Previously on Move– Read Chapter 27 HERE
Catch up from the beginning HERE
Liam and Aria walk into their apartment, Aria takes off her heels and tosses them to the floor.
“Ah, those things have been killing me all night!” she says plopping down on the couch as she rubs her feet, wincing in pain.
“Hmmm, maybe there’s something I can do to help,” Liam says sitting down next to her and pulling her legs across his lap, as he begins to massage her feet.
“What are you- Oh, god that feels good,” she says falling back onto the couch amongst the throw pillows.
“Seriously, where have you been hiding this talent?” she says placing her hands behind her head as she closes her eyes, slipping into relaxation mode.
“Well I guess I figured I’d end up in the dog house again soon, so I was saving it to use it to my advantage,” he says smiling sheepishly.
Aria opens her eyes and smiles up at him.
“Liam,” she says softly taking his hand.
“Aria I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you, it happened so long ago. I didn’t even give it a second thought once I met you.”
“Ok, look can I be completely honest with you?”
“Please do,” he says as Aria sets her feet on the floor and looks at him.
“I love you.” She says taking his hands in hers. “And I want this to work. But we have a lot of things to talk about. Big things that can affect this relationship in the long run.”
“I know and I am open to discussing all of it with you,” Liam says bringing his hands to her face.
“I get you not disclosing all details of your past when we were just starting out. But Liam, we’re living together now. You should have told me.”
“I know, love,” he says shaking his head.
“It just kinda worries me, because I am trying to understand you. But I mean it all seems a little suspicious. You seem to have a reputation of moving too quickly with women. You asked me to marry you too, Liam. And if I had said yes, would that have been the beginning of the end for us? If you could get over Laura Lynn that quickly, what’s keeping you with me? This all just makes my fears of being a way for you to sow your oats before you settle down with the real thing, come flooding back. I mean is that what you do?”
“Aria, absolutely not. I love you more than anything, more than anyone. My engagement with Laura Lynn was years ago. I was still in college. It was more about my parents trying to marry me off, because they knew I would be taking over the business one day and they wanted me to have what they called a “suitable wife.” They wanted me to marry young so that my wife could get familiar with the way things worked.”
“Wow, so what happened? Why did the relationship end?”
“Well Laura Lynn and I never felt right to me. I always felt like she was putting on a show for my parents. Like in front of them she was all unicorns and rainbows and then when we were alone, she was icy and withheld her emotions.”
“Hmm that explains why you have trouble expressing how you feel sometimes,” Aria says smiling simply at Liam, as she places her hand at the nape of his neck.
Liam looks at her, his eyes soft, he sighs as he picks up her legs and places them across his lap again, continuing to massage her sore feet.
“So how did it end? Did you end it or did she?” Aria says rubbing his neck.
“She did. She cheated on me,” Liam says as his eyes drift down to her feet, his fingers working their magic, Aria sighs with pleasure, and then stops his hands, “Hey stop it, look at me,” she says as their eyes meet.
“That’s awful. And I frankly don’t understand it. You are wonderful,” she says cupping his face in her hands.
“Thank you, love,” Liam says with a smile.
“Liam, I just don’t understand though, if she cheated on you, why didn’t you break up with her?”
“I had never felt a strong emotional connection to Laura Lynn, but it was all about saving face and keeping up with the joneses. My mother pushed the relationship.”
“Oh god, why? I mean I’m sorry but forcing your son to marry someone he doesn’t love, someone who cheats on him, it’s ghoulish,” she says with sadness in her eyes.
“Yea. And so when I found out she was cheating, I sort of let her just make the call for the break up. And we told the public we just decided we were better as friends.”
“Ugh oh my god Liam, I hate all of that. That’s so…calculated. You should be able to love who you want.” She says her hands falling to his chest.
Liam’s eyes lock onto hers, “I agree, and believe me when I say love, I fully intend to do so from now on,” he says leaning in and kissing her with intense passion.
Aria falls into his kiss as their lips battle each other for access.
Aria climbs into his lap, straddling him. Liam’s hands begin sliding up her thighs slipping under her emerald, silk dress.
“Mmm, does this mean I’m forgiven,” he whispers against her lips.
“Yes,” she says placing her finger on his lips, “Now shut up and make love to me,” she says covering his lips with hers.
Liam groans as he lifts her in his arms, walking them toward their bedroom.
Liam wakes up to find a sleeping Aria next to him. He smiles as he leans down placing sweet kisses all over her bare back.
Aria stirs as she wakes, a smile on her face.
“Good Morning, my love,” she says.
“Mmm it is a good morning in deed, love” he says smirking.
“You know if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you kinda like having me live here,” Aria says with a big smile as she turns toward him.
“Oh I more than like having you here. I mean quite honestly it’s the smartest decision I’ve ever made,” he says placing a cute peck on her lips.
“Mmm, I love these lips,” Aria says squeezing his chin in her hands, as she kisses him again.
“I love all of you,” Liam says peering at their naked bodies under the sheets.
Aria gasps as he raises an eyebrow at her, “Really?” she asks.
“Yea let me show you how much,” he says kissing her deeply.
“Ugh Liam, 15 minutes ok? 15 minutes, then I have to shower for the showcase! It starts at 4!” She says shrieking.
“Mmm, I can make that work, besides just think of it as your warm up,” he says smirking as he kisses her neck and Aria laughs wrapping her arms around him.
Aria grabs her dance bag and a Gatorade as Liam grabs his keys and opens the apartment door for her.
The whole ride over Aria is silent. In her head.
“Hey…baby, you ok?” Liam says looking over at her, his hand resting on her knee.
“Yea,” Aria says rather unconvincingly.
“Aria?” he says his tone knowing.
“I don’t know. I just, the only thing I can hear in my head is “This is your last shot, Aria.” And it’s literally on a loop. I don’t know if I can do this, Liam,” she says starting to breathe harder, her nerves at an all-time high.
Liam notices and pulls over, bringing the car to a stop.
“Hey…hey, love….Aria look at me, you’ve got this. I’ve seen your routine you put your whole heart into it. You are insanely talented. Trust that. You can do this. I believe in you.” He says taking her hands in his.
Aria softens, “I really needed to hear that, thank you,” as she says hugging him tightly.
“Anytime,” he says hugging her close to him, soothing her.
“I love you so much, go in there and kick ass,” he says smiling at her.
“I love you,” she says grabbing his face in her hands and placing a big peck on his lips.
Aria stands back stage dressed in her dance costume. Black high waisted disco pants, a black bralette, a red leather jacket, and red lipstick.
Her heart beating a mile a minute.
She tightens her hands into fists and closes her eyes.
She peeks her head out, peering into the audience.
She sees Liam and her girl gang sitting together, as Evelyn “Sky” makes her way toward them, they all stand to greet her, with happy, excited smiles.
Aria turns and takes a deep breath in.
“Just breathe. Don’t over think it. Just feel the music,” she whispers to herself.
A woman dressed in business attire, takes the stage, with a bright smile and a spunky spirit.
Yolanda leans over to Liam, “Hey how was she this morning, we spoke last night but I felt like she wasn’t telling me the truth and when I texted her this morning I got a pretty general response.”
“She’s nervous, I could tell. But I think she’s got this.” He says smiling.
“You bet your ass she’s got this,” Layla says butting into their conversation.
“Hello, and welcome to the 30th Anniversary showcase of New York Dance Academy!!!” she yells as the crowd claps and cheers loudly. “We have an incredible group of performers this year. They have a bit of a little extra spark in them.”
Liam smiles as he and the girl gang clap and cheer.
“Now let’s welcome esteemed guests, New York Dance Academy’s very own Professor Joanne McNary, Dance show talent scout Frida Loseeyo, and Actress and dancer Jenna Dewan.”
The crowd cheers loudly as the guests all smile and wave.
The back door opens as two large men walk in before a fabulously dressed woman. She’s wearing an all-black ensemble with the hat and sunglasses to match. She and the two men sneak into the back row. Unnoticed by the roaring, preoccupied crowd.
“First up, we have Aria Lenz, with a contemporary piece,” the crowd claps as Liam and Aria’s crew cheer and clap loudly.
The velvet red curtain rises as Aria stands in the center of the stage. Posed. The music begins, beating loudly through the theater. A medley of Jennifer Lopez’s greatest dance hits. Aria moves, nailing each move with precision. Her expression one of pure determination. Her eyes laser focused. Her mind clear as she feels each movement, following through.
The crowd clapping and hollering as Liam and all of Aria’s friends watch with pride and awe.
Aria strikes her last super star pose as the song ends and the crowd jumps to their feet.
Aria let’s out the breath she’s been holding as she smiles brightly.
The host of the evening joins her on the stage, “Ok, wow! Ms. Lenz way to kick this night off with a bang!” she says smiling as she puts an arm around Aria’s shoulders.
“Thank you,” Aria says out of breath.
“So Aria, how long have you been dancing?”
“Ever since I could walk,” she says with a laugh.
“It shows doesn’t it?” the announcer asks the crowd as they cheer.
“Ok Aria let’s get you back stage and we will see you a little later,” the woman says as Aria nods and waves to the crowd with a big smile as she rushes off the stage.
Liam rushes back stage to meet her.
“Aria! That was incredible!” he says beaming as he picks her up, swinging her around as she squeals.
“Really?” she says out of breath as he sets her down.
“Absolutely love. I am in awe of your talent.” He says smirking as he cups her face looking into her eyes lovingly.
“Thank you!” she says smiling as she places a big smooch on his lips.
“Let’s go celebrate after, huh? Wherever you want!” he says happily.
“Well I mean let’s hear the critiques first,” she says laughing.
“Are you kidding me love? Did you hear the crowd after you finished. You had them the minute that curtain opened,” he says with a big proud smile.
“It was kind of amazing wasn’t it?” Aria says smiling happily as he tightens his arms around her.
“YOU were amazing. I mean Aria, seriously I have no words. I’m so proud of you.” He says beaming.
Aria looks up at him her eyes full of love, she pulls him into a sweet kiss.
“I’m gonna call and make a reservation at that really good, Italian place you love, OK? You’ve got this in the bag, love,” he bringing her hands up to his lips, and placing a kiss on them, as he sends her a wink,” before he heads back toward his seat.
Aria smiles brightly as she lets out a sigh.
“We have seen so many amazing performances today,” the announcer says, “and now for the feedback portion of the showcase. Our esteemed guests will critique each performer. Constructively of course. It’s all about trying to make you a better dancer.” She says as the guests nod in agreement.
“Ok up first let’s bring Aria Lenz back to the stage,” she says as the crowd cheers and Aria walks back out with a smile from ear to ear.
“Ok…Professor McNary, thoughts?”
“Hi Professor,” she says her nerves kicking in.
“Aria I am really very impressed with how far along you’ve come. I’ve watched your determination from the very beginning of you starting with the academy. You have such effortless talent to begin with and then when you put your mind to a routine you crush it. I know it was hard work, but you got there. You are an incredible talent. Excellent job.”
Aria smiles her thanks as the crowd cheers. Liam, Yolanda, Layla and the rest of her girl gang clapping and hollering.
“Ok and talent scout Frida Loseeyo,” the announcer says.
“Aria Aria ARIA. That performance, was mucho caliente. You bring such fire and passion to the way you dance. Your professor is right you make it look effortless. Amazing.”
The crowd cheers again as Aria smiles her thanks. Her face red with excitement.
“And our celebrity guest- Actress and dancer, Ms. Jenna Dewan!” the announcer says excitedly.
“I have to be honest Aria, I did not like that performance,” she says with a stern expression.
Aria’s face falls, as the crowd falls silent.
“I LOVED IT!” Jenna yells as a smile flashes across her face.
Aria let’s out a sigh of relief as she laughs.
“Honestly your technique is almost flawless, I can’t say it’s 100% because as a dancer, I always strive to be better than the last time, so even as a professional dancer myself, I don’t say my dancing is 100%. There’s always things to learn, and things to study to increase your skill, your craft. But you honey are insanely talented. I expect you’ll be getting many offers after this showcase. And I will say they are all well-deserved!”
Liam jumps out of his seat, “WOOOOOO!!!” he cheers as the crowd laughs and claps along.
Aria laughs on stage as she covers her face.
“We have some excited audience members,” the announcer says with a laugh. “Stellar reviews Ms. Lenz! Why don’t you head backstage and enjoy all the praise.” She says smiling as Aria bows her head and clasps her hands in praise and gratitude for the kind critiques.
Aria and the rest of the performers enter the after party portion of the showcase where audience members can chat with them and ask questions and talent scouts can discuss potential offers with them.
“There she is!” Yolanda screams as she and Layla rush over hugging Aria tightly.
“Oh my god, I am so proud of you!” Yolanda says in her motherly tone.
“Seriously Ari, you SLAYED that routine!” Layla said, as the rest of the girls get their hugs in as well.
“Thank you all so much for coming and for being so supportive during my insane dance schedule.” Aria says smiling. “I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, finally,” she says with a huge smile.
Matt and Allie’s boyfriend Colin come over with some snacks for everyone.
“Aria, you were amazing!” Matt says.
“Seriously so great!” Colin says with a smile.
“Aw, thanks so much you guys, I’m so glad you came!” Aria smiles as she and Liam fall into their natural embrace.
“It was an honor to be a part of such a huge moment,” Matt says as Yolanda smiles up at him, placing a kiss on his cheek.
Aria and her fandom all sit at a big table in a nicely decorated Italian restaurant.
“A toast,” says Allie, as she raises her glass, “to the girl of the hour, you have all the hottest talent agents in the business just fighting to represent you, and as professional dancer Jenna Dewan said, “it is well deserved,” to Aria,” she says.
“To Aria,” they all say in unison as they clink their glasses.
“I cannot believe how quickly this day, came and went. I feel like I have been working towards this my whole life. It just feels so surreal.”
“Well it’s real, love, soak it all in,” Liam says smiling, as he leans in and places a kiss on her cheek.
Aria smiles. Looking around she feels like all her dreams are finally coming true.
A nearby door opens and in walks a mystery woman accompanied by two large men. Dressed fabulously in an all-black ensemble with the hat and sunglasses to match.
All eyes turn toward her, she’s heading right toward their table. The woman walks over to stand right before Aria, her head down, she lifts it up, and removing her sunglasses she smiles.
Aria’s face falls. She’s speechless.
Yolanda and Layla grab hands in shock, “Um Aria…that’s Jennifer Lopez. You’re Jennifer Lopez,” Layla says in shock. The rest of the table starring in awe. All except Liam.
“Hi there. Aria, right? She says holding out her hand.
Aria nods, shaking her hand, she’s still in a state of shock. Unable to fully register what’s currently happening.
“That was an incredible performance you gave.” Jennifer says smiling.
“You…you saw….that?” Aria says barely getting the words out.
“Yea, a friend of mine told me about you, said I had to come see you perform. And I have to say, he was right. You are insanely talented.”
“Thank you so much, Jennifer Lopez.” Aria says like a giddy fangirl.
Jennifer laughs, “Listen, I’m going on tour in a few months, and I’m looking for some new dancers to mix things up. I’d really love to meet up and discuss a possible offer. If you’re interested?” she says handing Aria a business card.
“I-um- yes- yes. I’m interested. I’m so interested.” Aria says in complete awe as she takes the card from her.
The girls all squeal grabbing onto each other.
“Great, that’s my personal assistant’s card. Give her a call tomorrow and she’ll set up a meeting for us to go over some details, and we can take it from there,” Jennifer says smiling.
“Yes, I will definitely do that. Thank you Ms. Jennifer Lopez,” Aria says still completely star struck.
“Just call me Jen,” she says with a laugh, “We’ll talk soon,” she says smiling as she places her sunglasses back on, “Pleasure meeting you all,” she says with a smile toward the table of friends.
They all wave in awe as she walks out her body guards following closely behind.
“Oh. My. GOD!” Aria says as she squeals, jumping up as the whole table erupts in screams and smiles, running toward her for congratulatory hugs.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*I do not take credit for the images used in my edits or otherwise.*