Charles & Claire Ch. 07bySchuppinzigh©
I turned around to find Claire, and she was right there and gave me a nice kiss, quickly wiping it off. I told her about the Competition, and she ran to her Mom, who had apparently never left. They talked, with a lot of gesticulations and such.
I took another look at Sarah and thought... she was, what Claire is going to become, gorgeous. I walked over to them just as Jimmy yelled, "It's Tango Time."
Claire and I rushed back to Jimmy and were ready to do our Tango, when we turned to him and said together, "It's a deal, Jimmy."
That made him smile really big as he said, Now... Charles & Claire will show us all, the Tango," starting 'Hernando's Hideaway', a different version than we had danced to before, but quite lyrical.
Claire turned to me and said, "Charles, remember, No rise and fall." What a wonderful smile she had on her face.
We proceeded to Tango ourselves into a lather, using steps that I know Jimmy wouldn't be teaching tonight, but when you love to dance... you do whatever you know. Claire was smiling all through the dance.
I realized that we needed a Tango routine for our next Competition. The song was over and Jimmy proclaimed, "Those two really are something, aren't they?" as the crowd applauded our dance.
Sarah was taking me home, with Claire and I in the back seat together. I saw Sarah glancing back at us from time to time. Kalista turned around and was listening to everything.
I said, "So, we need to be back at Cotillion Wednesday and Friday this week, and Monday and Wednesday next week. Our upcoming Competition is Thursday next week. I'm not sure where, but my Mom says it's three hours east of us. Claire, I thought we would do the Tango at this next Competition. How does that sound to you?"
"Great, X," she replied. "I know we won't win every time we enter, but it sure is a lot of fun to win. What time tomorrow did you want to me to come over and practice?"
"How about ten o'clock? Does that work for you, Sarah? I certainly don't want to cause any trouble with your regular schedule, as far as getting Claire over to our house."
"It's the least I can do for the future NDCA Champions of the United States," Sarah replied.
Kalista was jumping around in her seat. I could tell she had something she wanted to us to ask her.
I casually turned towards Claire and said, "You know Claire, since you're coming over to practice tomorrow, why don't we find out, if a certain seven-year-old would like to be there with you?"
Claire responded, "Charles, are you sure? The only seven-year-old I know is Kalista. Is that who you're talking about, or is there another seven-year-old, you want to invite?"
Sarah had stopped the car... and said, "So ask her, will you? She's going crazy up here, waiting for one of you to ask her."
"Kalista, honey," Claire said. "Would you like to come with me to Charles' house tomorrow, to watch us learn some new dances?"
As soon as she heard the word tomorrow, Kalista turned to Charles and said, "I'd love to come and watch you two dance. I actually dream about you two dancing, and then at some time during the dream... Claire turns into me, and I'm dancing with Charles."
"We're here, Charles - If your girls let you get out of the car," Sarah remarked. Everyone chuckled a bit at that.
I got out of the car, and Claire stepped out as well. She walked me to my door... and it suddenly felt like the final moment of a date. Take a breath, Charles. Claire leaned in and she gave me a nice, sweet kiss. "See you in the morning, X."
I waved to Sarah and Kalista, hugging Claire at the same time.
The front door unexpectedly opened. It was Mom. "I thought I heard voices out here. Clean him up, Claire." She did. Mom waved to all, and closed the door behind her, leaving us all outside together.
"Well, Charles... it looks like I'm officially third on your list, the way I saw Kalista looking at you just now. My son, the polyamorist," she smiled and giggled.
"It's not that way at all, Annie," Claire said. "Kalista does have a huge crush on Charles, but she and Charles danced in front of everybody at the Cotillion tonight, and I think she loves the idea of dancing, as badly as she's fallen for my Charles."
"Your Charles?" I said.
"Yes, Charles," Claire said giggling and taking my arm. "You're mine... and I don't want to share you. You know what I mean Annie, don't you?"
"I believe I do, Claire. I've got an idea, that may embarrass you both, but it's a good enough idea to say anyway."
"Go, Mom," I said. What could it be this time?
"No problem by me, Annie," Claire responded.
"Here it is; I think that each of you should get a couple of sets of clothing in a bag, kind of like a Airline Hostess does. So you could crash at each other's homes after a late night of Cotillion or coming home after a Competition."
"Then you'd always have it with you, like right now, if Claire, had her 'Go-bag' as they're called, she could stay over, and you guys could get an early start on your practicing, what with all the routines, you need to learn. All of that driving to and from would be saved, and you two would have that much more time to spend together dancing."
The implications of this idea caused both Claire and myself to blush quite a bit.
Mom continued, "On your way home tonight, Claire, bring this up, as casually as you can. Since you two are practicing here tomorrow, I'll set up Charles with his own 'Go-bag', and we'll see you both about ten o'clock, OK?"
Finishing up, Mom said, "Oh, and Claire, tell your mother that this is my idea, or she'll never go for it. Say goodnight, you guys, and we'll see you in the morning, Claire."
Mom went inside, leaving Claire and I alone, and her mother was motioning at Claire to get into the car. Claire turned to me and said, "I'm really beginning to like your mother, Charles," she gave me a kiss and left.
The next morning, Mom and I were waiting for Claire and Kalista to arrive for practice. She was taking me through my checklist of the contents of my 'Go-bag'.
"Three sets of outer wear and underwear?"
"Two sets of sleepwear?"
"Toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash?"
"Dancing shoes and plenty of socks?"
"I think you have all you need, Charles. Remember, Sarah isn't quite as comfortable around your 'expressions of love' as I've gotten. Be careful, honey. You've got a good thing going here. A beautiful young girl - oh, make that two young girls; and you've got dancing, which you're very proficient at. You could blow it all by saying or doing one wrong thing."
"You forget one other thing I have going for me, Mom?"
"And what is that, Charles?"
"I've got the nicest, prettiest, most caring mother on the face of the planet. Before there was Kalista, before there was Claire, there was Mom. I love you a lot, you know." I couldn't keep from tearing up during this speech, but it must've been OK... so was Annie.
A car horn was heard.
Mom and I went outside, and we saw both Claire and Kalista carrying a little bag, as they got out of the van. I looked over to Mom, and we both smiled at each other.
Everyone came in from the car and hugged everyone else. I got up and announced what was scheduled to happen today.
"Mom and Kalista, have patience with me today, please? I want to practice the Quickstep for a while, and then I'm going to attempt to start teaching Claire the Samba and the Paso Doble. Jimmy hasn't specifically told me when we're supposed to know these particular dances at Cotillion, so I'd like to be prepared. Tonight at Cotillion, it's scheduled to be more Cha-Cha and Tango. We'll touch on that a little later."
Kalista's hand shot up, as though she was in school, making everyone laugh. "Yes, Special K, we'll practice and add some steps to your Waltz and Tango, along the way." That must've answered her question for she put her hand down and smiled at my Mom.
"Claire, come up here please?"
Claire raised her hand and asked, "Annie... permission please?"
My Mom nodded her head, and Claire gave me a kiss and, of course, wiped it off. Kalista's hand shot up again, and I said, "Wait until after we dance later, OK, K?" causing all the ladies to giggle -- including K.
"Claire, there are four basic movements to the Samba; Natural, Reverse, Side and Progressive. We'll start with the Natural; it starts with my right and your left. The Reverse is exactly what it sounds like."
We did it a few times; Claire didn't quite understand the hip movement involved. I put my hands on her hips, and she put her hands on mine. I heard a cough from the sofa. "Is this the alternative teaching method again, Charles?"
"I'm simply helping her feel the steps, Mother." That made Kalista laugh. "The count is one a'two... one a'two, one a'two. Got it Claire?"
She looked up at me, smiled and said, "Oh, yeah Charles... I got it, bad." That giggle never fails to make me smile.
This is going to be a very long day.
"All right, next is the Side step, same counting - very good Claire. Lastly, is the Progressive step." I showed it to her, and she got it right away. "Let's try it with music, OK?" I suggested.
Claire said, "Oh, Yes Charles, everything's better with music, isn't it?" She blushed and looked over at my Mom, who also blushed. "Sorry, Annie. I'm in his arms, and it feels so good." Now, I blushed.
I previously picked out some music from my dad's extensive collection. This song was called, 'Ooh, La La' by the artist Chicadee.
Having Claire in my arms with this rather sexy song, made me a little self-conscious, but we quickly got 'in the groove' of the music. Kalista was giggling the whole time, probably because of the suggestive nature of the song along with Claire's hip action during the dance.
We went through all the steps. I had to excuse myself for a moment. When I came back, the girls were all talking among each other.
"That looked like fun," mom said.
"It was kind of sexy," Kalista said, blushing because of the word that she used, probably for the first time in her life. "I want to learn that dance too, Charles!"
My Mom jumped in, covering a chuckle and said, "That's a rather advanced dance step K, and it may be a while before Charles can teach you that. You're just not tall enough yet. Have patience dear."
"How about learning a new waltz step instead, Special K?" I suggested. She was up off the sofa, as soon as I said the word Waltz.
I taught her the Natural Turn, which she picked up rather well, and added the Change Combination, again being quite the student. I asked Claire for a medium fast waltz; she pulled out an Andy Williams song, 'Moon River', and as it started, K walked up to me and got into perfect 'closed position'. I nodded to her, and we started to Waltz together. It really is special, being able to dance with this pretty and talented little girl.
She was looking right at me the entire time, actually anticipating, which step I might change into. I didn't hear the 'boom-tic-tic' from her this time. She must really feel the beat and the music. Hmmm. She's almost as easy to dance with as Claire, just a bit shorter... that's all.
The song was over and K asked me to bend over to her, where she planted a kiss upon my cheek. I could tell she thought of putting it on my lips, but I sensed her modesty.
"Let's all take a break," my Mom suggested.
Claire came up to me and said, "She's gotten under your skin, hasn't she, X?"
"Yeah, Claire," I admitted. "I remember back to when I first met her, outside of your house. She said to me, 'Hello. My name is Kalista. It means the most beautiful one'." I leaned on Claire, and sniffled a little. Mom walked in and saw this, but immediately realized what was going on, and ushered Kalista back into the kitchen.
"Charles, you must realize why you're always crying around her, don't you?" Claire said.
"Tell me why, please Claire; tell me why?" I was on the verge of weeping.
"Because... she's your soul mate, Charles. The girl you're destined to be with - live your life - have children with. I'm just a 'placeholder', until enough time passes for you two to be one."
I shook my head in amazement, "No - You're crazy, Claire. You're my soul mate."
"Temporary soul mate. She's your destiny, X."
"That's pretty heady stuff for a thirteen-year-old to find out - That the seven-year-old cousin of his girlfriend is his soul mate. Let's keep all of this under our hats until a later time."
Mom and Kalista came back out with water and glasses. Kalista was pouring us of all a glass of water. I looked at her and said, "Thanks, Special K," and she beamed.
I took a long drink of water and said, "Now, before we move on, I'd like to ask Annie, if she'd like to Waltz with me?"
That surprised Mom, and made them all giggle. She got up and walked towards me, while Claire went over to the player and put on my Mom's recording of 'Sunrise Sunset'.
Mom said, "Oh, you dog, X."
We danced the Waltz, and while we were dancing, I moved my hand a little lower, due to my hands being a little sweaty. My Mom instantly, but quietly said, "Where are you going with those hands buster? Careful... I'm still your mother, and I can ground you from all this."
I started laughing from what she was saying. When she was through, I mentioned my hands were sweating a little and moving my hand was my solution for it. She smiled at me and said, "That's a good line, X... have you used it on either of your other dance partners?"
"Mom, you're so funny sometimes. I've only danced with five different women in my life, and I love you, but you're a little crazy, you know." The song ended. Claire and K stood up and applauded while my mother bowed gracefully.
"Time to learn the Paso Doble, Mi Carina."
"Carlo, Il mio cuore è per voi"
(Charles, My Heart is for You).
"Mi sento allo stesso modo anche, Clara"
(I Feel the Same Way Too, Claire).
"You didn't just ask her to marry you, did you Charles?" my Mom quickly interrupted, snickering as she said it.
"Of course not, Mom. I'm saving that for one of those great BBQs that the McArthurs have. Which would that be, the twenty-third or twenty-fourth Annual BBQ, Claire?"
"I won't be legal until after the twenty-third, so you can ask me at the twenty-fourth, OK," said Claire?
"OK, CC," I replied.
"You haven't called me that in a while, X."
"Thinking about the BBQ helped me remember what your father called you. Enough of all this talk about marriage proposals and such - we've more important things to do; learn the Paso Doble."
"First step is called the Sur Place, pick up your feet like you're marching, but barely off the ground, for an eight-count. Again, very good Claire! Now the Sur Place Link is a flashy move; we start connected by my left hand and move towards each other during the eight count, and we connect back up on the seven count."
"Very nice! Now we turn to the left? Uh-hum, good - then to the right? We'll stop there and do it to music. I left a CD over there called 'Pure Ballroom', by Andy Fortuna. K, could you start it, playing cut three please?"
"Do you feel the beats, Claire? Yes, you've got it. This seems like a very tiring dance. I may need to work on my stamina and breathing, so I can keep up with you. That's very good, Claire."
She gave me a quick kiss, saying, "What a wonderful teacher you're going to be, after we retire from winning all of those dance Competitions."
"Now, we're retired from Competition and becoming dance teachers? You certainly have things planned out, don't you Claire?"
Claire responded, "Let's take a break." Kalista got up and refilled all the water glasses, and sat back down - Right next to me.
After the break, Kalista assumed it was her turn. I couldn't turn her down. I figured she could learn the Promenade. She was always giggling when she saw Claire doing it.
"Special K, I'm going to teach you the Promenade. You've seen Claire do it... do you think you can do it?"
"Anything you want to teach me, I'll learn how to do, X," she quickly replied.
Claire got up to show K how to do it. K was nice to her, and tried it and did it, spot on. Claire sat back down. I heard her say to my Mom, "Aren't they the cutest couple?" My Mom grabbed Claire by the hand and said, "Don't worry, dear; he loves you more."
"K, you ready to do this to music," I asked.
"Let's dance, X!" She was jazzed.
Claire got up and had 'Hernando's Hideaway' ready to play. K and I moved towards each other. I heard Kalista quietly say to herself, "There is no Rise and Fall." I nodded to Claire; she started the music, and we're off. Kalista felt like a feather against my right hand. Maybe Claire is right about K, after all.
We danced, and I was looking at K the whole time. I smiled at her and she smiled back, with a twinkle in her eye. As soon as the dance was over, I bent over and gave her a quick kiss upon the lips. She'd brought her hand up to her lips, blushed at me, and mouthed, 'Thank You'.
"Break," I said. Kalista and my Mom scattered into the kitchen, while Claire came up to me with an 'I told you so' look on her face. We grabbed a few kisses, being all alone. I heard my Mom cough, which I assumed was a signal to us - so we broke apart.
K and my Mom brought out little sandwiches and lemonade. K was quick to stand next to me, and she poured me a glass of lemonade. I looked over at my Mom and Claire, and they were smirking at me.
"Well," my Mom said. "I guess I'm officially third on Charles' list now."
We all laughed a little as we sat and ate the food in front of us. "After the break, Claire, I want to teach you a few new Quicksteps," I mentioned.
We'd all finished eating and took care of cleaning up, and it was time for the Quickstep. "Mom," I asked, "There is a new CD called 'Ballroom Nights' on the player. Pick a song and Claire and I'll go through what we already know, or think we know." She selected random and what came up, but 'Sing, Sing, Sing', the Benny Goodman arrangement.
Claire and I started up and were moving across the floor like nobody's business. I keep asking myself, how is this so easy to me? And Claire? It's like we were born to dance. Man oh man, we were really moving. We did have a Cotillion to go to, so after the song was over, we stopped.
I wanted to add The 'Hesitation Step', so I showed it to Claire, who picked it up the second time through. I was physically tired, so I asked if we could stop after a while. The ladies agreed, so Kalista, Claire and myself just lay our heads back on the sofa and closed our eyes.
I woke up suddenly with a head on my lap. I was almost afraid to look down. It was K. Her head was face up, on my lap, and she looked so pretty and peaceful. I looked to my left, and Claire's head was resting against my shoulder. I looked over and saw my Mom, with her eyes closed, resting as well.
Am I lucky... or what? I've got a dancing partner... that I'm in love with, another dancing partner-in-training who's my 'soul mate' and I got the best Mom ever, who's willing to take Claire, and me to dancing Competitions all over the place.
I couldn't get up without waking up everybody, so I just sat there for a bit. Claire's eyes fluttered open. She noticed my Mom's eyes were closed, so she risked giving me a kiss. As usual, she wiped it off. I decided to wake up Kalista in proper Snow White fashion, and gave her a kiss upon the lips.
She wasn't used to that, and slapped me really hard, I guess thinking a fly or something landed on her lips. She got up and started saying. "Charles, I'm sorry?" over and over, which woke up my Mom, saying, "What happened? Is everyone OK?"