[Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?]

            The clash of jeers and applause from the crowd had me sweating bullets. While most of the people gathered around me were impressed and gave me moral support, some—whom I wrongly categorized as my friends—gave me trouble.

            I continued the motions. My body swayed, legs carefully stepping in vague patterns, arms swinging and bending to the beat, fingers snapping along. Even after several months of intense practice, the movements were difficult to sustain, but it was definitely possib-

            She arrived! She stood in the crowd with a large smile on her beautiful face, hands clasped in front of her to show she was proud! Her arrival nearly caused me to falter, but I remembered my training and maintained the correct posture.

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            Step, step, step, loooong step, hop, swing, twirl…

            No! I stumbled slightly. Though I caught myself and executed the move correctly the second time, it was definitely visible…

            I looked out at the crowd with expectations of disappointment, even if only a little, but…the people giving me support didn’t seem to pay it any mind, and Marta even giggled at me! Ooooh, merely her acknowledgment of my hard work made it all worth it!

            Confidence restored to its peak, I-


            “Sissy can’t even distinguish his left from his right after learning for so long!”

            There they went again, calling me unmanly. Their words put a damper on my mood, but it didn’t matter because I was almost finished with the routine.

            The end of the dance neared, which meant the most difficult sequence was up. I reassured myself that it would be fine, because I failed very few times during practice and they weren’t even that big a deal.

            It started with deceleration so that I could prep my posture and find where my feet should go, then led to me sending a leg outward and to the side, using the momentum of the kick to spin my body. Slowly, I tucked my arms in so that I was only a quickly-spinning stick balanced on my toes.

            That was just the first part of the end, because after came-

            “Oh, no.” I thought, when I realized I hadn’t centered my mass properly and spun out of the center of the crowd and in the direction of my ex-friends. With how they’d treated me the last few months, I knew they couldn’t resist messing with me in some way.

            Just as I’d expected, one of the men whom I once thought I could trust stuck his foot out beneath me, tripping me.

            As I fell, I wasn’t so much mad at the asshole who tripped me, but more frustrated that I couldn’t finish the dance for Marta, who came to watch my progress.

            It was just as I’d lost hope when a hand grabbed mine mid-fall, ruining gravity’s plan to slam me into the floor.

            “Allow me to assist you, Faebyen.” She said, flashing me with a smile so bright I thought the Heavens had descended in all their splendor and glory to greet me.

            “Uh, p-please do, Malta.” I managed to stammer out.

            Still smiling, Malta lifted me to my feet—which was no easy task considering that I likely weighed thirty to forty more pounds than her—and continued the routine, professionally guiding me through the steps and motions with her hands holding mine.

            Malta was so skilled that she had attention to spare, using it to speak to me.

            “You know, Faebyen, when you first confessed to me almost a year ago, I thought you were just another so-called ‘tough guy’ who wanted me for my curves.”

            I blushed but didn’t reply, only being capable of giving her an awkward smile as I struggled to keep up with her feet and listen to her at the same time.

            “I’m happy you took my words seriously when I told you that I’d only go out with someone who could dance as well as I. Though, you haven’t yet reached that point.”

            Another twirl and the dance was complete, but my mind and heart still raced, because I had Malta in my embrace.

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            “You’re lucky that I’m not super picky and am willing to look past that.”

            Not giving me the chance to ruin the moment, Malta stood on her tippy-toes to reach my face, where she locked lips with me.

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