Always Second Best by Elodie Nowodazkij
(Broken Dreams, #2)
Publication date: October 13th 2015
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
Sometimes being first isn’t what you expected.
Seventeen-year-old ballerina Emilia Moretti is tired of always being second best. And she’s going to prove the world she deserves to be first. In her upcoming School of the Performing Arts showcase. In the eyes of her birth parents. And in the heart of the guy she loves. She spends hours rehearsing, hours dreaming about becoming number one, hours imagining how her entire life is about to change. But when nothing goes the way she planned, she’ll need to realize what it really means to be first.
Eighteen-year-old Nick Grawski doesn’t want to follow Daddy Dearest’s rules any longer. He’s going to prove he’s meant to be a dancer—not a lawyer—and he is not going to stay away from Em just because his father demands it. He needs to show Em that—this time around—he’s there to stay and that he won’t break her heart again. Even when her world goes down to shit, even when he finds out his dad may have been trying to protect him all along, even if being there for one another is harder than falling in love.
ALWAYS SECOND BEST is a novel of hope and heartbreak and broken dreams. It’s a novel about falling in love and discovering that being first isn’t always what matters.
Em steps back and tilts her head, looking at me carefully like she does when she’s trying to assess me. “If it’s important, if you need someone to talk to, I’ll always be there for you. But…” She takes a deep breath, almost like she wants to ground herself. “I don’t want to be the one you use. That’s all.”
“I’ve never used you.”
“Whatever,” she replies and I know the conversation is over.
I turn the music on. Em stretches, letting her body fall on the leg she has propped up against the mirror. I get the spot next to hers and do the same. We switch legs. We look at each other in the mirror.
“Tomorrow, they want you to show them your technique—which is perfect—but also the emotions.” I grab the remote control and change the music to Sleeping Beauty.
I stand next to her. And pull her to me. “We know your technique is amazing. Show me how you fall in love.”
“W-what do you mean?”
“Aurora…at first she falls in love.”
Em gulps but then she stares at me, raising an eyebrow that says, Two can play this game, my friend. “Yes.” Her voice is breathy. And she may be winning the game I didn’t even know we started just by looking at me.
“You need to let those emotions loose, your movements need to be full of passion, and your eyes need to have that passion in them too.”
Em positions herself, with one arm up and the other behind her back. She angles her foot and then starts dancing. Her movements surround me, she surrounds me. One pirouette, one jump, one pas de deux… She’s looking at me, like I’m her anchor point, like I’m the only thing that makes sense, like she’s in love with me.
I want to grab her hand. I want to pull her to me. I want…so much.
But I know if I move she’ll disappear back into that hole inside of herself.
So, instead I dance alongside her. An answer to her unspoken questions. A promise to her unspoken demand.
And when we stop, both out of breath, she kisses my cheek before turning away.
It may not be much, but it’s a first step.
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Elodie Nowodazkij was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the US, where she learned she'd never lose her French accent. Now she lives in Maryland with her husband, their dog and their cat.
She's also a serial smiley user.
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