says. I look at him. Maybe he’s not so bad after all. ‘I guess you’ll tell me when I’m ready,’ I reply. The new semester has started and I can feel my stress levels rising already. It’s one thing to forget about competition during the holidays – it’s another whenI’m only allowed to dance at the barre and not en pointe, and a new girl is Miss Raine’s star pupil. Petra Hoffman is here on exchange from the Berlin Ballet School, and it’s true that she is a good, lyrical dancer … but it’s driving me a bit crazy that I can’t dance and show her what I’m capable of. Thankfully there is a distraction tonight – it’s Kat’s birthday, and she’s having a party. Needless to say, I wasn’t invited, but Sammy talked me into coming along as his guest. Kat’s living room is heaving with people and Sean is working his DJ decks. Sammy and I are messing around with dancing – a weird mix of salsa, hiphop and freestyle. None of the other dancers have any technique to speak of, and I’ve definitely heard better music, but the party is actually kind of fun. Petra’s using her camera phone to take photos of couples for what she calls her ‘Public Display of Affection’ collection. She grabs a handful of jelly shots that are going past. I don’t think she realises they’re alcoholic. ‘I’ve never tasted jelly like this before,’ she says, putting her arm through Sammy’s. ‘Can you take a photo of us, Abigail?’ She’s now swaying so much that it’s hard to get a snap that’s not blurry. While I’m trying to delete thefailures, I find a photo that Petra must have taken in the last few days. It’s Tara kissing someone down by the harbour, but the ‘someone’ isn’t Ethan, her boyfriend. It’s Christian. I can’t believe it. Tara spent ages crushing on Ethan, and now she’s got him she’s turning her attention to the moodiest boy at the Academy? I seriously don’t get that girl – how could anyone prefer Christian to Ethan? Whatever the reason, Petra has just handed me an absolute gift. I feel a sense of satisfaction as I hit the ‘Send’ button. Tara’s cheating is about to go viral.
CHAPTER 9 The world has officially gone crazy. Patrick has decided that what we all need for inspiration is a camping trip to the mountains. We’re going to be dancing in the open air – workshopping variations on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sure, it’s beautiful up there – but it would look even more beautiful from the inside of a plane that was flying over it. I don’t do camping. As if that weren’t bad enough, Ms Histead, the English teacher, has decided that she’s had enough of what she calls my ‘excuses’ for not handing in assignments. She asks to see Sammy and I after class. ‘You’re failing English,’ she tells me, ‘and if that continues I’ll keep you down next year no matter how well you dance.’ I can hardly believe my ears. The Academy is a dancing school – we’re not supposed to worry about the ordinary subjects. ‘You wouldn’t,’ I say. ‘Before you go on camp you will submit a new essay on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, she says. ‘Sammy will be your tutor.’ Sammy tries to protest, but she isn’t even listening. She hands me the assignment and dismisses us. This is a nightmare. Apart from the fact that I have no idea how to start writing this essay, Sammy’s furious with me. Since I sent that message, someone has been taping up copies of it all over the Academy. Everyone’s either laughing at Tara or refusing to speak to her, and that includes Kat. ‘You didn’t need to send that photo,’ Sammy says for the millionth time. ‘And if you’re now harassing Tara with them–’ ‘What?’ I exclaim. ‘Like I could be bothered with the melodrama. So where’s my assignment?’ ‘I’m not going to do it for you,’ Sammy says, looking astonished. He doesn’t honestly expect me to sit down and write an essay for real? I wouldn’t