A Perfect Balance

Snapshot #1: Paired Up

"Please standby for the Surprise Couples' Competition," an announcement broadcasted. "Beginning in five minutes."

Shani, clad in a slinky white dress, walked over to the group of students who, like herself, were waiting to be assigned to their dance partner, and would then be put to compete against other similarly-paired couples in a matter of minutes. The only preparation was the dance routine they learned – without partners – to be eligible for this part of the competition. Obviously, the dance would be based on raw skill, rather than practice-makes-perfect. Shani knew this, and the other kids she was with knew it as well.

Normally, she would thrive on competition, but the idea of not knowing who her partner was, and not being able to control that specific aspect, was making her very nervous.

"Thank you for joining us today," said the judge, finally. "We'll begin by pairing off our young dancers. Valerie Wynne and Paul Ramsey. Cherry Hunter and Ivan Gerry –"

Shani listened carefully for her name to be called, and it wasn't until the end did she finally hear it.

"Shani Shahar and Alex Blackthorn," the announcer called. Shani stepped up to the podium, seeing as she was barely five centimetres away from it. She waited for a few seconds before a new face emerged from the crowd of students to join her on the stage. He was a few inches taller than her, even in her three-inch heels, and wore black dress trousers with a crisp white Oxford. He grinned down at her, his brown eyes crinkling. To put it frankly, the boy was sexy.

"Hey," he said. "Shani, right?"

"Right," she replied. He sounded amused. "Alex?"

"That's me." They stepped down from the stage to the practice area. "Are you ready for this?"

"I think I practiced enough for that not to be a question," replied Shani.

He scratched his head. "This is a really... sexy dance, isn't it?" Shani nodded. After seeing her dance partner, she didn't have much of a problem with it. He smiled, seeming to agree with her.

"Well..." He pulled her to him, his hands lingering about her waist, "might as well get comfortable."

"Cocky, are we?" Shani teased. He laughed.

"At least I'm being honest."

"Well, while we're being honest, you're a pretty sexy guy," said Shani, impulsiveness overruling everything else. Alex's eyebrows rose, and he grinned again.

"Thank you," he said graciously. "You're not too bad yourself."

"Let's just practice the routine," said Shani, rolling her eyes playfully.


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