In Rhythm

When Kara struggles with a new dance for a competition, her teacher, Ruby, partners her, to show her how it’s done. Their chemistry is clear and it’s the best time Kara’s ever danced that routine, the only problem is she has to dance with Felix not Ruby, and the competition is tomorrow.

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7. Chapter Seven: In Favor

Kara stopped; her breath pulled from her chest. ‘What did Ruby mean?’ she wondered.

“Sorry” Ruby said, letting go of her and stepping back, she looked shocked; surprised by her own words “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”

Kara looked at her; she didn’t know what to say.

“You probably should go,” Ruby said “I’ve put us both in an awkward position I just… I shouldn’t have danced with you—”

“I’m glad you did” Kara said, sensing that this was it, this was the only time she was going to be able to say this, and if it wasn’t now, then she would never say it. “Dancing with you, being with you, is… the most amazing experience I have ever had.” Kara wanted to do something, to say more but she was frozen, terrified by how Ruby would react.

“Kara, I…” Ruby looked away for a moment, then spoke softly and slowly “I’m not sure if you really know what you’re saying.”

“I do know!” Kara said, suddenly desperate, suddenly needing Ruby to know how she felt, she couldn’t be this close to telling her, only for everything to fall apart. “Of course I know! When we held one another I knew for certain! It felt so right, everything was so right… and now I know I’ve messed everything up.”

“You haven’t messed anything up!”

“Of course I have.” Said Kara “I messed up Felix’s leg, I messed up the routine, and I messed up any chance we had of being… friends.” She’d wanted to say something else, but the word had caught in her throat.

Ruby stepped closer. “You haven’t messed anything up.” She repeated softly. “Of course we can be friends.”

Kara thought about being friends with Ruby, about being close, but never close enough, about standing aside and watching her with men, men just like the one she’d been laughing with earlier “I can’t” she said eventually; opening up and finally admitting it out loud “it’s not enough.”

Suddenly Ruby leaned forward and kissed her softly on the lips. “Is that enough?” She whispered.

Kara was too shocked to say anything, she was in utter disbelief. She wondered if she was dreaming, if any of this was real, she wondered if Ruby was taunting her, teasing her about her crush. But the kiss was real and the way Ruby was looking at her told her that she wasn’t mocking her.

“Why - why didn’t you say anything?” Kara managed to stammer.

“I thought it was obvious how I felt, and I didn’t want to force you or to make you feel uncomfortable.”

“But I didn’t know!” Kara said.

Ruby smiled and pulled her closer. “You do now.”

Kara couldn’t hold back, not now, not now she knew she could have what she wanted, she grabbed Ruby, pulling her closer, kissing her deeply, hungrily. She wanted more and more of Ruby, and now she knew that Ruby wanted her.

“Woah, sorry guys!”

They broke apart suddenly.

Another dancer had charged into the room, before stopping abruptly “judges decision in five” she said and left quickly.

Kara couldn’t help but laugh, the elation of being with Ruby making her giddy, she didn’t care who saw them.

Ruby looked at her and smiled, taking her hand and Kara knew everything between them had changed.

“Let’s face the music.” Ruby said.

They walked briskly back to the dance floor, getting there just in time to hear their number called. They headed out onto the arena together, it felt so different to the last time; Kara had been so excited to be there, so privileged, and now she just wanted it to be over so she could spend more time with Ruby.

The compere, an older man who looked well past any dancing days he may have had, took to the stage and quietened the crowd. If anything there seemed to be even more people in the audience now and Kara was surprised that so many had turned out to watch.

He started talking about the history of the competition and Kara had to force herself not to tap her feet in impatience, there were so many other things she could be doing right now.

He was about to announce third place. Kara looked up, if she had been placed anywhere, it would be third.

“And it is…” he paused, teasing the crowd.

‘Come on’ thought Kara ‘this isn’t X-Factor!’

“Paul Robbins and his dance partner Sarah Gomez!”

The crowd dutifully cheered and Kara clapped along with them, she had seen the couple dancing while she had been waiting in the wings with Ruby… that seemed so long ago.

The compere was already prepping the crowd for second place, this time Kara knew she had no chance, the last couple had been good, this couple would have to be so much better.

“Fabio Cappelli and his dance partner Serena Fletcher!”

Suddenly Ruby gave a cheer, it surprised Kara but then she saw why, the dancer stepping forward was the same man she’d seen with Ruby earlier. Kara’s heart stopped, and that moment came flooding back.

“I taught him last year.” Ruby whispered.

‘Of course she had’ Kara thought, shaking her head at her own stupidity ‘Ruby must know loads of other dancers’.

Kara looked back at Ruby; she really was so beautiful and so talented to have taught the second place winner, Kara wondered how long it would be before they would be alone together, when they could really talk and get to know each other. She smiled at the thought.

“Kara Telfer and her dance partner Ruby Donovan!”

Kara looked at the compere confused for a moment, 'why is he calling me? Am I being told off? Did he know I wasn’t paying attention?'

Suddenly Ruby pulled her forward “we won!” she said.

Kara couldn’t believe it, she didn’t even remember dancing; how could she have won?

She was handed a bunch of flowers and a gold envelope and looked at the crowd, stunned. Then she laughed. She had won!

She had danced better than anyone else and now she had qualified for other competitions, she would be able to get a scholarship, she may even be offered a dancing job! Her dream of being a dancer was becoming a reality.

She was terrified.

Kara looked at Ruby; she couldn’t have done it without her and reached out to take her hand. With Ruby alongside her then whatever happened next couldn’t be terrifying; maybe that was the greatest victory.

THE END

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