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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2. Chapter Two: In Trouble

Kara took hold of Felix’s hand, she tried not to look at Ruby, tried not to think about how it had felt to dance with her; she had to think about Felix now, to think about dancing with him.

Suddenly Felix was pulling her, the music had started and she hadn’t even noticed. She was two steps behind. Kara had to catch up, to jump ahead, she was back in the rhythm but she knew it wasn’t neat, she knew the dance was a mess already.

Kara pushed away the thoughts about what Ruby might say, how disappointed she would be with her. She pushed way the thoughts of the competition, the judges staring at her and Felix, the audience watching them, the other dancers laughing at them. Worst of all would be failing in front of Ruby. Ruby watching her, disappointed, Ruby—

It was the lift. It was the lift already!

Kara hadn’t been thinking, she hadn’t been aware of where they were, she hadn’t jumped, she hadn’t given Felix the leverage he needed.

It was over so quickly.

One moment Kara’s feet were in the air and the next she was laying winded on the ground as Felix yelled out in frustration.

It took Kara a second to catch her breath, Ruby was at her side immediately.

“Are you alright?” Ruby asked, her hand on Kara’s shoulder, the intensity of the touch burning through her.

“Yes.” Kara managed to say “I think so.”

“My ankle…” Felix said, the girls looked at him, he was pale and speaking through gritted teeth “I twisted it as I went down.”

Ruby rushed to him, leaving Kara’s side, leaving the sensation of her hand on Kara’s shoulder. But there were more important things to think about now, Felix had been hurt before, he usually took it well and Kara hadn’t seen him in quite so much pain before.

As Ruby leaned down and lay a hand gently on his ankle he had to stifle a cry.

“Okay.” She said softly.

Kara could see she was concerned, there was no emotion showing, she was completely poker-faced and that meant the worst.

“We’ll get you checked out, just in case.” Ruby forced a smile, but Kara and Felix knew what ‘just in case’ meant; ‘just in case it was broken’, ‘just in case it couldn’t be danced on’, ‘just in case this was the end of their ballroom championship campaign before it had even begun’.

Kara knew she should be worried about Felix, about how much pain he was in, and felt guilty that all she could think of was the competition, the dance, her career. It was her fault, it was her fault they had fallen; she hadn’t been paying attention, she hadn’t been focused on the dance and now it was Felix who was struggling to climb off the floor.

“Do you need a hand?” Kara stepped forward to offer her support to Ruby as she struggled to help Felix to his feet.

“You’ve done enough already.” Ruby snapped.

The words stung Kara, they hurt all the more because they were true.

She didn’t say anymore to either of them.

Ruby helped Felix hobble out of the training room and all the way to the car, while Kara watched, not sure what to do. She thought about waiting in the training room or heading home and forgetting about the whole thing, but she knew that running away would only make things worse, so she gathered everyone’s belongings and headed out to the car after them.

The journey to the hospital was silent. No one had anything to say, and Kara knew they both blamed her. Both Felix and Ruby had put in so many hours, training her up to enter the competition, helping her to reach the level she needed to in order to compete with the highest grade of ballroom dancers and now she had ruined it all.

She suppressed a choking sob and stared out of the window at the darkening horizon.

When they reached the hospital, rather than follow them into the doctor’s office, Kara waited outside. She wasn’t sure how long they would be, and she didn’t know if she should wait for them or try to get home. Her body ached, her feet were sore, her muscles hurt, she was bruised where she had fallen and it was all for nothing. Weeks of training, for nothing. There was less than twenty four hours to go before the competition and Kara wasn’t even sure if she would be ready, let alone Felix.

“Do you want a ride home?”

Kara looked up to see Ruby.

“What’s happened? Where’s Felix?”

“He’s waiting for his X-Ray results, but even if it isn’t broken he won’t be dancing tomorrow.”

Kara had known that already, she had known and yet the confirmation of it was still devastating.

“I’m sorry, it’s my fault.”

Kara was startled; Ruby shouldn’t be apologising!

“I shouldn’t have pushed you both to dance again, you were too tired, it was too much and I shouldn’t have snapped at you earlier; I’m sorry.”

“No, it was me! I should have been focusing more I should have—”

“Felix said the same thing. But we all know who pushed for that final dance.”

“But—” Kara stood up; she couldn’t let Ruby take the blame for her fall, for ruining everything.

“No buts.” Ruby said firmly “There is no point anyway; blame won’t solve anything. Now, it’s getting late, shall I take you home?”

Kara nodded as her heart sank. Ruby was right, there was no point blaming anyone, it wouldn’t change the fact that the competition really wasn’t going to happen. It was all over.

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