“She said I can.” For some reason, Cerese’s tone and expression did not match her words.
“Well that’s good right?”
“Yeah, but she said I have to clean the kitchen and the bathrooms.”
“All of them.”
“Oh…” It was bad, and we both knew it, but dang it all, I had committed to this, and I was bound and determined to make it happen now. “Well we better started then!” I smiled, taking hold of her wrist and dragging her down the hallway.
Living with two boys, I had seen some pretty dirty bathrooms in my day, but living with eight other people, these rooms were absolutely vile. It was hard to imagine, how anyone could bathe in a tub as filthy as the one in their upstairs bathroom. Somehow they managed though, because no one had even attempted to clean up since the last time she and I cleaned the entire up stairs.
I wish I could say, I was over exaggerating. Sadly I wasn’t. The girls were too young, and the boys didn’t care, and with the eldest staying at her boyfriends house most days, it was all up to Cerese, and by extension… me. Like I said before, it was frustrating at times, but once we started working on it together, we could get it all done fairly quickly.
Dynamic duo of domestics! I was the mopper and she was the scrubber and together we could clean just about anything. That particular day was one of the easier days, so with about four hours to spare we were done. It was just enough time for us both to get showered and ready to be picked up by my mom. It was good thing too, because I had totally forgotten my skirt and more church friendly top back at the house.
Grabbing my stuff and changing quicker than I had ever done before, we were on our way to Berry Blessed community center. There were kids running all over the place when we arrived. I had a small moment of cold feet, once I had stepped out of the car. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea i thought to myself. Normally I wasn’t a shy person, but get me around a group of people and I tended to clam up. I was much better with one on one interactions.
“Come on!” Cerese giggled and grabbed arm and pulling me through the glass doors. Ready or not, here we went.
The first thing to catch my eye, was a giant photo in the front hallway.
“Hey! We have this same photo hanging in our front room.”
“Really? This was taken at the re-opening of Peppermint Pier.”
“Yeah, one of my ancestors in there.” I knew full well who my Grandmother Lacey was, and I eyed her carefully in the bottom corner. That was one thing, I had yet to tell Cerese about. Being such a strict Dulcian, the last thing she would ever believe was a man from over 200 years ago sending a letter to my mother about me. Yeah… that would go over real well.
“I bet it is one of those really pretty ones with the white hair.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because you are pretty and you have white hair.”
“Hah! You’re funny.”
“I’m not kidding!!! Come on lets go in!”
“Okay.” Couldn’t stall any longer, so we went inside.
To my relief, the lights were dimmed. Which helped to ease my anxiety just a tiny bit. It was kind of hard to discern faces, but that was fine by me, since I didn’t really know anyone besides Cerese anyways. The music was modern, and they even had a DJ. Everyone was about our age or a little older from what I could tell. Like I said, you couldn’t really see faces, but you could see bodies moving all over, dippin and boppin with the music.
It was a lot easier than I had expected to really get into it! One of my favorite songs started to play and I was boppin along with the rest of them. Something about dancing was very liberating to me, especially when people can’t really see what you are doing, or how badly you dance. Didn’t matter though, I was cutting loose, and man did it feel great!
“Brother M says the next song is going to be a slow one! Someone might just ask you to dance.”
Before I had a chance to take off to the ladies room, the song ended and sure enough, a much slower one started to play. Oh boy, I thought to myself. I could feel my heart start to race as one by one people started pairing off. I had just started to head for the chairs that lined the one wall of the room, when I boy started walking right over to me.
“Would you care to dance?”
“Sure.” Despite my bodies unwillingness to go along, my mouth foolishly opened and I said yes. Amazingly my heart started to beat even more wildly. He had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. Taking my hand in his, we lead out to the middle of the floor.
I could hardly believe it. This cute guy, and he asked me. Me! To dance. Carefully we started to make small circles around the dance floor. At first I was too shy to look him directly in the eyes, so I kept looking around the room. Finally, after about a minute he broke the silence.
“So… do you come to these often? I don’t think I have ever seen you before.”
“Ah, nope this was first time.”
“Oh, I see. What stick do you come from?”
“I’m not a member.”
“Oh.” Suddenly his feet stopped abruptly and so did mine. “Could you excuse me for a second.”
What happened next shocked and horrified me. I knew he wasn’t coming back. I just couldn’t take it in. Did he really just leave me in the middle of the floor, because I wasn’t a member?
The answer to that my friends is yes. Jilted in the middle of dance floor. My eyes darted around the room. Thankfully everyone was so busy watching their feet, or worrying about their sweaty palms, no body had noticed. Not even Cerese, was aware, as I drug myself over to the chairs and plopped myself down.
How embarrassing can you get? The exact reason I didn’t want to go to this stupid thing in the first place. I could feel the tears on the brim of my eyes, which always seemed to happen when I was angry.
To make it worse, I was front and center as he asked another girl to dance. Unbelievable!! I sat their dumbfounded. Like nothing happened, they started to sway with the music. Just like I had never existed. I was so busy wallowing in my own self pity, I didn’t even notice when someone took the seat right next to mine.
“Did that guy just do what I think he did?”
I winced. Like I needed another reminder to what had just happened. “Yup.” I replied curtly.
“Do you know that guy?”
“Nope.” I quipped again.
“Well I do, and he is a big jerk, trust me.”
“If you would like… we could dance.”
Ughhh, I wasn’t about to go through all of this a second time, so I just came right out with it.
“Yeah, I’m not a member, you may want to go ask one of those other girls.”
“Isn’t it like against the rules or something?”
“No. Is that what happened? You told him you were not a member and he left?”
“Wow. See I told you he was a jerk.”
That got a little smile out of me. I swung my feet playfully under the chair.
“My name is Bubble.”
“That is really pretty.”
“So what do you say? You wanna dance.”
After I was sure I wasn’t going to get ditched a second time I agreed. The music had just made its switch to the next track, when we reached the floor. The song was slow and pretty and I could feel my heart starting to kick into over time again.
“Since this is your first time here, I will give you the basics alright?”
“Okay, first of all, they have rules on how you have to stand.” He stated, carefully grasping my hand in his. “One hand on the shoulder.” He placed my hand on his shoulder. “And one hand on the hip.” His hand slid over my hip. My cheeks flushed, but I did my best to keep my attention on the lesson at hand. “You have to be two inches apart at all times.”
“I think I got it.” For the first time, his face came into some decent lighting, and I caught a glimpse of just how cute he was, which only caused me to blush more furiously.
“Personally it is all a little boring if you ask me.”
“Yeah. I don’t see what is wrong with getting a little close to a girl if you really like her. Your just dancing right?”
“Right.” Suddenly he moved in a little closer, pulling me in just about an inch. My heart racing like a freight train, I did my best to keep my cool.
“What do you think they would do if they caught us?” He whispered.
“I don’t know.” My knees were literally starting buckle underneath me.
“They might kick us out. Would you dance with me in the parking lot if they did?”
My smile was so tight across my face, I could hardly speak, so I nodded my head instead. Luckily for us both, we managed to get a way with our bending of the rules for two whole songs. The third song to come on was a bit faster, so all the couples began to break apart once again.
The rest of the evening we spent walking around the center. It wasn’t against the rules as long as we stayed inside the building. We made circle after circle around that main lobby probably a couple dozen times.
He was funny and charming, and the best part he actually liked me. Hadn’t had that since my ex and we all know how well that went. We spent a good two hours just talking and laughing. He was easy to talk to and everyone once in a while we would playfully touch the other. Not in a significant way, just playful, but didn’t stop it from sending shivers all through me. There was something about what we were doing that seemed so naughty, even though we weren’t doing anything at all.
He even waited with Cerese and I outside, until my mom had swung by to pick us up. There was no denying it, I was smitten, and I had a good hunch that he might have been too. But after recent events I wasn’t about to get my hopes up prematurely.
“I had a great time tonight.”
“Will I see you at the next activity?”
“Yes!” The word eagerly flew from my mouth, and I know Cerese caught it, but kept it to herself. I knew though on the inside she was dying to say “See it was totally fun wasn’t it!”
We chatted together in a little group till my mom pulled up out in the front. My stomach did a little flip flop, because I wasn’t ready to go just yet. Sadly we had to say goodbye, but to my delight, he pulled me in for a hug to do it.
“See you see soon I hope.”
“Me too.” Me too? That was what I went with? Oh well. It got the point across. We hopped in the car, and waved goodbye. Before long he was out of sight, and we were dropping off Cerese at her house. Saturday night was her one night to stay at home. Church in the morning and all. What I didn’t expect was a sticky note on my door, with a message from Cerese when I got back. I pulled the tag from my door and sat down on the bed. It was obviously Seance’s writing, because at the end he added his own little commentary, which he just loved to do.
Bubble called. Wanted to know if he could have your number. You should be getting a call soon. ooooooo! Wisty has a boyfriend. Yuck!
I fell back onto my bed, and clutched the paper in my hand. Feeling something I hadn’t felt for many months I let out a loving sigh. Maybe I did. Maybe I did.