“It’s part of her passion, actually,” he corrected. “She can’t stand it when there is strife that no one is willing to resolve.”
“So you were unwilling to resolve this?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“You seemed to know the right things to say to make me angry.” He didn’t look at me.
“I’m sorry,” I said, guilt filling me now. “The way you kept changing the way you were acting was driving me crazy.”
“I didn’t know what to do after that shock thing. It really freaked me out.” He let out an easy chuckle. “I wanted to stay away from you, but then of course I had to dance with you every time in here so it kind of upset me. Then when we weren’t fighting you seemed so nice. It was just weird.”
I laughed, then at his inquiring look I said, “That’s exactly how I felt.”
He smiled at me for a minute. “Well, I’m glad all the weirdness is over with.”
“Exactly,” I said, smiling back.
By the time he had finally showed up the class was already half over, and when we actually got onto the floor everything was already coming to an end. We still got in a few dances before then, one from each style; Tango, Salsa, Swing, and Waltz. I couldn’t believe how wonderful the turnaround was for us. I only hoped it would stay this time. As the last song finally ended, Mrs. Peters stopped the small stereo and called to all of us a reminder that the first test was in a week and to really spend time practicing outside of school because she was not going to be lenient about flaws. She needed the best couples that showed the most potential to succeed on her team.
“No pressure,” I said under my breath as we headed to the bleachers where my stuff was.
“She’s just being truthful,” he said. “The other competitors we will be going against have been doing this for years. Many have numerous trophies under their belts.”
“What?” I whirled around. “Then why are we even trying? There’s no way we could beat them!”
He stifled a chuckle and smiled. “Don’t worry. Our chance of winning are not as small as you might think.”
“We’ve only been dancing for a couple of months. You just said they’ve been dancing for their entire life, so how are we supposed to compete with that?” I looked at him critically.
“I didn’t say ‘their entire life’,” he shook his head with a grin, “I said they’ve been doing this for years, and that doesn’t mean they’re unbeatable. My mother is a talent scout, that’s one of the reasons we’re here. We’ve won these things before using other school students.” Then he took me by the shoulders and said, “Calm down.” He wore a smiled that was both soft and amused.
“Are you laughing at me?” I asked, trying to keep a smile from spreading over my face as well.
“A little,” His grin widened. “You were a little melodramatic.” I couldn’t help it, I started laughing and he let out a few himself.
“Well, thanks for laying out our chances realistically for me, but now I have to go or I’ll be late for work.” I smiled at him and then turned to grab all my things, but when I turned back around to leave he was still there.
I glanced to the side and then back at him. “Um, yes?”
“Well, I was wondering –”
“I’m sorry, but can we talk and walk?” He nodded and we started toward the doors behind the mass of other students. I saw Dale and Louis eyeing us, but gave a slight shake of my head and widened my eyes for them to stay away.
“I was wondering if, since my mother said we should practice outside of school, you would have any places in mind?”
“To practice?” He nodded. “I haven’t thought about it to be honest. I work a lot though.”
“Well, you must have at least one or two days off?”
Three actually. I technically worked part-time, but usually picked up shifts not only to escape boredom at home but to have money to burn when I went out with friends. “How many nights a week?”
“One or two, whatever you prefer.” He shrugged causally. “We get a lot of practice time here for now, but it’s mostly the basics and after she picks her team she’ll give us our specific steps for the first competition.
I thought about it for a minute. “Let’s start out with one and see how it goes,” I said, smiling sideways at him. “Do you have a place in mind?”
“I have the perfect place,” he said and I raised my brow. “My mother has her own dance studio.”
“Are you sure she’ll be okay with that?”
He nodded. “I’m almost sure of it. I think she likes you.”
“Okay,” I said, though I wasn’t sure if getting onto him for being mean to me was so much about her liking me as much as it was probably just her job. Still, it was nice to think she might like me. I tried to keep from blushing at the fact that he had just invited me to his house. Don’t get ahead of yourself. I thought. It doesn’t mean anything until he says it does. Looking around, I realized we’d been standing at my car for the past ten minutes. I had to go! I glimpsed Sue inside, staring intently with a smile spread from ear to ear. Ugh, so embarrassing.
“So, when are you free?” he asked, his smile widening slightly. So I was blushing, great.
“Um…” I tried to think but my mind had gone blank.
Suddenly the window rolled down and Sue’s voice came from inside. “Tomorrow! She’s free tomorrow!”
“No I’m not!” I said hastily, shooting her a look. All the while, Connelly stood there enjoying the whole thing.
“I’ll take your shift. She’s off tomorrow, Connelly. We have to go now, because we are late and if we don’t get there in five minutes she’ll be free every night because neither one of us will have a job anymore!” She hastened me inside and I rolled my eyes but opened the door anyway.
“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then, because I’m apparently off.” I smiled.
“Tomorrow.” It was obvious he was fighting laughter as he turned to Sue and nodded and then spun on his heel and headed toward where Ivan was waiting in a classic model red Ferrari.
“Did you have to do that!” I asked after I closed the door.
“Yes, Lou is going to kill us! Drive!” She commanded and then put the car in drive while I was still putting on my seatbelt.
“Sue!” I yelled in surprise. She just laughed and then I caught her contagious giggles.
“I told you they weren’t so bad,” She managed through her laughing fit.
“I know,” I said, “I know.”