Anton didn’t know why Mortimer had assigned him this particular mission. It made absolutely no sense. He may not have been the smartest member of the society, but even an idiot would know that sending a Berserker to a ballet had no chance of ending well. The task should have been assigned to Cari. The Siren wouldn’t have minded. He loved music more than anything, and he would have undoubtedly enjoyed the drama that joined the performance as well.
Why me? He thought to himself, slouching deeper into his seat and making himself as comfortable as he could get. It was going to be a long night, and if he was going to have to suffer through some over-acted and cliché love story, then he was sure as hell going to at least be in the best position to catch a nap. Thankfully, he wasn’t vampire. Stupid Mortimer.
The brunette found the people gathered around him irritating. They were all buzzing with excitement, talking about the upcoming performance and—apparently more important—a prima ballerina that ‘made your heart leap with every pointe performance’. Anton would have scoffed. All these mundane beings, so innocent and carefree, were so naïve. They found enjoyment in the silliest things. Watching a prima ballerina perform just happened to be one of many. Ugh.
He had been given a pamphlet. It was from an outstretched hand at the doors of the theatre, and seeing everyone else get one (and being totally clueless about ballet audience etiquette), Anton took one as well. It was your typical folded information-giving piece of gloss paper. It had information on the Ballet Company and theatre within the folded pages, and in front was a shrunken poster of the performance. Coppelia, it was called. And it starred the prima ballerina that everyone else seemed to have been talking about. A girl named Irina Plisetsky
She had a nice name, he admitted.
Originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Leon, Anton read that the story focused on a doll—the title character, Coppelia. He was confused whether or not the ballerina playing her would be the star, but he did understand was that she was supposed to be very beautiful and life-like. Enough so, that she made an admirer that saw her from a window fall madly in love. How hilarious and ironic was that? Though a comic, the play seemed to have the subliminal message that no living being could be so perfect. Anton smirked, thinking to himself. Obviously, this concept designer never met Mortimer. The Berserker even managed a small smile.
Applause echoing within the theatre walls made Anton snap his head up in surprise. Was it finally starting? A man in an expensive looking tuxedo waved from the front before taking his seat. It was the maestro, he assumed. The lights dimmed after that, the loud sounds of people clapping vanishing along with it, and the curtain was opened. The people who sat beside him—a middle-aged couple that he guessed was married—turned when he took a loud intake of breath.
The girl on stage was stunning.
He paid no mind to the merchant, who waved at the angel that read from the window. The waving lady and the creeping Doctor barely even made an impression in Anton’s mind. All he saw was the girl in the cerulean tutu, standing still with her eyes on the pages of a book he suddenly felt jealous of. How she held it, how she read it, he found himself thinking about how it would have felt to be treasured like that.
The character was Coppelia, but who was the ballerina? Was it Irina? He needed to know.
The pale Doctor returned to the building where the doll resided, and a new girl appeared (the one who waved) on the stage and began dancing. Still, Anton’s eyes remained on Coppelia. Her silky, ebony, tresses were tied tightly into a bun, a floral crown decorating the top of her head. It suited her pale skin perfectly. From afar he could spot the long ink lashes that emphasized the beautiful chocolate orbs the ballerina possessed. His heart, an organ he barely felt, began to speed its beating. Normally, he would have panicked and ran—afraid to have been near so much of the mundane—but it didn’t feel wrong. Weird, yes, but not wrong.
She remained emotionless while the other woman (Swanhilda, according to the pamphlet) began dancing and mocking her. It made her all the more desirable in the Berserker’s eyes. The only sense of life was the blinking, for even her chest rose and fell almost at a blink of an eye. Had she been able to stop herself from the movement of her eyelids, Anton might have believed her to have been an inanimate object.
Something so perfect and unique, and in turn unattainable. This girl was hypnotizing him.
He barely notices when two men enter. Franz must have been one of them—the male lead. The brunette saw, from the corner of the eyes that remained fixed on his new favorite ballerina, the male ballerina in red move. What shocked him the most, was when the angel began to stir as well. Her movements were stiff and controlled (she was a doll after all), and each small gesture made Anton want to move closer. Coppelia stood, held her book to her chest, and then blew a kiss in Franz’s direction. That was when the bad warning of the quickening of heart began to arise.
I am not jealous. I am not jealous. He kept repeating to himself.
After the, too, short sneak peek of a performance, Coppelia sat down and began reading once more. Her cerulean clothing shined underneath the stage lights, her pale skin probably glistening from either sweat or lotion or both. Anton’s heart calmed, once again returning the weird, and yet irregular, beat it had taken on moments ago. When was the last time he escaped rage so easily?
Anton only looked away when he was forced to. The girl had gone from the window.
Slouching back into his chair, refusing to acknowledge the disappointment building in his gut, Anton released a sigh. He’d never, in his how-many years on Earth, met a girl that managed to capture him in a matter of seconds. The farthest had been his feelings of plain admiration, but that ballerina, that Coppelia, did so much more that made him admire her. What was it about her that sprung out and made his every nerve, every single drop of blood freeze? What was it he felt that made his heart hasten?
He was snapped out of his thoughts by a vibration in his pocket. The couple beside him were displeased when he took out the, apparently, offensive gadget and flipped it open. The soft, dimmed, glow didn’t really bother anybody. He had made it so that it was barely even noticeable. When sure that the nosy man and woman had returned their attention to the ballet, Anton scanned through his messages until he reached the new one. Oh joy. A message from his boss. As if he didn’t have a headache already.
How’s everything going? Was the tip true? If not,
are you at least enjoying the ballet?
From where he sat, a good hundred miles away from their base, Anton could just feel Mortimer’s smirk. It wasn’t like he envisioned the odd excuse of a smile one of his superior’s had, but his spine sent up a shiver that usually came with looking at one up close. Knowing that it was in his best interest to respond, Anton began typing away his reply. It wasn’t like anything interesting was happening in the play anyway. The curtains had closed, moments ago, to signal the soon start of the second act.
Everything seems fine so far. No bloodshed.
The ballet is interesting at least, so I don’t
need to kill you as of yet. You should be thankful.
He flipped the phone shut after checking if he had missed any messages or calls, and returned his attention to the stage. The second act was well on its way, with Swanhilda and her friends sneaking into the Doctor’s workshop and finding the dolls. One girl was in the middle of pushing the bride-to-be towards a closet. Anton practically beamed with joy when the double doors were flung open to reveal his new favorite ballerina. It was Coppelia, seated with her book and in her cerulean tutu. Magnificent.
Anton found Swanhilda’s movements annoying. She kept going up and running away, touching Coppelia and playing with her skirt. The rage almost released itself—his eyes temporarily flashing green—when she leaned up against the doll and listened for a heartbeat. No one should have been that close to the angel on land. Anton was grateful for the good self-control he had been bestowed with. He managed to hold back his anger and continue watching. Swanhilda had just found out that Coppelia was a doll.
By the time all the dolls, Coppelia aside, were wound up and dancing, Anton’s phone vibrated once more. Forcing his eyes away from the cerulean clad ballerina, the Berserker checked his phone for Mortimer’s new message. To his shock, it wasn’t the sarcastic leader that answered him. It was his second and command—the calm and intelligent Ezra.
You can leave the theatre now. Something more
urgent has come up. Besides, if they haven’t
attacked yet, then they probably won’t tonight.
He frowned. Leave? Already? He hasn’t even seen his new angel dance yet. Couldn’t he stay a little longer? At least until the end of the second act? Anton wanted to remain in the audience, and to remain within observing distance of the ballerina who played Coppelia. Was that too much to ask? Even for just a spare moment? Maybe it was, because his phone vibrated once again, and he didn’t need to open it to know that their assistant leader was probably telling him to haul his ass to his next destination. Such a shame. He really wanted to view her much longer. Perhaps another chance would present itself in the future.
Anton stood from his folding chair and made his way out of the auditorium. With a heave heart, he folded his coat and held the pamphlet in his hands as he walked out of the warm theatre and out into the dark, and iced street. Winter was going to be extra cold and extra snowy this year, it seemed. He wasn’t all too happy about that. Longer nights made them excited. Winter, to put it lightly, was their free-for-all hunting season. It, in turn, doubled his workload.
Turning back to the theatre, and taking one last look at the sign that read Coppelia, Anton released a heavy sigh. His eyes flickered down to the pamphlet, and squinted when he realized he was looking at the back. From a squint, his orbs widened when he realized he was staring at a cast list. And down, at the very bottom, was the one thing he needed to know.
Coppelia – Natasha Vasiliev.
* * *
It was ‘The Nutcracker’ this time, and Anton’s eyes were beginning to change into a green so bright, that he was shocked no one noticed.
He had tracked the progress of the ballet company that he had found Natasha Vasiliev in, and found out that their next performance was a rendition of Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’ ballet. Anton, without even a doubt in his mind, bought front-row tickets with high hopes that he would see his new favorite ballerina once again.
Glad to say that he wasn’t disappointed, and probably clapped louder than anybody when she came out as the lead role—Clara.
The annoyance began from there, how people began whispering amongst themselves and asking each other, “Where is Irina Plisetsky?” or “Who’s that girl and why is she playing Clara?”
At first, Anton decided to ignore them. He watched as Natasha Vasiliev’s face lit up at the acceptance of the nutcracker, and held in his jealousy by the time she danced with the Nutcracker prince in the Pas De Deux. His emotions were a mix of awe and enchantment, and by the time the second act rolled around, he was barely sitting on the edge of his seat in excitement. The way she danced, the way she smiled, the way she held herself together and lost herself in the moment—everything about her was dangerously drawing him into her spell.
Anton wasn’t new to the performance of ‘The Nutcracker’. He knew that by the second act, the most popular song—The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy—would finally be presented. What he didn’t expect, however, was for Irina Plisetsky to appear and steal the show away. Of course Natasha Vasiliev was still the star, getting crowned ruler alongside the Prince, but the way people clapped and cheered at the sight of the upcoming and rising ballerina made his blood boil. Natasha Vasiliev was better, in his opinion.
People shouldn’t have casted her aside like some background character. He didn’t know if they noticed, but by the end of Irina’s performance, he was not applauding at all.
The ballet was coming to an end, with Clara awakening from her slumber and finding the crown beside her. She picked up the nutcracker soldier, placed him atop the table, and resumed her sleep in high hopes of returning to her dream. When the blue velvet curtains closed, people applauded and whistled (Anton was not an exception), some even threw flowers at the stage and orchestra in appreciation. When the blue parted once again, like the sea of the forty thieves, the entire cast stood and prepared for the role call.
It was no shock to him, that when the Sugar Plum Fairy was called, everyone stood and clapped their hands with much gusto.
Only two characters remained, and after the calling of the prince, only Clara was left.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” The announcer began, his favorite prima ballerina twirling to the center with a bouquet of a dozen yellow roses in her arms. “Presenting the Rouge Ballet Company’s own Clara, Natasha Vasiliev!” This was when Anton felt the rage fill the pit of his stomach.
She stood in the center, smiling widely, and it didn’t falter when only soft clapping greeted her entrance. Her fellow dancers looked horrified, and decided to clap for her themselves. Even Irina, who had received the most amount of appreciation clapped just as loud for their Clara. At least it shows they appreciate each other, Anton thought to himself.
Anton wanted, so badly, to release his anger onto the ignorant crowd, but for some miraculous reason, he fought against the urge and focused his energy into his single applause. He stood, to the shock of his favorite ballerina, and began clapping and whopping like no tomorrow. If no one else was going to do it, then he would clap as loud as a single crowd for her to be happy.
Some of the ballerinas giggled behind Natasha, while Irina walked up to her and pushed the ballerina in mint clothing forward.
The black haired girl turned back in question, but Irina clapped and motioned towards Anton. The Berserker didn’t know what that meant, but when Natasha bent down and offered him a single yellow rose from her bouquet.
He accepted it with a wide smile.
“You were amazing.” Anton whispered to her, taking a whiff of the yellow rose and offering the girl a smile. He barely controlled the beating of his heart when she blushed.
“You’re very beautiful too.” He added, his heart practically stopping when she offered him her smile.
“Thank you.” Natasha answered back. “Thank you, very much.”
Anton felt light-headed when she suddenly leaned down and kissed his cheek.