Home > Forbidden Dance (Lover's Dance #1)(9)

Forbidden Dance (Lover's Dance #1)(9)
Author: Deanna Roy

I cherish my one hour a week with Gabriella and I won’t endanger it. My parents would flip for sure, maybe even move us again. That alone is enough to keep me quiet about who I am.

I just wish I had been there for the years I missed. When Gabriella learned to smile, crawl, and take her first steps. And her last ones. I’m not sure of her condition exactly, but if she isn’t walking a year after the accident, I can only assume she never will again. That doesn’t mean I don’t pray for miracles.

I move across the hall to Studio 2. This is a jazz class taught by Jacob. He’s something to behold, a frenetic ball of energy. He’s showing the students a move that involves a leaping turn in the air, arms outstretched. These children are also small, boys and girls approaching kindergarten age. It’s morning on a weekday, so all the older kids are at school.

In fact, it’s a little unusual for all the studios to be full at a time like this. I glance at Studio 3, where Cassidy and Allen are sweeping through the room in a dramatic tango. If Blitz isn’t in Studio 4, he’s not here.

I stifle a giggle when I approach the window. It’s the Tappin’ Grandmas group, nine ladies in black leotards and tights, gray hair puffed up or braided down. They look awesome, dancing in a line, but the thing that is making me laugh is Blitz.

He’s at the front in shiny tap shoes and black tights, no shirt, and a red bow tie. He looks like a waiter at a strip club, or at least what I imagine one would. It’s hilarious. The woman on the end is wearing a white tank remarkably like the one Blitz had on yesterday, and I have a feeling she’s the reason he’s shirtless now.

They can’t see me with the mirror on the other side, so I lean against the window and take him in. The familiar heat burns through me as I watch him dance. Either he’s learned their routine or he’s teaching one of his, because they are all together, legs out, legs in, tap tap tap. Well, mostly together. Some of the ladies are more coordinated than the others.

I’m not sure who the regular instructor is. Probably Danika herself. It’s the sort of class she would put together. Maybe once she saw Blitz had it under control, she went on to work in the recital hall. If last year was any indication, I should be able to get a lot more time up at Dreamcatcher to help, especially with the new class. More freedom. More time away from home.

More Blitz.

“How’s he doing?”

I’m startled to hear Danika’s voice. She walks through the halls like a ninja, graceful and silent after a lifetime of dance.

“They seem to be enjoying his company.”

She peers through the window and huffs out an abrupt laugh, no doubt the moment she realizes one of the Tappin’ Grandmas has stolen Blitz’s shirt.

“I think he’s found his calling,” she says. “I somehow doubt he can break all their hearts.”

“I don’t know about that,” I say. “He leaves a swath of destruction wherever he goes.”

She looks at me with surprise, and I wish I hadn’t said anything. Everyone here is used to bright naive Livia, not the one who sounds jaded. “So I read in the grocery store tabloids,” I add.

She laughs a little more naturally. “I was definitely concerned about bringing him here,” she says. “But I owe Bennett a favor, more like a thousand, and for some reason he thinks this joker got a raw deal in the press.”

“Is this all about a Tweet?”

Danika shakes her head. “That was just the part that blew up,” she says. “He stands for everything we should hate. Cheap fame. Exploitation. Shock culture.”

“He’s a good dancer, though,” I say. Blitz is doing a free-form tap routine for the women now. They are clapping and cheering, even though we can’t hear what’s happening from outside the soundproofing.

“There are a thousand dancers just as good,” she says. “But he’s got some sort of magic charisma.” She leans against the window. “He’s charmed all these ladies. He’ll get his happy publicity to offset the bad stuff. This is gold.”

“How is anyone going to know he’s here?” I ask. I realize camera crews might come in and the academy could hit the news. It will be impossible to hide all this from my parents. It’s so close to home. They’ll notice with their own eyes if the media starts blocking the street. It’s less than a mile to my house.

“I’m not going to let him take over my academy,” she says. “But he’ll have some small promo videos done, only with dancers who sign a waiver.”

I wonder if Gwen will do that. I guess it doesn’t matter. Even if the wheelchair ballerina class gets visibility, nobody will know who Gabriella is.

“I can’t sign one,” I say.

She squeezes my arm. “I know. That’s fine. We’ll work around it.” She watches the grandmas take turns dancing with Blitz. “Did you talk to him?”

My face flames. “Only about the girls,” I say. “He wanted to know about their limitations.”

She nods. “I’m really throwing the works at him. He’s got the wheelchair class, these Tappin’ Grandmas, one toddler class, the boys’ hip-hop, and the advanced jazz girls, who I felt could really learn from him.”

“You think he’ll be okay with the babies?”

“I am hoping one of them spits up all over him.”

We laugh together as the lights blink twice in the hall, signaling the five-minute warning until the transition begins. A few mothers trickle in to stand outside the windows of the jazz class.

“Were you going to dance this morning?” Danika asks. “This isn’t your usual day.”

“I’m working toward my toe shoes.” My eyes dart back to Blitz.

“Ahh,” she says. “And to take another gander at wonder boy.”

I shrug and fiddle with my skirt.

She turns to me. “Please take care with someone like Benjamin,” she says. “If something were to happen to you, I’d be devastated.”

“What could happen?” I ask. “It’s just dance.”

Danika peers back through the window at the grandmas. One of them has tricked Blitz into getting close to her face. Suddenly she plants a kiss on his lips.

“That is what I’m talking about,” she says. “He makes women act crazy.”

Blitz sweeps the elderly woman up in his arms and turns in a circle. A silent whoop goes up, the women all gesturing wildly, mouths open. I can’t tell if the others are excited or jealous. One thing is for sure. His charm isn’t limited to any age.

 

 

Chapter 7

 

 

As the grandmas reluctantly file out, taking Danika with them, Blitz puts his shirt back on and strips off the bow tie. When he heads toward the door, I panic, flooded with shyness, and dash for Studio 3 to do a warm-up.

But he comes out before I can go in.

“Livia?” he asks.

My hand is on the door handle. “Hello, Blitz,” I say.

“You practicing with them?” he asks, gesturing at the window where Cassidy and Allen are still doing a tango.

“Oh, no, I don’t know ballroom. Just ballet.” My face heats up at my ignorance.

“I could show you.”

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