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..Ready For It is the sixteenth chapter of Last Dance, published on February 8.

Synopsis.

When the alternates are revealed, Jacquie lashes out at Emily, which puts her in hot waters, and forced to take a chance that might not even be worth it in the end. Meanwhile, with the appending doom of National's right around the corner, A-Troupe begins to plan their finals dance, which leads Josh for a huge favour from Finn, which just might be awkward.

Chapter

Kenzie had came back before the auditions for the alternates were revealed and now everyone stood there, anxiously waiting for the announcement on who their two dancers which would sit on the sidelines whilst their other peers would dance. No one wanted to do it, but the job had to be filled.

    They somberly paced around the room with a dark glow on their faces as Michelle walked in with her dance uniform, and Piper turned over. "You're dancing again?" She asked, roiling her eyes with a unordinary amount of hype in her system

    "Yeah, why else would I finally be here? I'm replacing Ally." Michelle said.

    Piper was nervous - this meant that instead of one dancer being crushed, two dancers would. Which meant that the steaks were higher and she had a higher chance of being exiled from the chance to dance on stage at Nationals, and this made her feel sad, as this was something she had been waiting to do for a long time coming. She was craving a nationals solo, however now, it would be harder then ever, as Michelle was Ms. Nationals Soloist, two times consecutively. This meant she had a higher chance of being chosen, this ruined everything for Piper.

    Emily walked in, the others--Thalia, Eldon, Chloe, and Giselle-- following her instant movements. Her voice was hidden under his breath, as she stood emotionless, without any meaning. "Alright, today is the day we find out which dancers are our alternates." Emily said with a sense of brutality and draconian ideals in her voice. "Our alternates are... Kenzie, and..."

    Piper and Amy were scared, neither of them wanted to have to compete against each other for a solo, nor did they want their friends to be an alternate, so the room was tense and their guards were down, leaving them very vulnerable. 

    "Jacquie."

    Jacquie was devastated as she heard her name being called. She felt so alone at that very moment of being unpowered. This was her weakest moment ever and she knew that she had to keep her head up.

    "If you have any questions or concerns, please come visit me in my office that is open from the hours of 8: 30am to 9: 30pm." Emily announced before walking off into the aforementioned office. 

    Jacquie, belittled and undermined, walked into the office nervously, the tense air filling in her lungs, leaving her thoughts and her ideas scatterbrained. "Hey... Emily, can we talk?" She asked curiously, before speaking, however, she knocked on the door.

    Emily looked up. "Sure Jacquie," she said, getting up. "What's up?"

    Jacquie, with hesitance, peramulated at a moderate pace, a slow tapping noise as her feet gracefully hit the patterned tiles, and the slow body moments while her skin swayed in the light. "I just came to ask about me being an alternate.." Jacquie's voice faded into obscurity as she, by the end, stood neck to neck with Emily, her right arm holding her left shoulder down as she almost was stretching during their conversation, she did this to keep calm and focus, so she would not yell. Their faces were inches apart, like when Michelle and Emily had their stare when Michelle had made the initial decision to make TNS West a reality.

"Care to elaborate?" Emily asked, shrugging her shoulders.

    "Yeah, more specifically.... Why am I an alternate?" Jacquie asked.

    "I am sorry, Jacquie... You've been away for so long-"

    "So has Richelle."

    "You're not listening Jacquie, Richelle was injured, she had reason. You are an amazing dancer, but you are holding yourself back. Once you start to realize it, I can make changes." Emily said, and she went to sit back.

    Though, even if muttered by the all-mighty and powerful studio head Emily, the claim did not make its way into Jacquie's brain. In those darkest moments of hers, she broke free of the copacetic order she had put her mask on, and let the facade fall off of her face, showing her true identity and persona. She let out a scoff of snobby, rude intent, and began to speak.

     "You don't know what you are missing out on? I am holding myself back? No. I just have not had my chance to dance, if you let me dance I can show you why I am worth so much more then you think! I had a chance to dance with Gemini, and guess what? I almost went for it, but I stayed back, and want to know why? Not to be some background dancer, that's for sure! Okay? You have the best dancer out of everyone right in front of you. Why are you not taking the opportunity? Because you are dumb, yeah, that's why we turned on you." Jacquie said and stormed off.

-

    Chloe walked in, a smile on her excited face. "Alright, we are going to begin the nationals final routine. If anyone has any clues or ideas as to what we could do, please, submit it in here." Chloe said, holding out a box and people began putting ideas in the boxes, and Josh gave an awkward look to Finn. The two had not talked that much, but they were good friends. He wondered if the idea was good enough to result in asking for a huge favor like this.

    Josh walked over, "Hey Finn. I have an idea where.... Perhaps... We could do a duet? Not like a hip hop duet, but like, a partner duet like that of Michelle, Eldon, James and Riley, to reflect the LGBT community? I am kinda a supporter and I thought we could maybe do something similar to the old A-troupe, but with a twist?" Josh asked.

    "Supporter? Or a part of it?" Finn asked, giving him a glare of annoyance.

    "Actually, a part." Josh said. Noticing the glance which showed some annoyed seeded in Finn, he assumed he was against them. "Sorry about that. I'm sorry I even told you."

    "No, no. I actually am also a part of it, so... I am totally down for it!" Finn said, and Josh was excited. This was something that was very passionate to them. There was no way that this could be denied, right?

    Meanwhile on the bench, Noah walked over to Jacquie. "What's up?"

    "Well, I just became an alternate and I freaked out at Emily, I was being very selfish and rude, and I am probably going to get kicked off of the team and I am freaking out because I just wanting to feel as if I belong here." Jacquie said.

    "Hey, babe, it'll be okay. Why don't you just talk to Emily? See if you can try to apologize, and then ask for a second audition? I am sure she'll be understanding and know..." Noah suggested.

    "You really think she'd allow that, though?" Jacquie asked, raising a brow of confusion, as Emily was never one for re-auditions. Than again, she was never the type for alternates. So there was that.

    "Yeah, she knows how amazing of a dancer you are. So she just needs you to be over the top, and I am sure you'll become an official dancer on the team." Noah said. 

    "O... Okay. I'll try." Jacquie said, but, she felt that if the door was on space, Jacquie was 5 galaxies away. She felt so far away from The Next Step, and she needed to take a chance. But she did really need this chance? A spot of redemption? Yes. She really did, but could it be accomplished? That was an entirely different story....

-

    Jacquie slowly walked back into the office after realizing what she did was bad. She knew that what she said was egotistical and bad of her to say. She had no intent of it hurting others, and she needed to make up for what was going on in her mind. 

"Look..." Jacquie clasped her hands together. "I am sorry. I've made mistakes." She said, "clearly," she muttered. "I want to start over. Let me do a solo today, I will dance my heart out and I will show you that I am good. But I am not the best dancer, I am, in no way, the best dancer. But I can show you that I am not worth the alternate role you gave me." Jacquie said.

    Emily sat there, pondering over the idea, and smiled at it. "Perfect, you have four hours to come up with the perfect solo." She said.

    "Thank you for giving me this second chance." Jacquie smiled, gratified as she walked out. She needed this more then ever and knew she could not let this offer go to waste. This was her one shot, her one chance, to feel included again, and restore happiness.

    -

Jacquie was in studio 1, rehearsing without music. It was a jazz-Acro collaboration and Noah looked up as he walked into the room. There was a lot of hand gestures being brought forward by Jacquie, and there was a hip-hop-vibe coming from every move. In just five minutes, she was going to have finished all the four hours of practice, and finally be performing.

    "That was amazing!" Noah said. 

    "I am so nervous. It's horrible. I need to do it again. Tell me everything I need to do right." Jacquie said and began to go 15 times faster. Almost slipping and falling in a turn.

    "Jacquie, it's perfect. And I am talking as a team-member, not as your boyfriend. It's the best thing I've ever seen from you. You'll be perfect. I swear!" Noah said, shaking his head in disbelief. "You need to give yourself credit, don't bash everything you do, just because it is not whatever you think is the standard. You are a hip hop dancer and a jazz dancer, and maybe a contemporary dancer. And an Acro dancer. You're adding all of your best hits. You'll be perfect, and I know it." Noah gave a speech.

    "Thanks, that's exactly what I needed to hear right now." Jacquie muttered lightly, and gave a benevolent smile.

    "No problem, you deserve it." Noah said.

    Emily walked in and sat down with the other four members going by the name of Chloe, Giselle, Thalia and Eldon. They sat down and Jacquie turned to them. "Thank you for giving me this second chance." She said. 

    Emily, nor the others, kept quiet, not responding in return. "And what song will you be dancing too?" Emily asked.

    "Showstoppa." Jacquie revealed, and then Emily turned the music on from the stereo and she began to dance her heart out. Knowing that this shot was all that she had left, all laid out for her, or else she'd have nothing else left in her dance career, pushed her further and motivated her. As well as the words from Noah's encouraging speech pushing her along, made for a spectacular performance.

    Afterwards, the room went silent and Emily turned over to deliberate with the others in their office. After twenty minutes, Emily stepped out. "Alright, you've secured a spot on the team."

    Noah windowed his face to hover over Jacquie's shoulder. "So wait... Who is replacing Jacquie as an alternate?" Noah asked cautiously.

    "The dance captain." Emily said. "Because being the dance captain now is a hard positon, we need for the dance captain to step back, and be an alternate. That way they can do better at their job."

    Noah bit his lip, knowing that he had to be an alternate. As he was scared that drama would come in between him and Jacquie and wreck their finals dance, just like it had done before in the qualifier for Regionals that same year. He texted Ozzy about the whereabouts of him, and the locker was what he got in response. He headed over there.

    "We need to talk." Noah said, staring Ozzy in the eye.

    "Yeah?" Ozzy asked, folding his bag up.

    "I want the dance captaincy back. Because the dance captain is now also an alternate."

"Yeah, I don't care." Ozzy said. "The dance captaincy means that everyone will actually listen to my ideas and means people will like me. So I won't."

    Noah stood his ground, having a one-minute staring contest with the current dance captain. Noah had the perfect idea, he then went off to go talk to Emily. Getting the idea of a dance battle. Ozzy's moves were so silly and Noah's were so strict and technical, but oh, if Noah thought that a dance battle would bring him down to his needs, and getting the team to say 'All Hail Noah', he was far from right. The team was strong-willed, and they were not going to crack that quickly. Ozzy's reign was not going down without a fight.

Authors Notes

  •     To window someone, means to take up open space, in this case, Jacquie's shoulder.
  •     Micbelle, in the very first episode, was stated to have been Ms. Nationals Soloist before and it was made as two times consecutively in the season two episode What You Waiting For?.
  •     I had a break, as I have been busy studying for exams, and Febuary is a pretty busy month, as I am actually representing my schools diversity at a conference coming up, and I have to get five vaccines the day before, which sucks. I have a fear of needles so that obviously won't be fun.... So just hang tight, as my next update may not be for a few weeks.

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