We stopped a short ways out, a little farther away from everyone else so we could be alone. What I had heard Mrs. Peters say as I walked in was that we were doing the Swing today. So, Connelly took my hands and held them in front of us, our elbows at our sides.
As I waited for the music to start I looked around the room, a little nervous I must admit. I was finally about to dance with the guy I’d been wanting to dance with since he got here, but that made me all the more nervous about taking a wrong step or making a wrong move. A little ways behind us, I caught Sue’s eye and she smiled. Ivan looked over too and winked at me.
The music started, but instead of dancing, we looked over at Mrs. Peters. She motioned to Connelly and he came over. They showed us the beginning basics of the Swing and it seemed pretty easy, but then again, they were dancers. They knew how to make it look easy. After the demonstration, Connelly came back over and took hold of me.
“You may begin.” said Mrs. Peters and she pushed a button that started the song over. The music was at a slow pace and was, as far as I was concerned, perfect for beginners.
“Just slow movements.” Connelly said as we slid across the floor.
“You know you’re pretty good for someone who hasn’t danced before.” he complemented. We moved around and then he lifted one of his arms up and I went under it. Then I did the same for him.
“Thank you. I’ve been watching.” I said, looking at our feet.
“Look up. It’s okay; just don’t look at your feet.” he said as I looked at him nervously. I noticed then that I came up to his shoulder. Man, even at five foot five I was still short.
“Sorry about the cold skin.” he said abruptly.
“Oh no, it’s fine. It’s actually cooling me off.” I confessed. Which was true because I was burning up with nervousness.
“Oh. Good.” he said and after we danced for a little while and were used to the movements, Mrs. Peters changed the song. This one was more up-beat.
It only took a moment for me to recognize the music we were dancing to was the old big bands. I realized that I loved it. It sounded great to get your heart pumping and your feet going. I half expected one of the guys to be wearing a Zoot-suit.
We glided across the floor and it was the best feeling I had ever felt. Well, next to the feel of Connelly’s skin against mine.
I looked up at him as we moved, expecting him to be looking at me, and realized that with his hat on, I couldn’t tell if he was looking at me or the floor. I hadn’t liked that hat from the first day I had seen him with it and I was beginning to dislike it even more.
Then I wondered why he would be wearing a hat, a fedora no less. He could wear any old hat or at least change them out once in a while, but no. He had to wear that hat. It looked like it belonged in the fifties, but then again I’m not saying I didn’t like it. It seemed to fit him in some way. But why was he wearing it!
“Are you hiding something?” I asked before I could stop myself.
“What?” he said, and tensed up for a fraction of a second.
“Why do you wear that hat all the time? Is there something wrong with your eyes?” I asked. I knew he was looking at me now because his hat was tilted to the side a little, probably so he could see me better from under the hat.
He laughed a little.
“No, my eyes are normal. They just look different.” he said seriously and I thought I noticed a touch of maybe sadness or regret in his voice.
“How? Are you cross-eyed or something?” I tried to look under the hat’s brim.
He smiled and tilted his head down a little so I couldn’t see his eyes. “No, I’m not cross-eyed.” he gave a little chuckle.
“Then what’s wrong? Come on, you can trust me. I won’t tell or laugh.” I looked at him encouragingly. He didn’t say anything for a while and we danced in silence again. What was so wrong with his eyes that he was afraid to show me? I thought.
I smelled his sweet scent suddenly flow through my senses as he turned me and I closed my eyes for a second, trying to regain control of myself. It was like no smell I’d experienced before. It was so addictive with the vanilla and sharp peppermint, but that third smell was just as mysterious as he was. I didn’t know how to explain the smell or how to compare it to anything, because well, it didn’t compare to anything I’d ever known. I closed my eyes, drinking in the tempting aroma.
But after a few seconds, the aroma left me and I snapped back to reality. I looked at Connelly again and my mind quickly went back to trying to figure out a way of getting rid of that hat.
“Okay how about this.” I said and he lifted his hat a little and I could feel him looking at me.
“How about you just let me see your eyes. You don’t have to take off your hat or anything.” I waited for his answer.
“I can’t show you. I trust you, but I just can’t show you now. You understand?” he said.
“I understand. It’s just not the right time.” I said, looking down. I was really hoping I was going to see his mysterious eyes.
“But how about we get onto a more pressing subject?” Connelly lifted my head and I saw his mouth curve into a heavenly smile. I couldn’t help but smile back and he seemed pleased.
“Like what?” I was happy again.
“When Dave kissed your hand, if that blush didn’t mean you liked him, then what did it mean?” he asked me, moving his head to the side and smiling. I blushed and looked away. I didn’t want to tell him this. It would be so embarrassing.
“I was embarrassed and hoped you hadn’t seen.” I said quickly. I couldn’t seem to keep anything from him, like he might as well be able to read my mind.
“Why didn’t you want me to see that?” he asked curiously.
“Well, because I didn’t want you to think that I liked him and then you not be interested in me anymore.” I blurted out.