Disclaimer: I own nothing. The Man owns everything.

Rating: PG-13, still.

"Oh, my God, he's flipped again." Eva muttered.

Charlie said nothing, but the look on his face showed that he was inclined to agree with her.

"We have to stop him," Jody said with conviction.

Eve shot her an incredulous look. "And how do propose we do that?" she asked. "Wait for a red light and then grand jete in front of the cab?"

Jody ignored her friend's sarcasm and grabbed Charlie's hand, yanking him across the sidewalk. "We can hail a cab and catch him at the school. Come on!"

"How are you so sure that's where he's going?" Charlie yelled, tripping along behind her.

"Where else would he go?" Frantic now, Jody stepped into the street and flagged a cab down with her free hand. Charlie yanked her back as the yellow vehicle came screaming up to the curb, braking sharply. "Jody- are you crazy? Do you WANT to get hit?"

Jody ignored her boyfriend's protests and threw herself into the cab's backseat. Charlie slid in after her and Eva barely made it in before Jody slammed the door shut. The cab began to slide away from the curb.

"Jody," Eva huffed, trying to disentangle herself from Charlie (in her rush to jump in the cab, she'd landed right on his lap) "do you know how much it COSTS to ride to the ABA from here in a cab?"

When he heard that, the cabbie slammed on his brakes, and all three of them jerked forward violently. Charlie hit his nose on the back of the seat.

"What the hell is wrong with you?!? Are you trying to KILL us?!?!" Eva screamed, rising half up in her seat. He ignored her.

"This isn't gonna be one of those 'free rides,' now, is it?" he asked, glaring at the three of them through the rearview mirror.

"Hell no! We'll get out here." Eva made for the door, but Jody stopped her with a hand on her arm.

"Please drive on, sir- I have the money. Sorry about that- and step on it!"

The cabbie looked skeptical, but after a sour look in Eva's direction, he pulled away from the curb and began to drive- thankfully, more normally this time. Jody relaxed- slightly- and gave Charlie a concerned look. He was rubbing his nose and looking slightly ticked off. "Are you okay?"

"It's not broken," he said, irritably. "God, Jody, why are we doing this?"

"Yeah," Eva chimed in. "If Cooper wants to go off on Jonathan again, then let him. What do you have to do with it?"

Jody looked down at her hands. "If he does something.....crazy again, it'll be over for him in the ballet world. Half the community already thinks he's a nutcase."

"That's because he is," Charlie muttered.

Jody shot her boyfriend a look. "I know Cooper a little better than you guys, okay? I just think that as his friends, we need to stop him before he does something really foolish."

"Friends?" Eva raised an eyebrow.

"Eva......"

"Don't 'Eva' me. Speak for yourself. Cooper's no friend of mine."

"OR me," Charlie chimed in. Then his tone softened slightly. "Look, Jody, I just don't think you should get involved-"

"Charlie." Jody cut him off. "We have to keep him from dong anything crazy. Please trust me. If he.......Jonathan is tolerating his leaving the company NOW, but there's no telling what will happen if he goes off and.......Jonathan has a lot of power, you guys."

There was silence as the enormity of what she had just said sunk in- they knew that what she was saying was the truth.

After a minute, Eva broke the silence, sitting back and tucking her hands under her head. "Well," she said with her old mischievous smile back on her face, "if we don't get there in time, at least we know we're going to see one helluva show."

Jody sot her friend a Look, but couldn't suppress her own smile. "You're terrible."

"I wonder why Cooper reacted so violently in the first place." Charlie mused out loud.

Jody shrugged. "It's not as if he hasn't done anything like that before. Remember what happened when Kathleen got married?"

"Yeah." The story had been all over New York that summer; EVERYBODY knew it. Charlie shook his head. "The guy's unstable."

"Not unstable," Jody defended him. "Just hotheaded and impulsive.....okay, maybe a LITTLE unstable," she finally conceded.

"Damn straight," muttered Eva.

"What he needs is another girlfriend," Charlie said, grinning. "Besides YOU, that is," he said to Jody, poking her in the ribs.

Jody jumped away from him, swatting him playfully. "I don't know any females that could deal with him....except maybe......." She cocked her head and gave Eva a grin that was positively diabolical.

"You must be out of your mind," Eva said, calmly.

Jody began laughing so hard that Charlie joined in the teasing, glad that he had gotten Jody out of her mood. "I think you two would make a cute......"

"STOP!" Eva finally gave in and began to laugh herself. "He's a cute bastard, I'll give him that," she said. "But he's too conceited for me. And I tend to like my men sane. And not enamored with married ballerinas."

At the mention of Kathleen, Jody sobered. "I hope we'll catch him in time," she said, worriedly. "Or that he'll calm down before gets there."

"How are we so sure that's where he's going, anyway?" Charlie brought up. "He could just be going to blow off some steam somewhere, for all we know."

"That's true......" Jody bit her lip, wrinkling her nose as she did so. "I didn't even think of that......"

Charlie took a look at her face, then bent to kiss her, softly. "You're doing a good thing." He squeezed her shoulder gently. Truth was, he was a little hurt at the thought that Jody would go running off after Cooper at the drop of a hat- but he DID head her company. He sighed, inwardly. If only-

His concentration was broken when Jody kissed him back, catching his lower lip between her teeth. "So what do I get for doing this good deed with you?" he growled, low. He grinned, then touched the side of her face.

She laughed and kissed him again. "Wait and see-"and she pulled his head down......

"GOD." Eva said loudly, breaking the spell. "Could you two let UP for a minute?"

They laughed, separated, and sat back for the car ride.

***************************************

It was exactly one hour later when the cabbie pulled up to the front of the gray brick ABA building, sending them off with a middle-finger-salute when he found that they had no plans to tip him for his pains in getting there fast. Eva saluted him back with both hands, and they began to run up the steps, eyes scanning every direction.

"Do you SEE him?" Jody asked, frantically.

"If I did, I would mention it, wouldn't I?" Eva asked, grumpily.

"Let's split up!" Jody ran in the opposite direction.

After five minutes had passed and it became clear that Cooper was not outside, the trio burst through the doors of the school, stopping only to flash their ID cards at the receptionist, then dashing up to the second floor. "Oh....my.....Lord......" wheezed Eva.

Jody ignored her and Charlie's theatrics and ran straight down the hall, straight for Jonathan's office. "We.....have....to...." she gasped.

"Jody."

The low, male voice calling her name made her freeze in her tracks. Charlie and Eva, behind her, crashed into her most ungracefully.

"Jody? What are you doing here?"

The threesome turned as one in time to see the sight of a tousled-haired Cooper Neilson emerge from one of the smaller studio rooms. Ironically, it was the same one that she, Charlie and himself had used, practicing "Dancing in New York" all those weeks.

Jody heard Eva begin to sputter, ("you mean we came all the way here and he's not doing ANYTHING??") but Charlie retracted with his usual tact, taking Eva by the elbow and giving her a meaningful look. "I'll walk you over to the dorms, Eva," he said, and they were gone.

Jody turned back to Cooper, unsure of what to say. He was looking at the floor.

"You came after me."

"I did. I'm sorry, but I was so worried that you would-"

"Was going to. I decided not to."

Cooper turned and walked back into the studio, looking tired. He was still dressed in his tights, but Jody noted that his flannel shirt was knotted around his waist, Catholic-schoolboy style, and he was shirtless. "Close the door behind you," he said, walking to the window.

Jody did so and soundlessly joined him at the window.

"I didn't say anything to her," he said, glancing over at Jody.

"You didn't?" Thank you, God, she thought, mentally. "I......"

"It's okay. You don't need to apologize." He paused, then focused his large blue eyes on her. "You don't need to apologize for anything I do."

Jody smiled slightly and leaned against the windowpane, enjoying the coolness of the glass on her cheek.

"Do you think I'm crazy, Jody?" Cooper's voice had gotten so low that it was almost impossible to make out his words.

"Cooper, I'm sure that no one thinks you're-"

"Not anyone else. Just you." Cooper glanced at her again. "Be honest."

"No." Jody said without hesitation.

"Sometimes I think I might be. About her, I mean." He turned away from her. "Since the day-"

"That you met?"

"No." Cooper turned back to her, a little smirk on his face. "I thought she was the scrawniest little thing I'd ever seen when we met. All arms and legs, and those big-ass doe eyes. She looked like a gerbil." He paused.

Jody sat up on the windowsill, crossed her legs, and looked into his face, listening.

"Then we danced......and it was like nothing I'd ever experienced before," Cooper said, low. "It was in the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet....I remember....she was staring down at me, like I was the only one in the world....." he swallowed.

Jody rested a hand on his back, gently.

"It went on from there. I've never danced with a woman who fit me so well. It's about the dance, in a way....we just....fit, you know?"

"Yeah." Jody said, softly. "I know."

"The news that Eva brought was kind of the last straw," Cooper said with another ironic smirk. "I truly had no idea what I was doing until I got here. Did I really look as crazy as I think I did?"

"Yes. Pretty much," Jody said, gently.

Cooper laughed-a short, barking sound- and suddenly reached out to her, hugging her tightly to his bare chest. He smelled like sweat, Old Spice, and cigarettes. Underneath his warm skin, she could hear his heart beating steadily.

Jody waited for a moment before breaking the embrace, separating them by bracing her palms on his chest, though his arms were still around her. "Are you going to be okay?" she asked.

He looked at her in the eye and gave her a rather sickly smile, then dropped his arms, noticeably avoiding the question. "You're good for me, Jody Sawyer."

She smiled back, a little uneasily.

"Come on....let's go."

The two exited the room, though Cooper looked no less troubled than he had before. "Dance practice tonight," were his parting words as they separated on the steps.

"Right," Jody muttered, watching him go.

What a guy. She turned and headed for the dorms in search of Eva and Charlie.