She'll make a Balletomane of them all.

- 11th October, The Wonky Donkey, Early Evening -

As the day turned towards evening and the lull between lunch and dinner began to stir and buzz with renewed activity, Zelda’s thoughts settled on the pleasant exchange she and Kadison had shared. They had talked and flirted (more so on her part) for the better part of an hour, certainly through his meal and into the beginning of the afternoon. She was naturally inclined toward coquettish displays, but she had genuinely enjoyed Kadison’s company. He had that reserved, quiet quality she seemed to play so well against. Unfortunately for her, Kadison could not while away his afternoon in the pub, though there were many who could and did. When Kadison had regrettably made ready his departure she quickly invited him to pay her a visit at A Novel Idea, her parent’s bookstore. They arranged a time for their rendezvous and she made sure to use words that would clearly define the nature of their meeting as a date; words such as courting and wooing. She had a flare for the thematic elements of romance even if she rarely had opportunity to maintain any such relationships. At the door to the pub she helped him adjust his hat and held onto his arm as long as possible before sending him out into the city of Dusk.

“Zelda, quit your flirting and bring me another pint!” It was the playful summons on one such patron who would while away his entire day at the pub.

“I’m not flirting, I’m planning.”

But that had all been earlier in the afternoon and she’d had plenty of time to get caught up on all the side work that came with a job serving food and drink in a pub. She was beginning to realize it was a more complex jostling of time management than she’d first assumed. Juggling one or two balls was simple enough, but keeping an entire Pub’s patronage happy and content took considerable more skill and attention to detail. Still, the customers were comfortably fed or quenched, the food was served hot and drinks cold, the tables were clean and no one had started a brawl so all said, well done Zelda.

When the doors swung open and Jericho walked in, Zelda did not notice as she was taking a much needed break from her duties. The shifts were long, but hardly high intensity. Compared to the hours spent rehearsing on and off stage, Zelda was finding this serving girl gig to be a pleasant bit of paid repose. But she was still a ballerina at heart and was using the wooden counter to do Barre exercises as if she were in the studio. As she stretched and elongated her legs horizontally, she took advantage of her captive audience’s attention with talk of ballet. Whether they were captive by way of their reluctance to give up their drinking or by way of enjoying the show, it amounted to much the same.

“The art of ballet is one of stunning beauty and grace; it was once world renowned and it’s alluring nature touches our lives in every way. The way the thumb and middle finger should be more relaxed than other fingers, the way we glide and mince effortlessly on the tips of our pointes, but what you see on stage is only the temporary finality of all our hard work and practice. There’s a frightening contrast between the two. With the harsh light of day pouring in through the floor-to-ceiling windows of a studio with only the sound of our choreographer clapping his rhythm and yelling severe criticisms, never any praise. The airy room stinks of sweat, our faces run with sweat, our leotards wet with sweat.”

With her right foot still atop the bar’s counter, Zelda slid down in a severe stretch to the floor in a move that may have been more appropriate in the Rose District’s Brass Token bar. The Wonkey Donkey’s patrons certainly weren’t objecting.

“Corded tendons stand out like sequestered flagesium conduits; our sleek muscles tremble and flutter on the nervous edge of exhaustion. Throbbing veins popped out on our foreheads and necks, harshly exposed by the damnable bun so tight it hurts to blink.”

“Zelda!” That was the disapproving voice of chef and owner’s wife. She’d popped her head out of the kitchen and found Zelda working the barre like it was a pole. Zelda snapped back to reality and stood up quickly, straightening her hair to lay perfectly across her shoulder. There was a short start of applause, but Miss Jeters put a stop to that with the judicious toss of a fried potato wedge. “This is not the kind of entertainment we provide, Zelda. Now make your rounds; I’m sure you’ve made more than a few of these fine folk more than thirsty. And I expect you lot to be more gentlemanly with your eyes.”

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