Charles & Claire Ch. 17bySchuppinzigh©
I asked, "Claire, can we talk privately for a moment? Kallie, I'll be right back and we'll start our next routine, OK?"
"OK, Charles... ooh, Claire's in trouble," Kalista said as we left through the kitchen door.
"Charles. Do you want me to leave?" mom asked.
We came into the kitchen.
"No, no Annie... this isn't about 'that', and actually your opinion may be needed," I said.
"Charles, this sounds so serious," Claire said.
"It may be, Claire," I responded.
I took a deep breath, and started, "Since you told me that Kalista was my soul mate, and given that you're now wearing my mother's wedding ring, may I please give Kalista the Promise Ring?"
Both sets of feminine eyes immediately moistened, Claire looking over at Annie for her reaction.
Tears popped from my eyes as well, as I said, "Claire, you know all the things we said when I gave you that ring still apply, and Annie has been so wonderful, letting you wear her wedding ring. I thought that maybe, I could Promise to Kalista that I'll always be there for her, and her and my friendship would be everlasting. Would that be all right with you?"
"Claire," Annie said. "He's got a good point; you two are promised forever, whatever your status becomes, dancing partners, husband and wife, paramours."
"Mom, that's not helping," I said, holding back a chuckle.
After taking a deep breath, Claire said, "Charles, as soon as you started your little speech, I knew what you were going to say, and I think, that this is the best decision you've made, since picking me as your dance partner over a year ago." She had a wondrous smile on her face.
I took the ring out of my pocket. Annie grabbed it from me and shined it up, and handed it back to me. I left the kitchen.
Kalista had sat down, waiting for us to all come out.
I walked out a little hesitantly, and as I approached Kalista, I heard the door open behind me, and the other ladies came out.
"Kalista - honey, could you stand up for a moment please?" I asked softly, yet seriously.
She looked over at Claire and Annie, who had no discernable expressions on their faces, so Kalista thought this was bad news, and a single tear dropped from her left eye.
I took out the Promise Ring, and she looked at it with curiosity on her face. I got down on a single knee, which caused her to squeal, just a little.
With a few tears in my eyes, I asked, "Miss Kalista McArthur, I'd like to Promise you that I'll always be there for you, to dance with, or anything else... and I'd hope that our friendship will be everlasting; as a dance partner, a friend, a little sister, a maid of honor... or even the bride herself. Can you do all that for me, Kallie?"
I went to place the ring on her finger, finding a finger for it to fit. It was a perfect fit on her index finger. She raised her hand to look at it, and her tears came in earnest now, with Claire and Annie encircling her, both hugging and loving her.
She came up to me, while I was still on my knee, and said, "Charles, I promise all of those things back to you. I'd be honored to be any, or all of those things you listed, I love you Charles." And she kissed me, with all the love she could emote from her little eight-year-old body.
I picked her up with her still kissing me, and she wrapped her legs around me, holding me tight.
"OK Princess, we've a routine to learn, what dance do you want?"
"The Bolero, Charles," she said with a grin.
"Oh. And do you have a song picked out for us, as well?" I asked.
"Yes, I think it's the right speed. It's from Enchanted, the song is called, 'That's How You Know'."
"I know that song... and it's indeed a Bolero tempo," I said running the number through my head for a split second, still holding her and with our faces very close to each other.
"Just a minute, Charles." She jumped out of my arms, and ran up to her room and grabbed her go-bag and brought it down. She took out her heels and put them on in a hurry, stood up and said; "Now I'm ready, X."
Remarkably, Kalista picked up on the steps quite well, with Claire at the controls of the song. We made the beginning of the song, before there is a rhythm to it, a no hold moment, in half speed; all we do is look at each other. Boy, Kalista was looking straight at me, making me feel like an ice cream sundae. With her long legs on her new lifts, her hips had me spellbound.
We went through each of the steps I'd done previously with Claire. Kalista was soaking it all up. She even suggested a new kind of hold, her arms straight out on my shoulders, with my hands on each of her hips. I knew that it was a good one, when I heard Annie go "oh my" the first time we did it. It'd be an 'illegal hold' for a Competition, but it did the job as far as presentation was concerned.
With her new ring flashing in the light... she was tremendous. I saw Claire out of the corner of my eye, looking worried. This routine was going to stretch the bounds of my relationship with Claire. She's the one who told me that K was my soul mate. Go figure girls.
About forty-five minutes later, we had a really nice routine to the song.
"BREAK," Annie said.
Claire went up to Kalista and they talked animatedly, but neither one of them looked worse for wear, and then Claire came over to me.
"Charles, I just spoke to Kalista, and she agreed that you and I could use the same routine for a Competition, provided she gets to dance it with you at your 'date', before we can use it as a competitive routine. She wanted me to run it by you, is that OK?" I could tell by her tone of voice, what she wanted to hear me say.
"Claire?" I reacted like I hadn't heard her question.
"I asked, is it OK?" she repeated.
"I agree with Kallie... she gets first chance at it."
Claire wasn't a happy camper, and went in to help Annie with the break stuff. Kalista walked up to me and said, "I see that Claire is pissed at me now, Charles. So, you agree with me that I should get 'firsts' with the routine?"
"Yes, I do, Kallie. By the way, you were fabulous. That is going to be a great routine for you and me to dance at the Palace. Now, there's something, I've been... wanting to ask you about that evening?"
"Charles, I've been expecting for you to ask me, if you can dance with Claire that night, and of course you can. I'm not out to break up the 'greatest dance team of our generation'. I've just been wanting some time with my 'big brother' before you two end up at some dance school and I never get to see you again," she said, with her eyes gleaming and a pretty smile on her face.
"Kallie, I've also heard, from Sarah, that your school thinks you could skip a grade, and instead of starting Third grade, you could start Fourth grade in the fall."
"Yeah, but I'd have to make all new friends with the older kids, and, I didn't want to do that, Charles."
"But, Kallie, if you were in Fourth grade - they use school records to help determine your dance classification - so you'd be a half a dance class closer to me, with the new school year. The potential of us dancing together in a NDCA Competition comes a little closer; not this year but in a year or two, we can dance together."
"That sounds good, Charles, but it also sounds like I could wait a year before I skip my grade, couldn't I?"
"Sure, you're absolutely right, princess... you could."
"Thank you for the time you gave me today, Charles... I love you even more, now."
Claire and Annie came through the doorway with fresh cookies and milk. Just as Claire put down the plate of cookies, Kalista rushed to her and said, "I'm sorry Claire, I don't ever want to argue over dancing with Charles again... there's plenty of him to go around, isn't there?"
Claire responded, looking over at me, "You're right K, we have to learn to share him, without getting jealous or mad. Pinky promise, whoever he learns a routine with first, gets to perform that with him first, but the other one gets to do the routine at some time in the future."
"I want to get in on that pinkie promise, too," Annie said, running to where the girls were standing.
In front of me, I saw my mother, my girlfriend and my soul mate, link their pinkies together, and they all said together, "We promise to share Charles."
An actual shudder just went down my back!
"Oh Daddy, that's such a wonderful moment in your story. Grandma Annie, Aunt Kalista and Mommy all were giving each other a pinkie promise," Rose said.
"Annie's resting for a while, where are you in the story, Loverboy?" Sarah asked, joining our little group.
"Sarah, how nice of you to join us - sit down for a while if you'd like. I just told the kids about the pinkie promise between Mom, Claire and Kalista."
"Oh, I wasn't really in the picture yet was I, Charles? I haven't heard this part in quite some time. I see you lost Michael. I'll get him to his room and come back."
Sarah picked up a sleeping Michael, and took him to his bedroom.
"OK, Rose, it was right here in the story that I finally understood how Kalista fit into my life and just how much I cared for my three girls. I was still very sure I'd end up marrying your mother, but there was a time when I thought I might end up marrying Kalista."
We all sat down and had our milk and cookies... Claire took my free hand and mouthed, 'Remember' to me. "Charles," Claire said. "We've not yet had a Paso Doble routine, have we?"
"No, Claire... actually we started a few times, but got off track with 'other issues' if you'll remember? You got a song in mind, beautiful?"
"It might be Paso Doble, but you'll have to tell me, Honey-Buns?" Claire said, causing Annie and Kalista to chuckle a little.
"So, what is the song Sugar-hips?" I said.
"You mean, Sugar-Lips, don't you?" Claire rejoined.
"No, if you got a Paso song for us, then I expect you to be shaking those sugar-hips, Sugar-hips."
"The song is from Grease, it's called 'You're the One That I Want,'" said Claire.
"That's a great song Claire, let me listen to it... it's a little slow, but we can adjust to that. Maybe I could find a faster pace cover, would that be OK with you?"
"Actually Charles, I'd like to do it as Slow Paso Doble, if possible, maybe even a 'sexy' Paso Doble?" Claire said as she brushed her lips over mine, but didn't kiss me.
Kalista's mouth was open, after seeing what Claire did to me. K looked over at Annie, and they both blushed.
"Charles," Annie said. "I'm certain it'd be OK to razzle-dazzle the song, but be careful how much 'sexing up' you do, for your own sake, for my sake... and for Sarah's sake. Can you two wait a bit before Kalista and my eyes burn out, due to your dance routine. We need to get with Sarah and work out some scheduling issues, mainly any school dances, McArthur BBQs, the 'Date', Cotillion and the upcoming Competitions."
"Charles, bring a suit; I know you've been wanting to get into our spa since you saw it last year... you too Annie?" Claire said grinning.
I looked at Annie, and she gave me a look that seemed to say, 'Be Careful'.
"I don't have a swimsuit that fits anymore Mom, maybe I could just wear a pair of Bermuda shorts?" I said, pleadingly to her.
Chuckling, she said, "I'm sure that'll be OK, Charles. Bring your go-bag."
"You need a new suit as well, Annie. You shouldn't hide your light under a bushel," I said.
Kalista asked, "What does that mean, Claire?"
"Charles is saying that Annie is too good looking to not wear something pretty, that shows off how pretty she is," Claire responded.
"Thank you, Claire for keeping that appropriately worded for Kalista's sake," Annie concluded with a smile.
Kalista added, "Charles hasn't seen you or me in a swimsuit either, Claire. We want him to see our bushels, don't we?"
Mass hysteria ensued, everybody but Kalista cracked up and blushed. After things calmed down, we gathered up all of our stuff and headed over to the McArthurs. Mom and Claire kept giggling most of the drive. Kalista was at a total loss for what just happened.
As soon as we got there, K and Claire went up to their rooms to change into their swimsuits. I had on the shorts I was going to wear. Annie decided to see if Sarah had something for her to borrow, suit wise.
"Sarah," Annie asked. "We need to schedule some things that are coming up this summer. I brought the kids Competition schedule with... When is the McArthur Family Games scheduled for?"
"We usually have it the last Sunday in June, but we don't want to clash with the Comp Schedule," Sarah advised.
"That works, they have a Competition two days before that. Charles. Don't you have a summer dance at your new school?" mom asked.
"Nope, they plan on doing it in the future, but since the school is so new, they're waiting," I responded.
There was a sound behind us as Kalista and Claire came down the stairs in their bathing suits. Oooooooh, my! They're wearing matching bikinis, bright orange. I am so screwed. They have towels over their shoulders, so I can't tell how small their bikini tops are, but their bikini bottoms are quite - lacking enough material to do the job... adequately.
Annie and Sarah saw the look on my face, and chuckled to each other. "Be careful Charles, there are sharks in the water today," mom said.
With a laugh, Sarah added, "Come on Annie, let's go find something to torture him with."
I said, 'We're going to need a bigger spa?'
Giggling, the girls got in ahead of me, and I grabbed a towel and brought it with me. I got in the spa and drifted to the opposite side of the twelve-person creation. In chess parlance - my opening gambit!
The girls were talking so quietly, I couldn't hear anything clearly... then Kalista started towards me, keeping only her head above water - A queenside attack.
"Charles, why are you being so unfriendly? Haven't you ever seen a girl in a bikini before?" Kallie said. She got up and stood before me, wet and very beautiful. I may need CPR before this day is over.
I moved over, realizing their tactic now, and I was doomed. I went underwater and popped up right besides Claire. "Save me from her, Claire. I'm afraid of her!"
While Claire was trying to understand what I'd just said, I went in for a first strike, kissing her. Just then the 'Mom's' arrived.
How does that go, 'bow chicka -- wow, wow', something like that?
Both Annie and Sarah were in rather small bikinis. Annie wasn't the only one who had been 'hiding her light' all this time.
Kalista saw them enter the spa, and boiled it all down by saying, "That's not fair, they got boobs." All the ladies laughed heartily at that.
"Oh Charles, I remember that moment so clearly. You didn't know where to look. All around you were girls in bikinis. Rose, your eyes are closing; let me take you to bed. I'll tell you what you missed, OK?" Sarah suggested.
"Sure, Grandma Sarah, I'm tired. You can have my place in my Daddy's lap if you'd like," Rose said as Sarah picked her up.
"Sounds like fun to me, be right back," Sarah said.
Coming back, Sarah climbed into my lap and said, "Miss me, Loverboy -- I haven't been in your lap in a very long time. All right, I'm settled. Continue on, please?"
Quickly trying to change the direction of the conversation, sort of a Kings Knight façade move, I said, "Kalista, did you show Sarah your new bling?"
"Charles, what are you talking about? Show me what, Kalista?" Sarah asked.
Deflection, successful - Gambit foiled!
Kalista looked over at me and smiled, then raised her hand and showed Sarah the ring on her index finger. Sarah looked over at me, than Claire.
"You know, Charles," Sarah said, smirking, "A hundred and fifty years ago, a man with two women, each with a ring, would be considered a polygamist; at the very least, the luckiest man in town." She radiated a wonderful smile.
Knowledge to the rescue, "Actually, Sarah, Polygamy infers marriage to both, I am married to neither; bigamy implies marriage to one, and then a second marriage occurs, unbeknownst to the first wife. While secular law doesn't recognize polygamous marriages, specifically in the United States, polyamory is being discussed as a potential subst..."
"Oh, shut up Charles," Annie said. "You can take the fun away from just about anything, can't you?"
"Mom, I'm in a spa with four... beautiful women; my Mother, my Girlfriend, My Soul mate, and my potential Mother--in-law; the last thing on my mind is having fun... wait a second, that didn't come out quite right."
"Charles," Claire said, swimming over to me, "Do I make you nervous right now?"
"Not n-nervous, Claire... more uh - uncomfortable," I lied. Claire started to walk towards me with water dripping off of... everything.
"Claire," said her mother, "Don't tease Charles... it's four against one, you know. Everybody, just relax for a little while."
Yeah -- relax... like that's going to happen. Ha-ha, I just don't want to embarrass myself, or anyone else. I closed my eyes and lay back, as the bubbles came on. Oohh, yeah... I felt a hand on my leg. I opened my eyes and it was Claire. "Can I sit on your lap, please X?" she whispered to me. I nodded in compliance.
After a few minutes, I heard Claire say, "Doesn't this feel good, Charles. Haven't you wanted to do this for the longest time, I mean... be in this spa. I could tell, at last years BBQ you wanted to get in it."
"Yes, Claire... I have, maybe when we start making money dancing, we can afford to get one of these ourselves," I said.
"And where would you put it, Charles?" Annie jumped in.
I knew exactly what she was doing, so I met it head on.
"Well, since Claire and I'll be going to college together, then a spa would work out in our apartment's back yard," I speculated.
"Oh - we'll share an apartment Charles? With who?" she asked.
"With each other, Sugar-Lips?" I said looking directly in her eyes.
"Oh - Ohh, I like the that idea, Honey-Buns!" she said, giving me a kiss.
I saw a dour look forming on Kalista's face. "Don't worry, K... you'll be welcome to visit us all you want, whenever you want." That made her face perk up.
"What about your mother, Charles... where will she stay?" Annie said with a yummy smirk on her face.
"With all the money Charles & Claire will make for you, Annie, you could buy a motor home, and bring Kalista and Sarah along with you," I said.
"Finally, somebody remembered me, the 'other mother,'" Sarah said chuckling. We all laughed with her.
"Sarah," Kalista said. "I told you about Charles and my 'date', early next month... why don't you come with us as well; Claire and Annie will be there, along with Charles and me?"
"I don't want to intrude, Kalista. Besides Charles will be the only young man there. He doesn't want another old woman to be there," Sarah said firmly.
I looked over at Annie, who gave me a nod, and I said, looking Sarah directly in the eyes, which was a task all of its own, "Sarah, as gorgeous as you are in the suit you have on, I can only imagine how stunning you'd look in a beautiful evening dress, which I suppose you have, but haven't had a chance to wear, because Mr. McArthur is so darn busy all the time," I sais, smiling right at her.
After looking in my eyes for a split second, Sarah answered, "Girls, you've got yourself another person for your party. I may ask Josiah and Cassandra to join us as well, if that's all right with Kalista. That'd give us another boy to dance with. Otherwise Charles could be whipped by the end of the evening." I'd swear Sarah just winked at me.
"Sure," Kalista smiled. "The more, the merrier. Claire -- why don't you ask Susan and Brian to come as well? And of course Brian's mom."
"Annie," Sarah asked, "Can they make a table big enough for all of us?"