Time After Time



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Time After Time
As Sharon stood in the confused huddle of shuffling people on the far side of the community centre, she prayed for the circulation to return to her digits. She was freezing, and knew she'd much rather be at home watching a random episode of Friends right now, even if she was bound to have seen it ten times already. She could barely remember why she'd agreed to this.
"Kareena reckons the teachers got stuck in the snow." Vicki muttered, pulling lazily on the sleeve of Sharon's heavy winter coat.
Aha. Suddenly, Sharon remembered, with a new wave of hostility. Darling Vicki. Even now, a supposed grown up at 18 years old, the cow knew she still had the ability to twist Sharon around her little finger, and she never missed an oppurtunity to do so even if she wanted something - so, constantly then.
What with the Valentine's Ball less than two weeks away, Vicki had reasoned that the ballroom dancing classes that had suddenly materialised on the Community Centre Notice Board were a good excuse to one, look fantastically elegant on the dancefloor come Valentine's Night, and two, meet fit new blokes they'd have to partner when practising. Sharon didn't for a moment think that such a formal style of dance - or anything that wasn't a drunken lunge of a shoe shuffle - would appeal to any man in Walford, and she might even go as far as to say London, but was surprised when Garry, Spencer (who, of course, had only come because of Vicki), his mate Mickey, Gus & Ian turned up, as well as a host of men from out of town that Vicki & Kareena were very pleased to see.
Sharon couldn't deny she was curious, but felt a fool having to rely on strangers while she tried (and most likely failed miserably) to master these new skills. She had to face up to her fears a lot sooner than she had hoped - Kareena was wrong, the dance teachers had only mislaid their car keys and there was not a flake of snow to be seen.
"Hello everyone. I'm Jill and this is my partner Simon. We've been dancing together since we were fourteen and we're twenty-seven now." Jill flushed slightly pink and twisted strands of her loose ponytail around her fingertip. "Now, I'm sure you know what you're all here for, and Simon and me, we just want this to be as much fun for you all as possible - we're not asking you to go out and win any trophies just yet - unless you want to of course! So seeing as this is our first night, we thought we'd throw you in at the deep end with a Latin - just to see who has the natural rhythm!"
She smiled brightly and waved her arms, causing everyone to shrug off their coats and leave them discarded by the wall and assemble in front of Jill & Simon, probably looking much like scared little children.
"The rumba" Simon announced, his shoes tapping loudly against the wooden floor as she walked, his hands clasped behind his back, "is the dance of love. Romantic-"
There came several groans, which Simon laughed off, almost as if he had been expecting them. "Romantic, slow and expressive. Dance isn't necessarily extravagance - not what you do, but how you do it."
"Oooh, I bet he says that to all the girls!" Garry quipped.
"Honestly Garry, you sound like Dot!" Ian replied scornfully, rolling his eyes.
"The hold for Latin dance is the same across the board." Jill said loudly, hoping to cover the muttering of the crowd. "The woman's left hand goes into the man's right, then the other arm.... like this.... you can dance a little closer if you like, but you do need a nice open space between you."
"So if.... you'd all like to pair up-" Simon added, his hand pressing against Jill's back.
Sharon flinched. The dreaded moment. Spencer immediately stepped up towards Vicki.
"I got mine!" Garry cried, pulling on Kareena's arm.
"Get off Garry!" she replied stiffly, wrenching her arm away and going to pair up with Mickey.
Sharon scanned the room and quickly considered the idea of going across the room and picking up her coat and going home, and she would have done so too, despite the warning looks from Vicki (who was struggling a little with Spencer's interpretation of the hold) if a handsome bloke looking as bemused as she felt hadn't sidled up to her and said "You're feeling it too huh?"
"I feel daft." Sharon smiled.
"Me too. I don't know why I'm here. Well I do actually.... Dinner Dance next month, got two left feet, me and I'm hoping to be a Senior Manager before I retire! Paul by the way." He held out his hand, which Sharon took.
"Sharon."
"Well, what do you think Sharon, shall we dare to dance?"
With a laugh, they got into the holding position without Sharon having to give a reply.
"Let's start with the side step shall we? Ladies, start on your left, gents, on your right."
Simon went on to explain the side step, which felt like moving one foot forward and flexing the other like a ballerina everytime Sharon tried it and she was sure it was wrong. The back basic felt wrong but in reverse - so did that make it right? Sharon didn't know, but no-one tried to correct her, except to remind her not to be afraid to swing her hips a little and to keep her legs straight. It seemed to hurt almost immediately, but she got it.
"Sharon!"
Turning abruptly to the sound of her name, she was met by Dennis hurtling towards her, unaware of the looks coming from the rest of the group in his own intrusive direction.
"Dennis! What is it?"
"Thought I should let you know - had to close the club."
"What? Why?"
"The electrics have died, I can't believe it, but we can't do business in them sort of conditions."
"Yes, OK, I get it."
She took his arm and led him from the room, shouting her apologies across to Simon and Jill and excusing herself from Paul with a smile.
"So...." Dennis coaxed.
"So, I was trying to do a dance class in there."
"I saw. Ian didn't half look a poncy git!" He chuckled, and Sharon hit him square on the arm. "Ow! What was that for?"
"Well, this is embarrassing enough as it is, I'm only doing it for the Ball, which we probably won't be able to have now anyway if we haven't got any electrics and having to dance the rumba of all things on the first night with a complete bloody stranger too!"
"What's wrong with the rumba?" Dennis asked, propping himself up against the wall with one arm.
"It's supposed to be a romantic dance apparently.... every time I step forward my bloody toe clicks, it shatters the illusion a bit!"
Dennis laughed again, his eyebrow raised dubiously. "So it's the dance of luuuurve then is it?"
"Shut it you! Just cos you didn't have the guts to come do this with Vicki and me!"
"Excuse me?!"
"You heard me." she smirked. "You're afraid it's too wussy for you."
"I am not."
"Ian's going to wipe the dancefloor with you come Valentine's and you know it!"
"No chance! C'mon!" He grabbed her by the hand and pulled her back into the hall, which seemed to have descended into extremes of wincing as toes were stood on and hips swinging with a dangerous enthusiasm.
"C'mon where?"
"I wanna dance with you."
Shaking her head and not able to do much but laugh, Sharon showed him the hold and he immediately decided he preferred the closer option. Sharon didn't think to ask for a reason.
"So who was that bloke you were paired off with?"
She heard the note of interest in his voice, though he tried to disguise by looking over her shoulder instead of into her eyes. "No idea. Just some stranger. Straighten your leg."
"God, get you. Not even thirty seconds in and you already think you're the sodding teacher!"
"I have an encouraging nature." she told him sweetly.
"No - you're a bossy cow."
Sharon deliberately stood on his toe on her next forward. He wasn't given a chance to protest as they were told to intitiate their first turn, which was surprisingly smooth seeing as neither bothered to look at Simon & Jill's example.
"That girl over there's eyeing you up mate." she said, squeezing the hand that held hers.
"What's she look like?"
"Black hair, about twelve."
"Ah, forget her then. Prefer the older woman myself."
Sharon felt heat rush through her and her cheeks prickle. Was he flirting with her? And was she liking it?!

"Hey, you alright?"
"I told you, this is embarrassing."
"Why? I'm not a stranger am I?"
No, not at all, she thought, that's why it's so embarrassing! She didn't know where to look and so somehow found herself holding Dennis' gaze, captivated by it. She must have looked pathetic. God, this was all so hard.
"N-No." she replied, somewhat awkwardly. "But I've never done this before."
"Well me neither. But I like it.... sort of."
"Like what?"
"Dancing with you. Wouldn't be any good if you didn't have heels on mind, you barely come up to my shoulder as it is!"
"Remember your expression guys!" Jill called out from the middle of the room. "Soon, your rumba will tell a story... a story about love. Try as best as you can to.... look at your partner like you're in love!"
"You hear that Sharon? Look at me like you're in love darlin'." he told her confidently.
Oh, but she had, so many times before.
"Nope, I'm not seeing it!"
"Well, what are you seeing?" she cried, exasperated.
"You wanting to punch me! I'm sorry Sharon, but you're a titch and there's no denying it!" He hugged her tight for a brief moment and then went back into the holding position. "Now look-" he held her hand tight and once again she found herself helplessly immersed in those eyes, unable to look away as they danced. "-at me - in love!"
She defied him still. "So why aren't you looking at me then?"
"Oh, I'm looking Sharon."
Gasping a little in frustration, Sharon tore her eyes away and was grateful at the next turn.
"Turn... and lunge. Don't break the eye contact - that's it."
The lunge was simple. They held one hand and straightened out their other arm behind them, holding it at an angle in the air, like a statement. But it was what followed that was difficult. She didn't hear what the step was called, she only saw what it looked like. She had to spin in towards Dennis, her back against him, and let him rest his head on her shoulder, his arms around her waist, swaying them both. The look on Jill and Simon's faces hurt. Their eyes were closed as they moved, enjoying their movement, and showing the whole hall just how in love they were. She knew that dancing was more about pretence than anything, but God, she was so crap at pretending.
Softly, she spun, feeling the beat of Dennis' heart go through her back. He held her by the forearm across her waist and nestled his head against Sharon's, barely touching her shoulder. And slowly, he moved them together, his hips rolling gently into hers, and she didn't even know if her legs were still holding her up. Something in this movement was unspoken, she could feel it.
"Mmmm, I like this one," Dennis murmured, his expression exactly as Simon's had been.
"I- I feel so stupid..." she stammered.
"Well don't. Just enjoy it. Close your eyes Sharon."
And she relaxed into it, loving the feel of his arms around her, his warm breath against her neck. She let it carry her away and it was only as she heard Jill sigh passionately and say "You two, far corner, that's perfect!"
"She means us, darlin'." Dennis whispered in her ear and Sharon flinched, her eyes springing open and shattering her moment. They weren't alone after all. She spun out and demonstrated another lunge, not able to take her eyes from Dennis', drinking in their colour and sparkle and being comforted by the omnipresent mischievous smile on his lips. He was so perfect.
"Lunge! Perfect. Now, bring your arms down, one arm across your partner's waist please, and place the flat of your other hand against thier cheek. Remember the expression, you're madly in love with this person, so as you turn... look into their eyes-"
Even Garry had given up trying to be funny, and everyone got on with it. Sharon waited for Dennis to say something clever, but he was silent, gazing intently at her as he bought his cool palm against her cheek and turned. Sharon was a fraction behind him. She was scared touching him would do something to her, and though of course, nothing happened, she couldn't help but feel an uncomfortable charge go up her arm.
Simon took over and called out the next instruction. "That's it.... right gents, how about you try and lift her slowly up.... give her time to wrap her arms around your neck, this is a smooth movement. Ladies, try not to look as though you're clinging on for dear life. Remember, you love this man and you trust him!"
"So Sharon-" Dennis started, his arm around her back ready to lift her. "-love me?"
Before she knew what she had done, she nodded. But he didn't act on it. He simply nodded slowly back.
"Good.... but do you trust me?"
Unable to stifle a giggle, she grinned and shook her head fiercely. "No!" she cried out childishly.
"Right!" And he lifted her quick into the air. It certainly wasn't the smooth, intensely felt moment Simon had been aiming for - because Sharon was holding on for dear life as Dennis spun her round, and she was laughing hysterically.
"Stop it Dennis! Stop it! Put me down!"
He laughed with her, she was so wonderfully infectious, so much fun to be around. He bought her back to the floor, running his hand affectionately across her cheek without even trying to disguise it as part of a step.
"Do you trust me?"
She eyed him suspiciously, laughing still and completely ignoring the looks of everyone they had interrupted. "I've heard that before somewhere!" She clicked her fingers. "Aladdin! God, you're so pathetic." She laughed again as he dipped his eyes to the floor. "You got a magic carpet too; we gonna go off and sing to each other?"
"Shut it, or I'll do it again! Now tell me you trust me or we're never gonna get this soddin' step done!"
"Alright! I trust you.... now-" She guided him round to her gaze with her hand. "Look at me."
Sharon tried to go over the transitions in her mind as if they were mechancial, trying not to concentrate too fully on his beautiful face. She couldn't allow herself to see it because she didn't know what she would do. She couldn't feel the pretence she had expected from dancing and she knew it was because she was dancing with Dennis. Every emotion put into every step felt so real it hurt.
Lunge.... hold arm.... down.....palm.... turn.... gaze.... kiss....
No! No, shit, what was she thinking? But before she could even try and reason it out, Dennis had lifted her again, smoothly, and her arms were around his neck without her even realising she had done it. And those eyes still bore into her own as they spun.
She wanted to cry.

The next hour of the class was a daze for Sharon. She knew there were still many people around her, strangers, friends, sisters and neighbours, and they were the only thing that kept Sharon from giving into the irrepressible urge to kiss him. She didn't think he would have protested - she had expected him to say this was poncy and head back home without even thinking to dance too. But he hadn't. He'd taken it seriously, every step, every turn, every gaze. He wouldn't just be pretending.
And though she didn't kiss him, it was still as if they were in their own little bubble, only ever penetrated by the occassional calls of "The expression, everyone! Hips!" from Jill. Their hips rolled gently together, and his hands pressed perfectly into her waist, his fingertips slowly dancing their own path across her charged skin under her top. She didn't even think to tell him not to, it felt so good to have him touch her again.
She tried to force away the memory that last time he had been close enough to touch her, he'd just made love to her and she'd ran from that. She could barely remember why, even when she saw Vicki on the other side of the hall out the corner of her eye. Being immersed in Dennis as she was meant that nothing else mattered other than what she was doing.
She tried so hard to work exactly what she was doing here. She couldn't help but look at him, to smile as he smiled when they moved together. And they moved very well, as both Simon & Jill had rushed over to tell them both more than once. As the class was dismissed, Sharon sighed, neither knowing or caring whether she was heard by anyone. She didn't want to step out of his arms, to let go of his hand. Dennis' smile seemed to have sank.
Without words, they compromised - they broke apart, but stood, their hands still lazily laced together, and somehow thinking nothing of it. They joined the small crowd of people bustling to grab their coats from the floor and get out the door. Now they were no longer dancing, they found it hard to look at each other. They held each other's hand with a kind of gentle ferocity - it said what they could not. They just didn't know how and so they stayed silent, sneaking inquisitive glances at each other but never raising question.
"So, did you two start dancing long after you got together then?"
"What?!"
"Sorry!" Jill said, flapping her hands and looking flustered at Sharon's obvious look of panic. Simon was just behind her collecting all their stuff together from against the wall. "I mean to say... you have danced before haven't you? I've never seen anyone take to this so quick and so well - the turns and lifts aren't exactly basic!"
"Nope. Never danced before in my life." Dennis told her, realising that Sharon was looking awkwardly all around the floor for a place to settle her gaze.
"And we're... we're not together.... together."
"Oh! Well, er...." As her eyes slid pointedly down to their entwined hands, they fell away from each other, even though Dennis had wanted to keep hold of her. He liked being able to touch her again. She'd barely let him close in any capacity since the night they'd slept together. "Sorry, I didn't realise."
"Not together." Sharon repeated, slipping past and and rushing out. Dennis immediately made to follow, accepting Jill's weak smile of apology. But he walked straight into Vicki, who had just come from the ladies.
"Dennis!" she said brightly, barely noticing he'd almost knocked her off her feet. "Libby wanted me to give you this." And she handed him a telling scrap of paper.
"Who the hell is Libby?" he asked irritably, just wanting to be out after Sharon.
"Girl dancing next to me and Spence, long black hair-"
"The twelve year old." he said quietly, not really to Vicki at all, but she heard and seemed to take offence, screwing her face up a little.
"No, about my age actually."
"Look forget it Vicks! I'm not interested in little girls." He pushed the paper back into her reluctant palm without even reading the numbers, and rushed off.

But when Dennis got back to the house and found Sharon curled up miserably on the couch, she wouldn't talk to him. So he sat, cross-legged on the floor opposite her and neither knew how long it was they sat there, just gazing at each other. They didn't mention what Jill has said, in fact, they didn't say anything, until Dennis got up to go to bed, and went, hovering over Sharon, to drop a kiss on her forehead, when he said;
"You were really good y'know, it was fun dancing with you.... let's do it again eh? I was hoping I'd get at least one dance with you at this Ball of yours-"
She released a meek sound which he decided to take as confirmation rather than something which meant he would have to stay longer and fight.
They didn't really see each other much until the next dance class three days later. Dennis had been right in supposing he'd find her supervising work in the club now that there were half a dozen electricians working on rewiring the place in time for the Ball. It had been really stressing her out. They walked together from there to the community centre slowly - it had taken a lot for him to convince her to come with him.
He began to speak almost immediately, taking in a great breath of air and not daring to wait for the uncomfortable silence and pattern of sneaking glances at her, as it had been since the last class, to set in again.
"Look Sharon- I meant it you know; I liked dancing with you.... and them two, Jill and whatshisface.... they couldn't stop telling us how good we were together."
"Yeah, so good, she thought we slept together!" Sharon said. She realised she sounded angry at the idea, but it wasn't that - it was more the fact that they were so good at it - each step had made her want him more and more and she just knew she couldn't have him. It was unfair.
Whereas Dennis was having to stop himself replying, "Well we have." Instead he managed;
"It's because... we get on so well... you know-" He wrung his hands wondering what the dance instructors would call it. "-have a chemistry.... that's how dancing's meant to work isn't it?"
"Well yeah, but is what everyone else is seeing between us sexual?"
He wanted to say yes, he so wanted to say yes. "Doubt it. Our little sister was in there too remember, she might have had something to say about it, don't y'think?"
Beat, Sharon nodded
"Right, good. So you'll dance with me?"
"Yeah."
"And we'll have a good time?"
Knowing she could do very little else with him, she let the smile take over her lips and nodded again. "Yeah."
Taking her hand and gripping it tightly, he led her into the community centre and straight into the main hall where most of the class were already milling. Dennis tried not to notice the black haired girl's eager look as he came into the room.
"Evening everyone!" Jill said brightly from the front of the crowd, her eyes swimming over it and darting nervously away as she saw Dennis stood with Sharon. "Now we thought that we started a bit hard and fast with you all last week-"
There was a nervous round of laughter. Jill however, seemed to subconciously seeking out Dennis and Sharon again.
"-so tonight, we're going to observe you. Do what you will, and this is either going to become an over aged disco and we'll go back to basic, or you might have had a step or two inside you without realising!" She strode over to the hi-fi, her forefinger, hovering over a button, "so pair up-"
She paused as she waited for people to do as much. Dennis and Sharon automatically turned towards each other, exchanging little half smiles stretching from one corner of their mouths.
"So we're not even going to learn anything then!" Sharon muttered quietly into Dennis' chest. "I could be at home right now y'know!"
"Doing what? Watching Friends?"
"For your information, it's a very good-"
But Sharon was cut off in her defence as the music started up. Dennis laughed outwardly, staring in disbelief at Sharon as the unmistakable sound of "I'll Be There For You" started up.
"I don't believe it!" Dennis chuckled, shaking his head, "It must follow you around!"
Sharon looked bewildered for a moment or two, then shook her head and began to laugh too. Composing herself, although the amused smile remained, she said, "Shut up - and dance!"
"Oh no. I don't do freestyle!"
"Don't be such a spoilsport!"
"I'm telling you Sharon - I can't do this!"
She took his hands in hers and encouraged him to move.
"Rubbish. Go with what you hear!"
"Really trashy Nineties pop darlin'!"
"Dance!" she demanded again, laughing still as they went into a looser lunge and she spun under his arm. "Just trust me!"
"Oh now, where have I heard that before?" he shot back dramatically. "Oh yeah, I remember - trashy Nineties Disney film!"
"Less of the trash!" Sharon told him as they began a side step, both absent-mindedly clicking their fingers for no reason. "That film's brilliant!"
"Oh yeah, so where's the magic carpet and when do we start singing to each other eh?" He spun until he was behind Sharon and placed his hands around her waist and swung the opposite way he encouraged her to, and they grinned madly every time their eyes met. With that, Sharon humoured him, and began singing out the song to him, her face tensed in the style of true rock and roll emotion. He could barely hear her - the rest of the room seemed to be doing the same thing, but still, it was brilliant to watch. He could feel an undescribable buzz zipping through him.
"I'll be there for you - when the rain starts to pour! I'll be there for you - like I've been there before-"
He was laughing so hard, Dennis barely noticed, as Sharon span out again, that he had begun singing with her. God, how cheesy was this? He couldn't even sing and hadn't even known he knew the words; though it was hardly surprising - Sharon & Vicki must have watched every single episode at least a hundred times before. He'd never have done anything like this, he knew it was ridiculous, but he was having too much fun to care about anything other than being caught up in the spirit of improvisation.
"I'll be there for you - cos you're there for me too!"
And they span and turned and stepped and swang their hips, pulling dumb faces as they sang, laughing all the while. Oh, the chemistry was so definitely there.
Leaning in on Sharon, she leant back, grinning as he sang - and it turned out he really wasn't that bad! Having such a great laugh, Dennis wondered whether she realised he meant the words he sang.
"No-one could ever know me, no-one could ever see me - since you're the one who knows what it's like to be me!"
Lazily, she hooked her arms around his neck and smiling wickedly, answered; "Someone to face the day with - make it through all the rest with!"
And she span away from him. Spinning, spinning, spinning, and bending more to the right all the time; until she fell over! She recovered immediately and laughed her head off as she staggered back to Dennis, mouthing "Never again!" And she guided his arms around her waist, her arms back around his neck, and they totally went for the hip action, despite the fact it was obvious by the look on Sharon's face a big bruise was going to be appearing on her right thigh. She watched intently as Dennis took up his crooning, despite being helpless with laughter as he held her, and her eyes sparkled.
"Someone I'll always laugh with - even at my worst I'm best with you, yeah."
It was obviously true. Even with minimum effort going into their movement now, they looked amazing.
Effortlessly this time, Dennis lifted her again. She barely noticed they were moving. She was still staring at him, his smile was teasing her, she needed to kiss it away.

As she met the floor again, she still held his hands. "Can we get out of here?"
"Why?" Dennis replied softly, not being able to help but keep up a movement while she stood so close to him. He couldn't have cared less for her reason.
"I need a drink. Medicinal.... my leg's killing!"
"Oh poor Sharon." he simpered mockingly. "The Vic then?"
"No." She didn't want audiences, she wanted privacy. The half smile was still there, taunting her. "Kiss me, kiss me!" "Let's go to the club, it's closer and-" She looked over at the clock mounted on the wall "-they should all be gone from there by now."
They ducked out unnoticed, except the girl with the long black hair who scowled like anything.
"Ow, ow ow!" Sharon whimpered, rubbing her leg and balancing against the wall.
"You alright? Want a piggyback?"
"Piss off!" she laughed.
But he stepped towards her, concern taking over his face. "No.... Sharon, I'm serious.... I'll carry you if I have to, I didn't mean to hurt you."
"No. I did that fine on my own, honestly. Here, just give us your hand."
He did so and they walked together back to the club, Sharon wincing occassionally. "It seems a shame to be going round hand in hand when there's no-one around to pick at our amazingly undeniable sexual chemistry y'know."



"Don't take the piss out of me Rickman. It made me nervous!"
"Why? We just have a laugh, that's all."
I don't want that to be all! said a screaming voice in Sharon's head, but she just simply smiled. "So that means we can't even dance together without people thinking we're doing it?"
He looked at her out the corner of his eye, suppressing a grin. "Right, so that's not what we're going to do now then?"
"No, it's not!" she gasped, giggling, and then wincing at the pain coming down her thigh.
"Damn."
"Dennis, stop looking at me like that! Just get me the drink alright?"
He rushed down the stairs before her, and pulled out a chair, demanding she sit in it while he got her the drink. She cocked her head to the side as she watched him. He turned back from the dispenser, and seeing her, laughed awkwardly. "What's up with you?"
"You look really good," she told him thickly.
"Wha'?" he asked, looking himself up and down.
"Dancing." she added quickly.
"Oh!" He sounded somewhat relieved. "Yeah. You too. See, we are a good team."
"Oh yeah!" she said suggestively as she swooped the glass from his hand and glugged.
Dennis pulled a chair noisely across the floor and sat opposite her. He sat slouched forward, as if expecting something and absent-mindedly tapped his foot to a stilted rhythm only he could hear. He looked to the same spot on the floor as Sharon did, and cracked his knuckles while she ran her fingertip across the rim of the glass.
"How you feeling?"
"Better." she answered gently, searching for this smile in the corner of his mouth she was still burning to kiss away. But she couldn't see it.
"Good." A loaded silence followed, waiting for one of them to pluck words from the air and break it.
"I, er..." Staring hard at the floor, he scratched the nape of his neck, "...don't suppose you wanna dance do you?"
She stared at him, not even blinking, and put the glass with a heavy clunk onto the floor before straightening up and looking back into his face, unable to keep a smirk from claiming her lips. "You've never said that before in your life have you?"
He flushed pink, barely meeting her eye and trying hard to stop himself scratching his neck raw. "Is it that obvious?"
She nodded slowly, almost seeming smug, before a single laugh burst from her throat and she dispersed it by shaking her head a little, hair flying about her face. "Unluckily for you-"
"Oh shit-" he murmured, squirming in embarrassment as he realised what was coming.
"-I'd love to."
"What?" That wasn't what he'd expected to hear.
"I'd.... love....to."



"Are you sure?" he asked, eyeing her legs doubtfully.
"Look, if you didn't mean it, just say so, I won't cry, promise!"
"No, I just.... I wanna be dancing with you at this next class, don't want you to be too sore-"
As Sharon's mouth gaped and she cried "Dennis Rickman!" giggling flirtily, Dennis suddenly realised what he'd said and hit himself on the forehead with the palm of his hand! "Argh, idiot!"
She edged forward and pulled his hand, wrapping her own around it, away from his forehead. "It's alright, honestly! C'mon, you dancing or what?"

And in spite of himself, he smiled, and let her pull him up onto the floor. She was so perfect, could put him at such ease.
Neither of them had even noticed that they had no music. They moved anyway. He held out his hand, and without breaking away from a perfect lunge, they started on a step sequence, before Dennis pulled hard on Sharon's arm, and though she winced, she was still pulled to him, pressed close against him and able to feel the furious hammering of his heart go through to her own. With a quivering hand, she brought it up against Dennis' burning cheek, just as his pressed lightly into her own. Their gazes didn't falter as they turned.
Neither realised they'd done the step entirely wrong. They had been holding hands - not had their arm across the other's waist, or an arm stretched up behind them to bring down to press into the cheek before even considering the turn. But they couldn't have cared, and that much was obvious. It seemed to all be in the way they were looking at each other.
Sharon's thumb wandered the little way across to Dennis' lip, which her thumb caressed. Dennis didn't say anything. It felt natural to him. However, he couldn't ignore the sad look he saw in her face, but daren't speak as she explored his lips.
"Where is it?" she whispered heavily, not to anyone in particular
"What?" he whispered back, trying his hardest not to move his lips.
"The smile.... here...." she continued distractedly, running her fingers to the corner of his mouth.
"What are you talking about?"
And it was as though their spell was broken, because Sharon tore her eyes away and sighed massively. "My leg hurts." she muttered, sitting back down and sipping from the glass again.
Dennis sat opposite her again and again he sat clicking his fingers, staring and waiting. But she couldn't look at him.
"Sharon, what's up?"
"I- I won't be dancing again Dennis."
"What?" he cried, sounding as gutted as he felt and trying desperately to recover some dignity from that exposure. "But.... we've had a good time haven't we?"
She nodded, but still said, rather lamely Dennis thought, "But... my leg...."
"Sharon, the Ball's not for another ten days, you'll be fine! What's going on?"
"Can't dance with you."
"Why

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