Altered Chapter One - The Dance Off!

 “Hurry up! I swear you want us to get there late!” Lily complained to me, I grinned affectionately at her, envying the fact that she was prettier.
“I would be ready right now if you hadn’t taken so long in the shower!” I shot back at her.
Lilies face fell and I wanted to kick myself.
“I’m sorry-,” we said in unison.
We laughed together, the almost somber moment breaking up quickly.
“Ivy, why don’t you wear my other pair of dress shoes they will match your dress.”
“Thanks!” I replied diving for the closet. The doorbell rang and Lily swept from the room with a slight swish of her dress.

I hurried into the shoes hearing the laughter coming from the kitchen, laughter that could only come from my best friend Margie.
Quickly I took one last look in the mirror, making sure my new green spring dress looked alright and hurried out of the room.
“-No, he’s not coming.” Lily was answering Margie as I entered.
“Not even to watch? Or dance with you after?”
“He said he needs to study. He wants to get high enough grades here to get into the medical program at the U next year.”  Lily said speaking of the University of Utah, the place we were ironically headed tonight.

“Please,” I begged Margie, “Please don’t get her started on Brent.”
“We need to go anyway, Tyma just called she’s already picked up Sarah and Heather.” Margie added as we both turned to look at Lily, “What? I’m ready…”
We all broke out laughing, Lily was never ready.
At this moment she was holding two carrot sticks, two celery sticks, a bottle of water and a pair of shoes.
“I’ll put them on in the car.” Lily answered when the laughter paused and in a happy whirl we left the apartment running to Lily and I’s beat up blue Hyundai.
Margie moaned, “I can’t wait to get my car from the shop.”
“It’s not that bad.” Lily and I said in unison for the one hundredth time and for the one hundredth time Margie rolled her eyes, as if to say, yeah it is.

Margie sat in the passenger seat while Lily took over the back seat empting out the contents of her purse to finish her beauty routine.
I started the car, happy that the dance off was to be at the U this year and not at the community college that we attended.
 Twenty minutes later I pulled into the spot next to Tyma’s car where they were waiting for us.
We were a good mix of girls; Tyma was the shortest of us with short blonde hair.

Heather was tall slim and had jet black straight hair.
Sarah was average height one or two inches taller than Lily and I; she was the plumpest of us with light sandy brown baby fine hair.
Margie was Spanish with light skin tone and black curly hair and long eye lashes.

Lily and I were twins.
Some called us semi identical, we didn’t really care.
I thought her face was prettier; as she had two deep dimples and dark brown eyes.
I had one faint dimple and hazel eyes. Her hair was also a shade darker brown than mine.
The rest of our features and looks were the same, long wavy brown hair, 5, 4’ with medium sized chests with decent bodies.
Not too skinny, but not fat either. Tonight Lily was wearing a white spring dress with cherries sprinkled all over it. Her red heels really kicked off the outfit not to mention the bright red lipstick; a shade I never could pull off.

We spent a few minutes talking about dresses, shoes, and hair; admiring and exclaiming before we got down the real conversation as we walked to the ballroom.
“The men are all here, they drove up together in James’s fan.” Tyma said getting warmed up for a long run of information.
“Did they remember the music?” Sarah asked nervously, “Because if they didn’t I brought along a copy.” “I am sure Carl would never forget the music.” Tyma answered still wanting to go back over information we all had heard before a million times.
Behind her back Margie, Sarah and I rolled our eyes at each other. Lily and Heather, however, humored her allowing her to return to tangent mode.

An hour later tangent mode would have been preferred to what I was enduring watching the competition.
The first dance team had us worried, the second biting our nails and the third proved to us that we were not going to win the dance off.
We danced fifth thrilled that the fourth team had been terrible.
Knowing you aren’t going to win and knowing that you’re not going to be remembered as the worst team of the night really loosens you up.
We ended up coming in fourth out of nine teams. After the announcement of winners the ballroom turned into an open dance for all the dancers and spectators that had shown up to watch.

We all paired off with the men from our dance team for the first few dance numbers.
I split from James on the third dance to get a drink and Margie followed. At the refreshment table we bumped into Heather who, like always, was surrounded by a large group of men.
They made room for us and introductions were made. When a handsome man named Andre was introduced to me he quickly asked me to dance, I quickly agreed.

“Do you attend the U of U?” Andre asked me leading me onto the floor.
“No I attend the Community College.” I answered keeping up with him as he moved me around the floor with a very confident step. Man he knew how to dance!
“What are you majoring in?” Andre asked looking into my eyes.
His blue eyes distracted me for a few seconds, blushing I stammered, “Math, I mean as a Math teacher. My major and my minor are a mix up of teaching and math.”
He nodded like he actually understood that sentence. 
“What is your major?” I asked, already knowing from his jacket and introductions that he not only attended the U, but was on their swimming and diving team.

“I’m majoring in Engineering and minoring in Science.” He replied before going into a five minute detailed explanation of which fields and future jobs he was interested in.
To be honest I didn’t understand half of what he said but tried to keep up.
It might have been easier if his amazing looks had not been distracting me. He looked like Apollo, seriously. He had blonde hair, blue eyes, and was a well sculpted and perfectly shaped man.

During our second dance Margie ‘accidentally’ bumped into us and swapped partners with me.
Nick was nice enough but he was no Andre.
The same conversation was repeated with him and I was pleased to find he was in school to be a teacher as well. His hope was to be a high school drama and theatrics teacher.
I wished him luck; I was terrified of high-schooler’s.

After dancing with several men from the initial group Heather had drawn I found out that they were mostly members of the swim and diving team. 
Margie was hanging on every word that Andre said and I was trying to pay attention to the lesser but still handsome Nick.
Heather was glued to a man named Mike and both Tyma and Sarah were tearing up the floor with our team mates James and Carl.
I quickly scanned the floor and saw that Lily was nowhere to be seen. When Nick’s attention was distracted by one of his friends asking a question I hurried off in search of the ladies room.

It was empty, but the long open couched area off the main ballroom had a large set of stairs leading to another seating area.
On a whim I went searching for Lily up the stairs.
“You found me.” I heard Lily say before I saw her in the shadows of a deep couch.
“Do we need to leave Lily?”
“No I’ll be alright in a minute.”
“But you’re not having any fun!”
“I just wish Brent would have come.” Lily said dejectedly and I had to grit my teeth for a few seconds before responding.
“I know you wish he was here, but you could at least dance with our guys. They know you’re taken and won’t be trying to flirt with you.”
She smiled perking up a bit, “You’re right I had forgotten them! Their safe!”
With that Lily stood and looped arms with me, I didn’t have a clue what she saw in Brent, he reminded me of a yuppie politician. Nicely polished and full of crap.

We walked down the steps still arm in all, Lily all smiles now that she could enjoy the rest of her night without Brent and I was smiling because Andre was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.
“You left,” Andre said holding out his arm to join the loop on my empty arm.
“I was worried about you.” I smiled up at him happy that he had noticed and worried about how to handle Margie’s disappointment.
“Andre I would like you to meet my sister Lily. Lily, this is Andre.” They exchange pleasantries each seeming to like the other.
Andre scored major points with us for not stating the obvious that we were twins.

Lily left us as we were about to enter the ballroom spying that James was free for the moment.
Andre pulled me to a sofa to talk for a moment.
“Would you mind giving me your number so I may call you later?” Andre asked very seriously as he pulled out his phone and snapped a quick photo of me.
I quickly followed his lead, thrilled with how easy it had been to get his photo and his number!
“What nights do you normally have free?” He asked as I put my phone away.
“I work at a call center, every week the schedule changes, this next week I have Monday and Thursday free.”
“That is amazing!” He said leading me back onto the dance floor. “Monday I am free as well!”
We laughed together lightly as he made casual plans to see me again Monday.

Monday led to Thursday that had led to Wednesday and a myriad of phone calls and texts.
Within two weeks from meeting him, Andre had become a part of my life.
One of the best parts of my life, as well a part that Margie still did not know about. I didn’t know how to tell her! I was growing more and more concerned, if I had thought that he had been serious about me I would have told her after that first Monday night, but everything had started so casual and light I had put it off.

I bite my lip as I left the grocery store. My class had let out early and I had done quick run to the store before heading back to pick up Lily.
 As I walked worried about what to tell Margie, how to tell her that I had taken the man she had shown interest in, I started to notice people turning to look at me.
Damn! I took a deep breath trying to calm down.
It was too late. I knew I should have been paying more attention!
I hurried my steps as I rushed toward the car. The energy of rushing only increased the amount of energy pouring from me.

I broke into a nervous jog hoping to feel safe – safe from all those around me, and more importantly safe from myself.
I practically threw the groceries into the trunk. Slamming the door shut behind me, I leaned my head against the headrest and closed my eyes; trying to breathe and calm my emotions.
I felt watched and not just from those around me, but from something else.
I took another few minutes to calm my rising emotions and steady my heartbeat. Once it had slowed I felt the high energy melt away as if it had never risen.

Was I insane?
I really hoped not.
Surely others had high moments of energy and intensity that it affected the very air around them. Right? Other people feel their energy pulsing, don’t they?
A tiny voice inside me said, no while another one said, yes.
Great! I thought to myself, even my inner voice was fighting itself.
I drew in another deep breath and released it slowly, shaking my head once more attempting to clear out all thoughts as I reached for the key in the ignition.
I was going to be late and Lily hated to be kept waiting.

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