this story is like a week's worth in one, bear with me
thursday - baskeball game
I sat back in my seat, arms folded across my chest as I watched the dance group traipse around the basketball court. Despite all my efforts, there were still a few girls dragging them down. Maybe I hadn't broken them yet - there was still a lot of room for improvement. I leaned forward, pinching my chin between my thumb and forefinger. Alex sat next to me, knocking his knee against mine.
"Not bad?" he said, raising an eyebrow.
"They're an embarrassment," I replied, sighing. "I tried."
"Give them another week."
I rolled my eyes, knowing that another week wouldn't do much. I'd taken away the great routine I'd made for them, and given them an easier one that they could suck to and nobody would bat an eyelid. But if they messed up my hard work... I'd lynch them. Alex had already tuned out, talking to some of the guys next to him. Conveniently, really, because my cell was vibrating in my bag, and I pulled it out to find a text from Michael. We'd been sending a few messages a day, and now he'd come up with the standard "what are you up to?"
"At a basketball game, watching my dance group fail miserably," I replied.
"How dare they," he said, and I giggled to myself.
"Who are you texting?" Alex asked, trying to look over my shoulder.
"Some guy I met."
"Some guy? I thought I was the only one," he grinned, rubbing my leg before trying to snatch the phone out of my hand. I resisted, and he ended up with his arms around me in an embrace, kissing my cheek quickly.
Another text from Mike buzzed in my hand, and I shaded it from Alex. "What are your plans next week?"
"Nothing set in stone," I replied.
"Do you want to meet up for dinner on Thursday?"
For some reason, my heart was pumping like a teenager who just talked to her crush. Maybe it was because he was older, or so successful, I know I didn't want a relationship, but just to be wanted for company... "Sure," I texted back, and we organised a time and place. Alex draped his arm around my shoulders and pulled me towards him, kissing my cheek. "Need a ride home tonight?"
"I think I'm gonna walk."
I stared at the girls, arms folded across my chest. It was time for them to face the music, all puns intended. "You know most of this routine," I said, referring to the one I'd made for them earlier. "And this is the last straw. I'm going to run the song three times. Brad and I are going to watch you, and each time you better give it all you have, because if you're not hitting it, you're out."
They probbly thought I was some rght-hand man left over from the Duvallier regime but honestly, I didn't care. I wasn't the captain of the team, I wasn't even on it, so I didn't know them anything. There was an audition process, but like any good system, there should be continual reviews, right? So I hit the play button, and Ke$ha began inviting us to roll with her, and Brad and I watched with eagle eyes. Halfway through the third playing, everyone was tired, but it was easy to see who'd given up too easily. Five girls were kicked out - at least for this routine, at least until they could raise their fitness, and they glared at me for the rest of the hour.
Sally pulled me aside later, apparently thankful for my iron fist, but also with a favour to ask. "Can you dance the next game?"
I sighed, biting down on my lip. "I don't know if that's a good idea."
"Seriously, Lo, I need you to... I know I keep asking you for favours, but this is so important, and you're such a good dancer, you would make so much impact... besides, it's your routine, nobody knows it better than you."
"You make such a convincing argument," I replied, only half sarcastic. "I'll see what I can do."
Still in our dance gear, thankfully, Brad and I had to head over to Company for the big showing-off-of-things day, where everyone gathered around nervously and watched the other dancers go through their choreogaphed routines, anxious for their own turn, wondering why they even bothered in the first place. Brad and I went through his first, knowing it had no shot at opening on account of it being hip hop and, therefore, totally not Leiden's thing, before we were called up near the end for my own routine.
"So it's not completely finished," I explained, shaking out my arms and legs. "But the gist is, you know, it's meant to be a lot more controlled at the start, then there's a downtime before the really big lft, down again, and the climax..."
A few of the dancers snickered on the last word, my reputation always preceeding me, but I ignored them and began the routine, the first part being stretches, small lifts, a few inconsequential moves, picking up pace with the first "run fast for your mother," etc., slowing down, and a wait before I ran halfway across stage and lept into Brad's arms, hitting him at the "bullet in the brain" part, where he subsequently lifted me completely above his head and spun once, which was meant to be the whole crux of the dance, really, never improved on afterwards. Anyway, we stuck it, which was a miracle, and there were subsequent oohs and ahhs from the rest of the dancers, and the rest of it went off without a hitch. Without being cocky, I was pretty sure we'd nailed the opening position.
"Which dress?" I asked Ale, who was sitting at her desk, pretending to study, but really just flipping through pages while listening to her iPod. She didn't respond, so I pulled an earphone from her ear. "Which dress?" I yelled.
"Damn," she said, jumping. "No need to yell."
I raised my eyebrows and pressed my lips together, trying to convey a sense of urgency in a non-yelling manner, holding up both dresses alternatively. "Either, you'd look good in both."
"Okay, okay. The purple one."
"You don't think it's a little much?"
"A little much? You?" She raised an eyebrow.
"Okay, point taken."
I stripped and she turned back to her pretend-work as I got ready, quickly, too late for the bus, cabbing it downtown and meeting Mike at some upscale restaurant with a menu I couldn't read, eventually settling on the meal that sounded the least likely to rise from the dead and bite me.
"So how's school?" he asked, and I wondered if it was weird for him, to be asking such a question, or whether it gave him a secret thrill, having dinner with someone eleven years his junior.
"Hectic," I replied. "I'm usually dancing twice a day, so... I'm very hungry," I grinned. He laughed, we both laughed, we kept laughing throughout the night, bouncing off each other, it was relaxing and comforting, being able to talk to him candidly, but omitting certain parts of my life. We were the last people out of the restaurant, but there was no invitation back to his place this time. He just kissed me, again, and hailed me a cab, again.
"I'll se you soon," he said, closing the cab door, and I spent a few moments of happiness before reality kicked in. God - was that a date? Did I just go on a date with a man and not go home with him? How un-Lola like. How... unnerving. The signs were there - the flirty texting, the table banter, the kissing, soft and anticipatory. I raised my hand to my forehead, now feeling slightly sick, because I didn't want to date him, but I liked him too much just to not talk to him any more... the thoughts swirled around my head, nauseating, all the way back to campus, and I found my phone, calling Alex.
"I'm coming over," I said, not giving him a chance to decline, changing the cab's direction. He met me outside his room, his roommate forced to play Xbox with their nerdy neighbour while I fucked Alex, this friend I'd had for what felt like so long, maybe my closest male friend, and I thought... is there something wrong with this? Is this some deep-rooted psychological issue that results in my mind replacing 'date' with 'sex', pursuing the latter, whether it was with the date or not...
Maybe, I thought, but maybe this is the meaning of life, or something, Alex's hot breath on my neck, one of my quivering legs resting on his shoulder, or maybe this wasn't the meaning, but it was... something... who says it's a bad thing?