Chapter One

Tango To A New Dance Partner

"One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four." Those four words were repeated like a mantra. It was really getting on my nerves. I didn't expect it to be this simple. But what was I to say? I was teaching beginners. My name is Faye Morgan, and I'm a dancer/instructor here at Soft Steps Dance Studio.

The class had about ten people in it, and they were people who completely didn't know how to dance—not even a little bit. I clapped my hands to the beat, hoping it would help the students. It had already been a month since I started teaching here. The students who had no idea how to dance, were starting to look like real dancers—kind of.

Today, they were learning the quickstep. It was a dance that originated in the 1920s. The dance required many steps with a quick momentum, leading to its name. It was a beautiful dance that had helped me win many dance competitions. It wasn't my favorite though, my favorite was either the tango or the cha-cha. They were both exciting dances that could either be slow or fast, in the same dance. But now that I think about it, I have two other favorite dances; the merengue and the bachata. They were dances that required the two dance partners to be close together. The steps are often in circular movements or away from each other in a sideway fashion. There are many intricate steps to the dances, and the hand holds are the same. The two dances were very romantic.

I've always been into dancing, I've been dancing ballet for most of my life. But for the past six years, I've been doing all of the other dances that have become famous in the world. I'm now sixteen and a sophomore in high school. And even though I've been dancing since I was three, I still haven't found my perfect dance partner. Whenever I tell people that, they wonder who I've been dancing with in all of my competitions.

It's a bit embarrassing to admit it, but for all my life, whenever I needed a dance partner for a competition, I danced with my twin brother, Roshe Morgan. He's about twelve minutes older than me, and the only thing we have in common is the fact that we've both been dancing since we were both three. I'm just lucky that he hasn't found a dance partner either, or else I would've lost by default at all of those competitions.

But lately, Roshe has been dancing with a girl named Suzuki Midori (last names will be first for Japanese). I think Roshe has finally found his dance partner, not only that, but he also found his soulmate. He won't admit that he's finally found his partner, but it's obvious to everyone.

I'm happy for him—obviously, since he's my brother and everything. Things are going to be great...for him. For me, it's all going downhill. I don't have a dance partner, which means I can't dance in anything. The only time I get to dance is when I'm at this studio. I dance at home too, but there's not much room to.

If my family and I were still living in America, I might still have a chance at getting a partner. But we ended up moving to Japan because of my parents' jobs. I know no one, and people are awed by the fact that I'm an American.

"Okay, that's it! Class is over for today!" I shouted out.

The class all gathered their stuff and went out the door, I threw on a jacket over my camisole and picked up my school bag. I jogged the rest of the way home, I had to stay in shape. I've been living here for over a year. When I was in my freshmen year of high school, I ended up getting really into tennis, and joined the tennis team. All of my friends are regulars on the girls' team.

When I got home, my family was getting ready for dinner. We always ate dinner around 8 because I come home from dancing late, and because me parents come home from work a little late too. I plopped down at the table, and after we got all of the food out, we talked about how our day went. Like a regular family.

"How's Midori?" I asked to Roshe, taking a bite of pasta. "So...is she your dance partner for the upcoming competition? If she is, we might be dancing against each other, Roshe."

"We're probably going to dance together. She's amazing," Roshe replied.

"I guess we can't be partners anymore. Now I really have to step it up. It was so easy to win with an experienced dancer, but now I have to go find a new one that I'm not used to. You and Midori are going to be really hard to beat."

"Yeah, you really got your work cut out for you. At least you have tennis. I don't do anything else except dance."

"You're good at a lot of things, you're just too focused on dancing."

"And you're not?"

"Listen, it's not about me right now. It's about you and your relationship!"

"Who says I want to talk about me and Midori?!"

"You won't even admit that you're in love with her! How do you think that makes her feel, huh?!"

"Faye! Roshe! Stop!" our mother called out. "We are having dinner, and there will be no bickering at the dinner table."

"Sorry, Mom," Roshe and I apologized, our heads drooped down in shame.

"I'll give you a handicap and tell you what dance me and Midori are going to do," Roshe started. "We're going to be doing the rumba."

"Oh! Sexy," me and Roshe made up in a second. "The rumba is known for slow hip movement and beautiful dance steps with a slow rhythm. Are you trying to get closer to her? And not in the obvious way either."

"Yeah, I guess you could say that."

"If I find a dance partner, I'm going to do the dance that I'm best at with a partner."

"The tango?"

"Exactly. If I do a dance that I'm already super good at, I might actually win against you!"

"Keep on dreaming, kid."

"We're the same age. Why do you keep calling me that?"

"Because I'm older than you by twelve minutes."

I laughed at that comment. He was always going on and on about how he was older than me and that he had to protect me from bad guys. He was a pretty good brother—most of the time.

After dinner I climbed up the stairs and went up to my room. My room had a twin sized bed with bright, red sheets and the walls were covered with posters of the most famous dancers of all time. It also adorned a—recently added—Maria Sharapova poster. My room was painted red, an inspirational color that signified passion, danger, strength, and energy.

I was never really accepted into groups of friends quickly because of my "power". I can see auras. I know what people are feeling at all times, it's not just a power that I can turn off whenever I want. I was born with it, and I've seen people's auras for as long as I can remember. Like today, my brother had a pink aura around him all day, it was for love. Pink can mean other things: like sincerity or friendship. Each colored aura has its good and bad things. Red didn't only mean the things above; it also represented anger, fear, and ego. But for some reason ,even though there were a lot of emotions with each color, I could tell exactly which emotion it was, because of the shade of the color. A bright red stood for passion, but a dark red stood for fear. I could tell from the people who were good, and the people who were bad.

I had better get a good night's sleep tonight. Tomorrow I had to start looking for a new partner. I would find one, even if it killed me. I wasn't going to lose before the competition even started. I changed into my blue basketball shorts and a baggy t-shirt before going to bed.

* * *

In the morning I was a little groggy and crawled out of my bed. Mornings were hard for me, I was a night dancer. Everything seemed more romantic during the night.

"Rise and shine, Dancer," Roshe greeted me when I came down for breakfast. Dancer was what Roshe always called me. But he was as good a dancer as I was, so it made no sense for him to tease me about being obsessed with dancing.

"Hey," I said with a yawn.

"Why up so early?"

"Where are our parents?"

"They had to go to work early. So I took the honors of making our breakfast."

On the table was set two bowls, a carton of milk, and a box of cereal. I raised my eyebrow at the breakfast that Roshe had "made".

"You did a really good job in making our breakfast," I replied, picking up a dirty napkin that Roshe had left out and dropped it into the trashcan.

I sat down anyways and poured some cereal into my bowl along with milk, and started eating. Roshe sat down and joined me. He ate four bowls of cereal before he rushed me out of the house, gripping on to my forearm and pulling me in the direction to the school.

"Ow! Let me go!" I shouted yanking my arm from his grasp.

"Sorry! I'm just excited," he smiled.

"Excited about what?"

"Well, I have a big surprise for you. My friends and I set it all up last night."

"Set what up...?"

"You'll see! Now hurry up!"

Roshe started running and grabbed me along with him. I stumbled into the schoolyard with him. Waiting at the front gates were two of Roshe's friends and about twenty other guys.

"Ta-da!" Roshe shouted, spreading his arms out. "We set up auditions for your new dance partner. It's like speed dating, except it's speed dancing."

"I see..." I said, nodding my head slowly up and down. I didn't really get why Roshe was doing this, but I pretended I did. I didn't want to hurt his feelings. He put so much effort into finding me my new partner.

I sat down on a bench next to Roshe. We were auditioning dancers. We had already auditioned half of the people, but none of them were good enough. And most of them didn't even know how to do the dancing that I knew. They knew the new style; hip-hop, break dancing, folk/polka dancing, western dancing, and some even knew belly dancing. Belly dancing was not the right way for some guy to go.

"This isn't working, Roshe," I groaned. "The bell's going to ring any minute now anyways."

"Trust me, we'll find you a dance partner," Roshe said, getting pumped up. "We'll have a different way of auditioning. I'm sure a lot of guys would like to dance with such a pretty girl, and dancing with one will definitely bring out their inner dancer."

"What do you me—?" I was cut off as the bell rang.

"Tell you at lunch!" Roshe turned around and waved.

Lunchtime

"I wonder what your brother is going to do," Eto Ayumi asked, playing with the food on her tray.

"I don't know! He said the auditions were going to be different," I admitted, putting my head down on the table.

"He's coming over now!" Koizumi pointed out.

Roshe came jogging up to the table and slammed his fist down. "I was busy finding more guys to be your dance partner. Oh! And one more thing, a lot of guys are going to come to the dance studio tonight."

"What?! Why?" My mouth dropped down in disbelief. Please don't tell me what I think you're going to tell me.

"Okay, so watching guys dance isn't the best idea. You need to have some sort of chemistry with your dance partner too, even if you don't like them. Your bodies have to be in sync. So I thought, tonight, you could dance with a whole bunch of guys and see which one is the best."

"I guess that's possible..."

"Awesome!" Roshe ran off in the direction of the gym.

"You're brother is nice, Faye. You should appreciate all of the nice things he does for you. I wish I had a brother," Tsubaki admitted. "Wait, are you going to miss tennis again for this?"

"No Tsubaki. I'm not going to miss tennis practice just to find a dance partner. I only miss practice when a dance competition comes up. You know that," I told her.

"Okay, well see you at practice then. I have to make tennis plans with Ryuzaki-sensei and Tezuka-san." Tsubaki walked off in the same direction Roshe had.

"Don't worry, Faye. No worries. You'll find your dance partner, I guarantee it," Miki said.

"What if it's someone I hate? What if it's someone from the boys' tennis team?"

"With your luck, it'll likely be someone from the boys' team," Kumiko muttered, a smile playing on her lips.

"I don't want it to be someone from the boys' team! You all know that we can't get along with them!"

"Who knows? You might fall for one of them."

"Don't say that Kumiko!"

"Jeez! Sorry! I'll pick on someone else."

"This cannot be happening to me!"

Soft Steps Dance Studio

I walked slowly to inside the dance studio. Today at tennis practice I was laughed at by my friends. It wasn't mean laughter, but it did embarrass me. They said that they wanted to come and watch how horrible the guys auditioning would be.

"Okay, guy number one! Get ready!" I changed into a pair of baggy pants and a stripped camisole with a ribbon that held the front together. I took of my school shoes and put on a pair of black converse.

I stood in front of the guy, and held my arms out, he but one hand on my waist and the other on my shoulder.

"No, no. Put your other hand in mine." I held out my hand and he awkwardly put his in mine. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see more guys filing in.

To be honest, all of the guys that my brother got, sucked. Nothing they did was right. They were novices in dancing. Most of them couldn't get the moves down and held me in the dance position wrong. Some of the guys even stepped on my feet.

It was eight already and no one was left at the studio. I breathed out a sigh of relief, I didn't have to dance with anyone inexperienced anymore. I turned on the stereo to a song that had a lot of beat and spunk—a hip hop song. I locked my hand together and twirled my hands around my head while I actually twirled. I slide towards the right holding my left arm out, as if I was dancing with a partner. I slid to the left too and turned my back to the door. I lifted my arms up and did a flip. I could hip hop dance too if I wanted to.

"Excuse me...?" a voice from behind me said. I immediately stopped dancing and turned around brushing my bangs away from my face.

A boy with semi-long brown hair stood in front of me. His eyes were closed and he was smiling. He was really handsome and probably had millions of girlfriends already. Or millions of fan girls. "Am I too late for auditions?"

"No, not at all." I decided to give him a chance. What could go wrong? I already went through some pretty bad people today. He couldn't be any worse.

I turned on the stereo again, except this time I went to the song; Lu Cumparsita, it was the perfect song to do a tango with, it had no lyrics either, it was perfect.

The guy ended up holding out his hands instead. I put one of my hands on his shoulder and I slipped my other hand in his. His grip was firm and strong, his body pressed against mine, I could feel the muscles underneath, he was kind of wiry not super buff. He was a whole foot taller than me, I was only five feet and he had to be six. He opened his eyes just as the song started.

I started off by turning my right foot and doing a little twist with my left. He got closer to me and stepped out and back in again. I arched my back and kicked my foot up. He responded by spinning me and lifting my small body into the air. I twisted and wrapped my legs around his middle for about one second, then I twisted the other way and landed on the floor.

The song ended faster than I wanted it too. Here was a guy that was almost as good as Roshe. Maybe he could help me beat my own brother. He just looked down at me with cerulean blue eyes that had a sharp glint in them.

"Uh...um!" I stumbled around with my words, trying to tell him that he got the part as my new dance partner. "You got the part!"

"Really? I didn't think I would get it, there must be better dancers in this town than me."

"Not anyone who came by today. My name is Faye Morgan, what's yours?"

"I'm surprised you don't know me, Faye-san."

"What do you mean?"

"I see you every day at tennis practice. I heard you were looking for a dance partner and I thought that I should get a dance partner too. And since I already knew you. Plus, I also heard that you were one of the best dancers in Tokyo, you ranked as the number two dancer right?"

"Yeah, how did you know? I only got number two because my brother was the number one dancer in Tokyo. He's better than me."

"You're good yourself. I still can't believe you don't know me. I'm in the boys' tennis team."

"Really?" I started squirming in her skin. The girls' team never got along with the boys' team.

"Yeah, I'm a regular and I usually do singles two. My name is Fuji Shusuke."

"Fuji...Shusuke..."

I've definitely heard that name somewhere before... I snapped my fingers. I know who he is! He's the guy at my school that has all of the girls swooning over him. He has hundreds of fan girls and is constantly chased and stalked. He even gets love letters with locks of hair in them.

I shivered, this was a bad idea. A bad idea. I couldn't be the dance partner of Fuji Shusuke! I would get killed by his fan girls! I didn't even like like him! But everyone would assume that I did. The girl regulars—including me—were the only girls in our whole school that didn't like him.

Immediately, I felt disgusted just by being near him. He could get any girl he wanted. I didn't want to be one of those girls. And who knew how much experience he had? The only choice I had was to refuse him.

"Listen, Fuji-san," I started. "You're good and all. But this just won't work."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Fuji closed his eyes again.

"I'll get killed if I'm seen with you, much less dancing with you! And I don't want to be your puppet so I just can't except. I know your reputation."

"It's not like that. But if you don't want me to be your dance partner, I'll leave. You know where to find me if you want me as your dance partner. But I'll tell you one thing; you're an amazing dancer, and I've never danced with anyone as good as you."

He left and I walked over to the mirrors. I knew that he was just trying to get me to like him. He had all of the girls, and if he didn't have one, he would try to get her, and of course she would fall for him. But I wasn't going to fall for him or his charm. He may be a good dance partner but he wasn't a good person, which made all the difference.

But I would be lying to myself if I said that I didn't feel anything towards him when we danced. It wasn't him I fell in love with; it was his dancing.


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If you want to see what Faye looks like, the link to her picture is up on my profile.