Page 17 of The Dancer

No matter how I tried telling myself that this shit was none of my business, I couldn’t convince myself. It’s the same reason I’d fed her so well tonight. It was almost a compulsion, something I couldn’t control.

What’s your story Annabelle, and why do I give a damn? I threw back the last of the cognac in the snifter and let the burn take my mind off of her for a few seconds.

It wasn’t like me to obsess like this. I wasn’t one to stick my nose in other people’s shit. But even as I sat in the comfortable warmth of my luxury apartment I worried about her. Where is she right now?

Was she warm enough, was she safe? Did she even have a roof over her head? The thought of her alone somewhere in the city unprotected made my gut hurt.

It wouldn’t be the first time someone living in a shelter came looking for a job. Word of my kindness in hiring certain types was sure to spread.

There were tons of jobs for the less educated in my places and I always went above and beyond to give everyone who needed it a shot when I could.

Is that where she’d heard about the open call for dancers? The Ad had been in all the papers and there might have been flyers around the city. I’m not sure what my team had done this time.

There was no point in worrying about it now. I won’t have any answers until I saw her again, that is if she was more forthcoming next time.

I looked up the PO Box number and zip code I’d jotted down on my phone to see where exactly it was. She was in the Morningside Heights section of New York, near Colombia University.

Hmm, is that where she goes to school? If so she must be very bright, and very wealthy. Their tuition is nothing to sneeze at. I should know, I was currently paying for three kids from the Bronx to attend.

Something they never would’ve achieved if not for the special scholarship fund I’d set up for underprivileged kids in my old neighborhood.

I also knew you had to be smart as fuck to get into one of the nation’s leading Ivy league universities with its very distinguished alumni.

I’ve always been fascinated by intelligent people. Though I’d done well in school myself, I’d always been more of an athlete than a scholar.

I wonder which program she’s in? Was it medical, engineering or business? Again I was almost tempted to pick up the phone and use my resources to get that information.

She sure doesn’t act like any preppie I’ve ever known. That tough girl act of hers wasn’t something she’d just learned. At least I don’t think so.

I played around with dialing the number I’d also made note of and gave in ten minutes later after debating myself to no avail.

I held my breath and hoped it was her real number and not some random crap she’d jotted down. She seemed like the type to do that shit.

In the few seconds it took for someone to answer, my mind ran through every possible scenario it could. None of it good.

Most frightening being that it wasn’t her number and that I wouldn’t see her again if she’d pulled a runner.

“Hello!” I couldn’t believe the relief I felt when I heard her voice on the other end of the line. “Did you get home safe?”

She didn’t answer for a bit, but it was telling that she didn’t have to ask who was calling. I know my name and number didn’t show up on her caller ID because I’d paid a pretty penny to make sure that shit never happens.

“You do realize that there’s a law against violating my rights as an employee right? Like the fact that you’re not allowed to just call me up out of the blue for no blessed reason at all.”

Her voice had gone up a few octaves there at the end, but I had become used to her insubordination already it seemed and I let it slide.

“Are you home or not?”

“Yes, not that it’s any of your business.” She hung up the damn phone. I looked at the blank screen on my end a bit flummoxed at this girl’s daring.

Looks like I’m going to have to come up with a new way of dealing with this particular female. She’s a whole different breed from what I’m accustomed to.

I’m convinced now, that’s no act. She really don’t give a shit who I am. Why that shit should make me smile is beyond me. Unless I’d lost my damn mind for real.

The sense of excitement instead of waning only seemed to grow stronger with her actions. I had a

feeling my well organized world was about to get turned on its ass with this one. None of my browbeating or strong arm tactics was gonna work here.