Strangers p6


She just smiled and muttered almost inaudibly, “rhythm… short, slim…” Then she nodded like she’d made up her mind. Smiling and nodding once more to me, she moved on to Sue, who basically said the same thing. She glanced back at me. “You’re friends, aren’t you?” We nodded and she muttered again. “… same, but different…”

After she’d gone through all of us, she went back and started pairing us up, sometimes with her own students. Danielle the ‘head cheerleader’ was the first to be paired with a dancer, the twin Sue had wanted. I didn’t need to see her to know her face was now morose. Danielle was the usual pompous head cheerleader and pretty much always got what she wanted. Beside her, her boyfriend Colton was on fire. Or at least he was until Mrs. Peters sent the girl in the green dress, Dara, his way.

Once people were paired they were sent to stand somewhere on the gym floor but close enough to hear everything. Sue was paired with a regular student, but when she got to me, Mrs. Peters paused. “Connelly, with her.”

The sound of his name brought him out of staring into nothingness and bored eyes landed on me. He took me in, and the boredom seemed to dissipate. He seemed to drop the cocky demeanor as he reached me and seemed genuinely interested in something. “Hi,” he said, his voice smooth and slightly accented. The accent was different than Mrs. Peters and sounded more like German. “I’m Connelly.”

He looked at me like he was looking at something he’d never seen before. “Kota.” I said, trying not to give him a ‘you’re acting weird’ look.

Our hands were just about to touch when Mrs. Peters called his name again. “No, I think Alister should partner her this time.” Dropping his hand, he glanced at me once more, his interest already waning, before returning to his original spot. Now we were both glaring as Alister stood stone still at my side, his eyes trained anywhere but at me. Mrs. Peters called us all over to watch a demonstration and as she called his name, Alister seemed all too happy to leave my side.

Mira and Alister showed us a move called Closed Changes, which was actually the linking of three different steps and together created the sweeping movement known for the Waltz. They repeated this three times, Mrs. Peters stopping them at different points to comment on how to hold their partner and how to stand so moving into the next step was easier.

When they were done, Alister returned reluctantly to my side and, without saying a word, we took our stances. I glanced over at Sue and saw her give me an apprehensive look in Alister’s direction. Then the music began and I was forced to turn away. Alister didn’t hesitate and I almost stumbled as he pushed me backward. I shot him a glare that he openly returned. “A little warning next time, will you?” I said.


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