He shook his head. “Just a sneak peek.” He winked and I shook my head. “You are getting to see this because, now don’t tell anyone, but she has already chosen you.”
“What? Has she chosen everyone she wants already? That’s not fair,” I protested.
“No, not everyone, but a few couples already hold the talent she’s looking for. Of course, if they do badly at the test, then she will pick someone else. They have to be able to dance well under pressure and that is what the test will do. Everyone will be watching the test.”
“Everyone who? Like parents?” I asked.
“Parents, teachers, students. Everyone. And whoever does the best under the pressure of such an audience, then they will pass.” He smiled and gave me a look to calm down. As the music changed from Waltz, to Swing, we started over with the basics and gradually climbed up the different levels of difficulty until I was having to do flips.
“I can’t do that,” I said when I saw Alister flip Mira over his head and Vincent swing Aubrey around his middle and then between his legs.
“It’s okay, we don’t have to do that right now,” he said, wearing a smile.
“That’s right,” Mrs. Peters agreed. “There has to be real trust between partners before you can do that. If not, that’s when accidents happen.”
I sighed with relief, which made them smile in amusement. “Let’s just focus on these steps for now,” he said and we continued with our current level of steps while everyone progressed until they were doing things I’d never seen before.
“They’re amazing,” I said, watching everyone move. Mira and Alister were actually smiling and looking like they were finally enjoying themselves.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” he said, “We practice usually every other night.”
When we had finally finished practicing through all the dance styles, I was sweating like crazy, thirsty, and already sore. “Ivan, you just keep becoming more and more of a beautiful dancer. I really enjoyed that,” Mrs. Peters said as she let go of her son.
“Teacher’s pet.” Connelly said and everyone laughed.
“Shut up,” said Ivan, even though he’d laughed too.
As we started toward the stairs, Ivan came up beside me. “Are you going to be okay, Kota?”
I looked over at him and smiled, nodding. “Yeah, but I think I’m gonna be sore tomorrow.”
They all chuckled.
When we reached the bottom, Mrs. Peters, Mira and Aubrey all started making dinner. “Kota you did splendidly upstairs. I’ve never seen someone take so quickly to the steps before.” She smiled sweetly at me and I smiled back.
“Thank you Mrs. Peters.” I stood there for a minute, not really knowing what to do.
I was just about to say I should probably go when Connelly offered, “Do you want to see the rest of the house?”
“Aubrey designed this so we would have plenty of room if we had company,” Connelly said as we walked down the hall. “Each room as a bathroom and a walk-in closet, though Mira and Aubrey’s closets are the biggest by far.” He showed me a few guest bedrooms, each decorated lavishly and each in a different color. “And this, is my room.”
When he opened his door, I expected to see the same lavish interior as the rest, but that was not what lay inside. To the right was a full-size bed with a black comforter set and a nightstand, there was a desk in the corner and shelves about the rest of the room. “Wow,” I breathed, stepping inside.
“I wouldn’t let Aubrey touch my room.” He laughed. “She knew better.”
Taking a closer look at the shelves I saw CDs and books with titles in different languages, a large black and red stereo, a shelf with nothing but trophies big and small, and pictures, showing both the Peters and other people and places I didn’t know. “You’ve been to a lot of places,” I commented, scanning the pictures.
“Yeah,” He chuckled and ran a hand behind his neck. “We’ve pretty much been all over.”
“Do you still keep in touch with all these people?”
“Yeah, a lot of them are family. We get together a couple times a year.” He sat down on his bed, sinking into the great plush of his comforter. “What do you think of my designing skills?” He smiled and nodded around the room like he was proud of it, like he knew he was good.
I wanted to laugh but held it in. “Compared to Aubrey?” I said and winced a little, which made him give me a look. I had to laugh out loud then. “Yeah, I guess you’re pretty good. For your own room anyway. Aubrey’s good at the rest.”
He shoved me and I laughed. “That’s okay, I can live with that.”
“Good,” I said, “Yeah, it’s like if you designed rooms for a living, she would do the really good hotels and you would do the motels.” I smiled, winked at him and then ran from the room when he made to grab for me.
“Whoa!” Aubrey said as I almost ran into her. “Having fun?”
“Yeah, she’s just telling me how much better I am at designing than you are.” Connelly came up behind me. “She said she liked my room better than the guest rooms I showed her.” He stuck his nose up in the air like he was superior.
She just looked at him and then me and we both rolled our eyes. “Yeah, sure. Hey, you wanna see my room?” I nodded and she led the way farther down the hall and when she opened her door I gasped. This room was both messy and beautiful at the same time. It had deep purple walls, white borders, a black canopy bed with a purple top and comforter set, a black nightstand, a black desk in front of a window with purple curtains, and a large black vanity with a mannequin beside it. There were clothes everywhere, covering the bed, spilling out of the nightstand drawers, hung over the desk chair, in piles on the floor, everywhere! And where there weren’t clothes there was makeup, and accessories.
Aubrey just stood amid all the colorful chaos and waited for my reaction. I hadn’t even realized my mouth had fallen open. “Aubrey, why do you have so much stuff?”
“You can’t think of a reason? It should be pretty obvious.” She glanced at the mannequin.
“You’re a designer!” I said incredulously.
“I’m a designer, but not just of clothes. Mira and I have our own clothing line and beauty line. It just hasn’t made it to America yet. Yet.”
“Wow,” I breathed. She laughed.