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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3. Chapter Three: In Question

They said little to one another as they drove across town to Kara’s home.

It was a lot later than she usually got home, but her parents knew she had been training, no one had called. They would all think she was dancing, training, putting in extra practice, preparing for the big day. Kara knew they would all look at her with beaming faces as she walked through the door, they’d ask how training had gone, her mother would rush to fetch her something to eat, her father would tell her to get a good night’s rest, her sister would want to hear all the news and try to make her put on her outfit again.

Then she would have to tell them, she would have to tell them all that it was over, that the competition wasn’t going to happen, that the support they had given her, the money for training sessions, would all be for nothing. She couldn’t enter the competition, she wouldn’t get picked up by a talent scout or earn a scholarship. She’d have to start again, find another way to crack the industry.

She sighed in frustration, she was so angry with herself.

“How was Felix when you left him?” She asked, hoping to force her mind to think of other things.

“He really wanted you to get into the competition. He feels terrible for dropping you—”

“It wasn’t his fault!” Kara insisted.

“I know; we can’t keep going over it, we have to just… I don’t know.” Ruby sounded tired.

Kara looked at her, even sad and upset she looked quite beautiful. Her hands were firm on the steering wheel, she’d painted her nails red, ruby red, Kara liked it when Ruby wore red, she looked good in it, she looked good in most things but she looked particularly good in red. She remembered how it had felt to have those hands on her, wrapped around her, delicate but strong, firm.

But Kara looked away, she looked out at the road, she didn’t want to be having these thoughts about Ruby, not now, it was too confusing on top of everything else. But she didn’t want to think about home, or about the competition. She didn’t know what to think about; she wanted all the thoughts to just stop.

The car stopped.

They’d reached her house. Kara sat looking up at her home, all the lights were on, they were waiting up for her, probably asking each other how much longer to give it before they called her. She didn’t want to face them with the news.

“You can’t sit there all night.” Ruby said, it was meant to be a joke but neither of them laughed.

Kara turned to her, she looked at her in the semi darkness and couldn’t help but remember how it had felt to dance with her. She had to admit to herself that she had never really wanted to dance with Felix, it was just a means to an end, just a way of getting into the championships, and she still wanted to dance, even without Felix, even if he couldn’t dance. Kara knew that the moment she stepped out of the car her chances would be over, everything would be set in motion, but right now, right now, she had one more chance.

You could dance with me?” Kara said.

“What?”

“Tomorrow, you could dance.”

Ruby looked taken aback, she stared at her for a moment and then shook her head.

“No, we haven’t entered together! We haven’t even rehearsed! I mean this is so sudden I don’t even know I can—”

“The entry is in my name, it is me and a partner, why not you?” The more Kara thought about it the more it made absolute sense; why not? Why couldn’t they? She’d seen loads of same sex couples in the competitions, especially if they explained what had happened to Felix.

“I’m probably too old for one thing—”

“You’re not too old!”

“It’s for under twenty one’s”

“Only one entrant has to be under twenty one, and you’re only a couple of years older!”

“Well… look, I don’t even have anything to wear”

“You must have loads of dance outfits!”

“None that would fit anymore…”

“Well, try them on tonight! Try them on, come tomorrow and we’ll dance together and then the whole of the last few weeks won’t have been for nothing!”

“What about Felix?”

“You said yourself he was upset that I couldn’t enter – at least now one of us will have a chance.”

“I don’t know…”

Ruby looked worried and Kara knew not to push, no matter how badly she wanted it, she had to step back.

“I really don’t know, Kara, I’m going to have to think about this…”

“What’s holding you back?”

Suddenly Ruby looked away, she turned and stared out of the window for a moment before finding the words to speak.

“I think you know…” she said quietly.

Kara didn’t know. What could she mean? She couldn’t mean…? Could she mean?

“What do you mean?”

“I think you’d better get inside. Its late enough as it is.”

“What about tomorrow?”

“I don’t know Kara, I just… I don’t know, OK?”

“Okay” Kara said, she knew she’d pushed too far, but she didn’t quite know how. She backed out of the car and as soon as the door closed, Ruby was off, she drove away without a backward glance. But those words were still burning on Kara’s mind ‘I think you know...

What? What did she know?

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