The Dancer

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Chapter 20

“She hasn’t been on campus for over a week, do you think something’s wrong?” I asked, turning my head to look at George. It was Friday evening and I had decided to sleep over at his place yet again. This was becoming a pattern. I would come over during the end of my school week to spend time with him, and it seems George’s embarrassment over where he lives has completely vanished as a result.

A sigh left his lips as he turned to look at me properly. We were so close; our noses were inches away from touching. My eyelids fluttered, and I looked away, unable to go along with the intense stare. I should have gotten used to this by now. Geroge had a tiny standard bed that was small for two people, but we somehow made it work.

“You’ve been talking to her all week, right?” he asked, placing his forehead on my back.

“Yeah,” I answered, looking into his room as I bit inside my cheek. I still couldn’t get the fact that she was skipping school off my mind. I knew I should stop worrying, but I had a bad feeling that she might be hurting herself or planning something that would hurt her along the way.

“You recommended her for counseling, right?” I nodded at George’s question as I felt him run his fingers through my hair. I had it grow out a bit. It’s not like I’ve really had space in my mind to think about things like haircuts. Geroge’s fingers felt cool against my warm scalp. I closed my eyes, humming at how they felt when they moved under my shirt to give my back a rub. “Then you’ve done your best, don’t worry too much about it,” George muttered against my ear as he took his hand away from under my shirt to pull me closer to me in a spoon.

I understood what George was trying to say. I really did, but I was worried. Despite everything I’ve been telling myself for the past few days I couldn’t help being worried. She would reply when I texted her, she would postpone meeting up me to figure out how we’d get her out of trouble, and I began to worry that she might be taking things into her own hands.

“She’s not your responsibility.”

“She’s not my responsibility,” I repeated what George whispered, taking in a deep breath as I tried to zone out from my thoughts. Talking about Grace a lot must be getting on Geroge’s nerves. I should hang out with him like I had planned to.

I turned on the bed so that I was face to face with him again. “Thanks,” I mumbled, leaning in to peck him before leaning away. “I needed that,” I mumbled, smiling at him before snuggling into his naked chest. It felt nice, warm. I’m not sure how to explain it, but I’ll give it a try. George was soft if that makes sense. His body was soft, and it felt nice lying next to him or cuddling into him.

“You’re coming to watch me perform, right?” I asked, remembering that I had told George about performing at the contest. I had invited Xander and Maxwell. I had also asked Austin to come if he could and managed to tell Advik he could come over if he wanted to without things being awkward. It’s bee awkward around Advik lately. He’d greet me and smile when I walked by or if we bumped into each other, but we couldn’t just move back to being friends like before. It was too awkward, and I hated that I had lost a friend.

“Yes. I took a whole day off, you don’t have to keep reminding me,” George said, smiling as he pulled away from me a bit. “I wouldn’t miss it, I’ve never seen you dance apart from that time you were spinning around in my kitchen and almost fell over,” George said, making me blush at the memory as he laughed.

“You left a random basket of clothes in the middle of the room.”

“I’m sorry, I was in the middle of doing laundry,” he laughed, trying to relax my frown by rubbing the area between my eyebrows. My frown didn’t last too long, but it wasn’t because of the rubbing. I just couldn’t stay angry at George for too long, and sometimes I hated that.

“You didn’t sound sorry when you started laughing,” I mumbled, trying to fight the grin that was forming on my face as I replayed the memory in my head. Okay, maybe it was a bit funny.

When George’s laughter died the room went quiet again, and we just snuggled. I was in my mind again, as always, but I wasn’t thinking of all the drama that was going on in my life. I was thinking about George and our relationship. I liked him a lot -- maybe too much, and I guess I’ve gotten to the stage when I want to ask more from him. I peeked up at him, staring at his droopy eyes that were half closed. He looked like he was half asleep, but his eyes went wide when I reached up to touch his face. I smiled at him, and I relaxed, watching as he took the hand and pressed a kiss on it.

“Are you thinking about something?”

“Yeah,” I answered, looking down a bit.

“About what?” he asked, slipping my fingers as he kissed each one now. I liked George’s full lips. I liked the way his pecks felt like little wisps of air.

I hated that I fell in love too fast and that I might scare George because of it.

I shrugged, looking back up at him as he squeezed my hand and pressed it against his cheek. “I guess I’m thinking of my exams?” I had tests soon, so I was only partially lying.

“You’re thinking of your tests and...?” George trailed, leaving the end of his sentence open for me to complete it. I rolled my eyes. Gosh, he never let anything go. It was both sweet and annoying.

“My mum’s driving down to meet me during the contest. Would you like to see her?” I said my words too fast, and I wasn’t sure if George even heard me. I had ignored his question altogether and asked him one of my own instead. I just wanted him to catch my drift without having to sit down and talk about it. How do I start explaining that I wanted him to know my family, and I wanted to know his so that us dating felt more official?

George didn’t say anything he just stared at me as a look I couldn’t put my finger on played on his face. He opened his mouth, but he closed it when nothing came out. “You want me to meet your mum?” he asked, and I nodded, playing with the strings of my hoodie shirt.

“Yeah,” I muttered, vocalizing it. George just stared at me, going back to not saying anything.

“Wow.” I watched as he turned until he was lying on his back at looking at the ceiling. “She won’t mind, or...?”

A frown formed on my face as I tried to piece together what he was saying. My mum won’t like him? Why? I wondered, turning on the bed too so that I was also looking up at the ceiling. It was covered in posters and sticky notes. George was just making do with the space in his apartment.

“She won’t think I’m a bum?”

“What’s a bum?” I asked, frowning in confusion.

“You know, someone who doesn’t have anything doing. Who isn’t working and all,” George said, looking at me from the side of his eyes before looking back up at the ceiling?

“But you have a job,” I reasoned, sitting up on his bed before looking down at him. The ceiling was a bit low and I could touch it if I raised my hand. George kept reminding me we were on a bunk bed so that I’d keep that in mind when moving around. I haven’t fallen off, yet — but I almost did last week when George tickled me, and I almost flew off the bunk in desperation to get away.

“Yeah, but you know—”

“No, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said cutting him off. George sighed, shrugging as a fake smile formed on his lips.

“I guess I’m just paranoid,” he muttered.

“Do—” I started saying but paused. George was looking at me, probably expecting me to continue where I left off. My cheeks went red as I looked away, not wanting to look him in the eye while I asked my question. “Do you mind if I want to see your folks?” There, I said it. There was no way he wouldn’t know why I was asking him to see my mum now. I watched as George got one of those his full body blushes, and I guess it was contagious because more warmth rushed into my cheeks.

“No, of course not,” he said as his eyes fluttered and he hand to look away. “I’d really like that,” he added before looking back at me and I couldn’t help smiling. My grin was so wide. It hurt, but I didn’t care. I was just happy I hadn’t misread the direction our relationship was moving towards. I shuffled so that I was pressed up against him again, I smiled when our noses touched, smiling before leaning in for a brief kiss before pulling away. It was soft and heart-tugging as always.

“You know, I never told anyone back home about you,” George said in a low tone as he reached out to touch my hair.

I rose a brow at him. “Why not? I always talk to my mum about you.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, but you didn’t answer my question,” I replied while reminding him that he couldn’t dodge my question.

“I don’t know. I think I felt that you wouldn’t want them to know.”

“Why?”

“Maybe I had an idea we were dating semi-secretly. Come on, don’t frown. I know it doesn’t make sense but that’s what I was fretting about,” George mumbled, and I could only look at him with shocked eyes.

“You’re really...” I trailed, trying to look for the word that had been swimming in my mind just moments ago. “Self-conscious?” I said before nodding. “Yeah, self-conscious,” I replied, spreading the palm of my hand on his chest. “And I’m really self-conscious, so you know it’s a whole other level if I’m telling you that,” I muttered, trying to keep the one-sided conversation going.

“I guess,” George sighed as I cuddled up to him again. “I’m just not used to getting what I want, you know. You’re handsome, you’re sweet, and you like me back. I don’t think my mind’s over that realization yet. It’s still looking for some catch of some sorts?” George said, trying to explain his reasoning as I kissed up against his neck.

“That’s how I felt. I still feel that way about you,” I said, pulling lips away from his neck. “I keep thinking I’ll wake up any day from now and you’ll realize you don’t really want to date me.”

“That won’t happen—”

“Same with what you said,” I replied, cutting him off. George licked his lips, nodding into his pillow as he thought about it. I moved forward again, pulling him into a kiss. We kissed for a long while, taking pauses to look at each other and catch our breaths. George was red all over, and my blush had reached my ears now. I let my hand run down his stomach, letting the tip of my fingers feel his happy trail before I slipped my whole hand in his pants. He felt warm, and I weirdly felt complimented that he was already a little hard.

“Oh, wait,” George said in a mix between a confused sigh and a moan. It made my face warmer, and I wanted to die from embarrassment, but I did everything to stop myself from cursing and melting into a puddle of ’I’m sorry’s.

“You don’t like it?” I asked instead, taking my hand out and letting it rest on his stomach instead.

“I do, I was just a bit shocked,” he muttered as his eyelids fluttered a bit, his brown pupils trying to focus on me. “Do it. I like it a lot,” he said, giving me the go ahead as his eyes closed and I nodded, slipping my hand back into his shorts before touching him. He let out that moan again and I almost melted. My face was warm. My whole body was warm. It felt… good? My eyes closed shut too when I felt his hands move under my shirt.

“Is this fine?” he asked. I nodded into his chest, still stroking him as I cuddled up to him.

“But don’t take off the shirt,” I muttered, feeling shy as his hands climbed further up.

“Okay.”

I was a little scared George would freak out when he felt the raised scar. I held my breath for a bit, but he didn’t, and he just kept touching me. It felt great. I didn’t feel ugly, and George seemed to be enjoying himself — I was enjoying myself. I guess I was worrying over nothing like Austin told me. And maybe, maybe one day I’ll be confident enough to let George see me naked.

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