It wasn't until the music cut off that I realized how lost I'd been. I felt my body stagger to a halt, and my head jerked up to look in the mirror. A tall, lean Asian gave me a smirk from the back of the room, holding my iPod in his palm as he shook his head.
"Sorry to interrupt your jam session, but my class is supposed to start soon," he said as he set the iPod on top of the speaker he proceeded to unplug it from. It only took him a few long strides before he was standing next to me. I stood up straight and sifted my hand through my hair, but immediately felt the need to slump forward as I realized how tired I was. My hair was damp and I peeled my shirt forward to unstick it from my skin.
"Oh, man, what time is it?" I said quickly, whipping my hair as I spun to look up at the clock. It took me a moment to read it, because I had to remember the rules of which hand meant minutes and which one was hours. My eyes bugged and I spat, "Shit, it's past five already?"
Mike's lips pressed together as I looked up at him. The corners of his mouth twitched in the all-too-familiar way I recognized as someone trying to keep from laughing. My lower lip puffed out and my forehead crinkled. I knew immediately I read the clock wrong. I was relieved, because I didn't wanna miss the bus again, but at the same time, I didn't like the look Mike gave me. He was new to our dance studio and this was maybe the second time I'd interacted with him directly. He seemed nice. I didn't want him thinking I couldn't tell time correctly. I've never really used an analog clock.
Mike had said something, but I must have been caught up in my own thoughts, because I hadn't heard what he said. He stared back at me as I continued to hold my wide-eyed stare. I softened as I noticed he was smiling, and concluded he must have corrected my mistake.
"Sorry for running into your time slot," I huffed, tugging on my top back and forth to fan myself. "I'll let you get to it, Chang, but next time, you're going to have to dance for the rights to my turf!" I stepped backwards, a cheesy grin on my face. Mike's smile widened into a toothy grin and confirmed that my error in telling time was forgotten.
"Oh, you're on, Pierce," he laughed. He stepped forward to the front of the room and gestured behind me, and I noticed a second too late that the motion was made for his students. A sharp breath escaped my lips as I felt a solid object stop me from my backwards movements. I quickly and awkwardly spun around to apologize to the girl I had nearly knocked over, but the girl barely acknowledged anything had happened. My mouth hung open slightly as she swerved around me and caught up with a short haired blonde.
"-you didn't tell me Mike taught the class," I heard her hiss. She sounded angry. I kept my eyes focused on her as other people brushed passed me to line up on the dance floor.
"Isn't that better?" the blonde girl replied. Her voice was softer, but still managed to hold a hint of annoyance. "You didn't have to come with us, you know."
"Ladies, let's stop fighting for once and just have fun, okay?" a brunette spoke as she stepped between the two and placed her hands on their backs to push them gently along. I almost snorted into my water bottle when I noticed her. She was the shortest of the trio, and her outfit was the most ridiculous. The Latina was wearing sweatpants with NYU printed on them and a tank - a reasonable choice that the short haired blonde mimicked almost exactly, but with reverse colors. But the brunette was wearing a bright pink leotard with neon green leggings. It wasn't a fashion choice that was entirely unreasonable - I'd be willing to bet such an outfit wouldn't look so bad on someone else, but she just seemed a bit intense. Despite the brunette's bright colors, my attention was drawn back to the Latina.
"We weren't fighting, Berry," the Latina sighed with a pained expression. Maybe it was the eye roll she made when she turned away from the brunette, but I couldn't help but think she felt the same about the girl's tone of voice as I did about her color scheme.
I slid to the ground and crossed my legs and watched on silently, sipping my water as Mike called out instructions for warming up. I don't know why I sat there for so long. I guess part of it was that I hadn't really seen Mike dance yet and I wanted us to be friends. I worked mostly during the week though, and since Mike's dance class was set to be on the weekends, we weren't going to be seeing much of one another. But something else was keeping me grounded. As Mike began to break down the dance the class was going to learn, my eyes shifted back to the Latina. She followed along, trying her best to mimic Mike's moves, but the gestures were jerky and unsure. I noticed she kept looking to her right or left to see how her friends were fairing, and I had to admit, they were doing a lot better than she was.
"This is such bullcrap," she uttered when Mike called for a break. She staggered to my far right and hastily grabbed a bottle from her bag.
"I don't know how you managed to be co-captain of the Cheerios, Santana," the blonde snickered, nudging with her elbow.
"Shut it, Fabray," Santana grimaced before taking a gulp of water. "That was like, three years ago."
"But what about all that dancing we had to do for glee club? Just because you can't do a split anymore doesn't mean you should be this bad at dancing," the blonde teased.
"I can still do splits," Santana shot back at the Fabray girl.
"Santana, you were doing fine," the brunette interjected. "And Quinn, may I remind you that we were just as bad when we started last week?"
"Racheeel," Quinn said with a whine, "Do you always have to do that? We're joking."
I lost interest in their conversation as Quinn and Rachel began to discuss Rachel's habit of interrupting what Quinn claimed to be playful banter at most while Rachel insisted they were fights. My eyes drifted to the side and stared at the last member of their trio. Santana just stood silently, probably grateful no one was making fun of her dancing anymore. Mike interrupted them when he called for line ups again, and I looked up to the mirrors so I could see the group from the front rather than from behind. Again, I sought out the Latina without really thinking about it. I was so intrigued by her, even if she couldn't really dance very well. I wasn't even focused on her jerky movements or how she stepped incorrectly as she attempted to follow along. My attention was drawn to how her brow furrowed slightly with frustration or how her jaw clenched every time she fell behind. I didn't realize the intensity of my leering until her eyes rose to the mirrors and met mine. She seemed caught off guard by the contact, and I froze, holding my gaze until i panicked and tore away. But not before she fumbled a step and bumped into Quinn.
I scrambled to my feet and gathered my things quickly while I heard her snap a sharp, "Shit!" She was disoriented and pushed Quinn away. I left before she got her footing back.
"Brittany, hurry up." There was a pounding on the door, and the abruptness of it made me get shampoo in my eyes. I don't even know how that happened, but I clamped my eyes shut and ducked my head into the stream from the shower head. It was too late, my eyes were burning. I quickly rinsed my hands free of soap and pressed my fingers to my face, rubbing at my eyes until they felt well enough for me to open them again.
"Gimme two minutes," I shouted, quickly scrubbing my scalp under the water. I scanned the shower for my conditioner and quickly squeezed a glob into my palm.
"I have to pee, c'mon!"
"Jenna! Just come in if you've gotta go so bad!" I said, digging my fingers through my hair as I stepped away from the water so I could lather on the conditioner properly. There was a moment of silence and I rolled my eyes. I never understood why everyone was always so uncomfortable with nudity. Besides, it wasn't like my roommate had to see me. There was a curtain.
"Don't look," her voice came, louder, so she must have come in. I chuckled, and let out a low whistle meant to be a cat call. She let out a shrill squeak and then batted the shower curtain. "Shut up and shower."
"But Jen, now I'm almost done. You better hurry before I finish, or else I'm gonna peek," I teased as I dove back under the water to rinse out my hair. I heard her scramble up and the toilet flush.
"You're gross," she said.
"You're the one that just peed- Ah!" I shouted abruptly as the water got hot. Our apartment was kind of old - so when she flushed the toilet, I got the negative effect. I quickly turned the shower off.
"Get out or you're gonna see me nakeeed," I called, stretching my hand from behind the curtain and wavering it around as I made exaggerated attempts at finding my towel.
"Brittany!" she squealed and ran out.
I wrapped myself up in the towel after scrubbing myself dry and stumbled out of the bathroom.
"Put some clothes on, weirdo," Jenna said, clamping her hand over her eyes as I came out in just the towel.
"I forgot to grab clothes when I went in," I shrugged. It wasn't a lie, but I also hadn't expected her to be home. Not that I walk around without clothes on, but I didn't think it would be an issue. I dashed past her and ran to my room. The moment I closed my door, I heard her holler a 'Thank god'.
It took me a minute to change, but in the time it did take, I began to wonder why she was home. I like Jenna, don't get me wrong. We've been roommates for almost two years. But because of that, we know each others schedules pretty well, and I was positive she had work on Saturdays.
"Hey gurlfrahn," I said as I flopped onto the couch in the living room. I had pulled on pajamas, but had left my feet bare. I wriggled my toes as I playfully kicked her arm.
"Ew, Brittany, gross," Jenna laughed, trying to grab ahold of my ankles to get me to stop. After a few seconds, I did, and turned to look at the TV.
"What is this?" I asked as two girls on the screen shrieked and shouted while pulling each others hair.
"Jersey Shore, I think," Jenna said. She started flipping through channels.
"Hey, how come you're home so early?"
Jenna froze. I didn't expect her to suddenly look so petrified. Was something wrong?
"You didn't lose your job, did you?" I asked abruptly before I could think of a nicer way to phrase it. I stared as Jenna's expression shifted. At first her lips parted, cracking into a grin, and she snorted while shaking her head. Then she stopped, her mouth falling back into a sad frown. She opened and closed her mouth a few times to speak, but kept getting stuck.
"What happened?" I said, nudging her gently. I wanted to show that whatever it was, I could handle it.
"I- Brittany, I got, um." Her lips spread into a grin again, wider this time, but her brow remained furrowed like she was going to cry. Yes, that was it. She as really happy - so happy. "I got a job in L.A.!"
"Oh. My. God," I shouted, snapping back for a quick second before jolting forward to wrap her in the biggest bear hug I could muster. I pulled back, gripping her shoulders. "We totally have to celebrate! Oh, gosh, when? How? Jenna, I'm so proud of you! Why didn't you tell me immediately?"
"I found out today," she started, laughing. "I don't know, soon? I've got to..." Her smile faltered. "Brittany, I got a job in L.A." She stressed the last bit of the sentence and stared at me. I think she was trying to guard herself by letting my figure it out on my own. I think she didn't want to give a direct blow. But once I realized what she meant, I sank back, and let out the softest oh.
Jenna was moving out.