Kyoko is there on Tuesday.
Finally, Bodie breathes out, something that is constant in his unpredictable life. He resists the urge to wave and settles into their familiar routine again.
To his surprise, she already has a message there waiting for him.
How was your weekend?
His pen pauses over the blank sheet of paper. His first instinct is to give her an ordinary answer: Fine. Pretty good. Same old same old.
Only problem with that, is that it isn’t. Last Thursday has been unbelievably unreal.
Not that Kyoko would know. She is probably asking out of polite curiosity, and his mind reluctantly recalls last week's events.
Her lips were soft, warm, and tasted nostalgically like the bubblegum he used to buy from the grocery store. Bodie found himself frozen on the barstool, his limbs locked into place as Dare slowly drew back.
“Hallo dere,” her catlike gaze ran over him appraisingly, “Nice to meet you, stranger.”
He faintly registered MacCoy stammering in the background. Something about how they normally greet people with kisses back from where she comes from. Paris? London? He didn't remember. He was also pretty sure that's not true, but his mouth refused to function from that point on.
But what he can remember clearly, in picture perfect detail, was her surprising strength as she pulled him off of his chair, and asked him to dance with an enticing grin.
“Uh... I don't really dance,” he called out. She cupped a hand, signaling how she couldn’t hear him over the music.
“Like I said, I -” Bodie froze as the pink-haired girl leaned in suddenly, so the smooth skin of her cheek tickled a caress against his own, and the rest of his sentence came out more like a strangled question,“-don't dance...?” Her lithe body was pressed close to his front. She's actually not that curvy. She has a tomboyish figure, but he could still feel the well-toned muscles that make up her petite frame as one arm draped itself around his neck.
Dare purred back.“It nevah hurts ta learn.”
Bodie jolts back to the present with a start. He's taking too long to answer a question that should be real easy. He decides to stick to the truth as close as possible.
It was ok. Went out with a friend on Thurs night though. Where were you that day?
Her reply comes in half the time it took him to compose his two measly sentences.
Where did you go? Was it fun?
Yeah. It was this club near 4th and Harrison Street.
Bodie hesitates. But he then decides there is no better person to talk about it than her. He adds on to the paper quickly before he changes his mind.
I met this interesting person. A dancer.
Oh? Tell me.
Bodie struggles in finding the right words. How to describe this Dare girl? She was insane. A maniac on the dance floor and a ball of pure, undiluted energy that is borderline supernatural.
Bright, fluorescent colors surrounded them on the floor. Her eyes and teeth glowed with an unnatural whiteness underneath the black light as she insistently pulled him forward.
“Ca' mon,” she urged with a beguiling smile, “show me your moves!”
Bodie laughed back nervously. He tried to find MacCoy and make eye contact, but his buddy was too distracted with a pair of twins at the bar. Seemed like there was no rescue at hand.
He leaned to the music. Shuffled his feet awkwardly to the beat as in a momentous effort. The last time he tried dancing it was at high school prom. And all people did back then was dance in place and sway with their partner. He peeked a glance up at Dare, expecting scorn or pity on her face at his lackluster performance. To his amazement, her smile only widened.
With a wild cry, she flung her arms out in a haphazard circle. She began to spin, twirl, and turned into a cacophony of neon colors around him. The pinks turned into orange into yellow then into white. Bodie tried to follow her progress, and swung his head around to follow her movements. Soon he wasn’t sure if she was the one circling him, or if he was the one spinning around her.
Bodie shakes his head. The experience really cannot be put into words. But for Kyoko's sake, he writes:
She is... out of this world. She's a very memorable character and I'm sure I've never met a girl quite like her before.
He realizes too late the wording might be interpreted in a horribly wrong way. Before Kyoko can write down her reply, he hurriedly adds on with another page:
Not in that way! She was just a dancer who I thought was cool. Nothing more. Really.
He wants to slap his own head. His stupidity really knows no bounds. Especially when talking to Kyoko. Bodie waits for her response with bated breath. Kyoko writes something, then erases it, then finally she replies with:
Do you want to see her again?
He really has no answer for that. For once, he is glad when the bus barrels down the street with its wheezing brakes and dirty exhaust. Bodie waves at her from his side. But this time, she keeps her head down, almost as if she’s avoiding eye contact, and his stomach sinks to the ground.
Bodie isn’t sure why, but he feels like he’s just been caught cheating. Yet he isn’t seeing anyone. All they did was dance.
So why does it feel heavy like guilt?
There was a moment when the song changed. Heavy, slower, drumming bass began to beat in a hypnotic rhythm. The masses of bodies closed in upon them, until he felt like a packed sardine in a can.
Without warning, she appeared right in front of him. She emerged from the swaying, dark shadows like a beacon of light. Dare began to move along with the crowd. Her hips gyrated to the thrumming beats, as she slowly backed up into him. Bodie could feel his mouth go dry as one of her multi-colored arms wrapped around his neck, and brought them even closer. Her other hand slowly guided his hand to rest at her hip. Like an undulating wave, she coaxed his body to respond with her gentle, lulling
He did not expect that.
He had seen how girls dance in clubs before. The frantic, dry humping and the taste-less grinding against willing partners.
But this. This was almost innocent in its pure sensuality.
The other thing he did not expect: it felt so right. The way her body melted against his. Like the perfect moment when he is balanced on the surfboard, with the roar of the ocean all around, and he soared through the water like it was made for him. She just... fits.
He would be lying if he said he wasn’t a bit attracted to this alluring, mysterious creature. But at the same time, his mind drifted to another time and place. Back to lazy, sunlit afternoons at a quiet bus stop as the warmth filtered through leafy green branches, and the muted chirping of crickets in the background.
His hand gripped her hip a bit tighter. He leaned forward, and buried himself into the pink tangles of hair along her exposed neck.
As the song slowly transitioned to another, Dare reluctantly pulled away. The moment rippled, and then flowed away as if it has never happened. She eyed him thoughtfully, and with the same cat-like smile, she said, “You cahn only hahve one dance. Sorry, compahny policy.”
Without another word, she danced out of reach. The pink-haired dancer climbed her way nimbly back to her original spot on the raised dais of blinking squares. Where she began to twirl and spin like a madwoman again. Alone and glorious on her self-proclaimed throne.
Dazed and disoriented, Bodie made his way back to the bar. MacCoy caught his eye, and he immediately headed over.
“Whoa, you two really hit it off or what?” MacCoy shouted out gleefully and went for a hi-five. Bodie gave him the five, but his gaze is glued to a particular mass of colors on the dance floor.
“Yeah. I guess we did,” he mumbled quietly.
She no longer writes messages.
Bodie wants to punch the telephone pole next to him. Kyoko is purposely ignoring him. Every Tuesday and Thursday, instead of greeting him with a smile and a new message, she keeps her head down and is engrossed with her writing.
He feels like an idiot, day after day, with the now ragged notebook propped up, and yet she doesn’t even spare him the slightest glance. She’s so close. Yet she feels so far as she isolates herself on the other side of the asphalt river. And his stupid, cowardly self cannot muster up the courage to simply cross the street and actually talk to her.
There’s just something so impenetrable about the arrangement. He has no business on that side, he belongs on this end. If he doesn’t know any better, it is the fear of rejection that chains him to the telephone pole.
Summer is already giving away to fall, and Bodie shivers as a strong breeze blows by. He watches as a few pages flutter loose from Kyoko’s notebook. She lurches forward with a yelp, a hand desperately shooting out, and makes a wild grab for the papers. In the process, she upsets even more papers from her lap, and the notebook’s entire contents all spill out into the sidewalk.
His first instinct is to help. Bodie takes a step but then stops. She looks frantic, her arms darting out in a hurry to retrieve her stuff. It’s really none of his business. He shouldn’t.
The wind picks up again. Bodie watches with growing anticipation as a stray sheet drifts into the middle of the street. He glances back up. She is too busy chasing papers on her end to notice. Bodie looks both ways. No cars.
Carefully, hesitantly, he takes the first step. And then another. His hand picks up the binder-sized paper, and to his surprise, he sees hand-drawn sketches on it.
So she wasn’t doing homework or writing. She was drawing this entire time. Looking at it more closely, Bodie can see she’s really into fashion. The outfits she drew are all full of crazy shapes and larger-than-life silhouettes. He doesn’t know anything about high fashion, but the sketches look cool.
Bodie takes a step forward, and finds another sheet by his feet. This one actually has color on it. Instead of normal markers, it looks like she used highlighters to empathize the avante-garde collars and the draping headdresses, allowing them to pop out from the rest. He’s suddenly reminded of neon smiles and the glowing jewelry underneath a blacklight.
He’s more than halfway across the street when he comes across the next page. This one contains only black and white pencil sketches. It looks like a person’s head from different angles. It’s messy and hurried. But Bodie can still make out the short buzz cut, a prominent, square jaw, and the well-defined brow. Seems kind of familiar, but he can’t quite put a finger on it.
By now, Kyoko is done collecting her papers. She stands rigid near her bus stop, frozen on the spot, with pink mortification painting her face as she clutch the mess of papers to her chest. Bodie immediately smiles and tries to reassure her with his most friendly voice, “Don’t mind me. I’m just lending a hand-”
He pauses to pick up the last piece that he just stepped on. His blue eyes casually drift down to check out the latest page, and then stops. His jaw grows slack. His hand has a slight tremor as he gazes down at the image.
The entire sheet is mostly covered with charcoal gray. From within the darkness, two figures appear, their limbs intertwining together in a sensual dance. One arm winding up and over a neck. A hand on the exposed flesh of a hip. Bodie gawks as he realizes it is his head that is lowered and grazing the woman’s neck. The picture might as well have been a photograph, as there is no mistaking the identity of the dancers.
Slowly, he lifts his gaze to meet the one of the girl in front of him. He blinks. In the dimness of the club and underneath the heavy makeup, she looked completely different. But now that he has made the unlikely connection, he can see how it’s the same pair of almond-shaped eyes, the same heart-shaped face, and the same slightly upturned nose.
Bodie straightens up. He checks and rechecks the picture. In a robotic manner, he hands his collected share to her. Her hand snatches it away quickly.
She stares up at him with wide, nervous eyes. Bodie doesn’t know what to say. The realization Kyoko and Dare is one person hits him like a battering ram, and he is still reeling from the shock.
Only one thing still remains certain.
“Hey,” he manages a small, tentative smile, “Can I have just one more dance?”