"Ok, we're both coming out of this with partners, agreed?" I said, and Whitney nodded before pushing open the door to the loft studio where the ballroom team practiced. It was a Tuesday night and we were on a mission: we needed partners.
Whitney and I were officially on the team. I had made up my mind probably before I stepped on to the dance floor a few Thursday nights ago. I think it was the moment I pulled my shoes out of my closet and when I had stepped on that dance floor and was able to pick up what was going on without any instruction, I knew this had to meant to be. Whitney decided with a bit more thought to join me (she was probably the more rational one). And here we were, in yoga pants and ballroom heels, scouting out partners.
We both had our eyes on someone: I had met this guy, Joey, at one of the first lessons and it turned out he was in marching band in high school just like me, and he seemed like a cool enough person. Whitney saw potential in this guy named Josh, and we just needed to see if their enthusiasm for ballroom matched ours. Girls outnumbered guys on the team, and we knew we had to move fast if we wanted partners. Tonight was our night to strike.
"Who is she?" I whispered to Whitney as some blonde chick accompanied Josh into the studio, "Have we seen her before?"
"No idea," Whitney's eyes narrowed, sizing up this unexpected competition.
When we first partnered up, the blonde moved right to Josh, and Whitney and I swapped a concerned glare. We switched partners every couple of repetitions, and it wasn't long until I ended up dancing with Joey.
Joey had a slightly rebellious look to him: a persistent scruff and a nose ring. It matched my own edgy style, which I was finding was perfectly suited to the world of ballroom dancing.
I had perfect dresses for dancing, cute little skirts, an endless array of tops to be paired with leggings, and far too many pairs of yoga pants for when I felt lazy. It was as if my closet was telling me this was meant to be.
And when your closet talks to you, you listen.
Today's outfit included my favorite Victoria's Secret leggings that had a black sequin stripe running down the side and a black lace trapeze tank. My hair was waved so it had more motion as I twirled.
There wasn't anything unusually special about Joey's dancing, he was simply a nice guy. He had a sense of humor, and for the ten minutes we danced, he seemed to have potential.
"I can't believe this," Whitney was glaring at blondie, who hadn't switched partners when it was called for. She had been dancing with Josh for the entire lesson so far.
"Go cut in," I urged her.
"Saw you dancing with Joey," Whitney whispered.
I gave her a thumbs-up as we received a last bit of instruction and set to partner up again.
But the guy who strode across the room and offered his hand to me next was someone who was becoming quite familiar to me: a certain captain of the team named James.
It was normal for James to help out at the newcomer lessons, but I happened to notice it was unusual for him to dance with any one girl as much as he danced with me. I had counted.
Dancing with James was actually amazing. He didn't stop when the music stopped, and would throw in an extra step, or spin, or dip, or something when everyone else stopped moving. I think I got exponentially better when I danced with James which was, luckily for me, decently frequent.
But then we didn't change partners, and I ended up dancing with James for the solid last hour of our lesson. Good for my personal development as a dancer, bad for finding a partner.
"So, I'm on a mission," I said to James, crossing my arms over my chest as we finished the part of the dance we were working on, "I've got to find a partner."
"Ahhh," said James, following my gaze across the room, "Do you have anyone in mind?"
"I was thinking about Joey, he seems pretty decent, and a nice guy," I mused.
"I'll put in a good word for you," James said encouragingly.
"Thanks," I said, genuinely surprised.
I saw James drift over to talk to Joey as the lesson drew to a close-
"Have you danced before?"
A high-pitched voice belonging to the girl Whitney and I had nicknamed "Minnie Mouse" cut into my reverie.
"Um, not really. I did a tiny bit back in seventh grade, but had to stop because I couldn't find a partner. I did a semester of "beginning ballet" at community college," I shrugged.
"Really?" said Minnie Mouse's friend who was standing next to her.
"You must be really good, you can keep up with James," Minnie Mouse said, her eyes flicking in an obvious once-over.
My eyes narrowed quizzically, "Is that not normal?"
Both girls shook their heads, staring at me.
"I mean, I just follow," I shrugged my shoulders, trying to appear modest but inside I was secretly about to jump out the open studio window and start flying in excitement.
Maybe I could be good at this...
"-Do you want to be partners?"
My head snapped around as I heard someone ask the infamous question, and it wasn't Whitney.
It was whoever Joey had been dancing with for the majority of the lesson while I had been dancing with James. She was asking Joey to be her partner.
And instead of flying out the window in excitement, I was a pile of bones and clothes smashed on the pavement below.
"Back to the drawing board," I sighed as Whitney and I left the studio together, "That was an epic fail."
"Josh brought that dumb bitch who isn't even that good, I was watching them-" Whitney hissed darkly.
"And I ended up dancing with James the entire time, which gets me no where in looking for a partner," I added with only a half-disheartened tone.
"You need to be careful of him," Whitney said suddenly.
"I've heard James tries to hook up with all of the newcomers," Whitney said, an edge of warning to her voice.
"Well I'm sure I'm not on his list," I said with a side-glance at Whitney as we walked back to her dorm before I would split for my car, "I'm short, have no boobs, and more self-confidence than most easy girls have," I said with a shrug.
Whitney glared, "Xaylia, everyone's talking about you."
"What are you talking about?"
"Carly and Alex told me; everyone's asking who you are. You're gorgeous."
I stared, "What the fuck is wrong with this world? There are like a million prettier newcomer girls-"
Whitney rolled her eyes at me.