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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6. Chapter Six: In Sync

Kara turned and ran.

She pushed her way through a crowd of dancers, ran down a corridor and slammed through a fire exit.

She stood outside in the alley, breathing hard; she felt sick.

There was a chill in the air but it felt good against her hot skin. She breathed in through her nose and out through her mouth. Trying to calm down and clear her mind, she didn’t want Ruby to have this kind of effect on her.

She wanted to leave, she wanted to run away from the competition, the nerves were twisting inside her stomach and she felt as if she was about to throw up. The thought of dancing, of dancing with Ruby, of feeling Ruby’s hands against her body when she knew Ruby didn’t even want to be near her, made her want to get as far away as possible, as quickly as possible.

Except, right now, right this moment; she felt too dizzy to even stand.

The fire exit burst open.

“Kara!” Ruby called “There you are, I thought I saw you come this way… Are you all right?!”

“I’m ok” she said, leaning against the wall, hoping Ruby would just leave her where she was, so she could just die in the alley.

“I’m terrified as well” suddenly Ruby’s hand was on her arm. She stood in front of Kara and took her hand.

The sensation of Ruby’s touch relaxed her; she began to calm down as Ruby stroked the skin. Everything melted away and Kara just looked up into Ruby’s eyes.

“This bit is hell” Ruby said “but it will be amazing when it’s over” and with that she gently led Kara back inside.

Kara held on to her tightly, she didn’t want to let her go; she didn’t ever want to let her go.

They walked all the way back to the wings, ignoring the greenroom where all the other dancers had gathered to wait their turn. Instead, Kara and Ruby waited in the small space off stage, where they could watch their competitors. Ruby occasionally commented on a move, or a dancer’s positioning but all Kara could think about was how close she was to Ruby, how it felt to hold her hand and how she knew that the moment they finished dancing together, she would never touch Ruby again, probably never even see her.

All too quickly their number was called.

Kara felt her stomach twist; the nerves about the dance finally kicking in. She didn’t feel like her body was her own as she was led out onto the dance floor. Everything around them was in darkness as they took their place centre stage; illuminated by the spotlight, no sound, no world apart from each other.

“Free yourself.” Ruby whispered.

Ruby’s arms snaked around Kara’s waist as they looked into one another’s eyes and the music hit them like a wave, forcing their bodies to move.

Kara was flying, guided by nothing but the music and Ruby’s hands upon her. It was as if she didn’t exist at all; she was the music and there was nothing else.

But it was over before she knew. The world faded back into existence and Kara couldn’t believe it had ended so quickly, she didn’t remember dancing, she didn’t even know if she had danced all the steps.

She stood panting, holding onto Ruby, who smiled at her then looked to the judges. But Kara didn’t care about the judges; she just wanted Ruby to keep looking at her.

Kara didn’t hear the judge’s scores, she didn’t hear the audience cheer; all she could focus on was that Ruby had let her go.

She needed to leave. She had done what she came to do, now she needed to go; she couldn’t be around Ruby anymore, she couldn’t look at her and want her and not have her. She couldn’t.

Kara turned and left the dance floor. She hurried back to the locker room, she heard Ruby call out but ignored her.

Her bag was as she left it, she started grabbing her stuff, she wanted to get out as quickly as possible; she would leave as she was; ‘so what if she took the buss in her dance outfit?’ She thought.

“Kara! What are you doing?” Ruby had followed her into the locker room.

“I have to go.”

“But you can’t! We have to stay to the end, we have to wait for the awards—”

“I said I have to go.” She felt hollow inside, she couldn’t even look at Ruby.

Suddenly Ruby grabbed her shoulder and pulled her around.

“What’s gotten into you?” Ruby looked at her; her eyes were full of concern, her hand burned against Kara’s bare shoulder.

“I have to go.” Kara whispered hardly able to say anything “I really can’t be around you …” She fought to say the words “it’s just too hard.” She tried pulling away from Ruby’s grip.

“Please don’t leave me.”

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