|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|
"Seventeen. But I'll be eighteen in a couple of wee-"
"Is this your first time visiting this hospital?"
I paused for a moment. "Does the time when I born count?"
The chubby nurse on the other side of the counter glanced up from her papers, peering at me over the red rims of her glasses. Her greying hair was tied in a neat bun on the top of her head, with two pencils stabbed through it in an X that made it look as though she had horns sprouting from her head. In all honesty, she looked like someone the Devil would recruit.
"Excluding your birth," she replied in an irritated voice, continuing to glare at me. I tightened my grip on the white counter, letting myself lean against it as another surge of pain punctured my ankle.
"No ma'am," I winced.
With a curt nod and eye-roll, she returned her attention to my papers. "In one sentence, please explain the incident resulting in your injury."
"Well, I was hiking in the woods," I began, "but it was kind of a spontaneous thing because Austin's mom thought that it would be fun, even though I really didn't feel like going because I wasn't fully prepared, and then we got to this muddy hill, but I refused anyone's help when I was going down it, and somehow I slipped and rolled all the way to the bottom, scraped my knee horrendously, and I think I may also have broken my ankle."
Cranky Nurse gave me another death glare.
"What?" I asked. "You never said the sentence had to be short!"
"Fell down a hill and suspects a broken ankle..." the nurse muttered as she scribbled on the form.
Austin snorted beside me, then quickly cleared his throat to cover it up.
I just rolled my eyes.
After a few more minutes of annoying questions, Cranky Nurse finally directed Austin and me toward the Radiology waiting room. The walk there was a slow and painful process, and Austin and I didn't talk much on the way. Our most lengthy piece of conversation was when we argued about which way we were supposed to go. Eventually I gave in and let him lead the way, but after a while, I began having second thoughts.
"Austin," I groaned, dragging my useless foot behind me. "We were supposed to go to the Radiology wing."
"We're almost there."
"Austin, there's a lady giving birth in the room across the hall!"
"It's a hospital," he replied. "Women give birth wherever the baby comes."
I stopped in the middle of the hallway, planting my hands on my hips. "Would you stop trying to be such a smart ass and admit that you got us lost?"
"We're not lost!" he snapped, whirling around to face me. "Just stop complaining already! I know exactly where we are!"
My stomach lurched at his words, while my ankle screamed with pain again. He had never spoken to me this way before.
"Fine," I said in a shaky voice. "You're right. I have no reason to be complaining. It's not like I'm being forced to walk all the way around a hospital where every step I take makes me want to crumble to the floor and scream in pain!"
Austin's features softened slightly. "You know that's not what I meant."
"Whatever," I said, turning to walk the other way. "You go to the Radiology wing your way, and I'll go my way. I'll see you there."
I kept walking.
His footsteps pounded on the floor, drawing nearer and nearer until he breezed by me and planted himself in front of me.
"Why are you being so difficult?" he asked.
I shrugged. "Why are you being such an inconsiderate ass?"
"I'm being a-how am I being an inconsiderate ass?"
I cocked my head to the side, glaring at him blankly. "The fact that you even have to ask that question proves how inconsiderate you're being."
"You're right, I'm sorry," he replied, crossing his arms over his chest. "I should've just left you in the woods."
His words felt like a metal plate slamming into my chest, knocking the wind out of my lungs and inflicting physical pain. "Now that was just mean."
"What the hell do you want me to say, Julianne?" he yelled, arms flailing. "Everything seems to be pissing you off today! I try to be nice, you think I'm making stuff up and you don't believe me. When I stop being nice, you call me an inconsiderate ass! What am I supposed to do?"
"You're supposed to-"
"Julianne? Is that you?"
The voice sent a shiver up my spine. It couldn't be...
I turned around ever so slowly, catching glimpses of her bit by bit. First I saw the three-inch Prada heels, then the white lab coat with the name tag reading "Dr. Jenkins". Finally, I saw my mother's frowning face and gaping mouth.
Lord help me.
"What are you doing here?" she continued, shifting a bundle of folders to her other arm. "What's going on?"
"She fell down a hill and thinks she has a broken ankle," Austin blurted out .
I scowled at him, clenching my fists by my sides.
"What?" he asked, innocently. "I thought she would have liked the short version."
It was all I could do to not send my right fist into his face.
My mom's confused gaze shifted from my face to my ankle, pausing for a moment on my bandaged knee. Then, she walked toward us, looking almost as if she was forcing herself to do so.
"Have you gotten an X-ray yet?"
I jerked my head in Austin's direction. "Because he got us lost!"
My mom looked from me to Austin, just as he pasted a sweet smile on his face.
"I may have misread a couple of signs," he replied, lightheartedly.
"No kidding," I muttered. "You saw the sign that said RADIOLOGY: THIS WAY, and you went the other way."
"I didn't go the other way! The arrow pointed left!
"No, it didn't! It pointed on a left diagonal!"
"That's the same thing!"
"No, Austin, it's not! There were two hallways going in both of those directions!"
My mom's head was going back and forth between Austin and me like she was watching a ping-pong match. Finally, she cut in.
"Well, you know," she said, "this hospital is kind of a circle. You'll reach the Radiology Wing after you take the next corner."
For the longest time, Austin and I just frowned at each other in stupefied silence. Who would have thought that my mother-of all people-would be the one to settle a dispute, not be the cause of one. Nobody ever believed me when I said that she was truly a different person when she was at work. At home, she was a psycho, scream-o person who exploded like a volcano if I accidentally turned up the volume on the TV when I meant to change the channel. But at work, she was perfectly normal and serene, despite the shrieking woman in the delivery room.
If it weren't for my damaged knee and ankle, I would have dropped down on the ground and begun pounding my fists on the floor, demanding to know what was wrong with the world.
"Wait right here," my mom said, turning to walk down the hall. "I'll bring you a wheelchair. You really shouldn't be walking on that ankle."
The sound of her clacking heels bounced off the walls as she headed down the hallway, only starting to grow faint once she had turned the corner and disappeared from sight. I slowly hobbled a few feet to lean against the wall, wincing as I tried to shift the weight off of my injured foot. I'd never experienced anything so painful in my entire life!
"You know," Austin said, with a thoughtful look on his face, "your mother really shouldn't be wearing three-inch heels in a hospital. They're awfully disruptive and pose countless potential hazards. Whatever happened to the white, ugly, Nurse's shoes?"
I sighed, letting my head bang against the wall in frustration.
"Whatever makes you give a damn?" I grumbled. "Who are you, the Shoe Police?"
"I'm just stating a fact!"
"Well, state your facts elsewhere!"
As soon as I said it, I wanted to take it back. A look of hurt flashed across Austin's face, immediately followed by blazing fury.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't mean that-"
"You don't want me here?" he snapped. "Fine! I'm gone!"
"Austin, no-" I reached out a hand for him, but all I grasped was thin air. He had already turned on his heel and begun storming down the way we'd come, hands balled into fists by his sides.
"Austin! Come back!" I meekly tried shuffling after him, but I didn't get very far before my ankle sent shockwaves through my system and I crumpled on the hard, tiled floor. I landed right on my already-injured knee, and I swear I heard something in my ankle crack. Words can't even begin to describe the pain. Tears instantly pricked at my eyes, spilling down my cheeks and leaving a salty taste on my lips.
"AUSTIN!" I hollered, but it was no use. He had already turned the corner, having not once looked back. I told myself that he would return; that it was just a momentary thing. But the seconds ticked by, turning into minutes. Then my mother showed up with the wheelchair and rolled me over to the Radiology Wing. She asked me where Austin had gone, but I couldn't find the words to answer her.
When the realization finally hit me, it came as a ten-foot boulder, smashing into my chest and crushing me into nothingness. I felt like something inside me had shattered, falling into a million, scattered pieces all around me.
He was truly...gone.