"Holy. Hell," my eyes went wide in terror and I turned to look at Joey, who looked just as horrorstruck next to me.
The lobby of our coaches' studio was practically bursting at the seams with college kids. It was the first of the team's summer lessons, and practically everyone who was in Ann Arbor for the summer had turned out.
"Kaitlyn! You're here!" my friend Teresa's voice carried over the chatter in the lobby, "This is so weird, I went to change and there were all these newcomers in the bathroom and everyone was changing in the stalls. I didn't have you to change in the middle of the bathroom with!"
"Oh my God," I hugged her, "I had to change in the stall too and I couldn't remember the last time I actually did that!"
Teresa was in our carpool group for b-team lessons over the school year, and since we always got to lesson at the same time, we would head straight for the bathroom and change into our dance clothes in the middle of the room, without bothering to change in the stalls. There had been no one's underwear I've complimented more.
Our coaches welcomed us all back with a warning, the same warning we got at the first summer lesson last year: that this would be the most crowded of the summer lessons, that people would stop coming, until at the end of the summer, only the committed remained. We did the first warm-up waltz, and Joey and I maneuvered around all of the newcomers. It felt good to be back, after two years of lessons at this studio, it felt a little bit like home. When we rounded the corner to where Steve and Susan were analyzing the room, Joey turned me to promenade and both of our coaches' heads turned to us. They returned the smile that was on my face. It had been a month and a half since we seen Steve and Susan, which was practically a record for the past two years of our dancing careers.
After an hour of Steve and Susan cracking jokes about Joey smoking weed, two guys on the team dating each other, Alex being a terrible dancer, it felt like things were back to normal. When the waltz lesson ended and everyone began to head back to the lobby to change shoes for the second half of the lesson, Steve made a b-line across the studio for Joey and I.
"Missed me, de-ah?" Steve said in his British accent before hugging me and kissing me on the cheek.
"I've missed you terribly Steve," I said, kissing his cheek back, "Have you missed me?"
"I have," and in a rare moment, I could tell Steve wasn't joking.
Steve and Joey shook hands, and we started talking when we were interrupted by Mitch, one of the most awkward people I knew.
"Steve, can I pick your brain about waltz?" Mitch asked.
"If it's quick," Steve said, and over Mitch's shoulder, I stuck out my tongue, and Steve tried to conceal a laugh before I went off to change my shoes.
When the rumba lesson ended an hour later, Steve wove around the crowed to find Joey and I once again.
"So what has your boy been up to lately?" Steve drawled in his British accent, slipping an arm around my waist.
"Which boy?" I asked, "Joey? Alex? You just talked to them."
"CJ, of course," Steve smirked, squeezing my hip, "What's he doing now?"
"Oh him! I wouldn't know," I shrugged.
"You two were thick as thieves! What the hell happened to him?"
Steve and Susan somehow knew everything about their student's lives. Steve and Susan became great ballroom dancers by being very observant about their own dancing, and I think they turned their powers of observation to detect what went on with their students outside of their studio.
"Um, long story short, he got back with his ex-girlfriend, and she didn't like us being friends, so he chose his dysfunctional relationship with her, over his friendship with me," I said it lightly, with a slight laugh, "So I have no idea what's going on in his life, but Alex might still talk to him-"
I dragged Alex into the conversation, who was quick to attest to CJ getting back together with Sarah and then ditching all of his friends. But Steve seemed to only listen politely to Alex, I could feel him side-glancing at me as he kept his arm around me, almost tenderly. There were moments where we knew that our coaches knew too much about our personal lives, and this was one of them.
Eventually Steve's attentions were taken by someone else, and Alex, Joey, and I went to change out of our dance shoes. Swapping my t-strap latin shoes for platform wedges, the three of us gathered our things to leave, and poked our heads back into the studio to say goodbye.
As I was halfway to the door, I turned back around to see Steve motioning for me to come back. He put his arm around my shoulder, "CJ's a fucking idiot if he chose any girl over you," he whispered in my ear.
I couldn't help it, I threw my arms around Steve and hugged him, "Thanks Steve."
"See you next week?"
"See you next week," I smiled and Steve kissed my hair.
Sometimes, our coaches' all-knowingness wasn't a bad thing.