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Standing In Shadows - 5. Chapter 5


It was a dance school. Not just any dance school either, as the name on the sign above the entrance read. “Miss Nancy’s school of dance for Kids and Seniors.” I was embarrassed at even being in the parking lot, but Greg didn’t seem to mind. I also didn’t understand why we were here either. I thought that Greg could just be lost, being a stranger in these surrounding towns.

“Ready to learn how to dance?” Greg asked unbuckling his seat belt. After it slid from his side he took the car keys out of the ignition. I watched as they disappeared into his front pocket, my only means of escape.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked still buckled in by the seat belt. I slid as far as the belt allowed down into the seat, but the open Jeep made it impossible to hide.

“Well I just figured you needed lessons since you dumped your girlfriend before your Junior Prom,” he answered shrugging. “I need some practice too, before the wedding.”

“This isn’t the road trip I had in mind,” I said finally unbuckling my belt, Greg slid out of the Jeep and I followed him up to the entrance. When we entered the school we looked around. There was a crowd of elderly people standing around an open room. There were also mirrors on one long side of the wall from floor to ceiling. Looking at the mirrors only made Greg and I seem more out of place in the current crowd we were now in.

“At least no one from the wedding or your town will be here,” Greg whispered offering me a smile.

“I don’t really want to dance with some old woman either,” I countered letting out a frustrated sigh. I didn’t want to learn how to dance; it gave me the perfect excuse to not dance at school dances. It was also my only out when dealing with prom, my next prom would be my Senior one and I was already dreading it.

“We’re not,” he said and that’s when I looked around and saw that the old people were packing up their things and leaving. The teacher was in her open office on the telephone.

“Then who are we learning with?” I asked watching the last old couple walk past us. They were probably wondering why we were here since we didn’t fit into the name above the classroom. The old woman offered me a warm smile and a wink before she looped her arm with her husband’s. I watched them slowly walk to their little green car until the screeching of a closing door caught my attention.

“You two are my private class?” Miss Nancy asked. Her shoes were clanking against the smooth hardwood floor as she walked. Her dress was also floral and softly flowing as she walked. A thick lens pair of glasses looked odd on her, and made her eyes magnify when she looked straight ahead.

“Yes ma’am,” Greg answered and she looked us both over. “Sorry we don’t have dates.”

“We’ll figure something out,” she said walking in a large circle around us. “You, the tall jock type, you’re already too stiff.”

“Sorry?” I offered feeling myself become more tense. She only took steps towards me and I didn’t expect her to grab my shoulders and shake me, I had to take a step back to keep from falling.

“There,” she said then turned to Greg. “You’re good to go, so why are you wanting lessons again?”

“For a wedding,” he answered and she looked us both over.

“Are you the grooms?” She asked and Greg and I both looked at one another. I was stunned by the question, but Greg only laughed and shook his head.

“We’re going to a wedding and we suck at dancing,” Greg answered. “Corey needs the steps to impress his girlfriend Jenny.”

“She’s not my girlfriend,” I countered before I caught myself. Miss Nancy only raised her left eyebrow before walking over to the large Stereo off in the corner of the large open room.

“First we need to get the counts down,” she started instructing. She motioned for us to get into a line beside one another. She stood in front of us and we all looked in the mirrors on the wall. “The counts to most slow dances are one and two and so on, really easy stuff.”

“Got it,” Greg stated then Miss Nancy started moving her feet and counting aloud. I started trying to follow her and she shook her head.

“No, no, you have to start on one,” she said and she stopped and started counting over again. This time with Greg, I waited until the next one count to start moving my feet like her. The dance was easy as we didn’t move from the spot, just went in a small semi-circle back and forth. “Good, you guys pick things up fast, but I guess that comes with your age, I’m used to teaching counts to kindergarten students.”

“Thanks,” I offered and she smiled then turned on her heels to face us.

“So now the partner dance begins,” she said then waved her finger expectantly. I looked and saw that Greg had turned to face me and was offering his hand to me. I hesitated only to have her grab my shoulders again to shake them. “Me and you are going to have problems if you can’t keep those nerves away mister.”

“Sorry,” I stammered taking Greg’s hand.

“Now Greg you’ll lead first so put your hand on his waist just above his hip bone,” she said. Greg was comfortable in this situation, but I wasn’t as he placed his hand on my hip. The touch made bumps spread across my body and a slight tingling sensation traveled over them. I felt like shuddering, but the music started and Greg moved his foot. It came down on mine as I didn’t start.

“Sorry,” Greg said as Nancy stopped the music.

“No, you were correct,” Nancy said, “your partner didn’t move on one.”

“I zoned out,” I responded, “I’m ready now.”

“Alright, try counting the counts aloud Greg so the two of you can be together,” Nancy instructed as she pressed play on her remote again. The soft piano sound started again and Greg started counting. I didn’t hesitate to move, but it still felt awkward when we started dancing. For some reason my feet and legs felt heavy and I had to concentrate to keep my arms from trembling.

I was used to being tackled on some field, not lightly touching a man’s shoulder as he moved me around a dance floor. My heart seemed to beat faster now than it ever did, and my palms were starting to sweat. I wanted to pull them away embarrassed by the thought of Greg noticing how nervous I was about the entire situation taking place. He didn’t seem to notice as we kept dancing, so as the soft piano music kept playing I started to become calm. It wasn’t like I had much choice; the thought of being shaken by Miss Nancy made me focus on what I was doing. She had made small comments as we kept going about what we could do to improve; mostly I was the one she was commenting on.

“Have you danced before Greg?” I asked as he let my hand go and made the gesture that I was supposed to spin. I didn’t and almost tripped over his foot.

“Let’s not get fancy,” Nancy said tapping Greg on the shoulder and waving her finger in his face scolding him.

“Sorry,” Greg responded shrugging as he grabbed my hand again. “And yeah I have danced before. I wasn’t scared to go to my prom.”

“Shut up,” I grumbled frowning embarrassed at the look Nancy was now giving me again.
The phone ringing surprised us all, but Nancy just turned on her heels and told us to keep dancing as she went to answer the phone. She closed her office door on the way into her office. We did as we were told and kept dancing, but it wasn’t as technical as before as I instantly felt Greg speed up his movements now that we didn’t have her hovering over us.

“This isn’t odd at all is it?” Greg asked and I sensed sarcasm in his voice, which caused me to smirk.

“At least I know I don’t have two left feet,” I answered as he let go of my hand again. This time I knew what he wanted and spun around, but when I went the opposite way to return to my position I searched for his hand again. He didn’t reach up to stop me and I kept going until my back was touching his chest. His arm was draped over my shoulder. The new position didn’t last long as I let go and took a step away from him and turned awkwardly to face him.

“You turn good,” he commented and I felt my face getting hot.

“I think I should lead now,” I stammered ignoring the way he was smirking at me. He straightened up his stance and I offered my hand for him to grab. When he did I hesitated until I realized that I was supposed to lead so I counted to get us started and took the first step. I realized then it wasn’t difficult to lead on the dance floor and I was regretting skipping prom altogether as I went through a lot of trouble with Dad over bailing out of a relationship before prom. Of course it was more than just dancing that had me afraid to go that night, but I never brought that up with anyone and it was likely I never would. It would be an embarrassment I would never be able to overcome. The quarterback too afraid to have sex or for that matter kiss his date at the door; the romanticism was too overwhelming.

We kept the little circular motion, not really knowing any other steps in the dance. I thought it would be enough to satisfy people at the wedding. Even if I was now invited, I was still thinking about not going to that either. I knew my parents would both be going, so it would look weird that I didn’t. I was starting to relax my tense muscles now that I was leading in the dance steps. I felt in control of how much body contact I would allow myself to have with Greg. It lasted until I felt Greg’s hand on my hip shift slightly. He seemed to move it farther behind me and added pressure, like he wanted us to be closer than we already were. I didn’t push against his hand, but slid forward about in inch. He didn’t comment, but the pressure he applied on my lower back was released. I was close enough to feel his breath on my collarbone. The control over the situation I had completely vanished and I felt nervous again.

“I wonder when she’s going to come back out?” Greg asked nodding towards the closed office door. She had been in there for a few minutes; I didn’t want to be graced with her presence though.

“Why?” I asked glancing at our image in the mirrors. It did look odd to see us dancing together, the closeness we shared on the floor wasn’t something I was used to seeing, even though I was part of the image. It just wasn’t the norm in our small town for two guys to be this close physically unless engaged in some contact sport. Over the past few times I’ve been around Greg though, I’ve been close to him and it was starting to feel less foreign. I still couldn’t help being embarrassed those times as well. I wondered if he thought I was some sort of loser, too out of his elements to be comfortable. I was beginning to wonder what was going through his mind a lot. It was like I wanted him to comfort me and tell me, but I also was afraid to know; though I knew I wanted to be his friend.

“Well so I can pay her for the lesson, we seem to have this dancing thing down,” Greg answered and I stopped dancing.

“Just leave it by the stereo,” I said. In the back of my mind I wanted to escape the place, so when Greg wanted to leave the urge to came back. Greg didn’t hesitate, walking over to the stereo he put a few bills on top of it then we both walked out of the dance studio.

“I hope no one steals it,” he said, “I would hate to have that woman chasing after me for unpaid dance lessons.”

“Yeah she’s the type that likes to man-handle people,” I stated and he laughed as he secured his seat belt and backed out of the parking lot. I thought our mini-road trip was over, but when he kept going farther out of town I was anxious to know what else he had planned.

“You need to call your Mom while I still have signal,” Greg stated handing me his cell phone.

“Why?” I asked taking it from him. I flipped it open and started dialing the number she will answer at the store.

“Because I don’t want you to be in trouble for not coming home on time or anything,” Greg answered glancing at me before turning back to the road.

“What are we going to be doing?” I asked putting the phone to my ear listening to it ring. There wasn’t a lot of signal on the curved road heading out of town. I couldn’t wait for him to answer me as Mom answered the phone. I never thought of her as my ally until I was finally allowed the free summer away from the store and my Dad’s summer workouts for football. Dad wouldn’t have allowed me to make sudden changes in my plans like this. She, though, let me when I promised her I wasn’t going back to another party by the River. She also warned me not to come home too early, Dad had been planning to make me run drills with the football team that didn’t go away for the summer now that I had more time on my hands.

“I just didn’t want you to be out practicing football; you’re supposed to be free right?” Greg commented after I handed him back the phone.

“Yeah,” I answered smiling at him. “Dad had plans for me when I got home.”

“I figured as much,” he stated shaking his head slightly. He returned to the road and I kept looking around still unaware of where we were now headed. I didn’t want to question him anymore though; I was comfortable. He had also turned on the radio, soft rock music was playing and it created a relaxing atmosphere between the two of us. The wind was also in my hair as he had the cover pulled back on his jeep. It was nice out as well, the sky was completely blue and the sun wasn’t as intense now that we were moving in the Jeep. Dad would say it was a perfect day for football, but I would love to possibly grab a good book and sit in the middle of some forest and read. Listening to nature is relaxing at times, especially when there is a lot to think about and lately I had a lot on my mind.

Being that I was free for the first summer in a long time I seemed to be opening new worries that I never really had time to worry about before. I was no longer working for my mother in the store, even though she was the best boss I could ever hope to have. I also no longer had to really listen to my father’s demands after work. I was starting to feel like my own person for the first time in a long time. Now though that I’m older I have different things on my mind. I didn’t start working at the store until I was a teenager. That was also when Dad wanted me to start football on a more serious level. Before that I was free to play in the front yard with my friends after my homework was finished. I also spent the summers with Dad at the pool, but everything soon changed. The dynamics shifted and at least I was used to them.

Greg had come into town and wrecked all of that for me. It made me nervous for the longest time, but now I was appreciating it a lot. Without him, I would feel completely alone. My friends had left and I really didn’t have close friends outside of the social strains of high school. Here in the summer people didn’t care that I was one of the top jocks in school. I was just a boy alone and on the poor side of the county. Greg didn’t seem to notice that at all though. Still, him showing up and being my friend did surprise me at times. I know he arrived with his own friends from college, but gravitated to me. It was odd, but I just put it in the back of my mind. His friend was getting married so I imagined that being the center of everyone’s attention until it was over. Maybe he was escaping like I wanted to and for that alone I would welcome his friendship.

“Are we there yet?” I asked trying to sound like an annoyed kid. He glanced in my direction with a crooked smile.

“We are actually,” he said, “if I don’t get lost I mean.”

“You do seem to know your way around this place,” I commented.

“I’ve visited once or twice before college,” he stated. I didn’t know who he was though and in a small town like this a visitor usually doesn’t go unnoticed. He slowed the jeep though and turned onto this dusty gravel road. The loud crunching sound of the gravel had me anticipating the destination more now. We were headed to a place I had never been myself. I wasn’t even sure if we were supposed to be on this road, being that it seemed to be owned by someone. He didn’t seem to be worried about it as he winded down the road in the middle of what looked like a field. There was a tree line that met us and shaded the road, it was a lot cooler in the shaded forest, but that didn’t last long. We were soon at a large grassy beach that led to a part of the lake. The lake, I knew as we went fishing a lot when I was younger. This part of it though was a lot more secluded.

“The lake?” I asked looking in his direction as he shut off the car. “You could’ve saved gas money by going through town.”

“I didn’t want to be around the locals, nothing against you, but they don’t like new people,” he stated smiling. He got out of the jeep and grabbed a cooler. He shut the door with his foot and I followed after him. He didn’t care to lock the jeep, but it wasn’t out of sight as we walked to the middle of the small grassy beach.

He sat the cooler down then opened it revealing a few bottles of water and some sandwiches. He had packed a picnic this morning and it wasn’t something I expected. I was concerned that I’d see a case of beer in there. I was relieved that it was water, but the whole gesture of a picnic seemed out of place for a college guy taking a friend to the lake. A secluded part of the lake, but all that left my mind as he revealed a frisbee that had been tucked under the sandwiches.

“Go easy on me, I usually don’t have to catch things,” I said as I jogged away from him so that he could throw the frisbee. When he released the neon orange disc it seemed to flow smoothly right to me. It was an easy catch to make, but when I turned and released my own throw it curved aggressively and he had to run to catch it. He missed then looked at me.

“I thought you wanted easy?” He asked laughing as he let it easily glide right to me again.

“I’m used to throwing balls not Frisbees,” I answered letting it fly again. It took the same erratic path as my first attempt, but at least Greg was able to get to it in time this time.

“You don’t have to sling it so hard it will reach me,” he yelled as he again released it. He was further back this time, but the frisbee made it proving his point. I took his advice though and it barely left my general area before it hit the ground. I didn’t hide my frown as Greg jogged the distance to retrieve it.

“You’re a hopeless cause aren’t you?” He asked amused by the look I shot him. “You do have to actually try, but not like someone trying to throw a hail mary.”
“Right, like that made anything clear,” I countered catching his smooth pass. He jogged up to me before I threw the frisbee this time and put his hand on mine. It did send a shiver over my body even though I was sweating from the summer heat. He was standing behind me, but my arm went limp as he started moving it in the motion of what he wanted to teach me.

“There just like that, even and smooth with a little bit of force,” he said then he let his hand drop but stood beside me.

“I must seem like an idiot,” I said in a hushed voice. I didn’t know if he would hear it, but he glanced at me.

“Not at all,” he answered offering me a smile. “Just someone that hasn’t been able to experience things.”

“Right, a sheltered idiot,” I countered letting the frisbee go without warning. I didn’t want to continue the conversation that we were now having so instead of him going after the noticeably smoother throw I took off after it and chased it down before it hit the ground.

“There you have it now,” he said standing on my side of the open beach. I let it go again and it went right to him. The frisbee throwing though had lost its hold on us when my stomach growled. I hadn’t had breakfast since my freedom started so I walked over to the cooler and sat down beside it. He followed me and handed me a bottle of water and a carefully wrapped sandwich. It was turkey, which I preferred over the others. I must’ve smiled after I bit into it, because when my eyes met him he was giving me a studied look that I couldn’t read.

“This is one mean sandwich,” I stammered quickly and he let out a short laugh as he bit into his.

“Thanks,” he offered with a cheek full of food. It was amusing that he didn’t take the time to chew his food before speaking. It was after the sandwiches were gone that I noticed that my body had begun itching. At first I just used my finger to nonchalantly scratch the places, but then it started to become unbearable.

“I think I got into some poison ivy or something,” I said, “my skin seems to be crawling.”

“It takes awhile for poison ivy to take effect,” he stated as he looked me over. I didn’t seem to notice what he saw as he studied my leg. “Now don’t freak out Corey…”

“What?” I asked looking at him.

“You have those tiny ticks all over your legs,” he said then he turned to examine his own legs. “And damn I do too.”

“What the hell!” I gasped standing up and stomping around. I took my shirt off and looked down at my tanned stomach and saw what looked like small moles moving all over it. Then I looked at my arms and saw that in the light dusting of blond looking hairs I had them there as well.

“How are we going to get all these little shits off?” He asked moving his hands rapidly over his arms trying to rid himself of the parasites. I just started stripping my clothes off, kicking my flip flops away, both landing a few feet from our picnic area. Then I unzipped my shorts and let them slide down my body. I wanted to remove my briefs, but caught myself when I saw him watching me. Instead I just took off running towards the lake. When I hit the ice cold water I let out a scream.

“Its fucking cold!” I yelled back at him, which stopped him in his tracks. He seemed to be thinking about it, but the itching feeling of ticks pushed him on and soon he was diving into the lake with me. We were both squirming, rubbing ourselves with our hands frantically. I dunked my head under the water hoping none had time to reach my hair and massaged my finger tips through my hair roughly feeling for them, even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to feel them. When I surfaced Greg had his back toward me.

“Get them off my back,” he said reaching as far as he could, but only being able to wipe at his shoulder blades. I grabbed hold of his side with one hand under the water and started rubbing his back. I didn’t see anything on his back, but I wanted to make sure that what could still be left was gone. Then I turned around and he returned the gesture. It was then we both stopped struggling in the water and stood in the cold lake up to our navels.

“You had to pick this spot didn’t you?” I asked my teeth threatening to chatter. My skin was covered in goose bumps, and my bottom half felt the cold sting of the water, but my shoulders were starting to be warmed by the sun.

“Well I didn’t remember the ticks the last time I was here,” he countered laughing slightly. We were both still gently rubbing our own bodies in the water and looking, but the itching had stopped.

“What are we going to do?” I asked wanting to get out of the water. Our clothes were still on the ground covered in ticks. I didn’t want to put them back on, but we couldn’t stay here.

“Make the best out of the worst situation,” he said then took off swimming deeper out. He then went under the water and I followed after him. When he came up he said he couldn’t touch the bottom here. We were both kicking, just our heads out of the water our mouths chattering.

“This is definitely not the swimming time of year,” I stammered swimming in small circles trying to keep warm. He was doing the same, but the mood was light and through it all I wasn’t feeling like an idiot for jumping into the frigid lake. I also wasn’t expecting him to dunk me under the water. My warm face stung with the rapid temperature change and I came up gasping for air.

“I thought I saw a tick on your cheek,” he countered innocently when I shot him a look.

“I bet you did,” I growled reaching for his head, but he dodged me and my hands fell on his shoulders and slid down his back. We were right against one another, chest to chest. I could feel his hard nipples scrape against my own chest, but I saw something in his eyes that made my heart skip erratically for a few beats. His eyes were looking into mine and he had his mouth slightly puckered and open. I could barely see his teeth and then his eyes closed slightly and he ever so slightly moved towards me. Then when I was thinking about what he was about to do he opened his eyes then turned and swam away from me.

“Race you to the shore!” He screamed light heartedly and I took off after him still wondering what he was about to do. He could’ve been plotting another trick to pull on me, but it still made me feel weird, not a new feeling that rushed over me, just something completely unexpected.

He beat me to the shore and we both jogged up the grassy beach and we grabbed out clothes and stacked them on top of the cooler and I helped him carry it quickly back to his jeep. He sifted through his things until he found a plastic bag and he stuffed both our clothes in it and tied it tightly. Then he got a different bag and before I knew it he was stepping out of his wet underwear and I turned my back on him to give him some privacy. Then he handed me the bag by throwing it over my shoulder and keeping hold of it until I grabbed it. Then I heard him rummaging through his jeep and when I turned my head I saw that he was slipping on a pair of shorts. He handed me a pair of his shorts as well.

Then we both quickly got into the jeep wiping at our ankles at the ticks that had already started crawling up them and then he threw gravel behind us as he sped away from the beach leaving a dust trail behind. It had been an interesting day, I gave him all the credit for that, but part of me didn’t want it to end. I wanted to know what the look he gave me when we were touching in the lake was all about. I wanted to confirm the feeling I had in my throat as well, but I didn’t dare bring it up and he didn’t either on the ride back home.

When he dropped me off Mom was sitting outside on the porch swing giving me a questioning look, but I offered her a smile before I went into the house hoping that it didn’t give away too much of what I felt. Something was definitely going to be different this summer, I just wished I knew what it was.

Copyright © 2014 Krista; All Rights Reserved.
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On 07/03/2011 01:44 PM, Foster said:
Gosh, that was a fun chapter. Dance lessons and a tick attack. :P
I know right. :P
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That was different, dance lessons :P Corey´s mum must have noticed that her son came home once again wearing someone else´s clothes :huh:

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Corey is starting to realise he's getting attracted to another man... How long before his first kiss? 

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On 6/4/2016 at 11:15 PM, FlowersBite said:

:no: Now I'm itchy all over!


Oh the ticks.. lmao. :(


On 1/16/2018 at 5:56 AM, Oerff said:

Corey is starting to realise he's getting attracted to another man... How long before his first kiss? 


Hmm.. hmm. Can't remember. :*) I need to reread this story. Lol. 

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5 hours ago, weinerdog said:

This story holds up well. Glad I found it and you.

Thank you! I hope you enjoy the story as you progress. :)

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