In Rhythm

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Gay and Lesbian  |  House: Booksie Classic
When Kara struggles with a new dance for a competition, her teacher, Ruby, partners her, to show her how it’s done. Their chemistry is clear and it’s the best time Kara’s ever danced that routine, the only problem is she has to dance with Felix not Ruby, and the competition is tomorrow.

Submitted: June 03, 2013

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Submitted: June 03, 2013

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Chapter One: In Training

One, two, three, one, two, three,’ the rhythm went round and round in her head.

Kara clung on to Felix as he pulled her this way and that. She focused on each move before it came. The heel turn, box-step, into the lift… she tired to forget the pain in her feet. They were close to the end, it would soon be over, just a couple more moves. Then she could go home, have a bath, sink into the warm water…

“No, no, no, no, NO!”

Kara and Felix jerked to a halt as their dance teacher yelled.

“Kara, were you even listening to the music?” Ruby, their dance coach, had been giving them a hard time all evening, pushing them, over and over and over until Kara felt that the dance had no meaning left.

“We were in perfect time!” But Felix’s protest made him sound like a whining toddler, and not a grown man of twenty.

“What does timing matter, if you two look like you’re wandering around a supermarket?”

Kara stared at the floor; she knew she hadn’t been feeling the music, she wasn’t feeling anything, she just wanted to be done with this dance routine. She wanted the whole thing to be over with.

She hated it when Ruby got angry. Not because Ruby was vicious or cruel it was more to do with the fact that Kara hated to see her upset, and hated to be the reason she was upset.

“You looked bored, both of you, but Kara, you just look like you want to be somewhere else entirely, there was no heart, no soul, no connection between you. You look like you are just going through the motions; and that will not impress the judges tomorrow.”

Kara knew exactly what she meant. But she didn’t know what to say, she looked up at Ruby and just felt stupid. Kara wasn’t getting this dance, she really wasn’t. Felix was her first ever dance partner and she was starting to think that maybe she should go back to dancing solo, or maybe she should quit entirely.

“Come here.” Ruby held her arms wide open and Kara wondered if she wanted them to hug. “I won’t bite, Kara.”

Cautiously, she took a step forward and Ruby grabbed hold of her hands, moving her into starting position.

The thrill of being so close to Ruby sent a rush of excitement through her. Something she wasn’t quite prepared for. The sensation of Ruby holding her made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. As she moved her own hand onto her teacher’s waist she had to remind herself to breathe. But, at the same time, she felt dread sink into her stomach as she realised she was going to have to dance, and dance well. There was so much buzzing through her mind she wasn’t sure she could remember the steps.

But then the music started and she had to move.

It was intense. Kara’s heart was racing her muscles were tight, she felt herself stumbling through the moves. All she could think about was the heat from Ruby’s body, the smell of her perfume.

She had to admit that in her most private fantasies she had thought about this moment, about her chance to dance with Ruby, to be this close, to hold her body against her own. But now that it was happening, she was numb, unable to think, unable to move.

“Free yourself.” Ruby whispered “Forget about the moves, forget where you are, forget who you are, just feel it.”

Kara tried to let go of all the thoughts, all the worries about the competition, the analysis of the moves, the aching of her over-worked muscles. She relaxed her grip on Ruby, relaxed into her, allowed herself to trust this woman, to trust her teacher, to be led by her, and suddenly it felt right.

She wasn’t dancing she was flying. She was soaring round the room with Ruby. She didn’t remember the steps, she knew them; they were part of the music and part of her. For those few brief moments she was part of Ruby and Ruby was part of her and both of them were a part of the music, moving as one across the room.

Then it was over.

Too soon it was over, and they stopped, panting for breath the exhilaration of the dance rushing through them, making them giddy with laughter. Ruby’s eyes were bright, looking straight at Kara. She’d felt it too, Kara knew that Ruby must have felt that intensity burning through them

“That was amazing.” Ruby said.

Kara went to reply, to tell her she agreed that it was wonderful, liberating, the most uplifting dance she had ever known; that dancing with Ruby was the most powerful experience of her life.

“Well if we dance like that tomorrow we’ll be sure of the trophy.”

Felix broke the moment. He grabbed Kara by the waist, giving her a friendly squeeze of delight. “That was awesome.” He said, grinning.

“Now see what you two can do.”

Ruby was no longer looking at her, no longer smiling, back to business, back to coaching and as Felix took Kara into starting position she felt like a cold, wet, fish: all the life and music within her had gone.


Chapter Two: In Trouble

Kara took hold of Felix’s hand, she tried not to look at Ruby, tried not to think about how it had felt to dance with her; she had to think about Felix now, to think about dancing with him.

Suddenly Felix was pulling her, the music had started and she hadn’t even noticed. She was two steps behind. Kara had to catch up, to jump ahead, she was back in the rhythm but she knew it wasn’t neat, she knew the dance was a mess already.

Kara pushed away the thoughts about what Ruby might say, how disappointed she would be with her. She pushed way the thoughts of the competition, the judges staring at her and Felix, the audience watching them, the other dancers laughing at them. Worst of all would be failing in front of Ruby. Ruby watching her, disappointed, Ruby—

It was the lift. It was the lift already!

Kara hadn’t been thinking, she hadn’t been aware of where they were, she hadn’t jumped, she hadn’t given Felix the leverage he needed.

It was over so quickly.

One moment Kara’s feet were in the air and the next she was laying winded on the ground as Felix yelled out in frustration.

It took Kara a second to catch her breath, Ruby was at her side immediately.

“Are you alright?” Ruby asked, her hand on Kara’s shoulder, the intensity of the touch burning through her.

“Yes.” Kara managed to say “I think so.”

“My ankle…” Felix said, the girls looked at him, he was pale and speaking through gritted teeth “I twisted it as I went down.”

Ruby rushed to him, leaving Kara’s side, leaving the sensation of her hand on Kara’s shoulder. But there were more important things to think about now, Felix had been hurt before, he usually took it well and Kara hadn’t seen him in quite so much pain before.

As Ruby leaned down and lay a hand gently on his ankle he had to stifle a cry.

“Okay.” She said softly.

Kara could see she was concerned, there was no emotion showing, she was completely poker-faced and that meant the worst.

“We’ll get you checked out, just in case.” Ruby forced a smile, but Kara and Felix knew what ‘just in case’ meant; ‘just in case it was broken’, ‘just in case it couldn’t be danced on’, ‘just in case this was the end of their ballroom championship campaign before it had even begun’.

Kara knew she should be worried about Felix, about how much pain he was in, and felt guilty that all she could think of was the competition, the dance, her career. It was her fault, it was her fault they had fallen; she hadn’t been paying attention, she hadn’t been focused on the dance and now it was Felix who was struggling to climb off the floor.

“Do you need a hand?” Kara stepped forward to offer her support to Ruby as she struggled to help Felix to his feet.

“You’ve done enough already.” Ruby snapped.

The words stung Kara, they hurt all the more because they were true.

She didn’t say anymore to either of them.

Ruby helped Felix hobble out of the training room and all the way to the car, while Kara watched, not sure what to do. She thought about waiting in the training room or heading home and forgetting about the whole thing, but she knew that running away would only make things worse, so she gathered everyone’s belongings and headed out to the car after them.

The journey to the hospital was silent. No one had anything to say, and Kara knew they both blamed her. Both Felix and Ruby had put in so many hours, training her up to enter the competition, helping her to reach the level she needed to in order to compete with the highest grade of ballroom dancers and now she had ruined it all.

She suppressed a choking sob and stared out of the window at the darkening horizon.

When they reached the hospital, rather than follow them into the doctor’s office, Kara waited outside. She wasn’t sure how long they would be, and she didn’t know if she should wait for them or try to get home. Her body ached, her feet were sore, her muscles hurt, she was bruised where she had fallen and it was all for nothing. Weeks of training, for nothing. There was less than twenty four hours to go before the competition and Kara wasn’t even sure if she would be ready, let alone Felix.

“Do you want a ride home?”

Kara looked up to see Ruby.

“What’s happened? Where’s Felix?”

“He’s waiting for his X-Ray results, but even if it isn’t broken he won’t be dancing tomorrow.”

Kara had known that already, she had known and yet the confirmation of it was still devastating.

“I’m sorry, it’s my fault.”

Kara was startled; Ruby shouldn’t be apologising!

“I shouldn’t have pushed you both to dance again, you were too tired, it was too much and I shouldn’t have snapped at you earlier; I’m sorry.”

“No, it was me! I should have been focusing more I should have—”

“Felix said the same thing. But we all know who pushed for that final dance.”

“But—” Kara stood up; she couldn’t let Ruby take the blame for her fall, for ruining everything.

“No buts.” Ruby said firmly “There is no point anyway; blame won’t solve anything. Now, it’s getting late, shall I take you home?”

Kara nodded as her heart sank. Ruby was right, there was no point blaming anyone, it wouldn’t change the fact that the competition really wasn’t going to happen. It was all over.


Chapter Three: In Question

They said little to one another as they drove across town to Kara’s home.

It was a lot later than she usually got home, but her parents knew she had been training, no one had called. They would all think she was dancing, training, putting in extra practice, preparing for the big day. Kara knew they would all look at her with beaming faces as she walked through the door, they’d ask how training had gone, her mother would rush to fetch her something to eat, her father would tell her to get a good night’s rest, her sister would want to hear all the news and try to make her put on her outfit again.

Then she would have to tell them, she would have to tell them all that it was over, that the competition wasn’t going to happen, that the support they had given her, the money for training sessions, would all be for nothing. She couldn’t enter the competition, she wouldn’t get picked up by a talent scout or earn a scholarship. She’d have to start again, find another way to crack the industry.

She sighed in frustration, she was so angry with herself.

“How was Felix when you left him?” She asked, hoping to force her mind to think of other things.

“He really wanted you to get into the competition. He feels terrible for dropping you—”

“It wasn’t his fault!” Kara insisted.

“I know; we can’t keep going over it, we have to just… I don’t know.” Ruby sounded tired.

Kara looked at her, even sad and upset she looked quite beautiful. Her hands were firm on the steering wheel, she’d painted her nails red, ruby red, Kara liked it when Ruby wore red, she looked good in it, she looked good in most things but she looked particularly good in red. She remembered how it had felt to have those hands on her, wrapped around her, delicate but strong, firm.

But Kara looked away, she looked out at the road, she didn’t want to be having these thoughts about Ruby, not now, it was too confusing on top of everything else. But she didn’t want to think about home, or about the competition. She didn’t know what to think about; she wanted all the thoughts to just stop.

The car stopped.

They’d reached her house. Kara sat looking up at her home, all the lights were on, they were waiting up for her, probably asking each other how much longer to give it before they called her. She didn’t want to face them with the news.

“You can’t sit there all night.” Ruby said, it was meant to be a joke but neither of them laughed.

Kara turned to her, she looked at her in the semi darkness and couldn’t help but remember how it had felt to dance with her. She had to admit to herself that she had never really wanted to dance with Felix, it was just a means to an end, just a way of getting into the championships, and she still wanted to dance, even without Felix, even if he couldn’t dance. Kara knew that the moment she stepped out of the car her chances would be over, everything would be set in motion, but right now, right now, she had one more chance.

“You could dance with me?” Kara said.

“What?”

“Tomorrow, you could dance.”

Ruby looked taken aback, she stared at her for a moment and then shook her head.

“No, we haven’t entered together! We haven’t even rehearsed! I mean this is so sudden I don’t even know I can—”

“The entry is in my name, it is me and a partner, why not you?” The more Kara thought about it the more it made absolute sense; why not? Why couldn’t they? She’d seen loads of same sex couples in the competitions, especially if they explained what had happened to Felix.

“I’m probably too old for one thing—”

“You’re not too old!”

“It’s for under twenty one’s”

“Only one entrant has to be under twenty one, and you’re only a couple of years older!”

“Well… look, I don’t even have anything to wear”

“You must have loads of dance outfits!”

“None that would fit anymore…”

“Well, try them on tonight! Try them on, come tomorrow and we’ll dance together and then the whole of the last few weeks won’t have been for nothing!”

“What about Felix?”

“You said yourself he was upset that I couldn’t enter – at least now one of us will have a chance.”

“I don’t know…”

Ruby looked worried and Kara knew not to push, no matter how badly she wanted it, she had to step back.

“I really don’t know, Kara, I’m going to have to think about this…”

“What’s holding you back?”

Suddenly Ruby looked away, she turned and stared out of the window for a moment before finding the words to speak.

“I think you know…” she said quietly.

Kara didn’t know. What could she mean? She couldn’t mean…? Could she mean?

“What do you mean?”

“I think you’d better get inside. Its late enough as it is.”

“What about tomorrow?”

“I don’t know Kara, I just… I don’t know, OK?”

“Okay” Kara said, she knew she’d pushed too far, but she didn’t quite know how. She backed out of the car and as soon as the door closed, Ruby was off, she drove away without a backward glance. But those words were still burning on Kara’s mind ‘I think you know...’

What? What did she know?


Chapter Four: In Limbo

Kara didn’t sleep well.

She kept thinking about Ruby; about them dancing together, about holding her and touching her.

When Kara had finally been consumed by sleep, she drifted into a deep dream; she was back in the training room, back with Ruby. They were dancing, their bodies held close and Kara wanted more; she wanted more of Ruby, she couldn’t help it. Her hand slid down Ruby’s back, suddenly they weren’t dancing anymore; they were somewhere else, there was no one there it was just her and Ruby and the indulgence of desire and then she was awake.

She sat up in bed.

Torn out of her dream and ashamed of where it had taken her. She didn’t want Ruby that way? Did she?

It was just nerves it was just the dance, she was just the upset, it was just the desire to dance with Ruby for the competition that had fuelled the dream.

But she knew that wasn’t the truth. The truth was that she did want Ruby and she couldn’t lie to herself anymore.

Then suddenly, in a rush of understanding, she realised that had been what Ruby meant when she’d said ‘I think you know’.

Ruby had known that Kara had a crush before Kara did. Ruby must have known how she felt, seen how she looked at her and that was why she didn’t want to dance with her. She probably didn’t even want to be in the same room as her. It probably repulsed her.

Kara groaned, embarrassed but unable to do anything about it. She was fed up of being alone with her thoughts and pulled herself out of bed. She didn’t want to think anymore, it was all over anyway, Ruby would never dance with her, and Felix wasn’t able to, so the competition was out of the question.

She traipsed downstairs, not bothering to get dressed or brush her teeth. She was just going to be a slob today, sit on the couch, watch TV, do nothing for the whole day, and maybe even for the rest of her life.

Her sister, Marie, was already up; sitting on the sofa with a bowl of cereal, watching cartoons, and texting.

Kara grabbed a mug of coffee and sat down next to her. As she did she noticed her competition outfit, out on display, ready for her; her beautiful, sparkling blue dress. She looked away. She wouldn’t be wearing that today, she would never wear it.

“Hey!” Marie said excitedly, as Kara sat down.

“Hey.”

“What time do you have to leave? Are you going to put on your dress here, or take it with you?”

“I’m not going.”

Marie’s face dropped, she looked confused. “What do you mean? You have to go! Why aren’t you going?”

“Felix has a twisted ankle, he won’t be able to dance on it.”

“I know, but last night you said your coach could dance with you—”

“She’s not going to.” Kara said sadly.

“She said that!?” Marie was incensed.

“Not in so many words, but—”

“Then what’s the plan? Is there another competition?”

“There is no plan.”

“You can’t just give up!”

“Watch me.”

“Kara, no! You have to go! It’s all you’ve ever wanted! You used to say to me: ‘find something you love, and then find a way to make money from it’.”

“I read that off a calendar.”

“That doesn’t make it any less true! Dancing is everything you are, you can’t just give it up and go and work in a factory or an office or a chicken farm!”

“I can’t go, I’d look stupid, I mean, she probably won’t even turn up.”

“Whatever you do, someone somewhere will think you’re dumb for doing it, so you might as well do what you want because then at least you’ll be happy.”

Kara looked at her little sister as if for the first time, she was only fifteen, but just at that moment she seemed like the wisest person she knew.

“You’re pretty smart…”

“I just heard someone say that on a re-run of Cybil.”

Kara laughed, she felt better for talking, but she still felt nervous about going. She looked at her dress. The thought of going made her stomach twist and turn with nerves, but the thought of not going, of staying home and never dancing again filled her with a deep dread that made her jump up off the couch and run upstairs to get ready.

***

“He’s sprained an ankle.” She said “So we had to switch around.”

The registrar shook her head. “It’s very unusual.” She said.

“But not against the rules.” Said Kara, hoping, praying, that she would be let through the doors into the changing rooms.

“No, not against the rules, but don’t make a habit of switching partners.” The woman signed against Kara’s name and handed her the papers with her number on “Locker room is second on the left.”

Kara was delighted, she’d made it. But she still hadn’t heard from Ruby, she didn’t know whether she should text, or just wait, or maybe call.

The atmosphere in the changing rooms was buzzing, girls were already dressed and putting on makeup, some, like her, had only just arrived and looked nervous, many of the dancers seemed to know each other already, and greeted each other enthusiastically. Kara wondered how sincere those greetings really were.

She found an empty space to get changed, but kept glancing at her phone every few minutes, just in case she’d missed a text or a call from Ruby.

Ten minutes went by.

Thirty minutes went by.

Kara sat, sadly, on the wooden bench; she was ready to go but still no Ruby.

The changing room slowly emptied as the dancers made their way to the green room, just a few latecomers stayed to finish their make-up.

Kara stared at the clock as it clicked over to a quarter to three.

It was too late.

Even if Ruby arrived this second there was no way she would be ready in time.

Kara watched as the seconds ticked away on her only real chance of starting a dancing career.


Chapter Five: In Time

The ten minute call went out.

The last girl grabbed her water bottle and hurried out the door, she gave Kara a confused look but said nothing.

Kara just sat, alone in the locker room, devastated.

She had known this would happen; she had been stupid to come. She had been stupid to believe that Ruby would just appear, she’d said she wouldn’t dance, she’d made it clear but Kara had wanted to believe she would just turn up and now she had made herself look like a complete idiot.

She started to pack away her stuff: if she left now, then she could sneak out without anyone spotting her. None of the other girls would notice she had gone, none of the judges would care; it was just one less person to look at. She could get a bus home, break the news to her family and just work something out later on.

“I’m sorry I’m late.”

Kara spun around to see Ruby, standing in the doorway.

She was wearing red, a sparkling ruby red dress that hugged her thighs, her hair fell about her shoulders, her lips were red, her nails were red.

She looked stunning.

Kara stared at her, speechless.

“I had trouble finding this place,” Ruby said, as if she had been expected all along, as if there had never been any question that she wouldn’t appear “I took a wrong turn and then when I got here that woman on the reception desk gave me the third degree, it’s just a good thing I dressed before I left home… come on,” she said, grabbing Kara’s hand “we’d better get a move on.”

Ruby pulled her through the doors, and they headed towards the backstage area, where all the other dancers were waiting for the call.

There were butterflies in Kara’s stomach, spinning and fluttering in anticipation, but not because of the competition. It was the sensation of her hand touching Ruby’s that made shivers of excitement run across her body.

Suddenly the numbers were being called. All the couples were filling out to walk the circuit of the ballroom in front of the judges, before the couples would dance, one by one. Ruby and Kara queued up with the other dancers, waiting for their number: eight.

As they heard ‘seven’ Kara couldn’t help looking up at Ruby, she wanted to see her look back, to see her smile, to see her excited to be there, to be dancing, competing. But her face was like stone, her jaw was set and she was looking straight ahead, concentrating hard.

Eight was called; they strode out into what felt like an arena, there were bright lights and quite a lot of people cheering. Kara knew her family weren’t there. She had told them that they would make her too nervous to dance, but it was really because she didn’t want them to be disappointed when Ruby didn’t arrive. But Ruby had arrived, she was here and they were finishing their circuit of the room and coming to stand with the other dancers, while the final few were called.

Finally Kara felt like she was actually a dancer, she was actually part of this competition, standing shoulder to shoulder with other, professional dancers who’d trained for years in ballroom. Just to stand next to them, to be judged on an equal standing as them was an achievement she hadn’t expected to ever make.

Finally they were all given the signal to head backstage again and wait their turn. It would be a long afternoon.

Kara stayed back for a moment, at the edge of the wings; she wanted to watch the first couple dance. They were good, but she knew she could dance better. She knew she had it in her to nail this competition and suddenly everything seemed to be within her grasp, everything that had been so far away this morning was within reach.

Delighted at the thought of what she could achieve, Kara almost ran back to find Ruby, to tell her that the first couple was mediocre, their choreography was nothing compared to the dance Ruby had come up with.

But Kara stopped when she saw her. Ruby was beautiful, she was standing at the edge of the greenroom, a cup of water in her hand and she was laughing as she talked to another dancer. A tall, good looking guy, his chest almost bare in his opened shirt, his abs looked as though they had been chiselled from marble and, just briefly as they talked, his hand brushed Ruby’s arm.

Those same words came flooding back into Kara’s mind again ‘I think you know…’

It was no wonder she hadn’t turned to look at her as they went out on the dance floor, she didn’t even want to be here. Ruby didn’t want to dance with Kara, the only reason she was here was to get a pupil through a competition.

Kara had almost managed to pretend to herself that Ruby was hers, for this afternoon at least, for this one dance, this one competition, Ruby was all hers.

Only she wasn’t and she never would be.


Chapter Six: In Sync

Kara turned and ran.

She pushed her way through a crowd of dancers, ran down a corridor and slammed through a fire exit.

She stood outside in the alley, breathing hard; she felt sick.

There was a chill in the air but it felt good against her hot skin. She breathed in through her nose and out through her mouth. Trying to calm down and clear her mind, she didn’t want Ruby to have this kind of effect on her.

She wanted to leave, she wanted to run away from the competition, the nerves were twisting inside her stomach and she felt as if she was about to throw up. The thought of dancing, of dancing with Ruby, of feeling Ruby’s hands against her body when she knew Ruby didn’t even want to be near her, made her want to get as far away as possible, as quickly as possible.

Except, right now, right this moment; she felt too dizzy to even stand.

The fire exit burst open.

“Kara!” Ruby called “There you are, I thought I saw you come this way… Are you all right?!”

“I’m ok” she said, leaning against the wall, hoping Ruby would just leave her where she was, so she could just die in the alley.

“I’m terrified as well” suddenly Ruby’s hand was on her arm. She stood in front of Kara and took her hand.

The sensation of Ruby’s touch relaxed her; she began to calm down as Ruby stroked the skin. Everything melted away and Kara just looked up into Ruby’s eyes.

“This bit is hell” Ruby said “but it will be amazing when it’s over” and with that she gently led Kara back inside.

Kara held on to her tightly, she didn’t want to let her go; she didn’t ever want to let her go.

They walked all the way back to the wings, ignoring the greenroom where all the other dancers had gathered to wait their turn. Instead, Kara and Ruby waited in the small space off stage, where they could watch their competitors. Ruby occasionally commented on a move, or a dancer’s positioning but all Kara could think about was how close she was to Ruby, how it felt to hold her hand and how she knew that the moment they finished dancing together, she would never touch Ruby again, probably never even see her.

All too quickly their number was called.

Kara felt her stomach twist; the nerves about the dance finally kicking in. She didn’t feel like her body was her own as she was led out onto the dance floor. Everything around them was in darkness as they took their place centre stage; illuminated by the spotlight, no sound, no world apart from each other.

“Free yourself.” Ruby whispered.

Ruby’s arms snaked around Kara’s waist as they looked into one another’s eyes and the music hit them like a wave, forcing their bodies to move.

Kara was flying, guided by nothing but the music and Ruby’s hands upon her. It was as if she didn’t exist at all; she was the music and there was nothing else.

But it was over before she knew. The world faded back into existence and Kara couldn’t believe it had ended so quickly, she didn’t remember dancing, she didn’t even know if she had danced all the steps.

She stood panting, holding onto Ruby, who smiled at her then looked to the judges. But Kara didn’t care about the judges; she just wanted Ruby to keep looking at her.

Kara didn’t hear the judge’s scores, she didn’t hear the audience cheer; all she could focus on was that Ruby had let her go.

She needed to leave. She had done what she came to do, now she needed to go; she couldn’t be around Ruby anymore, she couldn’t look at her and want her and not have her. She couldn’t.

Kara turned and left the dance floor. She hurried back to the locker room, she heard Ruby call out but ignored her.

Her bag was as she left it, she started grabbing her stuff, she wanted to get out as quickly as possible; she would leave as she was; ‘so what if she took the buss in her dance outfit?’ She thought.

“Kara! What are you doing?” Ruby had followed her into the locker room.

“I have to go.”

“But you can’t! We have to stay to the end, we have to wait for the awards—”

“I said I have to go.” She felt hollow inside, she couldn’t even look at Ruby.

Suddenly Ruby grabbed her shoulder and pulled her around.

“What’s gotten into you?” Ruby looked at her; her eyes were full of concern, her hand burned against Kara’s bare shoulder.

“I have to go.” Kara whispered hardly able to say anything “I really can’t be around you …” She fought to say the words “it’s just too hard.” She tried pulling away from Ruby’s grip.

“Please don’t leave me.”


Chapter Seven: In Favour

Kara stopped; her breath pulled from her chest. ‘What did Ruby mean?’ she wondered.

“Sorry” Ruby said, letting go of her and stepping back, she looked shocked; surprised by her own words “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”

Kara looked at her; she didn’t know what to say.

“You probably should go,” Ruby said “I’ve put us both in an awkward position I just… I shouldn’t have danced with you—”

“I’m glad you did” Kara said, sensing that this was it, this was the only time she was going to be able to say this, and if it wasn’t now, then she would never say it. “Dancing with you, being with you, is… the most amazing experience I have ever had.” Kara wanted to do something, to say more but she was frozen, terrified by how Ruby would react.

“Kara, I…” Ruby looked away for a moment, then spoke softly and slowly “I’m not sure if you really know what you’re saying.”

“I do know!” Kara said, suddenly desperate, suddenly needing Ruby to know how she felt, she couldn’t be this close to telling her, only for everything to fall apart. “Of course I know! When we held one another I knew for certain! It felt so right, everything was so right… and now I know I’ve messed everything up.”

“You haven’t messed anything up!”

“Of course I have.” Said Kara “I messed up Felix’s leg, I messed up the routine, and I messed up any chance we had of being… friends.” She’d wanted to say something else, but the word had caught in her throat.

Ruby stepped closer. “You haven’t messed anything up.” She repeated softly. “Of course we can be friends.”

Kara thought about being friends with Ruby, about being close, but never close enough, about standing aside and watching her with men, men just like the one she’d been laughing with earlier “I can’t” she said eventually; opening up and finally admitting it out loud “it’s not enough.”

Suddenly Ruby leaned forward and kissed her softly on the lips. “Is that enough?” She whispered.

Kara was too shocked to say anything, she was in utter disbelief. She wondered if she was dreaming, if any of this was real, she wondered if Ruby was taunting her, teasing her about her crush. But the kiss was real and the way Ruby was looking at her told her that she wasn’t mocking her.

“Why - why didn’t you say anything?” Kara managed to stammer.

“I thought it was obvious how I felt, and I didn’t want to force you or to make you feel uncomfortable.”

“But I didn’t know!” Kara said.

Ruby smiled and pulled her closer. “You do now.”

Kara couldn’t hold back, not now, not now she knew she could have what she wanted, she grabbed Ruby, pulling her closer, kissing her deeply, hungrily. She wanted more and more of Ruby, and now she knew that Ruby wanted her.

“Woah, sorry guys!”

They broke apart suddenly.

Another dancer had charged into the room, before stopping abruptly “judges decision in five” she said and left quickly.

Kara couldn’t help but laugh, the elation of being with Ruby making her giddy, she didn’t care who saw them.

Ruby looked at her and smiled, taking her hand and Kara knew everything between them had changed.

“Let’s face the music.” Ruby said.

They walked briskly back to the dance floor, getting there just in time to hear their number called. They headed out onto the arena together, it felt so different to the last time; Kara had been so excited to be there, so privileged, and now she just wanted it to be over so she could spend more time with Ruby.

The compere, an older man who looked well past any dancing days he may have had, took to the stage and quietened the crowd. If anything there seemed to be even more people in the audience now and Kara was surprised that so many had turned out to watch.

He started talking about the history of the competition and Kara had to force herself not to tap her feet in impatience, there were so many other things she could be doing right now.

He was about to announce third place. Kara looked up, if she had been placed anywhere, it would be third.

“And it is…” he paused, teasing the crowd.

‘Come on’ thought Kara ‘this isn’t X-Factor!’

“Paul Robbins and his dance partner Sarah Gomez!”

The crowd dutifully cheered and Kara clapped along with them, she had seen the couple dancing while she had been waiting in the wings with Ruby… that seemed so long ago.

The compere was already prepping the crowd for second place, this time Kara knew she had no chance, the last couple had been good, this couple would have to be so much better.

“Fabio Cappelli and his dance partner Serena Fletcher!”

Suddenly Ruby gave a cheer, it surprised Kara but then she saw why, the dancer stepping forward was the same man she’d seen with Ruby earlier. Kara’s heart stopped, and that moment came flooding back.

“I taught him last year.” Ruby whispered.

‘Of course she had’ Kara thought, shaking her head at her own stupidity ‘Ruby must know loads of other dancers’.

Kara looked back at Ruby; she really was so beautiful and so talented to have taught the second place winner, Kara wondered how long it would be before they would be alone together, when they could really talk and get to know each other. She smiled at the thought.

“Kara Telfer and her dance partner Ruby Donovan!”

Kara looked at the compere confused for a moment, 'why is he calling me? Am I being told off? Did he know I wasn’t paying attention?'

Suddenly Ruby pulled her forward “we won!” she said.

Kara couldn’t believe it, she didn’t even remember dancing; how could she have won?

She was handed a bunch of flowers and a gold envelope and looked at the crowd, stunned. Then she laughed. She had won!

She had danced better than anyone else and now she had qualified for other competitions, she would be able to get a scholarship, she may even be offered a dancing job! Her dream of being a dancer was becoming a reality.

She was terrified.

Kara looked at Ruby; she couldn’t have done it without her and reached out to take her hand. With Ruby alongside her then whatever happened next couldn’t be terrifying; maybe that was the greatest victory.

 

THE END

 

Buy My Novel

Evelyn, the bored daughter of a rich aristocrat, is on her way home when her stagecoach is attacked by a gang of vicious outlaws. Terrified at first, she is soon fascinated by the captivating Highwaywoman, Bess. Seduced by her beauty and the prospect of adventure, Evelyn doesn’t resist when she is kidnapped. What starts as a light hearted escapade turns into a desperate escape and a frantic struggle for survival in a tale of love, betrayal and deceit.

 

Available on Kindle and Kindle in the UK

 

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Jada is a warrior and a sorceress from across the marches; she wanders from town to town seeking excitement and adventure. So far she has found little of either, until one night she runs into a mysterious fortune teller.

 

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Laura has a crush on her lecturer, and has been quite happily admiring her from a distance, until one day Laura is asked if she would like to help out on a project, after hours, in the Doctors office, just the two of them...

 

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About The Author

I have always enjoyed adventure stories. As a child I remember reading classics such as ‘Treasure Island’, ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ I was always immersed in the fantasy and the journey.

 

As an adult my taste for adventure has grown with me and I still find myself drawn to books with a riveting plot, as well as characters that I find fascinating.

 

When I came to writing, I intended to create interesting, plot-driven stories as well as giving the audience characters they could, hopefully, identify with. People that they would want to get to know.

 

My aim is to create the kind of lesbian fiction that I want to read; stories that combine romance with escapism.

 

Check out my website:  www.niamhmurphyauthor.blogspot.co.uk


© Copyright 2018 Niamh Murphy. All rights reserved.

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