Chapter 19:

The Dance (Part 1)

The Lonely Lovers Club

“Are you guys ready to dance?” asked Ginko.

Ginko, Willie, and Jakub sat around a restaurant table dressed in their finest suits. All the boys wore different colored ties to match their dates’ dress. Willie went with a classic red tie. Jakub wore a black bow tie. And Ginko had a bright orange tie. But their dates had yet to arrive. Next to each of the boys was an empty chair, awaiting their dates to sit.

“We should have picked them up,” said Willie, ignoring Ginko’s question. “It's not proper.”

“Chill out,” said Ginko. “The girls said they wanted to meet us here.”

“We should be proper gentlemen,” said Willie. “Especially on a night like tonight.”

“Don’t worry about it,” said Ginko. “Tonight all sorts of traditions are broken anyways. Jakub and Chelsea are going with each other to impress other people.”

That actually sounds kind of normal thought Willie.

“Speaking of Jakub and Chelsea,” said Ginko. “Are you nervous, Jakub?”

Jakub had said very little since the boys had arrived at the restaurant. Most of the conversation in the car ride over was Willie and Ginko arguing over directions. Now that Willie was not distracted, he could see Jakub’s discomfort.

“A little, I guess,” said Jakub. “I don't really know what to expect.”

“Well if you’re nervous about Chelsea, don’t be,” said Ginko. “We’ll be with you guys, like, the whole night. You only need to focus on Holly.”

“Sorry we’re late,” said Maria’s voice, echoing through the restaurant.

Walking towards the boys was Maria, Sandra, and Chelsea. Maria came first in an elegant red dress. Her hair was in a perfect, fancy braid that matched her dignified look flawlessly. Willie, with his suit and red tie, was perfectly coordinated Maria, like a fantasy prince and princess. Willie rose and pulled a chair out for Maria. Following Maria was Sandra. She wore a peach dress with her hair straightened down. Unlike Willie, Ginko’s out was not as harmonized with his date. Ginko’s orange tie was way too many shades brighter than Sandra’s peach dress. Sandra and Maria sat in the chairs next to their dates.

Last to appear was Chelsea. She wore a simple white dress that fit her wonderfully. The dress was luxurious, yet somehow casual. Chelsea’s short blonde hair was pulled behind her ears, which made her eyes seem to sparkle. As she approached the table, Jakub stood up from his chair. He watched every step she took without blinking an eye. Chelsea gave a sheepish smile to Jakub as she sat down, adjusting her flowing dress to avoid creasing it. Jakub sat down after her, still fixated.

The entire group was prepared for their night. They all had their fancy clothes. They all had their dates. Now they were ready to begin the night’s activities.

“Everyone ready to eat?” asked Ginko.

“Dude,” said Sandra. “I told you peach. What is this?”

“This is peach,” said Ginko. “And you told me your dress was salmon. Whatever that means.”

“No, I told you it was peach, which is like salmon.”

“Well either way this is the same thing.”

Sandra groaned. “Whatever.”

As Ginko and Sandra bickered with one another, Willie slid his hand into Maria’s under the table. While they whispered to each other, Jakub turned to Chelsea.

“You look great,” said Jakub.

“Oh, thanks,” said Chelsea, blushing. “You look good too.”

“I guess this is a bit weird since we don’t know each other well,” said Jakub.

“Yeah,” said Chelsea. “Totally.”

“Do you do any sports after school?”

“No,” Chelsea said timidly. “I don’t play any sports. But I run a study group for precalculus.”

“Oh wow,” said Jakub. “That's pretty impressive. I’m not even in precalculus yet. I could probably use some help with math. I’m surprised you're able to teach anyone else.”

“Thanks,” said Chelsea. “But I don’t really do any teaching. I just help out the people in class. I don’t find calculus too hard.”

Chelsea and Jakub simled as they kept talking. While they were talking, Willie noticed Sandra rolling her eyes and crossing her arms at Ginko. Clearly he was digging himself into a pit with the wrong tie color. Maria noticed too and decided it would be a good time to calm them down.

“So,” said Maria. She picked up her menu. “What is everyone going to order?”


The dance took place in the school gymnasium, but it was completely unrecognizable. Decorations went from floor to ceiling. Streamers hung from the roof. A DJ blasted music from a temporary stage. That was only what Willie was able to see. Blocking his vision was the crowd. The gym was packed to maximum capacity. It felt like the entire school had tried to cram into the gym. Normally the gym felt large and spacious. Tonight, the students would not be able to get from one end to the other without bumping into someone.

“Woah,” said Willie. “That is crowded.”

“Oh my goodness,” said Maria. She clung onto Willie’s arm to not get separated. “I’ll say.”

Ginko and Sandra had the same reaction. They were utterly surprised. Though it did not seem to bother Chelsea or Jakub, who were a few steps behind.

“That dinner was delicious,” said Jakub. “What did you think?”

“It was great,” agreed Chelsea. “Your steak was amazing.”

“I know, right?” said Jakub. Finally, they noticed the horde in the gym. “Wow, that’s a lot of people.”

“It’s so loud too,” said Chelsea.

“Do you want to go to the lobby?” asked Jakub. “It should be quieter. I think they are supposed to have drinks and snacks there too.”

“Oh, I don’t think I can eat any more,” said Chelsea, placing a hand on her belly. “But that sounds good.”

Jakub faced the group and said “We’re going to head to the lobby.”

Willie was still overwhelmed by the crowd of students and Jakub’s quick change of location. “Okay, I guess we’ll go too.”

Jakub led the group away from the gym with Chelsea close at his side. The makeshift couple continued to chat as they walked, but Willie could not hear them. The number of people in the gym was daunting. How could Willie work on Chelsea’s and Jakub’s relationships? How would Willie even find their crushes?

Even getting from the entrance to the lobby was a challenge. Scattered groups of people blocked their paths. Elbows were bumped. Drinks were spilled. Luckily no splashing sodas ended up on the girls’ dresses.

The lobby was also decked-out with party decorations. Strands of lights hung from the ceiling. The normally bland columns were spiraled with colors. This was way better than the boring white walls they were used to seeing everyday.

Ginko tapped Willie on the shoulder. “It’s going to be impossible to find Brad and Holly in here.”

“I was thinking the same thing,” said Willie. “We’re going to have to split up.”

“Hey,” said Sandra. She was looking into the waves of students dancing in the gym. “Ginko, come on. The field hockey team is over here.”

Sandra grabbed Ginko’s arm and pulled him into the crowd. Looking back, Ginko said “I’ll look over this way.”

Sandra turned back and shouted as she was still walking away, “We’ll meet back up with you guys in a little bit.”

Maria and Willie were left alone in the swarm of students in the lobby. Chelsea and Jakub had made their way to the snack bar. Jakub was already pouring Chelsea a cup of punch.

Willie went to walk over to them, but Maria grabbed his hand. She smiled and asked, “So, do you wanna dance?”

“Not now,” said Willie. “We need to find Brad and Holly. Chelsea and Jakub will be crushed if we don’t. And now we’ve lost Sandra and Ginko too.”

“They look perfectly fine to me,” Maria lightly tugged on Willie’s arm. Chelsea and Jakub continued to talk next to the snack bar. “Just ask them to come along.”

“We made a promise to them. I can’t just ignore the fact that they both could not go with the people they love.”

“Fine,” said Maria. She let go of Willie’s hand.

“Come on,” said Willie. “Let’s go talk to them.”

Willie and Maria came over at the end of a story.

“Wow. I can’t even cook at all,” said Jakub.

“It’s not that hard,” said Chelsea, smiling back at Jakub.

“Hello, my friends,” interjected Willie. “Are we ready to impress our sweethearts?”

Jakub was confused before realizing what Willie had said. “Oh. Yeah. I guess I’m ready.”

“Right,” said Chelsea. Her smile faded and her posture straightened.

“Now,” said Willie, stepping closer to Jakub and Chelsea. “Tonight we will be searching for any opportunity to impress your crushes.”

Chelsea looked down to the floor.

Willie continued, “We have no idea where they will be or what they will be doing, so we need to be ready for it all. You may only have a few seconds to strike up a conversation, but every moment counts. A small chance makes a big difference. Maybe by the end of the night you’ll be dancing with your future romance.”

Jakub and Chelsea stared at Willie with small looks of worry. “Right, okay,” said Jakub.

“All we need to do is find Holly and Brad,” said Willie.

While Willie scanned the faces in the over-populated gym, Sandra came up to the snack bar.

Maria asked, “What are you doing back here? Is the dancing not good?”

Sandra grabbed a cup of water and downed the entire thing before answering the question.

“It is hot in there. All of those people, it’s like a sauna,” Sandra said as she fanned herself with her hand. She noticed Willie diligently watching everyone passing through the gym doors. “What are you guys up to?”

“We’re searching for Jakub and Chelsea’s soulmates. You didn’t see them there, did you?”

“You mean Holly?” asked Sandra. “I thought you saw her. She’s right over there.”

Sandra pointed across the lobby. Along the opposite wall, was Holly, talking with a group of friends.

“Jakub,” said Willie. “It’s time to shine.”

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