YAFF Muse is a weekly blog series featuring some YA Fiction Fanatics members. In this series, we'll post original short stories created from an image meant to inspire our Muse. Hope you enjoy! And don't forget to check out the other YAFFers participating in this series (links below). Curve ball for this post - has to be male POV. (gulp) Here I go...
|Photo Credit: MirrorMirror by kakisky (morguefile.com)|
After shoving Ani’s pink bag under the plastic chair, I sit back and try not to be noticed. It’s not that I’m not social. But there’s nothing worse than being cooed at by less than hot cougars. Okay, there’s one thing that’s worse, and it’s not-hot cougar pity.
Ani’s squeal rises above the other girls at the dance class as she twirls around holding the princess hat. Mrs. Shelton, their teacher, gives out the hat every lesson. It’s a different girl each time, and that girl gets to be the lead dancer that day.
She stops spinning enough to look at me and point at the hat. I give her a thumbs-up and she spins around to face the class again. I shake my head. Sometimes she’s so much like her mom. A flash of Celia’s dark eyes assaults my memory sending a pang of sadness to my heart and I chase it away by concentrating on the magazine in front of me. Some things have to be forgotten, but Ani sure makes that hard.
A shadow crosses my pages, but I refuse to look up, afraid of Celia’s ghost.
I look up to see a redheaded girl, about my age, stands over me. My mouth curves into a smile. Jesus, she’s gorgeous. “Hi.”
“You’re in my seat.”
Not what I was expecting. Of course, staring at her is my response.
“Did you hear me?” She narrows her gaze.
“Oh, um. Sorry. I didn’t know it was assigned seating.”
“It’s not. But I have to sit ten seats from the door.” Her pale freckled arm motions along the line of chairs.
I swallow, then glance around her to see Ani bonking another girl on the head with a ribbon wand. “Hey. Ani.” She doesn’t pay attention. Getting up I take a few steps in her direction. “Ani Flowers, you stop that right now.” I say, bringing out my authoritative voice.
She stops mid smack, allowing the other girl to escape her. But her eyes tell me she’s angry I yelled at her, so I shake my head while Mrs. Shelton makes her way through the sea of little girls to her.
I return to my seat finding the redhead sitting in it, wide smile on her full lips. How long has it been since I kissed lips like that? Too long. Visions of her lips against mine, her freckled hands running down my torso, and the feel of her breasts under my palm cause a momentary and not to mention inappropriate bulge in my pants. I rush to take the chair next to her.
Why did I do that? There are at least five other vacancies. As I glance around willing the swell to go away, the other chairs become more undesirable when I notice the predatory grins from the cougars. That helps.
“Are you all right?” the redhead asks.
Not really. No. I just got a raging boner at a little girl’s dance class, all because you’re so hot and I haven’t been laid in-- God how long has it been? At least since Ani…
“Earth to strange boy,” she says.
“Sorry. Um, yeah. I’m fine.”
She snorts. “You don’t look it.”
I turn to her. “Who are you?”
“Xena. Who are you?” Her eyebrows shoot up, a smirk plays against those damn lips.
I clear my throat. “Blake.”
“Well, Blake, your sister is a bit of a trouble maker, isn’t she?” Xena points at Ani, who is again thumping another little girl.
“Damn it.” I move to fetch her.
Xena’s hand wraps around my forearm. “Just wait. Mrs. Shelton will deal with it.” She motions to the girls. “See. Everything’s fine.”
“Yeah, guess so.” I settle back. “She wasn’t hitting yours was she?”
“Yeah, whoever you brought here?” I’m used to talking to the cougars who all refer to their children as ‘yours’ or ‘mine’.
Her laugh echoes through the dance hall. “None of them are ‘mine’. I’m a teacher here. Well, teacher in training. It’s my observation day.”
“Then what’s with the ‘my seat’ thing?”
She meets my gaze. “I have O.C.D.”
“Now it all makes sense.” My eyes do the elevator move on her, even though I’m silently willing them not to. She’s got a fine dancer’s body.
Xena shifts in her chair. “Your sister has good balance.”
I drag my attention back to the class. “Yeah, I know. She got that from her mom.”
Ani twirls in place faster than any of the other girls, then stops without even a wobble. I smile at her and can hear her giggle in the middle of all the other giggles.
“Anyway, she’s not my sister.”
“Oh.” She sighs.
What the hell. This girl seems a little crazy. “Ani is my daughter.”
“Cool. Do you want some Junior Mints?”
Cool? Junior Mints? What the?
She shakes the box at me, and I hold out my hand as she pours a few chocolate candies into it.
“Out with it. I know what you want to say." I change my voice to that of the Cougars. "But you look too young? Where’s her mommy?’”
Around a mouthful of mints she says, “Obviously you’re a good dad. You take your daughter to dance class. Who cares how old you are?” She glances around at the moms. "Well, maybe they do." Then says, "Jailbait." under her breath.
“Jesus. I’m eighteen. How old are you?"
We watch the class in silence.
“So you got a girl knocked up at what, fourteen?”
“Yeah.” I shift my gaze back to the class. Back to Ani.
“Heavy.” She pours more candy into my hand. “Listen. I’ve got to go, but do you want to hang out sometime?”
“After what I told you, you want to hang out?”
“I like your story, Blake. You seem like someone I might be able to get along with. Oh.” She frowns. “Unless the mom is still—”
“No. She died.”
“Boy you’ve had a bit of a rough patch.”
I catch Ani twirling with her princess hat on. “Not really.”
(c) 2011, MB
Don't forget to check out my fellow YAFFer's stories based on the same photo: