What, was that? The better question is, what had I been thinking? Flirting with a seventeen-year-old girl, my student. Shit, I feel like such a creep. Or some psycho pedophile. Not that she was that much younger then me but it was the principle of the situation. I don’t think that I did it on purpose, I just got swept up in the music.
Her voice and that wild hair of hers. Not to mention, those blood-red lips.
Rubbing my hands over my face I paced the room. Harmonizing with her was incredible. Our voices molded together perfectly, as if we were meant to sing together. As crazy as this sounded, I knew that she was my perfect fit musically. I had no doubt in my mind that if we performed together magic would happen. We would make it into the big leagues if we wanted too, together.
My heart was racing and my vision was becoming spotty. My all-too familiar panic attacks were settling in. I sat down and put my head between my knees trying to find air. I honest to God, felt like my lungs were pumped dry the moment Ophelia left the room. I need to gain control over this magnetization I felt towards her as quickly as possible. It was so beyond inappropriate to even be having these thoughts. But those lips kept creeping into my mind like a leech sucks blood.
She wasn’t an obvious beauty. The type you see and immediately picture naked. The type of good looks that turn heads and cause the instinctual lust to kick in. No, Ophelia had the kind of comeliness that was only shown when she let her personality shine through. I saw it when she yelled at me about her name. Not caring that a lot of teachers would have sent her to detention for that kind of behavior. She hid herself behind thick glasses, oversized clothes, and tied back hair. It seemed to me that she didn’t care about appearances. Her main focus was her music and that too me was the most lethal kind of beautiful. The kind that is stronger on the inside then on the outside. Her internal beauty is what makes her outer-shell radiate a full-bloom, spring-fresh elegance.
I cursed to myself, what was I doing? Why was I thinking this way about my student? A seventeen-year-old! I had plenty of options with woman my own age, woman who weren’t teenagers or my students. I needed to vanquish these thoughts immediately.
Julie, said that Ophelia was her most promising student and that she would miss her greatly but I honestly thought she was just being biased due to her close relationship with her. They were neighbors and I knew that Ophelia babysat for her on occasion.
I could tell she was torn up about leaving her son. I could also tell that she wanted to come back but didn’t want to miss any of the first big moments of her sons life. Plus with her husband being in the military it didn’t make sense for her to work to pay for a babysitter. She gave me copious notes on each of her students, how to help them grow into the people she knew that they could be. I admired her.
She told me all about Ophelia. How she was quiet but opinionated and that the only way to get her out of her shell was to make her angry. She told me all I had to do was pretend not listen to her, or care who she was, and to call her Olivia and she would become someone else entirely. I have to admit that it was the weirdest set of instructions I have ever been given regarding another student but I went with it. Low and behold, Julie was right, Ophelia was a spit-fire at heart. I wanted to help her out of her shell and show her how talented she really was. I could tell that she was confident in her composition skills but not in her ability to sing her songs. From what I understand she wrote most of the music for her classmates and profited from it. Apparently it was her way of paying for this place.
Why, was I still thinking about her and they way we sounded together?
The next morning I was called into Ms. Jung’s office, the school counselor. I wasn’t happy with what she had to tell me. “I don’t see why it’s even necessary. Isn’t there a way to override the rule? You know, the age old ‘lets say I did and not actually do it thing’” I whined like a five year old.
“Unfortunately, no.” She started saying looking up at me from over her desk before continuing, “Technically you have enough credits that you could graduate a semester early but you can’t graduate at all until you have taken at least one more semester of physical education.” She plopped her hands on her over-crowded desk like they weighed fifty pounds. “Our school only requires a year of exercise classes which is very different from most schools. With that said, I really don’t think that this should be a problem for you.” She finished her dark-black Asian eyes showed a finality so severe that it became clear that this topic was no longer up for debate.
I took summer classes after both freshmen and sophomore year so I could have as many electives as possible senior year. Not because I wanted to graduate early. Though now that she mentioned it the idea appealed to me greatly, “So you are saying that if I took a physical education class this semester I could graduate by winter break?” She nodded. I was really liking this.
“You could still walk in June, if you wanted too.” She added.
“What class did you have in mind?” I asked suspiciously.
“Well, you could drop your independent study and take beginners ballet.” She said turning away from me and clicking away at her mouse.
There was no way I was going to drop my independent study. Not only did I work hard to get it approved but it was my lifeline. An extra hour in my schedule was what I needed to make my senior showcase happen. “Nope, I need that study. Next?” I knew I was being frustrating but I wasn’t going to surrender that easily.
Ms. Jung sighed heavily, “You could drop Voice Seminar and take the Ballroom Dancing class.” Of course this being a school for the preforming arts had dance classes that would count as a P.E. elective. I knew the next option was likely going to be a normal health class full of freshmen so I better take her up on this offer. I would much rather dance then see a slideshow about sexually transmitted diseases or be taught how to have safe sex. No thanks, it was the twenty-first century you went to kindergarten knowing about sex and all if its repercussions. Ok, not really, but you still knew all you needed to know way to young. Or maybe that was just me.
I decided to ask if there were any other options during that period though, just in case. “I took the seminar last year so I don’t mind dropping that class but is there any other classes during that period?” I asked hopefully. Willow’s Edge did offer a track and a weight training class, so I guess, I was lamely hoping for one of those to be open. Ms. Jung, shook her head, a slow and steady no. Figures most everything else would be full at this point. “I’m sorry I am being difficult Ms. Jung, it’s just that I look like the noodle you throw at fridge to see if they are cooked fully when I dance. You know that awkward slither until it finally plummets to its inevitable death on the floor?”
Ms. Jung laughed, “I highly doubt that’s the case Ophelia. I’ll switch you to that class now. Fortunately for you, that is a Tuesday/Thursday class so you haven’t missed anything yet.”
“Yay.” I deadpanned raising my fist in the air, shaking it weakly.
Ms. Jung rolled her eyes and smiled at me. I was used to her because I was one of the top students here and I always registered for classes before anyone else. Not to mention the voluntary summer school. It worked out in my favor though because I was done with my math and science requirements. I had to finish my Senior Level English this semester and my required U.S. Government but other than that I have five periods of pure musical freedom. Well I had five periods of musical freedom, now that number dwindled to four because of stupid P.E. requirements.
“If you are serious about graduating early, I’ll need you in my office again soon so we can discuss our plan of attack.” Ms. Jung said brightly.
“I’ll have to talk to my Nana, but I am pretty sure that this something I want to do.” I said standing up. My birthday was in December so I could be a legal adult and a high-school graduate at the same time. My life could begin earlier then planned.
“Great, then I’ll call you into my office next week.” She waved her hand dismissively.
I gave her a small nod before exiting her office. Just as the door clicked shut behind me, my whole body collided with another student. He was tall, but everyone was tall to me because I was barely 5’ 5”, on a good day. His hair was jet black and his eyes were a stunning turquoise. He had perfect skin, a skinny frame, and had the perfect amount of natural boyish muscle.
“Oh, sorry Ophelia.” He said helping me collect my belongings that hitchhiked their way across the floor.
I lifted my head completely stunned that he knew my name, but in doing so I smacked my head into his. “Frick!” I said rubbing my head and the guy mumbled out another apology. “It’s not your fault. I was just surprised you knew who I am.”
He looked at me completely perplexed and a little stunned, “Are you saying you don’t know who I am?”
“Umm…should I know who you are?” We were still hunched on the floor like rats scavenging for food.
“I guess not but we’ve been in english together since freshman year.” He said making the first move to stand.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was so self absorbed.” I stood too, my cheeks flushing a brilliant shade of red. I couldn’t believe I never noticed him before. Especially someone so blatantly attractive. I slid my finger up my nose to adjust my glasses but somehow managed to sling them off my face. My glasses attempted to land on the floor but in a ninja-like move I caught them just in time.
He let out a small chuckle, it was a cute. I smiled in return and then quickly un-smiled because I remembered how stupid I looked when I do smile. “No worries, I always come in first and sit in the very back. Besides your on the songwriter track aren’t you?”
I nodded surprised that he new this about me, “I guess it’s not hard to figure that out considering that there is only three songwriters in our class.” I offered up.
“Yeah that, and you wrote a song for my band once.” He said nodding at me tucking his lips inside themselves.
“Your band?” I asked trying to remember, I felt completely stuck up.
“Yeah, I’m a drummer, a percussionist really. It was the song, Heartland. My buddy Polly, who is our lead singer, hired you.”
“Right yeah, I remember.” I remembered stretching myself thin trying to think of a rock ballad for a group of five boys.
“I’m Steven, by the way.” He said holding out his hand, a toothy grin plastering his face.
I made a comma with the right side of my lips, and took his hand. “Nice to meet you Steven.”
Over the next couple hours I threaded through my morning classes the usual way, middle row, minimal participation, eye contact with the teachers so they would think I was paying attention. In reality I was freaking out. Dreading dance class like I dreaded my moms meatloaf. This was going to be such a disaster. When I finally dredged myself to the dance hall and entered the larger of the two dance rooms I did something I usually don’t do. Snuck to the very back of the crowd and hid in the corner. Praying to God that this was nightmare. The studio didn’t have chairs or desks so I was literally standing in the back of the room, head down, doing my best to bleed into the wall. Which was heard because every wall was mirrored, so in standing in a corner I was making it worse for myself, having made myself into a triplet. I was standing on sturdy maple-wood floor and chandeliers hung above my head.
“So we meet again.” A male voice whispered in my ear which made me jump.
I looked to find a pair of ocean eyes and messy black hair, Steven. “Seems that way.” I said lightly and then added, “Why are you here?”
Steven laughed, “Why are you judging me? Maybe I like to dance and have got some bad-ass moves up my sleeve.”
I shrugged because maybe I had judged him without intending too, “You just don’t seem the type.” He gave me a quick closed lipped smile. Very cute. Gah what was wrong with me lately? First crushing on my teacher and now this? Did I suddenly get boy crazy? I gave a quick glance around the room halfway expecting to see cupid giving me the stink eye.
“You only just met me, how do you know I am not the type?”
“Well, according to you we’ve known each other for years.” I quipped.
“I doesn’t count if only one of us knew the either existed.” He chuckled, which I returned because I was unsure of what else to say. There was a moment of silence before he added, “Seems that I bailed on my P.E. requirements. It was either this or Beginners Ballet.”
“What! That’s crazy, I am in the same exact boat.” I couldn’t believe we had this in common.
He chuckled again, “Seems like fate wants us to be friends. Why did you choose this over ballet?”
“This seemed to be the lesser of two evils. Besides no way in hell am I strapping on a leotard and tights.” I said shaking my head. The idea of that was horrific. Prancing around in all my glory, no thank you. I wore baggy clothes for a reason.
This caused Steven to bring a full toothed grin into bloom, “I don’t know I bet you look really good in a leotard and tights.” My face flushed a deep red and my eyes grew wide. He was flirting with me and I had no idea how to flirt back, so I just started ahead and folded my arms over my chest which just made him laugh harder.
Thankfully, a woman in her late sixties swayed her way into the room. She wore black flats, black leggings, and a long sleeved black shirt. Her hair was in a beehive that looked like it could reach the moon and her skin was so pale that her makeup made her look like a she just woke up in a coffin at the funeral home.
“Hello class, I am Ms. Bellefleur and I am hear to teach you the art of Ballroom Dance.” She twirled into the room further, swaying her hands above her head. “This year we will learn everything from the Tango to the Jitterbug and it will be marvelous! At the end of the year we will have a showcase that incorporates what you and your partner have learned. Depending on how well you do will decide your grade in my class. Aside from that I expect full participation, no compelling or saying ‘I can’t” because you will! If I get wind of someone not putting in their best effort it will be an automatic fail. Do I make myself clear? Good! Dance is all about trust and becoming one with your partner. So I suggest you pick a good one because the you two of you will be together for the duration of my class. You have five minutes, choose wisely.” She finished her long-winded speech with a scary finality in her voice.
Students began to flutter around franticly, apparently five minutes wasn’t long enough to decide such an important fate as a dance partner. I looked over to Steven, “Partners?”
“Obviously.” He deadpanned which caused me to laugh and him to wink over at me. That was easy enough.
Ms. Bellefleur clapped her hands together, “Alright settle down,” when no one settled she roared, like a lion, literally. My eyes nearly popped out of my head. This woman was an odd duck. “For the next class I want you to honor your partner. We will be doing presentations. Get to know them, discover them, what are there likes and dislikes? Find out everything you can! Because next week we will start the Salsa, Cha Cha Cha!” Ms. Bellefleur said the last part with one hand on the air and pushing her hips back and forth. I slapped my hand over my forehead wishing this wasn’t my life.
Next, Ms. Bellefleur handed out her class schedule and dress requirements before setting us free to get to know our partner.
“Look’s look you have you wear a leotard after all.” He winked.
I rolled my eyes, “ ‘Fraid so..” I mumbled.
Steven and I talked about our favorite things until the bell rang. I learned that his favorite food was a baked potato and he learned that mine was hash-browns. We both thought it was funny that our favorite foods were basically the same thing but cooked differently. We decided to have a potato-cooking party and that it would be the sweetest thing that Willows Edge has ever seen. I also learned that he loved the color burgundy and he learned that I loved clear. He said it wasn’t a color and I told him how unoriginal his response was.
It surprised me when the bell rang. Conversation with Steven seemed to flow so naturally that I honestly felt a pang of regret for not getting to know him sooner.
We made plans to get together an hour after school ended, to finish our, ‘honor each other’, assignment. He had band practice tomorrow and I said I would rather get it over with then have to spend my time worrying about getting it done. I told him he could find me in the composition room and then we exchanged numbers.
I walked to lunch with a huge smile blitzed across my face. I liked Steven and he was my age, much more appropriate then the wayward emotions I felt for Mr. O’Connor yesterday. Though I would be lying If I said he hasn’t been on my mind every waking second.
****Next section will be posted 01/15/20 at 6am****
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