dear reader(s): appologies for the extended time between posts. ive been extremely busy with camp stuff and finishing school. i know, no excuse. and i owe more appologies because will not be posting for at least another seven weeks. i will be at camp, living primatively with no internet. i leave on sunday so i should have time to reply to any comments or messages you care to send. again, constructive criticism is encouraged.

Angelo laughed heartily and Eon rolled his eyes. Simon's face was flushed and he hurriedly left for the safety of his room.

Simon's desk was a retired school teacher's desk which Eon had covered in brightly colored graffiti. The base color was a royal peacock blue and Simon's name was painted in bright abstract lettering across the top. The desk was strewn with papers, unfinished songs, plans for a library Mr. Hawkins wanted designed but would never have built, drawings, sketches of random faces. Simon blushed to himself as he shoved papers into a folder and piled it into a drawer. He slid a yellow legal pad in front of himself and eyed the half finished song scrawled across it.

"Green eyed girl…" Simon sang the first line of the chorus under his breath. Glancing at his weekly planner he realized that he was going to be late to his nine o'clock dance class. He changed quickly into loose fitting cotton pants and a black tank top. His dance bag equipped with bottled water, a jacket, ballet shoes, jazz shoes, and tap shoes, was probably in the trunk of Eon's car. He wandered into the kitchen and bid farewell to Eon and Angelo.

"Where are you going?" Angelo asked.

"Dance." Simon replied, grabbing a Kashi granola bar out of the cupboard.

"Simon's a ballerina." Eon teased. Simon laughed.

"Sure you don't want to come?" he asked Eon.

"No way, Si." Eon shook his head emphatically.

"Why not, Eon, it could be fun." Angelo taunted, running a hand through his woven light curls, "Dancing is sexy."

"I'll leave all the fancy footwork to Mr. Twinkle-Toes over there." Eon winked deviously and Simon laughed. He knew Eon's pride was the only thing holding him back from tap and partnering lessons. There had been several times when Eon had begged Simon to teach him some basic steps. Simon was sworn to secrecy of those times.

Dance bag in hand Simon found himself running to catch the bus he needed. The vehicle was dim and nearly empty. Someone leaned against the window and put his feet on the seat next to him. He grasped his toes and leaned foreword, performing a calf stretch. He felt his hamstrings pull slightly. I should start doing yoga again, he thought to himself. It would keep me flexible. The bus pulled up to his stop and he walked the three blocks to Esmeralda's Dance Academy. He quickly ascended the three flights of outdoor stairs to the classroom. Esmè, a tall, lithe dark haired woman in her early mid thirties was coaching several dancers through a salsa class. Simon knew the steps, Esmè had taught him these same dances about a year ago. She was dancing with one of the students; a girl in a black, mock-turtle unitard with a long braid ending in a white ribbon midway down her back.

"Simon!" Esme shouted as he came in, "Quick, be a dear and partner with Leila here." Before Simon could say a word, the girl was in his arms. The dance was fast, with twirls, twists and complicated steps interwoven with the passionate clasps, clutches, and Spanish music. Simon remained a constant shade of magenta throughout. The girl's face glistened with perspiration and her lean muscles flexed under her unitard. Esmè counted the steps, clapping and smiling wickedly at Simon and Leila. She had known Simon for ages and always wanted to see him with a girl. The dance ended. Male dancers holding their partners close, with hands on waists and arms around necks. One couple kissed deeply. Leila left Simon for her water and Esmè sauntered over to talk to him.

"She's cute, eh?" she asked him, hopefully, motioning to Leila. Simon laughed and blushed deeper. "You should go talk to her." Esmè said. Simon shook his head. She led him to the other side of the floor near the wall of mirrors and started working through a complicated ballet routine with him.

"Simon, Simon, when are you going to get yourself a nice girl? You have a nice place, a good job, lots of talent, and so much looks! I want you to get happy settled down with a pretty girl."

Simon blushed and turned a perfect pirouette. "Esmè, girls make me nervous. I wouldn't know what to do if I did find a nice, pretty girl."

"What did you think of Leila?"

"She was…er…lovely--but--"

"But what?"

"But…I don't know. She didn't seem interested in me."

"Make her interested! You're a man. You can do that."

"Not very well."

"Simon, I see the way girls look at you. You do it well."

Simon shrugged and demonstrated an elegant split leap. "Never the right girls though." he said softly.

Gradually, students from the class began to drift in. It was an advanced adult mix class. Two to three hours of jazz, Pointe, ballroom, salsa, lyrical, tango, tap, and theatre dances. Whatever the class felt like doing they would do. Esmè was a part of this class instead of a teacher. Most everyone there knew almost as much as her anyway. Sometimes she would clap the rhythm or help with choreography but mostly she was just there to dance. Simon knew most of the other dancers from past classes. Long, lean Angelica had been in ballet classes with him since fourth grade. Carol Lee, curly haired and sweet faced, had taken a hip hop class with him only a few months ago. Tonight he was paired with Madeline for tango. Lithe and crop haired, Madeline had been his partner for salsa classes so Simon was not exceedingly uncomfortable touching her. His hand rested gently on her waist and deep inside himself he secretly wished that he was dancing with Emerson. These thoughts were dismissed as foolishness and he did his best to put them out of his mind completely. Finally, he lost himself in the spinning, sliding, singing world of dance.

His dance continued even after the class ended. Simon's feet picked up the steps up the walk to his building, and he almost couldn't resist some double taps on the steps up to his flat. He turned a stiff spin once as he approached the landing to the fourth floor. When he turned around he stopped short and blushed. Emerson sat on the landing to the right in front of her door, holding her head in her hands, her face covered by slender fingers. Simon nearly passed her by but his heart wouldn't let him. He wasn't that cruel. He set his dance bag on the top step and walked toward her quietly. He wished fervently that his blush would go away but his face refused to humor him as always. She was captivating. He stood next to her.

"Miss Grey, do you--er--need… uh…help?" he asked softly, stumbling over his words. Her head shot up.

"Oh, it's you." she said, fussing with her hair. "It's nothing, I'm sorry. I locked my keys inside and Angelo has my spare but he's not home." she laughed a little, "I'm such an airhead."

"It's not safe out here. You never know who will come in off the streets this time of night!"

"I don't have much choice. I will be fine. I will just wait for Angelo."

"Come upstairs with me. You can h-hang out with E-Eon and I until Angelo--er-- comes back."Simon's face grew even redder as he realized what he had said. He half expected Emerson to run away, or cry, or be angry, or do whatever girls did in these situations. However, Emerson Grey simply rose to stand in front of him on the landing, so close that Simon could smell her light cologne. He felt afterwards that he should have helped her up or done something chivalrous and that made him blush a little deeper.

"You're far too kind." she said, meekly. "but I accept. Angelo speaks very highly of you and Eon." she stepped aside and watched Simon sling his dance bag over his shoulder. "Don't blush any deeper or you wont have any blood left to nourish the rest of your body." she laughed a little. Simon looked at the floor and led her up the stairs.

The first greeting Simon received as he opened the door to the apartment was loud whooping and laughing. What first appeared to be a speeding blur actually proved to be Eon and Angelo engaged in a new form of entertainment.

Using Crayola markers the twosome had drawn large, colorful targets on each other's bare backs and proceded to race around the apartment, trying to hit said targets with the streams from two small, green water pistols. Simon and Emerson stood in the door, staring as the two raced through the kitchen, Angelo in the lead, and skidded to a halt right in front of Simon and Emerson. Angelo seemed to be losing. His target was smeared down his back and his golden white curls were dripping water.

Emerson stared at her cousin, helplessly shaking with quiet laughter.

"Bringing girls home now, Mr. Ballerina?" Eon grinned, wiping water out of his eyes.

"She--uh-- got locked out of her apartment. Angelo…eh…has her spare and I told her she c-could come here until he came back……it seems we've found him, though."

"Likely story, Si." Eon teased, "I thought you were afraid of girls?"

"Just nervous that's all." Simon's eyes stared at the floor

Deep inside herself Emerson was sorry for this kind boy with the flushed red face and blue dance bag in his hand. She wanted to touch him, to give him reassurance, to show him they were kindred. He was well made. Blonde hair, lean dancer muscle, big brown eyes amoung a pleasant face. She would venture to wager that girls fell all over themselves when he was around. Yet, he had an intense shyness that was almost overpowering. She liked him very much. She broke into the teasing.

"Angelo, do you still have my key?"

"Not here." Angelo said, wiping water from his face. "At my flat. I can go get it--"

"Don't bother now. I can wait."

"You could join us. We were going to play Apples to Apples."

Emerson giggled, "I'll join you. Just, for goodness sake, wash the marker off your back." Her voice was still soft yet firm. Her eyes piercing. Simon watched her out of the corner of her eye and refused to blush

A/N: Leave it