I'm Not Gonna Teach Him How To Dance With You
"Word's on the streets and it's on the news:
I'm not gonna teach him how to dance with you.
He's got two left feet and he bites my moves.
I'm not gonna teach him how to dance! dance! dance! dance!"
"I'm Not Gonna Teach Him How To Dance With You"
While normally a calm, reasonable, rational person, Arnold was nearing his breaking point.
"Why'd ya reckon they calls it a 'walls'?"
"It's 'waltz', and I don't know."
"And what'd ya suppose a 'kick-ball-change' is?"
Arnold sighed. "We'll get to that in a minute. We still-"
"Stinky! Be quiet. We're never going to finish this, if you don't…shutup." Arnold said, bordering on rudeness. His patience was never in terrible abundance when in the presence of Stinky Peterson. He could be tactless, clueless and at times, an all around idiot. Thinking on this, Arnold wondered why he offered to help him and how he found himself in such an awkward situation. It didn't take long for his brain to remember.
Just a few days prior, when Lila approached him in the hallway, he was feeling hopeful. He received the invitation to her Sweet 16 a while ago, but just recently, heard that she had something to ask him regarding the party. Knowing the grandeur of such parties, he was anticipating that she was going to ask him to escort her. The notion was farfetched, he admitted, but after 7 years, he had to have warmed her heart a little. There had to part of her that saw him as more than just a close friend.
"Arnold, can I ask you something?"
Here it was. Arnold played it out in his mind over and over. She'd look at her shoes bashfully, step a little closer to him, so no one could hear, and then she'd ask him. Ask him to be the one on her arm as she entered her party, while their classmates showered them in confetti.
"Of course. What's up, Lila?" he asked, as if he didn't know.
Looking at the floor, and then back at him, Lila smiled. Moving closer to him, she didn't notice Arnold's contented smile.
"I was wondering…"
"…if, I mean, if you don't mind…"
"Yeah?" he said, expectantly. He was trying to be patient, but there was only so much suspense he could take. 'Ask me already!'
"Do you think you could Stinky how to dance?" she asked quickly.
"Of course…wait, do what, now?" he said, realizing what she just asked.
"I asked Stinky to escort me to my party like, three weeks ago. But, it didn't dawn on me until the other day, that's he's a horrible dancer." Lila explained.
Arnold's smile fell faster than the London Bridge during a kindergarten sing-along. She asked him weeks ago?
"And, I remembered what a great dancer you always were, so, I thought you might be able to help him." she said, dropping her chin to look up at him. She was well aware of the power of her large green eyes, and decided to use them to her advantage.
"Well…" Arnold said, moving to scratch the back of his neck. At this point, he almost didn't want to go at all.
"Please? For me?" she begged, looking absolutely miserable. Arnold, however, knew that she wasn't. She was going to have a huge Sweet 16. Stinky Peterson was going to escort her in. And Arnold, the boy who personified putty in her hands, was going to teach him how to dance with her.
"Knock knock." Lila said, slipping into the gymnasium, fresh from cheerleading practice. "How's everything go-ing?" she asked, in a sing-songy voice. Arnold both cringed and melted at the sound of it.
"Jus' fine, I reckon. Arnold here wuz jus' teachin' me how to 'walls'."
"That's waltz, Stinky." Arnold said, trying to keep the contempt from his voice, but doing a bad job at it.
"S'what I said, 'walls'." said, shrugging his shoulders. Lila approached him, clapping her hands and beaming flawlessly.
"I'm so proud of you! Saturday is going to be a blast!" she said.
Arnold rolled his eyes at the sight and announced to Stinky and Lila that their lesson was done for the day. Grabbing his backpack, he headed for the rear of the gymnasium, which was closer to the bus stop than the front.
"Arnold, wait!" Lila said, jogging, or skipping, in her case, after him.
"Yeah?" he asked, mentally and physically exhausted.
"I just wanted to thank you ever so much for helping Stinky." she said, clasping her hands together in front of her. "You have no idea what this means to me."
Arnold smiled, against his former attitude, and nodded. "It's no problem."
Lila moved forward, planting a tiny peck on Arnold's cheek, then drawing back before he could so much as respond. "See you Saturday!" she said, gleefully, before skipping away from Arnold.
Shaking his head, Arnold burst through the rear doors of the gym.
"Thee you Thaurday!" came a deep, and comedic voice from the side, mimicking Lila's enthusiasm. Arnold decided against turning around, and continued walking forward.
"Not now, Helga…" he said, striding forward toward the bus stop.
"Oh Arnold, you are just too much." Helga said, catching up with him in no time, her blonde hair flowing behind her.
"What are you talking about?" he asked, hoping she didn't know anything more than was her business. This, of course, was an impossibility. Though not one to pass on any obtained information herself, Helga always knew what was going on.
"Li-la, the girl you've pined after since forever, has asked Stinky Peterson to escort her into her sickeningly massive Sweet 16 party, and you're left doing the dirty work, teaching him to dance." she said, hitting the nail on the head. "Oh Arnold, how sweet, how noble, how incredibly stupid of you!" she said, laughing as the two stood on the corner, waiting for the bus. When it arrived, they climbed on, taking seats next to each other on the conjoined seat in the back of the vehicle.
"What do you mean 'stupid'? I'm doing her a favor." he said.
"Yeah, you're teaching her boyfriend how to dance. Do you not get that? You're teaching the boyfriend of the girl you like how to dance with her." she said bluntly.
"Whatever…" Arnold said some time later, not wanting to admit that Helga was right. The rest of the bus ride over was silent between the two and when it finally came to Arnold's stop, he stood up, despondently. "It's fine, I mean there's nothing that I can do about it now, right?"
"Doesn't look like it, Football head…" Helga said, sitting back in her seat.
Arnold sighed and maneuvered down the aisle. Before he exited the bus, he turned and spoke again to Helga. "I guess you're not going to be there… ?" he asked.
"Are you crazy?" Helga asked, raising an eyebrow. Taking a lock of hair in her hand and twirling it around her index finger, she tilted her head to one side, still smiling. "It's like, supposed to be the party of, like, the century, ya know?" she quipped, imitating Lila.
Instead of responding verbally, Arnold smiled back and nodded, leaving the bus.
"Is everybody ready to get this party started?!" The DJ said for the hundredth time. It was already 11:43 at night. If the party hadn't started yet, then they should have all gone home several hours ago. Arnold leaned upon a wall, lazily holding his glass of sparkling cider, and watching most of his grade dancing and conversing wildly across the room. The venue that Lila chose for her party was too large for the number of guests, leaving some large gaps in various parts of the room. Arnold was somewhat grateful for this; after Lila's grand entrance, and people broke up into smaller groups, it was easier for him to hide along the wall.
"One more of those, and you're gonna be smashed…"
Looking to his side, Arnold saw Helga, slouched against the same wall, sipping a "mocktail" that Lila provided for her guests, since they were under-aged. The deep green halter dress was different for her, as she rarely dressed up, and was never fond of the color to begin with. The empire waist of the dress billowed out around her and ended beyond her ankles. Most of the girls wore short, strapless numbers, making Helga look distinctly different in her modesty.
"I'm okay to drive." Arnold replied, taking another sip from his sparkling cider, just to show her.
"If you had a car…" Helga joked. Laughing a little longer than Arnold expected, she released a tiny snort.
Standing closer to her, Arnold looked at her closely, focusing on her eyes, which were half-lidded and slightly glazed over. "Helga, are you drunk?" he asked, genuinely concerned. He never had any experiences with a drunk friend, and he was hoping he wouldn't have to for a good long time. Plus, Helga was already usually pretty strange, without the help of alcohol.
"I doubt that half a capful of Jack Daniels in my watery 'mocktail' is going to get me tipsy." she replied, smiling at him. Arnold shook his head at her reply, and the two stared out at the dance floor. It was virtually empty, and with good reason. "I'm gonna take a stab in the dark and say that you saw Lila and Stinky's little performance."
"Who didn't?" Arnold asked, sounding upset. After Lila was introduced, and the party officially started with music and general dancing, the floor was cleared for she and Stinky to kick off the party with their first dance.
The seconds that followed were what Helga would call "hilarious and tragic".
Stinky attempted to "walls", only to step all over Lila's feet, before falling into a panic, and forgetting everything that Arnold taught him. When the dance turned impromptu, Lila and Stinky fell entirely out of sync with one another, manifested by Stinky's erratic movements, and the frustrated look that graced Lila's face for the remainder of the brief dance. The last fourteen seconds of the dance involved Stinky trying to "dip" Lila, only to drop her gracelessly on the floor, before she stormed off of the dance floor. Since then the party was at somewhat of a standstill; a few people tried to dance, but each feared that Lila would storm back out, and announce that if she wasn't going to dance, then no on else would. She was far to sweet to do something like that, but it remained in the back of many people's minds.
Arnold was snapped out of his reverie, when Helga sighed loudly next to him.
"Screw this." she said, placing her glass on the ground, and marching across the room, toward the DJ. Arnold, fearing that she was going to do something….well, stupid, followed her, and stopped when she arrived at the DJ's booth. The tall African-American man bent low to address Helga face to face, and in an instant, his face lit up from behind his enormous sunglasses. Standing back up, she placed her hands on her hips and turned back to the crowd. Music slowly filtered from the nearby speakers, and as the volume increased, the crowd began to buzz.
Arnold found himself standing in the middle of the crowd, all of whom were quickly flocking toward him, moving in time with the music. Weaving her way through the crowd, was Helga, looking particularly triumphant, walking toward him.
Turning away from the crowd, Arnold watched as Lila descended upon him, latching onto his arm and looking relieved. Her hair was up in a jumble of curls, leaving her rounded ears exposed. Her dress was pink and sparkly, cut low to her chest and fell to her mid-thigh. Arnold's smile fell slowly, looking at Lila. She looked so unlike herself; so unlike the girl that he came to know and adore.
"I've been looking for you all night; where've you been hiding?" she asked.
Arnold doubted that she was looking for him, and even though he couldn't bring himself to be truly be angry at Lila, he was more than ready to have a good time that wasn't dependent upon her.
"Nowhere in particular…"he responded, searching the room for Helga again. Whether she was using her sarcasm for or against him, he found himself more at ease around her than most. "Can you excuse me for a second?"
"Oh…okay, Arnold." she said, stepping back, and clutching her drink desperately. "Save me a dance?" she asked, as he walked away. Before he got very far, Helga stepped out from a particularly large senior, standing in front of him, with arms crossed over her chest.
"What was that all about, Arnoldo?" she asked, smiling.
Arnold shrugged, and looked around the room before regarding Helga again. "Do wanna dance?" he asked, laughing at the fact that they were the only two relatively stationary people amongst their raving peers.
Helga smiled wider. "I thought you'd never ask."
"The second I do, I know we're gonna be through.
I'm not gonna teach him how to dance with you.
He don't suspect a thing. I wish he'd get a clue.
I'm not gonna teach him how to dance! dance! dance! dance!"
So, I'm currently obsessed with the song "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance" by the Black Kids, so, here's my tribute to it. Plus, I was home ALL DAY yesterday, and the only thing that was on was "My Super Sweet 16", and watching that not only completely fried my brain (that's MTV for ya') but gave me the idea for a huge Sweet 16 party for Lila. And once again, Lila isn't the "bad guy", she's just very, very…dim. Oh well. And of course Arnold doesn't hate Lila, he just, found something better. Complain, if you must but while I'm convinced that this could be somewhat better, but I'm happy with it. Hope you enjoyed it!!