Day 1 of 100 Word Prompts: Dance
The door to Dance Dance, the small second-floor dance studio, sat nestled between two restaurants. It was an unassuming door that didn’t call much attention to it from the small vinyl letters stuck to the glass at the bottom of the window. It would be easily missed by those not looking for it, as Jensen figured out as he circled the block for the fifth time, finally spotting it.
“Jesus, this place is hard to find,” Jensen said, stepping up the stoop and pulling the door open.
The hall inside was just as dull. A greenish-beige color painted the walls and looked as though it hadn’t had attention longer than he had been alive. He made it halfway up before he stopped and doubted if he should go.
“I’ll probably be the only guy there,” he muttered, looking up. “What happens if I am? What if they laugh at me, or I have to wear one of those weird onesie things, and everyone sees my-”
The door behind him opened, and he turned to see Skye coming up the stairs behind him. She wore leggings and a light sweatshirt as she smiled at him.
“You made it!” she said as she reached him and gave him a quick hug.
“Yeah, just got here,” Jensen said, feeling his heart speed up.
“I didn’t think you would show up. You didn’t seem that interested at school,” Skye said, slowing to a walk as he fell in step beside her. “I’m glad you came.”
“Yeah, I don’t know if I’ll stay,” he replied with a shrug, “It sounded important to you, so I figured I’d come to check it out.”
“It’s important all right,” Skye replied, “and with the way I saw you move at the dance, I thought you’d agree.”
“Skye, look,” Jensen said, grabbing her elbow gently. “I can’t lie to you, okay. I was drunk at the dance. Me and the guys drank quite a bit of beer before we even showed up. I’m not sure-”
“You were drinking?” Skye said, pulling her elbow from his grasp.
“Yeah,” Jensen said, nodding. He felt his heart sink as her expression grew sad. “It was all in good fun. I don’t normally dance-”
“I’m not very impressed that you were drinking. We’re only fifteen, we shouldn’t be drinking yet,” Skye said, shaking her head. “I thought you were dancing well because you like to dance.”
“No, I mean, I do, I mean-”
“Promise me, no more drinking,” Skye said.
“It was just-”
“Promise,” Skye said, looking sternly at him.
Jensen looked into her blue eyes and lost himself for a moment. He had liked her since they were at the middle school together. He had never had the guts to talk to her until he got drunk, but now she looked at him like a friend, and he wanted to keep it.
“Okay, I promise,” he said, looking at his shoes. “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you sooner.”
“Do your parents know?” she asked.
“No,” Jensen replied, shaking his head.
“Maybe keep this time a secret, but if I find out you’re drinking again, I’ll tell them. Got it?” she said.
“Got it,” Jensen replied.
“Alright, let’s go,” she said, continuing up the stairs.
Jensen padded up the stairs and walked into the studio behind her. There were five other girls that Jensen recognized from school, as well as a woman in tight spandex that he had never seen before. The way the spandex held to her made his cheeks grow warm.
“Are you okay, Jensen?” Skye asked as she unzipped her sweater, revealing a similar outfit.
“I don’t know that I should be here,” Jensen said, looking at the floor. “Everyone is wearing,” he paused, “pretty revealing outfits.”
“It’s fine. You’ll get used to it. Just don’t think like a guy,” Skye teased. “Remember that we are here to dance and not to ogle at each other, and you’ll be fine.”
Jensen took a deep breath and nodded, refusing to bring his eyes up.
“Who might this be?” an unfamiliar voice asked.
“This is Jensen Macdonald,” Skye replied. “Jensen, this is Ms. Fisher.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Jensen,” Ms. Fisher replied. “Tell me you didn’t come here hoping to catch a view or something.”
“He came to dance, Ms. Fisher. You should’ve seen him at the school dance two weeks ago. He has a natural rhythm and good balance. He even looked like he was having fun with it at the time,” Skye replied.
Jensen couldn’t make out what they were saying, but he could hear the girls whispering across the room to each other. His cheeks felt like they might be on fire.
“Are you going to answer me?” Ms. Fisher asked.
“Sorry, ma’am,” Jensen replied, “I didn’t hear the question.”
“Ms. Fisher is fine. I don’t need to feel older than I am. The question was: have you taken any dance classes before?” she asked.
“No, Ms. Fisher,” Jensen replied. “I’m not even sure that I belong in this one.”
“Could you, please, look at me when we’re speaking,” Ms. Fisher said. Jensen lifted his head and did his best not to glance at her body as he brought his gaze up to meet hers. “Why wouldn’t you belong here?”
“I’m a-” he paused.
“Boy?” Ms. Fisher asked, giving him a doubting look. “There are plenty of male dancers in the world. Maxfield Haynes does ballet, and Marcus Williams does the Phantom of the Opera. Both are renowned dancers.”
“But I’m the only-” Jensen stopped as the door opened, and he saw Gabriel Reid, one of the linemen from the highschool football team enter the room.
“Jensen!” Gabriel said, walking up to Jensen. “Don’t worry, Ms. Fisher. I got this.”
“Thank you, Gabe,” Ms. Fisher replied, a look of relief washing over her for a moment before she returned to the other girls.
“I didn’t know that you like to dance,” Gabriel said, clapping Jensen on the back.
“Why does everyone keep saying that?” Jensen replied. “I don’t know. I mean, it’s fun and all, but I’m not sure that I should-”
“It’ll be fun, man. Trust me. Once you’re dressed properly, you won’t have enough brainpower to dance and pay attention to the girls at the same time,” Gabriel said, walking toward a door that Jensen hadn’t noticed. “Come on.”
Jensen followed along until they were alone.
“Why do you take dance classes?” Jensen said.
“A lot of football players do, actually,” Gabriel replied, tossing some clothes at him. “Keeps us light on our toes and teaches us to move out of the way when we don’t need to get hit. Put those on.”
“I don’t know, Gabe,” Jensen protested as he pulled off his shirt. “Have you seen Skye?”
“Yes, many times actually,” Gabriel laughed, shaking his head. “That’s not what this is about. Just focus on Ms. Fisher’s lessons, and you’ll be fine. It’s a great way to limber up and get some exercise.”
“What about school, won’t kids comment on us being here?” Jensen asked.
“If they do, they’ll have to deal with me,” Gabriel laughed. “Seriously, no one is going to say anything. Just come out, dance with the class, and have fun. You’ll see. You already have some talent, and Ms. Fisher will help you get better.”
“You know, this is making me feel a little better,” Jensen said as he pulled the sweat pants on. “I was worried that we’d have to wear those super tight things.”
“No, those are only performances and whatnot, which you don’t have to do. I’m telling you, this is way better than you think,” Gabriel said. “Let’s get out there and get started. Just stick with me, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.”
“Okay,” Jensen agreed with a nod. His heart raced in his chest as they stepped out from the backroom, and Ms. Fisher began the lesson.
Two hours later, Jensen was covered in sweat and breathing heavily along with the rest of the class. Ms. Fisher clapped her hands and smiled at them warmly.
“You all did so well today!” she said. “Our next class is Thursday for those of you that want to come. I look forward to seeing you then.”
Jensen looked at Gabriel and smiled. He knew at that moment that he was a dancer. He hadn’t even spent more than a minute admiring Skye, but it was when she was Ms. Fisher’s example to the class of what they should be doing.
“Thursday?” Skye asked as she approached.
“I’ll be here,” Jensen smiled.
“Meet me at the Froyo shop an hour early, okay?” she said.
“Okay,” he replied as she smiled at him and ran back to the other girls.
“Got a date, man?” Gabriel teased. “That was fast.”