London, England December 5, 1889
Life, Adrianna Sinclair realized, brought great joy and extreme heartache. It was how you dealt with the sweet, bittersweet and yes, the sour moments of life that determined your strength. This way of thinking had always served her well in the past
A light snow fell as Adrianna stood in front of the Ballet de la Rose Anglais on Rose Lane. Although it was not the Royal Theatre, the la Rose was highly respected in the world of dance and when Lord James Minden traveled to Paris in order to offer her the position of Prima Ballerina she could not believe her luck. He was offering Adrianna her heart's desire. She loved dance with a passion and all of her sacrifices had led to this point in her life. With a fond farewell to her friends and fellow dancers, Adrianna packed her bags and returned to England. And her past heartbreak ... Christian.
Christian. Simply thinking his name conjured a plethora of feelings. Some wonderful, others sad. Christian Tremont, the Duke of Aimsworth, had been the love of her life.
She met him when he accompanied his friend backstage after a performance where her friend Violet shone in the lead of the ballet Giselle. While Violet spoke with her admirer, Adrianna stole glances of the handsome dark headed lord, never imagining he would be the man to introduce her to the wonders of love or heartbreak.
Her loving mother warned her of the dangers the young lords could represent to a beautiful young dancer but there was just something--a warmth--about Christian that drew her toward his flame. Looking back, she wished she'd listened to her mother. For the intense fire that burned between her and Christian seared them both, leaving them scared and wounded and ultimately alone.
Duty was a foul four letter word but one Adrianna eventually came to understand. Despite the pain of their parting, Adrianna cherished the time they had spent together. Her heart was never hers after willingly and lovingly gifting it to Christian. Time had softened the hurt and distance offered clarity.
Her personal introspection was interrupted when she felt a tap on her shoulder.
"I am sorry madam, I did not mean to startle you. But it is beginning to rain, let us remove to the theatre so you may have a look around," Lord Minden's secretary, Mister Tidwell, said as he ushered her up the stairs to the entranceway of the theatre.
"You will be introduced to the company on Monday which will be the first day of practice. We hold practice everyday. We are a family off and on stage. If there is anything you need, do not hesitate to ask."
Adrianna nodded her head in acknowledgement of the dance schedule, as she absorbed the beauty of the theatre. It took her breath away. It was unlike anything she had ever seen. It was not just grand, the word Stately came to mind. The perfect stage. A sense of peace and belonging came over her as she stood there absorbing the ambiance. She was home.
"It does take ones breath away, does it not, my dear? The Minden Family has done well with their holdings and this theatre is highly respected, but I don't need to tell you that. The Minden family has owned and operated the Ballet de la Rose Anglais since 1799. In that time, they created a ballet school as well as a troop that is highly respected in the world of dance."
Adrianna nodded. It was as prestigious to dance with the Ballet de la Rose Anglais as it was to dance with either the Royal Ballet or Russian Ballet.
The tour continued and by this time they had made their way down the elegant hallway, past the grand staircase to the upper floors, which she knew held the private boxes. They stepped past the entrance of the main hallway and into the theatre proper. She found herself holding her breath in anticipation.
The stage was a dream. Red velvet curtains with gold trim were opened to a dark blue velvet curtain which in turn opened to garnet curtains. The frescoed ceiling holding the crystal, gas light chandeliers added to the charm and elegance of the chamber.
"I'm very honored by being offered a chance to dance with this company." Adrianna's gaze tracked around the room. "There is magic here, Mister Tidwell. You can feel the passion of the dancers that have graced the stage before me."
"Er, yes, well ... I will inform the director you are here so you can meet. He will further tell you what he will need and require."
Adrianna tried to suppress her smile but knew she failed. The stage was calling her--the siren's song stronger here than it had been elsewhere. Yes, magic was afoot; she had made the correct decision when she decided to leave Paris. It was time to stop running from her past and to face her very promising future.