It’s kind of fitting that Tessa’s driving down an empty country road when it happens, like a cliche in every country song.
She's randomly pressing the button on her steering wheel that searches for radio stations. It's the last thing anyone who knows her well would expect her to do but when she stumbles onto the country station, the warm, husky timbre of the male laughter she hears makes her pause.
And keep on pausing.
“I swear I did! My mom has photos if you want proof,” this unknown voice continues. There's a bit more back and forth banter with the radio host and Tessa was mostly lost—something about a blonde buzz cut?—but this stranger’s voice is a delicious rumble and, sue her for it, it's utterly attractive.
She smiles ruefully to herself.
The host brings the conversation to the music of his featured guest.
“So, Scott, you've released a couple songs now, but this new one that you're gonna play for us is definitely your breakout record. Why do you think that is?”
“Oh, I've actually contemplated this a bit, Johnny. I guess my other songs have been based on the relationships I've admired around me, my mom and dad, my brothers and their wives, but this is the first love song where I've drawn from personal experiences and my own emotions. While none of my other songs are any less genuine, this one I relate to more deeply, and I guess that helps people relate to it more? I don't know, maybe it's just totally random and I just got lucky.”
For a moment, Tessa wants to shake this stranger’s shoulders, look him in the eye, and tell him that he deserves everything he's worked for. It's a weird impulse considering they've never met and she doesn't even know what he looks like, but it's the same thoughts that plague her and something she wishes someone had told her.
By the time she tunes back into the conversation, the host—Johnny?—is introducing this stranger’s song.
“Ladies and gentlemen, here's Scott Moir live with his hit ‘Green-eyed Girl’
If she thought his speaking voice was attractive, it was nothing compared to when he actually started to sing.
Took my heart like she took my hand
Played my heartbeat like a drumbeat in a marching band
Know I plan to stick around a while
And all that I’d do just to make her smile
Love to listen to the way she laughs
It’s a melody that tells me I’ve found my better half
People talk ‘bout winning at the lottery
But there’s nothing that’s better when she looks at me
Oh, ‘cause the shade of your eyes are like forests of pine
Or dazzling emeralds that don’t lose their shine
Can I ask you just this one time
Won’t you be my
Won’t you be my green-eyed girl
Got me wrapped ‘round her little finger
Her space in my heart just keeps getting bigger
Know how much she’s meant to me from the start
Or how easy it’d be for her to break my heart
Something that I never want to lose
I hope to be the one she’d always choose
She turns around and her eyes meet mine
I want to make her promises for all time
Oh, ‘cause the shade of your eyes are like forests of pine
Or dazzling emeralds that don’t lose their shine
Can I ask you just this one time
Won’t you be my
Won’t you be my green-eyed girl
And if we have to say goodbye
Maybe in this life I’m not meant to be your guy
I know it’d break my heart
Wish I could bring us back to the start
Maybe we’ll run into each other again
Maybe you’ll let me ask you again
Oh, ‘cause the shade of your eyes are like forests of pine
Or dazzling emeralds that don’t lose their shine
Can I ask you just one more time
Won’t you be my
Won’t you be my green-eyed girl
It’s soft and mellow, a contrast from the upbeat songs that fill the top 100 charts. Scott sings it with that wonderful voice of his, paired with his confident skills on guitar. His longing is subtle but perceptible and adds depth of emotion to the song. She realises why people have fallen in love with the track. It’s good, in more ways than one.
He strums the last chord, holding onto the last note.
Johnny compliments him profusely, and Scott self-deprecatingly jokes back. Tessa appreciates his humility but the praise is well-deserved.
“But Scott,” Johnny asks, “you know that we’re all wondering the same thing. Who is this green-eyed girl?”
Scott laughs at that. “There’s a story! There’s definitely a story, but I don’t know if it’s what anyone is expecting.”
Johnny chuckles along with him, “So tell us! I think all the listeners here appreciate a good love story.”
“Okay, okay, I will. Only because I don’t think she’s into country so she’ll never hear this interview.”
Something coils in Tessa’s stomach. It’s the same feeling of dread that used to plague her before a performance when she still worried about how everyone in the ballet world would judge her.
But what is she dreading? The identity of this mysterious green-eyed girl?
God, is she jealous? She doesn’t even know this Scott. Granted, given the fact that she too, has green eyes, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine Scott singing the song to her. Not that she was. Imagining it. At all.
“Okay,” Scott clears his throat, “so when I was nine years old, I held a little girl’s hand for the first time.”
Nine years old? That’s a long time ago, no matter how old Scott is now.
“And the first thing I noticed was,” he laughs, “her green eyes.”
“I see,” Johnny says, “so...what happened?”
“I should probably give the context here, eh? My aunt Carol paired us up for our figure skating class to do ice dance.”
Tessa tilts her head in thought. Something about that seemed familiar. Something tugs at her memory but she’s not quite sure what. She has vague memories of taking figure skating classes as a child, like practically every Canadian kid. That’s probably what’s familiar.
“You’re a figure skater, Moir?”
“I technically was for a while, yeah! Not for long though. My partner got accepted into the National Ballet of Canada and she went to study ballet there.”
Wait, hang on a sec—
“She broke your heart, didn’t she Scott?” There’s a teasing tone to Johnny’s voice.
“Johnny, I know you’re trying to crack a joke, but she actually kinda did. Not that she meant to! I was only doing ice dance to get better at hockey. But something changed at some point. I looked forward to ice dance as a thing on its own. And I was starting to believe that I wanted to keep on going.
“Um, one morning I’d made up my mind to ask my partner if she wanted to continue ice dance seriously. For the most part, I was a hockey boy and she was a ballet girl, and ice dance was a just a thing that we did on the side, but I thought we were pretty good and we could really be something special. Anyway, coincidentally, that was the same morning she told me that she was accepted into the National Ballet.
“I remember her being so happy about it and so proud, because it’s a really hard thing to do, right, to get into the NBC school. And I told her I was happy for her and that I was proud of her. I gave her a hug, I think? And then she joked that I must be ecstatic because that means that my aunt Carol wouldn’t force me to do ice dance anymore and I could just do hockey.
“I never found the courage to tell her that my aunt had never had to force me to dance with her since the start. I think I nodded dumbly and agreed with her. Then I went home and cried.”
It’s like all the pieces fall into place, the memories, although a bit fuzzy, line up somewhat neatly in a line. She recognises the bits that Scott’s talking about, albeit from the other side.
She remembers the boy who held her hand, can’t quite see his face, but she’d always remember the surety of his grip, the way he never let her fall. And the way his eyes creased at the sides when he smiled. She can’t quite remember the colour though.
Is that Scott?
There’s a part of her that thinks, maybe it’s all just a coincidence, but it seems too close to not be true.
If what she’s thinking is true—
Tessa Virtue has a song written about her. Granted, it’s her nine-year-old self, but still.
“Wow.” is Johnny’s response.
“Yeah. Uh, I don’t know if I’ve actually told the full story to everyone. Except my mum. She found me crying in my room and gave me the biggest hug and I spilt the whole story to her. I told her that—” he makes a sound like letter T, but Tessa’s not sure “—I mean, I told my mum that my skating partner, was moving to become a ballerina and I wasn’t going to do ice dance anymore.
“I mean—I guess I could’ve had another partner? She wasn’t my first skating partner. But after her, I couldn’t imagine having another. So that’s the story of the song. It’s a bit sad, I guess, I definitely was back then, but she’s doing amazing things right now so it was all for the best.”
“Wait, does that mean you’ve kept up with her? Is she a successful ballerina? Have you been to any of her shows?”
There’s an obvious silence before Scott coughs, “No comment. Uh, I haven’t spoken to her since we said goodbye, which I almost didn’t. I was so sad that I didn’t want to say goodbye on the day she was leaving, but I’m glad my mom convinced me. But mom still talks to her mom sometimes and apparently she’s doing great.”
“Right, right. Okay, so we’re nearing the end of our time with Scott. If your green-eyed girl is listening, what would you tell her?”
“I hope she’s not! That would be embarrassing. Man, no. Uh, I hope you don’t think it’s stalkerish that I still remember you from twenty years ago, thanks for inspiring the song, I hope you’re having an amazing life, and...hi?”
Tessa can’t help but laugh at Scott’s ramble. For someone who makes a living with crafting words, that sure was a mess of a sentence. It’s more endearing than expected though.
They finish the interview, and Johnny convinces Scott to play his song again.
Tessa turns the volume louder.
The next time she’s out for brunch with Jordan and her mom she can’t help but ask.
“Mom, do you still remember when I did figure skating as a kid?”
Kate nods, tilting her head, wondering where Tessa was going with this.
“I did ice dance for a while, right?”
“Sure you did, almost two years. I’m surprised you don’t remember.”
“Uh, was my partner’s name Scott? By any chance?” She can see Jordan eyeing her.
Her mom nods. “Yes. Scott Moir? You don’t remember? I still catch up with his mom sometimes.”
Kate raises one eyebrow. “Language, Tessa.”
Her mom raises her other eyebrow.
Tessa goes on her phone and pulls up Scott’s song. “It’s just—I’m pretty sure I have a song written about me.”
Jordan chokes on her drink.
Tessa pulls out her earbuds, plugs them in her phone and hands out an earbud each to her mom and Jordan. She presses play on the song.
Both her mom and Jordan are still wearing quizzical expressions when they take out their earbuds.
“It’s a good song Tess,” Jordan winces, “but aren’t there like, a thousand green-eyed girls out there?”
Her mom nods, but she pats Tessa’s arm to comfort her.
Tessa smiles at that. None of the lyrics in Scott’s song are particularly obvious. She forgot about that.
“I stumbled on the country station while driving home the other night. And I heard his interview.” She finds his interview with Johnny on the radio station website, and luckily there’s a transcript there.
She scrolls through to find the bit he talks about the story behind the song and gives her phone to her mom. Jordan looks over her shoulder.
Both their eyes widen at the same time. “It is about you,” Kate whispers, “Carol was the name of your coach.”
Jordan reaches over to scroll up to the photo of Johnny and Scott. She whistles. “Damn, Tess, your Scott looks good.”
“He’s not mine,” Tessa reflexively replies. But she peers over to look at the photo. Somehow, she’d been listening to the song on repeat but had never thought to look him up to see what he looks like. Jordan’s right , she thinks as her eyes trace his jawline.
It’s not just his voice that’s attractive.
Jordan yells excitedly, slapping the table. “Tess! He has a show here this coming weekend!” Jordan’s fingers whirl in a flurry over her phone. “I just got us tickets. You’re coming with me, Tessie.” The mischievous glint in Jordan’s eye is dangerous.
She goes to Scott’s show. It somehow miraculously aligned with her ballet schedule. She knows her older sister well enough that she wouldn’t take no for an answer. She had rifled through her wardrobe trying to figure out what to wear to a country singer’s concert, settling on a white dress with a layered skirt and brown ankle boots.
She tells it’s going to be a fun night. Music and maybe some dancing, it’s pretty much what she does for a living right? Just a different style. She’ll be fine.
But she should’ve known better since Jordan was involved.
The venue is one of the classier bars in town. It’s meant to be a smaller type of show, more intimate. A sort of thank you from Scott to some of the first people who supported him—after his own hometown, of course.
Maybe she should’ve suspected something because she and Jordan arrive not just on time, but early. She loves her sister, but Jordan tends to live by the phrase ‘fashionably late’.
She hadn’t questioned it. She was more distracted by the low buzz of nerves in her stomach. Not that she was sure exactly why she was feeling nervous. It’s not like Scott would recognise her, right? He remembers nine-year-old Tessa Virtue. He doesn’t know who she is now.
People start filling the space, mingling, talking and drinking. Tessa eyes the colourful, alcoholic drinks that people are having a little longingly. She pretty much abstains from alcohol as a ballet dancer, which usually isn’t difficult for her, but it would be nice to be able to loosen up a bit.
She settles for some deep breathing instead.
“You alright, Tess? You seem a bit tense.” Jordan places her hand on Tessa’s shoulder, eyes scanning her up and down.
“Don’t you think it’s a bit stalkerish for us to be here, Jord?” Tessa mutters under her breath.
“Uh, he’s the one who wrote a song about you. That’s a hell of a lot more stalkerish than what we’re doing.”
“Shhh, not so loud!” Tessa hisses, glancing around. Fortunately, the other audience members are preoccupied with their own conversations.
It’s not long before the lights near and on the stage dim.
“Oohh, it’s starting,” Jordan points out, smacking Tessa’s arm.
“I can see,” Tessa comments drily. She settles back in the stool that she’s sitting in. She wouldn’t admit it out loud, but she’s looking forward to Scott’s performance. She appreciates genuine artistry when she sees it. Or hears it in this case.
There’s someone on stage giving a spiel on Scott, his history and his achievements, and lists some of his well-known songs.
“Well, I won’t keep you waiting much longer, ladies and gentlemen! Give it up, for Scott Moir!”
Enthusiastic applause erupts from the crowd, with a few whoops thrown in.
Suddenly he’s there, centre stage with the spotlight on him, wearing a simple white T-shirt that stretch at his arms and faded blue jeans that sit low on his hips. His guitar is slung across the front of his body.
“Hey, Tess, you sure you don’t want me to get you a drink?” Jordan whispers.
Tessa whips her head towards her sister, “Huh, what?”
“Because you look thirsty.” Jordan cracks a wide grin at her not-at-all amusing joke, inclining her head towards the stage.
Tessa narrows her eyes and pinches her sister’s arm. “Shut up.”
“Hello everybody!” Scott leans into the microphone and grins at his audience. “How are you lovely people tonight?”
There’s a mangled chorus of ‘good’s and ‘fine’s and other words from the crowd.
“Well, I hope your evening won’t be ruined by my music, eh?” He chuckles, and the crowd laughs good-naturedly with him. “I’ll be playing through some of my own tracks, some covers of my favourite songs. I’ll even take requests! As long as I think I can do it. Wouldn’t want to embarrass myself, right?” The crowd laughs again.
He tunes his guitar as he’s talking, strumming through all the strings once he’s done. “All right, I think I’m ready. So for the first song this evening, I wanted to play for you the first song I released. I wrote it about my parents’ love for each other, and the life they built together through the good and the bad. And three rambunctious boys.” He raises his eyebrows jokingly. “No, it wasn’t easy, my mom and dad always said so, but it was always worth it.”
He begins plucking the strings on his guitar.
It’s a beautiful song. It’s a love song, sure, in the romantic sense, but it’s also a song about the love between everyone in a family, through the good and the bad and the ups and downs.
He plays a few covers after that, classics that everyone recognises including Van Morrison and The Beatles.
He follows it up with another of his own.
“So, when I was fourteen, one of my brothers fell in love. Hard and fast, at first sight, just like the movies. She was the girl next door. Well, two streets down. But that’s basically the same thing in a country town like ours. He wanted to woo her, but he didn’t know how. I told him he should write her a song. He told me that was for wusses.
“He asked me to help him write a song not three days later.” The crowd erupts in laughter on cue. “He ate his words, didn’t he? So we sat down. He told me how he felt, how she made him feel, what he wishes he could say to her, and we wrote a song together. He doesn’t play guitar much but he learned the song to play to her.
“They’re married now. With a kid.” The audience whoops and cheers. “And no, I did not let them forget it during the wedding reception.”
He plays the song. It’s structurally simple, the melody not that complex, but it captures the pure and sweet essence of one’s first love. She smiles at the image of a teenage Scott helping his older brother.
After, Scott pauses to open his water bottle and have a drink.
“Okay, so this next song is a hard one for me. When I was in my early twenties, I hit my lowest point. I was struggling with my music and getting it released,” he pauses, swallowing. “I was drinking a lot. Too much. I wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t going back to see my family as much as I should.
“The thing I regret the most is disappointing and scaring my parents and my brothers. But they never gave up on me. God knows I would’ve. Eventually, I picked myself up, stopped my self-pity, and I got better. I wrote this song I’m about to play for you about my struggles back then.”
By the time he finishes, there’s not a dry eye in the audience.
“Okay!” Scott wipes his own eyes, voice cracking a little bit, “Time for requests I think? Can’t promise everything, but I’ll try my best.”
He proves himself an easygoing and versatile musician, playing John Mellencamp, Leonard Cohen, Rihanna. He even indulges someone who shouts ‘Justin Bieber!’
“He is Canadian, right?” He says laughing, then goes on to play a stripped down version of ‘Sorry’.
Someone in the crowd, maybe tipsily, shouts ‘Carmen!’ as a song request.
“Oh, like the opera right? I know a little bit of the habanera, I think that’s what it’s called?” Scott teases the intricate, sultry melody out of the guitar as he’s plucking the strings. The one that everyone recognises. He gets through a good chunk of it before he falters, “Sorry guys, that’s all I know.” The crowd cheers him anyway.
Scott looks to the side, presumably to the organisers of the event. “Right, so I think we need to start wrapping up guys. Second last song is one of my favourites, hope you enjoy.”
He plays ‘Long Time Running’, eyes closed and voice soft. It's been a long, long, long time running/It's well worth the wait.
The strum of his guitar hangs in the air, the audience enraptured and silent.
Scott grips the microphone again. “Alright, so last song for tonight, ladies and gentlemen, is the latest song I’ve released.” A few people in the audience whoop and cheer. Someone shouts, “Sing it for her, Scott!”
Scott bemusedly glances around the audience. “Oh man, how many of you heard the radio interview?” At least half the room puts a hand up. “Okay, that’s too much!” The audience laughs with him.
“I’ll take your advice though ma’am,” he nods in the general direction of the woman who had shouted before, “And I’ll sing it for her.”
His smile is wistful as he plays the opening chords.
He repeats the last chorus, asking the audience to join in, and a good portion of them do, even if Tessa doesn’t.
Okay, maybe she mouths some of the lyrics a little. It’s catchy, okay?
People reach the last note at different times, and at slightly different pitches, but Scott grins at the end anyway.
“Thanks for a great night, guys! I hope you all enjoyed at least one song from tonight.” The audience claps loudly, cheering.
The person who introduced Scott from before comes up on stage again. “Won’t you give another round of applause to Scott, everybody?” Everyone indulges him in another bout of enthusiastic applause.
“Thank you Scott, for your wonderful performance tonight. Thank you ladies and gentlemen for being a delightful audience.
“I do believe some of our lucky audience members have a meet-and-greet included in their tickets tonight. Scott will be staying behind to do so. Thank you everyone, and have a good night!”
Tessa respects Scott for taking the time to do a meet-and-greet after a show. It must be really tiring. She yawns into her hand, stretching a bit. “Time to go home, right Jordan?”
Jordan’s answering grin is wicked. She reaches into her bag and pulls out a lanyard. In the plastic pocket, is a black square with the words ‘meet-and-greet’ on it.
“Yes.” Jordan tries to slip it over Tessa’s head but Tessa ducks away, raising her arm in defence.
“Tessa, I paid good money for this,” Jordan whines, “don’t you want to say hi to him?”
“It’ll be awkward, Jo,” Tessa mutters.
“That’s not a no.”
Scott catches Tessa’s eye then, crouching down to greet a little girl. He holds his hand out for a high-five, then throws his head back laughing, maybe at a joke the little girl made.
The distraction is enough for Jordan to slip the lanyard over Tessa’s head. “Jordan!”
“Have fun, Tess! Love you. I’ll wait outside.” She kisses Tessa on the cheek before dashing out.
And then Tessa’s alone at their table. She toys with the lanyard. Ah, screw it. She’ll go. What’s the worst that could happen?
She can thank him for the show, maybe get a photo to show Jordan. She winces as she thinks about the fact that she doesn’t know much about his songs or his career. If it comes to that, she’ll be honest and sheepishly admit that her sister bought her a meet-and-greet ticket as a surprise.
Even if she doesn’t know him that well, any good things she’ll say to him are going to be genuine anyway. He’s a great musician and seems to be just as great a person.
She lingers at the back of the line that the other audience members who are doing the meet-and-greet had formed. She’s not stalling, just a little nervous. Scratch that, she’s not nervous, not at all, she’s just being nice and letting everyone go in front of her.
It’s not long before there’s only two people in front of her, then one and then...it’s her turn.
“Hey!” Scott grins at her, “It’s nice to meet you. How’d you like the show?”
Tessa takes his offered hand, shaking it. “It was great! I loved it. You’re a really good musician.”
“Yeah? That’s good. I appreciate that.” Scott stifles a yawn. “Sorry about that,” he apologises, “it’s been a long day.”
“Oh, I can take off then. I can’t imagine how tiring this’d be.”
“No, I can’t ask that of you! I’m alright. I haven’t even gotten your name…?” He ends the sentence like a question.
“It’s Tessa.” She grins. “Tessa Virtue.”
The way his eyes shoot open is almost comical. Tessa has to suppress her laugh.
He clears his throat, “Uh, you’re not one of the people who like to listen to country stations, right?” His eyes are hopeful.
“Not usually,” she admits. The relief that overcomes him is obvious, his body relaxing and his eyes closing. “But a few nights ago, I stumbled on the country station as I was driving home.” Scott tenses again, “and uhh...I heard your interview. With Johnny.” His eyes snap open.
Her shoulders are shaking from trying not to laugh. “It was, uh...very enlightening.”
He groans. “Tessa—I’m sorry, shit, this is awkward—”
“Scott, breathe, it’s fine,” she touches his arm. “Sorry to pry, but is it really about me?”
His answering smile is both soft and honest, and tad apologetic. “Yeah.” He groans again. “I didn’t think this would happen.” He rubs his face with his hands. “I’m sorry. If you think it’s borderline stalkerish.”
“Not borderline, maybe full-stalkerish,” she quips. “No, Scott. Not at all. I’m very flattered that nine-year-old me got a song written about her. It’s a really good song.”
“Yeah.” She clears her throat, “So, I better get going. My sister’s waiting for me outside.”
“Okay, it was nice seeing you again Tessa. I hope you have a good night.” He pauses, opening his arms. “Can I hug you? Is that okay?”
She appreciates being asked. “Yeah, that’s okay,” she replies, smiling. His hug is firm, and he’s very warm, and his cologne smells like something spicy.
She waves as she’s walking back, turning on her heel.
She’s a few paces away when he shouts, “Tessa!”
He half-jogs towards her. “I just wanted to ask if I could have your number.”
She freezes. “What?”
He steps back, rocking on his heels, eyes widening almost imperceptibly, “I’m not hitting on you! I swear!”
She ignores the tiny, miniscule feeling of something that sinks in her stomach. She’s not disappointed.
He scratches the back of his neck, “Sorry if it sounded like it and it made you uncomfortable. I was just hoping we could stay in touch? We do have twenty years to catch up on,” he says smiling.
“Sure, Scott. That’ll be great.” His smile is earnest and wide and she can’t help but mirror it. He gives her his phone to put her number in.
“It was so nice seeing you again, Tessa.” He opens his arms again, but doesn’t encroach her space.
“It was great seeing you too, Scott.” She doesn’t hesitate to step into his arms. There’s something about the way he embraces her that feels—safe. She shakes her head to herself. She must be tired for her thoughts to be drifting all over the place like this.
As Tessa walks outside, she feels her phone vibrate.
It's a text from Scott. 'Hey Tessa. Hope you have a good night.'
'You too Scott. Thanks for the show.' She adds the green heart at the end.
"What are you smiling at, Tess?" Jordan asks, one hand propped on her hip.
"Nothing!" Tessa blushes.
"Oh my God, you have his number!" Jordan cackles, shaking her finger at Tessa.
"Shut up, Jo." And because she can’t help herself apparently. “He asked for it first!”
Jordan is almost howling with laughter. “That’s even better!”
“He wants to be friends!” Tessa protests. She rolls her eyes and grabs her sister by the wrist. “Let’s go home.”
She’s back in Toronto after the weekend with her mom and her sister. Her ballet schedule is hectic and demanding, but she wouldn’t give it up for the world. She used to feel that taking weekends off like she had would be harmful, but she’s since learned that she needs to take care of herself too. Time spent with her family always grounds her.
They’re in the middle of rehearsals for Le Petit Prince , where she dances the role of the Rose. The choreography is intense and innovative and each day of rehearsals is grueling but fulfilling. There’s nothing Tessa enjoys more than pushing her body to its limit and seeing the beauty and art that it can create.
By the time she finishes rehearsals for the day, it’s early evening. She says goodbye to the girls she dances with and heads home to her apartment.
She’s laying on her back, a heating pad against it, her legs propped up against a leg rest at a ninety-degree angle. She breathes deeply, in and out, allowing her body to recover.
After a while, she picks up and her phone from where it’s lying an arm’s length away from her. She opens up her messages with Scott. She doesn’t quite know what makes her do it, maybe it’s because it’s late and she’s feeling too relaxed, but she decides to text him.
There’s nothing wrong with making an effort to be friends, right?
Tessa: Hey Scott, how are you?
Surprisingly, it doesn’t take long for him to answer.
Scott: Tessa! Hey
Scott: I’m great. Just doing a bit of songwriting
Tessa: Sounds fun
Out of curiosity, she asks him how he writes songs. As a ballet dancer, she’s an artist, but her body and its movements are her medium. She’s curious to find out how he creates as a musician.
Scott: It’s a process
Scott: You can see if you want. Are you alright to Facetime?
Tessa’s sure she looks a mess, and from this angle she’s probably gonna have a double chin, but it’s not like she needs to try to look good for Scott.
Tessa: That’s fine
Scott rings almost immediately. He has a guitar in his hands.
“Hey!” He squints at her, “What are you doing?”
“Elevating my legs.” She swivels her phone to show him. “It’s to help my body recover from work today.”
“Ahh, National Ballet, right? That’s amazing, Tessa. Every little girl’s dream.”
“Yeah,” she can’t help her proud smile. It had taken a lot to get where she wanted to be, to achieve all her dreams. “Wait, how did you know that?
“Umm...my mom still talks to your mom and she likes to talk about you. To me. Sometimes.” He avoids her eyes.
“But you didn’t recognise me when we met!” At least it explains why he knew her name. She had just guessed that he knew, but honestly wasn’t sure. It was his immediate shock at hearing her name that made her certain she knew what it was.
“I hadn’t looked you up! That was too stalkerish!”
“Oh, so you wrote a song about me but looking me up is too stalkerish? That’s some weird boundaries, Moir.”
“You said writing a song about you wasn’t stalkerish! You can’t take that back!” They’re both laughing like little kids at a playground. “Okay, I did promise you a crash course in songwriting.”
“Nice subject change, Scott. Very subtle.”
“Thank you. So every song is different. Sometimes, the melody comes first, sometimes the words, sometimes just a chord progression that I really like.”
“That’s just a sequence of different places I put my fingers on the guitar while I’m strumming the strings. Like this,” He demonstrates it to her quickly. Her eyes follow the confident movement of his fingers.
“I see. So what came to you first tonight?”
“Nothing yet,” he admits. “Have you got any ideas?”
“Well, there is this guy who’s been stalking me…”
“Tessaa,” Scott whines, dragging the ‘a’ of her name. But his expression becomes more serious. “Does it actually bother you, though? Because if it does, I’m sure I can—”
“Scott.” She interrupts him. “I’m fine with it. I’m just teasing. I do appreciate your concern though.” She moves to sit upright. “Am I okay to stretch while we’re still talking?”
“Go for it.”
“Thanks, I don’t want to be rude.” She winces, “You’ll tell me if I am?”
“The moment you are, I’ll tell you,” he says in mock solemnity. His fingers pluck out a melody on the guitar.
“That’s pretty,” Tessa murmurs, as she bends her torso over one of her legs, her other arm reaching over her foot.
Scott doesn’t say anything. “Scott?”
She looks up to see him cough. “Wh-what?”
“I said that I think that sounded pretty.” She stretches over to the other side.
“I think I’ll use it then.” He plays it through once more. “So, Tess, what music do you listen to?”
She thinks she likes the way the nickname sounds from his lips. “Hmmm...Hall & Oates?”
“Not Hall & Oates, Tess!” Scott shakes his head in mock disappointment.
“What’s wrong with them?” She laughs, humming the start of ‘You Make My Dreams’.
Scott just continues to shake his head, but he’s smiling.
Tessa yawns. “Sorry, Scott. I think I’m gonna go. I’m feeling pretty tired.”
“That’s alright, Tess. Good night.”
“Good night.” She ends their Facetime call. She heads into her kitchen to fix herself a salad with some grilled chicken.
By the end of her meal, she realises she’s still smiling.
A month passes since she went to Scott’s concert. She’s out for lunch with some of the girls from the company when they catch her texting Scott.
“Hey, Tess, why are you smiling at your phone like that?” Kaitlyn asks her, low enough under her breath that none of the others hear.
“Uh, nothing!” She laughs nervously. “Just a friend.”
Apparently her response is too loud because Kaetlyn pipes up, “Who’s just a friend?”
Alex also turns looks at her curiously. Kaitlyn laughs and wraps her arm around Tessa’s shoulder, squeezing.
“Sorry, Tess. I did try to be subtle,” Kaitlyn apologises, “You can tell us, you know, if you want to. Or not.”
Tessa leans her head on Kaitlyn. “I appreciate the support guys, but he really is just a friend.”
“He?” Alex leans forward, eyes sparkling. Tessa squeezes her eyes shut, groaning.
“Okay, ladies, let’s drop it,” Kaitlyn declares.
Alex and Kaetlyn nod.
“Sorry Tess,” Alex winces.
“We’ll drop it,” Kaetlyn agrees, “but you know we’re here for you if you need it, right?”
“Thanks so much,” Tessa smiles weakly.
As they’re making their way back to the studio, Kaitlyn hangs back from the others to talk to her. “Tess, I hope you let yourself take a chance, okay? You deserve it.” She doesn’t elaborate.
“I will,” she responds automatically, even though she knows she’s not the best at taking that advice. “I’ll try,” she amends.
“That’s all we can do,” Kaitlyn nods. "But you'll tell me about him someday?" She teases.
Tessa shakes her head, trying not to laugh.
Scott: Hey Tess. I know you’re busy, but any chance you’re free tonight?
Scott: Don’t stress if you can’t
Scott: I know you’re busy being an amazing ballerina :)
The texts come as she’s breaking in some of her pointe shoes. She looks at the clock. She’d probably be done by evening if he wants dinner.
Tessa: Dinner? I’m sure I can fit it in
Scott: But only if you’re sure
Scott: Feel free to tell me to go away! :)
She hasn’t seen him in a while. He’d been busy flying to other cities in the country, doing shows and performances.
His texts brighten her day, but he doesn’t know that.
They end up in a corner booth of a cosy diner, late enough in the evening that there’s not a lot of customers around.
She’s never feared she would be recognised—principal at the National Ballet would only be recognised by ardent fans of the ballet, not the typical Canadian—but she wonders if Scott would be, being an up-and-coming musician.
“Nah, I don’t think so,” he says around bites of his burger. “I’ve had some people come up to me, but we’re Canadian so they’re very nice about it.”
She twirls the pasta around her fork, nodding.
“Ella!” A mildly frustrated mother’s voice calls from somewhere in the diner.
A little girl in a sparkly pink shirt and a white tutu skirt skids up to their table. Her blue eyes are wide with awe. “Tessa,” the little girl says.
“Hi,” Tessa puts her fork down, smiling, “what’s your name?”
“My name’s Ella. I saw you dance in The Nutcracker at the ballet. Momma showed me a photo of you when I asked her who danced my favourite part. You’re so beautiful.”
“Thank you, Ella. That’s very sweet of you to say. Do you dance ballet too?”
“Yeah, I love it!” Her grin is wide. “One day, I wanna be just like you.”
A harried-looking woman reaches their table, “Ella, what did I say? You can’t just disturb people, honey.” She turns to Tessa and Scott and apologises.
“Sorry, Momma.” Ella looks down at her shoes, pointing her toes.
“That’s okay, honey. Just don’t do it again, alright? Let’s go, it’s getting late.”
“Wait, Momma,” Ella tugs on her mother’s shirt, “Can I get a photo with Tessa? If that’s okay?” Ella directs the last question to Tessa.
“I’m okay with that,” Tessa smiles, getting up. Ella’s mom takes a photo of the two of them, Tessa bending down so her head is near Ella’s.
“You wanna do a ballet pose, kiddo?” Tessa asks, raising her arms in fifth position and pointing her toes. Ella jumps up and down excitedly, then copies Tessa. Her mom takes photos again, and thanks Tessa profusely.
Ella leaves her with a hug. “Bye, Tessa!” she calls over her shoulder, holding her mom’s hand.
Tessa waves. She turns back to Scott, who’s grinning.
“And you asked if I was the one who was gonna get recognised,” he teases.
Tessa blushes, taking another bite of her pasta.
Scott persuades her to take a walk through the streets, now quieter at night. He brings her to a music shop. It's clearly closed, the windows dark.
Scott takes a silver key from out of his pocket.
He unlocks the door, opening it for Tessa. "After you, m'lady."
The shop smells of paper and wood and metal. It's odd being in a music shop and it's absolutely silent.
"How'd you get the key to a music shop, Scott?"
Scott leads them to a door, which opens to reveal a set of stairs. "I know the owner, Patch. I taught some guitar lessons here to earn some money when I was struggling to get somewhere with my music."
It seems like they're climbing an infinite number of stairs. Finally, they reach a door at the top. Scott flips open the latch and gestures for Tessa to go through.
The air is crisp and cool, and the night sky is clear and cloudless. It’s the city, so the bright lights tend to obscure the brightness of the stars. Somehow, this rooftop defies that, the stars almost breathtakingly visible.
Tessa tips her head back, closes her eyes for a moment.
“It’s pretty out here, eh?” Scott asks her.
She opens her eyes. “Yeah,” she breathes, still looking up.
“Patch showed me this place back when I worked here. It’s just another rooftop in the day, but at night it—transforms itself. It feels like a bridge to the stars.”
“That was such a songwriter thing to say,” she teases, “but that’s an apt description of this place.”
She leans against the low wall surrounding the perimeter. “Did you come up here a lot?”
He nods, “I did, actually. I felt—hopeless. At the start, especially. I felt like a failure and a disappointment.” He leans against the wall beside her. “But the stars gave me hope.”
He looks up at the sky. “You know, back at home, I didn’t need to go up to a rooftop to see the stars. They were always there at night, even just in my backyard. Maybe that’s also why I love it here so much. It reminds me of home.”
Neither of them speak for a while. Tessa typically finds that silences make her feel anxious and awkward, thinking that she needs to offer something to fill in the gaps.
But silence with Scott is comforting. She slides down the wall to sit down. Scott follows her.
There’s something dream-like about the cloak of darkness, the closeness of the stars and Scott’s presence beside her. Like whatever they say here is a secret, hidden and kept not because it’s shameful, but because it’s something precious.
She asks the question before she realises what the words she’s saying are, “Scott, did I really break your heart?” She glances up from her fingers to watch him.
“Yeah,” he answers honestly and without hesitation. “As much as an eleven-year-old’s heart can be broken, anyway.” She can hear the smile in his voice.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers.
“I’m not,” he doesn’t miss a beat to respond. He angles his body so that he’s facing her more. “I’m not, because you...you have an amazing life, Tess! You’re doing and succeeding at what you love. And my life ain’t half-bad either. I promise.”
His left hand rests in the space between them. She reaches down with her right and links their pinky fingers together. “Okay.”
They make their way down and out of the music shop, Scott closing up behind them. He walks her home to her apartment. If their fingers brush more times than she can count well—
—that's another precious secret she'll keep.
They reach her door. She turns to Scott once she unlocks her door. “Thanks for tonight, Scott.”
“Pleasure was all mine, T,” his tiredness makes his smile soft at the edges.
She rises on her tip-toes to press a kiss to his cheek. It brushes closer to his lips as she lowers her heels to the ground.
She’s listening to Sia in her dressing room, doing her make-up for her first performance for Le Petit Prince. She carefully draws the swoop of her eyeliner, making sure she doesn’t draw it too close to the inside corner of her eye.
There’s a hum of excitement in the movement of her arms, the flex of her toes. She focuses her breathing, visualising each step executed in her head, technically and artistically excellent.
Most ballet dancers were taught, and live by, the mantra of perfection. One of her teachers when she was younger taught by the idea of excellence. She thrives off pushing herself to her limits, don't get her wrong, but she's learned that excellence is a better way to think compared to the mirage of perfection.
It’s not long until she’s in costume and she’s waiting to enter the stage. It’s less than a breath and she’s on stage, and she’s not herself anymore. She is La Rose, haughty and vain, but still loved by the little prince.
She’d never liked the rose much when she read the book as a kid, but she loves the choreography and has thoroughly enjoyed making it her own.
She supposes she should appreciate the complexity of the character as an adult, but she’d much preferred the fox and its affinity for chicken. She remembers being sad when she was little when she read that the little prince left the fox, after he had tamed it.
The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat. The golden-haired prince left the fox, but the fox would never forget, the wheat a constant reminder.
She finishes the dance on stage, staring at the darkness of the audience. She finds in it the colour of Scott’s hair.
There’s two bouquets waiting for her in her dressing room. There’s the one from her family that she instantly recognises that has irises, carnations and viscaria. It never fails to make her smile, to know that the people she loves the most support her. She’s knows she's so lucky because of it.
The other bouquet is a simple bunch of blush-pink peonies. A sense of déja vu strikes her weirdly. She doesn’t usually get two personal ones, just the one from her family.
Except for her first performance as a first soloist.
That’s right, she’d gotten the exact same bouquet, a simple bunch of blush-pink peonies, but it hadn’t come with a note or a card.
This one does.
She picks up the crisp, white envelope, slides her fingernail under the flap, and takes out the card.
You were brilliant tonight! But that’s nothing new, eh?
She rubs the word ‘love’ with her thumb. He had watched her tonight. Somehow, the realisation makes her eyes water. She blinks it back.
She thinks of the rose, too proud to be vulnerable, to let herself be loved by the little prince. She doesn’t want to make the same mistake.
She sees Scott talking to her family after the show. He’s conversing with her mom and Jordan. Her brothers’ families are also there.
There’s a flurry of hugs and kisses from her family. They’re still the same, warm and enthusiastic in their ‘congratulation’s and their ‘I’m so proud of you’s, since her first recital as a little girl.
Eventually, her family parts and all she sees is Scott. He had stood off to the side, letting her enjoy her moment with her family.
He catches her eye, and mouths, Hi .
She rushes to Scott and throws her arms around him. “Scott.” Her voice catches.
“Hey, Tess,” he murmurs into her hair. “You were amazing.”
“The peonies,” she whispers.
“You got them, yeah?”
“Did you ever—was that the first time you’ve given me flowers?” She squeezes her eyes against his neck.
“No,” he replies after a while. “I, uh, got you the same bouquet the first time I watched you dance. My mom mentioned it and I—wanted to come. Sorry I never told you. You must really think I’m a stalker now, eh? I only saw you from afar, never got to see your face. I must not have looked in the program either. That's why I still didn't recognise you at the meet-and-greet.” His laugh rumbles against her. "But the way you danced...I think I'll always recognise that."
“I loved the flowers.” She looks up at him. “Scott.”
She kisses him on the cheek, trails chaste presses of her lips down his cheek, until her lips hover above his. She peers up at him through her lashes. Is this okay? she asks without words.
“Please.” His voice is rough and ragged.
She closes the distance between them. She’d danced many, many pas de deux, but nothing has felt as effortless or as right as the movement of her mouth against his.
They pull away and catch their breath.
Tessa looks behind her. Her family had disappeared. Her phone vibrates in her purse.
It’s Jordan. Ushered the fam away as soon as you ran to Scott ;) You owe me one! Another follows it. For real, though, take your time. You deserve it. Love you!
She shoots off a thank you to her sister, and curls up against Scott’s shoulder, savouring the feeling of his arms around her.
“Hey, Scott, do you have an instagram?” She’s chosen to spend her day off in Scott’s apartment. She’s currently sprawled across his sheets, watching him play guitar.
“Technically,” he laughs. “I barely use it, though. I’ll post some promotional stuff for my music, like snippets and dates, and there’s some family pictures there as well. It’s not my thing, why?”
“Just wondering…I need to remember to follow you now.”
“Oohhh,” he teases, “isn’t that gonna make your fans suspicious?”
“It’s more likely to make your fans suspicious,” she fires back. “You’re very popular with the ladies, Moir.”
He sets his guitar aside and tackles her to the bed, tangling their fingers together above her head. “See, there’s only one lady who I want to be popular with,” he says, nuzzling her neck. “Wait, I just remembered something.” He lifts himself up off of her and grabs his guitar again.
“You write another song about me, Scott?” she jokes, sitting cross-legged across from him.
“Haven’t finished that yet,” he answers absent-mindedly, tuning the strings. Her breath catches in her throat, and she can’t help her smile.
(She’ll get a lot more songs written about her, but she doesn’t know that yet.)
“This one I learned after...well, I think you’ll know.”
He starts playing the opening to ‘You Make My Dreams’. “What I want, you've got/ And it might be hard to handle ,” he sings, grinning.
Tessa covers her mouth with her hands. She laughs in delight, almost tearfully. He did this for her.
She manages to join in during the chorus somewhere, but she’s content to just listen to Scott. When he finishes, looking so proud of himself, she leans forward to kiss him.
“Thank you,” she says, her face close to his.
“You’re welcome,” he kisses the tip of her nose. “You know, this was going to be my grand gesture. The one that was going to sweep you off your feet into my arms.”
“The peonies weren’t a grand gesture?”
“I hadn’t realised they would mean that much to you,” he tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. His smile turns wistful. “I wish I could have taken a picture of how surprised you looked when I started playing."
She'd felt surprised in the happiest of ways. She wants to be able to give him the same happiness he's given her. This amazing, wonderful man who deserves all she can give him.
“We can take a photo now.” She takes his phone and opens the camera. She moves around him to lean against his back, one of her arms wrapped around his neck. One of his hands reaches up to hold onto her arm. She leans her head next to his, her chin on his shoulder. She takes the photo.
“It’s a good photo,” she studies it. “You sure you don’t want to put it on instagram?” She says jokingly.
Scott turns contemplative. “Can I?” He pauses, then rushes to add, “Only if you want to though. It’s not a very ambiguous photo. I understand if you’d rather keep us a secret for longer.”
Tessa shakes her head. “I don’t want to keep us a secret. Unless you want to…”
Scott takes her hand, lacing his fingers with hers. “You know if it was up to me, I’d tell anyone who would listen about this amazing girl who somehow decided to give me the time of day. You can come up with a caption. I think you’ll be better at it than me.”
She navigates to instagram on his phone, having to go through the internet browser because he doesn't have the app. She has to suppress her laughter. God, she adores him.
She uploads the photo, adjusting it so that it fit the square template correctly. She bites her bottom lip for a while, pondering the right words to put with the photo. Then it comes to her.
Won’t you be my green-eyed girl?
She shows it to Scott, who laughs. “I love it. But we’ll be admitting the song’s about you.”
“I think I can handle that.” She posts the photo and throws his phone somewhere on his bed. She likes the way his happiness tastes on her lips.
(There’s a Buzzfeed article published about them, titled Tessa Virtue is Scott Moir’s Green-Eyed Girl and We’re All Here For It . Scott finds it hilarious when Tessa shows him.
She endures Kaitlyn, Kaetlyn and Alex’s good-natured teasing when they realise who Tessa’s mystery ‘friend’ is.
Jordan just guffaws.
Whatever, she’s got Scott and he’s got her.)