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The Ultimate

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It had taken some time to search out the right name on Skype. Michelle wasn’t technical, and her contacts list - her various contact lists across email, Facebook, and sundry other accounts - were rather out of date. And there might have been an element of procrastination in all of this, knowing that she was trying to dig up a connection to friend mostly for the purposes of asking a favour rather than for the sake of the years-old friendship itself. But the risk was worth it, Michelle told herself. And they hadn’t spoken in a long time: not since they’d both been living in New York, having met at more than one dance class in the Broadway studios, and suddenly had enough of a chance to talk that they’d become friends. Then Vegas had come up, and Michelle had moved away, and…

She took a deep breath and clicked on the name, listening to the tinny arpeggio and not entirely believing it when there was an answer.

“Hello? Michelle? Michelle Simms?”

“Jodi!” Michelle exclaimed into her computer screen. “How long has it been? No, don’t say it, too long. Too, too long. How are you? How’s Charlie?”

“I’m good. Charlie’s good. What’s happening?”

“Nothing’s happening!” said Michelle.

“You’re talking in exclamation points. You only do that when you want something.”

“That’s not true! Okay, maybe it is true. A little. But it has been too long since I saw you.”

Curled up in a chair in her New York apartment, her iPad balanced on her knees, Jodi smiled. “So how’s Vegas?”

“Um - I’m not there any more.”

“What? Then where…”

“It’s a long story. I’m in a little town on the coast. Called Paradise. I got married - “

“Married?”

“To Hubble. He really was lovely. But he died.”

“Oh, Michelle, I -”

“But he’d changed his will before he died and I ended up owning a ballet studio and my mother-in-law’s house, and it’s all kind of bizarre, I admit, but what I really wanted to talk to you about is…” Michelle took a breath, and Jodi took one along with her.

“How’s the Company?”

“Good - why?”

“And Cooper?”

“Insanely brilliant as always. And totally impossible. Michelle, what are you getting at?”

“The girls here, my students. They’re mad for the Joffrey but one of them is a fabulous dancer but she’ll never get accepted by the Joffrey or the ABS, or any of the traditional companies. But the Neilsen might see Boo as she is, for the fabulous dancer she can become.”

“Boo?”

“I know. It’s a ridiculous name but she’s a really lovely girl. And I thought if you could just talk to Cooper maybe there could be a summer program, like the one the Joffrey has: something to show Boo the options, give her a broader vision of dance.”

“Of course I’ll talk to Cooper,” said Jodi. “And as soon as the season is over I’ll come out and see her for myself.”

“Will you, Jodi?”

“Of course. Like you said, it’s been far too long since I’ve seen you.”

“And whose fault is that? Oh, right - mine.”

“Kind of,” agreed Jodi. “But since I’ve got you here… tell me about this new life of yours. You’re teaching now?”

Michelle began to relax. “Yeah, I’m teaching. Ballet. Can you believe it?”

Jodi grinned. “Not entirely.”

“Me neither.”

“And your girls are mad for the Joffrey?”

“They think it’s the ultimate.”

Jodi smiled. “So did we, once.”

“Yeah”, said Michelle, softly. “We did.”