Your body turned, leaped, twisted and glided across the wood floor. Sweat dribbled and clung to your body, your breath, though rhythmic, was labored. You finished with a few distinct classic steps before coming to an end and leaned against a near by wall, wiping the sweat from your forehead.
You looked into the mirror across the room, seeing your exhausted image as you pushed from the wall and walked across the room. Sitting down you undressed your ballet shoes and got ready to go into the locker room to shower and change into your street clothes.
Your school was a public school but over the years it got to boasting excellent dancing classes. So you’d gone here instead of a private or specialized school. Public schools were easier to get into. On top of which, at the time dancing was only a hobby, something your Mom enrolled you in when you were little and really had no say. It still was a pass time, but if you could make a living doing it, then you would.
You were currently working on a routine for a competition you wanted to enter, and were devoting a lot of extra hours to it. The competition prize was spotlight, which would make it easier to get a job in the dancing arena after you got out of high school if that’s what you decided to do.
You didn’t have to enter, it was just something extra you wanted to do. Just in case you took that route instead of college.
You were stopped when the P.E. teacher for one of the gym classes spotted you and smiled. You noticed there was a familiar face lagging on behind him, looking irritated.
“Hey, ______.” Mr. Rohd was also the football coach as well as a P.E. teacher. He was a man in his mid-thirties, thin graying brown hair and warm brown eyes.
“What’s up?” You smiled politely despite how tired you were. You used to be in his P.E. class and you two got along pretty well.
“Well, I was wondering. You see, this punk behind me has on-campus suspension and I was thinking of having him take care of the dance room. You’ve been complaining about it not being picked up and the Janitor is too busy to get to every room…” The dance club room was at the far back of the school and since it was used so often by other dedicated students like you, the Janitor either couldn’t get to it, or it was being used.
“He can clean up this place specifically as well as the Ag. Rooms, and then you can boss him around all day when he’s done.” You smiled and laughed.
“Oh? My personal servant huh?” He chuckled and you looked over the older mans frame, swearing that the silver-haired teen was giving you the glare of death. Just then the Janitor came over and Mr. Rohd left a moment with the teen to introduce the two and tell the Janitor to show his “helper” where to get his stuff and what to do.
“Why is he on suspension, if I may ask?” You asked when he came back and Mr. Rohd sighed.
“He got into a fight during a basketball game with another well known punk.”
“Let me guess… Dante.” You knew who that punk getting loaded up with wash buckets was. He was infamous.
And the only other big ass in the school was Dante and his less troublesome, but still widely feared twin brother-Virgil.
Mr. Rohd laughed awkwardly.
“Yeah… You guessed it. Dante got stuck picking up after the baseball and basketball courts for a week and Nero’s here.” You nodded in understanding.
“Well, thanks for letting me know.” He smiled.
“No problem. Just didn’t want you to freak out when there’s a new face in there tomorrow. Especially with the sour look he’s got know.”
“He’s always sour.” You interjected and he laughed. You were in Nero’s P.E. class last year. He always looks so disgruntled, angry. Dante was like that too, but he had a different, cocky, arrogant feel. Nero was just plain angry. And while Dante had some buddies (though shady as they may be) Nero was a loner.
“Well, I need to get cleaned up before I go.” Nodding and waving, Mr. Rohd left you to your own devices.
You glanced at Nero, jerking your eyes away in alarm when he seemed to glare back at you.
You knew about him, and there were all kinds of rumors. Of course, rumors can often be false, but you’d seen your fair share of his attitude that made you not like him.
He was just a punk, and really, you didn’t see anything in his future. Just criminal activity. You knew you were stereo typing, he might just be “all sweet and warm on the inside” if you got to know him, but you really didn’t want to. He kind of scared you.
The next day you had dance during school. It was your sixth period class, right after lunch. And when you got in with a bunch of other students, there he was. He had a broom, but he wasn’t using it. He was just leaning against the wall, glaring at everyone. A lot of girls were whispering in curiosity and guys were laughing about it. It was pretty obvious why he was here, and you were sure everyone heard about the brawl on the basketball courts.
You had to give Nero one thing though, and that was guts. Not to many juniors take on a senior like Dante. Nero was strong, but Dante was a brute. All muscle everywhere.
You came out with everyone in your leotard and tights when the teacher came in and started your warm ups.
When class was over a few people stayed behind to practice. There were no more classes after sixth. Eventually the few people trickled out until you were the only one left.
“Why the do you like dancing so much?” You stopped and put your leg down and looked over toward Nero. He was sweeping up with the wide range broom. You had to admit; he looked… Adorable in the janitors outfit, but only because of the pouty he face he was making, and the red rag hanging out of the back pocket of the blue jump suite.
“I don’t know… It’s fun I guess.” Nero stopped and looked at you like he didn’t believe you.
“Getting all worked up to a sweat?” You nodded. You really didn’t want to talk to him. Now that he was trying to start conversation; you wanted to leave. He was ruining your concentration anyway.
“You gonna be one of those broadway dancers or something? Maybe in Las Vegas?” You internally “icked” at the Las Vegas. Most of the dancers in Las Vegas you’d heard about were erotic dancers. Not all of them were, you knew, but still… You didn’t want to be put in that kind of label.
“Maybe.” You responded dryly as you walked over to sit in one of the chairs left out and start undressing your shoes.
“You guys do that ballerina stuff. Don’t you break your toes a lot?” You wanted to sigh, but knowing it’d be rude you held back.
“When you first start out.”
“The music you guys listen to is crap. Don’t you listen to anything good?” You looked up at Nero, unable to believe his attitude.
“Well, it’s classical music. It’s better to work with.” Nero said nothing for a moment.
“Easier, not better.” You finished with your shoes, turned the C.D. player off and started to gather your stuff.
“Well, I’ll leave the room up to you. Don’t forget to lock up when you’re done.”
The next few times were similar. You spoke the bare minimum, and sometimes nothing was said at all. You still ended up leaving early though since it was unnerving that Nero watched you when you tried to dance.
“Why don’t you dance like more modern dancers? You know, that hip hop type dancing stuff.” You sighed.
“It’s pop culture. Not art.” You responded dryly. All it was, was the “in” style. Pop was temporary; art was forever. *Cough*
You stopped when Nero leaned against the door, his arms crossed.
“Why do I get the feeling you’re running from me?” You tried to compose yourself.
“I’ve got things to do.”
“Right.” Nero pushed from the door.
“I don’t really get why dancing’s all that great. It’s the music that matters.”
“You like music?” You stated off handedly.
“Yeah. Love it.” You were willing to bet he listened to that grunge type music.
“Oh… Well, that’s good.” You started to leave again.
“See. You’re running.” You stopped.
“I have things to do.”
“Right. Your daily Yoga or something, right? Or maybe you like writing in your diary?” You turned to face him, unable to believe what a rude thing he just said.
“No! You may hate being here, but that doesn’t mean you can take your frustration out on others! Maybe if you used your brain and didn’t get into fights you’d get somewhere!” You growled and stopped when you were done, realizing all that you’d yelled out. Oh wow, did you sound like a bitch. But you guessed, you were a little.
“Wow. There’s something in there after all?” Nero faced you and pointed at his skull. “Thought it might be empty.” You couldn’t believe him!
“You’re kind of a bitch.”
“Well you’re no saint yourself.”
“So what’s how it is...” Nero mumbled off-handedly and went back over to where he’d propped his broom.
“See you tomorrow.” You huffed at his casual farewell despite the fact that he just called you a bitch.
You were surprised when you came after school on the day that you didn’t have class and Nero was gone. You supposed he was taking care of the Ag. Building and started to warm up.
“Damn. You can do the splits.” You started and looked over, spotting Nero standing in the door. He wasn’t wearing his janitors suit today.
He walked over toward you and you stood up. He stopped in front of you and held out an earpiece to his Ipod.
“Listen.” You took the earpiece, unable to understand why he was being so stubborn in trying to socialize with you. You hated it when guys did that. Never had that problem with girls, it was always guys.
Like they were interested in you or something.
And maybe they were, you didn’t know. However, what you did know, was that Nero was not interested in you. There was no possible way.
He waited till the device was in your ear before he started the song. Your senses were assaulted by semi-loud (do to the volume being down) metal pouring into your ear. You relaxed and let yourself listen to the beat of the drums and the base. The notes played by the electric guitars. After a moment you started to like the beat and smiled. Despite the rough, yelling voice, it was really good. The voice really suited the music. It all fitted together really well.
Retrieving the earpiece you handed it to Nero and smiled.
“It’s good.” Nero smirked.
Walking over to your school bag you grabbed your own Ipod and turned it to a song you liked. It wasn’t classical, which you had the feeling Nero thought you liked. Classical was good for your dance, but your preference for fun listening was something else.
Nero came over and took the piece you offered and put it in his ear, you picked a song and started it. Nero listened to it a moment, letting the beat of the non-rock music pump into his veins. It was pretty good. It had a unique but heart pumping beat.
“Why not dance to this stuff?” You shrugged.
“I bet it’d be more fun, since this is what you listen to for fun.” Nero said nonchalantly.
“Doesn’t fit the steps.” You answered plainly.
“Then maybe you should learn some new steps?” Nero suggested and then gave you the earpiece back.
“Cool.” Stuffing his hands in his jean pockets Nero gave a nonchalant farewell and started to leave.
“Wait. Aren’t you supposed to work today?” Nero looked back at you and smirked.
“Wow. You want me around that much?” You just stared, feeling your face get a little red.
“I’m not on suspension anymore. It’s Monday.” You felt incredibly stupid at that moment. It was only for a week. His suspension was over.
“Oh. I forgot.” You said and Nero shrugged.
“Well, see you.”
“Yeah.” You agreed, knowing you most likely wouldn’t see him again. And if you did, you two probably wouldn’t talk. You were too different from each other. You may not mind talking to him now (funny how that interaction just now opened things between you.) You guessed music really did bring people together, but you had a feeling he might ignore you in the halls. You didn’t know for sure.
You were the type of girl who hangs out with rejects, the weirdos who weren’t very popular. Neros’ type would be a first. His type usually avoided yours (by appearance anyway) so you expected the same reaction as you went to finish stretching.
Nero hadn’t really intended to see you on Monday. He just happened to be walking by from the Auto shop. He saw the building and wondered what it would be like to go there and not be under obligation. It was… Different. Especially since he got to see a side of you that was a little nicer. Maybe because he wasn’t in “prison” clothes. You didn’t seem as testy.
Nero hadn’t intended to find himself here today either. It wasn’t like he had anything else more entertaining to do other than sit on his bed and listen to music or wonder the streets. Nero’s attitude got him more enemies than friends.
And there you were. Nero had to admit, it was pretty awesome to watch your leg lift straight up next to your head, or watch you do the splits. You were so thin too, really in shape. He could see the muscles in your bare, lean arms flex and ripple with tension. Today you had your Ipod in your ears, which was new, so you didn’t hear him.
Nero decided to take a seat and see how long it took until you noticed he was there. You were moving differently. You were moving to a different beat, your turns and twists slightly different.
There was no way… You weren’t taking his advice were you? If you could call it advice. More like a suggestion. Were you listening to the more fun, more beaty stuff? Nero awed when you suddenly took a sensuous roll of the hips and a shift of the torso. Damn, you were a really good dancer like this. It was sexy.
Nero noticed a blend of the modern style of movements in with the classical, simply because the beat couldn’t call for simply the old stuff. You came to a close and pulled the ear pieces out. You jumped and spun around when clapping filled the room and saw Nero, by himself smirking at you.
“See. Told you, you could do it.” You scowled.
“What are you doing here? I though you would be long gone after your suspension was up.” Nero shrugged.
“Yeah well… I just remembered my great times here.” Nero said sarcastically and you rolled your eyes and you started your cooling stretches.
“Hey… Uh…” You looked up at Nero, noticing that was shifting on his feet almost nervously.
“Lunch?” You couldn’t believe it.
“You asking me out to lunch?” Nero shrugged.
“Just figured after that hard work-out you might be hungry.” You smiled. He was still shifting around; even his eyes were looking around the room.
You were surprised. You really didn’t think Nero liked you.
It was… Cute.
He didn’t seem so bad to you anymore, so why not?
It’s just a little food between two new friends.
It wasn’t a date… Right?
You two were at a little café and you were currently sipping on some tea and eating a chicken salad while Nero was gorging himself on a hamburger. You wanted to shake your head at him but resisted.
“So… What song were you listening to?” You finished chewing a piece of chicken and smiled.
“The “Save the Last Dance” soundtrack.” Nero swallowed and laughed.
“Seriously?” You felt a blush come to your cheeks and grinned and laughed.
“Yup. I was.” Nero put his hamburger down and laughed more as he took a drink of his soda.
“What do you do to stay so thin?” You suddenly blurted and Nero almost spit up his soda and you flinched back.
“Sorry.” Nero muttered when he recovered and then paused when you realized your face was deep red. You couldn’t believe you’d just asked that! You just couldn’t help but admire his flat, slim stomach. Nero wasn’t wearing his jackets, leaving him in a black tank-top and you kept finding your eyes wondering when he wasn’t looking. You couldn’t believe that you were starting to think he was good looking.
“No, I’m sorry. I totally blurted that.” You played with your salad.
“’T’s okay. Just surprised me. I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me about my weight before.” You felt your cheeks get warmer.
“Sorry.” You muttered.
“Nah. It’s okay. I uh… Work out?” You quirked a brow at the way Nero said it.
“What do you do?” Nero drummed his fingers on the table as if debating something before picking up his burger. You frowned and put your hand in front of his burger, blocking access to his mouth. You regarded him sternly.
“Don’t tell me you get into fights outside of school.” Nero gave you a decidedly sour look and you glowered.
“You need to stop!” You said seriously and stared hard into Nero’s bright blue eyes.
“Look. Shit happens and I gotta take care of it.” You glared and suddenly sat up. Nero sat back in surprise when you pulled out your wallet and dumped ten bucks down.
“Hey!” Nero grabbed the cash when you started to leave.
“I don’t want you money!” Nero shouted, alerting everyone in the café that you were fighting.
“I don’t want to go on a date with a guy like you!” You shouted back and Nero did a double take.
“Wait?! You think this was a date?” You were already gone but you heard what he’d said and you felt your heart drop and your face set on fire in humiliating. So he wasn’t interested in you after all and you totally just embarrassed yourself. Oh well, it’s not like you were a regular at the place or anything, and you hoped that Nero would stay away now.
‘That was a total disaster.’ You came up to your house when you heard a shout and looked over behind you. Your gasped and your heart leapt when you saw Nero walking quickly to catch up with you.
“Oh my God.” You gasped and broke into a sprint to your fence.
“Hey! Wait!” You darted up your lawn, pulled your keys out and unlocked the door. You were frantic when the door gave way and you swung in, slamming the door and locking the knob just in time for Nero to jiggle the handle hard.
“Come on.” Nero said calmly through the door.
“Go away.” You said, unable to believe that this was happening.
“Look. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that you thought we were on a date.” You leaned your forehead against the door.
“Look. Just drop it and leave me alone.” There was a moment of silence but you didn’t dare move, even if he had left.
“Can I try this again?” You looked up, confused.
“Try what?” You asked in a perplexed tone.
“I uh… Didn’t know you were giving me a chance.” Now you were confused.
“Okay, you’ve lost me.” Nero sighed and you heard it through the door.
“Okay. Look, I kinda dig you. But I didn’t think that you did. So I invited you to a friendly lunch/dinner thing. So I uh… Didn’t treat you right.” You sighed.
“Nero. You have to treat me like you would treat me everyday.” Nero groaned.
“That’s not what I meant. I meant that I would have controlled my temper better. Sorry. I got kinda bitchy.” You smiled and laughed. Slowly, you unlocked the door and opened it. Nero grinned lopsidedly at you.
“So? Do I get another chance?” You felt a blush on your cheeks. You’d only ever had one guy try to date you, and he broke up with you two months later. But this situation was entirely different, although, you supposed with every person it was different.
“Okay. But only if you meet certain conditions.” Nero’s smile faded but he nodded.
“No fighting… For a week.” Nero took a breath and nodded.
“Okay. I’ll try to keep myself in check. Anything else?” Nero honestly didn’t like having to perform tasks, or not perform certain tasks, but as long as they were reasonable, he could stand it.
“Hang out with me after school?” You asked uncertainty and Nero’s eyes widened a little in surprise before relaxing a handsome smile curved his lips.
“Fuck. I was gonna be there anyway.” You smiled and laughed a little.
“Good.” You said and Nero stayed there. You felt your cheeks heat and your heart raced. You totally felt like he was waiting on you, and usually that was only for one thing, in such a classic location.
You swallowed and Nero grinned and bent down to your height. You leaned forward a bit and kissed him softly on the lips before pulling back from the peck, leaving a grinning Nero. You stared up into his eyes, noticing that they’d softened and warmed and that his grin had become a sort of languid victory kind of grin.
“Well then, guess I’ll see you tomorrow…” You nodded.
“So uh… Today’s Tuesday. So then Next Tuesday?” You smiled.
“Saturday’s fine.” You said and Nero nodded as he stepped off your porch. You stood in the doorway and watched as Nero turned around and gave a backwards wave as he left down the street. After a second you closed the door, missing Nero turn around and get a good look at your house and neighborhood to commit it to memory.
“See you soon.” Nero muttered and turned and left.
It was late by the time Nero got back to his apartment and he hurried up the stairs, passed the screaming kids, the troubled teenagers, the graffiti on the wall, and the screaming adults. Nero upped the volume on his Ipod and pulled his keys out when he felt a stomp on the floor. Looking to his left he saw a very familiar, and very unpleasant face. Pulling his earpieces out, Nero shoved them into his pocket with his keys.
“Rudy.” The wiry dark haired, hard muscled gangster grinned sickly at Nero.
“Hey buddy.” Nero scowled and looked to his right, predictably seeing a group of his lackeys to his right.
“You’ve been absent lately.” Nero sighed.
“Yeah. Got in trouble at school.” Rudy walked over, his arms full of prison tattoos as he placed a thick, calloused hand on Nero’s shoulder.
“You still don’t want in?” Nero nodded firmly.
“Yeah. I’m not interested in joining any gangs. I’m neutral man.” Rudy’s grin faded and a stern thin line replaced it.
“Can’t have that buddy. You know how devastated I’d be if you left me.” Nero repressed a growl.
“I was never with you.” Nero was tensed when Rudy gripped his shoulder hard.
“Nero, Nero, Nero… That’s a shame.” Nero knew it was coming. There was nothing he could do when Rudy gripped his shoulder, pulling him from his front door and punched him in the gut. Nero took the hit like a man and didn’t let himself fall. Rudy grinned again and patted Nero’s shoulder.
“You take it like a real man.” Nero said nothing as Rudy motioned for his men to follow him. The men snickered and pointed at Nero, one ruffling his hair as they walked by. Nero kept a smoldering glare on them until they went down the stairs and he pulled his keys out again.
You smiled when Nero came into the studio, and he smiled at you and nodded when your gazes met. You walked up to him, still in your ballet uniform.
“So… You still gonna dance?” You shook your head.
“Just danced until you got here.” You smiled and walked over to your backpack against a wall.
“I’m gonna go into a bathroom and change. You mind waiting here?’ Nero stuffed his hands into his pockets and nodded.
“Sure.” You smiled and pulled a bundle of clothes out of your backpack as you moved toward the bathrooms in the dance room. While you quickly changed into a pair of jeans and a spaghetti strap shirt, Nero poked around the table where the C.D. player was located and let his eyes wander around the room before resting on the bathroom door.
You came out and saw Nero looking your way and smiled. Nero smiled too as you walked out and stuffed your leotard into your backpack.
“So uh… What do you wanna do?” You smiled at Nero.
“Anything you want to. Hm… There’s a movie I want to see…” Nero grinned and walked up next to you as you picked up your backpack.
“I though we weren’t going on dates until I made good on my promise.” You grinned widely.
“Whoever said this was a romantic date. It’s just an outing with friends.” Nero crossed his arms but smirked.
“Okay. What movie. I suck at mushy romances.” You laughed warmly.
“No kidding. Actually, I wanted to see that movie Devil May Cry.” Nero perked up.
“You want to see that movie?” You nodded.
“Yup! What? You think that because I’m a girl that I’d like girly movies?” Nero shook his head and lowered his arms to his sides.
“Nah. You’re a ballerina.” You laughed and slapped him lightly on the arm.
“I may be a ballerina, but I’m actually pretty tomb boy-ish.” Nero looked at your shirt. It was black with “No More Miss Nice Guy.”. You wore tighter fitting jeans that clung to your thin little ballerina legs and a pair of black tennis shoes. It suddenly dawned on Nero and he almost gawked.
“You’re… Goth.” You grinned.
“Yeah. I’m just too lazy to stick on my jewelry. I’m not a morning person.” You explained and Nero chuckled as he reached out and took your backpack.
“Hey. I can carry it.” Nero shook his head and started out ahead.
“We need to get moving to see when it plays.” You smiled and hurried up by his side.
Heeey! Not over yet! Another one of my Looooong One-Shots! I was tempted to try and write it all in one, but I just wanted to share it and see what everyone thinks. So please let me know! I’d love to hear whatcha guys think!