Damaged

By: H.M. Ward

CHAPTER 9



Millie is sitting on her bed, sorting through photocopies of reference books from the library. She’s been working on a term paper for the past few days. The abs of steel night was when she decided to take a break. You don’t want to be around Millie when she takes a break.

“Hey,” I say, walking in and sitting on the bed opposite her after my classes are done. Our room is decorated with the things Millie enjoys. Since she has more money than me, and I had no intention of decorating it, I let her. Everything is yellow and blue.

After our fallout the other day, I felt bad. I’m sure I was out of sorts. We patched things up later that night. My ego is still bruised, but I’m glad we’re not fighting anymore. She’s my best friend.

“Hey Sid,” she says back, not bothering to look up. Her fingers are racing across the paper, her eyes scanning the information. The bitch has a photographic memory. I’m super jealous. When she finishes, she looks up at me and smiles.

It feels like I fell off a cliff. “I know that look. What’d you do?” I ask her, as I yank my shoes off my feet.

“Nothing devious. Damn, Sidney. Can’t a girl do something nice and smile about it?”

“Maybe, but your little brain doesn’t work that way. Besides, I’ve seen that look enough times to know to run the other way when you give it to me, so let me make this easy on you. Whatever you did—whatever you were going to ask—the answer is no. Hell no. No way.” I flop back on my bed and stare at the ceiling.

Today was long. The 7:00am start makes it feel later than it is. I still have homework and need to grab dinner. It’s already getting late.

“But, Sidney, you didn’t even hear what it is. I know you’ll love it.”

“You always say that.”

“And you always love it.”

“No, I don’t. I’m just being polite.”

Millie snort laughs, because that’s a big fat lie. Polite comments and bluntness are two qualities that cannot coexist. I favor blunt. She knows. “As if that were possible.” She throws her head back and makes a whiny sound. “Please, please, please, please…”

I glance at her. “Are you serious?” Millie clasps her hands together under her chin and is still chanting please, please, please. “Are you going to stop?” She shakes her head and continues pleading. “At least tell me what it is.”

“Swing dance club. Please, please, please, please, please…” and she keeps on begging me and batting her huge eyes. Maybe that works on Brent, but I could care less.

“No,” I say, and pull my arm over my face. She doesn’t stop. I laugh at her and say, “Are you going to keep doing that?”

“Yes. Please, please, please…”

I love dancing, especially swing dancing. Between the music, the clothes, and the movement, I love it. There are few things that I can lose myself in. While I don’t get modern club dances, which look like people spasming, I do enjoy the old dances. There are moves, steps, and rhythms to get lost in. It takes skill, and when you find the right partner, it’s close to perfect. I haven’t danced in a long time, not since I left New Jersey.

Millie is still pleading. I let her whine for a few more minutes and then cave. “Fine, but you owe me.”

“You always say that.”

“Yeah, well, you owe me a ton.” She laughs and bounces up and down on her bed. “Where the hell did you find a swing dance club down here? I thought just about everything was country.”

Millie’s eyes slowly drift to the side. I sit up and prop myself onto my elbows and stare her down. She explains, “It’s not that kind of club.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s a club the school started. The student organization was trying to get it going last year, before the holidays, but we couldn’t get a teacher to sponsor us. Well, they finally found someone. And it starts tonight!” She claps her hands like she’s three and beams at me.

Oh my God, this is going to be lame. “A school club?” She nods. “Like chess team?”

“Like the awesome new swing dance club!” Millie is obviously excited.

I’m sorry that I said yes. A class full of newbs means I won’t get to dance much. We’ll be lucky to get past the basics.

Millie jumps up and runs across the room. “I found this dress at the mall. I can’t believe it.” She grabs a red dress from her closet and pulls it out. The bodice is fitted and it has a full circle skirt. It is perfect. “Now, I have to find saddle shoes!”

“T-straps would look cool with that too.” I can’t help it. I’m drooling. Millie hands me the dress, so I can admire it. Awh, crap. She’s sucking me in and I’m letting her. I glance up at her. “You’re evil, you know that right?”

Millie beams at me and nods, “You’re not going to regret this, Sidney. It’s going to be so much fun!”

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