Scarlett is excited about a new development in her life, meanwhile Ryleigh starts to feel resentful…
Scarlett was still walking on air from her call yesterday with Kian. She was ecstatic, he had finally called. They had agreed he would come over that night. Scarlett was a bag of nerves, it was her first real date in years, so much could go wrong. What would he say when he found out about Ryleigh?
Ryleigh, sensing her Mum was a little distracted had taken herself off to the park next door. Scarlett tried to take her mind off her upcoming date by working on her garden. Whistling to herself, she had a great idea for an activity for her and Ryleigh to do. She really felt like she didn’t get a lot of time with her little girl. Once I finish here I will get ready and go and get her. It would be good to make a day of it.
Scarlett was so excited about her idea, she didn’t notice Ryleigh’s lack of enthusiasm for leaving the park. “Come on,” Scarlett exclaimed enthusiastically “I’ve got a surprise for you!” At the mention of the word surprise Ryleigh allowed herself to be taken out the park and bundled into a taxi all the while wondering what her Mum was so excited about.
As the car pulled up outside a large glass building, Ryleigh felt confused. Before she could say anything, Scarlett had taken her by the hand and ushered her into the building. As they walked up the stairs, Ryleigh could hear classical music tinkling down the stairs. Ryleigh was beginning to get a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Scarlett pushed open the wooden door and held it open for Ryleigh. Ryleigh’s heart sank. There was floor to ceiling mirrors all around the walls. In the corner a music player was playing classical music and there was a few exercise bars set up along one wall. Two people were using them.
“What is this, why.. what the -” Ryleigh spluttered.
“Surprise!” Scarlett said with a smile. “This is the new Dance Studio that was built and they do dance lessons!”
“Oh” Ryleigh didn’t know what to say. She didn’t like dancing and her Mum knew that.
“You know what else?” Scarlett continued, “I can take lessons too with you, wouldn’t that be fun?”
“Erm….. I guess” Ryleigh didn’t know what to say. She didn’t want to hurt her Mum’s feelings but she really hated dancing. Ryleigh was the only girl in her class at school not to go to ballet lessons. Ryleigh herself had chosen scouting over ballet. Scouting was fun at least. Ballet on the other hand wasn’t.
Ryleigh allowed herself to be swept up in her Mum’s enthusiasm at dancing together. As she changed into her gym kit, Ryleigh hoped no one from her school would turn up.Ryleigh tried her best to follow the instructions of the teacher but she actually found her Mum’s words of encouragement more difficult to ignore. “Point your toes Ryleigh,” Scarlett would call, “Straighten that leg” Ryleigh gritted her teeth and tried not to let her frustration show.
Scarlett was feeling so proud as she watched Ryleigh dance. I knew she would enjoy it once she got there. Scarlett had danced herself as a child and it meant the world to her to see her little girl carrying on the torch. Scarlett knew Ryleigh would enjoy it once she had tried it. Once Ryleigh was finished, it was Scarlett’s turn. “Watch Mummy” Scarlett told Ryleigh, “Afterward we can talk about what you need to work on”
As Ryleigh dutifully watched her Mum, she sighed to herself. This was boring. Dancing may have been her Mum’s passion but it sure wasn’t hers. How could she tell her that though? Ryleigh didn’t want to hurt her Mum’s feelings. Eventually though, Scarlett was done. Much to Ryleigh’s relief. All the way home in the taxi, Ryleigh tuned out her Mum’s dance enthusiasm and talk of more lessons. Why couldn’t she just accept that she didn’t want to be a dancer?
Scarlett was feeling excited as they arrived home. Clearly oblivious to her Daughter’s feelings, Scarlett happily went for a shower and cleaned up in preparation for Kian’s arrival. But first she had to prepare Ryleigh for the visit. Ryleigh was sat at the table doing what looked like homework.
“Ryleigh we are going to have a visitor tonight” Scarlett said lightly. This didn’t have to be a big deal. Ryleigh didn’t even look up from writing.
“Ryleigh?” Scarlett said again. Ryleigh stopped writing and looked up. “Okay” she said. Ryleigh was still feeling grumpy after the dance class. “Who?” Ryleigh couldn’t help but ask, trying to keep the curiosity out of her voice.
“A man called Kian” Scarlett said. She watched Ryleigh carefully for a reaction but Ryleigh was already writing again in her book. “He won’t be here long,” Scarlett continued, “But while he is here, I expect you to be polite and well-behaved understood?”
Ryleigh said nothing more but when the doorbell rang she made a point of pretending she was still doing work so she could see who this Kian was. Did her Mum have a boyfriend?
Kian called hello to Ryleigh, Ryleigh just nodded. She wasn’t sure she liked this. Watching her Mum, Ryleigh thought she was acting like the older girls in her school around boys. Her Mum was very giggly and kept touching her hair.
“You look beautiful” Kian said softly. Scarlett blushed. “Thanks” There was so many butterflies in her tummy. “Sorry we couldn’t go out properly,” Scarlett said. “But I didn’t have a babysitter” Kian shrugged. “It’s okay. We can go out next time” Scarlett felt a glimmer of excitement at those words. Kian was already planning a next time.
The pair continued to chat but there was no denying it was awkward with Ryleigh hanging out in the room. Kian announced after an hour he would have to go. “I’m up early the next day, but we can do this again?”
“Of course” Scarlett said trying not to sound too enthusiastic. She didn’t want to sound desperate. They said goodbye and Kian prepared to go. Ryleigh snickered. “Yuck!” she said in disgust. Scarlett pulled away from Kian. “I better go,” Kian said. “I’ll call you. Bye Ryleigh”
Once he was gone Scarlett joined Ryleigh at the table. “What did you think of Kian?” Scarlett asked carefully. Ryleigh shrugged. “I don’t know. Is he your boyfriend?”
Scarlett laughed. “No Darling, he’s just a friend” “Do you kiss all your friend’s on the lips?” Ryleigh asked with a smile.
“No of course not,” Scarlett replied. “Kian is a special friend I guess but he isn’t my boyfriend”
“I’m glad Mummy,” Ryleigh said brightening. ” I don’t want you to have a boyfriend”
Scarlett sighed. This would take Ryleigh some time to adjust clearly. Changing the subject Scarlett tried another topic. “Did you enjoy dancing?”
“Um… yes” Ryleigh said. She looked down, avoiding her Mum’s eyes. “Great!” Scarlett said enthusiastically, “I’ll book us in for next week!” And that was exactly what Ryleigh had been afraid of. How could she work up the courage to tell her Mum she didn’t want to go?