The Adventures of Cam and Trev: Episode 2
“Really?” Trev asked with a sigh, watching the sheet of paper Cam was dangling in his face.
“Yeah!” Cam cried, whisking the pamphlet away, hiding it behind his back. “Dance class! It’s bound to be full of chicks!”
“Uh-huh,” Trev replied flatly, frowning at his teammate. “And you realize the second you walk in there, most of them are gonna think you’re gay, right?”
“Dude,” Cam huffed, “seriously. It’ll be fine—people don’t just assume that you’re gay or whatever—”
“They do if you go to dance class,” Trev informed him with no small amount of venom.
Cam rolled his eyes. “We’re going,” he said, “this plan is great.”
Trev might have believed him, if he’d said “greatly flawed.” Because it was a terrible plan, and Trev was pretty sure that Cam knew that. Somewhere deep down inside, he probably felt it in his bones. This was a bad idea.
But Cam was nothing if not insistent, so Tuesday night, their only night off before regular season hockey picked up again, Trev met Cam outside the studio doors. The weather had turned cooler, so they were both wearing jackets, their collars turned up against a chill breeze weeping through.
Cam eyed him warily, pointed to the duffle he had slung over his shoulder. Trev shrugged, then tugged open the door.
Sure enough, the room was crowded with plenty of women—and very few men. Trev snuck a glance over at Cam, rolled his eyes at the older man. He clearly though this place was a straight guy’s dream come true.
“C’mon,” Trev mumbled, shoved him along the corridor toward the change rooms.
“Did you see?” Cam enthused, a hundred-watt grin lighting up his face, illuminating his eyes. “This is gonna be awesome!”
“Huh,” Trev replied, let the door bang shut behind them.
Cam was still busy pumping his fists, clearly pleased that his idiotic investment seemed like it was going to pay dividends. Trev set the duffle down with a thump, unzipped it.
“Hm?” Cam blinked and turned about, then did a double-take. “What in the—”
Trev sighed, pitched his shoes onto the floor, carefully toed off his sneakers. “I took dance,” he explained with a sigh, “right up until I was drafted.”
Cam boggled. “You … did?”
“Uh-huh,” Trev replied, bobbing his head, even as he looked down. “Ballet’s the best, really helps with flexibility and coordination, but other forms are pretty good—we do a lot of footwork, so it helps.”
He stood up, meeting Cam’s gaze. “And before you ask, yes, I took figure skating too.”
“Oh my god,” Cam spat, “that’s so—”
“Don’t say it,” Trev snapped.
“—cool,” Cam finished, then frowned. “What, what did you think I was gonna say?”
Trev sighed heavily, pitched a second pair of shoes on the ground. “I think those should fit you,” he said. “I was going through some of my old stuff, trying to find these ones, and they’re too small for me.”
“Dude,” Cam said with another blink, “you totally did not have to—”
Trev shrugged. Even with his back turned, he could feel Cam’s eyes on him. “But thanks,” the older man said, “I really appreciate it. I, uh, don’t really know anything about this.”
“I know you don’t,” Trev muttered. He was really annoyed that he’d even agreed to this—why hadn’t he said no? Why hadn’t he told Cam there was no way in hell that they were going to dance class?
He could have said no. He could have refused. And then he wouldn’t have told Cam that he’d taken dance lessons, that he’d figure skated. He hadn’t been planning to tell any of the guys that. Ever.
And he had good reason for that. Cam’s entire reaction to this whole thing—that dance class was somewhere to pick up chicks, a place populated only by women—wasn’t that far off. Guys who went to dance were probably gay. Trev had known that assumption far too intimately. Only the fact he was a hockey player had kept him from getting his ass kicked in high school.
He’d made sure the team didn’t kick the assess of any other guy dancers either, so there had been an uneasy camaraderie between them for a while.
But the assumptions had remained. Just because the hockey team members weren’t actively bashing gays (or people they assumed to be gay) didn’t meant they liked it, didn’t mean they understood it, didn’t mean that they were okay with it. They still made the same assumptions; they just whispered the jokes to each other, instead of shouting insults down the hallways.
He hadn’t danced in over a year now, and he’d left off figure skating long before (too many jumps, too hard on his knees, and Dad wanted him to focus on hockey). And it wasn’t that he didn’t like it—it was that he didn’t need it. He was in the IHA now, a professional hockey player. He was getting paid big bucks to go out and play games for the Knights, and he needed to be hale and hearty and healthy for that.
Which meant no pirouettes or jetes or anything else that might fuck up a knee or an ankle, twist a muscle, pinch a nerve, break something.
He had to focus on hockey. Just like always.
They hit the floor, and there were a few eyes on them almost instantly. There were a couple of other guys—one of the instructors was male, Trev noted—but mostly women.
“Hello,” the female instructor said, smiling brightly, “you’re just in time—this your first class?”
“Yeah,” Trev replied easily.
“Awesome! So great that you could join us tonight—have either of you danced before?”
“I have,” Trev says, “he’s new to it. Our coach told us it might be good, help us with our footwork.”
“Oh.” Her eyebrows lifted a little; her smile faltered, but didn’t disappear. “Well, we’ll see what we can do—don’t wanna disappoint coach! Now, let’s get started.”
Trev knew Cam was watching him, trying to follow him as he went through warm-ups on the barre, the instructor’s voice like honey over their ears as she guided them through. A few of the more curious students kept glancing toward them, but everyone seemed mostly focused on their own motions.
“All right,” the instructor—Carol, Trev thought—said, “we’re gonna start the lesson now.”
Trev knew they were all novices—Cam had specifically selected one of those adult education type classes, so that what had happened with Eliza and her friend during the tennis incident wouldn’t be replicated. Everyone here was on the same level as they were.
Or, well, maybe not, Trev surmised, glancing at some of the would-be dancers’ feet. There were even a couple of people in running shoes. He couldn’t fathom showing up to a ballet class in freaking running shoes.
But then, it was the first class and maybe they were just checking it out. Maybe an idiot friend had asked them to tag along at the last moment …
They crowded into the center of the room. Trev rolled his eyes to the ceiling when a couple of the women—older women, even, clearly in their forties—nudged up against him. There was plenty of space. There was no reason to be that close to him.
“Spread out, everyone!” Carol called. “You’re gonna need space, you don’t want to smack your neighbor in the face—that’s not very graceful—”
“All right, let’s move our arms to first position.”
It was like instinct. He hadn’t even needed Carol to say that, hadn’t needed to hear it. He just did, turned his feet out too. Cam glanced at him, studied him, tried to copy.
Trev didn’t understand why Cam didn’t get it right—first position wasn’t hard or anything—but he didn’t.
Maybe because hockey players never focused on grace, on form. It was always faster, hit them harder, grab the puck—
It was grinding, masculine brutality. Nothing compared to the insane attempt to make motion graceful, to make leaps and bounds appear effortless even as you burned.
“All right, let’s start with battement. Felix’s going to demonstrate.”
Trev could feel his feet twitching as he watched the instructor demonstrating the fleet footwork. Others were rapt; he had the full attention of the room. Cam looked increasingly nervous.
But Trev ached down to the very arches of his feet as he watched. He wanted to. He knew he could. He wanted everyone else in the room to simply disappear, so that it could be him and him alone, working through each exercise, over and over, obsessively until perfection was achieved—
“All right,” Carol said brightly, “let’s break that down.”
Trev almost groaned. He didn’t need it broken down, he didn’t want it broken down. He just wanted to do.
Felix demonstrated the motions again, this time at a fractional pace, each slight change in position carefully demonstrated and held, examined by Carol in her excited tones, explained to the class.
It was torture.
Trev knew there was point when he’d been terrible—he’d barely been in control of his limbs when he’d started dancing, after all. But it was so ingrained now, enmeshed in his muscle memory, that it would be so easy, so simple …
Like second nature, like breathing.
“All right,” Carol said, “let’s all try together.”
Cam nearly toppled over, but he leaned over and nudged Trev in the ribs about halfway through the exercise. “Don’t look so glum, chum,” he snorted, grinning at Trev, then actually losing his balance. He veered back, nearly took out the woman beside him. She backed up just in time, glowered at him.
“Sorry,” he murmured to her, but she just kept glaring, shuffled a little farther to the right.
Carol cleared her throat. “Let’s keep our focus,” she said, “and try again.”
“Seriously,” Cam huffed, nudging at Trev again. “Buck up, you look like someone killed your puppy.”
“I have cats,” Trev replied. Seriously, how many times had Cam been to his house?
Cam just rolled his eyes. “You would,” he muttered, then frowned, focusing on Carol’s foot as she demonstrated for them—again—what they were supposed to be doing.
Rinse, repeat. They must have gone through it four or five times, before Carol finally said, “All right, try that—at your own pace.”
Your own pace. The words rang through him—freedom at last. He was free to let his foot soar, fluttering in front of him, then to the side, then behind, and repeat—
“Let’s try the other side!”
And switch. Front, side, back, his foot moving rapidly, that undulating motion he’d mastered forever ago, and—
Back to the other side. Faster this time. He could do it—of course, without sacrificing form or beauty, the motion had to be perfect—perfect—
Felix was strolling through the room, helping some of the other students with their form. Cam had stopped, was just staring at Trev when Felix reached them, paused to ponder with Cam.
“Dude,” Cam said, “how are you doing that?”
Trev spared him a glance. “It’s easy,” he replied, resisting the urge to really just go for it, to launch into a bris, a jete, to spin about in a fouette.
He wasn’t here to show off.
He met the instructor’s eyes, then quickly glanced away. Cam shook his head. “Still, like—”
“I started dancing when I was eight, Cam,” Trev said, setting his foot down, coming back naturally to first position.
“It shows,” Felix said, and Trev glanced up at him, met his warm gaze again.
“Uh,” he said.
“This class is clearly too basic for you,” he continued. “But—you’ve had some time off?”
“Uh, yeah,” Trev said, dropping his head and looking at the floor. He scratched at the back of his neck. “I, ummm.”
“We’re hockey players,” Cam informed him easily.
Felix was instantly on guard; the tension was palpable. “I see,” he drawled, eyeing them both warily.
Cam was clueless, as per usual. “Yup,” he said, “we play for the Knights.”
Trev could have been forgiving for thinking the music skipped a beat as the rest of the room seemed to grind to a halt.
All eyes on them.
Shit. Sometimes, Trev hated Cam.
Felix seemed to jolt awake from some reverie, suddenly aware of the class again. He clapped his hands. “All right,” he called, his voice booming over the still-playing music, “let’s move on. Saw some really good battement—are you sure you guys are all beginners? I think we’ve got a few people in here who have danced before … or are you all just insanely talented?”
They end class with some bris jumps—not jetes, but Trev had already resigned himself to the idea that there would be nothing complicated in this class. And honestly, they were probably safer; most of the class hardly seemed to be ready to jump up and down, never mind through space. The chances of crash-landings were high.
Trev darted to the locker room the second he could; Cam seemed perfectly content to deal with the gaggle of women who were now approaching him—Trev tried to stifle laughter as one of the women asked his hapless teammate about autographing something for her son.
He let the door bang shut behind him, then deflated.
This had been a terrible idea.
He made his way back to his duffle, stripped off his shoes, pitched them in the bag. He didn’t even know why he’d kept this stuff.
He stared down into the abyss of the bag for what felt like forever.
He didn’t hear the door open, close again.
“Hey.” Felix’s voice was soft, but unexpected. Trev looked up sharply.
He turned to the instructor, who looked at him with those syrup-hued eyes again. “You really danced?”
“Uh, yeah,” Trev said.
He bobbed his head. “When’d ya stop?”
Trev shook his head, reached into the duffle, and tried to look busy. He didn’t want to talk about this. “Oh, like maybe a year or two ago,” he mumbled. “Basically, when I got drafted. Gotta focus on hockey, right?”
“Mm,” he said. Trev chanced a glance over at him, then looked away again.
“Well,” the instructor continued after a moment, “I mean—if you. We have individual lessons.”
Trev’s head snapped up again; he was going to break his neck at this rate. “Yeah?” he asked, glancing at Felix again.
He nodded. “Uh, yeah. And, um. Like, this was just a beginner’s class, so I can’t really judge, but like—this was your first class back?”
“Yeah,” Trev mumbled, looked down to the ground.
“You looked good.”
They stared at each for a moment. “Uh, what I meant was—”
“No, I got it—”
“Um, so like, if you just want, like, some studio time to practice, you—”
Trev sighed heavily. “Thanks,” he muttered, “but I can’t. Really. It’s—it’s too much, right? I can’t really afford to get injured, coach would lose his mind. So I gotta …”
“I understand,” Felix said slowly, “but … just. Think about it.”
“Thanks,” Trev murmured, barely resisting when the guy shoved a business card into his hand, folding his fingers over it.
“Think about it,” he insisted, then slowly dropped Trev’s hand, headed to his locker.
He was gone a moment later, just as Cam bustled into the room. “Jeez, Trevor, do you think you could help me out?! They all just want autographs—you left me to the wolves out there, man, you—”
Slowly, he opened his hand. He stared down at the card—it was tempting. He’d love to dance again, but …
He turned it over, just stared at it for a moment.
The sloppy handwriting was hard to decipher, the pen smeared across the back of the card—but it was a number, an emoticon, and what looked like “coffee?” written across it.
He stared at the door, but Felix was long gone now.
“Whatcha got there?” Cam asked, elbowing Trev in the ribs. “Eh?”
“Nothing, nothing,” Trev sputtered, dropping the card into the depths of his duffle bag. “Just … they figured I should consider private lessons, could do the really advanced stuff.”
Cam considered him for a moment, then said, “You should.”
Trev pulled back. “Are you crazy? Do you know how easy it is for ballet dancers to be injured? Coach would kill me—”
Cam made a face, then said, “Yeah, but you seemed really happy.”
Trev stared at him.
Cam flushed; the longer Trev stared, the pinker Cam got. “Like, I dunno, you just—looked. Like when you were doin’ the foot fluttery thing, and then those jumps—man, fuck those jumps—you just.”
He paused, deciding on his words. Finally, he said, “It just … it’s the happiest I think I’ve ever seen you, man. I don’t think you looked like that even when you scored your first IHA goal.”
“Hey, man, it’s nothing to worry about! Like—we have jobs, and we have hobbies, and we have passions, right? Hockey’s a job for you.”
Cam shook his head. “Dude, I’m a little jealous. You’re fuckin’ talented, rookie. Okay? Hockey’s your job. But … make time for the stuff that makes you happy, huh?”
He shrugged a little, smiled a bit—a genuine smile, not a smirk. He grabbed up his shit, then booked for the door. “C’mon, man, let’s go, I am so over this fuckin’ thing—what was I thinking? All the hot ones are probably pro ballerinas or something—”
Trev sighed and shook his head, grabbed up his duffle bag and his jacket. He followed Cam out into the cool of the evening, two paces behind him the entire way to the coffee shop, his words echoing through his mind.
Do what makes you happy.
He thought about the crumpled business card in the bottom of his duffle bag.
Maybe, for once, Cam had some good advice.