Minako told herself it was entirely natural to admire dancers older than herself, even though it wasn’t only admiration that had her following each and every of Lilia Baranovskaya’s delicate yet powerful steps across the studio. It was only admiration.
Her fellow ingénues had noticed, said if she stared longer her eyes would fall out of her head, teased her about wanting to kiss Madame Baranovskaya’s feet. The joke was on them, though, because she would, in a heartbeat; would kiss her calluses and cuts with pleasure; set butterfly kisses on her amazing body, worship her exactly like she deserved.
She told herself it was entirely natural to see a performance, and think about those spins performed around her, think about moulding her body into those exact same steps and mirroring her performance pressed against the length of her legs, her breasts— she was sure Lilia had noticed her attention. She was sure she’d be kicked out of the corps for her staring, although that was silly, wasn’t it? So was staring at the prima ballerina assoluta, but Minako couldn’t help it. She was focused on her own performance one minute, and then, suddenly; her eyes were on Lilia again.
She told herself it was entirely natural to return to the studios Lilia had danced last, to trace her performances, and think about doing them beside her, doing them surrounded by her, doing her. (And sometimes she thought the faint smell of her perfume was lingering in the air, and she grew hot, immediately.) It was distracting, it was all-encompassing, and she just could not escape any of the images of the prima ballerina. There was a billboard across the dorm where she slept, pictures plastered all over town. Lilia was everywhere she turned, and Minako could not escape her.