A/N: I wrote this story with the intent of getting over the sad end to the movie. So far it's working, so I promise all my readers a happy ending. This could get long, it could get messy. If you're reading it, just try to bear with me. Have fun and enjoy!
If there was one thing she wished for, it was to stop time.
Her feet were moving, her hips swaying, her heart pumping and she was breathing so hard between her lips that they were drying. This was the moment she was longing for: her peak. She wished she could stop time right at this moment: to hold it, savor it, and never let the feeling drop.
This was dance.
The music would end abruptly in a few more moments. The audience would rise and clap. Marc would take her hand into his and he would bow, she would curtsey. This was the routine. Every evening for almost a year now, this had been the routine. It happened the same way at the tiny beachfront restaurant in Miami. Mostly the audience consisted of old women who smiled at her when she shook and flipped her head, an attempt for them to go back to the glory days. Katey loved the praise; she thrived off of it, and it was just another way for her to connect to dancing.
It was, after all, the only thing she had left.
His name refused to enter her head. Instead she blocked it out by stomping her toe when she should have touched it, a little way to get out her frustration. Men. Men had never been good to her. They used her. They broke her heart. They never fulfilled any promise of forever and Katey had at last come to understand that the only thing that was forever was this. This moment. This dance.
It was over.
Marc grabbed her hand. He bowed. She curtsied. They smiled. The hundreds of senior citizens munching away at their dinner stood up and clapped, wolf whistling and calling their husbands to join them and won't they please sit down and watch? Katey was used to it. She smiled back. She waved. She loved this.
"It's amazing, you know," she said to Marc after they had left the dance floor. "We do this show five nights a week and I'm still not sick of it."
"Katey, you're amazing. I'm never going to ask you where you learned to dance like this because if I do, I'll want to head right over to that school and I'll still never be as good as you." Marc filed his nails, smiling at her. "It's good money, too."
"I'm only doing this for the money," she sighed. She ran a towel through the back of her scalp. Sweat was an essential part of this.
"You are not," Marc said. "Don't lie. I see the way you look when you dance."
She laughed. "And how do I look when I dance?"
"Like you're in love."
She laughed again, hoping the wince on her face was invisible. "Just don't go falling in love with me."
"Don't worry about that, Gregory is enough on my hands." Marc saved himself exclusively for men.
"How did that night go, anyway?" It was inevitable to become best friends with one's dance partner. You spent so much time with them. Since she had really learned to dance, Katey had been partnered with several men. Marc had been second best so far: he could move his body and he knew how to assess his partner well. He was fun and he made good jokes. Marc could work hard and he took a criticism well. Although not too many people were aware of his homosexuality, they had grown close enough for him to be open about it with her
Second best, though. Always second best. She laughed inwardly at how ridiculous she sounded.
"Best night I ever had," he murmured. "I can't believe I waited this long for him, you know?"
"I know," she said. "Pass me your hair comb."
"Are you getting dressed already?"
She stared at him. Her clothes were already on. "Yes. I have to get home… Susie will be worried." Not to mention her parents. "And I have school in the morning."
Her decision not to go to Radcliffe but attend a local school in their new Floridian town had disappointed them. Katey had, after all, worked so hard to gain admission from the school. But her family had become an integral part of her life. Leaving people you loved was no longer an option for her. She would go at any cost to avoid it, and if that meant giving up something she had worked for then so be it. There were more important things to be concerned with.
"I love Fridays, when you don't have to go to school. I still don't understand why you insist on going. You're making money here. It's a good job. You could probably become a dancer if you wanted to." Marc raised his eyebrows.
She rolled her eyes. "Marc. You know I could never do that. I go to college because it was a personal goal of mine for a very long time."
He threw up his hands in defeat. "Have a good night, sweetheart. I'll see you tomorrow afternoon."
"We have a show this Saturday, don't forget," she called over her shoulder.
"For what?" he called back.
"You didn't hear?" She stopped in her tracks. "Someone is having their sixtieth anniversary celebration. They're doing it here, and they're i paying /i us," she added pointedly, "to dance for them."
"Jesus," he whispered.
"What?" she asked. "I haven't even told you how much we're getting paid and you're already freaking out!"
"No. I mean, just imagine. Being married to someone for sixty years." His eyes were very wide.
"Marc, you make me laugh," she said. "Now I really have to go. I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"
Javier Suarez was at the beach.
It was midnight, and all he could do was keep the driftwood in the water from floating away while he held Carlos's son Rafael under his arm.
"You've gotta sit tight, okay?" he murmured. "Nobody can hear us. And you can't move. We have to do this, Rafael."
"What about your sister? And abuela?" He was whiny. No twenty year old man liked to be dealing with a whiny four year old kid.
But he had to. That was it. "Abuela's gone, Rafael. I told you that. Papa told you that." Oh, no. That was it. That was the end. He let it slip.
He hated this question. Rafael might have asked it eight times that night but there was no easy way to answer that. i We're abandoning your Papa because he was wrong. /i Or how about, i Your papa is nuts and he's never going to do anything good for you and I'm leaving so you're coming with me. /i Oh yes. That would go over very well with the kid.
He adjusted the pack he had slung on his shoulder. "Papa's not here, and we're probably not going to see Papa for a long time."
"Very good question, Javier. Why?" A deep voice startled him from his whisper.
He wasn't expecting this. He closed his eyes and swallowed. "Carlos."
"I don't know what you're doing out here, but you better get back home or else I might think you are kidnapping my son."
"I'm not kidnapping. He's my nephew."
"Get home, Javier."
"Excuse me?" Carlos looked startled. "Give me my son," he growled.
Javier strengthened his grip on Rafael. Carlos could beat him. He could probably drown him and take Rafael. Despite the fact that they were brothers, if Carlos had to make a choice, Javier was not sure which he would choose.
"I cannot do that, Carlos." Javier looked around. "Come with me. Come with me instead of staying here and rotting in this mess of a country."
"So I was right in my suspicions. You are leaving. Where to, Javier? To Mexico? Or to that filthy place called America?"
"Things are not better here, Carlos!" he hissed. "This isn't up to you. I have to do this."
"Then give me my son."
"I can't let you ruin him." He glared.
"Papa died for this."
"No." Javier shook his head. "Papa died for our freedom. This, Carlos… This isn't our freedom." He paused, his Adam's apple shaking slightly. "I'm going to America. Go. Run. Tell everyone. Tell Castro, I don't care. But when you get back, I will be gone."
"Is this what you did with Sandra?" Carlos murmured, his eyes fierce. "Put her on a boat and send her to America?"
Javier stayed silent. "I have to do what's right for my family. I have to keep them safe."
He suddenly heard an echo of a voice in the back of his mind. i That's the most important thing… /i "That's all I can do."
"That is what I'm doing."
"No, you're not. And I'm afraid till we see eye to eye on that you cannot have your son back. I am leaving tonight. Tell, if you want to, but the biggest favor you might do your family is to keep it a secret." Javier sighed, bending over to tie the last piece of driftwood to the raft.
There was a long silence.
"Where are you headed?" Carlos said finally.
"I don't know. Wherever we land. I don't know America." Javier wondered if the place called St. Louis could be anywhere near Cuba.
"Do what you must." He turned around and walked away silently.
Javier studied his figure. I That was a long time coming. /i "Get on the raft, Rafael. And hold on. It might be a long ride."
Rafael was asleep. The raft moved against the waves, bringing him back to a place when things were peaceful. The waves reminded him of something.
He hadn't danced in years.
A/N: Coincidentally, I leave for Mexico tomorrow morning. At best I'll be able to get up another chapter tonight, but I promise to have one up Friday night if you review! Thanks! -Kiki