A/N The only reason I have courage enough to post this is because of the "no-net-since-months" thing because of which I've been unable to read the fab stories that must have come up on this very subject.
DISCLAIMER : Heh! Ya think?
When marimba rhythms start to play
Dance with me, make me sway
Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore
Hold me close, sway me more
Like a flower bending in the breeze
Bend with me, sway with ease
When we dance you have a way with me
Stay with me, sway with me
She was playing that game again.
If she could manage to count till ten without either of them appearing, then they wouldn't come for the entire class. (Yeah, she still believes in Santa Claus)
She looked at the doorway…nobody. She heaved a sigh in relief.
She was beginning to feel hopeful. After all she had recently read a book on 'Everyday Ailments' and it seemed impossible to believe that two mere mortals could resist the hold of so many diseases that appeared to be present in the air.
Something must have happened to them by now. It would be almost too cruel of fate to allow them to wander about, looking like the picture of health, when that book had listed over three thousand ailments.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
Mrs. Stephens put her head in her hands and groaned. She definitely wasn't paid enough for this.
"With him? You've got to be kidding me. He's like the worst dancer ever."
"Yeah, that's why I just won 'So You Think You Can Dance Canada' two days ago. One up to you in the logic department, Spacey."
"You didn't win it; it's just that I dance well enough for the both of us. If it had been up to you, you'd probably have ended up as the prime contender for playing Jim Carrey in his biopic."
"Your overwhelming modesty never fails to astound me."
"Overwhelming? You're fulfilling your 'new word of the day' quota aren't you. And modesty lesson from the guy who answers 'Why'd you keep disturbing me' whenever anybody says 'Oh God!' within hearing distance."
"You didn't say it quite right. It's more of a moan, 'Oh God.' Like you do when we have exams the next day, and normal girls do when I'm lying on top of them and…"
"You're a prude. And you're also mistaken if you think I want to dance with you. A guy needs something to hold on to, like Liza Conley's curves…hot. You, on the other hand, have more angles than an octagon.
"That's a clever way of telling everyone you finally mastered first grade math. May I be the first to offer my congratulations? It's a big occasion, I'm sure."
"Like I don't know you're just stringing those big words together so that poetry-writing freak, Chad Whatziname will finally look at you. How does it feel Casey? To be too boring even for guys who get off on 'Mad Girls' Love Song' or whatever."
"It's Chad Johnson. And he's not a freak. You should just go 'eff yourself."
"Language, Case. And as pleasurable as I can imagine that'll be for you to watch, I'm afraid I don't put on shows for fans. Although I'm sure you've still been peeking through my keyhole. Tsk, tsk, what will Nora think about Mummy's Darlingest Daughter, if she comes to know?"
"You disgusting, perverted…"
"Did you see how she hit me? Without any provocation whatsoever. It's obvious to tell that it was just an excuse to touch my skin. And here we thought that incident with Cory Plunkett's butt was a one-off. I'm sure you've read about people like this in your 'Sexually Overactive Teenagers for Beginner Teachers and How to Deal with Them' handbook."
"Are you calling me a nymphomaniac? Because I swear to God, I will…"
"Did you see that? How her eyes lit up? She's obviously fantasizing about all the things she wants to do to me. I'm starting to feel sexually harassed here. I think I'm going to have to report her. I can't wait around till those fantasies take possession of her, and she decides to act on them."
"I'm going to murder you Derek Vent…"
"Guys please," Mrs. Stephens looked up from her desk, head in hand (she could feel the migraine setting in.) "It's one dance. And it's not like you two gave me much choice. If you two could have kept away from each other for five minutes instead of shouting from opposite ends of the hall, stepping on your partners' feet, before the music had even started, and telling them in great detail about the others' personal, sordid habits, then maybe they wouldn't have decided to pair up on their own. The third pair to do so, might I add."
"Not a word more. I'm pairing you up and that's final. I'm not going to have Derek using obscene terms to describe your partners' taste in girls, IQ, and parentage, or an alleged lack thereof, Casey. And I'm not going to watch around as yet another partner of Derek's has to buy a new dance dress because you went into Klutzilla mode and dropped your food tray down their front."
"Anybody would have to be a fuckwit to want to dance with her." "It was an accident." They said in unison, turning to glare at the other.
"Yeah? Then from now on this dance room is observing 'Safety Week.' You have all of two choices. Either you pair up…or your fail. Take your pick."
"Well as much as it hurts me to do so, I pick the second one. I have implicit faith in the sanctity of Canada's great educational system, however this time I feel that by assigning me a partner, you are encroaching upon my right as an individual to choose, and therefore, as a show of solidarity towards my beliefs I choose to fai…"
Casey broke the sound barrier dragging him to their assigned place.
"You still have time enough to choose option B, you know," he told her, as he deliberately stepped on her feet for what seemed (and her shoes would agree) the thousandth time.
"Scared, Derek?" she tried not to grimace; he'd enjoy it even more if he could get a rise out of her. "I have to tell you, unlike you I'm not a quitter."
"I never quit. Our dividing walls aren't that thick. I'm sure you have a fair enough idea of my energy levels."
She groaned: She'd walked right into that one blindfolded. "Would you stop with the innuendos," she hissed, "Don't you think about anything else."
He looked at her like she was retarded, "I'm a seventeen year old, good looking guy. So I'm not even goingto pretend to answer that."
"Sam's seventeen too, as is Noel. And they don't spend all their time locked in their rooms reading magazines which are degrading to women and doing…disgusting stuff with them." Her nose wrinkled in distaste.
"Au contraire, they spend even more time in their rooms, locked up with magazines. You see not everybody is as gifted in the skills department as I am, and not every guy has the amount of options for… outlet, shall we say, as I do."
"I knew it. You do peek through my keyhole."
"Derek! Casey! Enough. If you two could stop fighting for one second then maybe you'd be kind enough to notice that the step you are doing went out of date circa 1001 B.C. You seem to have confused my class with Pro-Wrestling. I teach dance, dance. Do you hear me, DANCE. If your hands are not on each other in the next three seconds, I will personally arrange extra classes for you during summer break. One…Two…Thr…"
"Chill Mrs. S. At your age heart-attacks are extremely common. Your grandchildren wouldn't want to be left grandmotherless."
"Thank you for that very excellent joke Mr. Papadopoulos. I'm sure it's easy to tell that my children aren't a day above two."
"No way!" said Ralph turning to Sam, "That's awesome! I thought she was going to scream at me for forgetting to add great before grandmother!"
"But the point is," Casey interjected, before Mrs. Stephens could combust, "Derek can't dance to save his life…"
"You can definitely dance to save your life," Derek interrupted, "Considering everyone who sees you will think you're probably having some sort of epileptic seizure, and donate life saving medicines in pity."
She ignored him. "It's impossible to dance with somebody so massively uncoordinated…"
Derek sighed dramatically, "I'm glad you understand my pain, Klutzilla. What she's trying to say Mrs. S, is that she's a pathetic dancer, when it comes to real dancing and not that jazz shit. So she's willing to sacrifice the pleasure of my company, for the sake of my happiness, and resign as my partner. Feel free to grace her report with an F, and tell Liza I'm available."
"Derek Venturi. Now I'm going to make you dance with me even if I have to get both my legs amputated afterwards because of the damage you're going to inflict on them."
Emily grinned and whispered to Sheldon, "Reverse Psychology. Works every time."
"Why would Derek want to dance with Casey? They hate each other. I mean, look at them, they haven't stopped fighting since they entered the room."
Emily looked at him accusingly, "You were standing behind Ralph when they were handing out brains, weren't you."
"I give up," she said, whispering this time though, "I can't believe you haven't gotten into Guinness Book of World Records yet, as the worst dancer in the history of the world. Want me to give them a call?"
"Oh, ha ha. Did you make that up last night while I was out with Paula, and you were watching a 'Lifetime Channel' movie all by your lonesome? I can't believe you were able to resist using this line till now. Must have taken a lot of will power"
"Her name was Delia."
He looked at her strangely, "And the difference is…?"
She slapped her hand to her head, "I failed to notice, they both have an 'a' and an 'l' don't they? And that is of course the extent of your 'goodly' English."
"I hate you."
"Love you too, sis."
"I don't see what girls see in you. You're an insensitive, arrogant, prick of a…."
"He's hot" interrupted Liza from across the room.
"And an excellent kisser." sighed Delia.
"And gorgeous" added Emily.
"And hot," said Selma.
"And so charming," drooled Amanda
"And hot," put in Elizabeth.
"Fascinating" shrieked Sandra.
"And h o …" began Alyssa
"Get back to dancing everyone. NOW."
Casey hit Derek, not-too subtly as he smirked and winked at the girls, and he turned to glare at her.
The migraine was back in full force.
"I don't like that look in your eye."
"That look which makes you look like a half retarded gerbil. Your 'I- have- just- thought- of- a- new- way- to- ruin- Derek's –life- even- more- than- it- already- has- been- ruined- since- I- entered-it' look."
"I'm going to pretend that instead of being a spawn of Satan, or as is more likely, Satan's creator, you are a normal being from my species. So I choose to ignore your last spew of poison. And that 'look' implies that I've finally found a way of making you dance."
"I dance extremely well, but just to humor you, what way?"
"Just think of dancing as doing it."
He looked at her in genuine surprise, "Doing what?"
He watched with interest at the color spread over, till she was an unusual shade of crimson. He couldn't distinguish where she ended and the red tiled floor began. "Doing it. It, you moron."
He tried to think like a prudish Drama Queen…and got it. "You mean… Pro-Wrestling?" he asked in pretend innocence."
"S E X," she almost screamed. Okay, well, maybe not almost.
In the dead silence that followed, she sneaked a glance. Mrs. S. was purple, Sam was red, Noel looked green, and she couldn't even look at Emily.
Mrs. S. cleared her throat. "Maybe you should have different partners." She was looking at them as if they were planning on giving rabbits a run for their money on the art of procreation, right there on the dance floor.
Strangely enough, Derek intervened. "I said I'd dance with her, and I never go back on my word."
Ignoring the outraged outburst of mutterings from the scorned Don't-call-me-I'll-call-you girls and the I'll-pay-you-back-as-soon-as-I-get-the-dough guys, he took Casey's hand and slowly, deliberately placed it on his shoulder.
"You are a total moron. That was an out. Why didn't you take it?"
"Because princess, I'm rather interested in your new methodology for teaching me how to dance."
He again watched with interest as her face flooded.
"I should've known. Anyway, you think you're a God in the doing it department, don't you?"
"I think? You've confused that part with 'everybody knows'. And stop calling it 'doing it'. What are you? Five? It's Sex. Sex. S-E-X."
"Yeah, that," she hurried, not looking up at him, "Well…prove it then."
He grinned, "I never knew you were so kinky McDonald. Living with you just upped on the possibilities scale."
"WHAT are you DOING?"
"Undoing your sash, it'll be hard with clothes on, don't you think."
She registered what she'd said, and with difficulty stopped herself from groaning, "That's…not…what I…meant, you pervert! I meant pretend you're doing it," seeing him glare, "FINE, you just have to pretend you're making love"
He looked at her strangely.
"You're really an Ivanhoe girl, aren't you, with this entire making love thing. It's all just a flowery cover up for the same act. To appease the girl, make her think it's worth more than it actually is. Case in point, it isn't."
She looked at him. Not glared, glowered or frowned, looked.
"You wouldn't understand Derek. You've never made love."
"This is the chase." She said, "You've to get the girl."
He twirled her, and then effortlessly caught her, arching her body in a low dip, and bending over her.
And she suddenly realized she would have to say something. Just for the heck of it. Just so that the oxygen would reach her lungs once more. Breathing is so very important, isn't it?
"If I wanted to fill more air in that overinflated skull of yours, and if I wasn't scared of having to get a planning order, so as to fit in your ego in our shared dorm room in college next semester, I'd maybe have said you're not such a bad dancer."
"And if I actually listened to all that crap you keep spewing, instead of just tuning you out, then maybe I'd have caught a compliment in between somewhere and maybe thanked you for it. Or not."
But she could feel him smile against her hair, and it wasn't so bad.
"You've to look me in the eyes. Show me why I should agree to this. We're making love, Derek, show me you love me."
She was caught by surprise when he didn't use any of his choicest gems of sarcasm. He just put her hand on his shoulder and looked at her.
Had his eyes always had those flecks of black and green in brown? Strange that she'd never noticed. At least she could be glad she'd finally seen it, it proved she wasn't colorblind. And she didn't even wear glasses so she could totally become a pilot if she so chose.
She was free to like his eyes; after all they'd opened up a whole new career avenue for her.
"Ever couple finds their rhythm. We've to find it too, Derek. How slow, how soft. And how fast does it get. When does it become impossible to keep the slow pace? When does the body begin to scream for something more primitive? Show me, Derek."
(And her voice breaks on the last words and it almost sounds like she's saying please …)
He turned her around, till her back was pressed against his chest. With his hands on her hips, he set up a rhythm. A hypnotic beat of her heels against the red floor. He pulled her closer. And then sharply turned her. Twirled her around till he was breathless from watching, and then pulled her closer again, looking into her eyes.
She's teaching him the art of dancing. So he's damned if he's going to follow in her footsteps like a willing slave, dancing to her tunes. Damned if he'll do that.
It's a 50-50 bargain.
Right here, right now, on this dance floor, he's going to teach her the art of making love.
"Again. Without stopping anywhere in between this time."
"I'm tired, Derek. And the class is just about to end."
She (couldn't) wasn't looking at him. She'd been staring at the red tiled ground like it was the next Mona Lisa since the past ten minutes.
And he's realized that all of them seem to have used up the entire oxygen supply of the dance room, because god he can't breathe. And she still isn't looking at him, and his stomach seems to be clenched almost painfully. (It's so important to breathe, isn't it?)
"You're making excuses already," he chided, working her up, "Are you afraid it'll finally turn out I'm the better dancer?"
The insult did it. She wasn't going to let Derek think he was better than her at anything, let alone at dancing. Dancing was her thing.
Derek Venturi wouldn't know what had hit him.
They haven't looked at anything apart from each other since they began. The room (what room?) has ceased to exist. The only reality is his hand on her waist and hers on his shoulder. The only thing they can feel.
She's brought back to reality by the slow sound of clapping. And then wild, frenzied applause.
"I knew it!" Emily was shrieking, jumping up and down in a way that looked decidedly impossible in the heels she was wearing.
Sheldon's jaw didn't look like it was going to be picked off the floor anytime soon.
Sam's eyes looked ready to pop out, cartoon-style, out of his skull. "So…," he squeaked, and then cleared his throat, trying for a more manly tone (but all he managed to do was sound like someone in the final stages of death by a severe head cold) "…What was that?"
Noel had turned a never-before seen shade of green, and was muttering something about a bathroom.
The girls, well, let's just say if looks could kill, she'd be buying her one-way ticket to hell at that very instant. [Sure she was going to hell; the dance with her stepbrother (welcome back to the planet) just proved it.] She could also hear a voice in the middle asking everybody in a shrill tone whether that was even legal?
All the other boys were hooting and cheering and looking at her in a way that was decidedly uncomfortable. She could only make out words like 'Hot' and 'Lucky bastard that Venturi' and even (though she closed her ears to that) 'almost pornographic.'
As for Ralph, he was attending to Mrs. S.
The migraine, coupled with the thought of her miserly paycheck, and a whole afternoon of DerekandCasey had finally taken its toll on her.
8 Years Later
"You can't hold me like this. There are elderly people here! How would you like it when next days' headlines proclaim how a wedding ended in tragedy with a massive epidemic of heart-attacks."
He grinned, "It's our wedding, Klutzilla. I'm just solidifying what we did so many years ago."
"I can just see tomorrow's news in the society column 'Top Hockey Player New Bride turns out to be a Porn Star.'
"Huh? Sorry I was just thinking of all the input I could give for that piece. Remember that time…" he bent closer to whisper in her ear
He grinned, unabashed, exulting in his bride's swift color change, "The problem with you is you're…afraid…"
Their "relationship" was founded on challenges.
Casey's eyes narrowed, glowing with the light of battle, "Bring. It. On."
She blushed as people turned to stare, but soon forgot them, as their bodies once again adjusted to the long-forgotten rhythm. "I can't believe you still remember this. We've never danced like this after that, and that was so many years ago."
His warm breath steamed up her cold body, as his hand slowly snaked around her waist.
"How could I forget, Case? It was the first time I made love to a girl, remember?"