggested.
“You want to stick around?” Rafael asked. “You can be The Queen.”
“Honey, I'm always The Queen,” Dylan replied as Rafael grinned and walked toward Jeremy, who was practicing his Grand Jeté en tournant. He stood right in Jeremy's path and the younger boy stopped just before colliding with him.
“What are you doing?” Jeremy demanded as he gasped for breath.
Rafael grinned and said, “Lunch time.”
“No way! I have to keep practicing this!” Jeremy protested. “This is the climax of 'Dance of the Friends!' I have to get it perfect!”
Dylan had followed Rafael over to Jeremy and now the older boy said to his friend, “You grab his other arm.”
Together, they held Jeremy's arms and began to drag him toward the door.
“Hey! What are you doing? We're not done! I have to do this!”
When they reached the door, Rafael turned and faced Jeremy, who looked back at him with indignation. However, before the boy could protest, Rafael began to play with his nipples. A sudden look of shock came over the boy's face and his body stiffened as if he were being electrocuted. Rafael was just as shocked by the boy's reaction as Jeremy was to the nipple-play. He removed his fingers and looked Jeremy with amazement as Jeremy panted and whispered, “What...what was that?”
“I was playing with your titties, but I didn't expect you to have an orgasm like that.”
“I didn't but...wow...that was... do it again!”
“No,” Rafael replied with a teasing grin. “Maybe later. Here's a towel. Dry off. We're going down to the commissary to grab a bite and then we'll be back.”
Jeremy took the towel and began wiping his sweaty body as Rafael and Dylan did the same, but asked, “That's...kind of weird, isn't it?”
“Not really,” Rafael replied. “A lot of guys like to get to their nipples played with. Body builder types and leather queens love it. Even some normal gay guys like it.”
“Normal?” Dylan muttered with a raised eyebrow.
“You know what I mean,” Rafael replied. “Guys who aren't as perverted as I am.”
Dylan rolled his eyes, but Jeremy looked at Rafael with an anxious expression before the teenager took his towel and deposited it in a small hamper. “Come on, let's eat.”
Dylan saw Jeremy's look and silently followed, deciding he might need to have a little talk with the boy about Rafael. There might be things, he decided, that Jeremy didn't know about Rafael and which he might want to know before their relationship progressed even further.
“This is such a wonderful feeling,” Jeremy exclaimed as they walked through the hallway toward the stairs, “walking through Ballet Academy in my tights!”
Rafael grinned and said, “It's just another sign that you're one of us, now, Jeremy.”
The boy gave him a joyous smile as they descended the stairs, declaring, “This has got to be the happiest day of my life. I've never felt so alive, so wonderful. I could dance all day.”
As if on cue, both Rafael and Dylan began to sing, “I could have danced all night, and still have begged for more. I could have spread my wings, and done a thousand things I've never done before!”
Jeremy grinned and pretended to sock Rafael in the shoulder. “Go ahead and make fun of me, but this really is the greatest day of my life, except for when I first saw you dancing in Nutcracker.”
Rafael put an arm around the boy and said, “I know, sweetheart. I'm just so thrilled to see you so happy, considering how you looked last Wednesday. It's really fantastic to see the joy in your face.”
They had reached the first floor hallway when Rafael spoke. Jeremy gave the older boy a look of love. They proceeded toward the commissary at the opposite end from the lobby. However, as he looked forward, he gasped. A young man appearing to be in his late twenties emerged from a doorway in front of them and turned toward the commissary. He wore tights and a leotard. A towel was draped over his shoulders, his white blond hair was tousled and he looked as if he had been dancing for most of the morning. He was slender, but obviously powerful and Jeremy's eyes grew wide with surprise and admiration. Rafael whispered, “Oh, shit.”
Dylan, of course, called out to the man. “Conrad!”
He turned with irritation, but then gave a proper and polite smile to the boys, his eyes darting from Dylan to Rafael and then settling on Jeremy for several seconds as they approached him.
“Good morning, Dylan,” the dancer responded in a proper and polite voice , tearing his eyes away from Jeremy and smiling at Dylan. “Rafael. I hope you had a productive time in London.”
“I did, thank you,” Rafael replied formally.
“Conrad,” Dylan said as he placed a hand on Jeremy's shoulder, “this is Jeremy Fenwick. He studied under Anna Pulchova and he's joining us this fall.”
Jeremy felt a massive surge within him as he looked into the blue-gray eyes of the danseur. Slowly, he extended his hand as Conrad reached for it, a hint of a smile at the edges of his lips.
“I am pleased to meet you, Jeremy. I have great respect for Madame Pulchova. She turns out excellent dancers. She gave us Rafael, so I assume we should expect great things from you, as well.”
“Thank you,” Jeremy replied with more strength than he expected. “It's an honor to train at the school that trained the greats like you.”
“Yes, it is,” Conrad replied, his eyes still locked on Jeremy's as the younger boy's erection swelled within his tights.
“Conrad, Jeremy and Rafael are dancing at Alistair's party Friday night,” Dylan explained. They're performing 'Dance of the Friends' and since Ice Prince is really your ballet, I thought maybe you could give them some advice today.”
Conrad's eyes shone with pleasure at Dylan's statement. “Well, I hardly think Rafael needs my help,” he replied with a comradely wink at the older teenager, “but I would be delighted to help Jeremy. I assume, Rafael, you are Andrei and Jeremy is Sasha?”
Hiding is dismay as best he could, Rafael replied, “Yes and we'd appreciate any help you can give us.”
“Wonderful,” Conrad replied with a gracious bow of the head. “I shall be delighted. Will you share lunch with me?”
“Thank you,” Dylan replied as Jeremy beamed with joy.
Here he was, a kid from Greensburg on his first day of practicing at Ballet Academy of America and he was having lunch with one of the greatest dancers in the world!
How could his life get any better?