My eyes narrowed. I couldn’t believe he was acting like the whole shock thing was my fault, I couldn’t help it! Then suddenly he let go of my side and spun me, narrowly missing another couple, and started back towards the other side of the gym. His hands were tight on me, unyielding as he pulled me along through the steps.
“You know, you’re not helping me at all by doing this,” I said, trying to match his speed, only to have him spin me again. Ugghhh…. “Can you just slow down a little? I’m new to this, remember?”
He grated his teeth and slowed a tiny bit, still trying not to look at me too much. “There, better? Now, can we continue the rest of this class in silence? And please, try and pay attention.”
I sighed deep in my throat, but resigned to being quiet for at least a few minutes. I didn’t want to talk to him either, but after a few more times of him pulling me or pushing me in different directions suddenly I couldn’t stop myself. “Alright buddy, if you don’t stop we’re gonna have problems. This is my first time, and I can already tell you’re a sucky leader.”
“Who the hell do you think you are?” He raised his voice a little.
“I think I’m the girl you’re dragging around the room!” I raised my voice back, and people started looking our way. “Just because you’re in a bad mood doesn’t mean you can take it out on me.”
“I would stop talking now, if I were you,” he said, his already tight grip getting worse and his glare darkening.
I opened my mouth to snap back at him, but Mrs. Peters was quick to intervene. “Enough, now go.” She had lost her soft tone and squeezed his shoulder until he let me go. He barely looked at her before storming towards the door with his hands curled into fists. “I’m sorry about that,” she said in her pleasant voice and turning back to me. “He’s been a little troubled here lately, but if I would’ve known… You won’t have to partner him again.”
A little troubled? I thought, but instead just nodded and went to the bleachers, spending the rest of the time watching everyone else dance. More than once, I saw Connelly glance in my direction. It was the same perturbed yet interested look from before and I wondered what it was all about.
When class was over and Sue and I were gathering our things, we heard someone clear their throat behind us. It was Connelly. “Hello again, I just wanted to come and apologize for Alister’s behavior. He’s a bit temperamental at the best of times, and I just wanted you to know that we’re not all like that.” He smiled and I couldn’t help but smile back.
“Oh it’s ok,” I said, shrugging. “I think I handled it pretty well.”
He nodded and chuckled under his breath. “Well, maybe next time we could be partners and I can show you how it’s supposed to be done. What do you say?”
I was sure I was blushing. “We’ll see.”
Then we left him standing there as we made our way to the parking lot, giggling. Sue said, “Wow, he’s cute.”
“And trouble. I can already tell,” I added as we climbed into my yellow Xterra.