Prologue: part 4

“No, no, it needs to be… Edgier. We’re trying to entice the audience, not put them to sleep. Less hypnotic, more sex.”

Dev’s voice cracked over the stage and Emily resisted the urge to sigh. Ever since Nica had left, Dev had spent more and more time here during the day, trying to fill in. Emily didn’t mind, at first. Dev cared about the nest, in her own strange way of showing it. She was trying.

And as the owner of Asylum, the club where the dancers’ nest lived and worked, it was Dev’s business as well as her family. Emily understood that Dev had to keep both sides in mind. Just because Em thought the place was pretty successful already didn’t mean she actually knew anything. She didn’t handle the money, just accepted the paycheck she got every other week for performing. Granted, it did seem smaller lately, but she’d been taking a lot of time off for school stuff, so who knew?

Emily shook her shoulders out, trying to bring her thoughts back to the dance. Dance now, school worries later. “Alright, edgier… Um…”

She looked to Lena on her other side, who looked just as lost as Em felt. They’d been working on this routine for months, but neither of them felt it was right, so it was still in practice limbo. They’d only performed it for Dev to see if the club manager had any advice. Unfortunately, she did, but nothing useful.

Lena shrugged, but heard Em’s silent plea for help. “Maybe we could add a shimmy?”

She repeated their last few steps, adding the move in question. Emily pursed her lips, but shrugged and followed suit. It worked, from a technical stand point, but the energy of the piece was all wrong. The more they tried to fix it, the worse it became some days. They just didn’t have the solid background in the serpent style of dance that Nica did. She’d been the one to teach them what they knew of it, and without her here to help them through the rough spots…

There was a reason they hadn’t performed the piece yet. It just didn’t work and soon Dev was calling out at them again.

“Edgier! How much skin will you be showing? That might help… Make the movements more sultry…Maybe it’s just this song – do we have something more sex than this overly romantic dribble? Surely…”

Emily and Lena shared a look while their backs were to Dev. It was times like this that they both missed Nica’s input the most. Not only would she have danced the routine with them, she would have interceded with the well-meaning club owner as well. But they were on their own, so they both took a breath and tried to figure out how to make their moves more sultry and enticing and “edgier”.

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