|I Don't Dance
Author: Andi Pants PM
Julianne Jenkins excells at all things academic, but knows next to nothing about guys and is downright hopeless at all things requiring coordination. So when she unwillingly gets sucked into a National Ballroom Dance Competition with a super hot partner , humour and romance ensue as Julianne struggles to learn how to dance. She's got 3 words for this: "I Don't Dance".Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Chapters: 29 - Words: 101,375 - Reviews: 39 - Favs: 22 - Follows: 28 - Updated: 04-30-13 - Published: 07-03-12 - id: 3038482
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The next couple of weeks were spent neck-deep in studying, studying, and more studying. My mother wouldn't let me leave the house for anything other than my piano classes, family dance classes, and my one-on-one dance classes with Austin. Lilly had started spending an incredible amount of time with Brad and I was seriously worried that she wasn't getting enough studying time because of it. I tried talking to her about it, but she merely waved it off as if exams were a millennium away. So, the week-end before exams I dragged Lilly's butt over to my house (seeing as I wasn't allowed to go anywhere), and I sat her down for what I hoped would be 48 hours of intense studying.
That's not what happened.
Other than the fact that she was naturally a very unfocused person (I actually suspected she had ADD, but she refused to see a doctor), she was also constantly either talking to Brad, texting Brad, video-chatting with Brad, Facebook-ing Brad, or somehow communicating with Brad in every possible way. After about three hours, I was this close to grabbing her phone and chucking it out the window. Lucky her, Brad arrived to pick her up in the same instant I reached for her phone, meaning she was out my door in exactly 17 seconds.
I can't even begin to describe the amount of times I cursed that guy since he and Lilly started dating. Not that I had anything against him. He was actually a nice guy! He made Lilly happy, didn't treat her like crap, and he's never done anything in the least bit asshole-ish. But even though he made Lilly happy...let's just say that maybe he made her too happy. After two weeks of" Brad this" and "Brad that", I was on the verge of jumping out the nearest window if it meant I'd get away from it all. Plus, Lilly and I rarely spent any time together because she was with Brad all the time! It was almost like they were a package deal or something! Absolutely ridiculous!
Needless to say that on the first day of exams, Lilly came running to my locker, hyperventilating and with dark circles under her sloppy-looking make-up. It turned out she had been cramming for her Physics exam all night and had only managed to barely understand half the curriculum. I hated to say "I told you so", but the words were out before I could stop them and Lilly crumpled down into a sobbing heap on the filthy, hallway floor. Unfortunately, my kind nature got the best of me and instead of leaving her there to fend for herself while I did a last minute review for Calculus, I knelt down on the floor beside her and walked her through the entire Physics textbook in about 36 minutes. There was no way for me to know just how much she had actually understood, but at least the waterworks had stopped, even though her runny mascara left her with raccoon eyes for the duration of the whole exam.
I spent that evening prepping her for her Calculus exam, while simultaneously going through history dates in my head. Wednesday was going to be my Physics exam, but lucky for Lilly she didn't have an exam that day, seeing as she had chosen Drama as her elective. She had literally acted out her exam the previous week.
Thursday was the last day of exams. I had my English exam while Lilly had her Spanish exam. I had to write a whole essay on justifying the actions of Romeo and Juliet in about an hour, and about halfway through my essay, my handwriting changed from my usual, loopy cursive to something of a chicken scrawl that a 5-year old might use. It would have been much easier writing an essay disagreeing with, or making fun of their stupidity, but you know. I have to write what I'm asked to write. It sucks for me that Mrs. Dunberry is a sucker for tragic (idiotic) love stories.
"So how did it go?" Lilly asked me when we met up outside the school after our exams. Teachers go crazy if they see you roaming the hallways after you're finished your exams. They literally kick you out of the school! Not that the students really mind. They almost never have to be asked twice to leave the one place they associate with Hell on Earth.
"It went well," I said, shaking and rotating my right wrist. "Except I ended up writing about four pages for that blasted essay. My hand is cramping so much it feels like it's going to fall off."
Even though Lilly was wearing sunglasses, I knew that the smile on her face was associated by twinkling eyes. Something told me that another brilliant idea had crossed her mind.
"I know something that's going to help," she said.
"I think it'll be fine in a few minutes," I replied, cautiously. "It's just stiff. If worst comes to worse I might just ice it, but I don't think-"
"Oh My God," she giggled. "Maybe you really should be a doctor."
The look on my face must have been something resembling nausea because it kicked her giggles up a notch.
"I was talking about the beach," she finally said. "I heard a bunch of people are meeting up for a beach party at Rockaway Beach. We should totally grab the guys and check it out."
"Rockaway Beach?" I asked. "But that's like, an hour away!"
"Yeah but, it's right at the ocean. And oh my Gosh! They have surfing! We need to try that!"
"You mean, you need to try that," I corrected.
"No, I mean we. Jeez. Are you going deaf or something?"
I shrugged, smiling. "Nah. I think you're just going crazy! Has Lover Boy killed a few of your brain cells or something? There's no way I'm going surfing!"
Well, it turns out I was wrong. There was a way for me to go surfing. This "way" consisted of Austin flinging me over his shoulder and carrying me into the water like I was a sack of potatoes, while I kicked and screamed to my heart's content, all to no avail. When he finally plopped me in the water beside a yellow surf board, I tried to squirm past him but he easily blocked my way with his brick-wall abs. The message was clear: I wasn't going anywhere, unless it was on the surf board.
To any natural surfer, this would be no problem. There are people in this world who surf for a living! Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people. I am about as coordinated as a crippled duck, and there was no chance I was going to learn how to surf in any way, shape, or form.
"I don't surf," I told Austin.
"Yeah," he said," I've noticed that you don't do a lot of things. You don't go on blind dates-or any dates for that matter-you don't bowl, you don't dance, you don't yell at your parents-"
"Okay, Okay," I said. "You've made your point. I am a pathetic excuse of a Homo Sapien."
"Actually, my point was that you keep saying you don't do those things...but you are doing them! You're actually quite decent at bowling, your dancing has improved a lot, and we all know about your spat with your mother."
I sighed. "Trust me. I really don't surf."
"Maybe you should let me be the judge of that."
I scowled at him for the longest time, then I scowled at the surf board. The noon sun shone brightly in my eyes, and the fact that there wasn't a single cloud in the sky would not be to my advantage, seeing as I couldn't use disruptive weather as a way out of this mess. Lilly had also forced me into one of her bright red bikinis, seeing as I only own a one-piece, and the exposure left me quite squeamish. I felt like I was re-living the Cha-Cha class all over again.
"Get on the board," Austin instructed.
I looked at the board uncertainly as I brought it towards me. "How?"
"Just lie on it on your stomach."
Well, this was easier said than done. MUCH easier said than done. The problem was that the board was rather light, meaning it floated happily on the small waves while I fumed with anger as I tried to get on, but found myself repeatedly slipping back into the water.
"Would you like some help?" Austin asked, chuckling.
"Nope," I said as I lifted my right leg up on the board and struggled to pull my upper body up as well. "I'm perfectly fine."
"Okay then. How about a helpful tip?"
The board somehow managed to pop up from underneath me, smacking me in the forehead and flinging me into the water again. Thankfully I had taken my glasses off so I wouldn't lose them, but the consequence was the fact that everything and everyone in the water looked like nothing but floating, fuzzy blobs on the waves.
"Fine," I grumbled. "What's your helpful hint?"
"Try getting on in more shallow water."
I glared at him in stupefied silence for a moment, breathing in the salty air through flaring nostrils. Why hadn't I thought of that? Earlier I had accused Lilly of losing brain cells, but it appeared I wasn't really one to talk. I was surprised at how the hell I'd managed to get through my exams!
Mumbling a word of thanks to Austin, I grabbed the board and dragged it behind me as I headed toward more shallow waters. A bunch of little kids were shrieking as they splashed and tackled each other, and I tried to stand a good distance from them, but man those kids could splash! Water flew in my face and in my eyes, and I had to march even further to the side in the knee-high water. Austin was not far behind me and when I reached a more secluded area, I laid down on the board on my stomach and looked up into Austin's hazy face.
"Now what?" I asked.
"Now paddle into deeper water."
"Aren't you going to get a board, Mr. Surf-A-Lot?"
"Well, knowing you, I thought it would be better if I acted more as a Rescue person. You know, in case you fall off."
I rolled my eyes. "And even if I fall off, I'll be falling in water, not hot lava. Now get a board."
"I thought you didn't like water."
"Just because I don't like it, doesn't mean I can't swim in it," I defended myself. "Now get a stupid surf board before I go and get one for you!"
"A little snappy today, aren't we?" Austin asked.
The look on my face must have affirmed his rhetorical question because he turned and walked out of the water toward the Surf Shack. As soon as he was about 10 feet from me he materialized into nothing but a fuzzy blob, so I kept my half-blind eyes trained on his bright green shorts. For a moment he got swallowed up in a group of people dancing on the beach, and as I craned my neck to keep his shorts in my limited line of vision, I ended up toppling over into the water. The waves had slowly been carrying me deeper and deeper, and salty, ocean water shot up my nose and in my eyes as I splashed around, trying to resurface.
When I finally got back to my feet and recollected my surf board, Austin's green shorts were nowhere to be seen. So much for that, I thought as I made my way back to the shallow end. I had just gotten back on my board when someone splashed in beside me with a blue surf board and green shorts.
"What happened to you?" Austin asked, looking at me like he'd just seen the city blow up.
"What do you mean?" I replied, nonchalantly.
"I don't know." He shrugged. "You just have a look on your face."
"What kind of look?"
"If I knew, I wouldn't be asking."
This confused me. He seemed to have a knack for confusing the hell out of me.
"Fine," I gave in. "I just had another fumble with the surf board. Maybe it's a sign."
Austin belly flopped onto his surf board and looked at me with entertainment.
"A sign that you might need me as a Lifeguard after all?"
Yes, I thought.
"Pfft, of course not," is what I said out loud. "A sign that...I need to be more independent."
Austin raised an eyebrow. "So you're going to teach yourself how to surf now? Good luck."
Without giving me a chance to reply, he splashed his hands in the water and began paddling himself deeper and deeper into the ocean. I was left with no other choice but to mimic his actions because, let's face it, I honestly had no clue what I was supposed to be doing. And my brain didn't seem capable of forming coherent explanations, so calling after him was out of the question. I feared what other idiocies would escape my mouth if I did.
When I finally caught up to Austin (only because he had stopped and seemed to be waiting for me), my arms were already sore, even though I'd only paddled for a couple of minutes. Austin sat up on his surf board, one leg dangling over each side. I gripped my board tightly and slowly pulled myself up in the same position. My board wobbled a couple of times, but I somehow managed to get up on my butt.
"Now what?" I asked, a little breathless.
"Now we wait," Austin said.
"Wait for what?"
He looked at me like I'd asked the most obvious question in the world, like where Santa Claus lived.
"We are waiting for a wave," he said, enunciating every word as if he was purposefully trying to make me feel stupid.
He had succeeded.
Not wanting to ask any more stupid question, I just sighed and drummed my fingers on the surf board, waiting for a wave that seemed to never come. My legs were getting kind of chilly in the water, so I began kicking them around to keep them warm. It was just my luck that I'd managed to park myself in a cold spot in the water, and moving my legs around only seemed to chill me up that much more. In addition, the ocean breeze blowing in my face and around my torso was making goose bumps appear on my skin.
I shivered a little.
"You okay?" Austin asked.
I meant to shrug, but I ended up shivering again.
"It's a little chilly out here," I said. Lilly's flimsy bikini was now giving me another reason to despise it. The wretched thing wasn't doing squat to keep in my body heat. I wrapped my arms around myself and attempted rubbing away the goose bumps. Friction was supposed to produce heat.
"Are you that cold?" Austin asked, serious.
I shrugged and made a noncommittal sound. "I'll live."
As if this wasn't enough to ease his conscience, he paddled himself over until our surf boards bumped against each other and pulled me into a tight hug.
"Is that better?" he asked.
It actually was better. His body seemed to be radiating a lot of heat. On the down side though, I was angled in a very awkward position and I had to grip my board tightly with my left hand while clutching onto Austin with my right so I wouldn't fall off.
"Yeah," I said. "Thanks."
I tried to pull away, but he still held me with an iron grip.
"I'm good," I said. "You can let go now."
"Austin, this is really uncomfortable."
"Let me guess, another one of your 'awkward moments'?" he asked, referring to the Cha-Cha dance class.
"No, I mean my position is not comfortable. I'm about to fall!"
"Ah, so you do like my hugs," he concluded.
"Austin!" My hand slipped from the surf board as he pulled me even closer, and then the current seemed to be pulling my board in the opposite direction.
"Why don't you make your hugs useful and get me out of this predicament?" I said through gritted teeth. Although I was holding onto Austin, my butt was still seated on my surf board, which was slowly inching its way further and further away from us.
"Well, if I let go now you'll be going headfirst in the water," Austin stated.
"No shit, Sherlock."
With one hearty tug, Austin yanked me completely off of my surf board, which didn't prove to be such a hot idea seeing as we both ended up falling in the water. If I was chilly earlier, I was freezing now! I quickly resurfaced and rubbed the water from my eyes, spitting out mouthfuls of salt water as well.
"You're one smart cookie, you know that?" I told Austin as I struggled to tread water. My feet were far from reaching the bottom.
"Why thank you, wise Jellybean," he said.
As mad as I was, I couldn't help but crack a smile. "I see you're back in the Jellybean phase."
"It's not really a phase. It seems to have an indefinite length."
I splashed water at him, but he only splashed me back. Pretty soon we were having a splashing fight like the little kids I'd seen earlier, and I was laughing too hard to care that I was cold. When I clung to my surf board and began splashing water at him with my feet, he decided to take things to a whole new level as well.
This level was tackling.
Which somehow turned to tickling.
If there's one thing he learned about me that day, it's that I'm freakishly ticklish. I swear, I was laughing so hard that water was flooding my mouth and I was afraid I'd pass out.
"Austin!" I shrieked. "Stop!"
Treading water while being tickled to death is not an easy business, and when waves began coming at us like bulldozers, a new kind of fear kicked in. I'd never been much of a strong swimmer, and my head ended up going under the water a few more times than I'd liked. However, it was always Austin's strong arms that pulled me back up.
After what seemed like an eternity, the tickle fest finally ended and I was able to catch my breath.
"Was all that tickling really necessary?" I asked.
"It was after I found out how ticklish you are," Austin grinned.
"Because bugging me is so much fun, isn't it?"
"A little bit."
We treaded water in silence for a while, our surf boards well out of reach by now. For me, they were also pretty much out of sight as well.
"Do you see our surf boards?" I asked.
Austin looked over his shoulder and immediately nodded his head. "Yeah, they're just behind me."
I craned my neck to look over his shoulder. "Where?"
"They're just a few meters that way," he said, jerking his thumb in the general direction.
I continued to squint, but couldn't see anything but blue water.
"Wow," I said. "My eyes must be worse than I thought."
Austin got a look on his face I couldn't quite make out. Concern? Amusement? Come to think of it, he could've been nauseous for all I could see. "Let's test your eyes," he proposed.
"No," I said. "Dr. Bryan can do that at my next appointment."
Austin wasn't even listening though. He swam back a few meters and then turned back around.
"Can you see me clearly?" he almost had to shout.
I squinted but all I saw was a head with brown hair bobbing in the water.
"Not really," I said.
He swam forward a couple of meters. "How about now?"
I shook my head.
He came forward some more. "Now?"
This time he swam until we were only a couple of feet apart.
"You've got to see me now," he said.
"Well, I see you, just not clearly."
Now his face was only a few inches from mine.
"If you say you still can't see me, I'm going to declare you legally blind."
Although I could see him perfectly, I decided to keep playing along anyway. "By all means," I said, "declare away."
He opened his mouth to say something, but I guess I'll never know what it was because just then Lilly and Brad showed up out of nowhere, paddling their surf boards.
"How did the surfing lesson go?" Lilly asked.
"We didn't get past the paddling before the tickling fest began," I said. "And plus, our boards have probably floated halfway across the ocean by now, so I can't say it went well."
Lilly raised her eyebrows in question but I just shook my head and grabbed onto her board.
"I think it's time to go home," I said.