Daniela Date: The Backstory

     When just four, Daniela Date began taking ballet lessons. She quickly excelled and started to dream about a professional career. Her grandfather’s Beach Bonanza sold sporting goods and attire, but no ballet clothing or shoes, something that truly bothered Daniela.
     Not one to speak often, whenever she voiced her opinion, people took notice. For her tenth birthday, she requested that her grandfather buy her new pointe shoes and begin stocking them in his store. Daniela also insisted that he sell age-appropriate ballet attire. Although not pleased with Daniela’s demands, Grandfather Date followed through. Within six months, he realized Daniela’s requests had increased his customer base. The added revenue also encouraged him to expand his ballet-related offerings.
     Early in her senior year, Daniela applied for admission to Fruitland Community College’s (FCC) Dance Academy, a new program. Her parents were concerned about whether it would be challenging enough for their daughter. Dr. Watermelon, its director, admitted Daniela and optimistically recommended that Daniela prepare for dancing in the New York City Ballet. Pleased to be accepted by FCC, Daniela focused on the New York goal. Practices were far more rigorous than Daniela anticipated, but she wasn’t one to quit.
     When Daniela turned twenty-one, she and her mom, Denise Date, flew to New York for Daniela’s New York City Ballet audition. (Somehow, Daniela always called the company the New York Ballet.) Both Dr. Watermelon and Daniela’s private ballet teacher had a connection with the dance company, and they hoped that she would be selected. Indeed she was chosen, and Daniela prepared to move to New York City.
     The pace of life in New York City startled Daniela. Yes, she loved dancing with the New York City Ballet, but the city’s demands started to overwhelm her. Although she never would admit it, she longed for Fruitland. Each summer, her high school class held their reunion at a local hotel. Recently, Karla Kiwi, her close friend, asked if Daniela would be attending, something she had never done before.
      When Daniela answered yes, the young ladies spent hours texting pictures of their potential outfits. Daniela felt excited about going home, and even wondered if Eric Elderberry would be attending. No one knew, not even Karla Kiwi, that she had a huge crush on Eric.
       Fruitland’s Finest had hired a professional decorator to ensure an exceptional reunion atmosphere. As Daniela and Karla entered the room, they looked up to see all of their classmates’ names. Not only that, each person’s class picture was displayed on the walls of the reunion room along with their state of residence and career. Impressive colors and fantastic food filled the room. Daniela actually enjoyed talking with her former classmates.
     She was most impressed with the dramatic transformation in Nelda Nectarine, a thin, nondescript girl with very bad bumps on her face. Somehow, she seemed to sit behind Daniela in nearly every high school class. Rarely did Nelda participate in class; yet, at the reunion, her face glowed. No longer plain looking, Nelda had a modeling career and had recently been interviewed by a well-known national TV personality. Just as Daniela was sharing how happy she was for Nelda, someone tapped her on the shoulder.
     “Hi, Daniela. I’ve looked for you at previous reunions. Great to see you!”
     Though a little startled, Daniela said, “Oh, hi, Eric! So nice to see you! I just read that you’re studying to be an attorney at New York University.”
     “Yes, and a minute ago, I read that you live in New York City, too. So glad to know you’re a ballerina. Hey, here’s my cell number. I’d love to meet for lunch sometime soon.”
     “Eric, that would be great!”
     Daniela and Eric spent the rest of the night together: laughing, dancing, and reminiscing. After returning to New York City, they dated as often as their schedules allowed. It seemed magical, at least that’s how Daniela described it to Karla. Just before Christmas, Eric asked Daniela to marry him.
     “Oh, yes, Eric! I’d be honored to be your wife!”
     They discussed the possibility of moving back to Fruitland. Eric could take the bar exam in California, and maybe Daniela could teach dance classes. Since Eric’s uncle, Dr. Hubert Huckleberry, is the principal at Fruitland High School, hopefully he’d have some suggestions.