Hugh stood off stage just admiring Maude as she danced with her long time partner Isaac. She was the epitome of beauty and grace, her movements going in time with Run Away by Fareoh. He sometimes found himself feeling jealous of Isaac, wanting to touch her the way he touched her and hold her the way he held her. Sure he could dance, but not like Isaac. They were so in tune with each other’s movements. He had fallen for her the minute she had stepped foot in his dance studio. He had been captivated by her audition, by the passionate look on her face. He ran the top dance studio in the state, many talent had passed through his doors, but none of them had been like Maude.
They traveled around performing in concert halls and in schools, showcasing her beauty and talent. Tonight it was in a theater, but tomorrow they would going to Juilliard to put on a play with some of the students. It was a ballet piece where she and Isaac would be playing the lead roles. One of the school’s theater students had written it and had been so excited when Maude and Isaac had agreed to participate. He watched as they finished up their dance. The audience stood, clapping loudly as they smiled and bowed. They bowed one more time before heading off stage.
“That was magnificent.” Hugh said as held out their water bottles.
“Thank you Hugh.” Maude kissed his cheek then took a sip of her water.
“I’m not kissing you, but thank you.” Isaac said, making Maude laugh. Hugh loved that sound, it was so beautiful. “Maude was the real talent out there. She’s always so perfect.”
“Come now Isaac, you are just as amazing, maybe even more so.”
“I am only as strong as my partner.” She turned her electric smile on Hugh and he nearly melted on the spot. “I can’t believe we’re heading to Juilliard. I have always wanted to go there and an opportunity just falls right in my lap. Thank you for scheduling such an amazing trip.”
“The young lady wanted you two and no one else as the lead. This is supposed to be her final for the semester and she wanted it perfect and you’re perfect.” Her smile got bigger and he cleared his throat. “You and Isaac. So let’s greet some fans, sign some autographs, and then I’ll get you two back to the hotel so you can shower and rest. We have an early morning.”
They signed autographs and talked to fans until their wrists hurt. Maude always felt bad she couldn’t talk to everyone but she knew they’d keep her all night if she tried to power through the pain in her wrist. They bid everyone farewell then exited the theatre. Maude let out a relaxed breath as she sat down in the car. Issac rubbed his wrist making Maude say “yeah, mine hurts too. I’m glad we have so many fans though. Things are always more worth while when it makes others happy” Issac smiled “i just can’t wait to sleep.”
Maude laughed again. The sound wrapped itself around Hughs heart making it feel warm and truly blessed as they made their way to the hotel. Maude hugged both Hugh and Issac before they parted ways at the hotel. Maude went straight for the shower the very second her room door was closed. She turned the water up as hot as she could stand then shut the bathroom door so steam could build up. It always made the room feel freezing when she opened the door to step out but it made for an amazing shower.
She hummed the song she had been dancing too as she washed her hair then scrubbed her body. The sweet smell of her honeysuckle body wash filling her nose and relaxing her further. By the time she stepped out she was as relaxed as anybody could be. She pulled on her pajamas then got comfortable in her bed. She was a little hungry but her want for rest outweighed that.
Hugh flopped down on his bed after a long shower and set his alarm. Their flight to New York was an early one and he wanted to give both Maude and Isaac ample time to get ready. When he closed his eyes all he could see was Maude dancing, her emotions clear on her face as she lost herself in the music. Her face was always with him, her beautiful smile and her musical laugh filled his head and refused to go away no matter how much he tried to dispel the images. He sighed and switched on the TV, hoping a movie would be enough of a distraction to help him sleep.
The movie was almost over by the time his eyelids grew to heavy to keep open. He fell into a deep sleep and dreamed of Maude. The next morning he was pulled violenty from his sleep by the sound of his alarm going off. He quickly shut if off and got out of bed, dressing and brushing his hair before going and knocking on Isaac’s door. Isaac pulled it open and held his hand up as he yawned. “Sorry, already time to get up?”
“Yeah, we have an early flight this morning. I’ll buy you two bagels at the airport.”
“Alright I’ll be out in a minute.”
Hugh headed next door to Maude’s door and knocked softly. Maude jerked awake at the sound of banging and it took her a second to realize someone was at her hotel door. She jumped up and checked out the peephole, smiling when she saw it was Hugh and quickly ran her fingers through her hair so it wouldn’t look so bad. She pulled the door open and smiled at him. “Good morning Hugh.”
“Good morning Maude, time to get up and get going.”
“Okay, I’ll be right out.”
He smiled and gave a small nod. She shut her door then ran to her bag. She already knew what she wanted to wear that day so pulled the dress right out, took her pajams off then shoved them in the bag. She zipped it up then put on her dress. She ran her hands down it a few times to rid it of wrinkles then brushed her long, black hair until it looked just as beautiful as it did before she went to sleep. Returning her brush to her purse she grabbed it and her suitcase before sliding on flip flops. She walked out the door and smiled at issac and Hugh “you boys ready?”
“Yep, we’re always stuck waiting on a woman” Maude laughed “I’m not beautiful by accident. I feel bad for Hugh who wakes me and has to see my hair unbrushed”
“you never stop being beautiful” Hugh said shyly. They walked down to their car then rode to the airport. They went inside and let them inspect their luggage before they airline took it away. Hugh had already bought their tickets so they didn’t have to wait in that line. The three of them were only waiting in the airport about twenty minuets when their flight was called. They boarded then took their place in first class. Maude pulled out her book. She always had one in her purse for flights, car rides or just the urge to read somthing.
The plane hadn’t even left the ground before she was sucked into it’s world. When the flgith attendant came up to ask what drinks Maude wanted it took the woman asking a couple times to jerk maude back into reality “oh I’m sorry miss. What?”
“I asked what you want to drink”
“water please” The woman grabbed a bottle of water and handed it to Maude who immediately returned to her book. Issac was listening to his Ipod as he always did during flights while Hugh got lost in his head. He liked when maude told him about the stories she read but could never get into reading himself. he was far too easily distarcted for such an activity.
“Maude?” He asked.
“Hmm.” She answered as she turned to the next page.
“What are you reading?”
She looked up from her book. “Huh?”
He smiled. “What are you reading?”
“Oh, it’s called Relentless. It’s by Dean Koontz, would you like me to read to you?”
“Sure, as long as the other passengers are okay with it.” She read to him softly, the book suspenseful and exciting. The other passengers either didn’t care about or didn’t notice her reading. She only stopped when her stomach growled which made both of them laugh. She put her book away and pressed the button to call a flight attendant.
“Did you need something ma’am?” The flight attendant asked when she walked up.
“Yes, may I have something to eat?”
“Is a turkey sandwich okay?”
“Yes, thank you.” The flight attendant left and came back with a turkey and swiss sandwich. “Thank you so much.” Maude said again. “Want half?” She asked Hugh.
“Uh sure. What about Isaac?”
“He hates turkey. Bad experience when he was a child. He ate some he didn’t know was rotten and it killed his love for the meat. He’ll eat anything else though.”
“ok, thanks” She gave Hugh one of the sides then they ate together. When their sandwhiches were gone she resumed reading to him. He stared at her as she read, knowing it wasn’t odd and sure she didn’t even notice since she so easily got absorbed in books. Only stopping for the occasional drink of water Maude read until their plane began to descend. She shoved the nearly finished book into her purse then said “I may have to buy another book while we’re here.”
“we have a little time to stop by a bookstore before the performance if you want to go ahead and get a new book”
“Oh great, you know how I hate to be bookless” They waited until they were allowed to disboard the aircraft. They quickly made their way off and to luggage claim. Issac grabbed their bags as they came then they hailed a taxi to take them to their hotel rooms that hugh had already booked. He had them on teh same floor again so they wouldn’t be far from one another. When all the luggage was in their rooms they left again to find the nearest book store.
The went to St Marks Book Shop since it was nearby and looked around. it didn’t take her long to select a new book to carr when the one she was working on was finished. She purchased it then they went back to theri hotel “thanks for coming with me guys”
“It’s good to get the legs moving after sitting so long” Issac said.
“So what time is the performance?” She asked.
“An hour and a half. She wanted you two to practice beforehand so we should probably head on over and do that.”
“Okay.” Maude put her book on her bed and pulled her door closed.
“They had costumes made for you they also need you to try on.” Hugh hailed a taxi once they were outside and gave him the address for Juilliard. Maude looked very happy, almost giddy at being able to perform in such a prestigious school. When they got there she and Isaac jumped excitedly out and Hugh quickly paid the driver and followed them.
“Oh my god look at this place.” Isaac said.
“It’s so amazing.” Maude gave Hugh a tight hug and kissed his cheek. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
He chuckled. “You are very welcome.” They hurried inside and Hugh got directions to where they would be performing. The young woman who had asked for them actually squealed in delight when she saw Maude and Isaac.
“I can’t believe it’s really you. This is just so amazing. I’m Rachel.” They all shook hands. “You’re just in time to try on your costumes and practice.”
They headed backstage and Hugh waited while Maude and Isaac changed. Maude smiled when she saw the look on Hugh’s face at her costume. It was one of pure adoration and like he had seen the most beautiful thing in the world. “Do you like it?” She had to ask.
“Yes, you’re very beautiful as usual.” Isaac called for her and they hurried on stage. The music and script were beautiful. It was a tale of a woman’s fear of new love and the man’s persistence in trying to win her heart. He watched as Isaac and her moved across the stage, getting completely absorbed in her grace and beauty.
“Look out!” They heard someone yell as a plank of wood fell from the catwalk above. Isaac twisted out of the way, pulling Maude with him and falling, his arm covering her head to protect her. Hugh’s heart gave a lurch and he ran to them.
“Are you okay?” He asked.
“I’m fine, thanks to Isaac. Are you alright Isaac?”
“I think I sprained my ankle.” He went to get up and hissed in pain when he went to stand on it. “I can’t dance.” Rachel looked near tears and Maude felt horrible for her. She turned pleading eyes to Hugh and he sighed.
“Let’s get Isaac out of his costume and get some ice on his ankle then I’ll fill in. I own a dance studio so I teach the things they do. I mean if you don’t mind Rachel.”
“as long as you know what you’re doing I don’t mind. Thank you”
“No problem” Hugh and Maude helped Issac to the changing room where he got out of the costume. They set him in a chair while Rachel grabbed an ice pack. When he was set up Hugh nervously went into the changing room to put on Isaacs costume. He was worried about disappointing Maude since he wasn’t as good as Isaac. At the same time he was excited to finally be dancing with her. He would get to touch her and hold her as he always thought of while they performed.
When he was changed he stepped out and Maude smiled “you look very handsome. Are you ready to practice?”
“Yeah” They walked onto the stage as rachel watched them hopefully. Isaac had no worries they would do well. He knew Hugh was a good dancer. All of Hughs and Rachels worry fell away as they began to move. Hugh was simply lost in Maude while Rachel saw how good their instructer actually was. Isaac smild approvingly as he held the ice to his ankle. He felt guilty for messing up but he figured they needed somthing to push them together.
“You two are wonderful, I’m so glad you can dance. I’ll have to tell everyone who comes about the change. I hope my teacher is fine with it.” Rachel said.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine.” Maude said, her heart beating quickly in her chest at how wonderful it was to be so close to Hugh. Her skin was hot and she hoped Hugh thought it was just from dancing. They practiced a little longer until Hugh was confident that he had it down. They headed backstage and wiped the sweat from their brows and rehydrated.
“Why didn’t you tell us you could dance like that?” Isaac asked.
Hugh shrugged. “It’s nothing really. Besides you two are the stars, not me. I’m only filling in until your ankle heals.” He didn’t want to take Isaac’s position away and he didn’t think he was that amazing.
“Now I know who to count on if I ever get sick or something.”
Rachel grew nervous when people started filing into the auditorium. Hugh had never performed in front of an audience before. He was just an instructor, but he wasn’t willing to let Maude down. He wanted this to go well for her since she had been so excited about being here. He could act out a story with her if it meant her smiling. When everyone was seated and the lights had been adjusted they took their places on stage. The music started and they moved across the stage, her trying to get away from him as he persued her and pulled her back.
He admired how well she portrayed fear and insecurity without uttering a single word, her body and gestures serving well to get the message across. He begged for her and she pushed him away. Near the end of the performance he stopped chasing her and she expressed regret and suddenly she was the one begging. In the end the two characters came together, falling into each others passionate embrace. Their faces were mere inches from each other and he kissed her as he held her in a dipped position and the music died down. He had never been so glad Isaac had hurt himself, seeing her kiss someone else, even her best friend would have made him extremely jealous.
They pulled back breathlessly as the crowd clapped and praised them. Hugh pulled Maude to her feet and they bowed. They were glad to see the very pleased rachel. It was an honor to come here and they wanted to make her happy. They signed autographs and talked to the students until hunger overcame them. They went into the changing room to get back into their normal clothes “you were amazing” Her words having a double meaning. She thought his dancing was astounding and his kiss was heart stopping. “you were too” his words having the very same double meaning.
They met Isaac when they were ready and then hailed another cab. Hugh had it take them back to where they were staying since they didn;t know what they wanted yet. Maudes mind kept drifting to that kiss. it felt so real, like he actually had feelings for her. It was sweet and meaningful and she wanted to talk to him about it. Tell him she felt the same if he felt the way she did. She just couldn’t talk to him with isaac around. He was her best friend but she still wanted that conversation to be in private.
They sat in Hugh’s room while they looked at the takeout menus the hotel provided and flipped through the phone book to look at the different restaurants. “I say we do Italian.” Isaac said. “I mean it is New York.”
“That sounds good. What do you think Hugh?” Maude said.
“I’ll eat whatever. Write down the address and we’ll go out.”
Maude quickly scribbled it on a piece of paper and they headed out. They waved down a taxi and Maude read off the address for the driver. Her charming smile and warm nature got the driver to take them the shortest way possible. They thaked him and Hugh gave him a tip for being so kind. They went into the restaurant, moving at a slower pace for Isaac whose ankle still hurt pretty bad. They were greeted by a waitress who immediately seated them. They were given some water and menus then left alone.
“I think I’m going to get something strong to drink to take the edge off my stupid ankle.” Isaac said as he looked at the menu.
“Don’t drink to much unless you’re planning on staying in bed tomorrow. I booked us an extra couple of days so you guys could see the sights.” Hugh replied.
“I’m wounded, you two go see the sights and I’ll enjoy my hotel room.”
“Are you sure Isaac, I don’t want you to feel left out while we are here.” Maude said.
“I’ll be fine and besides I’m sure this won’t be our last trip here.” The waitress came back and they all ordered what they wanted. “I’m going to go out and have a smoke and don’t worry I’ll smoke where the wind can blow the smoke away from me and I’ll wash my hands and face after.” Isaac said as he got to his feet.
“Okay.” They both said and he limped outside. They sat there is silence, both of them unsure what to say or do. “So, will you dance with me again some day?” Maude finally asked.
“Sure, if I’m ever needed for it again. Isaac should be better by your next performance though.”
“Maybe you two could take turns, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”
“You’ll have to discuss that with him.” They went silent again and Isaac came back before the could say more. Their food showed up and they all chatted happily about their day as they ate.
After dinner they returned to their hotel and settled in for the night. Maude was nervous about tomorrow. She really wanted to talk about that kiss with Hugh. They would have all day alone to take in the sights and for her to mention it and confess her feelings. How he kissed her was undeniable, it had to have real emotion behind it’s gentle and sweet movements. She eventually took her thoughts into sleep so she would have energy for going around town tomorrow. In the morning no wake up call came but she was sure Hugh was up. He was always up before they were. She got ready at a slower pace this morning, wanting to look absolutely perfect today.
When she was ready she walked down to Hughs room and knocked. He answered fairly quickly “good morningm do you want to see if Isaac wants to atleast join us for breakfast?”
“sure” they walked ot his room and knocked. His ankle still throbbed so he hobbled to the door “yeah”
“want to come with us to breakfast?”
“No, the whole day is yours. Go have fun you two”
“Ok, hope you feel better soon”
“I hope you two have fun” They decided on Clinton Street Baking Company which turned out to be an amazing choice. The food was delicious. maude texted isaac to let him know she would force him out to have breakfast there tomorrow. He texted back a smiley face and said ok.
“Where should we go first?” Maude asked.
“How about the Empire State Building. You can see everything from up there.”
“Okay.” They finished eating and got a cab, both of them thinking of what to say to each other. When they got there they were happy to see that the lines were not that long so they didn’t spend very much time waiting. He bought them tickets to the 86th floor observatory then they went through the security check and headed up. “Doesn’t it go higher than that?” Maude asked.
“Yeah, but the 86th floor is caged in instead of blocked by glass so you can actually feel the wind.” He answered. Stepping out onto the 86th floor and over to the safety railing made Maude a little dizzy. Her heart leapt into her throat and she found herself gripping the railing. Hugh slipped his hands overs hers and rested his head on her shoulder. “You okay?” He whispered in her ear.
“Yeah, it’s just really high.” She answered, feeling goosebumps crawling up her arms. He was so close to her and had her caged in. It distracted her from being so high in the air.
“Beautiful though isn’t it?”
“Oh, yes it’s absolutely breathtaking.”
They just enjoyed the closeness and the view. They were absolutely lost in eachother and soon didn’t even notice any other people around them. Hugh very nearly gave her a soft kiss on the neck but he thankfully regained thought enough to know he shouldn’t. Maude noticed him move then go right back how he was but paid no mind to it. “you ready to go on to the next thing?” he asked softly “sure” she responded just as softly. “want to go go to times square?”
“Sounds amazing” He gave her a brief, dreamy look of admiration before taking her hand and going back down to grab a cab. They hailed one quickly since there were so many in New York and were soon on their way. He kept her hand in the taxi since she had allowed him to be so close all that time in he Empire State building.
“There are so many people.” Maude said when the driver pulled to a stop.
“Just hold tightly to my hand and stay close. I would hate for you to get lost in the crowd.” Hugh replied as he paid and they got out. He laced his fingers through hers and they walked slowly down the sidewalk, just enjoying all the sights and sounds. Maude excitedly pointed out the theatres.
“I would love to perform in one of those.” She said.
“You will, I promise. Everyone is going to hear and read about your Juilliard performance. I’m sure they’ll ask for you.”
He smiled. “Yes our performance.” They stopped at a couple of stores and Hugh bought her and Isaac a souvenir. She kissed his cheek and he felt himself grinning like a big idiot, but couldn’t help it. When he feet started to get tired he hailed a cab and had the driver take them back to the hotel. She fell asleep on the way there and he couldn’t bring himself to wake her when the driver pulled to a stop. He paid and got out then went quickly aroud to her side and lifted her out. He headed inside, smiling at the receptionist before getting in the elevator. She rubbed her face against his chest and his heart did a little flip at how adorable she looked. He couldn’t get her keycard out of her purse so he reluctantly shook her awake.
“Oh I’m sorry.” She said and looked around. “You carried me upstairs?”
“I didn’t want to wake you.” She smiled and kissed his cheek again. “I need you to get your keycard out of your purse.” She pulled it out and opened the door then he carried her inside and sat her on her bed.
“You can go back to sleep now if you want, I’ll be next door.”
“Wait, stay.” She grabbed his hand and refused to let go. “I don’t want our day to end yet, so please stay.”
“What would you like to do Maude?”
“I want to talk about our performance, the kissing part in particular.” She blushed and looked at her feet. He grabbed her chin and tipped her head back up.
“What about it?”
“It felt real, as if you have feelings for me” She looked into his eyes nervously. “I do, I have been falling deeper and deeper in love with you since the first day you performed for me. I love you from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. I think about you every day and live to see your smile. It was truly a gift to finally be able to kiss you Maude. Even if that’s the only kiss I’ll ever get I’m grateful for it.” Maude leapt at him as a lion might jump on its prey. She kissed him again, over joyed he shared her feelings. She pulled back and said “I love you too so that’s far from the last kiss you’ll be receiving. You are such an amazing man and I’ve loved you for quite awhile” He smiled then tucked hair behind her ear. “you don’t know how happy I am to hear that”
“Of course i do, I’m just as happy Hugh”
“can we take a nap together?” he asked hopefully. She moved on the bed to give him room to lay down. He took off his shoes as she took off hers then happily crawled in. They wrapped eachother the embrace they had been waiting on so long, too long. When Maude got close to him she smiled at his heart rate “you’ll have a heart attack”
“I’ll die a happy man, a lucky man” She kissed his chest leaving goosbumps. He in turn kissed her head. They slowly drifted to sleep in their blissful state. Their hearts finally felt whole now that they had expressed their feelings for one another. At dinner that night they told Isaac about them getting together. He was excited and happy for them. The rest of the tour went amazingly, Isaac and Hugh taking turns dancing with Maude. their whole world would be different but in the most amazing way.
~ The End ~